Is taking honey from bees cruel?
Bees and other pollinators play a vital role in food production; if they are in danger, we are also in danger. Besides the pollination role, they also make great products, including honey. Beekeepers benefit by harvesting the products and selling them at a profit. Since they make honey for their colonies, some wonder why beekeepers should take it from them.
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Is taking honey from bees cruel?
Harvesting honey does not harm the bees if you leave enough stores for them. Healthy colonies usually produce more honey than they require. They continue to collect nectar and make honey as long as the weather is fine and they have a place to store it. With proper management, a strong colony can produce many pounds of honey in a single season. If you leave too much honey in the hive, the hive becomes honey-bound, and space is significantly reduced, leading to swarming.
Harvesting is usually done when there is plenty of nectar and pollen. Bee populations are on the decline. Many pests and diseases have come up, which are one of the leading causes of colonies’ collapse. Most beekeepers are committed to the life of honey bee colonies to ensure they are happy and healthy. They protect the colonies from predators, pests, and diseases and provide extra shelter in the cold winter season to save the colonies. Neglect of bee colonies usually weakens them, leading to low production. In some seasons, the bees cannot make honey due to poor weather conditions or drought. In such times beekeepers feed them with sugar syrup, so they don’t starve and die.
Beekeeping practices that harm the bees
Harvesting All Honey
Honey is their natural food and contains all the necessary nutrients they require to fuel their bodies. They feed their young ones and store reserves for winter. Some beekeepers harvest all the honey and replace it with sugar syrup. We should not deprive them of their ideal source of nutrition.
Cutting the Queen’s Wings
To curb swarming, some beekeeping clips part of the queen’s wings, so they are unable to fly.
Crushing Bees While Harvesting
Some beekeepers are rough with the colonies and end up crushing bees while harvesting or carrying out inspections.
Keeping Too Many Colonies in One Place
Keeping too many colonies in a place with inadequate food resources makes bees starve. Such populations are weakened and prone to die.
Use of chemical treatments
Use of herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides around the hive poison the bee colonies. Some kill them, while others lower their life expectancy. The honey produced will also have chemical residues.
Why Vegans Don’t Eat Honey
Vegans believe it is wrong to consume honey since it is produced from the labor of bees. They argue that exploiting the bee’s labor and harvesting their energy source is unethical. Honey bees produce honey constantly, working themselves to death. They collect and store reserves as much as possible for the winter season. Vegans argue that honey is for bees, not for human beings. Bees make it for their colonies. Commercial beekeepers sell honey to make money to enrich themselves and not to help bees which is also another evil.
Is harvesting beeswax harmful to the bees?
Beeswax is a significant bee product harvested and used for a number of uses. Bees use it to make honeycombs where honey is stored and brood is raised. The comb is attached to beehive frames or tree hollows in the wild. The bees consume large quantities of honey to trigger wax production from their bodies. The bees consume about 8 pounds of honey to make 1 pound of wax. After extracting, some beekeepers restore the combs to the hive to ease the bee’s work.
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What is conservational beekeeping?
Conservation beekeeping entails keeping bee colonies without harvesting honey. Their goal is to keep healthy bee colonies and allow them to swarm as frequently. By doing so, they increase the presence of wild bee colonies, increasing genetic diversity in natural. Others run apiaries, but they make money in other ways instead of harvesting honey. Others still have beekeeping museums and educational apiaries to teach beekeeping.