Symbolic Meaning of Bee Tattoos
Bee Tattoos Indicate Family, Social Order, and Cleanliness
Bees and their cousins have long been involved with humankind, both bad and good. Humans have collected honeycomb for tens of thousands of years, while the earliest death by wasp sting was recorded in 2,000 B.C. when an Egyptian pharaoh was killed. Offerings of honey and honeycomb are often found in burial chambers to supplement the dead in their trip to the afterlife.
Surprisingly the bee and wasp were used in early warfare, as records show that the ancient Mayans would throw beehives at rival tribes, while the Romans and Greeks used them as catapult ammunition. Swarms of wasps indicated divine retribution in the Bible.
The bee came to represent the soul due to its fact to return home over extreme distances, as well as fertility. Many superstitions surround the bee, such as killing the first wasp of the season in England protected you from your enemies.
Since bees are incessant hard workers the bee can represent diligence, respect for social order and cleanliness. It can mean hope and faith, and Napoleon used it in his regal symbol to represent family. It has also been used on coins of ancient civilization.
See "Bee Tattoo Design"