How Bee Pollen is Harvested – The Renegade Health Show Episode #370

Monday Aug 10 | BY |
| Comments (77)

Yesterday at the Walnut Creek Farmer’s Market, we talked to Steve Gentry of Steve’s Bees…

He explained in detail how pollen is taken from the hive, how colony collapse is effecting his bees, and more.

I’ve been experimenting with bee pollen and I find it to be energizing and beneficial. It’s a great source of B-complex vitamins. It also contains protein.

Take a look…

Your question of the day: Do you eat bee products? If you do, what ones, if not… why not?

Click here, scroll down to the bottom of the page and leave your comments now!

Stay tuned for a cool announcement tomorrow… 🙂

Also, we’ll be in Portland the end of the month at The Raw and Living Spirit Retreat!

Check out this interview with organizer, Brion Oliver…

Here’s where you can sign up for the event… www.RenegadeHealth.com/livingspirit

Live Awesome!
Kev

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

77 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. frank says:

    can cancer patient consume honey?

  2. Page says:

    I love honey, especially Sourwood honey.

  3. Rachel says:

    Does bee pollen cause jitters? Just wondering if anyone else has had this reaction. I don’t get this with raw honey or royal jelly, but it seems taking bee pollen, even 1/4 tsp of it mixed into a smoothie, will give me this reaction.

  4. zyxomma says:

    I do eat bee pollen (on top of my salads or in my smoothies). I rarely eat honey, but I keep it around for medicinal purposes. Every now and then I’ll take some royal jelly, especially if I’ve been feeling poorly. Health and peace!

  5. I use Bee Pollen often in my green smoothies… and some honey in my herbal teas in the winter…

  6. TRISTAN says:

    No, I do not eat any bee “products.” I am not only concerned about my health but also the health of other species on the planet. This article by Noah Lewis explains it best.

    THE ENSLAVEMENT OF BEES
    The simple fact is that the bees are enslaved. What? Bees slaves? Yes, bees as slaves. Or it’s dominionism, exploitation of nature, human superiority, whatever you like to call it. It’s the idea that humans are justified in using all other life forms instrumentally, for our own benefit. As Alice Walker said, “The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.” (I would also add that plants and the earth were not made for humans either.) What follows is a look at specifically how honeybees are exploited by humans. Note that this follows precisely the same pattern of animal exploitation that vegans seek to end for other species.

    It is important to realize who is keeping these bees. You may have an image in your mind of a man (indeed, 5% of US beekeepers are women (Hoff & Schertz Willett, 10)) with a few hives out in his backyard. While that is in fact the proper image of most beekeepers, most honey comes from full-time factory bee farmers; check out some illustrative charts.

    A successor queen is selected by a human instead of the reigning queen–both of whom may have been “artificially inseminated.” “Queens can live for as long as five years but most commercial beekeepers replace them every two years” (Shimanuki & Sheppard, 181) (and often yearly). “Replace” is a euphemism for killing the old queen. Backyard beekeepers also regularly kill their queens. This is done for numerous reasons that all boil down to exerting control over the hive. For example, it is done to prevent swarming, aggression, mite infestation, and to keep honey production at a maximum. Queens come from commercial queen suppliers. The image to the left is hundreds of queens with a few nursing bees in individual cages waiting to be flown around the country (Beekeeping). Travel can be rough on the queens; according to Eric Mussen, a UC Davis Extension Apiculturist, “Once at the post office or shipping depot, nearly anything can happen. Queens can be over heated, chilled, left out in the sun for hours (desiccated), banged around in baggage compartments, and exposed to insecticides. Often, the post office or shipping hub fails to contact the customer when the queens arrive and they may sit in storage for days. It is surprising that the queens come through as well as they do” (Mussen). Finally, colonies (hives) are routinely split in half according to what the keeper wants, not the queen.

    When manipulating the bees, most beekeepers use a smoker to maintain control and to prevent some stings. The smoke gets the bees to gorge themselves on honey, which calms them down. The smoke probably also masks the alarm pheromone that the guard bees release and prevents the entire colony from becoming agitated.

    During the fall and winter a mouse guard is often placed over the entrance to the hive. Usually, the bees drag their dead out of the hive, but the mouse guard often prevents this from happening. Beekeepers are warned, “it is helpful to remove any pileup of dead bees behind the mouse guard once or twice during the winter” (Bonney, 116).

    Some bees even get to travel all around the country in trucks like the one pictured below or on larger flatbed trailers (Beekeeping). Beekeepers follow the nectar flows to increase honey production, that is, profits.

    You may have the impression that since the bees are not fenced in like cattle, they are free to leave if they wanted to. Read about swarming to understand why this common misperception is false.

    There is often a lack of regard for the bees’ lives. In the US, 10 to 20 percent of colonies are lost over the winter. It is partly by accident and partly on purpose. Some beekeepers kill off their hives before winter. This practice can make economic sense. Unfortunately, it is not the small backyard beekeeper, but rather the large, factory bee farmer, so a lot of bees are killed even if most beekeepers don’t use the practice. Also, in the process of checking up on the hive and taking the honey, some bees get squashed by the frames or stepped on. Bees who sting the keeper in defense of their home necessarily die. If two colonies are combined, the queen of the weaker colony is killed. So that the honey can be easily removed from the comb, it is often warmed prior to removal. “Bees brought into the warming room with the supers will fly to a window where they can be trapped to the outside by a wire cone or bee escape. If there are no windows in the room other methods such as an electric grid can be used to dispose of the stray bees” (Root, 121 emphasis added).

    Stealing Honey
    So what do the captives do with their time? In the words of the National Honey Board, “Honey is ‘manufactured’ in one of the world’s most efficient factories, the beehive. Bees may travel as far as 55,000 miles and visit more than two million flowers to gather enough nectar to make just a pound of honey” (NHB). 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” (Tew). (Everyone steals most of the spring-season honey.) Theft of all of the fall-season honey is merely the most blatant form of exploitation. Bees are also often fed in the fall in preparation for winter and in the spring and early summer to ensure the hive gets off to a good start (Bonney, 131; Vivian, 101). That is, to make the bees start working earlier than they would normally. The sugar that is fed in the fall is turned into honey by the bees, so even if a beekeeper tells you their bees survive on honey over the winter, much of that honey may have simply come from Ziplock bags full of sugar water. A typical hive in the UK uses at least 8 kg (17.6 lbs.) of sugar per year (Consumers in Europe Group, 21). In the US, a typical figure can be 25 lbs. (So if by chance a vegan doesn’t eat bone char processed cane sugar, but does eat honey, they’re not doing a lot of good in terms of reducing the demand for sugar.) Some people claim the sugar water is better for the bees than honey, and if this is the case, I don’t want to hear any claims about the health benefits of honey or pollen. Sugar water may be better if the bees had particularly poor nectar sources in the fall, but this would not normally be a problem if their spring honey hadn’t been stolen. Honey is more than sugars; it contains very small (by human standards) amounts of fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals that bees’ bodies might like to use over the winter.

