Their Battles

I will here describe some of their battles. I have in the spring

frequently seen the whole front side of the hive covered with the

combatants, (but for such hives I have no fears; they are able to

defend themselves.) Several will surround one stranger; one or two will

bite its legs, another the wings; another will make a feint of

stinging, while another is ready to take what honey it has, when

worried sufficient to make it willing. It is sometimes allowed to go

after yielding all its honey, but at others, is dispatched with a

sting, which is almost instantly fatal. A bee is killed sooner by a

sting, than by any other means, except crushing. Sometimes a leg will

tremble, for a minute; the legs are drawn close to the body; the

abdomen contracts to half its usual size, unless filled with honey. I

have known a pint accidentally to enter a neighboring stock, and be

killed in five minutes. The only places the sting will penetrate a bee

are the joints of the abdomen, legs, the neck, &c. I have occasionally

seen one bee drag about the dead body of its victim, being unable to

withdraw its sting from a joint in the leg. During the fight, if it be

to keep off those in search of plunder, a few bees may be seen buzzing

around in search of a place unguarded to enter the hive. If such is

found, it alights and enters in a moment. At other times, when about to

enter, it meets a soldier on duty, and is on the wing again in an

instant. But another time it may be more unfortunate, and be nabbed by

a policeman, when it must either break away, or suffer the penalty of

insect justice, which is generally of the utmost severity.

The Time When It Occurs Their Industry facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail