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.
What do Bees Symbolize?
Bees can be a symbol for 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 community.
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).
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.
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!?).
Bees pollinate flowers by bringing the 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!
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 have often employed bees as their animal of choice to represent their brand.
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.
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
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.
I’m a Scorpio, I love the outdoors, and I’ve written articles in some major online publications like Medium and The Weekly. My favorite metaphor? Anything that’s got to do with baseball. I’m fascinated by the fact our language has baseball weaved all through it. Read more about me here.