By Claire Preston
"Bee" is not a publication in regards to the biology of bees or heritage of beekeeping, even if a couple of chapters in this were incorporated. relatively, it is a booklet 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 booklet comprise sloppy errors. for example, Preston does not comprehend the precise taxonomical dating among ants, wasps and bees. She additionally continuously refers back to the Western honeybee because the simply honey-making bee, but mentions different honey-making bees to boot, occasionally at the similar web page!
But then, the e-book is absolutely approximately humans...
Preston issues out that the honeybee has typically been a favorable image in Western tradition. The bee was once thought of chaste, virginal, hard-working and co-operative. Christians hooked up it to the virgin start of Christ or the perpetual virginity of Mary (for many years, humans had no thought how bees reproduce). The bee supposedly left the backyard of Eden already ahead of the autumn of guy, and used to be for that reason an ideal divine production. throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, many royalists claimed that the hive used to be managed via a king bee. Supporters of a constitutional monarchy claimed that the worker-bees may perhaps overthrow a nasty king bee. And a admirer of Elizabeth I mentioned (correctly) that the "king" bee used to be quite 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 through the French revolution. either the revolutionaries and Napoleon used the bee or the beehive as trademarks. due to this, the bee bought a unfavorable popularity in Britain. by surprise, bees have been noticeable much less because the epitome of order and extra as a deadly swarm bent on destruction. The hostility to the bee was once persevered by means of the Romantics, who observed it as a metaphor for depersonalized business society. Likewise with Fritz Lang, whose well-known motion picture "Metropolis" depicts enslaved employees as being just like bees.
But the worst bee-scare got here within the usa after global battle II, probably end result of the anti-Communist hysteria of the chilly warfare. The collectivism of the hive resembled that of Communism. Preston additionally mentions a number of horror video clips the place the evil takes the shape of girls who turn into "queen bees". unusually, Preston by no means displays on even if those movies might be anti-feminist. after all, while 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 in most cases. One fairly undesirable motion picture depicts the killer bees as eco-terrorists, and this even prior to eco-terrorism turned a topic!
However, Preston additionally issues out that the ecu honeybee used to be nonetheless obvious as a favorable cultural image in lots of contexts. within the usa, bees are nonetheless used as function types for kids: "Be a Do-Bee, do not be a Don't-Bee". certainly, it really is tough to think that the unfavourable angle in the direction of the eu honeybee was once ever the dominant development. it really is infrequently a co-incidence that the unfavourable perspectives of the chilly struggle period have been later projected onto the extra competitive and invasive killer bees!
Some new improvement no longer pointed out through the writer are the varroa mite and CCD. My wager is that bees will ultimately develop into symbols of human civilization itself. the following horror motion picture will characteristic sizeable mites...or terrorists inducing mass hunger via CCD. The honeybees (and ecologists) stands out as the reliable men. uninteresting, correct?
As already mentioned, "Bee" isn't approximately bees. it is a ebook in regards to the human hive. it isn't a scholarly research, yet relatively a compilation of proof approximately bees as metaphor. a few chapters may wish larger enhancing. Frankly, you most likely may still technique this ebook with a grain of salt. I suggest, a ebook that mentions either Virgil, Edmund Burke and "Candyman"? nonetheless, when you've got a beekeeper or Do-Bee within the kin, it might probably maybe paintings as a lighter birthday present.
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Additional info for Bee (Reaktion Books - Animal)
The idea has persisted, even in modern culture, that an orderly and successful hive reflects the virtue of the keeper, and only the virtuous can keep bees. The great locus classicus for the moral bee, and the source of non nobis, is Vergil’s Georgics, poems about the farming and agricultural practices of the imperial Romans. The fourth section of Georgics is a delightful mixture of practical beekeeping tips (make little bridges of osiers across brooks, he instructs, so that bees can drink easily), and descriptions of their social and political life.
European growers have been especially active in specializing bees for particular crops. For example, bumblebees are very effective buzz-pollinators of tomatoes, aubergines, potatoes, peppers, blueberries, watermelon and cranberries; and they work better than honeybees in greenhouses and plastic tunnels, because unlike honeybees they do not become disoriented and lose their way home (most bumble-bees are troglodytes, or underground-dwelling, which may account for their talent indoors). But bumblebee colonies consist of far fewer individuals than honeybee colonies, and their numbers decline rapidly in the course of a pollination season, making them in this respect harder to manage as pollinators.
Left to right: A leaf-hive, from François Huber, Nouvelles observations sur les abeilles (1792). ‘Work That Educates’: a 1914 photo from the us National Child Labor Administration showing John Spargo, a Vermont beekeeper, and his 12-year-old son. mite and the tracheal mite), and better extraction systems for collecting honey from the wax combs have enhanced the beekeeper’s ability to prosper and extend really efficient and highproducing colonies. When the Italian Prince Federico Cesi and his colleague Francesco Stelluti, members of the Accademia Lincei in Rome, first studied and drew the bee under a microscope in 1625, what they saw astounded them.
Bee (Reaktion Books - Animal) by Claire Preston