    Another thing to keep in mind is the history of beekeeping (Crane). Honeybees are unique in that they are not domesticated despite a very long relationship with humans. For most of human history, honey was gathered from wild hives. Beekeeping began only 10,000 years ago. Bees were kept in logs, baskets, and pots all lying horizontally to the ground. Bees were also kept in trees in forests and by hanging containers in trees. Eventually in Europe and Asia they turned the containers upright. The earliest recorded use of hives with moveable frames was in 1682 where top bar hives were used in Greece. In nature, bees build combs that hang from the roof of their dwelling and everything is stationary . In top bar hives, the bees build their combs on a wooden bar such that individual combs can be removed by pulling up individual bars. The combs retain their natural U shape at the bottom . These top bar hives were not very widespread. It was not until 1851 that the modern Langstroth hive was invented (where else but in the US). Here the combs fill up entire frames (like a window screen) and are rectangular. This makes hives stackable and since the frames are of universal size, they can be interchanged between hives and prepared by humans. Additionally, honey extraction equipment can be built due to the standard size. A queen excluder is generally used to keep the queen from laying eggs in the area where the beekeeper only wants honey stored. Additional frames can be added as necessary to allow for and encourage excess honey production. Needless to say, the Langstroth hive caught on very quickly and is the hive of choice today. New technology is on the horizon that allows even greater efficiency in extracting honey (Lomas). So if a beekeeper tells you that they are only continuing an ancient tradition, keep in mind that the practices they are using are only 100 years old and are radically different from the methods that existed for millennia. They also have nothing in common with non-Western beekeeping methods that emphasize humility, respect, and truly being part of nature, as opposed to managing nature for human gain.

    Beekeepers will naturally deny that they are slave owners who steal the products of the bees’ labor. They will tell you that they are working with the bees to help them reach their full potential, which just happens to be measured in honey output. (Hmm, remind anyone of recombinant bovine growth hormone?) In addition to being horribly paternalistic, the beekeeper’s perspective makes little sense. Under natural conditions, if the hive were producing a surplus, they would divide into two colonies and there would be none wasted. Nonetheless, it is important to regard beekeepers as potential allies. They are often more aware of environmental concerns than other people and may truly care about their bees. A few simple changes in their attitudes would likely make their behavior acceptable to vegans, although making those changes is not a simple thing. They would need to stop regarding themselves as beeKEEPERS. They would also need to recognize that their role is largely temporary, as a stop gap measure until farmers get their act together and facilitate the growth of native pollinator populations. They should immediately switch to top bar hives, discourage surplus honey production and stop stealing honey. Otherwise, there is too much incentive to exploit the bees and the environment. Top bar hives are less high tech than Langstroth hives, result in less surplus honey, and the users generally have a different mindset (Satterfield; Caldeira). Keep these things in mind if you are thinking buying locally grown honey from a small apiary–although they are better than large commercial apiaries, they still may share many of the objectionable philosophies. (How much respect can you have for someone if you are taking advantage of her?) Finally, beekeeping varies due to the different environments in which it occurs. Beekeepers are an opinionated group (like vegans). Just because one beekeeper tells you that one of the practices I’ve described is crazy and something he would never do, doesn’t mean that another beekeeper thinks he is crazy not to.

    “Products” of the Hive
    So how exactly is honey made? The bees swallow nectar into their crop, regurgitate it, add enzymes (spit), chew, swallow and repeat many times. Not a pretty picture, but it does make for a funny cartoon or two. Beekeepers get very defensive about this aspect of honey. One told me “Honey is not a regurgitant. Regurgitation is a digestive process.” Ok, well, whatever you call it they still swallow it and spit it back up. And they do partially digest it, so I don’t see how it’s not a digestive process. He went on to tell me “If you have a problem with nature’s processes perhaps you should stay out of nature,” which makes me wonder why he has a problem with me pointing out nature’s processes to others. The bottom line is that beekeepers get mad that I mention how honey is made, because it’s something they’d rather you not think about. With one exception, this aspect of honey production is not used as a marketing tool. You can’t even find out how honey is made at the National Honey Board’s website! (OK, after all these years, they finally added a little, vague line–I like to think in response to this website–“bees use their honey stomachs to ingest and process the nectar a number of times.”)

    Of course, honey is not the only product of bee exploitation. The following are other bee products to watch out for:

    Bee venom is obtained when the bee stings someone or something. The bee dies if she stings someone.
    Bee pollen is pollen collected by bees in sacs on their legs. It also contains some nectar and bee saliva. It is popular because humans cannot collect such a wide variety of pollen.
    Royal jelly is the nutritious food (for bees) fed only to the queen. It literally makes workers into queens.
    Beeswax is secreted by bees to build their hives.
    Propolis is plant resin collected by bees and mixed with enzymes. It is used around the hive as glue and as an antiseptic.
    Bee brood are bees that are not fully developed. Not even vegetarian.
    You Can Make a Difference
    The average American consumes 1.1 lb. (0.5 kg) of honey annually (National Honey Board). The average person in the UK consumes 0.3 kg (0.66 lb.) a year (Consumers in Europe Group, 21). Germans consume a whopping 4.3 kg (9.5 lb.) a year (Sue Bee). Honey is the main source of income for beekeepers (Hoff, 4). According to Hachiro Shimanuki and Walter Sheppard of the USDA Agricultural Research Service, “In recent years the honey bee industry in the United States has faced many difficult problems. Foreign honey imports and lower honey prices coupled with increased costs of production have created considerable financial challenge.” However, they went on to say that “Fortunately, the demand for one of the direct products of the insect, honey, shows signs of increasing” (Shimanuki & Sheppard, 184).

    Just like the “meat” and “dairy” industries, the beekeeper’s have their own National Honey Board designed to promote honey using a $3 million dollar budget. Unfortunately, it seems to be working. In addition to the hordes of mainstream products adding honey, say Grey Poupon Honey Mustard, Honey Wheaties, Hidden Valley Honey and Bacon French Dressing, etc., honey dominates the health food market. The National Honey Board is currently on a campaign to increase honey consumption by about 20% in the next four years and one of their main strategies is the following: “Encourage the widespread use of honey in ‘healthy lifestyles’ by positioning honey as both a healthy food and as an ingredient in products with medicinal value” (NHB). “A shift in strategic focus to position honey as a ‘healthy’ product that should be used as an ingredient in foods and medicines aimed at health-conscious individuals” (NHB). Their use of the word “healthy” in quotes says it all–it’s all a lie, it’s just a marketing tool.

