species of insect
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Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, and are known for their role in pollination and for producing honey and beeswax. Bees are a monophyletic lineage within the superfamily Apoidea, presently classified by the unranked taxon name Anthophila. There are nearly 20,000 known species of bees in seven to nine recognized families. They are found on every continent except Antarctica, in every habitat on the planet that contains insect-pollinated flowering plants.

The best-known bee species is the European honey bee, which, as its name suggests, produces honey, as do a few other types of bee. Human management of this species is known as beekeeping or apiculture.


How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour
~ Isaac Watts
  • Men, like bees, want room. When the hive is overflowing, the bees will swarm, and will be likely to take up their abode where they find the best prospect for honey. In matters of this sort, men are very much like bees.
  • Ingentes animos angusto in pectore versant.
  • Hi motus animorum atque haec certamina tanta
    Pulveris exigui jactu compressa quiescunt.
    • Yet all this life and movement, all the strife
      May with a pinch of dust be brought to silence.
    • Virgil, Georgics (29 BC), Book IV, lines 86-87 (of bees swarming).
  • Forget not bees in winter, though they sleep.
  • One can no more approach people without love than one can approach bees without care. Such is the quality of bees.
  • Nature’s confectioner, the bee,
    (Whose suckets are moist alchemy,
    The still of his refining mold
    Minting the garden into gold,)
    Having rifled all the fields
    Of what dainty Flora yields,
    Ambitious now to take exercise
    Of a more fragrant paradise,
    At my Fuscara’s sleeve arrived
    Where all delicious sweets are hived.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 63-64.
  • The honey-bee that wanders all day long
    The field, the woodland, and the garden o'er,
    To gather in his fragrant winter store,
    Humming in calm content his winter song,
    Seeks not alone the rose's glowing breast,
    The lily's dainty cup, the violet's lips,
    But from all rank and noxious weeds he sips
    The single drop of sweetness closely pressed
    Within the poison chalice.
  • The pedigree of honey
    Does not concern the bee;
    A clover, any time, to him
    Is aristocracy.
  • His labor is a chant,
    His idleness a tune;
    Oh, for a bee's experience
    Of clovers and of noon!
  • Burly, dozing humblebee,
    Where thou art is clime for me.
    Let them sail for Porto Rique,
    Far-off heats through seas to seek.
    I will follow thee alone,
    Thou animated torrid-zone!
  • Seeing only what is fair,
    Sipping only what is sweet,
    ** *
    Leave the chaff, and take the wheat.
  • The careful insect 'midst his works I view,
    Now from the flowers exhaust the fragrant dew,
    With golden treasures load his little thighs,
    And steer his distant journey through the skies.
    • John Gay, Rural Sports (1713), Canto I, line 82.
  • Bees work for man, and yet they never bruise
    Their Master's flower, but leave it having done,
    As fair as ever and as fit to use;
    So both the flower doth stay and honey run.
  • For pitty, Sir, find out that Bee
    Which bore my Love away
    I'le seek him in your Bonnet brave,
    He seek him in your eyes.
  • "O bees, sweet bees!" I said; "that nearest field
    Is shining white with fragrant immortelles.
    Fly swiftly there and drain those honey wells."
  • Listen! O, listen!
    Here ever hum the golden bees
    Underneath full-blossoined trees,
    At once with glowing fruit and flowers crowned.
  • As busie as a Bee.
  • The bee is enclosed, and shines preserved, in a tear of the sisters of Phaeton, so that it seems enshrined in its own nectar. It has obtained a worthy reward for its great toils; we may suppose that the bee itself would have desired such a death.
    • Martial, Epigrams (c. 80-104 AD), Book IV, Epigram 32. (For same idea see Ant, Fly, Spider; also Pope, under Wonders).
  • In the nice bee, what sense so subtly true
    From pois'nous herbs extracts the healing dew?
  • For so work the honey-bees,
    Creatures that by a rule in nature teach
    The act of order to a peopled kingdom.
    They have a king and officers of sorts,
    Where some, like magistrates, correct at home,
    Others, like merchants, venture trade abroad,
    Others like soldiers, armed in their stings,
    Make boot upon the summers velvet buds,
    Which pillage they with merry march bring home.
  • The solitary Bee
    Whose buzzing was the only sound of life,
    Flew there on restless wing,
    Seeking in vain one blossom where to fix.
  • The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive,
    Where, housed beside their mighty honey-comb,
    They dream their polity shall long survive.
  • How doth the little busy bee
    Improve each shining hour,
    And gather honey all the day
    From every opening flower.
  • The wild Bee reels from bough to bough
    With his furry coat and his gauzy wing,
    Now in a lily cup, and now
    Setting a jacinth bell a-swing,
    In his wandering.

See also

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