C’mon, admit it, tell it without problems…you too have already thought at least once in your life: „we steal honey to the bees, poor!“. Then maybe you were enjoying it immediately after anyway, but in any case, yes, for just one second you got this thought!
…however, is it really this way? Do we really steal honey to the bees, exploiting non-stop their job?
Now I tell you a thing…
Not so long ago, a follower on Instagram had contacted me because she was doubtful about something stated by a vegan influencer that she was following (I swear, I have no idea who and, I swear, I have nothing against vegan people, in fact – anyone is absolutely free to eat whatever he/she prefers). According to this influencer, bees were deliberately exploited and spoilt by beekeepers, stealing their honey in exchange of sugar. This follower of mine – that I thank with all my heart both for thinking of me and for her trying to get more proper infos – asked me at that point “Can you explain to me what happens to the bees if we take away their honey, please?”. She also had forwarded me the main argumentations of the influencer, supporting the fact that “Yes, we steal honey to the bees”. Let’s get to the point and have a look at them together!
“Bees are exploited to produce honey”
As a background to this sentence, I can imagine a beekeeper with a wipe that shouts angrily to some poor bees that they must collect more, that it’s not enough, that they are not allowed to stop one second more on a flower. “Ehy, you! Chatting with that drone, stop it and go on!”. I can reassure you that bees are not exploited at all to produce honey. They do produce it, of course, and they put much commitment in it, but they produce endless quantities, sooo much. It’s what makes their days. Bees – as we all know – are hardworkers and during the nice seasons they love run from a flower to the other. If the beekeeper didn’t exist they would slow down at a certain point, while since we take some of their honey, they keep on stocking provisions. However, this doesn’t mean that they suffer due to this. It’s part of their nature. Behind each flower tour of a bee, there isn’t a furious beekeeper that weighs their honeybag once the workerbee is back to the hive, remember this!
“Ok, but they really need honey, while we can live without it with no issues”
This is true. Bees need it, whereas for us it’s nothing that essential. Nevertheless, taking honey from the hives does not mean killing bees for hunger or letting them surviving giving in exchange something that is poor quality. We must add that, afterall, if we want to eat some honey, bees are the only possible source and the good beekeeper take it in exchange of taking care of bees with love. Hence, no, we don’t steal honey to the bees. From my point of view, it’s more a sharing moment, a mutual exchange. Giving to get back something, with respect and love towards nature.
“Beekeeper steal honey to the bees and put sugar in their cells”
Here I can imagine a beekeeper that looks like a crazy scientist that, between a nervous tic and the other, injects some sugar with a tiny pipette in each single cell of each single honeycomb. Yes, this way, because beekeepers don’t have enough to do in their apiary! What is true in this argumentation? It’s true, we give an addition (basically sugar and water), but only in a certain period of the year and just to be a bit more sure that bees will have enough to survive winter. We don’t add tons of additional food, it’s just something more and bees have anyway still their honey too. Also because it’s impossible to take out everything. We spoke deeper about it here.
So no, I would say that we don’t steal honey to the bees…
…in the end, think about it! Any good beekeeper doesn’t exploit and spoil bees, in fact, he/she takes care of them, very careful at when, when and how much harvesting honey. Also because, without considering the passion in itself, if the beekeeper didn’t do this, he/she would go against his/her own interests too, don’t you agree?
The beekeeper would lose both the bees and the quality of the honey offered. Then, if for personal taste, you prefer to avoid eating honey is something different. The most important thing is to don’t spread around wrong infos. This is essential as much as getting proper infos. I will never get tired to tell it: ask questions, read about it, visit apiaries, be curious and ask anything you want to beekeepers, support them because in the end, in this world where wild bees are not that many and those left – whenever you like it or not – are those from the apiaries, this is definitely a good way to support bees too.
Help us to spread around more awareness and share this article – our bees and us would be so grateful!