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There are field bees also, and wild bees, ungainly in appear- ance, and much more irascible than the others, but remarkable for their laboriousness and the excellence of their work. Of domestic bees there are two sorts; the best are those with short bodies, speckled all over, and of a compact round shape. Those that are long, and resemble the wasp in appearance, are an inferior kind; and of these last, the very worst of all are those which have the body covered with hair. In Pontus there is a kind of white bee, which makes honey twice a month. On the banks of the river Thermodon there are two kinds found, one of which makes honey in the trees, the other under ground: they form a triple row of combs, and produce honey in the greatest abundance. Nature has provided bees with a sting, which is inserted in the abdomen of the insect. There are some who think that at the first blow which they inflict with this weapon they will instantly die,1 while others, again, are of opinion that such is not the case, unless the animal drives it so deep as to cause a portion of the intestines to follow; and they assert, also, that after they have thus lost their sting they become drones,2 and make no honey, being thus castrated, so to say, and equally incapable of inflicting injury, and of making themselves useful by their labours. We have instances stated of horses being killed by bees.

They have a great aversion to bad smells, and fly away from them; a dislike which extends to artificial perfumes even. Hence it is that they will attack persons who smell of unguents. They themselves, also, are exposed to the attacks of wasps and hornets, which belong to the same class, but are of a degenerate3 nature; these wage continual warfare against them, as also does a species of gnat, which is known by the name of " mulio;"4 swallows, too, and various other birds prey upon them. Frogs lie in wait for them when in quest of water, which, in fact, is their principal occupation at the time they are rearing their young. And it is not only the frog that frequents ponds and streams that is thus injurious to them, but the bramble-frog as well, which will come to the hives even in search of them, and, crawling up to the entrance, breathe through the apertures; upon hearing which, a bee flies to the spot, and is snapped up in an instant. It is generally stated that frogs are proof against the sting of the bee. Sheep, too, are peculiarly dangerous to them, as they have the greatest difficulty in extricating themselves from the fleece. The smell of crabs,5 if they happen to be cooked in their vicinity, is fatal to them.

1 If it is left in the wound, the insect dies, being torn asunder.

2 Of course this is fabulous, as the drones are males.

3 Though belonging to the same class, they are not of degenerate kinds.

4 The "mule-gnat."

5 See Virgil, Georg. B. iv. 1. 27.

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