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Regarding Bees: Symbols in Modern Society: The Cultural Hive

Array ( [0] => ENGL 6330 Spring 2018 [1] => no-show [2] => student exhibit )

And that's why birds do it, bees do it
Even educated fleas do it
Let's do it, let's fall in love

—Cole Porter, "Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love"


Miel et Abeilles

Bee Idioms

Americans use bees in everyday communition through the use of idioms. Some of the idiomatic phrases are older in origin yet are still used and recognized by many as people are still using nature today as a way to connect to one another.

Bee’s Knees

A bee has very tiny knees, which is why this phrase was originally used to describe something weak and insignificant. However, around the 1920s, the phrase, along with others such as “cat’s pajamas” became a high compliment.

Queen Bee

A queen bee means much more than the head of a literal hive. It is also often used to describe a woman who is the head of a group. For example, in the movie Mean Girls, Regina George is called the queen bee of her clique of girls who rule the school. The singer Beyonce is also often referred to as Queen Bey (pronounced “bee”).

Hive of activity

The idea of a hive is often used to describe any place with many people working or moving. The New York Times used the image as recent as November 2017 in an article entitled “Building a Buzzy Hive of Invention and Collaboration” to describe Brown University as they turn an old building into a nursing school.

Similarly is the phrase “busy as a bee” to describe someone who is working hard.

The Birds and the bees

a euphemism used to talk about sex. Often the phrase is used as a joke. The New York Times used it May 2017 in the title of the article “Sometimes the Birds and the Bees Get Short Shrift in School.”


[1] Horn, Tammy. Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation. Lexington, The University Press of Kentucky, 2005.


Image Citations

Jordan, Louis, project director. "Continental Currency." University of Note Dame. Ed https://coins.nd.edu/ColCurrency/CurrencyText/CC-01-14-79.html

Buruca, AJ. Salt Lake Temple Door Knobs. 10 Mar. 2014, photograph. http://www.ajburuca.com/salt-lake-temple-door-knobs/

Grand, Pierre. Miel et Abeilles. 14 Apr. 2016, Photograph. Flickr.