    Do you think no one will notice if you eat honey? I assure you, they are watching closely! The National Honey Board newsletter always ends with a section listing new products containing honey. They even go so far as to monitor sales of honey products with respect to similar honey-free products. I strongly recommend viewing the National Honey Board Handbook (pdf) for a sampling of their work.

    Of course it’s not always enough to not eat something. Why not let companies know you’re not buying their products because they have honey in them? This is a particularly urgent issue in the “health food” area since there are an increasing number of products containing honey that would otherwise be vegan. You can email companies from the feedback page.

    Common Questions
    Don’t honeybees pollinate agricultural crops and are otherwise good for the environment? Actually, bees are harmful to the environment. That link also covers the comparative environmental impact of honey versus other sweeteners.

    But don’t you kill other bugs?

    What about free range honey? If you want free range honey you would have to go out into the woods and stick your hand in a bees’ hive and grab some for yourself. Of course, you probably won’t find a colony because they’ve all been killed off (see the environment section). If you did find one, the theft would destroy their home and you’d get some nice stings. Unless of course, you are part of a culture that has a sustainable (i.e., thousands of years old) tradition of respectfully gathering honey like that found in the Malaysian rainforest where honey hunters climb 100 foot trees to take honey from the giant Apis dorsata (Buchmann & Nabham, 145).

    But isn’t honey (or pollen or royal jelly) good for you? Doesn’t it prevent allergies? Don’t bee stings cure MS? Isn’t honey more nutritious than sugar? Check out the health aspects of honeybee products.

    But what do I eat/wear/burn/floss with instead of honey and beeswax?

    Further Information
    I recommend reading the following:
    Honey Bee Temperament Honeybees sting.
    Fall Feeding Yes, beekeepers really do feed their bees sugar.
    Bee Talk A lifelong beekeeper talks about how bees are quite intelligent.
    Toward an Appropriate Beehive A must read for those concerned with industrialization. An alternative beekeeper points out the evils of traditional beekeeping. Also, some large-scale beekeepers kill off their hives before winter.
    How bees make honey by Claude Needham Ph.D. Did you know each droplet of nectar is swallowed and regurgitated fifty times?
    When bees find food, they go back to the hive and do a specific dance to let the rest of the hive know exactly where to go to find the flowers. Videos of honeybee dancing:
    The waggle dance explained (The narrator can’t get the bees’ pronous right–using “it” then “his.” She is the appropriate pronoun.)
    Experimenting on bees isn’t cool
    Feedback
    Please fill out the feedback form! I appreciate all kinds of feedback.
    Index|Cartoons|Jokes|Recipes|Product Feedback|Plants|Non-vegan

  7. sharon says:

    I am vegan, so no animal products includes no bee products. I don’t believe humans should exploit and use other species for their entertainment, research, clothing or food. The bees probably would prefer to keep their honey to eat for themselves and they need bee pollen to feed their young. They’re doing a lot of work, and humans just have no problem taking the fruits of their labor away from them. Seems we have plenty of plant-based foods without having to rob the animals/insects.

  8. LENORA says:

    I live in South Texas, and eat local honey and bee pollen. I’ve been told that bee pollen is brain food that helps your memory and helps prevent allergies. When I have the opportunity to buy honey from other areas in the country, I do just to taste different flavor.

  9. Genevieve says:

    Yes … I love the various honeys, and I take Bee Pollen during the winter months and sometimes an Elixer made from honey, pollen, propolis and royal jelly. It gives you protection from winter colds, viruses, etc. I have heard that people with seasonal allergies should eat honey naturally produced in their area to build up their immunity.

    The best honey I have ever had was when I lived in Southern Switzerland and had access to chestnut honey. It was soooooo good!

    I also use a natural face cream made from honey products and a honey hand cream produced by a beekeeper in our area.

    It’s good stuff.

    Thanks for all your hard work.

  10. Heather says:

    I eat about a teaspoon of bee pollen every day in my lunch time salad. It helps me get through the afternoon with lots of energy.

  11. Jackie Ryan says:

    Sure I eat a little honey from time to time but mostly I’ve switched to agave because its always a little iffy as to whether the honey has been heated or not. I used to own a little natural food store on Orcas Island and I was able to get wonderful raw honey from the area. Yum!!! I haven’t put out the effort since then.

  12. Corrinne says:

    Very interesting show. I have bee pollen in my morning smoothie every day, raw honey in my oat mixture (like a granola type snack) and every now and then I mix honey with peanut butter as a treat.

  13. RW says:

    I consume a number of bee products, but one bee product is most interesting for nutrition; bee propolis which is rich in vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, biotin, an array of ,bioflavonoids (propolis contains 500 more bioflavonoids than is found in oranges), albumin, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, silica, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, cobalt, and copper.

  14. Jovan says:

    For ethical reason I don’t consume bee products.

  15. Pretty much anything honey is good by me. occasionally some honey makes my tongue itch. Sounds weird, I know, but I wonder if other people have had that experience and what causes it? It’s only sometimes, or maybe with some kinds of honey.

    Thanks for the informative video Kevin!

    Jonathan

  16. Brenda Rex says:

    Thanks… I really enjoyed that video… very informative. Who knew that they had a 3 day memory.

    I use Raw Honey from Australia and I get local bee pollen in my smoothies!!

