Sweet Mountain Life

Gardening, Vegetarian Food and Life in the Mountains of Western North Carolina

My Thoughts on Bee Keeping


ImageThis was posted on FB by a friend this morning and it brought up a subject that Michael and I have discussed at length. As vegans, we try constantly to consider the consequences of our actions. . We are, by far, imperfect, but we try

My response to the post is below, as well. I’m curious as to how others feel, especially since our bee population is so compromised.


Cathy Hamilton I am vegan and am against any kind of animal cruelty. But, I know many beekeepers and I’ve never heard of these practices. The beekeepers I know would never kill their queen, rather protect her as much as possible to keep the hives running properly. They don’t have to clip wings, the other bees keep her there and happy. They certainly don’t artificially inseminate their queens. They always leave, at least, the top box of honey for the bees. My experience is only in watching the excellent care and love that beekeepers give their colonies. They love their bees the way they love their dogs and cats. These beekeepers aren’t large factory honey producers, but local keepers who sell to neighbors and local farmers markets. I can certainly believe that unnatural and unnecessary practices occur in factories and that should never be. As a vegan, I’m torn between the idea of “keeping” bees and the prospect of kindly and consciously protecting and helping to regrow the bee population. Our lives depend on it.


Enjoy Life and Live Vegan!
Catherine and Michael


2 thoughts on “My Thoughts on Bee Keeping

  1. I think that post was bunk. Anyone who keeps bees know that the queen only leaves the hive for two reasons in her entire life. The first is to mate, which is only one day in her life, which may be several years long. The other reason is to “swarm” which is done when either there is no longer enough room for a growing colony, or if there is some other issue that makes the existing hive undesirable. When a queen swarms for another space, she only takes part of the colony with her, leaving brood (which includes potential new queens) workers, and drones behind in the old hive to continue on and raise a new queen. I suspect if a queen’s wings were clipped, the colony would begin preparations to raise a usurping queen. Their whole purpose is to act collectively to protect the queen and the overall health of the colony. A compromised queen cannot swarm and would, therefore, be undesirable to the colony long term.

    Nice to meet you, Cathy. I’m a novice beekeeper (I don’t have my bees yet, but I’ve completed all the courses at NCSU). I am doing it not because of the honey, but because of the bees. Honey will, however, be a lovely byproduct. Cyndy Cathhart and I grew up in Little River together. Welcome to WNC!

    • Thank you so much for the information you posted, Robin. For me, mindful beekeeping is the only way I see to keep our bee population alive. We’d love it if you’d keep in touch as you start your hives. It would be great to have you share your experiences here. Thanks to Cyndy for sharing you with us…she’s a sweetie!

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