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Things of Middle-earth

Beorn's Bees

Type: Animals


The large bumblebees whose apiaries are kept by the skin-changer Beorn to provide his household with numerous products:
A bumblebee.
A bumblebee on a coneflower.
'[Beorn] keeps hives and hives of great fierce bees, and lives most on cream and honey.'....

It was the middle of the afternoon before they noticed that great patches of flowers had begun to spring up, all the same kinds growing together as if they had been planted. Especially there was clover, waving patches of cockscomb clover, and purple clover, and wide stretches of short white sweet honey-smelling clover. There was a buzzing and a whirring and a droning in the air. Bees were busy everywhere. And such bees! Bilbo had never seen anything like them....

A bee skep.
A traditional bee skep, a conical basket coiled from grass or straw.
They were bigger than hornets. The drones were bigger than your thumb, a good deal, and the bands of yellow on their deep black bodies shone like fiery gold.

'We are getting near,' said Gandalf. 'We are on the edge of his bee-pastures.'....

They soon came to a wooden gate.... Inside... were rows and rows of hives with bell-shaped tops made of straw. The noise of the giant bees flying to and fro and crawling in and out filled all the air.

The Hobbit, Ch 7, Queer Lodgings

Bee Products
[On] the table were two tall red beeswax candles....

The Hobbit, Ch 7, Queer Lodgings

At last Gandalf pushed away his plate and jug — he had eaten two whole loaves (with masses of butter and honey and clotted cream) and drunk at least a quart of mead 1....


[Beorn] would lade them with food to last them for weeks with care... red earthenware pots of honey, and twice-baked cakes that would keep good a long time, and on a little of which they could march far. The making of these was one of his secrets; but honey was in them, as in most of his foods, and they were good to eat, though they made one thirsty.


1Mead is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey and water. The drink was very popular in Anglo-Saxon times.

The Annotated Hobbit, Annotated by Douglas A. Anderson, Ch 7, Queer Lodgings, Note 9

Elena Tiriel 9Jul04; 12Jul04, 9Aug10

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