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S00256882 V 


OCT I 2 1983 

SEP'o^ 199^ 


Plate 1. 

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L. L. LAXGSTROTH at 70. 



Revised by DADANT 

Twentieth Edition 



Hamilton. Hancock County. Illinois. U. S. A 







^ 19701 

Plate 2. 

L: L. LANGSTROTH at 80. 


Lorenzo Lorrain Langstroth, the "father of American 
Apiculture/' was bom in the city of Philadelphia, December 
25, 1810. He early showed unusual interest in insect life. His 
parents were intelligent and in comfortable circumstances, 
but they Avere not pleased to see him "waste so much time" in 
digging holes in the gravel walks, filling them with crumbs of 
bread and dead flies, to watch the curious habits of the ants. 
No books of any kind on natural history were put into his 
hands, but, on the contrary, much was said to discourage his 
"strange notions.'' Still he persisted in his obsen-ations, and 
gave to them much of the time that his playmates spent in 

In 1827, he entered Yale College, graduating in 1831. His 
father's means having failed, he supported himself by teach- 
•ing, while pursuing his theological studies. After serving as 
mathematical tutor in Yale College for nearly two years, he 
was ordained Pastor of a Congregational church in Andover, 
Massachusetts, in May, 1836, and was married in August of 
that year to Miss A. M. Tucker of New Haven. 

Strange to say, notwithstanding his passion in early life 
for studying the habits of insects, he took no interest in such 
pursuits during his college life. In 1837, the sight of a glass 
vessel filled with beautiful comb honey, on the table of a 
friend, led him to visit the attic where the bees were kept. 
This revived all his enthusiasm, and before he went home he 
purchased two colonies of bees in old box hives. The only lit- 



erai-j' knowledge which he then had of bee-culture was gleaned 
from the Latin writings of Virgil, and from a modem writer, 
"who was somewhat skeptical as to the existence of a queen- 

In 1839, Mr. Langstroth removed to Greenfield, Massachu- 
setts. His health was much impaired, and he had resigned his 
pastorate. Increasing very gradually the number of his colo- 
nies, he sought information on all sides. The "Letters of 
Huber" and the work of Dr. Bevan on the honey bee (London, 
1838), fell into his hands and gave him an introduction to the 
vast literature of bee-keej^ing. 

In 1848, having removed to Philadelphia, Mr. Langstroth, 
with the help of his wife, began to experiment with hives of 
different forms, but made no special improvements in them 
until 1851, when he devised the movable frame hive, used at 
the present da}' in preference to all others. This is recorded 
in his journal, under the date of October 30, 1851, with the 
following remarks: "The use of these frames will, I am per- 
suaded, give a new impetus to the easy and profitable manage.- 
ment of bees." 

This invention, which gave him perfect control over all 
the combs of the hive, enabled him afterwards to make many 
remarks and incidental discoveries, the most of which he re- 
corded in his book, on the habits and the natural history of 
the honey-bee. The first edition of the work was published m 
1852, and in its preparation he was greatly assisted hy his ac- 
complished wife. A revised edition was published in 1857, 
another in 1859, and large editions, without further revisions, 
were published until 1889, when the Dadants undertook the 
first re-writing of the book. 

In January, 1852, Mr. Langstroth applied for a patent on 

Plate 3. 



his invention. This was granted him; but he was deprived 
of all the profits of this valuable discovery, by infringements 
and subsequent law-suits, which impoverished him and gave 
him trouble for years; though no doubt remains now in the 
mind of any one, as to the originality and priority of his 

From the veiy beginning, his hive was adopted by such men 
as Quinby, Grimm and others, while the inventions of Mmin 
and Debeauvoys are now buried in oblivion. 

Removing to Oxford, Ohio, in 1858, Mr. Langstroth, with 
the help of his son, engaged m the propagation of the Italian 
bee. From his large apiary he sold in one season $2,000 worth 
of Italian queens. This amount looks small at the present 
stage of bee-keeping, but it was enormous at a time when so 
few people were interested in it. 

The death of his only son, and repeated attacks of a serious 
head ti'ouble, together with physical infirmities caused by a 
railroad accident, compelled Mr. Langstroth to abandon ex- 
tensive bee-culture in 1874. But when his health permitted, 
his ideas were always turned toward improvements in bee- 
culture. On the 19th of August, 1895, he w^rote us, asking 
us to ivy the feeding of bees with malted milk, to induce the 
rearing of brood. He had also written to others on the same 
subject. On the lJ9th of September he wrote in the American 
Bee Journal, that, after comparative experiments he had found 
that a thirteen comb Langstroth hive gave more honey than the 
ordinary ten frame hive, thus showing that his mind was at all 
times occupied with bees. 

Mr. Langstroth died October 6th, 1895, at Dayton, Ohio, 
while delivering a sermon. He was nearly eighty-five years 
old. His name is now "venerated" by American bee-keepers. 


who are aware of the s^reat debt due him by the fraternity. 
He is to them what Uzierzon* is to German Apiarists, a master 
wiiose teachings will be retained for ages. 

Mr. Langstroth was an emuient scholar. His bee library 
was one of the most extensive in the world. He learned 
French without a teacher, simply through his knowledge of 
Latin, for the sole purpose of reading the many valuable 
works on bees in the French language. He was a pleasant and 
eloquent speaker. His writings are praised by all, and we can 
not close his biography better than by quotmg an able w:iter, 
who called him the "Huber of America.'' 

* Pronounce Tseertsone. 

Plate 4. 



Mr. Charles Dadant was born May 22, 1817, at Vaux-Sous- 
Aubigny, in the golden hills of Burgundy, France. After his 
education in the College of Langres, he went into the mercan- 
tile busmess in that city, but ill-success induced him to remove 
to America. He settled in Hamilton, Illinois, in 1863, and 
found a profitable occupation in bee-culture, which in his hands 
yielded marvelous results. He soon became noted as one of 
the leading apiarists of the world. 

xVfter a few years of trial he made a trip to Italy, in 1872, 
to import the bees of that country to America. Though at first 
unsuccessful, he persisted in his efforts and finally achieved 
great success. He was the first to lay down rules for the safe 
transportation of queen bees across the sea, which is now a 
matter of daily occurrence. 

Later on, in partnership with his son, C. P. Dadant, he un- 
dertook the manufacture of comb foundation which has been 
continued by the firm, together with the management of sev- 
eral large apiaries, run almost exclusively for the production 
of extracted honey. 

