| Register  | FAQ  | Search | Login 
It is currently Wed Jun 29, 2016 8:52 pm

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 11 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Honey: good or bad?
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 9:50 pm 
Offline
Loves Carrots (in the biblical sense)

Joined: Wed Oct 09, 2013 4:55 pm
Posts: 71
Location: USA
Hi all, not sure if this is the right board for this topic, but here we go!

I stopped eating honey a long time ago when I went vegan, and I'm totally fine without it. It was never an important part of my diet. Lately I've been encountering lots of folks who buy local honey or keep their own honeybees, and are proponents of developing more robust local bee populations. I'm wondering what to think about all this. I know that honeybees are not a native species around here, but my understanding is that they are still vital to our agricultural system alongside native bees.

I suspect that there is a vast ecological and ethical difference between industrial honey and beeswax production and backyard honey production, just as there often is with chicken coops, for example. But is buying into the "local honey saves the environment!" idea just as dubious as believing that buying local meat, dairy, or eggs is "saving the environment" simply because its production is slightly less detrimental than factory farming? Do local honeybee hives present threats to native bees (e.g. dominating resources, spreading disease) in the same way that industrial beehives purportedly do? Is there consensus among environmentalists and scientists as to whether supporting local honey businesses is ultimately good or bad for the environment?

I'm not really asking because I plan to start buying honey, but people ask me about honey sometimes so I would like to be informed beyond the targeted information available in "save the bees" honey advertising.

Thanks!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Honey: good or bad?
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 5:36 am 
Offline
WRETCHED
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 6:54 pm
Posts: 11513
Location: Maryland/DC area
So from what I understand, the issues with bees is largely with commercial bees. Sure the media will talk about colony collapse and that there is a major issue with bees, but I don't think that has a lot to do with normal bee colonies because I don't think those are tracked very well. So to really fix that issue, they have to figure out why it is happening (disease, pesticide, stress of being moved, etc) and stop it. I wouldn't doubt disease especially because if you move bees around the country to various crops, they get infected with something, they move on, infect other bees, etc, etc.

If people in general wanted to help bees, there are things that we can do. Planting bee friendly plants and putting out a bee block/bee house are options we can do that help the bees and don't exploit them.

The idea around local beekeeping is that they are supporting bees by taking honey as payment. Sure bees can be killed even in local beekeeping but the theory is that the chances are smaller. Also if beekeepers are renting out their bees, then they could also be contributing to the overall problem because stress is one of the primary theories in what is causing bee collapse.

There are a few articles on it, this is a pretty long one:
http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/20 ... death.html

As a vegan, the overall idea is that bees make honey for their own survival and it is not ours to take. Who knows, taking of the honey may also be part of their stress as well. So I'd say we should support bees but the best way is probably what we can do in our homes rather than buying a product that the bees made.

_________________
You are all a disgrace to vegans. Go f*ck yourselves, especially linanil.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Honey: good or bad?
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2016 1:42 pm 
Offline
Remembers When Veganism Was Cool
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:32 pm
Posts: 2428
Also, I think you can keep bees and help the environment and not take the honey. Pretty sure bees managed to run their hives before humans started removing honey?

Not being snarky, I just don't think that keeping bees equates to producing honey necessarily.

Mat.

_________________
Lady Gaga and Beyonce should run her over with the kitten Wagon for that one comment alone - Torque (speaking of Katy Perry)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Honey: good or bad?
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2016 4:14 pm 
Offline
Dying from Nooch Lung
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 12:16 am
Posts: 3301
Location: SF Bay area
samanpka wrote:
Do local honeybee hives present threats to native bees (e.g. dominating resources, spreading disease) in the same way that industrial beehives purportedly do? Is there consensus among environmentalists and scientists as to whether supporting local honey businesses is ultimately good or bad for the environment?

I've read papers that suggest European honey bees do compete with native bees for food sources, leading to a decline in the native bee population. I haven't read about the spread of disease and I'm not sure if supporting local honey does anything for the environment either way. What I've read from beekeeping proponents is that they're diversifying by the gene pool. Not sure about that since I think it's only the females that are scouts and pollinators and the queen/males stay in the hive. I doubt they're mixing with the farmed hives that are trucked around orchards. People also say they're helping with pollination of local plants.

What would be better for the environment is to grow native plants and provide habitats for native bees (or if you don't have a place to do that, support orgs that do).

I agree with Mat. You don't have to get something from an animal to save it. It's a really good rationalization people invented to keep (invasive) bees and profit from them.

