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Chapter 20 - The Secret Life of Bees

Yesterday was World Bee Day and there is a lot of buzz (forgive me) about how the bee population is declining due to insecticides and other environmental hazards. A recent article, for example, stated that we should not kill dandelions because this is often the first pollen bees are able to access in the spring.

The importance of bees can be seen in mythology as well as literature. Napoleon Bonaparte used the bee as his royal symbol probably because it referred to the days of early France and showed the people of France that he expected to start a dynasty.

Bees are also symbols of hard work and dedication. They take pollen from flowers and spread it to other plants which allows propagation. They also make honey to feed themselves and other animals. Bees are seen as industrious, creative, and are symbols of wealth.

I guess it is no surprise then that bees are often in fiction and here are some books I have read which have bees in them.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd - This terrific story takes place in 1964 in South Carolina. When Lily Owens, who has vague memories of her mother being killed, is taken in by a trio of black beekeepers she learns a lot about bees, honey, and love. The sisters help her piece together information about her mother's past.

The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King - Sherlock Holmes retires from detective work and takes up beekeeping, specifically studying the honey bee in Sussex Downs. He meets a teenage girl with the intelligence, drive, and courage to be his assistant not only at beekeeping but also at solving crimes. Her name is Mary Russell and this is the first in a wonderful series.

Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie - This Hercule Poirot mystery is one of her best. On a trip back to England from Paris, a passenger of a small plane is killed. Poirot just happens to be on the plane as well as a wasp. Hmmm - well any one of the remaining 10 people could be the killer or is it the wasp?

The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King - The mystery this time is that an entire colony of bees is missing from their hives. Couple that with the reappearance of a failed case from Sherlock Holme's repetoire. It all proves to be a wonderful mystery.

The Beekeeper's Secret by Josephine Moon - Maria Lindsey spends her days taking care of her bees and making wonderful honey products. But Maria has secrets she has brought to her secluded homestead, secrets which have the power to make all her hard work and peace go away.

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