  17. Bee Lady says:

    3 day memory? I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Kevin, please! I am a 5th generation beekeeper and organic beekeeping is my sole source of income here at Candle Bee Farm. You can search the name on the web for verification.
    First, there is no such thing as “bee pollen.” Pollen is pollen, straight from the flowers. The bees don’t add anything, they just collect it.
    Those pollen traps the man on the video described scrape the bees and their legs something awful. Those bees won’t be collecting pollen again because the pollen sacks on their legs (called ‘pollen baskets’) are destroyed by the scraping of the pollen trap screen and the bees’ lives will be severely shortened. As a result, the hive’s honey production is reduced.
    The reason the hive is given a 3 day rest from the pollen trap is to allow time for new worker bees to hatch with intact pollen baskets and start collecting pollen again. No “bee memory” involved. The queen lays thousands of eggs per day so three days worth of waiting hatches enough bees to have new pollen basketed legs coming in. If the prior bees live, their decreased pollen contribution (your source referred to as only a quarter of what was collected before due to their “memory”) is actually due to the fact that the pollen baskets are torn and only a small amount of pollen is being scraped of off the leg hairs at this point. Most times the legs are scraped off as well.
    Therefore, pollen can only be collected for a very short time during the nectar flow season. Beekeepers who collect pollen will have to feed their colonies sugar water in the fall and spring to help them make it through the winter. This is because the hive population is decreased, less food and there is less honey for them to survive hard times. This also means there is white refined sugar in the honey from those hives.
    These beekeepers will also requeen their hives. This means they kill off the old queen and replace her with a newly imported one each year. This is to ensure a new queen with a high number of eggs. It is also necessary because without the pollen and ‘bee bread’ the hive can not raise its own replacement queen if needed.
    Only two persons in my local beekeeping association use pollen traps. This is because most of us value our bees and prefer a larger honey collection so that there is plenty of honey left for the hive over the winter.
    Your source’s description of how nectar is converted to honey in the hive was also insufficient and incorrect. The nectar is brought back to the hive in the bees’ bee stomach, not the throat. It is worked by the bees and the bees’ enzymes and minerals from bee saliva cause it to cure. When it is ready, they cap it.
    I could go on, but there is not space or time here to address the other fallacies in this segment. I did not consider this show to be of reliable information. All beekeepers do not operate equally. There are very few organic beekeepers with natural rearing practices and truly natural raw honey.
    Feel free to contact me if you would like more information. It is my passion to get true information about honey bees and their care to the public. Most of what we hear is a marketing hype or very skewed.

  18. Jen says:

    No..I’m surviving just fine without honey. The bees can keep their pollen for what they need to do. : )

  19. Elizabeth says:

    Great article! I am a beekeeper and enjoy watching and learning from the daily. They are amazing and I am grateful for all they share with us.

  20. Linda says:

    I use honey as a natural sweetener and I also use propolis, royal jelly, and pollen. Not an ethical issue for me.

  21. Jen says:

    geez…and their legs … thanks Bee Lady…that one i didn’t know

  22. Brenda says:

    I’ve been known from time to time to eat a little bee pollen straight off a spoon. Good stuff.

  23. I eat Raw Honey and put Royal Jelly in my green smoothies. I prefer the Y.S. Organic Bee Farms brand.

  24. Linda Miller says:

    Yes, I occasionally put some bee pollen in my green smoothie. I have a question from this man’s presentation although it sounds like from above comments by bee keeper that he had some inaccurate information. My question is if the pollen is to feed the babies, and the bee pollen is trapped for man’s use, how do the babies get fed?

  25. aletheia says:

    ooaww poor little bees – why don’t more people know the truth about this, is that really what the guy thinks or was he just hiding the truth…..so pretty much what your saying “bee Lady” is that we can pretty much just eat the flower for our (bee pollen) poor little bees they are so smart and don’t deserve to have their little hard working legs severed off just for pollen….i think i will just have to say no to all that and just keep with honey

  26. Kym Hutcheon says:

    This has been really interesting. I never ate much honey until recently when I discovered New Zealand honey made from native flowers. Fantastic flavour. (I am an ex-pat NZer, but this type of honey seems to be relatively new.)

    I was also concerned about the ethical questions raised above, but I figured making honey is what bees do, so why not, without overindulging. I have to say that after reading Bee Lady’s post (#14), I’ll certainly be investigating more deeply. Thanks greatly for the information.

  27. CINDY says:

    IT WAS AN INTERESTING TOPIC. DO YOU KNOW IF DETOX FOR WOMEN BY NATALIE ROSE IS A GOOD BOOK?

  28. MAE says:

    Great show, I do use bee pollen

  29. Kevin Gianni Kevin Gianni says:

    Hey Bee Lady!

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m just learning, so it’s great to hear different opinions!

    Live Awesome!
    Kev

  30. Geoff says:

    Kevin-
    Surprisingly blaze’ take on such a controversial topic. I have to say it’s quite dubious to me that bees have a “three day memory.” Your source also strikes me as quite dubious as well. I don’t mind getting information from a beekeeper’s perspective, but it looks like you just went to a farmer’s market and asked the “bee guy” for an interview. You have access to so many amazing experts, but you chose this guy who really seems to have a vested interest in painting a rosy picture about bees.

    I want reliable information about honey production and my knowledge of factory farming tells me that there can’t be as many jars of honey on supermarket and natural health food store shelves all coming from ethical and legitimately sustainable sources.

    This topic has always been a difficult one for me to get information on that isn’t clouded with peoples’ biases that say honey is inherently cruel or that it’s an absolute miracle superfood that only reaps benefits for humanity, the bees, and the environment.

  31. sharon in Sugar Land says:

    I couldn’t survive without my honey…i’m a honey addict, it’s my drug of choice. I’ve recently discovered bee pollen…I sprinkle it on lots…smoothies, oatmeal, salads, etc.

    Interesting show,interesting comments.

  32. Sir Woofy says:

    Though I have used bee products, after reading this I will investigate the beekeeper/seller’s guilt in any bee abuse. I had no idea, but now I will guess why bees are dying out in farm areas that have beehives: Their immune systems are stressed out, & their young are not getting enough nourishment (maybe[e] even vitamin / minerals) and are becoming impotent.

  33. Maggie says:

    Interesting as usual.

    I know this is off-topic, but since you associate with David Wolfe, I feel there is something you should know about the way he runs his business.

    I bought Longevity Now at the demands of my vanity and against my intuition, whereupon I was granted access to the bonus page (which was incomplete, btw, and not downloadable as promised.) Here, several buyers were registering some serious complaints. One suspected that the 3000 copies of Longevity Now were only printed AFTER the program doors closed, as one woman, who had purchased the program the first day it came out, had been waiting 20 days for her materials to arrive, yet nothing had. She dubbed it the “best wait ever.” Having paid $25 in shipping costs, she was most certainly right. Her comments as well as other not-so-happy ones were removed when the Wolfe camp began addressing these complaints via the curious mode of deletion. I called/wrote/emailed to cancel within 48 hours of my ordering. I had no choice but to dispute the charge with my credit card company, as no one returned those initial calls/letters/emails, nor has anyone responded to any of the communications I later sent. In fact, one letter returned to me today because the Longevity Now LLC had suddenly moved without leaving a forwarding address. My card had been charged immediately, of course, which was well over a week before the program I had already attempted to cancel was shipped anyway. I had it returned to them, but, alas, no credit has posted. Hence, the 30-day “risk-free” bit is a lie. Raw has brought me much joy and health, so this has been quite a disappointment. In my experience, there is fraud going on, and I am left to assume that Longevity Now is a 1.5 million-dollar BEST SCAM EVER. I thought you should be aware of this, so you can at least make an informed decision about whom you will work with in the future.

