There is no argument regarding how important bees are to our existence. Most bee articles will mention how they are responsible for the pollination of the world’s main crops and also for the continued existence of some plant species. Knowing how important bees are, it is no wonder why they made their way to the entertainment industry.
Which cartoons have bees in them? Numerous cartoon characters made the entertainment industry but only a handful who really made an impression. Among these cartoon characters are Spike (Disney character), Hutch (Hutch The Bee), Barry B. Benson (Bee Movie), and Maya (Maya The Bee). We’ll get to know more about them further in the article.
The reason why bee cartoons have graced the entertainment industry is number one, they are the perfect character to advertise how good honey is, and two, they are adorable little creatures, and three because using a bee cartoon to educate kids of the importance of bees to our environment and our lives makes perfect sense.
Spike (Disney Character)
Spike is a Disney character specifically created for the short animated film entitled “Window Cleaners” In this short animation, Donald Duck is the nemesis of Spike. Pluto made an appearance here as well, and the rivalry between Donald and Spike spur on other short animation from Disney.
Spike is also known as Buzz Buzz or Barrington. In addition to Donald Duck, a different short animation film (Bubble Bee 1949) showed Spike tormenting Pluto as well. Other appearances of Spike have been in other short animated films such as Home Defense (1943), a cameo appearance in Pluto’s Blue Note (1947), Honey Harvester (1949), Bee at the Beach (1950), Bee on Guard (1951), Let’s Stick Together (1952), cameo in Beezy Bear ( 1955), The Mad Hermit of Butte (1960) and another cameo in The Ranger’s Guide to Nature (1966).
Besides the apparent goal of stinging Donald Duck, there appears to be no other reason why Spike was created, but his appearance did give the animation more substance. There is no specific end to Spike’s story as there is no episode or mini animated movie that showed where he is now. As far as I’ve read, he is still antagonizing Donald Duck somewhere.
Hutch (The Adventures of Hutch The Honeybee)
This is an anime series that Tatsunoko Production produced from 1970 to 1971. A total of 91 episodes were shown directed by Ippei Kuri. Jinzo Toriumi wrote the series with Fuji Television network as their home network. The series reached the European entertainment networks where it was translated into the English language. It underwent some changes in 1990 before it showed under the Sabian Entertainment network. A sequel to the series was produced in 1974, with a total of 26 episodes under the title “The New Adventures of Hutch the Honeybee”.
Hutch is a young bee who is the son of the Queen Bee. The series focuses on the adventures Hutch faced after he got separated from his mother when wasps destroyed their hive. His search for his mother is what lead to his numerous adventures as he braved the hostile world he lives in. The reason why this became famous is that the series showed plenty of heartbreaking episodes where Hutch had to watch his newfound friends die.
A remake of the series is then aired in 1989, where the plot stayed the same but with a slight change in scripts and number of episodes. The remake was a more light-hearted version of the original which then led to the making of the movie in 2010 entitled “Hutch the Honeybee” releases in Japan. Foreign countries that aired the series are Australia, United States, Iran, Indonesia, the Philippines, Bahrain, Italy, South Korea, and Thailand.
The main goal of Hutch is in the first series is to reunite with his mother. He is joined by another honeybee named Aya in his search which he then later found out was his sister. Hutch eventually found his mother and saved her from her certain doom and then proceeds to rebuild his destroyed hive. The sequel, on the other hand, is where Aya and Hutch again lose their mother when a group of Wasps once again invaded and destroyed their kingdom. Hutch and Aya’s goal here is to reach a place named Beautiful Hill, where they will build a new hive with Aya as the new queen. The journey ended with Hutch finding his mother and rebuilding their kingdom afterward.
Barry B. Benson (Bee Movie)
Barry B. Benson or Barry is a honeybee who thinks that he is meant to do something more than just work until he retires or dies (which is what the bees are all about in this movie). In this make film animation, bees are given a one time choice of what kind of job they want to take, but Barry believes that he is destined to be a pollen jock (bees who gather nectar outside the hive) because of the burning need to see the outside world he has in him. In a twist of fate, Barry was drafted to fly out with the jocks to collect pollen where he ran into one problem after another.
He then met Vanessa after he landed on the flower patch outside her window to escape the rain. He nearly got squashed by Vanessa’s boyfriend who, apparently was allergic to bees. But because Vanessa is a good-hearted person, she safely captured Barry and then released him outside. He then returned later to thank Vanessa for saving his life breaking the bee’s most sacred rule, “Never talk to humans”. Vanessa and Barry formed a bond as they spend their time together until Barry learned how humans were stealing their honey when Vanessa brought him to the grocery. With anger towards the injustice he feels his kind is being dealt with, he journeyed to one of the beekeeping farms to see first hand what his kind is being subjected to.
Barry, later on, decides to sue the humans for taking their precious honey and won the case. All honey products were banned, and the law stated that all honey should be returned to the bees. With the abundance of honey at their disposal, honeybees stopped gathering nectar from flowers, which then created a problem for the ecosystem as no pollination is taking place. Flowers withered, and trees stopped bearing fruits, turning the world into a gray and sad place. Soon the last remaining flowers on the planet was being carted to the last Flower Festival in Pasadena.
Barry, having seen the bleakness of the world, went with Vanessa to Pasadena to gather flowers to re-pollinate the world. The whole hive joined in the effort, and soon all things were back to normal.
The movie showed back in 2007 under the DreamWorks Animation production with Paramount Pictures as the distributor. It is a full animated comedy film directed by Simon J. Smith and Steve Hickner. Famous persons lend their voice to the characters like Jerry Seinfeld, Renee Zellweger, and Matthew Broderick. It made an astounding $287.6 million from a $150 million budget.
Maya (Maya The Bee)
This is originally a book written by Waldemar Bonsels with the complete title “The Adventures of Maya the Bee”, published in 1912. It was adopted by the Japanese and aired as a series back in 1975 with the title “Maya the Honey Bee”. A more recent series aired in 2012 with the title “Maya the Bee”. As for the films, 2014 showed Maya the Bee Movie followed by Maya the Bee: The Honey Games in 2018 and another film is said to be released in 2020 with the title Maya the Bee: The Golden Orb.
The whole plot of the story is the adventures that Maya and her friends Flip the grasshopper, Willy the bee, Mrs. Cassandra (teacher) and other creatures, experience as they go about their daily life. It mostly showed how Maya, along with her young friends, transition from the young, unruly, and playful bee she was into a more responsible, matured, and adult version of herself.
After her experience of the outside world and the time she spent as a prisoner of hornets, Maya, later on, used her knowledge and wisdom to teach youngsters of her kind of the perils and dangers of the outside world just like how Mrs. Cassandra her teacher did for her.
There are other famous bee cartoon characters other than the ones I gave you above. They are just some of the famous ones that my research provided me. I think that one of the reasons why bees have been used in cartoons in recent years is that many have heard of how the bee’s population is declining. The aftermath of their extinction is something that would affect us all on a fundamental level.
Also, bees are the perfect creatures to show the kids how hard work, perseverance, and being responsible, are important traits to hone to achieve their dreams. And of course, their cuteness also helps.