Dear Dr. Boli: The honey I just bought at a local organic market claims on the label that it came from an “apiary” in Westmoreland County. I thought honey was made by bees rather than apes. What’s going on? —Sincerely, Dr. Carolina Thicket, Curator of Primates, Duck Hollow Museum of Natural History.

Dear Madam: Honey is indeed made by bees, as you were taught from infancy; and an apiary, as you correctly surmised, is an institution devoted to the cultivation of apes. Apes, and especially gibbons, have an instinctive aptitude for tending bees, and are frequently employed for that purpose. It is a happy arrangement for both species, as it is cheaper than employing human attendants for the purpose, and it gives the apes something to do. Dr. Boli is somewhat surprised that a scientist in your position would not be aware of these well-known facts, but he supposes that you are more accustomed to meeting apes after they have paid a visit to the taxidermist, which renders them entirely unfit for tending bees. The advantage of the stuffed ape for museum purposes, of course, is that it tends to be less sticky, the taxidermist having carefully cleaned off the honey before mounting the specimen.

The use of apes in the honey industry is only one of the many ways in which our animal friends are employed to the benefit of humanity. You should ask Dr. Boli about foxholes some day, or perhaps about catamarans.


  1. Teresa says:

    Dear Doctor Boli,

    How do you make goat’s milk soap? Is goat’s milk unusually soapy? I have some goats and I am curious.

    Curious in Steubenville

  2. Jeff says:


    Please accept my profound gratitude for shedding a ray of light on a problem that has plagued and confounded me for many years. As a collector of WWI dog tags, I have spent countless evenings attempting to mute the dreadful cacophony that issues from my spare bedroom, particularly during a full moon. Your lucid response to Dr. Thicket’s obtuse query has now fully illuminated the nature of my own difficulties, and suggests a simple yet elegant solution. My late wife’s chickenpox collection will, I believe, be put to better use than it has seen since the authorities sealed her laboratory.

  3. John says:

    Surely you do not want to be emulated.

    John B.

  4. DJD says:


    While it is certainly accurate that Apes have a Natural Tendency towards bee-keeping, it should be noted that the Gibbon is better employed in writing Historickal works regarding the Classical period. He will chafe at menial labor such as collecting Honey, and his intellectual powers will atrophy. Such employment is considered animal abuse in many states.

    – Dr. J. Dogwood

  5. A. Mellifera says:


    May I be so bold as to inquire as to the use and origin of beeswax?

    A. Mellifera
    Rome, Italy

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