Beekeeping is one of mankind’s oldest agricultural pursuits, with artifacts discovered associated with honey harvesting dating as early as the Stone Age. Honeybees were imported into North America in the early 17th century by early European settlers, and since then we have continued to unravel the complexity of these highly social insects in order to gain a better understanding of honey production and the importance of honeybees in agriculture.
Like lavender, an early centre of beekeeping was Lower Egypt, with its extensive irrigated lands full of flowering plants. An early pharaoh’s title was the Bee King and Egyptian gods were also associated with the bee. The sanctuary in which Osiris was worshipped was known as the Mansion of the Bee.
Similar to lavender unguents kept in Tutankhamen’s tomb, temples kept bees in order to satisfy the desire of the gods for honey and for the production of medicines and ointments.