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And then, too, it is that they afford presages both of private and public interest, clustering, as they do, like a bunch of grapes, upon houses or temples; presages, in fact, that are often accounted for by great events. Bees settled upon the lips of Plato when still an infant even, announcing thereby the sweetness of that persuasive eloquence for which he was so noted. Bees settled, too, in the camp of the chieftain Drusus when he gained the brilliant victory at Arbalo;1 a proof, indeed, that the conjectures of soothsayers are not by any means infallible, seeing that they are of opinion that this is always of evil augury. When their leader is withheld from them, the swarm can always be detained; and when lost, it will disperse and take its departure to find other kings. Without a king, in fact, they cannot exist, and it is with the greatest reluctance that they put them to death when there are several; they prefer, too, to destroy the cells of the young ones, if they find reason to despair of providing food; in such case they then expel the drones. And yet, with regard to the last, I find that some doubts are entertained; and that there are some authors who are of opinion that they form a peculiar species, like that bee, the very largest among them all, which is known by the name of the " thief,"2 because it furtively devours the honey; it is distinguished by its black colour and the largeness of its body. It is a well-known fact, however, that the bees are in the habit of killing the drones. These last have no king of their own; but how it is that they are produced without a sting, is a matter still undetermined.

In a wet spring the young swarms are more numerous; in a dry one the honey is most abundant. If food happens to fail the inhabitants of any particular hive, the swarm makes a concerted attack upon a neighbouring one, with the view of plundering it. The swarm that is thus attacked, at once ranges itself in battle array, and if the bee-keeper should happen to be present, that side which perceives itself favoured by him will refrain from attacking him. They often fight, too, for other reasons as well, and the two generals are to be seen drawing up their ranks in battle array against their op- ponents. The dispute generally arises in culling from the flowers, when each, the moment that it is in danger, summons its companions to its aid. The battle, however, is immediately put an end to by throwing dust3 among them, or raising a smoke; and if milk or honey mixed with water is placed be- fore them, they speedily become reconciled.

1 A place in Germany, where Drusus, the brother of Tiberius, gained a victory over the Germans: the locality is unknown.

2 "Fur." A variety, probably, of the drone.

3 So Virgil says— ——Hæc certamina tanta Pulveris exigui jactu compressa quiescent."—Georg. iv. 87.

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