Honeybees play an important role in industrial agriculture and they also produce honey and beeswax. There are over 20,000 species of bees.

Although the known bees are the European honeybee (apis mellifera) and the bumblebee (apidae bombini) there are over 20,000 distinct species of bee that have been identified.

Most bees do not live in hives or produce honey and therefore have not been domesticated and bred for human use. Examples of other groups are mason bees and carpenter bees.

Bees are sometimes of interest to vegetarians because of their importance in pollinating a wide variety of plants that produce food for humans. Although honeybees aren't always the best pollinators, they are often used for pollinating large scale industrial monocrops because they can be easily moved around by virtue of living in hives.

The question most commonly asked of vegans (and by vegans) about bees is:

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