No, and no. While the exact reasons vary from person to person, here is a list of the main points:
- Honeybee cultivation destroys the colonies of honeybees. They have been dying out at a very fast rate worldwide due to Colony Collapse Disorder, which is supposedly the result of poor nutrition and inbreeding. Since modern beekeepers breed for desirable characteristics, the gene pool has been shrinking. If honeybees go extinct, we will lose 80% of our major food sources and one quarter of the world's flowering plants. In other words, we would totally destroy the biodiversity of the planet, condemning it and ourselves to slowly die. Honeybees should be kept wild, not penned away to die a painful death. Which leads to my next point...
- Bees die off in large numbers when they try to defend themselves against the beekeeper. They die simply by using their stingers once. Sometimes beekeepers use a "smoker" to flood the hive with smoke, which prevents the bees from stinging. The smoker makes them groggy and eat too much honey.
- Commercial beekeeping is even worse than backyard beekeeping. It pretty much boils down to factory farming.
- Queen bees have the potential to live for five years, but they are killed after two years alone so that the hive does not "swarm" (divide into two parts with half of the hive leaving to start a new colony elsewhere). The bees are not free to leave when they want to due to the nature of swarming (read http://www.vegetus.org/honey/swarming.htm for more details).
- During cold months, the beekeepers put a mouse guard at the mouth of the hive to prevent rodents from entering. Unfortunately, the bees, who would naturally drag their dead out of the hive, are unable to remove the bodies, so they slowly build up in the hive.
- As you will find on http://www.vegetus.org/honey/honey.htm, "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)."
- There is also the concept of bees as slaves in general. Animals are not ours to exploit.
- Bees make honey for themselves to eat over the winter. When beekeepers take it from them, the bees don't have their own food to eat. Remember this when you wonder whether to use honey or another sugar source in your food. Honey isn't human food; it's meant for bees. So please don't eat it!
Bye for now!