Lets start out by learning who the honeybees are.
A queen bee mates once, over several days in her life with about 10 to 15 drones (males).
She stores the sperm and can selectively release it over the next 2 to 7 years of her life.
A well taken care of queen can lay up to 1,500 to 2,000 eggs per day!
Unfertilized eggs become drones (males) and fertilized ones become workers (females).
Honey bees have a way of communicating with each other. They use "dancing" to communicate food sources, whether it be direction, distance, or quality.
Honey bees have a division of labor that is age based. Young worker bees clean the hive and feed the larvae.
They progress to other within-colony tasks as they become older, such as receiving nectar and pollen from foragers, and guarding the hive. When too old to do other tasks the workers finally leave the hive and typically spend the remainder of their lives as foragers.
Honey bees are animals with a large nervous system capable of transmitting pain signals. And unlike in the case of plants, pain as we know it would be a useful evolutionary feature since bees are capable of moving to avoid it.
Now, the simplest reason why honey isn't vegan is by definition. The term vegan was coined by Donald Watson in 1944 and was defined as follows:
Veganism is a way of living which excludes all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, the animal kingdom, and includes a reverence for life. It applies to the practice of living on the products of the plant kingdom to the exclusion of flesh, fish, fowl, eggs, honey, animal milk and its derivatives, and encourages the use of alternatives for all commodities derived wholly or in part from animals.
The simple fact is that bees are enslaved. Basically it's the idea that humans are justified in using all other life forms instrumentally, for our own benefit.
Most honey comes from full-time factory bee farmers. A successor queen is selected by a human instead of the reigning queen--both of whom may have been artificially inseminated. Queens can live for as long as five years but most commercial beekeepers replace them every two years to keep honey production at a maximum. And by replace, I mean kill.
When manipulating the bees, most beekeepers use a smoker to maintain control and to prevent some stings. Honey bees die after they sting something. The smoke gets the bees to gorge themselves on honey, which calms them down.
Bees may travel as far as 55,000 miles and visit more than two million flowers to gather enough nectar to make just a pound of honey. Honey is stored in the hive as winter food for the bees. Sometimes they make more than they can eat, but do the beekeepers only take the extra? Not very likely.
"The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men." - Alice Walker