What do Bees Symbolize? (Time to Work Harder!)

This article is at the request of one of our readers, who wants to know what bees symbolize in dreams and popular culture. Bees have been employed as a symbol for a very long time – and one metaphor that stands out is the “working bee”, which has of course been used for many years to refer to a hard-working person.

But many people who relate to a bee or see symbolism in bees look to their positive features: their commitment to community, their joy in hard work, their ability to pack a punch disproportionate to their size, and … of course … their ability to bring about fertility.

bees symbolism


What do Bees Symbolize?

1. Community

Bees can be a symbol of the community. This symbolism comes from the idea that bees never work alone. Each member of the bee community has a specific purpose and role. You’re a certain member in the hierarchy – a ‘worker bee’ or ‘queen bee’, for example. Bees also work well together to get big things done, so they epitomize that idea of pitching in, coming together, and getting things done. In fact, this idea of pitching in together to imagine something bigger than ourselves is often called a “hive mind”. So, bees have long been seen as a symbol of unity of community and commitment to the community.

See also: Dolphin Dream Meanings

2. Power

Bees are small but they pack a punch. We might think of Mohammad Ali’s concept: “fight like a butterfly, sting like a bee!” Bees are small but powerful. In particular, if bees get together into a swarm, they really can be a very powerful unit. They are intimidating and can bring down a large animal (or human!) with their stings. They can also get a lot of work done by working in a group. So their power comes both individually and as a group. Therefore, bees can be reflected upon as small but powerful creatures (hence why many small, strong and busy people see the bee as their spirit animal).

Related Article: Hornet Symbolism

3. Hard Work

Bees work hard. Very hard. So, we’ll often call someone a “busy bee” if they keep working and working for 16 hours a day every day! Similarly, if a group of people are working away at something and focused on the task, we call the sound of that discussion a “buzz”. In fact, there is a whole cohort of bees that are called “worker bees” as their whole purpose is to work hard in order to contribute to the hive.

Related Article: Bee Sting Spiritual Meaning & Symbolism

4. Productivity and Industry

This is one of my favorite ones. Bees are above all else productive. They do things. We’ll often say someone’s spirit animal is a bee if the person always needs to be busy or always needs to be doing something with their hands. Similarly, a person who really relates to bees might be a person who is always making things. You might be a person who’s a big-time woodworker or crafts person. This clearly comes from the fact that you always see bees at work and never see them relaxing (although, how would we know!?).

Related: Swarm of Flies Dream Meaning

5. Fertility

Bees pollinate flowers by bringing pollen from plant to plant. They’re an integral member of the ecosystem. And, the ecosystem would collapse without them (that’s why we need to save the bees). Many people see bees in dreams as symbols of their fertility or that there will be a ‘happy surprise’ in the not-too-near future!

6. Health

Similar to the above point, many people can see bees as a symbol of health. If you see bees in an ecosystem or flying through a field of flowers, you know that the ecosystem is still healthy. Bees come out in full force in Spring, a time of year that is usually upbeat, healthy, and thriving. Thus, the emergence of bees is often seen as a good sign that things are looking up and health is in the future.

Read Also: Dead Bee Symbolism

7. Working Class Unionism

The bee has been employed as a symbol of working-class unionism for over 150 years. It’s best known as the symbol of the working-class city of Manchester, UK. This is because bees are workers who ‘buzz away’ actively. They travel in large masses and stick together. Many working-class people and especially members of the union movement can relate. So, the left-wing working class has often employed bees as their animal of choice to represent their brand.

Related Article: Black Bee Spiritual Meaning and Symbolism

8. Selflessness

Bees can be a symbol of selflessness, as bees are so non-individualistic. Instead, they’re always focused on helping out the tribe and protecting the queen. So, we often see them as being creatures who are giving to the many and expect nothing in return. 

Read More: 11 Animals That Symbolize Loyalty

9. Focus

As bees rarely stop working, we can consider them to be focused. They don’t wander from their jobs and remember their purpose. Bees may symbolize a person’s focus and determination on a single-minded goal.

Another animal that symbolizes focus is the mouse.

Meaning of Bees in Dreams

1. Getting Stung by a Bee
This may symbolize that someone may betray you in the future. It may also symbolize that you have some internal pain or guilt that is being expressed in your dreams.

2. Seeing a Dead Bee
Seeing a dead bee is said to mean that there may be financial pain and troubles in the near future.

3. Being Chased by Bees
This often means that there’s something bad from your past that is coming for you and that you need to run away and escape from.

4. Seeing a Queen Bee
This often refers to authoritative, powerful women. It may mean that you indeed need to awaken your inner queen bee, and that it’s time to use your authority and inner feminine power some more.

Conclusion – The Symbolism of Bees

The bee might be your spirit animal if you’re small, strong, and busy. You might be little but you’re mighty! If you’re here seeking out ways to use bees as a metaphor or symbol in your writing, you might want to use the bee as a subtle symbol when you’re exploring issues related to hard work or fertility.

For other information on symbols related to flying creatures, check out our articles on the symbolism of feathers, what the blood red of flamingoes represents, our content on sparrow symbolism, or the interesting symbolism of green dragonflies.