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This article examines the apian imagery that runs through Plato's Republic in order to show how Socrates exploits traditional bee-related metaphors to strengthen his case against poetry. Socrates transvalues the traditional association between poetry and honey by conflating the image of the productive bee-poet with that of the parasitic drone-citizen, thus using poetry's own value terms to critique it on political grounds. By reconfiguring sweetness in all forms as a toxin inimical to a healthy state and incommensurate with the philosophic values of purity and moderation, Socrates turns the poetic tradition against itself. Once sweetness and benefit are understood to be mutually exclusive, poetry's apian "virtues" become political liabilities.