Although well versed in the English language, which he 
mastered at the age of forty-six, with the help of a pocket 
dictionary, Mr. Dadant was never able to speak it fluently and 
many of the readers of his numerous writings were astonished 
when meeting him to find that he could converse with difficulty. 
His writings were not confined to American publications, for 
in 1870 he began writing for European bee-journals and con- 



tinned to do so until his methods were adopted, especially in 
Switzerland, France, Italy and Russia, where the hive which 
he recommended is now known under his name. For twenty 
years he was a regular contributor to the Revue Internationale 
D'Apiculture, and, as a result, there is probably not another 
l3ee-writer whose name is so thoroughlj- kno^vn the world over. 

31r. Dadant was made an honorary member of more than 
twenty bee-keepers' associations throughout the world and his 
death, which occurred July 16, 1902, was lamented by eveiy 
bee publication on both continents. 

]Mr. Dadant was a congenial man and a philosopher. He 
retained his cheerfulness of spirit to his last day. 

In addition to his supei-\'ision of the revision of this book, 
he was the author of a small treatise on bees, "Petit ("ours 
d'Apiculture I'ratique.'* He also published, in connection with 
his son, a pamphlet on ''Extracted Honey,"' 1881, now out of 


The first editions of the work of Langstroth were honored 
with the title of "The Classic in Bee-Culture." The first re- 
v.Titten revision was published in 1889, and this was so well 
received in the bee-keeping world that Mr. Charles Dadant 
translated it into the French language. With the help of 
Edouard Bertrand, it was published at Geneva. A little later 
a Russian edition was published — by Kandratieff, of St. Pe- 
tersburg — which has caused a revolution in bee-culture in Run- 
sia. A Spanish edition is published in Barcelona by Pons Fab- 

Mr. Charles Dadant died in 1902, ^Meantime progress has 
continued and we again have to brin^ this classic work for- 
ward by additions and a few corrections. 

In this edition we have aimed to preserve the first experi- 
ments and quotations made, whene^-er they have proven cor- 
rect. We believe in giving credit to the first man who has 
accertained a fact in natural history or has made a discovery. 
We have discarded all the cuts from Girard, because it was 
evident that most of his anatomical studies were copied from 
Barbo and Clerici, -vvithout giving them credit, and we have 
preferred to secure permission to copy the latter^ whose work 
has not yet been excelled. It was published in Milan, under 
the title of "Atlante Di Apicoltura," by A. De Rauschenfels, 
former editor of L'Apicoltore. 

Experienced bee-keepers will notice that we do not describe 
many new implements. It is because we believe in teaching 
beginners to use only that which has been thoroughly tested 
and is unquestionably good. Many new things 'wnill not stand 
the test of long years of practice. It is sufficient, among other 
things, to quote the metal corners for frames and the reversible 
hives. Metal corners were recommended at the time of our 
first re\'ision, and we gave them a mention; they are now dis- 


carded e^en by their inventor. Reversible hives were the craze, 
and were praised in e^'er^' way. We ga^'e two of them a 
mention in our pages, \\-ith a warning against their use. Re- 
versible hives are now almost entirely abandoned. 

We recommend the large hives, yet we know they are not 
popular, because buyers want inexpensive hives. We have 
bowed before public wishes and give descriptions of severrJ 
popular hives ^^hich are certainly successful. But we use 
large hives ourselves, for we consider them the best. 

In our preface of the first re^dsion we extended our thanks 
to Mr. C. F. Muth, now deceased, and to jSIiss Favard, for 
their help in our work. The T\Titer has undertaken this last 
revision alone, but owes gratitude for sound ad^^ce on many 
points to a man who has to do vdth both practice and theorj- 
and whose long experience entitles him to the consideration of 
all bee-keepers. Doctor C. C. Miller, author of "A Year Among 
the Bees" and "Fifty Years Among the Bees." Dr. Miller, 
-with small hives, enlarged at the proper time and again reduced 
in the brood chamber for the honey crop, has sho^vn what 
could be done T\-ith intelligent and energetic management. He 
is not only a successful -vsTiter but a most extensive producer 
of comb honey, and is justly entitled to the name p^'en him 
of the "Nestor of American Bee-Keeping." 

The work of Father Langstroth, sustained in Europe by the 
pen of the Senior Dadant, has entirely changed European 
methods of bee-culture. The improved hive, based upon the 
Langstroth sj'stem, has been adopted all over the world, and 
testimonials come to us from the most remote countries showing 
that the methods taught have proven successful. 

The principal changes in this edition are upon the question 
of "Diseases," as much progress has lately been made in the 
knowledge concerning foul-brood. 


Hamilton, lUinois, January, 1919. 




1. All the leading facts in the natural history, and the 
breeding of bees, ought to be as familiar to the Apiarist, as 
the same class of facts in the rearing of his domestic ani- 
mals. A few crude and half-digested notions, however sat- 
isfactoiy to the old-fashioned bee-keeper, will no longer meet 
the wants of those who desire to conduct bee-culture on an 
extended and profitable system. Hence we have found it ad- 
visable to give a short description of the principal organs of 
this interesting insect and abridged passages taken from 
various scientific writers whose works have thrown an entirely 
new light on many points in the physiology of the bee. If 
the reader will bear with us in this arduous task he will find 
that we have tried to make the descriptions plain and simple, 
avoiding, as much as possible, scientific words unintelligible 
to many of us. 
/ 2. Honey-bees are insects belonging ti) the order Hy- 
( menoptera; thus named from their four membranous, gauzy 
J) wings. They can flourish only when associated in large num- 
S hers, as in a colony. Alone, a single bee is almost as helpless 
/ as a new-bom child, being numbed by the chill of a cool sum- 
/ mer night. 

3. The habitation provided for bees is called a hive. The 
inside of a bee-hive shows a number of combs about half-an- 
inch apart and suspended from its upper side. These combs 



are formed of hexagonal cells of various si^es. in v/hich the 
bees raise theii* young and deposit their stores. 

4. In. a family, or colony of bees, are found (Plate 5) — 
1st, One bee of peculiar shape, commonly called the Queen, 

or mother-bee. She is the only perfect female m the hive, 
and all the eggs are laid by her; 

2nd, Many thousands of icorker-hees, or incomplete females, 
whose office is, while young, to take care of the brood and 
do the inside work of the hive; and when older, to go to the 
fields and gather honey, pollen, water, and propolis or bee- 
glue, for the needs of the colony; and 

3d, At certain seasons of the year, some hundreds and even 
thousands of large bees, called Drones, or male-bees, whose sole, 
function is to fertilize the young queens, or virgin females. 

Before describing the differences that characterize each of 
these three kinds, we will studj^ the organs which, to a greater 
or less extent, thej' possess in common, and which are most 
prominently found in the main type, the worker-bee. 

General Characteristics. 

