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also bee-line, 1838, American English, from bee + line (n.), in reference to the supposed homing instinct of bees in the field.
TO LINE BEES is to track wild bees to their homes in the woods. One who follows this occupation is called a bee hunter. [Bartlett, 1859]
A direct and speedy route
[1830; fr the notion that bees take the most direct route in returning to their hives]