Tuesday, 27 July 2010


I whittled the bee below after seeing a really nice gilded carving of a bee from the throne of Thibaw Min in the Pitt Rivers museum in Oxford. There are many useful products that originates from the honeybee and that are of great use in wood work. The various applications of bees-wax is well known, but there is also such substances as propolis which are used by instrument makers since ancient times to give the wood a beautiful stain.

Thibaw Min, the last king of Burma

Bees are in general received with much less hostility and disgust than other insects, which is totally understandable. Besides that they make delicious honey, there is actually almost nothing that is not cool about them. They live in a geometric grid with a queen and feed their kids some weird stuff potruding from their heads called royal jelly. When the queen needs to be replaced they all gather round her and give her the "cuddle-death" by overheating her. Then they nurse a couple new virgin-queens which after they have hatched will fight each other (under a battle-cry called piping) till there is only one left.

The two pictures above were taken at the Horniman museum where one could see the internal workings of the hive between two panes of glass. One of the guys that worked there pointed out to us the waggle dance that the bees do when they try to communicate to each other the direction of the best flowers.

A confused and tired bumble bee taking a break on my shoulder.

A good article about bees from Cabinet Magazine.

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