True, almond milk is delicious and healthful. Unfortunately, the manner it’s produced and made is too much for both wild and domesticated bees, as well as beekeepers who make a living raising commercial bees.
Which almond milks are OK for bees?
Almond milk brands such as Almond Breeze and Almo are environmentally friendly (an Australian-owned brand). Almo, on the other hand, is the only pesticide-free almond milk company that uses locally farmed almonds. You can also look at the farming practices of your favorite almond milk brand, in addition to picking Australian-grown almonds. Make sure they’re both environmentally and bee-friendly before purchasing.
It’s worth noting that a single glass of almond milk uses just 74 liters of water, which is, amusingly, less than a regular glass of cow’s milk (1). However, if you really want to drink a milk replacement that is good for both the environment and the bee population, you should try oat milk for a while. You might also try desert milk, which is the most similar to milk and is really healthful.
What types of milk are harmful to bees?
While almond trees take up less farmland than other milk-producing crops, the negative effects of almond farming in the United States outweigh this gain. Almonds are the largest specialty crop in the United States, with orchards covering an area the size of Delaware. They are nearly entirely grown in California’s parched Central Valley.
According to the Oxford study, almonds require more water than any other dairy replacement, requiring 130 liters of water to make a single glass of almond milk. Constant demand for larger almond yields is putting undue strain on commercial beekeepers in the United States. Every spring, about 70% of commercial bees in the United States are enlisted to pollinate almonds. As a result of these pressures and other environmental threats, a record number more than one-third of them died before the end of the season last year.
Are almonds harmful to bees?
Since a wave of headlines blaming almonds, and by association, everyone who eats almonds, for killing billions of honeybees, it seems like practically everyone I know has started feeling terrible about almond milk. However, headlines suggesting almonds hurt bees are false. Pesticides and large-scale industrial agriculture methods are to blame for the deaths of the bees, not almond trees.
Is almond milk suitable for bees who are vegan?
For some vegans, the biggest concern with almond milk is that it requires the employment of honeybees to pollinate the huge almond plantations that make almond milk. To perform the duty, a considerable number of bees must be moved throughout the country.
It’s easy to see how this could be a problem for a lot of vegans. It’s easy to understand how almond milk would be regarded off-limits if one subscribes to vegan standards that emphasize animal exploitation in all forms.
However, the fact that bees are involved in the pollination of almonds does not mean that almond milk is off-limits to most vegans. In fact, some vegans have no objections to honey consumption. 7
Almond milk is one of the best alternatives to dairy milk, and I drink it myself. And I’ve yet to come across a food product that can’t be classified as non-vegan in some way, according to at least some standards.
Is honey bad for bees?
There are over 20,000 bee species worldwide, yet no matter how different they are in size, location, or behavior, they all have one thing in common: their populations are fast dropping. In the meantime, more honey being consumed than ever before.
Bees, like chickens, pigs, and cows, are extensively farmed because demand for their honey and other “products” such as candles made from beeswax remains strong.
The not-so-sweet story of how bees are exploited and slaughtered to feed humans’ honey addiction is told here.
Feeling the Sting of Factory Farming
Bees capture tiny drips of nectar when they pollinate plants to generate honey. It supplies vital nutrition to them and their queen’s young, especially while they are hibernating.
On commercial honey farms, however, they will never see a return on their investment. Beekeepers rob the hive in the autumn, just as the bees are preparing to hibernate with their honey resources for the winter. They start by smoking it, which disrupts the colony’s pheromone messages and makes it less organized, making it difficult for the bees to defend themselves. For protection, beekeepers often wear a full-body suit with a veil while removing the honeycombs. None of this would be necessary if bees didn’t want people near their honey.
To keep the bees alive after stealing the honey, beekeepers feed them sugary syrup and other inferior meals.
The immune systems of bees are weakened by factory farming’s stressful, unnatural living conditions, starvation, and abuse. They grow more disease-prone and less able to tolerate the damaging effects of pesticides.
It’s Not Easy Being Queen
When a new queen bee is about to hatch, the old queen and half of the colony depart the hive to start a new one, a process known as “swarming.” Honey output normally reduces during swarming, thus many beekeepers prefer to avoid it. They either capture the queen within the hive or “requeen” her by killing her and replacing her with a younger queen purchased from a breeder. Most beekeepers requeen their colonies every two years, although annual requeening is becoming more popular. Queens can live for up to five years if left alone.