5. In bees, as in all insects, the frame-Avork or skeleton 
that supports the body is not internal, as in mammals, but 
mostly external. It is fonned of a horny substance, scientific- 
ally called chitine, and well described in the following (juota- 
tion : 

6. ''Chitine is capable of being moulded into almost every 
conceivable shape and appearance. It forms the hard back of 
the repulsive cockroach, the beautiful scale-like feathers of the 
gaudy butterfly, the delicate membrane which supports the lace- 
wing in mid air, the transparent cornea covering the eyes of all 
insects, the almost impalpable films cast by the moulting larva?, 
and the black and yellow rings of our native and imported bees., 
besides internal braces, tendons, membranes, and ducts innu- 
merable. The external skeleton, hard for the most part, and 
varied in thickness in beautiful adaptation to the strain to 
which it may be exposed, gives persistency of form to the little 
wearer; but it needs, wherever movement is necessarv, to have 

Plate 5, 


Magnified and natural size. 


delicate extensions joining the edges of its unyielding plates. 
This we may understand by examining the legs of a lobster 
or crab, furnished like those of the bee, with a shelly case, 
but so large that no magnifying glass is required. Here we see 
that the thick coat is reduced to a thin and easily creased mem- 
brane, where, by flexion, one part is made to pass over the 


"Again, almost every part of the body is covered by hairs, 
the form, structure, direction, and position of which, to the 
very smallest, have a meaning." (Cheshire, *'Bees and Bee- 
keeping," p. 30. London, 1887.) 

y. Mr. Cheshire explains that, as the skeleton or frame- 
work of the bee is not sensitive, these hairs act as organs of 
touch, each one containing a nerve. They also act as clothing 
and aid in retaining heat— 

"and give protection, . as the stiff, straight hairs of the eyes, 
whilst some act as brushes for cleaning, others are thin and 
webbed for holding pollen grains; whilst by varied modifica- 
tions, others again act as graspers, sieves, piercers, or mechan- 
ical stops to limit excessive movement." 

8. The three sections of the body of the honey-bee are per- 
fectly distinct: the head; the -thorax, or centre of locomotion, 
bearmg the wings and legs; and the,. abdomen, containing 
the honey-sack, stomach, bowels, and the main breathing or- 

The princijDal exterior organs of the head are the antennae, 
the eyes, and the parts composing the mouth. 

9. The eyes are five in number, two composite eyes, one 
on each side of the head, which are but clusters of small eyes 
or facets, and three convex eyes, or ocelli, arranged in a tri- 
angle at the top of the head. 

10.. The ^ace^ of the composite eyes, thousands in num- 
ber, are six-sided, like the cells of the honey-comb, and being 
directed towards nearly every point, they permit the insect to 
see in a great number of directions at the same time. 

11. In comparing the eyes of worker, queen and drone, 
Mr. Cheshire says: 


' ' The worker spends much of her time in the open air. Ac- 
curate and powerful vision are essentials to the proper prosecu- 
tion of her labors, and here I found the compound eye possess- 
ing about 6,300 facets. In the mother of this worker I expected 
to find a less number, for queens know little of daylight. After 
wedding they are out of doors but once, or at most twice, in 
a year.* This example verified my forecast, by showing 4,920 
facets on each side of the head. A son of this mother, much a 
stay-at-home also, was next taken. His facets were irregular 

Fig. 1. 


(Copied from the Atlante di Apicoltura, microscopic studies of Count 
fJaetano BarbS, of Milan.) 

in size, those at the lower part of the eye being much less than 
those near the top; but they reached the immense number of 
13,090 on each side of the head. Why should the visual ap- 
paratus of the drone be so extraordinarily developed beyond 
that of the worker, whose need of the eye seems at first to be 
much more pressing than his?'' 

• When going out with a swarm. 


This question Mr. Cheshire answers, as will be seen fur- 
ther, in considering the antennae. (26)* 

12. The three small eyes, ocelli^ are thought by Maurice 
Girard ("Les Abeilles," Paris, 1878), and others, to have a 
microscopic function, for sight at short distances. In the 
hive, the work is performed in the dark, and possibly (?) 
these eyes are fitted for this purpose. 

the large eyes 

Fig. 2. 


(Copied from Barbo.) The facets on each side belong to 

13. Their return from long distances, either to their hive 
or to the place where they have found food, proves that bees 
can see very far. Yet, when the entrance to their hive has 
been changed, even onlj' a few inches, they cannot readily find 

Their many eyes looking in different directions, enable them 

* The reader will readily understand that the numbers between par- 
entheses refer to the paragraphs bearing those numbers. This is for 
the convenience of the student. 


to guide themselves by the relative position of objects, hence 
they always return to the identical spot they left. 

14. If we place a colony in a forest where the rays of 
the sun can scarcely penetrate, the bees, at their exit from 
the hive, will flj' several times around their new abode, then, 
selecting a small aperture through the dense foliage, they 
will rise above the forest, in quest of the flowers scattered 
in the fields. And like children in a nutting party, they will 
gather their crop here and there, a mile or more away, without 
fear of being lost or unable to return. 

As soon as their honey-sack is full, or, if a threatening 
cloud passes before the sun, they start for home, without any 
hesitation, and, among so many trees, even while the wind 
mingles the leafy twigs, they find their way; so perfect is the 
organization of their composite eyes. 

15. Bees can notice and remember colors. While experi- 
menting on this faculty, we placed some honey on small 
pieces of differently colored paper. A bee alighted on a 
yellow paper, sucked her load and returned to her hive. 
While she was absent, we moved the paper. Returning, she 
came directly to the spot, but, noticing that the yellow paper 
was not there, she made several inquiring circles in the air, 
and then alighted upon it. According to Mr. A. J. Cook a 
similar experiment with the same results, was made by Lub- 
bock. ("Bee-keepers' Guide," Lansing, 1884.) 

16. We usually give our bees flour, in shallow boxes, at 
the opening of Spring, before the pollen appears in the 
flowers. These boxes are brought in at night. Eveiy morn- 
ing they are put out again, after the bees have commenced 
flying and hover around the spot. If by chance, some bits of 
white paper are scattered about the place, the bees ^^sit those 
papers, mistaking them for flour, on account of the color. 

17. But ''the celebrated Darwin was mistaken in saying 
that the colorless blossoms, which he names obscure blossoms, 
are scarcely visited by insects, while the most highly colored 
blossoms are very fondly visited by bees." (Gaston Bonnier, 
<'LeR Nectaires/* Paris, 1879.) 


18. For, although color attracts bees, it is only one of the 
means used by nature to bring them in contact with the 
flowers. The smell of honey is, certainly, the main attraction, 
and this attraction is so powerful, that frequently, at day- 
break in the summer, the bees will be found in full flight, 
gathering the honey which has been secreted in the night, when 
nothing, on the preceding evenmg, could have predicted such 
a crop. This happens especially when there is a production of 
honey-dew, after a storm. We have even known bees to gather 

sc tm 

Fig. 3. 


