I was wondering what does it mean to kick over a beehive. Sample:

If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.

  • 2
    "Don't poke the bear"
    – Mitch
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 13:07
  • 2
    Kick something and cause it to fall over.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 13:10
  • 1
    Refrain from forcibly using your foot to topple the enclosed, man-made structure for housing honey bees.
    – jimm101
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 14:13

2 Answers 2


Kick over means exactly that, to topple something by giving it a kick. If you do that to a beehive, you won't get the honey you're after, but you will get an angry swarm of bees looking to sting you.

So if you want something from people, maybe it's better not to stir up bad feelings. If you do, you won't achieve your aim, but it's likely you'll have angry people ready to attack you.


"Kick over" is defined thus in Macmillan Dictionary.


kick over the traces to behave badly, or to do things that other people do not approve of Therefore the usage is fine in "If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.''

  • I think the full phrase would be "to kick over the traces" which will mean 'to behave badly'.
    – joker13
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 10:54
  • 1
    kick over the traces means Fig. to do what one is meant not to do; to rebel against authority. Therefore my earlier reply is very correct. I disagree with the suggestion made and referred to above.
    – Abhilaaj
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 13:05
  • 1
    In the above quoted saying, "kick over" means precisely that -- to kick and cause to tumble over. Has nothing to do with "behave badly". (And "kick over the traces" is something I've never heard in the US, in all my 67 years. It was an anachronism 50 years ago.)
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 13:13

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