Edmund Banfield gave up beekeeping rather than destroy the bee-eating birds


Beekeeping Information

“No one who takes up bees and who studies their manners and methods can allow his admiration to remain dormant. It is not the fault of the bees if he does not become ashamed of himself in some respects; nor are they to blame if the wisest men fail quite to comprehend some of the wonders they perform. Only by those "who list with care extreme," are their gentle tones heard aright; and even from such are some secrets hidden. How is it that an egg deposited by the queen-mother in a more than ordinarily capacious compartment hatches a grub, "just like any other," which grub, feasting upon the concentrated food stored within its cell, expands and lengthens and emerges an amber queen in all her glory? Bee-keepers learn that the queen and the drones are the only perfect insects in the hive, the hoard of willing, bustling slaves being females in a state of arrested development. Each worker might have been a queen but for the fact that environment and a special food were not vouchsafed in the embryonic stage. By making artificial queen-cells, which the workers provide for, men bring about the birth of queens at will. Not yet has the secret of the manufacture of royal jelly been revealed. But is it not the common belief that the spacious compartment and the special food work the transformation of what otherwise would have been a brief-lifed toiler to an insect of majestic proportions, regal adornment and imperial instinct, whose wants are anticipated and who has no duty to perform save that of increasing and multiplying her faithful subjects? Man controls the development of an insect. May not those who complain of the disparity between the births of females and males still listen to hope's "flattering tale"? Such is one of the homilies of the hive.” – Confessions of a Beachcomber by by E J Banfield