(Magnified 20 times. From Cheshire.) 

A. sc, scape; /f, flagellum ; 1, 2, &c., number of joints; of. antenuary 
fossa, or hollow; tr, trachea; m, soft membrane; loh, webbed hairs; Im, 
levator muscle ; dm, depressor muscle. 

B, small portion of flagellum (magnified 60 times); n, nerve; a, 
articulation of jcint. 

honey from the tulip trees, {Liriodendron tulipifera) on very 
clear moonlight nights. 

19. The antennas (fig. 3, A, B), two flexible horns which 
adorn the head of the bee, are black, and composed of twelve 
joints, in the queen and the worker, and thirteen in the drone. 
The first of these joints, the scape, next to the head, is longer 
than the others, and can move in every direction. The an- 
tenna is covered with hairs. 


''These hairs, standing above the general surface, constitute 
the antennae marvelous touch organs; and as they are distrib- 
uted all round each joint, the worker-bee in a blossom cup, or 
with its head thrust into a cell in the darkness of the hive, is, 
by their means, as able accurately to determine as though she- 
saw; while the queen, whose antenna is made after the same 
model, can perfectly distinguish the condition of every part of 
the cell into which her head may be thrust. The last joint, 
which is flattened on one side, near the end, is more thickly 
studded, and here the hairs are uniformly bent towards the axis 
of the whole organ. No one could have watched bees without 
discovering that, by the antennae, intercommunication is ac- 
complished; but for this purpose front and side hairs alone are 
required; and the drone, unlike the queen and worker, very 
suggestively, has no others, since the condition of the cells is no 
part of his care, if only the larder be well furnished." 

20. The celebrated Francois Huber, of Geneva, made a 
number of experiments on the antennae, and ascertained that 
they are organs of smell and feeling. 

Before citing his discoveries, we must pay our tribute of 
admiration to this wonderful man. (Plate 6.) 

Huber, in early manhood, lost the use of his eyes. His 
opponents imagined that to state this fact would materially 
discredit his observations. And to make their casa still 
stronger, they asserted that his servant, Francis Burnens, by 
whose aid he conducted his experiments, was only an ignorant 
peasant. Now this so-called "ignorant peasant" was a man of 
strong native intellect, possessing the mdefatigable energy and 
enthusiasm indispensable to a good observer. He was a noble 
specimen of a self-made man, and rose to be the chief magis- 
trate in the village where he resided. Huber has paid a 
worthy tribute to his intelligence, fidelity, jDatience, energy and 
skill. A single fact Avill show the character of the man. It 
became necessaiy, in a certain experiment, to examine sepa- 
rately all the bees in two hives. "Burnens spent eleven days 
in performing this work, and during the whole time he scarcely 

Plate 6. 


Author of the ''Nouvelles Observations sur les AbeiUes.''' published 
in Geneva, Switzerland, 1792-1814. 

This writer is mentioned pages 8, 9, 10, 14, 47, 50, 51, 54, 55, 57. 59, 

77, 84, 99, 104. 105, 110, 123, 124, 141, 180, 206, 

209, 244, 282, 300, 301, 394, 491. 


allowed himself any relaxation, but what the relief of his eyts 

Huber's work on bees is such an admirable specimen of the 
inductive system of reasoning, that it might well be studied 
as a model of the only way of investigating nature, so as to 
arrive at reliable results. 

21. Huber was assisted in his researches, not only by Bur- 
nens, but by his own wife, to whom he was betrothed before 
the loss of his sight, and who nobly persisted in marrying 
him, notwithstanding his misfortune and the strenuous dis- 
suasions of her friends. They lived longer than the ordinary 
term of human life in the enjoyment of great domestic hap- 
piness, and the amiable naturalist, through her assiduous at- 
tentions, scarcely felt the loss of his sight. 

22. Milton is believed by many to have been a better poet 
in consequence of his blindness ; and it is highly probable that 
Huber was a better Apiarist from the same cause. His active, 
yet reflective mind, demanded constant employment; and he 
found, in the study of the habits of the honey-bee, full scope 
for his powers. All the observations and experiments of his 
faithful assistants being daily reported, many inquiries and 
suggestions were made by him, which might not have occurred 
to him, had he possessed the use of his eyes. 

Few, like him, have such command of both time and money, 
as to be able to prosecute on so grand a scale, for a series 
of years, the most costlj^ experiments. Having repeatedh* 
verified his most important observations, we take gxeat de- 
light in holding him up to our countiymen as the Prince op 

2.3. Huber, having imprisoned a queen in a wire cage, saw 
the bees pass their antennae through the meshes of the cage, 
and turn them in every direction. The queen answered these 
tokens of love by clinging to the cage and crossing her antennse 
with theirs. Some bees were trying to draw the queen out, 
and several extended their tongues to feed her through the 
meshes. Wonderful as the experiment seemed at that time, 



the fact is verified now by daily occuiTeiiees in queen-rearins;. 
Huber adds: 

^'How can wo doubt now that the communication between 
the workers and the queen was maintained by the touch of tlie 

24. That bees can hear, either by their antennje or some 
other organ, few will now deny, even althouo-h the sound of 
a gun near the hive is entirely unnoticed by them. 

''Should some alien being watch humanity during a thun- 
der-storm, he might quite similarly decide that thunder was to 
us inaudible. Clap might follow clap without securing any ex- 
ternal sign of recognition; yet let a little child with tiny voice 
but shriek for help, and all would at once be awakened to 
activity. So with the bee: sounds appealing to its instincts 
meet with immediate response, while others evoke no wasteil 
emotion." (Cheshire.) 


Fig. 4. 


(Magnified 360 times. From Cheshire.) 

A, portion of front surface of one of the lower members of the flag- 
ellum (worker or queen), s', smelling organ; f, feeling hair. 

B, portion of the side and back of same (worker), h, ordinary hair; 
c', conoid hair; ho (auditory?) hollows. 

C, portion cf one of the lower members of flagellum (drone). 

D, portion of lower member of flagellum (back, worker or queen). 

"The sound that bees produce by the vibrating of their 
wings is often the means of calling one another. If you place 
a bee-hive in a very dark room, their humming will draw the 
scattered bees together. In vain do you cover the hive, or 
change its place, the bees will invariably go towards the spot 
whence the sound comes." (Collin, "Guide du Proprietaire 
d'Abeilles," Paris, 1875.) 