    Thank you for your informative shows.

  34. Mary says:

    I cannot condone using any kind of bee product. There are so many other more humane choices for us. It is totally unethical (in my opinion) to exploit these creatures.

  35. Emily says:

    I’ve too have recently been eating the Y.S. Organic Bee Farms brand of honey (like #23, Phillip). I mix the honey with propolis and pollen in my green tea. So this honey segment is very interesting to me. I didn’t realize there is so much to learn about honey.

    It’s just so amazing and, I have to admit, how overwhelming it is to be conscious about what we nourish ourselves with.

    Kevin and Annmarie, thank you for what you do to help mankind in our quest for good health and understanding. You two have made a difference in my life.

    Smiles, Emily

  36. Jenny says:

    I put a heaping tablespoon of bee pollen in my green smoothie every morning.

    I don’t use honey anymore cause it higher on the glycemic index than agave nectar. So my sweetner of choice IS agave nectar for that reason.

    Also just of note in the Bible it says that “God gave dominion of ALL the animals to man”. I am a 100% raw vegan but feel God put the pollen in the flowers to be shared. All my life since I was a kid I always said that if I had to kill an animal to eat I would be a vegatarian. I have evolved over time and for health reasons to a raw/vegan lifestyle and feel 100% better.

  37. vidi says:

    A friend had told me that pollen was not a Bee product so OK to use but now I am rethinking that given the information from the Bee Lady.
    I really want to make the most compassonate choices with my diet- and I just love bees!

  38. Maryam says:

    Not to be preachy but just thought some would find this interesting and put things in another perspective.
    The Holy Qur’an has an entire chapter named “The Bee”.
    It says in verse 68-69:

    “And your Lord inspired the bee as thus: build homes in the mountains and trees and in the hives they build for you, then eat from all the fruits, following the design of your Lord, precisely. From their bellies comes a drink of different colors, wherein there is healing for the people. This should be sufficient proof for people who reflect.”

    In the same chapter it says that many animals were created to be of service of human beings, and they willingly submit to that, to provide blessings for humans- they have no egos.

    “and He created the livestock for you, to provide you with warmth and many other benefits, as well as food. They also provide you with luxury during your leisure, and when you travel. And they carry your loads to lands that you could not reach without a great hardship. Surely your Lord is Compassionate, Most Merficul….
    And He created the horses the mules and the donkeys for you to ride, and for luxury….
    and He committed the sea to serve you, you eat from it tender meat, and extract jewelry which you wear. And you see the ships roaming it for your commercial benefits, as you seek His bounties that you may be appreciative.”

    There is not a single thing we modern humans use today that is entirely vegan or can even be made entirely vegan, without the use of something from the animal kingdom used in its manufacture, with a very, very few exceptions in the whole scheme of things.

    Even the fossil fuels that you’re enjoying the benefits from right now come from animals- dinosaurs.

    Note that some animals “exploit” us too.
    I don’t call it exploitation but a partnership between animals and people.
    Look at your pets, dogs, cats, etc. The dog gives us friendship and protection and we in turn we feed it and give it shelter, a warm bed and companionship. Your dog is happy to be your “slave.”

    I know that my cat believes I am his slave.
    🙂 and I don’t have a problem with that.

    Animals should be respected and cared for kindly and appreciated though, and not abused.

    I see the bees as sharing with us what they make and collect.

  39. jodie says:

    Bee Lady,
    Was what this man said about colony collapse accurate?
    I’m wishing that he was accurate about that, but I don’t think so. Some local organic bee hives in Sacramento became sick with little mites moving into the hive, bees being sick and non active and bees moving out. There were a couple of other problems with the hive too that I forgot.
    Sick hives is certainly not isolated to corporate bee farming.

  40. DebB says:

    I eat 1 teaspoon of bee pollen every day. I just pop it in my mouth and eat it… At first, the taste wasn’t too pleasant – now I find myself almost craving it.

    Debbie *Ü*

  41. junglegirl says:

    I’ve read somewhere two interesting reasons why the colony’s are collapsing. One has to do with the fact that the widespread use of sugar water destroys the bees immune system – it has none of the specialized nutrients that Tristan’s article above mentions are in the honey they would normally eat. That we eat, instead. : (

    The other is that the practice of manipulating and killing the Queens destroys the harmony of the hive. They have a highly evolved social structure that can’t stand up to being manhandled. The ignorant behavior of the bee”keepers” weakens them and therefore their immune system, allowing for vulnerability to the mites.

    The same source also said the Queens carry a memory of the lay of the land that the hive manages and when they are replaced (killed) artificially and the hive moved from region to region, they are weakened and etc. The whole thing is a bit overwhelming actually.

    I grew up being fed pollen by my mom who practically lives on the stuff. I was a strict vegan for 10 years but have recently been eating wild honey and some non-gmo pollen. This presentation and the above articles in Tristan and BeeLady’s posts are really making me re-think this.

    How can we help in a positive way? What is the correct action?

  42. junglegirl says:

    Hmm… In retrospect, I think that honey can be responsibly harvested in a way that doesn’t kill any bees, maybe not by all beekeepers just yet, but it can be reasonably done and some are doing it. I can give my business to those who do.

    But bee pollen doesn’t seem to be able to be responsibly harvested. As harvested now, it severely damages bees in an irreparable way. I don’t have to support that.

  43. Michael T. says:

    I use raw Hawaiian honey to sweeten raw cacao.

    When I want an evening snack, sprouted grain toast, butter, honey and cinnamon is wonderful.

    Obviously, I am not all raw or all vegan.

    I believe that the use of animal products, when done in a healthy way, honors the spirit of the animal. The Native peoples of the world share in this belief. They give thanks when they take the life of an animal. They believe the spirit of the animal agreed to be of service to humans, whether as food, or clothing, or making honey.

    Native peoples all over the world are not vegan.

    But then again, they don’t raise animals in factory farms, either.

    It’s all about honoring the spirit of the animal, in life and in death.

    I honor the spirit of bees, and they are honored when I eat their honey.

    Michael T.

  44. jacana says:

    Tristan had it right. Go to the full Noah Lewis article to read more: http://www.vegetus.org/honey/honey.htm

    You people ought to get over your selfish, murderous ways and leave the bees alone. Honey is for bees, always was, always will be.

    Go vegan and live in peace, and let others live in peace too.

  45. My daughter and struggled with this issue for a long time. We’re Pagans and bees are very magickal creatures to us. Also, I firmly believe that -local- honey is highly beneficial to our health.

    I decided to take a beekeeping class to get the skinny. I found that there -were- ways to responsibly harvest, ways to ensure honey is as organic as possible, and also found out about other bee products are made.

