Longreads

The death of a monarch is never simple. There’s a vacuum of power that needs to be filled, an anxiety of influence that requires the successor to establish their power quickly, and a challenging period in which the memory of the deceased is negotiated and shaped (in some cases — hello, French Revolution! — this phase can last centuries). In a lovely essay at Nautilus, John Knight explores the war of succession that followed the death of the original queen in his Brooklyn-rooftop beehive. It’s a conflict not just between a wannabe-queen and her reluctant subjects, but also between human and insect, each following their own complex protocols for survival.

As far as I can tell, my queen died sometime in the spring. Queens typically live for about four or five years, so this caught me by surprise. A new queen, however, is a regular event in the life…

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