The Fathers of the Bee People

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Happy Fathers Day!
The Fathers of the Bee People
Edward Bevan 1827

The drones or males are at once her majesty's nobles and husbands, dividing with her the administrative care of the State, the official trusts, and the parental functions. They are the office-holders and politicians; having, in general, little to do but to buz about royalty, pay their court, eat the fat and the sweat of the land, and talk politics. Their number varies with the strength of the hive, from fifteen hundred to two thousand. They seem to be, for nobles and husbands, rather unwarlike; for they possess no stings. On the whole, as they neither fight nor work, but only make love, they must have rather an easy time of it. Still, as we do not choose to injure any body's character, we feel bound to say that, if they mix not in the ordinary tasks of the operative Bees, it is the fault of nature, and not theirs: for she has furnished them with neither the sort of trowel to the jaws, with which the workers manage the wax, nor the baskets to the legs, in which they collect their fragrant spoil from the flowers. They labor not, then, because they have higher functions to perform, of a far loftier consequence to the public weal. And their wise and just fellow-citizens, content that each order in the State should discharge its appropriate duty, murmur not, nor stigmatize them as non-producers, nor rail nor roar at them as aristocrats; but recognize their utility in the peculiar part which has been assigned them of the public business, and submit with cheerfulness to their exemption from inferior tasks, inappropriate as well as impossible to these general fathers of the Bee people.

Edward Bevan, author of `The Honey-bee: Its Natural History, Physiology, and Management of Honeybees' 1827, is considered by many as the first work of bee literature possessing any claim to the character of scientific.

More on Edward Bevan coming soon on Historical Honeybee Articles.

Article source:
Edward Bevan, ‘Bevan on the Bee‘, Second Notice, 1843