a swarm in May is worth a load of hay; a swarm in June is worth a silver spoon; but a swarm in July is not worth a fly

a swarm in May is worth a load of hay; a swarm in June is worth a silver spoon; but a swarm in July is not worth a fly

1655 S. HARTLIB Reformed Commonwealth of Bees 26 It being a Proverb, that a Swarm of Bees in May is worth a Cow and a Bottle [bundle] of Hay, whereas a Swarm in July is not worth a Fly.

1710 Tusser Redivivus May 11 The Proverb says, ‘A Swarm in May is worth a Load of Hay’.

1879 R. JEFFERIES Wild Life in Southern County vii. ‘A swarm in May is worth a load of hay; a swarm in June is worth a silver spoon; but a swarm in July is not worth a fly’—for it is then too late..to store up..honey before the flowers begin to fade.

1945 F. THOMPSON Lark Rise v. As she reminded the children: A swarm in May’s worth a rick of hay; And a swarm in June’s worth a silver spoon; while A swarm in July isn’t worth a fly.

1985 D. FOSTER Dog Rock ii. A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay, A swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon, A swarm of bees in July is worth not a fly. On that basis, a swarm of bees now would be worth a milking cow, but I won’t be joining it to one of my colonies.


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  • hay — see if in February there be no rain, ’tis neither good for hay nor grain make hay while the sun shines a swarm in May is worth a load of hay; a swarm in June is worth a silver spoon; but a swarm in July is not worth a fly …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • May — see May chickens come cheeping April showers bring forth May flowers ne’er cast a clout till May be out marry in May, rue for aye so many mists in March, so many frosts in May sell in May and go away …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • worth — see the worth of a thing is what it will bring a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush a king’s chaff is worth more than other men’s corn an ounce of practice is worth a pound of precept a peck of March dust is worth a king’s ransom …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • load — see a swarm in May is worth a load of hay; a swarm in June is worth a silver spoon; but a swarm in July is not worth a fly …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • swarm — see a swarm in May is worth a load of hay; a swarm in June is worth a silver spoon; but a swarm in July is not worth a fly …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs, Thematic Index — absence absence makes the heart grow fonder he who is absent is always in the wrong the best of friends must part blue are the hills that are far away distance lends enchantment to the view out of sight, out of mind …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • Swarming (honey bee) — Swarming is the natural means of reproduction of honey bee colonies (considering the colony as the organism rather than individual bees which cannot survive alone), including the domesticated Western honey bee. In the process two or more colonies …   Wikipedia

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