25. To prove that bees can hear is easy, buc to determine 


the location of the organ is more difficult. The small holes 
which were discovered on the surface of the antennae, have 
been considered as organs of hearing by Lefebure (1838), 
and b}' others later. Cheshire has noticed these small holes 
in the six or seven last articulations of the antennae : holes 
which become more numerous towards the end of the antenna, 
so that the last joint carries perhaps twenty. He, also, con- 
siders these as the organs of hearing, especially because they 
are larger in the drones, who may need to disting-uish the 
sounds of the queen's wings.* On this question. Prof. Cook, 
in his "Bee-keepers' Guide," says : 

"No Apiarist has failed to notice the effect of various sounds 
made by the bees upon their comrades of the hive, and how con- 
tagious are the sharp note of anger, the low hum of fear, and 
the pleasant tone of a swarm as they commence to enter their 
new home. Now, whether insects take note of these vibra- 
tions as we recognize pitch, or whether they just distinguish 
the tremor, I think no one knows. ' ' 

26. It is well proven that bees can smell with their an- 
tennas, and Cheshire carefully describes the ''smell hollows/' 
not to be mistaken for the "ear holes." wliicli are smaller, but 
also located on the antennae. 

''In the case of the worker, the eight active joints of the an- 
tenna have an average of fifteen rows, of twenty smell-hollows 
each, or 2,400 on each antenna. The queen has a less number, 
giving about 1,600 on each antenna. If these organs are olfac- 
tory, we see the reason. The worker's necessity to smell nectar 
explains all. We, perhaps, exclaim — Can it be that these little 
threads we call antennae can thus carry thousands of organs 
each requiring its own nerve end? But greater surprises await 
us, and I must admit that the examinations astonished me 
greatly. In the drone antenna we have thirteen joints in all, 
of which nine are barrel-shaped and special, and these are 
covered completely by smell-hollows. An average of thirty 
rows of these, seventy in a row, on the nine joints of the two 
antenna?, give the astounding number of 37,800 distinct or- 

* The queens and the drones, in flight, each have a peculiar and eas- 
ily distinguishable sound. 



gans. When I couple this development with the ^eater size 
of the eye of the drone, and ask what is his function, why- 
needs he such a magnificent equipment? and remember that he 
has not to scent the nectar from afar, nor spy out the coy 
blossoms as they peep between the leaves, I feel forced to the 
conclusion that the pursuit of the queen renders them neces- 
sary." (Cheshire.) 

Fig. 5. 


(Magnified 300 times. From Cheshire.) 

f, feeling hair ; s, smelling organ ; ho, hollow ; c, conoid cr cone- 
shaped hair ; hi, hypodermal or under-skin layer ; n,7i, nerves in bun- 
dles ; a?% articulation ; c', conoid hair, magnified 800 times. 

27. While giving these short quotations and beautiful en- 
gravings from Cheshire's anatomy of the bee, we earnestly 
advise the scientific bee-student to procure and read his work. 
Mr. Cheshire shows us those minute organs so beautifully and 
extensively magnified, that in reading his bock we feel as 
though we were transported by some Genius inside of the body 
of a giant insect, every detail of whose organism was laid 
open before us. However wonderful the statement made 
above, of the existence of nearly 20,000 organs in such a small 
thing as the antenna of a bee, this fact will not be disputed. 
Those of our bee-friends, who have had the good luck to meet 
the editor of the British Bee-Journal, Mr. Cowan, during his 
trip to America, in 1887, will long remember the wonderful 
luicroseopical studies, and the microscope which he brought 


with him. This instrument, the most powerful by far that we 
ever had seen, gave us a practical peep into the domain of the 

28. Better than any other description of the smallness of 
atoms is that given by Fiammarion, m his "Astronomie Popu- 
laire" : 

''It is proven," he says, "that an atom cannot be larger 
than one ten-millionth of a millimeter. It results from this, 
that the number of atoms contained in the head of a pin, of an 
ordinary diameter, would not be less than 


And if it was possible to count these atoms, and to separate 
them, at the rate of one billion per second, it would take 250,- 
000 years to number them." 

29. Girard reports, as follows, an experiment on the olfac- 
tory organs of our little insects : 

"While a bee was intently occupied sucking honey, we 
brought near her head a pin dipped in ether. She at once 
showed symptoms of a great anxiety; but an inodorous pin re- 
mained entirely unnoticed. ' ' 

30. Whatever be the location of their olfactory organs, 
they are miquestionably endowed with a marvelous power of 
detecting the odor of honey in flowers or elsewhere. 

One day we discovered that some bees had entered our honey- 
room, through the key-hole. We turned them out, and stopped 
it up. Some time after, more bees had entered, and we vainly 
searched for the crevice that admitted them. Finally a feeble 
hum caused us to notice that they were coming down the 
chimney to the fire-place, which was closed by a screen. The 
wedge which held this screen having become somewhat loose, 
the motion of the screen in windy weather opened a hole just 
large enough for a bee to crawl through. A few bees were 
waiting behind the screen, and as soon as its motion allowed 
one to pass, she manifested her joy by the humming which 
led to the discovery. These bees, escaping with a load, whe^ 


the door was opened, had become customary and interested vis- 

31. Every bee-keeper has noticed that their flight is guided 
by the scent of flowers, though they be a mile or more away. 
In the city of Keokuk, situated on a hill in a curve of the 
Mississippi, the bees cross the river, a mile wide, to find the 
flowers on the opposite bank. 

32. "Not only do bees have a very acute sense of smell, 
but they add to this faculty the remembrance of sensations. 
Here is an example: We had placed some honey on a window. 
Bees soon crowded upon it. Then the honey was taken away, 
and the outside shutters were closed and remained so the whole 
winter. When, in Spring, the shutters were opened again, the 
bees came back, although there was no honey on the window. 
No doubt, they remembered that they got honey there before. 
So, an interval of several months was not sufficient to efface the 
impression they had received. — (Huber, "Nouvelles Observa- 
tions sur les Abeilles," Geneve, 1814.) 

33. It is well known, also, that bees wintered in cellars 
(H46) remember their previous location when taken out in 
the Spring. 

If food is given to a colony, at the same hour, and in the 
same spot, for two days in succession, they will expect it the 
tliird day, at the same time and place. 

34. "When one of her antennae is cut off, no change takes 
place in the behavior of the queen. If you cut both antennae 
near the head, this mother, formerly held in such high consid- 
eration by her people, loses all her influence, and even the 
maternal instinct disappears. Instead of laying her eggs in the 
cells, she drops them here and there." — (Huber.) 

The experiments made by Huber on workers and drones, 
in regard to the loss of the antennae, are equally conclusive. 
The workers, deprived of their antennae, returned to the hive, 
Avhere they remained inactive and soon deserted it forever, 
light being the only thing which seemed to have any attraction 
for them. 

