Miss Weeley told me yesterday at dinner that all the bees had died in this district, and that the reason was they had not been ‘told’ about the war.
It appears that bees should always be ‘told’ abut deaths in the family and other important happenings; otherwise they will die. She met a woman in the road with a lot of honey and asked her how it was that she alone had succeeded with her bees. The woman said: ‘Ah! But as soon as the war broke out I went and told my bees all about it.’ Miss Weeley believed in this superstition. Edith Johnston said that her parents had lost 7 hives out of 9.
from Arnold Bennett;s Journal, July 22nd 1915