    Since this class, we decided to incorporate raw, local honey into our diet daily. We’ve used it to cure our allergies and to heal wounds (amazing antiseptic!). We use this instead of agave, again, to keep it local. (We live in Maine.) We use bee pollen -very- occasionally. I did find out that what the Bee Lady says is true. We only use it once in a while – and we still go back and forth with that one ethically. (Too much makes me jittery, too! All that plant wisdom! ; ) I’ve never felt called to use propolis and don’t think I would. And royal jelly – well, I just can’t do that one. That’s the brood queen’s food. Just doesn’t seem right.

    My family is on a journey with our food and water consumption. We’re trying to make the best choices about our health – magickally, nutritionally, and ethically – as our understanding evolves. What may be right today may change. But the important thing is to follow what’s right for you right now. If bee products don’t call to you, maybe those aren’t the ones to us – and think about why they’re not calling to you now. That’s an interesting exercise! The important thing is to keep listening yourself.

    P.S. On my company’s website, I post a recipe of the month. Ironically, this month’s included bee pollen – which I really went back and forth with.

    In peace,
    Lisa Marie Lindenschmidt
    Rite Food and Company

  46. nancy says:

    Bee Pollen is one of the most natural forms of b-vitamins and high in vitamin c and amino acids. I take 2-4 tablespoons a day. What a difference it has made in my life. I am a sports nutritionist and a certified personal trainer. I recommend bee pollen to all my athletes. If you want to be healthy, think about the pollen. Much better then your synthetic one a day vitamins!

  47. debra says:

    Thanks Bee Lady! I’ve never felt right about using bee pollen so I stopped using it years ago. Now I know why.

    After a severe experience with allergies two springs ago, I started using raw, local, honey in the spring. No more allergies! I know the bee keeper, who does not “harvest” pollen.

    It seems to me that conscious bee-keepers help to insure the survival of these important animals threatened by pesticides and more.

    In response to the posts about our “right” as humans to assert our dominion over animals, I can not deny that life lives on life -but in this modern world you will be hard pressed to find “farmers” that slaughter animals using methods that show respect and gratitude for the animals sacrifice.

    Most of the meat available to us is produced by multi-national food corporations using the most efficient means possible to maximize production. This means that violence predominates in the industry. I can not believe that God wants any of his creatures treated as commodities.

    Go see the movie Food Inc. for a look at how or food makes it to the supermarket.

    debra

  48. Beth says:

    I only use raw local honey. I buy it right from the bee keepers at a local farmer’s market.
    It has really helped with my seasonal allergies.

  49. PE says:

    Noah Lewis and Bee Lady are accurate– so I looked up the overall nutritional value of honey etc on my (partly self-created) list from nutritiondata dot com. Honey rates a 3 of a possible 100, and its aminos 19.
    High Desert bee pollen comes in at 69 and 74, the limiting aminos being the sulfur-containing pair.
    Nearly all legumes have aminos at or above 100, and asparagus is at 93, so 74 is so-so.
    As for the first score, asparagus hits 94!
    Now consider estimated glycemic load: honey 50, pollen28, asparagus 2.
    Finally, tendencies toward (negative) or against inflammation: honey -372, pollen not enough data, asparagus +20.
    There are other measures onsite, but these give a strong picture.
    Nearly all the data are from USDA figures, but I did my own for spirulina and (so far) 32 other items, because USDA has, I think, poor data for spirulina and none for many ‘superfoods.’ Not to go on, but most supers are hyperfoods, hyped out of proportion usually because Brunswick Labs found a high ORAC antioxidant value. My guess now is, tomatoes beat goji berries any day.

  50. Liliane says:

    This was very educational, especially the comments and explanations by fellow subscribers. I do eat raw honey,which is mostly locally harvested. I have had bee pollen in the past but will skip it in the future, now that I know it harms the bees. It’s all about living in harmony with all sentient beings, and that includes those sweet little honey bees.

    Thanks again kevin for another great show.

  51. Jean says:

    Hi Kevin, Great subject. I use Royal Jelly to aid in sluggish adrenals. I was also wondering if you would sometime address the subject on GMO fruits and Veggies such as SEEDLESS Organic grapes and watermelons. I read Victoria’s new book and some of her recieps were made with GMO seedless Organic grapes. I was then TOTALLY confused on what she teaches. Are these nutritious still without the seeds? I have done some research and it comes up NO nutrition in GMO’s. Could you please explain.

  52. Chris & Sara says:

    Hi Kev,
    You sure opened up a hive of BEES on this one. We will need to look in to this! Yes we use honey and pollen.

    C&S

  53. I will also add that these European honey bees have virtually decimated the population of our native bees, which are black.
    In my heart of hearts, I think sweet is really not a necessity in all our food. There are plenty of fruits we can eat if we need the sweetness sometimes. Maybe we better just leave the bees alone and let nature once again sort out our mess, which it can do if we just get out of the way!

  54. Rhonda D says:

    Yes I have used honey and Royal Jelly.
    Honey Bees are very interesting to watch.
    My bird bath is shared by all living creature in my back yard. even the little honey bee.
    too cute seeing them drink up.

    Thanks for such wonderful information.

  55. Kim says:

    YES!! honey and bee pollen.
    I hear some vegans don’t eat that….

  56. Meri says:

    I don’t consume honey or other bee products. Kinda glad considering the refresher I’ve just had reading all the other posts that describe some of the horrible practices that can be used 🙁
    I know there are lots of people in the raw food arena that sing the praises of honey and bee products, but I can’t understand why we would eat bee foods? I can’t seem to get my head around it or find a logical train of thought that would lead me to the conclusion that humans were intended to eat the products of another species. If anyone’s got some insight on this I’d be very grateful. I don’t want to condemn anyone’s choices, just understand them.

  57. Sarah says:

    Thank you for your comments Bee Lady. I was not fully aware of what goes on with the bees. I use beeswax in my products but I think I might explore other options.

