Written by Yhanni Guadalupe-Butcher, A Bohemian Vegan / Certified Vegan
As you journey into adopting a vegan lifestyle or continue your plant-based lifestyle, you may have come across another vegan that has chosen to not eat honey. This may have made you think, “Isn’t honey OK for humans to eat, as it is not hurting a bee?” Well, we have some facts about bees, their honey, and the important role they play on our earth.
As the season turns to spring, you see more lovely black and yellow bees buzzing about and pollinating flowers around us to help give back to the earth. During this time they are also going to their hives and creating their food; honey.
Many think that we can also partake in the consumption of this honey, but the truth is that bees rely on that honey for a couple reasons. The first is that bees exert a tremendous amount of energy as they fly around pollinating flowers, their wings flap about 230 beats per second. So when they get back to the hive they use honey as fuel to keep them going since honey is full of nutrients and sugars perfect for the bees.
The other reason bees need their honey is because when the seasons change to winter, they rely on stored honey to survive. Considering that flowers are scarce, stored honey helps keep bees full and happy until it is time for them to work again in the summer. Since bees are such wonderful and helpful creatures, we should rethink our consumption of honey. Without honey, bees will unfortunately starve to death, causing more harm than good.
Why else do bees need honey and what do they do for us?
Bees help pollinate 80 percent of agriculture. Many of these foods are plant-based and without them, we would lose many fruits and vegetables such as apples, broccoli, nuts, and strawberries, just to name a few. They also pollinate many of the wonderful plants we see everyday contributing to the beautiful ecosystem we live in.
Currently bees are going extinct due to the use of pesticides, climate change and losing their homes. Without bees, we will not have many of the delicious plant foods that we all know and love. We also would not have all the beautiful flowers that bees help bring back to life every spring.
How can you help?
- Stop consuming honey. A good substitute is agave, which comes naturally from an agave plant. You can typically find this sweetner in the baking aisle of your grocery store.
- Plant bee friendly native flowers and create a bee garden. Bee’s rely on the nectar and pollen from flowers. By planting flowers that are friendly to bees, you can help them get the necessary nutrients needed to survive. Make sure your garden is pesticide free.
- Talk with your friends and family about bees and their positive and important impact on this earth.