Who Knew Bees Could Get Drunk?

I didn’t. It’s something I never considered , because why would you? But indeed, bees can get drunk on fermented nectar. A drunk bee acts much the same as a drunk person, dazed, confused and unable to fly. Arrests for Public drunkenness were often reported in the newspapers during Emily Dickinson’s time, but there is no documentation of Emily partaking in the drinking of alcohol. Rather her words tell us again and again that she gets intoxicated by nature. I can definitely relate. I often find myself taken aback, delightfully stunned, my whole soul brandy soaked in the beauty, natural wonders and marvels of our world.

The quote “Write drunk, edit sober” has been misattributed to Ernest Hemingway but according to Quote Investigator, there seems to be no evidence that he ever said that. Hemingway was known to drink often, but he wrote in the mornings and did not drink until the afternoon. Speaking of drinking, for today’s Carol and Emily poem, I had to look up the word “quaffing”. The Oxford Dictionary tell us that it means “drink (something, especially an alcoholic drink) heartily.” Not unlike Hemingway, I have been known to drink heartily from time to time, but definitely not when writing. It doesn’t work for the bee, who can’t find her way back to her nest or is rejected by the other bees if she does, and it doesn’t bode well for me if I want to make any sense.

Maybe like me, you learned something new today. With Spring just 4 days away, perhaps like me, you plan on going outside and getting intoxicated by nature. Until next time…


Drunk bees? | Can bees really get drunk? | Perth Honey Company

Write Drunk, Revise Sober – Quote Investigator

I Stole Them From A Bee

According to the Emily Dickinson Archive, there are 280 instances of bees in poems written by her. There is plenty of analysis out there regarding her personification of bees and flowers etc. and how it speaks of gender conventions, religion and eroticism, but that’s not what this blog is about. It’s widely accepted that she loved nature and spent quite a lot of time by herself in it, thus why so many of her poems contain references to the natural world. Emily no doubt knew of the bee’s importance in contributing to biodiversity, creating a food source, and as pollinators facilitating wild plant growth. Bees are also said to pollinate one-third of the global food supply, more than 90 different agricultural crops.

Like Emily, I find great beauty and solace in nature. It has many valuable lessons and secrets to teach us if we take the time to observe the cycles, habits, and behaviors of other living things. One might surmise that Emily preferred the natural world over human beings, especially toward the end of her life when she became more reclusive. I submit that she sincerely appreciated the contributions of the natural world to the beauty of our planet and took the time to write about it.

  • References- Emily Dickinson Archive
  • Eating Well Magazine, Mar.2021