_________________
http://hotveganchickpeas.wordpress.com (food blog)
http://baybalcony.wordpress.com (gardening blog)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Honey: good or bad?
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2016 4:23 pm 
Offline
Baking In The Flavor

Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2015 9:45 pm
Posts: 172
I agree with all the above. I know a couple of people locally that keep beehives and don't harvest the honey, just because they enjoy keeping beehives and having lots of bees in their yards makes their vegetable gardens grow really well.

The rationale of "we have to take the honey to keep bees because bees are good for our crops" really grates on me. It reminds me of the episode of RadioLab about hunting African animals (it's a good listen, but can quite disturbing). Basically, one of the hunters was talking about buying a permit to shoot a black rhino, and how it is necessary to monetize these animals if we want to save them. It sounded way more like indulging his personal forked up need to kill an animal and convincing himself that it was justified to help save the species.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Honey: good or bad?
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2016 7:07 pm 
Offline
Smuggling Raisins
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:10 pm
Posts: 332
Is it possible to keep native bees? I would love to help out some native pollinators and have a strange quasi-pet to weird out friends and neighbours.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Honey: good or bad?
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2016 9:45 pm 
Offline
Making Threats to Punks Again
User avatar

Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 6:08 pm
Posts: 1148
Location: PDX
xGreenling wrote:
Is it possible to keep native bees? I would love to help out some native pollinators and have a strange quasi-pet to weird out friends and neighbours.

Are you living in North America? If so, google Mason bees - a couple of species are native here and you can build nesting houses for them. Plus, if you plant native flowering plants you'll attract other cool native bees and other pollinators.

_________________
Formerly Kaleicious. I still love kale, but no more than lots of other garden greens too! Orach is currently my favorite.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Honey: good or bad?
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2016 11:04 pm 
Offline
Dying from Nooch Lung
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 12:16 am
Posts: 3301
Location: SF Bay area
What Jill said! I think someone on the board made a mason bee habitat out of hollowed out reeds (supercarrot?)

I believe most native bees are solitary so there's no hive structure you can set up, but if you have the right plants and habitat they will visit you! You can keep some leaf litter on the ground because lots of native bees are ground nesters. Carpenter bees like to burrow in wood, so some old logs or blocks of wood are good. Some carpenter bees took up residence in a knot in my balcony and they are very entertaining to observe!

http://www.xerces.org/wp-content/upload ... ociety.pdf

_________________
http://hotveganchickpeas.wordpress.com (food blog)
http://baybalcony.wordpress.com (gardening blog)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Honey: good or bad?
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2016 6:19 am 
Offline
Invented Vegan Meringue
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:50 pm
Posts: 3726
Location: The Bene
Jill wrote:
xGreenling wrote:
Is it possible to keep native bees? I would love to help out some native pollinators and have a strange quasi-pet to weird out friends and neighbours.

Are you living in North America? If so, google Mason bees - a couple of species are native here and you can build nesting houses for them. Plus, if you plant native flowering plants you'll attract other cool native bees and other pollinators.


Europe too! My partner puts out loads of bee hotels in our yard (in Belgium) and we've got loads of mason bees. He's used bamboo or varying sizes but also drilled holes into wood and bricks and we get waves of different species filling them up over the summer.

_________________
I ate the shiitake out of inappropriateness. - Hollie

Vegan Stuff in Belgium

VSiB FB page


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Honey: good or bad?
PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2016 5:07 pm 
Offline
Smuggling Raisins
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:10 pm
Posts: 332
Jill wrote:
Are you living in North America? If so, google Mason bees - a couple of species are native here and you can build nesting houses for them. Plus, if you plant native flowering plants you'll attract other cool native bees and other pollinators.


I'm in the PNW, so yeah! I need to find some space to plant bee-friendly plants. Visiting friends are probably just as much fun as having a permanent hive.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Honey: good or bad?
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 12:57 pm 
Offline
Saggy Butt
User avatar

Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:58 pm
Posts: 1174
Location: chicago
This isn't quite about honey bees, but I loooove this lecture about the necessity and power of planting native plants to promote biodiversity, starting with insects:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEhl2ZwzCr4

My neighbors who I share a courtyard with and I are going to tear out a bunch of concrete from said courtyard this summer, and replace it with lots of native plants (plus a few non-native edibles interspersed) and I'm excited! I've been drooling over the catalogue from a local native nursery this morning and I want all the plants.


Personally, I don't really have an ethical problem with backyard honeybees from what I've seen from beekeeping workshops and from people I know who keep bees, the same way I do for other hobby animal agriculture projects like chickens. But I do just fine without honey, and I agree that if you're going to give promoting pollinator species as a justification for keeping bees, there are way more effective ways to do it!


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 11 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group
Template made by DEVPPL/ThatBigForum and fancied up by What Cheer