Bees are prevalent in the myths of many cultures worldwide. As pollinators they are essential to all life, and seen spiritually as faithful servants of the Goddess, and exemplified in individual colonies by dedication to their queen. They are virtually icons of androgyny, and along with their delicious, healing, and preserving honey are symbolic of eroticism and sensuality, love, death, and lastly, immortality.
At the temple of Aphrodite, priestesses were called "Melissae", which means "bees," and Aphrodite herself was called Melissa, the queen bee. At the Ephesian temple of Artemis, the melissae were accompanied by transgendered priests called "Essenes", which means drones.
Scientifically, bees are classified as members of the hymenopteran order, meaning "veil-winged," recalling the hymen or veil that covered the inner shrine of the Goddess's temple, and the high priestess who bore the title of Hymen, presiding over marriage rituals and the Honey Moon.
Melissae by Wendy Knox Morton