If a bee enters your home, it’s a sign that you will soon have a visitor. If a bee flies into the house it is a sign of great good luck, or of the arrival of a stranger; however, the luck will only hold if the bee is allowed to either stay or to fly out of the house of its own accord. If you kill the bee, you will have bad luck, or the visitor will be unpleasant.
A swarm of bees settling on a roof is an omen that the house will burn down.
“If bees stay at home, rain will soon come. If they flay away, fine will be the day.” – Folklore/Proverb
It’s bad luck to give away a hive: the bees must be sold for a fair price commensurate with their worth.
Bees should never be moved from one place to another without being told beforehand.
There will be a disaster shortly if they become lazy.
If bees suddenly swarm on a bush or tree there will be a death nearby.
Bees can tell whether a girl is pure or not, and that any girl whose family has a hive and who is about to be married should inform the bees before doing so if she wants a long and happy marriage. She must go to the hive and whisper quietly, ‘Little Brownies, little Brownies, your mistress is to be wed.’ If she wants to make doubly sure of their blessing, she will leave a piece of wedding cake outside the hive for their enjoyment.
Bees have often been regarded as wise and even holy insects, having foreknowledge as well as knowledge of many secret matters. They were divine messengers, and their constant humming was believed to be a hymn of praise. Because of their status it is still considered unlucky in some places to kill a bee.
A bee landing on someone’s hand is believed to foretell money to come, while if the bee settles on someone’s head it means that person will rise to greatness.
Bee-stings were once thought to prevent rheumatism, and in some places a bee-sting was also thought to cure it.
They were once considered to deliberately sting those who swore in front of them, and also to attack an adulterer or unchaste person.
It was once held to be a sure sign that a girl was a virgin if she could walk through a swarm of bees without being stung.
There is believed to be a very strong link between bees and their keepers; bees cannot prosper in an atmosphere of anger or hatred, and will either pine away and die, or fly away.
There is still a common belief that bees should be told about deaths that occur in the beekeeper’s family; in past times this was extended to include every birth, marriage or other notable event in the life of the family. It was especially important to inform the bees of the death of their owner; traditionally this was done by the eldest son or widow of the owner, who would strike each hive three times with the door key and say ‘The master is dead!’. If the procedure was not followed, the bees would die or fly away. In many districts the hives were put into mourning by having black crepe draped around them, and at the funeral feast sugar or small amounts of the food eaten by the mourners were brought out for the bees.
An old country tradition states that bees should not be purchased for money, as bought bees will never prosper. It is acceptable to barter goods of the same value in exchange for bees, and in some districts gold was an acceptable form of payment. A borrowed swarm or one given freely is more likely to do well; a stock of bees was often started from a borrowed swarm on the understanding that it would be returned if the giver was ever in need of it.
Source: Vanessa’s Pagan Place Folklore Page