By Claire Preston
"Bee" is not a publication in regards to the biology of bees or heritage of beekeeping, even supposing a couple of chapters in this were integrated. particularly, it is a publication in regards to the bee as a cultural or political image. the writer is a lecturer in English literature. certainly, the biology sections of the e-book comprise sloppy errors. for example, Preston does not comprehend the precise taxonomical dating among ants, wasps and bees. She additionally always refers back to the Western honeybee because the in basic terms honey-making bee, but mentions different honey-making bees besides, occasionally at the comparable web page!
But then, the booklet is de facto approximately humans...
Preston issues out that the honeybee has typically been a good image in Western tradition. The bee was once thought of chaste, virginal, hard-working and co-operative. Christians hooked up it to the virgin beginning of Christ or the perpetual virginity of Mary (for decades, humans had no suggestion how bees reproduce). The bee supposedly left the backyard of Eden already prior to the autumn of guy, and used to be consequently an ideal divine construction. through the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, many royalists claimed that the hive was once managed by means of a king bee. Supporters of a constitutional monarchy claimed that the worker-bees may overthrow a nasty king bee. And a admirer of Elizabeth I mentioned (correctly) that the "king" bee used to be relatively a queen bee! nonetheless others observed the beehive as a republic.
Preston has detected a metamorphosis of perspective in the direction of the honeybee as a cultural image throughout the French revolution. either the revolutionaries and Napoleon used the bee or the beehive as logos. due to this, the bee obtained a damaging recognition in Britain. without warning, bees have been obvious much less because the epitome of order and extra as a perilous swarm bent on destruction. The hostility to the bee used to be persevered by means of the Romantics, who observed it as a metaphor for depersonalized commercial society. Likewise with Fritz Lang, whose well-known motion picture "Metropolis" depicts enslaved staff as being just like bees.
But the worst bee-scare got here within the usa after global warfare II, maybe as a result of anti-Communist hysteria of the chilly conflict. The collectivism of the hive resembled that of Communism. Preston additionally mentions a number of horror videos the place the evil takes the shape of girls who become "queen bees". unusually, Preston by no means displays on no matter if those motion pictures can be anti-feminist. in fact, whilst the Africanized killer bee "invaded" the us from Mexico, the motion picture had a box day. Many horror video clips approximately killer bees use those bugs as an evidently racist metaphor for Blacks, Mexicans or extraterrestrial beings regularly. One really undesirable motion picture depicts the killer bees as eco-terrorists, and this even ahead of eco-terrorism grew to become a subject!
However, Preston additionally issues out that the ecu honeybee used to be nonetheless visible as a good cultural image in lots of contexts. within the usa, bees are nonetheless used as function versions for kids: "Be a Do-Bee, do not be a Don't-Bee". certainly, it really is tricky to think that the unfavorable angle in the direction of the ecu honeybee used to be ever the dominant pattern. it truly is rarely a co-incidence that the damaging perspectives of the chilly conflict period have been later projected onto the extra competitive and invasive killer bees!
Some new improvement now not pointed out by way of the writer are the varroa mite and CCD. My bet is that bees will finally turn into symbols of human civilization itself. the subsequent horror motion picture will function tremendous mites...or terrorists inducing mass hunger via CCD. The honeybees (and ecologists) could be the strong men. dull, correct?
As already mentioned, "Bee" is not approximately bees. it is a booklet concerning the human hive. it is not a scholarly learn, yet relatively a compilation of proof approximately bees as metaphor. a few chapters may wish larger enhancing. Frankly, you possibly may still technique this e-book with a grain of salt. I suggest, a booklet that mentions either Virgil, Edmund Burke and "Candyman"? nonetheless, when you have a beekeeper or Do-Bee within the kinfolk, it might maybe paintings as a lighter birthday present.
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Additional info for Bee (Reaktion Books - Animal)
And Aristophanes (fifth century bc) has characters who are honey-merchants. 3 Even if the Greeks did not correctly understand what bees do, they eventually became sophisticated beekeepers, using knowledge imported from their eastern neighbours. Several reported works on bees and beekeeping by Theophrastus (fourth century bc) and Nicander (second century bc) are now lost, but the tradition was extended by the Roman writers Varro, Vergil and Columella, of whom more will be said later. The most ancient Indian sacred work, the Rig Veda (a text based on oral tradition originating in the period 3,000–2,000 bc) refers often to bees and to honey and honey hunting.
Nevertheless, the handmade aura which surrounds honey and 51 The Co-operative Society’s beehive emblem, set into one of their buildings. makes it so attractive to organic farmers and to the faddists of the ‘all-natural’ has been cleverly co-opted by the pollinating concerns: one successful Maine-based company, Bee Here Now, combines the funky counter-culture allure of its name with a thriving commercial pollination service which extends as far south as Georgia. 7 kg), and many of these are commercial.
Swarming is thus not in the interests of the beekeeper, and even less so if the departed swarm cannot be trapped and housed in another hive. In the wild, moreover, nests proliferate inconveniently and unpredictably from the point of view of the honey-gatherer, who has to locate them and go to considerable trouble to liberate the honey, and at the cost of destroying a good set of combs. It is in the bees’ interest to have their honey taken in a non-destructive manner (although they do not recognize that they are cooperating with the beekeeper in 35 this sense).
Bee (Reaktion Books - Animal) by Claire Preston