Truly Charmed: The Special Meaning of Bees

Here in the West, we are often taught at a young age to be cautious or nervous around bees because of their stingers and hives. Only recently has popular culture started to appreciate the marvelous accomplishments of bees and all they do for the natural world. As this appreciation has spread, so too have people began to investigate the many cultural meanings of bees beyond this limited perspective. Here is a glimpse into the special meaning of these small, but valuable, creatures.


Bee Symbol

Historical Significance

Bees are a venerable species—the oldest known bee is over 100 million years old and was found encased in amber. Ancient bees were likely more like wasps but developed a taste for nectar and pollen over time.

There are over 20,000 types of bee in the world today, including the famous honeybee which spread from Eurasia all over the globe as a domesticated species. Bees can be found on every continent except antarctica.

Bees are incredibly important to the life cycle of plants, as they spread pollen as they travel and gather nectar. Some species of bee are threatened with extinction, threatening the plants they pollinate as well, this has raised awareness of the importance of preserving bee habitats. 

Use and Meanings

Humans have coexisted with bees since we were hunter-gatherers, with ancient cave paintings and pottery depicting figures collecting honey from hives in the wild. Evidence of beekeeping from antiquity has been found in archaeological finds in Israel, Greece, and China. In South America, the Maya domesticated a stingless bee.

Because of their industrious nature creating hives and gathering nectar, bees are a symbol of hard work: we might even say someone is “busy as a bee” . The creation of the sweet honey they produce and protect shows that their labor is not in vain, and that dedication can be rewarded with abundance.

Bees are also associated with fertility, growth, and Spring because they are pollinators that appear when the flowers bloom. Many ancient (and some contemporary) religions have Goddesses dedicated to beekeeping and honey, who often serve as protectors and caretakers.

gold bee charm bracelet

Bee Charm

For the industrious craftspeople, artists, and go-getters, a Bee Charm is an encouraging reminder that—when you really put your heart and soul into your goals—hard work will pay off.

A bee is also the perfect charm for Springtime fans and flower lovers, ideal for walking in parks and through gardens, symbolizing the wealth of nature around us.