Tuesday, February 16, 2016

How the Idea of Two Nice Ladies Could Start a Horrific Beepocolypse

Alex Tabarrok explains:
On Friday, Shark Tank, the investment television show, featured two nice ladies from Minnesota and their product Bee Free Honee, honee made from apples. Is cheap, vegan honee a good idea? Perhaps but I was less than convinced by one of the arguments the ladies made for their honee–it will save bees! The ladies argued that reducing the demand for honey will encourage bee farmers to not work the bees so hard thus increasing their numbers.
bee jobI was expecting the acerbic Kevin O’Leary to have a field day with this economic fallacy. Or maybe, I thought, Mark Cuban will throw a dash of common sense into the tank. But no, all the Sharks cooed about this mad scheme. So it is up to me.
Reducing the demand for honey, reduces the demand for honey bees. A cheap, high-quality substitute for honey doesn’t mean a world of bees gently pollinating flowers in an idyllic landscape it means a beepocolypse. Bee free honee will save bees the same way the internal combustion engine saved horses.


  1. I suspect the sharks are smart enough to consider the difference between their own knowledge and that of the average consumer, who are likely to buy into this. Still, good to call this out.

  2. Considering the big demand on bees is for pollination, with honey as a side-effect, this is going to help the same way producing artificial ashes will help decrease combustion.
    But those poor bees do need a rest. They always complain how exhausting it is slaving away all day for their queen. Maybe they need a union to help them cap the hours they work and demand overtime.

  3. They are all wrong.

    1. It doesn't mean beepocolypse because you still gotta pollinate all those apple blossoms.

    2. It will incrementally cause more stress on bee colonies because it means that many more bee colonies will have to packed up and transported on 1 month contract to wherever the apple orchards are. Once the apple blossoms are gone for the season, it's time to ship those bees somewhere else.

  4. A more apt analogy would have been: "...the way veganism would save cows/pigs/chickens, etc."

    They'd practically go extinct, of course. Other than a few outliers keeping them as pets.

  5. I doubt the allegedly overworked bees are complaining. After all, they get FREE Room and Board!

  6. There will always be a market for bee honey. will this 'fake' honey provide similar nutrition profile? And what about the much highly demanded prophyllis and royal jelly by products that only bees can produce.

    These ladies may find a niche but will likely fade as a fad in a few short years.