History of Animals, Aristotle (4th century BCE)

First published: Fourth century BCE.
Library copy published: 2002.

History of Animals, Aristotle

“There are two sorts of “ leaders “ : the better kind is red, the other dark and somewhat mottled. Their size is double that of the worker-bee, and the part below the diazoma is half as long again. Some people call them “ mothers,” implying that they produce the young, and urge in favour of this view that the brood of drones comes into existence even if no “ leader “ is in the hive, whereas the brood of “ bees “ does not. Others maintain that copulation occurs among these insects, and that the drones are male and the “ bees “ are female.” p. 189

“The kings or “ rulers ” have a sting, but never use it ; hence some people suppose that they do not possess one.” p. 189

“There are two kinds of “ leaders,” as I have already said. In each hive there are several “ leaders,” not one merely ; a hive comes to grief unless it has enough “ leaders “ in it : this is not because of any resulting lack of leadership, but (so we are told) because they contribute towards the generation of “ bees.” A hive will also fail if the “ leaders “ are too numerous : they produce factions in the hive.” p. 191