Paper Monitor: Glory bee

  • 30 April 2013

It's the bee's moment in the sun this morning, with pictures of nature's little stripey wonders sitting on bright yellow flowers on at least two front pages.

That makes it the pictorial star of the day, if you discount the snaps of the Duchess of Cambridge on the front pages of the Daily Star, Daily Express, The Times, Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail (OK, that's a lot, but Paper Monitor has exceeded its quota of snarky comments about "pregnant Kate" stories for this month, so let's concentrate on the bee).

"At last, Europe votes for plan bee." Yes, the bee is not only the gardener's friend, but it's also the newspaper hack's.

Not only does it give good picture copy, it also lends itself to the easiest of puns - "the bee or not the bee", "sting operation", "bee movie", "don't worry bee happy", "plan bee" (did we mention that one already?). Try that with a wasp and see how far you get.

"The European Union has voted for a two-year ban on neonicotinoids, the nerve-agent pesticide blamed for a dramatic decline in bee populations," says the Independent. "The UK voted against the ban, which follows a two-year campaign by the Independent". (Which does lead the reader to wonder, how successful was this campaign? Anyway...)

The Telegraph's feature pages have an interview with the head of the Oxfordshire Beekeepers' Association, who thinks the ban may have unintended consequences. It also reveals that David Cameron's claim to be the life patron of the Association "had a whiff of Walter Mitty of it". The PM used to be president, "and ceased to be involved when he became party leader".

Meanwhile the Mail delves more closely into the bumblebee's private life, and it is not a pretty sight.

"Honeybee sex is a brutal affair," writes biology professor, Dave Goulson. Paper Monitor will spare you the gory details, but afterwards apparently the queen leaves "a trail of dead lovers behind her".

As the lady in the Punch cartoon said after watching Macbeth, "How unlike the home life of our own dear queen."