Bees and Wasps in Art and Illustration

Beehive, English woodcut, 1658
The Bee Friend, a painting by Hans Thoma (1839–1924)
Insects, Millipedes, and Spiders, published in 1877 by Alfred Brehm (1829-1884) and Ernst Ludwig Taschenberg (1818-1898), German entomologists
Insects, Millipedes, and Spiders, published in 1877 by Alfred Brehm (1829-1884) and Ernst Ludwig Taschenberg (1818-1898), German entomologists
Apis Ligustica bees print- Original hand-colored engraving from “The Naturalist's Library” by Sir. William Jardine Published 1840 by Edinburg
Apis Ligustica bees print- Original hand-colored engraving from “The Naturalist’s Library” by Sir. William Jardine Published 1840 by Edinburg
'Three's Trouble' – three kittens by a beehive, one white, one black and one tabby kitten by Helena Maguire
‘Three’s Trouble’ – three kittens by a beehive, one white, one black and one tabby kitten by Helena Maguire (1860-1909)

The clearing itself was pleasant if the unweeded rows of young shafts of corn were not before him. The wild bees had found the chinaberry tree by the front gate. They burrowed into the fragile clusters of lavender bloom as greedily as though there were no other flowers in the scrub; as though they had forgotten the yellow jessamine of March; the sweet bay and the magnolias ahead of them in May. It occurred to him that he might follow the swift line of flight of the black and gold bodies, and so find a bee-tree, full of amber honey. The winter’s cane syrup was gone and most of the jellies. Finding a bee-tree was nobler work than hoeing, and the corn could wait another day. The afternoon was alive with a soft stirring. It bored into him as the bees bored into the chinaberry blossoms, so that he must be gone across the clearing, through the pines and down the road to the running branch. The bee-tree might be near the water.

Second paragraph from The Yearling (1938)
Outdoors Magazine August 1935 bear being chased by bees cover art
Outdoors Magazine August 1935 bear being chased by bees cover art
Hilda T Miller
Hilda T Miller

This is a rather scary looking bee. Don’t bees sting from their butt ends rather than their noses?

Bumble bee from Froggy Went A Courtin
Bumble bee from Froggy Went A Courtin (1955)
Alain Gree, French illustrator, 1971
The Forgotten Planet written by Murray Leinster, cover illustration

The mushroom forest came to an end. A cheerful grasshopper munched delicately at some dainty it had found—the barrel-sized young shoot of a cabbage-plant. Its hind legs were bunched beneath it in perpetual readiness for flight. A monster wasp appeared a hundred feet overhead, checked in its flight, and plunged upon the luckless banqueter.

There was a struggle, but it was brief. The grasshopper strained terribly in the grip of the wasp’s six barbed legs. The wasp’s flexible abdomen curved delicately. Its sting entered the jointed armor of its prey just beneath the head with all the deliberate precision of a surgeon’s scalpel. A ganglion lay there; the wasp-poison entered it. The grasshopper went limp. It was not dead, of course, simply paralyzed. Permanently paralyzed. The wasp preened itself, then matter-of-factly grasped its victim and flew away. The grasshopper would be incubator and food-supply for an egg to be laid. 

from The Forgotten Planet at Project Gutenberg