CHAP. 20.—THE DISEASES OF BEES.
Bees are also by nature liable to certain diseases of their
own. The sign that they are diseased, is a kind of torpid,
moping sadness: on such occasions, they are to be seen bringing out those that are sick before the hives, and placing them
in the warm sun, while others, again, are providing them with
food. Those that are dead they carry away from the hive,
and attend the bodies, paying their last duties, as it were, in
funeral procession. If the king should happen to be carried
off by the pestilence, the swarm remains plunged in grief and
listless inactivity; it collects no more food, and ceases to issue
forth from its abode; the only thing that it does is to gather
around the body, and to emit a melancholy humming noise.
Upon such occasions, the usual plan is to disperse the swarm
and take away the body; for otherwise they would continue
listlessly gazing upon it, and so prolong their grief. Indeed,
if due care is not taken to come to their aid, they will die of
hunger. It is from their cheerfulness, in fact, and their
bright and sleek appearance that we usually form an estimate
as to their health.
(19) There are certain maladies, also, which affect their
productions; when they do not fill their combs, the disease
under which they are labouring is known by the name of
and if they fail to rear their young, they are suffering
from the effects of that known as blapsigonia.2