The Bee People  by Margaret Warner Morley

The Family Exodus

O NE cannot go on adding several thousand members a week to one's family without sooner or later being obliged to enlarge the house—or move out. The Apis people move out.

As soon as a young queen comes out of her cell, the old queen packs up, so to speak, and prepares to depart.

She does not carry as much luggage as the Queen of England carries when she goes from Buckingham Palace to the Isle of Wight.

She merely gathers up her thousands of eyes, her shortish, but still valuable tongue, her basketless legs, and other personal possessions and starts off, taking with her most of the old bees in the hive, and leaving behind the young queen with the young bees and the honey-comb, and the brood comb full of eggs and larvæ and pupæ.


She is very generous to the young queen, who of course is her own daughter, and leaves all the furniture and silver spoons and everything of that sort behind.

Away she goes, with her faithful followers surrounding her in a dense swarm.

The whole swarm goes careering through the air like a small cyclone, and I for one should not like to stand in its path.

Some say the bees send out scouts to find a good place before the swarm starts, either a hollow tree or some other convenient shelter, or else they go into a nice new hive if somebody has been watching and has one ready.

Into the new home they go, and to work they go; and in a little while you would never suspect the family had recently moved in, so busy and so thoroughly at home do they all appear.

They build new combs, make new honey and bee-bread, and just as soon as the cells are ready the queen continues her egg-laying.