  58. Sue Rushford says:

    Exploiting bees is unconscionable – I don’t care how “healthy” it is. And just because animals exploit humans, that does not justify us exploiting them. Thanks, Tristan, for the full details. Bees produce and carry pollen for their own use, not for ours – just like mama cows produce milk for their own babies, not for us or ours. I’m always amazed at how many supposedly blissful, enlightened, compassionate, eco-conscious, raw folks embrace honey, bee propolis, royal jelly, bee pollen, krill, etc. Where are the “vibrations,” the love, the harmony? You might want to meditate on that. I mean, I know we’re all at a different place in where to draw the line, and I realize it’s virtually impossible to live a 100% vegan lifestyle, but come on, this is direct exploitation. You couldn’t collect the pollen like that without the bees. You want a sweetener – try dates, stevia, fruit juice, agave, yacon, etc. We’re all seemingly interconnected, and when we harm the bees, we are likely harming ourselves. Bees are not a commodity for our use – they are fellow earthlings, fellow sentient beings. And as far as the religious argument that man has dominion over the animals, what about interpreting that to mean we should know better and should protect, rather than exploit, them! I don’t believe we should own pets either – they have been domesticated so basically genetically modified by humans – they are bred, bought, and sold for our comfort when they are meant to be in the wild – not left alone all day – but that’s a whole ‘nother topic. No, I don’t eat/use bee “products.”

  59. Sharon says:

    All those words in the Qur’an and the Bible saying that man has dominion over animals were written by men. We have no right to use animals or their products. I know most people are not aware of how food gets to their plates, but you can bet that any time the food is an animal product, there is suffering involved. The reason people are not aware is because information is usually kept secret. In fact, all information that we have about factory farming is gotten by undercover means. It’s actually illegal to take film footage inside factory farms. Anyway, don’t be surprised when you hear about beekeeping practices. Instead, just know that if it is an animal product of any kind, it’s exploitation.

  60. Wow, lots to consider, I have used Bee Pollen and Royal Jelly in the past….But, I think I will find a solution from the plant people in the future for my energy boost!

    Love the show Kevin as always!

  61. alice says:

    I bought some fresh local bee pollen from my farmers market I take about a teaspoon a day, haven’t noticed any change in how I feel but I think it’s yummy!

  62. jjbjjbh says:

    Very interesting discussion on the topic, fellow-posters. It sure is a moral dilemma if one really sits down and starts thinking about it.

    I have been graduating towards the raw foods for about a year and half now. Probably 70% raw at present.

    Sue Rushford’s post #58 has me wondering….. she makes a great argument about the animals producing milk for their young ones, not for the consumption of humans.

    By the same token, don’t plants produce flowers,seeds, fruits etc. for the survival of their own species?? All they need for survival is water, sun and air.

    What right do we as humans have to live off of the plant kingdom?? How can we justify depending either on plants or animals for our own survival??

    All ancient civilizations worshipped the sun for its ability to sustain life forms. And it has been proven by sun worshippers that human beings are quite capable of surviving without plants or animals as food
    sources for extended periods of time.

    The sun’s energy has an infinite capacity to promote healing and regeneration of living cells on its own with no interference from external sources.

    We as a civilization have come to depend on other life forms for our sustensnce when all we need to do is look towards the sky.

    Isn’t that what the plant kingdom does?

  63. Angela says:

    I eat honey and bee polen. Honey is a perfect food; prevents allergies when eating local raw honey, is anti-bacterial for healing wounds-just put on a clean wound and bandage it, add some fresh thyme to a teaspoon of honey to help a cough/cold. When my throat is dry during a cold, honey helps to keep my throat moist when drinking cup after cup of water continuously doesn’t help. I truly believe God made them for us to enjoy and that they make way more than they need for us to consume for our nourishment and aid in our ailments. They are little miracle insects, even according to the laws of aviation, they should not be able to get their fat little bodies of the ground since their wings are so small.

  64. BEES, BUTTERFLIES AND THE WIND HELP POLLINATION FOR THE FRUITS WE EAT. IAM ALLERGIC TO BEE VENOM AND HAVE AN EPI PIN KIT TO HELP THIS REACTION. I EAT HONEY, POLLEN, ROYAL JELLY AND THE PROPLYPUS ALL OF BENIFIT TO OUR HEALTH. THE EXPENSIVE IS ANOTHER STORY! I GREW UP ON 30 ACRES OF AVOCADO TREES IN VISTA AND HAVE LOCAL HONEY AVAILABLE. EVERYTHING IS PUT HERE FOR A REASON, BE THANKFUL. LOVE AND PEACE!

  65. John says:

    I love honey – preferably raw. I’ve used bee pollen also and loved it in my smoothies but have not seen it at the farmer’s market for a while, hopefully I can find it again.

  66. Dave says:

    Kev,

    Yes, I do use bee products. I have used honey for years as a sweetener – lately mostly to sweeten up salad dressings – and I recently started using bee pollen. I started using bee pollen when I learned how much nutrition there is in it – I use it as a way to make sure I am getting all nutrients when I am eating nearly total vegan (raw). My body reacts well to it. I sprinkle some on my fruit salads and I put some in my smoothies.

    Thank you Kev for recording this great interview with the Walnut Creek area beekeeper. What a knowledgable person! Very informative..

    Ethically, I have to admit I am not that concerned about ‘exploiting’ the bees, although it is interesting to read the debate of other people posting. Thanks ya’ll for your ideas. I will now start to be more conscious about choosing ethically harvested bee products. I am very interested in having a positive environmental impact, and it seems to me that there are just many much bigger ‘fish to fry’ environmentally, if you’ll pardon the pun. My biggest concern right now is acidification of the oceans associated with increased CO2 in the ocean. That to me is a truly big issue that has the potential to affect life on this planet on a much bigger scale.

    Once a few years ago I hosted a vegetarian potluck dinner at my house and I had baked some fresh bread. I offered some to everyone and one young woman, when I indicated that there was honey in the recipe, indicated that she didn’t want any of the bread. She was a bit rude I thought, and didn’t even thank me for the offer, and also she didn’t even thank me for opening up my house to support the vegetarian group.

    Thanks Kev for doing so much personal research and creating a forum in which you dig for the truth in these important issues.

    Sounds like we should have a scientific debate of whether or not there is a God. Some people can’t live w/o bringing that indefensible concept out of the genie bottle.

  67. I have a couple teaspoons of bee pollen every morning and use raw honey in some recipes. I also take a teaspoon of royal jelly before I run races. Not sure if it helps, but it doesn’t hurt. 🙂

    I am not totally against the use of bee products, but do not agree with mistreatment or “enslavement” of any creature. After “bee-ing” enlightned by these posts, I will make an effort to look for compassionate, organic bee keepers from which to purchase my products whenever possible from now on.

  68. Kati says:

    I friend of my parents is a bee keeper and has a hive at my parents house so I’m lucky enough to get all my bee products VERY locally. Literally, the are across the street from my house. I love it.

  69. Natalie says:

    I had been consuming bee pollen a few times a week and encouraging my son to use it as well but after reading the truth about the effect that collection of it has on the bees I WILL NOT be using it again. Thank you Bee Lady for this enlightening information.

  70. Almamater says:

    Hope you can stand another post on bees!

