People fear that if there’s a beehive on their rooftop, they’ll be stung… [but] Honeybees are interested in water, pollen and nectar… The real danger is the skewed public perception of the danger of honeybees.
Bug Girl writes:
I love books, and I love words, so I was excited to find an website that specializes in breaking down the origins of common catch phrases. Today’s phrase: The Bee’s Knees.
According to that site (and a few other sources), references to “bee knees” occasionally occurred in the early 1900?s: ’Bee’s knees’ began to be used in early 20th century America. Initially, it was just a nonsense expression that denoted something that didn’t have any meaningful existence…..That meaning is apparent in a spoof report in the New Zealand newspaper The West Coast Times in August 1906, which listed the cargo carried by the SS Zealandia as ‘a quantity of post holes, 3 bags of treacle and 7 cases of bees’ knees’…… Zane Grey’s 1909 story, The Shortstop, has a city slicker teasing a yokel by questioning him about make-believe farm products:
“How’s yer ham trees? Wal, dog-gone me! Why, over in Indianer our ham trees is sproutin’ powerful. An’ how about the bee’s knees? Got any bee’s knees this Spring?”
Pretty much everything I’ve read, though, agrees that the likely popularization of the phrase really occurred in the 1920?s, the period of the flappers. ”Bee’s knees” is part of a fashion for nonsense rhyming slang from the Roaring 20s. The common feature of the slang expressions was mention of an animal part with some alliteration thrown in. Some of my favorites: ”elephant’s adenoids”, “caterpillar’s kimono”, “gnat’s elbows”, “kipper’s knickers”, and “eel’s ankle”. You have probably heard another phrase that’s survived from that period: ”The Cat’s Pajamas.”
All of these phrases generally translate to what, today, would be said as “Awesome!” (Although I suspect there is a newer word for that, but I’m just too old and un-hip to know about it.)
The phrase occurs in print in several places in the US in 1922; Newspapers published “Flapper Dictionaries” to explain the strange and baffling lingo of those damn kids. There is a reference to the term in a Flapper Dictionary from Missouri in 1922; The Newark Advocate, (Ohio) in a 1922 piece printed:
“That’s what you wonder when you hear a flapper chatter in typical flapper language. ‘Apple Knocker,’ for instance. And ‘Bees Knees.’ That’s flapper talk. This lingo will be explained in the woman’s page under the head of Flapper Dictionary.”
Alas, while the concept of the phrase referring to the collection of pollen on actual bees’ knees is appealing, it appears not to be the case.
If you want to have a fun 20?s flashback, here’s some Harold Lloyd driving around NYC.
Today we started setting up a “Bee Nirvana” next to this private bass pond!
The space was generously donated to us by Dr. Robert Cassar to create a
HoneyLove Sanctuary for the Rescued Honeybees of Los Angeles.
Thank you Jeremy for the introduction… and thank you Adam for your help!
….stay tuned for more details and photos!
“Honeylove, written by our dear friends Rob and Chelsea McFarland is another other blog I’m loving these days. Are these two adorable or what? Not only are they incredibly good looking, they are both multi-talented and super sweet. Rob and Chelsea post interesting bee related facts, videos and cute pictures on Honeylove almost daily…”
Dancing Honeybee Using Vector Calculus to Communicate
Thank you Bill Rosendahl for your support in legalizing urban beekeeping!
If you haven’t signed our online petition yet – please click the link below and help us save the honeybees! (You do not need to live in Los Angeles to sign!)
TED TALK – Dennis vanEngelsdorp: a plea for bees
Solar Beeswax Melter
I have a bunch of beeswax from cut-outs…so what to do? I came up with this design based on a few I’d seen online and was able to pull together most of the material from around the house. The concept is pretty simple – sun heats up metal, melting wax into a trough.
Seemed to be working well, though I think it needs a full day of sun to fully melt the wax. It got warm enough today to melt the wax into piles, though not warm enough to make it run into the trough. We’ll see tomorrow after it gets full sun all day.
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