To Bee or Not To Bee

A lot of vegans get confused or conflicted about bees and ask for more guidance about bee products.

This issue is complex because many people believe that certain bee products are acceptable for vegans and some are not – it depends on the particular product and the individual.

There are basically four things produced by bees that are within the gamut of this controversy: honey, royal jelly, pollen, and propolis.


Most people don’t know it, but honey is predigested bee food that is regurgitated by bees for harvest purposes. This means bees have swallowed and digested the flower nectar and then spit it back up, the byproduct of which is honey.

Honey is made when bees digest flower nectar and the nectar mixes with bee enzymes.

Even though honey is a harvest food for bees, many humans don’t care about this fact. Honey has been consumed for thousands of years dating back to ancient China.

Honey is used as an alternative sweetener by many people due to its natural sweetness. It is also rich in essential nutrients like amino acids, minerals, B-complex vitamins, so-called vitamins (C, D, and E) and carbohydrates.

Honey will vary in color and taste predicated upon what flower and nectar the bees consumed. Authentic honey will be named after a specific flower, i.e. eucalyptus, orange blossom, clover, etc.

Despite all of the nutritional content, some people don’t recommend honey for anyone or anything, including as an alternative sweetener (although it is far healthier than processed white table sugar).

Honey will also negatively affect blood sugar levels in the body just like regular processed white table sugar (sucrose).

Honey is technically not a vegan product since it is the byproduct of an insect. But nevertheless, it is processed by a living organism.


Royal Jelly is basically a combination of honey and pollen mixed together. It is thick and somewhat milky in nature. It is produced by bees, young nurse bees to be exact; who secrete this substance from their pharyngeal glands.

This jelly is highly nutritious and contains every single so-called B-vitamin; is rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, and hormones. It also contains potent antibiotic and antiviral properties.

Royal Jelly is produced by the young nurse and worker bees for the queen bee.

Like honey, technically, Royal Jelly is not a vegan product.


Bee pollen is produced by the anthers of flowering plants and is collected by the bees. It is powder-like in nature and has a tan-like or light brown color.

Bee pollen too, like all other bee products, is rich in nutrition and very therapeutic. It is high in natural protein, so-called B-vitamins, minerals, so-called vitamins, essential fatty acids, and enzymes. Bee pollen is a complete food just like seaweed!

Vegans will have to make their own choice and assessment in regards to bee pollen. It is a byproduct of bees though not produced by the bees internally and thus predigested like honey and Royal Jelly.


This is a very therapeutic substance and is highly antiviral and antibacterial too!

Propolis is a resinous substance collected from specific plants by bees. Along with beeswax, bees use proplis to make bee hives. It is very effective in mucous membrane inflammations and thus helpful for all skin problems and disorders.

Bee Propolis mixed with bee pollen is a powerful mix that will combat disease in general, viral infections in particular.

Again, vegans will have to make their own personal determination and assessment in regards to bee Propolis. It is in the category of bee pollen as it is produced by bees, but not from an internal process taking place within the bees’ body like honey and Royal Jelly, which are predigested.

As far as alternative sweeteners to honey are concerned, there are many options including maple syrup and sugar, stevia herb, agave nectar, date sugar and syrup, fruit concentrate, and fructose to choose from.

Other than the vegan question, bee products are very nutritious and therapeutic.

Thank you for reading!

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