Because every living thing, from man down to an ephemeral insect, pursues the bee to its destruction for the sake of the honey that is deposited in its cell, or secreted in its honey-bag. To obtain that which the bee is carrying to its hive, numerous birds and insects are on the watch, and an incredible number of bees fall victims, in consequence, to their enemies. Independently of this, there are the changes in the weather, such as high winds, sudden showers, hot sunshine; and then there is the liability to fall into rivers, besides a hundred other dangers to which bees are exposed.
The average number of a hive, or swarm, is from fifteen to twenty thousand. Nineteen thousand four hundred and ninety-nine are neuters or working bees, five hundred are drones, and the remaining one is the queen or mother!
Because these organs alone enable the bee to work in the darkness of the hive.
Because a collection of bees, or some such insects, are high in the air, although the musicians are invisible. Mr. Knapp describes these as " the humming of apparently a large swarm of bees."
Because they have been thus domesticated by the ingenuity of man. In the wild state they build in hollow trees, under ground, etc.
Because honey is a simple substance, extracted by bees from the flower; whereas, wax is a secretion found in scales under their belly. The wax-workers, having gorged themselves with the nectar of flowers, hang motionless in festoons in the hive; and in twenty-four hours, scales of a white matter, like talc,are formed under the ring of the abdomen. The wild honey of Palestine has already been noticed at page 254.
Because in it the nectar of the flowers is elaborated and converted into honey. The animal vomits it up from this reservoir, and deposits it in the hive.
Because the sense of taste in bees is so unrefined, that it matters little to what neighbourhood some go to gather honey, or from what flower. Dr. Barton, in the American Philosophical Transactions, enumerates such plants as yield a poisonous syrup, of which bees partake without injury, but which has been fatal to man.
Because they not only drink the nectar, and abstract the pollen of the flower, but they appropriate the peach itself. An American writer says, " we have seen twenty or thirty bees devour a peach in half-an hour; that is, they carried the juices of it to their cells."
Because their sense of hearing is very obtuse. Hu-ber says, that" thunder, or the report of a gun, has little or no effect upon them. Sounds are, however, made by the flapping of the wings and other movements of the body, which are distincly heard and understood by bees. Their sense of smelling is, doubtless, acute."