In the same way, drones, depnved of their antennae, de- 


seited the observatory hive, as soou as the light was excluded 
from it, although it was late in the afternoon, and no drones 
were flying out. Their exit was attributed to the loss of this 
organ, which helps to dii'ect them in darkness, 

35. The inference is obvious, that a bee dejD rived of her 
antennas loses the use of her intellect. 

' ' If you deprive a bird, a pigeon, for instance, of its cerebral 
lobe, it will be deprived of its instinct, yet it will live if you 
stuff it with food. Furthermore, its brain will eventually be 
renewed, thus bringing back all the uses of its senses." — 
(Claude Bernard, "Science Experimentale. ") 

Bees, however, cannot live without their antenn*, and these 
organs would not grow again, like the brains of birds, the 
legs of crawfishes, or the tails of lizards. 

36. Let us notice, in reference to the sensorial organs, 
that the brain of workers is veiy much larger than that of 
either the queen or the drone, who need but a veiy common 
instinct to jDerform their functions; while the various occupa- 
tions of the workers, who act as nurses, purveyors, sweep- 
ers, watchful wardens, and directors of the economy of the 
bee-hive, necessitate an enlargement of faculties very extra- 
ordinaiy in so small an insect. 

37. We cannot leave this subject Avithout quoting the cele- 
brated Hollander. Swammerdam, as Cheshire does: 

'*I cannot refrain from confessing, to the glory of the im- 
mense, incomprehensible Architect, that I have but imperfectly 
described and represented this small organ; for to represent it 
to the life in its full perfection, far exceeds the utmost efforts 
of human knowledge. ' ' 

38. AYe have now come to the most difficult organ to 
describe— the mouth of the bee. But we will first visit the 
interior of the head and of the thorax, to find the nursing and 
salivaiy glands, and explain their uses. 

39. The workers have three pairs of glands: two pairs, 
different in form, placed in the head (fig. 6). and one larger 
pair located in the thorax or corselet. The upper \m\\v. which 



resembles a string of onions, is absent in the drones and 
queens. According to Girard, these upper glands were dis'- 
covered by Meckel in 1846. They are very large and dilated 
in the young worker bees, while they act as nurses, but are 
slim in the bees of a broodless colony. In the old bees, that 

Fig. 6. 

(Magnified. After Barbo.) a, a, glands of the head; h, glands of 
the thorax. The two upper pairs are glands of the head, the lower 
are glands of the thorax. 


no longer nurse the brood, they wither more and more, till 
they become shrunken and seemingly dried. Hence Maurice 
Girard, and others before him, have concluded very rationally 
that these upjDer glands produce the milky food given to the 
larvse, during the first days of their development. Mr. Ches- 
hire has confirmed the veiy reasonable theory that the queen, 
during the time of egg-laying, is fed by the workers from 
the secretions of this gland. 

Fig. 7. 


(Magnified 14 timt^s. From Cheshire.) 

a, antenna, with three muscles attached to mcp, meso-cephalic pillar ; 
cl clypeus ; Ibr, labrum or upper lip ; No. 1, upper salivary or chyle 
gland (this gland really runs in front of the meso-cephalic pillars, but 
here the latter are kept in view) ; o, opening cf same in the mouth; oc. 
ocellus or simple eye ; eg, cephalic ganglion, or brain system ; n, neck ; 
th, thorax ; oe, oesophagus or gullet ; scl, 2, 3, salivary ducts of glands 
two and three ; sv, salivary valve ; ph pharynx ; Ih, labium or lower 
lip, with its parts separated for display ; mt, mentum or chin ; mo, 
mouth ; mx, maxilla ; Ip, labial palpi ; I, ligula or tongue ; b, boutcn. 

40. ''The queen at certain periods has the power of pro- 
ducing between 2,00() and 3,000 eggs daily (98). A careful 
calculation shows that 90,000 of these would occupy a cubic 
inch and weigh 270 grains. So that a good queen, for days or 
even weeks* in succession, would deposit, every twenty-four 

* These facts have been demonstrated so repeatedly, that they are 
as well established as the most common laws in the breeding cf our 
domestic animals, 


hours, between six and nine grains of highly-developed and 
extremely rich tissue-forming matter. Taking the lowest esti- 
mate, she then yields the incredible quantity of twice her own 
weight daily, or more accurately four times, since at this period 
more than half her weight consists of eggs. Is not the reader 
ready to exclaim: What enormous powers of digestion she must 
possess! and since pollen is the only tissue-forming food of 
bees, what pellets of this must she constantly keep swallowing 
and how large must be the amount of her dejections I But what 
are the facts? Dissection reveals that her chyle stomach is 
smaller than that of the worker, and that at the time of her 
highest efforts, often scarcely a pollen grain is discoverable 
within it, its contents consisting of a transparent mass, micro- 
scopically indistinguishable from the so-called *' royal jelly"; 
while the most jiractical bee-men say that they never saw the 
queen pass any dejections at all. These contradictions are 
utterly inexplicable^ except upon the theorj^ I propound and 
advocate. She does pass dejections, for I have witnessed the 
fact; but these are very watery." — (Cheshire.) 

Thus, according to Cheshire, the food eaten by the queen, 
during egg-laying, is already digested and assimilated by the 
bees, for her use. Her dejections, which are scanty and liquid, 
are licked up by the Avorkers, as are also the dejections of the 
drones, if not too abundant. 

41. The other two pairs of glands, which are common to 
workers, queens, and drones, evidently produce the saliva. 
The functions of both must be the same, for they unite in 
the same canal {sd, 2, 3, fig. 7), terminated by a valvule, 
which, passing though the mentum or chin {mt) , opens at the 
base of the tongue. The saliva produced by them is used for 
different purjxjses. It helps the digestion; it changes the 
chemical condition of the nectar (246) harvested from the 
flowers; it helps to knead the scales of wax (201) of which 
the combs are built, and perhaps the propolis (236) with 
which the hives are varnished. It is used also to dilute the 
honey when too thick, to moisten the (263) pollen grains, to 
wash the hairs when daubed with honey, etc. 

These glands vield their saliva while the tongue of the bees 


is stretched out; but the upper glands (No. 1, fig. 7), which 
open on both sides of the pharynx or mouth {ph), can yield 
their product only Avhen the tongue is bent backwards, to help 
feed the larva (64) lying at the bottom of the cell. 

42. The mouth of the bee has mandibles or outer jaws, 
which move sidewise, like those of ants and other insects, 
instead of up and down as in higher animals. These jaws 
are short, thick, without teeth, and beveled inside so as to 
form a hollow when jomed together, as two spoons would do. 
\Yith them, they manipulate the wax to build their comb, 
open the anthers of flowers to get the honey, and seize and 
hold, to drag them out. robbers or intruders, or debris of any 


Fig. 8. Fig. 9. Fig. 10. Fig. 11. 

Head of honey- Head of horey- Mandible of honey- Mandible of honey- 
hornet, bee. hornet. bee. 
(Magnified.) (Magnified.) (Magnified.) (Magnified.) 

