Symboles of immortality and resurrection, the bee was chosen so as to link the new dynasty to the very origins of France. Golden bees (in fact, cicadas) were discovered in 1653 in Tournai in the tomb of Childeric I, founder in 457 of the Merovingian dynasty and father of Clovis. They were considered as the oldest emblem of the sovereigns of France.
The symboles of empire The eagle and bee, emblems of the First and later Second Empire, have become so familiar that it is easy to forget their origin and meaning.
Napoleon often wore bees, or rather images of the small, industrious insects, sometimes quite a lot of them, embroidered on some of his regal garments. They also ornamented many objects in his imperial residences, and he allowed some of his highest ranking courtiers to wear them and decorate with them as well.
The most remarkable features of bees are that they are very organised, laborious, disciplined, tireless. They are seen as an example for the whole society from the ancient times.
Sources: • http://symbols.ehibou.com/bee/ • http://www.napoleon.org/en/essential_napoleon/symbols/index.asp • http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/napoleon/art-and-design/symbols • http://regencyredingote.wordpress.com/2010/10/22/the-bees-of-napoleon/ Adrien.jonckheere