I was told something interesting today. Apparently a young couple not far north of me sell their honey from their 50 Flow hives. One of their customers is a vegan, vegans don’t eat honey as a rule, so I’m told. However they are purchasing & eating Flow hive honey because the process of harvesting the honey doesn’t disturb the bees.
Yeah. Vegans are an odd bunch.
I was also under the impression that honey is not on the vegan shoppong list. It is seen as an exploitation of bees. The harvesing method used is secondary.
But if they are happy with their logic, so be it.
well that’s just silly.
And - they are technically not vegans… if they eat that honey.
Technically honey is not vegan. However, we have customers and staff who are otherwise vegan but choose to eat Flow Honey, since the bees can come and go as they please, we have the choice to leave sufficient honey for the bees needs, and the Flow hive works to minimise intrusion and harm to the bees, making it is a good fit for many almost vegans (from an ethical perspective, if not strictly according to the dictionary definition). Arguably, harvesting honey can also be beneficial for the bees, since it can prevent them from becoming honey bound.
I guess, if one managed to reconcile eating vegetables = not harming animals, the rest would be easy.
Remembered one not a particularly relevant story
Many moons ago, when I used to work in a vet clinic, a young pair brought a 7-month-old Doberman Pinscher. They wanted to know what was wrong with its teeth (teeth were literally crumbling). They were asked what they were feeding to the dog? Same what we eat was the answer. Further probing established that the pair were vegans. It took quite a while to convince them that a young dog’s diet had nothing to do with whatever they believed was good for themselves. But they listened. The dog was restored to its carnivore status and few months and many grammes of bone restoring supplements later was OK.
Sorry @Freebee2, you are either vegan or you aren’t. Vegans do not consume honey.
Also to say that traditional harvesting is dramatically more disruptive for the bees is also pushing the envelope too far. That claim is marketing spin.
maybe it’s because it is processed, initiialy, through the body of an animal
I have to agree. Traditional beekeepers harvest honey once or at most twice a year. A clearer board is placed beneath the super, the bees leave it at night and in the morning the empty super is removed. Simple and not disruptive at all.
They then have the hassle of spinning down the frames to remove the honey, but that doesn’t bother the bees at all.
And there are no flooded brood boxes to worry about…
I agree with you that honey is not vegan and thought this was acknowledged in my wording - apologies if this was unclear
Cedar and Stu’s love of bees was immediately evident to me and I know how much fo a priority it was for them to design a product that minimises disruption to the bees as much as possible. This was one of their primary concerns when designing the Flow Frames - they even have a slight offset of .7 of a mm so that the bees legs don’t get caught as the frames are opened and closed. I think anyone who knew them would feel comfortable that their care for the bees is far from ‘spin’!
Do you use a Flow Hive yourself?
I don’t think anyone thinks that Cedar and Stu do not love their bees. It’s just the notion that flow hives are somehow less harmful to the bees that’s a bit tricky. It’s a sad fact of beekeeping that a few bees get inadvertently squashed by even the most skilled and caring beekeeper. Brood boxes don’t inspect themselves. Flow frames don’t let you know when they are fully capped- you have to look. I run both types of hive and I don’t believe there is much difference in the potential disruption to the bees. When a flow hive works perfectly harvesting can be very non-disruptive- but the same can be said for traditional harvesting. Both types of hive can be poorly managed.
One easy thing flow could do that would further minimise harm to bees is move to metal queen excluders. plastic ones warp at the edges and bees run under the gaps… this can lead to squashing incidents… the warping also can cause the excluder to get stuck to the frames above and below causing frames below to lift up and then drop back down. no good.
I appreciate your diplomacy @sempaphore, and I’d like to add that whilst it could be argued both ways (as for anything) it is up to the beekeeper’s knowledge and skill levels to understand and practice beekeeping that voids as much death and discomfort as possible for their colonies.
The ingenuity of Flow is certainly a beekeeping game-changer for many regular people and beekeepers, and with this achievement, Flow has certainly not skimped on their opportunity to inform, support and nurture a new generation of responsible and caring backyard beekeepers around the world (tens of thousands of them). Is this included under Flow’s ethical tally? Can Flow be rivaled by another beekeeping company in the world for their efforts to advocate against bigger threats against honey bees such as pathogens, pesticides, deforestation?
I believe it’s well and truly up to the individual to decide if what they eat fits their personal ethical standards and whether they are correctly communicating this or not. Do I personally believe Flow beekeeping is ethical? Yes, well and truly.
@Bianca, on rereading your post you are right in not claiming honey is vegan. My head just spins a bit when people claim to be vegan but bend the rules when it suits them.
And yes, I do have a 7 frame flow super.
Wonderful comments so far!