43. Fig. 10 shows the jaws of the Mexican hornet highly 
magnified. Fig, 11 shows the jaw.s of the honey-bee, highly 
magnified. Notice the difference in the shape of the two, the 
saw-like appearance of the one, and the spatula shape of the 
other. A glance at these figures is enough to convince any 
intelligent horticulturist of the tiiith of Aristotle's remark- 
made more than two thousand years ago— that "bees hurt no 
kinds of sound fruit, but wasps and hornets are very destnic- 
tive to them." 

We shall give further evidence concerning the correctness 
of this statement. (871) 

4.4. Below the antennas, the clypeus or shield {cl, fig. 7) 
projects, which is prolongated by an elastic rim called labrum 
or upper lip (Ihr). The pharynx is the mouth (ph), and the 


oesophagus (oe) the gullet, through which the food goes into 
the stomach. 

As we have already seen, the canals of the upper glands 
open on each side of the mouth, and discharge their product 
into it at will. 

45. The chin or mentum (mt) is not literally a part of 
the mouth. It can move foi-ward and backward, and supports 
several pieces, among which is the tongue, or proboscis, or 
ligula (/). The tongue is not an extension of the chin, but 
has its root in it, and can onlj^ be partly drawn back into it, 
its extremity, when at rest, being folded back under the chm. 

46. There are, on each side of the tongue, the labial palpi 
or feelers* {b, fig. 12, and Ip, fig. 7), which are fastened to 
the chin by hinged joints. They are composed of four pieces 
each, the first two of which are broad, and the other two small 
and thin, and provided with sensitive hairs of a very fine 
fabric. Outside of the palpi are the maxillae (c^ fig. 12, and 
mx^ fig. 7) which in some insects Jiave the function of jaws, 
but which, m the bee, only ser\'e, with the palpi, to enfold 
the tongue in a sort of tube, formed and opened at the will of 
the insect, and which, by a certain muscular motion, as also 
by the ability of the tongue to move up and down in this 
tube, force the food up into the mouth. 

47. The tongue is covered Avitli hairs, which are of graded 
sizes, so that those nearest the tip or bouton are thin and 
flexible. It— the tongue— is grooved like a trough, the edges 
of which can also unite to form a tube, with perfect joints. 
It is easily understood that if the tongue were a tube, the 
pollen grains when conveyed through it would obstruct it, 
especially when daubed with veiy thick honey. 

48. "A most beautiful adaptation here becomes evident. 
Nectar gathered from blossoms needs conversion into honey. 
Its cane sugar must be changed into grape sugar, and this is 
accomplished by the admixture of the salivary secretions of 
Systems Xos. 2 and 3 (sd, 2, 3, fig. 7), either one or both. The 
tongue is drawn into the mentum by the shortening of the re- 
Organs of taste according to Leydig and Jobert. 

Plate 7. 


Author of the Microscopic Studies, shown in figs. 1, 2, 6, 12, 15, 16, 17, 
18, 20, 23, 26, 28, 33, 37, 38, 39, 44. 



tractor linguaB muscle, which, as it contracts, diminishes the 
space above the salivary valve, and so pumps out the saliva, 
which mixes with the nectar as it rises, by methods we now 

Fig, 12. 


(Magnified. After Barbo.) 

a, tongue ; b, labial palpi ; c, maxilla. 

understand. Bees, it has often been observed, feed on thick 

syrup slowly; the reason is simple. The thick syrup will not 

pass readily through minute passages without tlii lining by a 


fluid. This fluid is saliva, which is demanded in larger quanti- 
ties than the poor bees can supply. They are able, however, to 
yield it in surprising volume, which also explains how it is that 
these little marvels can so well clean themselves from the sticky 
body honey. The saliva is to them both soap and water, and 
the tongue and surrounding parts, after any amount of daub- 
ing, will soon shine with the lustre of a mirror." — (Cheshire.) 

49. The length of the tongue of the honey-bee is of great 
importance to bee-keepers. Some flowers, such as red clover, 
have a corolla so deep, that few bees are able to gather the 
houej^ produced in them. Therefore, one of the chief aims of 
progressive bee-keepers, should be to raise bees with longer 
tongues. This can undoubtedly be done sooner or later, by 
careful selection, in the same way that all our domestic plants 
and animals have been improved in the past. For this, patience 
and time are requii-ed. 

50. The thorax is the intermediate part of the body. It 
is also called "corselet." It is formed of three rings soldered 
into one. Each of the three rings bears one pair of legs, on 
its under side; and each of the last two rings bears a pair 
of wings, on its upper side; making four wings and six legs, 
all fastened on the thorax. 

51. Each leg is composed of nine joints (B, Plate 8), the 
two nearest the body (c, tr) being short. The next three 
are the femur (/), tibia {ti), and planta {p) also called meta- 
tarsus. The last four joints form the tarsus (0 or foot. 

52. The last joint of the tarsus, or tip of the foot, is pro- 
vided -with two claws {an, fig. 13), that cling to objects or 
to the surfaces on which the bee climbs. These claws can be 
folded, somewhat like those of a cat (A, fig. 13), or can be 
turned upwards (B, fig. 13) when the bees are hanging in 
clusters. When they walk on a polished surface, like the pane 
of a window, which the claws cannot grasp, the latter are 
folded down; but there is between them a small inibber-like 
pocket, pulvillus {pv, A, B,) which secretes a sticky, "clammy" 
substance, that enables the bee to cling to the smoothest sur- 
faces. House-flies and other insects cling to walls and win- 



dows by the same process. It was fonnerly asserted that 
insects cling to the smooth surfaces by air suction, but the 
above explanation is correct, and you can actually see "the 
footprints of a fly" on a pane of glass, with the help of a 
microscope, remnants of the "clammy" substance being quite 
discernible. By this ingenious arrangement, bees can walk 
indifferently upon almost anything, since wherever the claws 
fail, the pulvilli take their place. 

53. "But another contrivance, equally beautiful, remains 
to be noticed. The pul villus is carried folded in the middle (as 
at C, fig. 13), but opens out when applied to a surface, for it 
has at its upper part an elastic and curved rod (cr) which 
straightens as the pulvillus is pressed down, C and D, fig. 13, 
making this clear. The flattened-out pulvillus thus holds 
strongly while pulled, by the weight of the bee, along the sur- 
face, to which it adheres, but comes up at once if lifted and 
rolled off from its opposite sides, just as we should peel a wet 
postage stamp from its envelope. The bee, then, is held se- 
curely till it attempts to lift the leg, when it is freed at once; 
and, by this exquisite yet simple plan, it can fix and release 
each foot at least twenty times per second." — (Cheshire.) 

