Via Ken Layne, here's a snippet from a newspaper article from 1956, documenting one of a very few incidents in which honey bees attended their keeper's funeral quietly, and after the burial, flew back to their hive.
bees, funerals, beekeepers
i find this so weirdly touching. and of course it reminds me of atwood's maddaddam trilogy.
This is fascinating! Scientists have increasingly encountered what appears to be grieving behaviors among animal societies, and I'm not surprised that a social creature like bees would have a mourning ritual or behavior of its own. But it's pretty damn incredible that these two instances record bees seeming to recognize the HUMAN version of it by attending a funeral. Can we get an Attenborough-voiced documentary on this, STAT?
If nobody has read The Bees by Laline Paull yet, you should go read The Bees by Laline Paull.
This "tell the bees" tradition used to be very important. It was thought that not telling the bees about their keeper's death would cause them to stop producing honey.
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