Harvesting Honey Can Be Harm-Free for the Honeybee

Bee collecting pollen on flowers


We need to protect bees.

Bees need a Public Relations Department for several reasons:

  • Bees sting.
  • Bees are tiny.
  • Bees don’t have a fan club because they sting.
  • People kill bees because they sting.
  • People kill and remove bee hives. (It’s amazing to me that people still have hives removed, poisoned and killed today, when bees can be removed and relocated.)
  • Bees are bugs and people don’t like bugs.

Bees are the keystone of life.  Bees are not just “bugs”.

Recognition of their contribution and raising awareness is the first step. All food for all living beings, not just vegetables, depends on the pollination that bees provide.


Bee People educate others about our little friends and that helps us all protect them (and ourselves!).Bee_PaulVineyardProductions_OrangeHeader

I’ve been passionate about bees for a long time.  While traveling years ago I saw my first hive, and after that I became “bee aware” and was running into hives all the time.  I can hear them and I spot many more hives even in the city since I’ve attained my own ‘Bee Consciousness’.  Even in downtown Los Angeles.

When you open your heart to bees, you might also attract more Bee People.  Bees are animals and animal lovers make the best Bee People.

Why do we need to protect bees?

It’s important to support bees and Bee People.  Bee People, to me, are those organic minded Bee ambassadors and educators that teach everyone about the importance of bees.


Colony collapse, commercial beekeeping, factory farming, pesticide use and fear of bees: all of these issues require that we educate each other and support our Bee People advocates.  Wild bees in wild hives are not enough to support our food supply with the size of our global population.

It’s important to differentiate between commercial beekeeping and organic backyard beekeepers that love bees.

Some people think that all beekeepers kill or harm bees and that isn’t true

Beekeepers vary in goal and quality of care, just like any other animal caretaker.  Not everyone with a dog harms a dog or runs a puppy mill. Similarly there are organic backyard beekeepers who keep bees because they love bees and they have a passion for educating people on how to create homes and gardens to support and feed bees.  I think it’s important to celebrate these keepers and not to offend these caretakers by assuming they share the same mentality as factory or commercial farmers.

“First, in response to those who say all beekeepers are bee killers: If that were true we’d have no more bees. Most beekeepers are, in fact, those who actually love and care about the bees which is the reason they raise them. There are always those who exploit and manipulate which happens whenever profit becomes the bottom line. That happens in the commercial beekeeping industry which is NOT how I care for my bees.”

“When a backyard beekeeper harvests honey no bees are killed. The frames containing honeycomb are simply removed from the hive and the few bees on the comb (if there are any) are gently brushed off. The frames are usually taken indoors where the bees can’t get to it. Then the wax capping on the honeycomb is removed from the comb and the frames are placed in an extractor and spun until the honey comes out. Then it’s bottled.”  Randy Sue Collins, Organic Beekeeping 101

To avoid commercial beekeeping, we need to support the bee loving organic backyard keepers.


Check out the work of Randy Sue Collins, Beekeeper, Organic Beekeeping 101. Be sure to see her Organic Beekeeping 101 DVD and her unique Hex Hive: http://organicbeekeeping101.com/

Another myth is that all beekeepers steal honey from the baby bees.

If we can agree that the bees need help, we need to help those that are helping bees.  Some gentle honey removal is required to maintain man made hives.

“Bees often make more honey than they need and that excess is what the beekeepers harvest. If the excess is not removed it will eventually crystallize in the comb rendering it unusable to the bees or us.”

“Traditionally when honey is harvested, the wax cappings on the honeycomb are sheared off with a hot knife then the frames with that open honeycomb are placed in an electric extractor and spun until the honey comes out. The honey runs down the side of the machine and poured into jars. Those wax cappings are what candles are made from. No bees are harmed in any of these processes.”

“If beekeepers take more honey than they should, they know their colony will starve and die out over the winter, so they don’t usually do that.”  Randy Sue Collins, Organic Beekeeping 101.


Dr. Reese Halter is the conservation biologist at Muse School CA.  To learn more about the power of pollinators, please read Dr. Reese Halter’s book, The Incomparable Honeybee (available via iTunes and Amazon.com)


“Dr. Reese Halter continues with his passionate crusade to save the world’s most important group of flower-visiting animals: the honeybee. Responsible for pollinating over 110 different crop types throughout the world and accounting for a quarter-trillion dollars’ worth of commerce, the incredible efforts of the honeybees are vital to humanity in terms of the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the medicines we use. And yet, all around the globe, billions of honeybees are dying from colony collapse disorder, the effects of global warming, introduced mites, bacteria, fungi, diseases and modern insecticides. Our civilization as we know it depends on the health and well-being of all 20,000 known species of bees, and each of us is required to lend a helping hand to ensure that the bees survive.”

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16 thoughts on “Harvesting Honey Can Be Harm-Free for the Honeybee

  1. I am curious, how do you know without doubt how much honey is ‘excess’ honey that the hive does not need for the winter? Thanks.

    • Organic backyard keepers love bees and that’s why they keep them. Without food, the bees will leave (they swarm and leave for another hive) or die and that is not desired, because the bees need the food to feed themselves and their young. I am not a keeper so I do not know the exact amount, but you can contact Randy Sue Collins and ask. It is my understanding that some honey must be removed, depending on the type of man made hive for maintenance. Logic dictates that bees would need more food for the winter than the spring, so probably just enough removed for maintenance. I encourage being respectful to the loving keepers so they can educate others to be responsible keepers. The bees need our help, and they need loving advocates and educators, and we are dependent on the bees. Does that help?

  2. I am very happy to hear more people discussing bees. I strongly believe we need to protect these wonderful little guys. This article is great and it reminded me of another post regarding bees that was shared on CE. The link to the other post on bees is http://www.collective-evolution.com/2015/01/23/how-mushrooms-can-save-bees-our-food-supply/. A great start to supporting bees is boosting awareness and respecting the essential elements in our natural world! Love & much thanks!

  3. Bees also have some great spiritual qualities; they help you connect with the dead, as well as your female power energy, and they’re a great assistance to spirits wanting to move on……all creatures are incredible 😀

    • Thanks Tessora! It’s important to know who we are supporting and to understand the difference between factories and nice humans. Thanks I’ll look up The Honey Ladies.

  4. Thank you for this article! I grew up eating honey from my grandfathers gives and now my father has some. I’ve been “bee aware” my whole life and I feel very fortunate that’s how I was raised. There are too many misconceptions about honey and bees!! And I agree, let’s focus on backyard natural bee hives to promote protection for our bees. Most things commercial “kill” any natural beauty and process. Bees are the future, we need them!! Not to mention how delicious their honey is 😊

    • Wow maybe you can find some photos of your bee aware history! Honey can be medicinal too. Dr. Reese recommends spring harvest so it doesn’t interfere with their winter :).

      • I definitely have pictures if my kids with my fathers bees but it would be awesome to dig and find pictures of myself as a child with my grandfathers hives! I will never forget the way he looked like an astronaut in his suit😊 sweet memories.

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