Honey bee mating was for centuries a complete mystery to human observers because it takes place on the wing in Drone Congregation Areas. This of course gave rise to many theories about the origin of bees such as the ox born bee, or the notion that pollen had something to do with it all. [...]
Beekeepers – the lowest rank of free men! In Anglo-Saxon England there were extensive laws written down between the reigns of Kings Ina, Alfred, and Edward the Confessor between the years 700 and 1050. Some of those laws dealt with the punishment meted out to those who stole from beekeepers but there is no [...]
Theories as to how bees reproduced themselves abounded in olden times and many of the most ridiculous were believed until the 1700s and beyond but some were more sceptical of these extreme theories as is demonstrated by this Essex pastor in 1657. His better understanding of bee reproduction is shown in his very interesting [...]
This month’s note is a discourse on bee diseases from that noted writer Virgil. It is taken from his Georgics Book 4 which deals with beekeeping and apiculture and is illustrative of the knowledge of the time.
Since life has brought the same misfortunes to bees as ourselves,
if their bodies are weakened with [...]
A folklore tale - Why honey bees avoid red clover. In our poem of the month, Emily Dickinson wrote about red clover and her ‘bees’ were probably bumblebees which have tongues long enough to suck up the nectar. Honey bees are unable to do this and beekeepers believe that it is because their tongues are too [...]
This piece from Pliny the Elder has an interesting take on the origin of honey and offers some startling advice on how to revive dead bees!!
They belong to neither the wild or domesticated class of animals. Of all insects, bees alone were created for the sake of man. They collect honey, make wax, build [...]
Bee-keeping: When the Sun weeps a second time, and lets fall water from his eyes, it is changed into working bees; they work in the flowers of each kind, and honey and wax are produced instead of water.
pSalt 825, first millennium BCE
The first official mention recognizing the [...]
Beekeepers should know all that they can about diseases and problems in the hive and what to do about them. Here is some good advice from John Evelyn, the English Diarist and man of affairs who lived from 1620 to 1706. His words are taken from the Elysium Britannicum, an unfinished discourse [...]
The saint that most of us associate with beekeeping is St Ambrose but there are others and in Ireland one of the country’s most revered saints, Saint Gobnait is also the patron saint of beekeepers.
St. Gobnait is a 5th century Irish saint who [...]
Regarded as one of the most famous bee scientists, Karl Von Frisch discovered some of the most fundamental facts about bees, their vision and senses and despite years of controversy concerning his discoveries and decades of often hostile debate recent research has discovered his research was right all along. (It was [...]
Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. He was a noted writer on many subjects including bees and beekeeping and there is much of his literature that is very accurate and tells us about beekeeping in his times but was he really [...]
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