He had heard that these special bees were both plague-proof, and abundant producers of an unusually clear honey.
Images: We see different sorts of bees in varied poses... single bees, and bees in acrobatic groups.
The Plague-Proof Bees
Soon after Ypres, Hive-Maker receives a telegram from his half-sister Ella Spiralum, who tells him that he must immediately return to London, in order to take the precautions neccessary to protect his bee-farm against a plague. Hive-Maker quickly guesses that this disease is a ploy by which his beloved dead have begun to visit earth. As prevention (or encouragement, it must be admitted that Hive-Maker is at times morally opaque), Hive-Maker buys a special breed of plague-proof Mesopotamian bees, advertised as fool-proof, which he in addition has guessed have some attachment to the spirit world.