Many Freemasons wonder what the significance of the Masonic beehive is to their craft. Let’s take a look at it:
Queen bees develop from larvae, which is selected by the worker bees. She is specially fed Royal Jelly so that she becomes larger and therefore, can produce and retain a greater number of worker bees during her lifetime for the benefit of the hive. Without being chosen by her “brethren”, to become the “Queen Bee”, she would grow up to become a worker bee, just like all the rest.
While she is continuously surrounded by worker bees who meet her every need, her sole function is to serve as the reproducer of her species. During her life as the Queen Bee, she will usually only leave the hive once…and that is to reproduce. From this one-time outing, she will be able to lay eggs for the rest of her life, which is approximately 2-7 years.
A well functioning lodge (I mean hive) consists of one Queen bee, (Master of the Lodge) many worker bees and a few drones. A well functioning beehive is a very busy place, indeed,…industry being each bee’s highest virtue…with the exception of the drones.
Drones are larger than the worker bees, however they do absolutely nothing to promote the welfare of the hive. They do not gather nectar, make honey or make beeswax. They do not cap off each cell of honey that has been stored nor do they fan the cell to dry the bees wax. They also do not perform any housekeeping tasks toward the common good of their fraternity nor do they educate the younger bees in how to perform the work.
Needless to say, the drones do not worry about having enough honey stored to take the fraternity through the long Winter. The worker bees must feed the drones or the drones would starve and die. The only reason the drones are kept alive by the worker bees is to promote the reproduction within the hive. As you can see, the hive needs very few drones if it is to function properly.
If too many drones have been produced by the Queen Bee, their excess numbers drag down the abilities of the entire hive because each working member has to attempt to care for and feed these non-working members of their fraternity without receiving anything in return.
In the bee world, their excess numbers are internally counted and when the drones numbers exceed their usefulness, the worker bees drag these non-working members of their institution to the front door of the hive where they are left, alone to perish…not because they feel no charity, but simply because for their fraternity to survive, they cannot continue to nourish and support non-working members.
Therefore, Worker Bees understand that:
They must elect the strongest of the larvae to become
their Queen (Lodge Master).
If they do not continue to help the Queen (Lodge Master)
reproduce offspring; they will die.
If each worker bee does not work in unison with the
other members of the fraternity to feed, nurture and
retain each and every other worker bee member of their
institution, their industrious fraternity will die.
Freemasonry is full of allegory. Allegory means that you are representing one thing, when you’re actually alluding to another thing. It is a literary style which means you teach by innuendo. Most allegories include a “moral of the story”. The story of the beehive, above, is an allegory. The last paragraph beginning with “Therefore, Worker Bees understand that:” contains the moral of the story.
“Thus was man formed for social and active life, the noblest part of the work of God; and he that will so demean himself as not to be endeavoring to add to the common stock of knowledge and understanding, may be deemed a drone in the hive of nature, a useless member of society, and unworthy of our protection as Freemasons.” … Carl H. Claudy, The Master’s Book, Published by The Temple Publishers, copyright 1946