I picked up a book the other day about ancient biological and chemical weapons. I was a little surprised that it has a chapter on insect weapons. It not that I don’t think insects can be a weapon, as we saw in my recent post on the defense of Chester, it’s just that I didn’t think of them as a biological weapon.
In the case of Chester, its seems as though the bee hives are a last-ditch method to repel the Vikings. On the other hand, bee hives would have been common in medieval cities and monasteries. Bees are about the only insect that I can think of in northern Europe that could be used as intentional weapons. I doubt wasps could be found in high enough numbers to use as a weapon.
Can anyone think of other examples of biological weapons used in early medieval Britain? More bees, wasps, venom, or intentional spread of disease? Poisoning wells is one of the oldest tricks in the book but I can’t think of any examples of it off-hand, can you? Poisoning wells is, I think, usually considered an act of biowarfare because the most common way to poison a well (or spring) is to dump dead bodies or animal carcases in it.