Seaside and Wayside, Book One  by Julia McNair Wright

Other Bees

O NE bee is called a mason bee. She takes fine mud or clay, to make a cell. The cell is the shape of an urn. Now and then, she builds this urn in an empty snail shell.

One kind of mason bee is of a dark green color. Mason bees are very small. Some mason bees live in holes in the ground. In the hole they make a clay cell like a box.

They are so neat that they do not like to see a mud wall. What does the bee do to her wall? She cuts out bits of nice, soft leaves, and lines her cell! Some bees take bits of green leaves, as of the plum tree, but they like bright color best. One kind of bee lines her cell with the petals of roses. When she has glued them all over the cell, she then puts into it some food and an egg.

Do you not think the new bee will like its gay, pink cell? One kind of bee likes red poppy leaves best. She cuts the bits of leaf quite small.

There is a bee in Brazil, which makes a large nest, like a great bag. It is full of round balls. The balls are full of honey. The wax and honey of this bee are of a dark color.

One kind of bee has no sting. Would you like that bee best?

The tree bee is also called the wild bee. This bee chooses an old tree with a hollow trunk. It cleans out more and more of the old, dead wood, and builds nice combs.


Jacks of All Trades

A tall tree may be full of combs, from root to top. In such a tree, more than one swarm will live and work. Each swarm has its queen, and keeps in its own place.

Smoke makes bees fall as if dead. People drive bees off with the smoke from a fire of wood or paper.

When I was a little girl, our bees sometimes swarmed on the Fourth of July. I had to stay at home and watch them, and I am sure I did not like that.