Statistics tell me that one in three of you reading this are shoveling honey into your mouth from a huge jar right now.* But where did this honey come from? The answer is the honeybee.
When not generating honey, the honeybee engages itself in various other tasks depending upon its position in the colony. The honeybee’s organizational structure is one of rigid specialization, with essentially zero opportunity for upward mobility. No matter how hard a drone works, it will never be promoted to drone manager.
But anyway, what about these tasks? They include building the hive’s wax combs, collecting nectar and pollen from flowers, making kamikaze runs at comparatively huge animals who may not even be interested in bothering them, filling out expense reports. Their most loathed job requirement falls under the category of nectar-collection, and it’s the quota of new flowers each bee is expected to bring in. This can be especially frustrating when there aren’t good leads to work with.
The honeybee is a terrific dancer. So terrific, in fact, that it uses dance in order to communicate. Dances it has mastered include the:
- Waggle Dance
- Tremble Dance
- Shiver Dance
- River Dance
- Twist Again
- Yo, Twist feat. The Fat Boys
- Christoph Waltz
And this is just a partial list.
Unlike the bumblebee, the honeybee cannot temporarily annoy someone else without tearing its own innards out.
Number of legs
The honeybee is governed by the honeybee queen. She wields near-absolute power, allowing for the exception that she does not have the power of mobility. She is trapped for life in the nest, grotesquely fat with eggs at all times. The notion that she can detach herself from her egg sack is a Hollywood fantasy invented by James Cameron to spice up the finale of True Lies.
What isn’t a myth is the queen’s control over her employees through chemical signals, which keep them too doped up to realize that she’s a fat lazy piece of crap who doesn’t deserve the diamond jubilee celebration she forces the colony to give her every few years.** Nor the stock options she gives herself either.
What if it fought a bear?
Have you even read Winnie the Pooh?
Is it noble?
Drones and workers? Moderately.
The queen? No.
The honeybee is immeasurably better at making honey than any other animal in the world. Seriously, raccoon-honey is basically the worst thing I’ve ever put in a peanut butter sandwich.***
At the whole having-a-society thing, its failures are as inescapable as the honeybee’s death after a sting. A revolution is needed before the honeybee will ever make it into the upper tier of animals. …Wait, what are you doing? Oh no, the queen heard me. She’s just chemically controlling you! You don’t want to do this! Attack her! Rise up, bee brethren and – ow! Ow! No! Nooooo!
*My data sample comes primarily from the cast of Winnie the Pooh.
**More like diamond jubibee. I’ll let myself out.
***Raccoonswax is pretty on point, though. It’s no beeswax, but it does alright.