KEEPING BEES FOR PROFIT AND PLEASURE
BY FRANK 0. CARPENTER
FOR TAU BhTA PI
PING BEES FOR PROFIT AND PLEASURE
Most peoole, I believe, when they think of bees think of
stings and honey. Nearly everyone likes honey yet a very few
people will go anywhere near the bees. When one gets used to
them, one finds bees most Interesting little insects, and in
most cases very gentle provided that you treat them gently too.
PLEASURES IN BEEKEEPING. The layman can hardly see any
pleasure In keeping bees and getting stung every other day.
I dont believe that there are many beekeepers who find much
pleasure In getting stung either; however most beekeepers rarely
In spite of this hazard to me it is a real pleasure to
work with the bees. They are really quite friendly. Although
they may buzz around your head with a rather curious hum, they
seldom have any intentions of stinging. If you will be calm
and don't move rapidly, you can push them about In the hive
like so many flies. Sometimes when you accidentally pinch a
bee she will stina;, but usually not even then.
It is fun to take out a frame and watch the bees at work
keeping house. The queen walks around looking into every cell
and carefully lays an egg in each empty one. The workers are
all busy. They move about and poke their heads into one cell
after another. Some are bringing food to the brood, some
storing nectar, and others tamping pollen into the cells.
The real pleasure in beekeeping is taking off the honey
along in the middle of the summer. You then see the fruits
of your labors of the preceeding winter and spring: Super
after super, each filled with twenty-eight sections of comb
honey with snow white cappings; That golden yellow stream
as the honey flows from the extractor; Bottle after bottle,
can after can is filled with the precious liquid. This is
the true pleasure of beekeeping.
PROFIT IN BEEKEEPING. Professional beekeepers keep a
greet many large colonies. It Is an established fact that
a single large colony will produce much more honey than many
small ones; consequently the colonies in commercial apiaries
often reach mamouth proportions. Some of these colonies
produces seven or eight hundred pounds of honey per season.
A good average for commercial apiaries is about one hundred
pounds per colony, while the average back yard colony produces
only twenty-five to thirty pounds. Many tons of honey are
used each year by the bakeries, and there is a surprisingly
large demand for honey for table use, especially In the western
states. Most back yard beekeepers that sell their honey have
a much larger demand than they can hope to supply.
Beeswax also brings a very nice price. Aside from Its
use in the Industry as foundation, beeswax is usde chiefly
for candles for the Catholic Church.
Honey and beeswax are the only profits received directly
from the bees. However the bee's value In pollenization of
orchards and truck crops can never be overemphasized. Every
fruit farm and most truck farms either keep bees or rent them
for this purpose alone.
The literature of beeculture is filled with countless
stories of great success at beekeeping. However not every
one is successful all . the time. In poor honey years only a
few colonies will produce any surplus at all, and the great
majority of beekeepers will suffer a loss. In general most
beekeepers can make a profit of from ten to fifty dollars per
colony per season, and one man can easily handle one hundred
colonies or more. The majority of the bees in this country
will probably be found in back yard apiaries, kept mostly for
pleasure and incidentally for profit.
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Frank G-. Carpenter
REFERENCES. My own experience with "bees and my readings
in the literature for the past few years, principally from,
GLEANINGS IN BEECULTURS, published by the A. I. Root Co.,