No they don't, we steal honey from them, and it's not "symbiotic" thing as some want us to think. The whole "without us bees will die" argument is wrong, because bees literally die because of us.
Einstein once said: “If bees ever die out, mankind will have only four years left to live”. In the past five years, billions of honeybees simply vanished for reasons still obscure. If the bees keep dying, it will have drastic effects for humans as well: more than one third of our food production depends on pollination by honeybees and their life and death are linked to ours.
Life without the bee is unthinkable. But, between pesticides, antibiotics and monoculture, the queens and their workers are losing their power.
MORE THAN HONEY, a documentary by the Swiss filmmaker Marcus Imhoof, is looking into the fascinating world of bees, showing small family beekeepers (including the beekeeper of ERSTE Foundation beehive, Heidrun Singer) and industrialized honey farms. MORE THAN HONEY is a film on the relationship between mankind and honeybees, about nature and about our future. Honeybees show us that stability is just as unhealthy as unlimited growth, that crises and disasters are triggering evolution and that salvation sometimes comes from a completely unexpected direction.
Other products that come from the honey industry are:
- Bee pollen: pollen collected by bees; their primary source of nutrition.
- Royal jelly (bee milk): the pharyngeal gland secretions of the nurse bees. The queen larvae receives more of the royal jelly than the worker larvae, growing her into a queen bee.
- Beeswax: secreted by bees to help build their hives.
- Propolis: a brownish resinous material of waxy consistency collected by bees from the buds of trees and used as a cement and an antiseptic.
- Bee venom: obtained from a bee sting. Honeybees die after stinging someone.
Bee with pollen in sacks, Image courtesy of Per-Olof Gustafsson
Bees gather pollen in sacs and nectar from the flowers. Honey is stored in the hive as winter food for the bees . Yes, sometimes they make more than they can eat, but do the beekeepers only take the extra? No, according to James E. Tew, an Extension Specialist in Apiculture at Ohio State University in Wooster, "Commercial beekeepers frequently extract [steal] all fall-season honey and then feed colonies either sugar syrup or corn syrup in quantities great enough to provide all the winter food the bees would need"
Veganism is a way of living which excludes all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, the animal kingdom, and includes a reverence for life. It applies to the practice of living on the products of the plant kingdom to the exclusion of flesh, fish, fowl, eggs, honey, animal milk and its derivatives, and encourages the use of alternatives for all commodities derived wholly or in part from animals.
The honeybee.courtesy of John Kimbler/National Geographic