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By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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Featured in a recent New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert’s Stung is about just that, bees. She begins:

Not long ago, I found myself sitting at the edge of a field with a bear and thirty or forty thousand very angry bees. The bear was there because of the bees. The bees were there because of me, and why I was there was a question I found myself unable to answer precisely.

launching into a lengthy and detailed thesis on nature and history of bees that is alternately fascinating …

Honeybees are the only animals besides humans known to have a representational language: they convey to one another the location of food by dancing.

… and unsettling…

Males, known as drones, perform no useful function except to mate. They are loutish and filthy, and the workers—sterile females—tolerate their presence for a few months a year, then systematically murder them.

ultimately focusing on the recent discovery of what is called ‘colony-collapse disorder’ in which commercial beekeepers were finding large percentages of hives 70% – 90% abandoned.

Such was the level of infection that van Engelsdorp and other researchers concluded that the bees’ immune systems had collapsed. It was as if an insect version of AIDS were sweeping through the hives.

I have only one bee story myself, from my childhood. It involves a water hose and a colony of bees living in the hollow tube of a clothesline frame in my backyard and it ended very badly.

Read: The New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert, Stung

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Category: literary pretensions, the weirdly strange


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