Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation

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Queen Bee, busy as a bee, and the land of milk and honey are expressions that permeate the language within American culture. Music, movies, art, advertising, poetry, children's books, and literature all incorporate the dynamic image of the tiny, industrious honey bee into our popular culture. Honey bees - and the values associated with them - have quietly influenced American values for four centuries. Bees and beekeepers have represented order and stability in a country without a national religion, political party, language, or family structure. Bees in America is an enlightening cultural history of bees and beekeeping in the United States. Tammy Horn, herself a beekeeper, offers a varied social and technological history from the colonial period, when the British first brought bees to the New World, to the present, when bees are being trained by the American military to detect bombs. Horn shows how the honey bee was one of the first symbols of colonization and how bees' societal structures shaped our ideals about work, family, community, and leisure. In turn, the Puritan work ethic was modeled after the beehive, and this model continues to influence American definitions of success. Still a powerful symbol today, the honey bee is both a source of income and a metaphor for America's place at the center of global advances in information and technology.