Within the United Kingdom, queen bees are bred, sold, and shipped, or they are imported from Europe and quarantined. 21,000 queen bees will be brought into the United Kingdom in 2020. Queen bees are commonly sent in plastic boxes with eight to ten bodyguards, who are killed and inspected for parasites upon arrival. When the queen is delivered overseas, she begins to lay eggs while in transit, and the larvae are kept by the importer. When the importer is finished with her, the queen is never freed from quarantine and is killed.
While it may seem counterintuitive, artificial insemination is gaining traction in the bee industry as a way for producers to eradicate “undesirable” traits like the proclivity to sting humans. This selective breeding is done to maximize revenues rather than for the bees’ welfare.
Inseminators use carbon dioxide to immobilize a virgin queen bee. Then they turn her upside down in a small plastic container and use tweezers to grip her stinger while injecting drone bee semen into her with a needle or syringe. During the extraction process, inseminators kill roughly 15 drone bees by crushing their heads before milking them for their sperm.
Bees and the Environment
Many beekeepers say that raising bees and eating honey helps the environment by increasing bee populations, however this is simply not true. It’s like claiming that factory-farmed chickens help wild bird populations. Honeybees are farmed for profit, while wild species are becoming extinct.
Bee populations are dwindling in the United Kingdom. Since the 1900s, thirteen bee species have gone extinct, and 35 more are on the verge of extinction. This is harmful for both humans and bees, because pollinators make one out of every four mouthfuls of food and drink possible. But don’t fall for the deception. Bumblebees, carpenter and mining bees, and many other true wild bee species are better pollinators than honeybees. Honey isn’t a byproduct of pollination; it’s a separate industry.
Because most native bee species hibernate for up to 11 months a year and do not dwell in huge colonies, they do not generate enormous quantities of honey. The effort necessary to take from them isn’t worth the little they produce. Honeybees are farmed for this reason.
The Complex Life of Bees
Scientists and students are trying to figure out how bees communicate using a unique and sophisticated system based on sight, motion, and scent. Bees use complicated “dance” movements to signal other members of their hive to food, new colony sites, and hive circumstances (such as nectar supply).
Bees have been demonstrated to be capable of abstract thinking, identifying themselves from other bees in the hive, using visual clues to map their trips, and finding a previously utilized food supply, even when their home has been changed, according to studies. In the same way that fragrances can create strong memories in people, they can also trigger memories in bees, such as where the best food is found.
What You Can Do to Help Bees
Regardless of size, no animal deserves to be exploited. Here are a few things we can all do to aid bees:
- Leave the honey to the bees. They require it for nutrition, but we do not require it for flavoring. Instead, use maple, golden, agave, or rice malt syrup.
- Allow bees to keep their beeswax, which they use to construct honeycombs. K&R London, for example, makes amazing cosmetics and candles that aren’t harmful to bees.
- Plant lavender, grevillea, tea tree, bottlebrush, or honey myrtle in a native beefriendly garden. Take a look at this list of plants that native bees adore.
Is it true that almond milk is bad for the environment?
Almond milk is bad for the environment because of its high water use (and resultant droughting effect). When you consume it outside of its main producing countries, the harm is magnified due to transportation-related emissions.
Is almond milk harmful to your health?
Almond milk is one of the most popular and readily available plant-based milks currently available (vegan). It’s nutritious, healthful, and packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. It is also cholesterol-free and contains extremely little calories and sugars.
Almond milk is regarded to be healthier than cow’s milk in general. While both contain a variety of nutrients and vitamins, the main difference is that almond milk has fewer calories than regular dairy milk.
What are the reasons why almond milk is detrimental for the environment?
The Mic Network reports that “Almond milk, the ever-popular soy-free, dairy-free, vegan-friendly milk alternative now found in chic eateries and coffee shops everywhere, is destroying the earth.”
According to a Fortune Magazine article, almond milk has grown in popularity as a dairy-free alternative for vegans and lactose-intolerant coffee drinkers alike in recent years, becoming more popular than other non-dairy milks. The market for almond milk grew by 250 percent between 2010 and 2015.
