Honeybees

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Africanised Honeybees Infographic USA

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Lucas Cranach: Cupid stung by bees

Cupid Complains to Venus

‘Cupid complains to Venus’ by Lucas Cranach the Elder, oil on board

Lucas Cranach The Elder's painted 'Cupid Complaining to Venus' around 1526. Cupid is depicted stealing honey from a bees nest in a tree, being stung by the irate bees and complaining to his mother Venus, the goddess of love, who stands exquisitely by and chastises Cupid: 'There's never sweetness without pain'.

A honeybee will sting an intruder if it perceives a threat, this is a defensive mechansim. Once the bee has stung the intruder an alarm pheronome is released and alerts other bees from the hive. They may also sting. A bee's
sting is a modified ovipositor and during the act of stinging, bee venom is injected into the intruder through the sting. In humans this results in pain and itching, and motivates the intruder to flee the vicinity. The bees have then successfully defended their home.

Robbing wild honeybees of their honey, as Cupid does here, would almost certainly result in angry bees and stinging. Sometimes death may also result from a bee sting, this is called
anaphylactic reaction or shock. Honeybees often target the eyes of their disturber, apparently attracted by their movement. A sting in the eye is intensely painful (as the author can testify) and any attack of the eyes causes panic. In such a situation Cupid would see the disturbed bees fly towards him and here them buzzing angrily. He would experience immediate pain as the bees stung his flesh. The ensuing pain, panic and threat to his vulnerable parts, would cause Cupid to desire to flee. Later Cupid's stings would redden, swell, remain painful, and become itchy: along with Venus' chastisement, a lasting reminder of his theft.

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Bee Books @ Bees in Art


Bees in Art Books

Some of the bee books in the Bees in Art bookshop.

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Queen honeybee mezzotint engraving by Andrew Tyzack. Now available framed and matted. A limited edition of 60 printed on Hahnemühle acid free paper.


Honeybee queen

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New in Bees in Art: Honeybee tryptich: Drone: Queen: Worker. An open edition print by renowned insect artist Richard Lewington. Signed in pencil.

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Rick Lieder @ Bees in Art

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