    My dad was a beekeeper when I was young. I have enormous respect and affinity for bees. Dad only harvested honey for his family, but I do recall him using some of the practices outlined in the long, informative post. He bought a queen through the mail and also smoked the hive to extract the honey.

    Like so many here, I have mixed feelings about using honey. I do use it occasionally.

    I would like to hear more about how bees harm the environment — I’d never heard that before.

    Thanks for this interesting show.

  71. Jennifer says:

    I had bought a jar of wild ethiopian forest honey this very morning and some spanish bee pollen; however after watching your broadcast these will be my final bee product purchases. I felt uneasy as the bee expert described the collection of pollen, intended for young bees, the work of bees so vital to pollinate and produce our beloved fruits and flowers. I will be leaving the bees in peace from now on.
    thanks kevin

  72. Joan says:

    Very interesting topic and posts! I don’t believe that honey is part of the Vegan diet/lifestyle, but does seem to have some medicinal value…a matter of choice!

  73. MARY THOMAS says:

    FAIR TRADE ORGANIC WILD RAW BEE HONEY FROM ETHIOPIAN RAIN FORESTS. NO GMO’s FOR HUNDREDS OF MILES. THE NATIVES PLACE HIVES HIGH UP IN THE TREES WHERE WILD BEES COME AND INHABIT THEM, AFTER TWO YEARS THE HONEY IS COLLECTED LEAVING PLENTY FOR THE BEES TO FEED ON. http://www.tropicalforest.com
    THERE IS ANOTHER COMPANY, ‘APIMIST’ IN ENGLAND, http://www.apitherapy.biz WHO ARE TOTALLY CONCERNED WITH THE WELFARE OF THEIR BEES, THEY ALWAYS LEAVE THEM HONEY AND ARE EXTREMELY CAREFUL IN THEIR HANDLING OF THEM, AS A RESULT THEY HAVE NEVER HAD INFECTION IN THEIR HIVES WHICH HAS DEVASTED SURROUNDING AREAS.
    THE FACT IS, BEES DON’T MIND YOU TAKING SOME HONEY FROM THE HIVE AS LONG AS YOU LEAVE THEM PLENTY FOR THEMSELVES, IT DOESN’T BOTHER THEM IN THE LEAST. HONEY IS MEDICINAL, RAW HONEY WILL CURE CATARACTS IN EYES AND EYE INFECTIONS. IT IS A WONDERFUL WOUND AND BURN HEALER NOT TO MENTION HAIR CONDITIONER AND COSMETIC AID. IT SHOULD BE RAW AND UNPASTEURIZED THOUGH.RAW UNPASTEURIZED HONEY TASTES LIKE PERFUMED NECTAR, NOTHING LIKE COMMERCIAL HONEY AT ALL. TASTE IT AND SEE THE DIVINE DIFFERENCE!

  74. Dave Monks says:

    Please never write in capital letters again. It is tremendously hard to read. You are exceptionally inconsiderate to the other readers.

  75. I do eat raw honey. I actually love it even though its too sweet for anybody else.

  76. Wow, I’ve never read so much about bees before. I’ve had a distaste for honey since I was a child, when I learned where it came from (I equated it with bee vomit). I have occasionally used it to sweeten tea or hot milk, but I’ve never bought it for myself. I only heard of using bee pollen today. It seems to me that it would be better to directly get the pollen from the flowers, rather than harming the bees to get it. My dad is a gardener, so he taught me a lot about how important bees are for the plants. I have a lot of respect for them, and I certainly don’t like the idea of harming them (or any other animal) just because I like the taste of (them or) something they produce. I’m not vegan, I love milk and milk products, but I prefer, when possible, to buy from local organic farms where I know how the animals are treated. I plan on someday having my own cows so that I can milk them myself and know that they or their offspring will never see a slaughterhouse. I don’t think I’ll ever keep bees for myself, as I don’t really like honey all that much, but I love animals, so I’ll probably keep quite a few. I’m definitely for animal rights and ethical treatment. Now that I know about the harsh practices used to “produce” commercial honey, if I ever do buy honey, it will be from a local keeper who respects and gently handles the bees. This actually ties in to a lot of things I’ve been reading about lately, including how silk is produced (boiling the silkworms alive in their cocoons). I certainly will never buy silk from any company that produces it that way, and buy only from Ahimsa silk (Ahimsa means non-violent in Sanskrit). Whew, anyway, I have used products with beeswax in it, and I think I’ll stop buying those until I can find it from a responsible and ethical source. Better yet, I may just make my own products using a substitute. I usually just put some olive oil on my lips anyway, rather than a regular lip balm (I love the glossy look and silky feel, plus it’s a super moisturizer). I actually use olive oil for most of my skin/hair needs. It’s the same pH as our natural oils, so it works perfectly. It’s also great for de-frizzing and moisturizing hair (gives it that nice silky look and shine, after it’s washed out of course). I seem to have gone off on a tangent, so I think I’ll end it here haha!

    Civil society will begin when animals are treated with kindness and compassion, and when we stop abusing our mother earth. ~Christie

  77. MG says:

    Ok, I just read this thread and figured I’d chime in. I have been a vegan for half a lifetime and raw for four of those years. This comes to over 25 years. I have been very aggressive in my approach toward all things objectionable but an article in an old Vegetarian Times pretty much told me that none of us, no matter how hard we try, can be completely vegan.

    Why you say? Well, take those tires on your car. Yes, animal products make up those tires, as well as most of the plastic appliances in your home, you camera, both digital and film, you sneaker, your shoe soles, and the list goes on.

    All we can do is minimize the amount of harm that we do to our fellow beings.

    For years I swore off of all bee products and then read an article about bee pollen. Still, I was not going to touch the stuff because it, in my opinion, belongs to the bees. A few years down the road I bumped into the owner of naturalzing.com. They were at a green festival and had a large booth. Bee pollen was displayed. I had seen it on their website but had basically ignored it. I asked them if they could tell me about their bee collection process since they are basically a “vegan store”. The informed me that bee pollen is a “fringe” product that some vegans like or do without. However, they went on to tell me that they work with two farms that work in harmony with the bees. The bees are allowed to fly freely and collect pollen naturally through plant, vegetable and fruit pollination. Both companies use s special screen that does not hurt the wings or legs of the bees. These farmers are very responsible and are very modest in their collection of honey and pollen from the hives. They don’t take all of the pollen or all of the honey. Since then, I’ve been experimenting with bee pollen. I’ve finally gotten used to it but may not be ordering again when my bag is empty. However, if I do the only company I would buy from directly is naturalzing because I know they have very stringent requirements, which is why they only deal with two specific bee companies.

    Comments are closed for this post.