When compared to dairy milk, many consumers choose almond milk since it has a lower carbon footprint. However, almond milk has a negative impact on the environment in other ways, which may surprise you. The main concerns with almond milk production are water use and pesticide use, both of which may have long-term environmental consequences in drought-stricken California, which produces more than 80% of the world’s almonds.
Commercial almond farming in California necessitates irrigation with ground and surface water diverted from the state’s aqueduct system. According to a New York Times report, it takes around 15 gallons of water to produce 16 almonds, making almonds one of the state’s most water-intensive crops. Almond milk’s reputation as a healthy alternative has been questioned by critics who argue that the nutritional benefits do not outweigh the amounts of water required to cultivate almonds.
Given that California produces more than two billion almonds, it’s simple to see why the amount of water diverted for this purpose is significant enough to be concerning. And, because many almonds are cultivated on land that has been converted from natural areas or farms cultivating low-water crops to fulfill the expanding demand for almonds, the increased irrigation needs have been significant.
Forbes reports that “Almond farms have been established on 23,000 acres of natural land. 16,000 acres of the area had previously been categorized as wetlands. In addition, some agricultural land has been turned to almonds from lower-water crops.”
Because the ground in the San Joaquin Valley, where most almonds are grown, is already sinking due to groundwater depletion, the additional wells farmers are digging to irrigate new orchards could have long-term consequences for California and its residents who rely on groundwater for drinking water.
Pesticide use in commercial almond production has been known to contaminate already scarce water supplies and contribute to the toxification of drinking water for people in California’s farming areas, exacerbating the problem. The USDA Pesticide Data Program has identified residues of nine distinct pesticides on almonds, five of which are hazardous to honey bees, according to the Pesticide Action Network, creating another another environmental threat.
A final point to consider is that certain store-bought almond milk brands contain carrageenan, a stabilizer and thickening chemical that has been linked to gastric issues.
According to the California Almond Board, the almond industry is working to promote sustainable water usage and boost water efficiency, so there are some solutions in the works. And, while just a few million almonds are currently certified organic, more farmers are opting to go this route, resulting in a rise in certified organic almond products on the market.
- Think about your possibilities. You might alternate between several non-dairy milks, as each has its own set of perks and drawbacks. Goat and sheep milk are nutrient-dense and less allergic alternatives to cow’s milk.
- Make your own version. If almond milk is a must-have in your life, try making it at home with organic almonds. At the very least, you’ll be able to manage how much water is used in the milk-making process, resulting in a purer product.
- Purchase organically certified products. Pesticides aren’t used in certified organic almond milk, and there’s often less water used as well. When shopping, pick this option. Inquire if the caf uses certified organic products, and if not, propose they do so.
- Carrageenan-containing brands should be avoided. When purchasing almond milk, read the label carefully and avoid types that contain carrageenan.
Is it preferable to drink oat or almond milk?
If you have a nut allergy or wish to enhance your vitamin B12 and riboflavin intake, oat milk is the preferable choice. If you’re trying to lose weight, almond milk is the way to go because it’s low in calories and fat. For additional information, go to Insider’s Health Reference library.
Why are bees dying because of almond milk?
According to statistics, 50 million bees died between 2018 and 2019. Pesticides are used in excess on almond crops, which is damaging to bee populations. Almonds necessitate that bees awaken from their hibernation early in order to attend to the harvest season.
“The bees in the almond trees are being abused and humiliated,” Patrick Pynes, an organic beekeeper in Arizona, told the Guardian. They are in serious decline as a result of our damaging human interaction with them.”
Scientists are working on developing almond cultivars that pollinate with fewer bees to help alleviate the problem. California has also created a “Bee Where” scheme to coordinate hive locations and notify farmers about pesticide spraying.
SumOfUs, a vegan advocacy group, is questioning almond milk’s vegan credentials since it requires so many bees in its production. Commercial almond milk makers have stated that they hope to produce bee-friendly almond milk, but have provided no schedule or more information. Efforts to lessen the impact on bee populations have resulted in the development of a “Bee Better” certification. Farmers must boost biodiversity by planting clover, wildflowers, and mustard in between trees, according to the certification.