Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Hive

I've just begun reading this book, and so far it's been a good read. I'm always interested in the behavior of others - human and non-human alike. It turns out honey bees are members of very complex societies, and humans have been trying to learn from the behavior of bees for centuries.

Anyway, as I progressed through the beginning of the book, the author explained about the role and behavior of the queen bee. Basically, the queen is the baby-maker. They do nothing else in their entire life than to mate and lay eggs. When not engaged in those activities the queen is being tended to by the other bees. They clean her and feed her (special food just for her, much better than what the worker bees eat!) She does nothing in anyway to contribute to the daily running of the hive - her sexual activities and egg-laying not withstanding.

Hmmm...sounds like pretty good work, if you can get it!

So then the author shares something she found written by Xenophon, an ancient Greek historian and huntsman. This guy lived 430-355 B.C. and after studying bees he decided that Greek wives could and should certainly take a lessen from the queen.





Makes one wonder what this Xenophon guy wanted young Greek brides to do all day!!!

OK - well actually he talks about how the queen is industrious and keeps the hive clean and doesn't suffer the worker bees to be idle and how she receives all the fruits of labor from the worker bees and keeps everything neat and tidy and clean and the stores stocked and ready to keep them all fed throughout the winter. According to Xenophon the queen portions out the food to each one carefully, and she raises the children carefully, and on and on and on.

He didn't have a clue then, about the actual role of the queen bee, or else he wanted Greek women to be lazy, slutty baby-makers.

This is probably boring you to tears, I just had to share it because as I read it (page 22 in case you want to read it too) I just laughed out loud! I mean really, where can I sign up?????


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