The industry of beekeeping has come in for a great deal of criticism in the last few years. This is due to a number of factors. One of them is the historically high rate of death among the bee population. There are literally fewer bees alive today than at any other time since they first appeared on the planet.
As a result, many people are worried about the long term survival of the bee species. This enormous near-extinction of bees comes at a time when many traditional types of animal husbandry and food gathering are likewise coming under increasing scrutiny. Many people are starting to believe that beekeeping is inherently cruel.
However, this does not necessarily have to be the case. It is more than possible to perform the office of a beekeeper in an ethical and responsible manner. This will come down to the individual who is practicing this occupation.
So is it cruel? No. There are plenty of ways to keep bees safe and their species sustainable while continuing to gather their honey.
Is Beekeeping Bad For Bees?
One of the biggest points of controversy concerning the industry of beekeeping is whether or not it is bad for the actual bees. There is no inherent reason why this should be the case. A responsible beekeeper knows how to harvest just enough honey for their own needs while leaving plenty behind for the bees themselves to make use of.
The key is to balance the needs of the market with those of the actual producers. If you are harvesting honey just before the start of the winter season, you need to adjust your take accordingly. This means taking what you need for the market while leaving the bees enough honey to feed on during the cold winter months ahead.
An expert beekeeper will do all in their power to keep the bees in their hive well fed and cared for. They will make sure that the bees produce and keep enough honey to keep the hive going. They will also make sure that all of the health needs of their bees are provided for. This includes keeping them safe and warm in the winter season.
If you do not follow any of these actions, you will therefore be contributing to the continuing decline of the bee population. This is a very bad move since if there are no bees, there will be no honey to harvest. As a consequence of your shortsighted greed, you will now be out of a job. This is not a situation you want to be in.
Is Beekeeping Ethical?
The art of beekeeping is, on the whole, an ethical and sustainable practice. It is, after all, one of the oldest forms of animal husbandry known to man. There is no reason why it cannot continue to be practiced in a responsible manner. It will all come down to the person who is performing this office and how good they are at it.
Under ideal conditions, your bees will give you a lifetime of honey to enjoy. Since all the world loves honey, this is like the gift that keeps on giving. But it will be up to you to make sure that this ideal arrangement continues. The art of keeping bees is one that requires a great deal of time, patience, and careful effort to maintain.
For this reason, it is important that you balance your own needs with that of the bees under your care. You need to make sure that you are doing all in your power to keep your colony of bees in the best possible condition of health and vitality. As bee numbers continue to dwindle, this will be a greater responsibility than ever before.
Is Harvesting Honey Cruel To Bees?
Depending on the size and depth of the hive, it may produce anywhere from 30 to 70 pounds of honey in the span of a year. A shallow one may give you about 2 to 2.5 gallons of honey, a figure that averages out to between 25 and 30 pounds.
A hive of medium depth can give you 3 to 4 gallons of honey, which averages out to between 35 and 40 pounds. A hive that is full depth will give you 5 to 6 gallons, a figure that averages out to between 60 and 70 pounds.
The trick here is to average out the amount of honey that you require for your own use as well as for the needs of the market that you sell to. There is no inherent reason why you cannot take enough for your own needs while also leaving enough behind for the bees themselves to make use of. Cruelty can thus be easily avoided.
Why Is The Bee Industry Bad?
The bee industry is not inherently bad. There is no reason to blame the average beekeeper for the plight that many species of bees now find themselves in. There are a great many reasons for the current historically low numbers of bees in the world. Much of this is due to the continuing effects of catastrophic climate change.
It is true that a small proportion of beekeepers really don’t know what they are doing. It is these individuals that give the rest of the industry a bad name. It is never a good idea to engage in unsustainable practices. In these times of crisis for the bee population, there is even less excuse to do so.
As long as you keep your bee population healthy, safe, warm, and well fed, they will continue to thrive. It is never a good idea to take away more honey than you need. This is especially true in light of the fact that, without honey, your bees will quickly starve.
If you want to keep your occupation, you will take the time to learn how to properly care for your bees. In return, they will furnish you with a livelihood.