CHAP. 21.—THINGS THAT ARE NOXIOUS TO BEES.
Echo, or the noise made by the reverberation of the air,
is also injurious to bees, as it dismays them by its redoubled
sounds; fogs, also, are noxious to them. Spiders, too, are especially
hostile to bees; when they have gone so far as to build their
webs within the hive, the death of the whole swarm is the result.
The common and ignoble moth,1
too, that is to be seen fluttering
about a burning candle, is deadly to them, and that in more
ways than one. It devours the wax, and leaves its ordure
behind it, from which the maggot known to us as the " teredo"
is produced; besides which, wherever it goes, it drops the
down from off its wings, and thereby thickens the threads of
the cobwebs. The teredo is also engendered in the wood of
the hive, and then it proves especially destructive to the wax.
Bees are the victims, also, of their own greediness, for when
they glut themselves overmuch with the juices of the flowers, in
the spring season more particularly, they are troubled with
flux and looseness. Olive oil is fatal2
to not only bees, but
all other insects as well, and more especially if they are placed
in the sun, after the head has been immersed in it. Sometimes, too, they themselves are the cause of their own destruction; as, for instance, when they see preparations being
made for taking their honey, and immediately fall to devouring it with the greatest avidity. In other respects they are
remarkable for their abstemiousness, and they will expel
those that are inclined to be prodigal and voracious, no less than
those that are sluggish and idle. Their own honey even may
be productive of injury to them; for if they are smeared with
it on the fore-part of the body, it is fatal to them. Such are
the enemies, so numerous are the accidents—and how small a
portion of them have I here enumerated!—to which a creature that proves so bountiful to us is exposed. In the appropriate place3
we will treat of the proper remedies; for the
present the nature of them is our subject.