Fig. 13. 

bee's foot in climbing, showing action of PtXVILLUS. 

(Magnified 30 times. From Cheshire.) 

A, position of the foot in climbing slippery surface or glass ; pv, pul- 
villus ; fh, feeling hairs ; ati, anguiculus, or claw ; t, tarsal joint. 

B, position of the foot in climbing rough surface. 

C, section of pulvillus just touching flat surface ; cr, curved rod. 

D, pulvillus applied to surface. 

54. The legs of bees, like all other parts of their body, 
are covered with hairs of varied shapes and sizes, the descrip- 
tion of which is beyond the limits of this work. We will con- 



fine ourselves to a short explanation of the uses which have 
a direct bearing upon the work of the bee. 

The hairs of the front, or first, pair of legs (C, Plate 8), 
are especially useful in cleaning the eyes and the tongue, and 
gathering the pollen grams. 

55. On the metatarsus, the lower of the two largest joints 
of these front legs, is a rounded notch (E, a, Plate 8), closed 
when the leg is folded, by a sort of spur or velum, (y_, C, E, 
H) fastened to the tibia, or upper large joint. The learned 
Dr. Dubmi, of Milan (UApe, Milan, 1881), speaks of it as 
being used to cleanse the antennae and the tongue of the pollen 
that sticks to them. Mr. Cheshire thinks it is used only to 
cleanse the antennae, from the fact that this notch, which has 
teeth like a comb (F, Plate 3), is found as well in the queen 
and the drone as in the worker, and that its aperture corre- 
sponds exactly to the different sizes of the antennae of each 
sex. (H, Plate 8.) 

56. The second pair of legs have no notch, but the lower 
extremity of the tibia bears a spur (D, s, Plate 8) or spine, 
which is used in loosening the pellets of pollen, brought to 
the hive on the tibias of the posterior legs (Plate S). This 
spur also helps in cleaning the wings. 

57. The posterior or hind legs are veiy remarkable, in sev- 
eral respects. Between the tibia and the metatarsus (B, wp, 
Plate 8) they have an articulation, whose parts close like 
pincers, and which serves to loosen from the abdomen the 
scales of wax to be mentioned further on (201). As neither 
the queen nor the drone produces wax. tliey are destitute of 
this implement. 

58. *'But the chief interest centers on the two joints last 
mentioned (ti, p, A, B, Plate 8), as a device for carrying the 
pollen of the blossom home to the hive. The metatarsus is en- 
larged into a sub-quadrangular form, constituting a flattish 
plate, slightly convex on both surfaces. The outer face (p, A, 
Plate 8) is not remarkable, but the one next the body (p, B) is 
furnished with stiff combs, the teeth of which are horny, 
straight spines, set closely, and arranged in transverse rows 

l^TE 8. 

(Magnified 10 times. From Cheshire.) 
A third right leg, side from the body. ti. tibia, showing pollen 
basket; p, planta or metatarsus; t, tarsus. B, third right leg, side 
next the body, c, coxa ; tr, trochanter ; icp, pincers. C, front right 
leg V velum ; &. brush ; eh, eye-brush. D, second right leg. f), 
brush. ' E, joint of first leg, more enlarged. v, velum ; a, antenna 
comb • ft, brush. F, teeth of antenna comb, magnified 200 times. Cx, 
cross-section of tibia through pollen-basket, n, nerve ; h, holding hairs ; 
fa, farina or pollen. H, antenna in process of cleaning, v, velum ; s, 
scraping edge ; a, autenaa ; h section of U$ ; c, aQt«Qnft oomb. 


across the joint, a little projecting above its plane, and the 
tips of one comb slightly overlapping the basis of the next. 
Their colour is reddish-brown; and entangled in the combs, we 
almost invariably discover pollen granules, which have been 
at first picked up by the thoracic hairs, but combed out by the 
constant play of the legs over the breast — in which work, the 
second pair, bearing a strong resemblance to the third, per- 
forms an important part." 

59. ''So soon as the bees have loaded these combs, they 
do not return to the hive, but transfer the pollen to the hollow 
sides of the tibia, seen at ti, A. This concavity, corbicula, or 
pollen basket, is smooth and hairless, except at the edges, 
whence spring long, slender, curved spines, two sets following 
the line of the bottom and sides of the basket, while a third 
bends over its front. The concavity fits it to contain pollen, 
while the marginal hairs greatly increase its possible load, like 
the sloping stakes which the farmer places round the sides of 
his waggon when he desires to carry loose hay, the set bent 
over (see G, Plate 8) accomplishing the purpose of the cords 
by which he saves his property from being lost on the road. 
But a difficulty arises: How can the pollen be transferred from 
the metatarsal comb to the basket above? Easily; for it is the 
left metatarsus that charges the right basket, and vice versa. 
The legs are crossed, and the metatarsus naturally scrapes. its 
comb-face on the upper edge of the opposite tibia, in the direc- 
tion from the base of the combs towards their tips. These 
upper hairs standing over wp, B, or close to ti, A (which are 
opposite sides of the same joint), are nearly straight, and pass 
between the comb teeth. The pollen, as removed, is caught by 
the bent-over hairs, and secured. Each scrap adds to the mass, 
until the face of the joint is more than covered, and the hairs 
just embrace the pellet as we see it in the cross-section at G. 
The worker now hies homewards, and the spine, as a crow-bar, 
does its work." — (Cheshire.) 

60. The four wings, in two pairs, are supported by hol- 
low nervures or ribs, and have a great power of resistance. 
In flight, the small wings are fastened to the large ones by 
small hooks (fig. 14), located on the edge of their outer 
nervure, that catch in a fold of the muer edge of the large 


wings. Thus united, they present to the air a stronger sur- 
face and give the bees a greater power of flight. No doubt, a 
single pair of wings of the same surface would have better 
attained the desired aim, but their width would have annoyed 
the bees in going inside of the cells, either to feed the larvae 
or to deposit supplies. Imagine a blue fly trying, with its 
wide wings, to go inside of a cell ! 


(Magnified. J-rcm Cheshire.) 

A, anterior wing, under «ide ; p,p, plait. 

B, posterior wing, under side ; h,1i, hooklets. 

C, cross-section of wings through line, a^h, showing hooklets in plait. 

61. "Mr. Gaurichon has noticed that when the bees fan, 
or ventilate the entrance of the hive, their wings are not 
hooked together as they are in flight, but act mdependently 
of one another." (Dubini, 1881.) A German entomologist, 
Landois, states that, according to the pitch of their hum, the 
bees' flight must at times be equal to 440 vibrations in a sec- 
ond, but he noticed that this speed could not be kept up with- 
out fatigue. It is well known that the more rapid the vibra- 
tions, the higher the pitch. 

62. DiGESTixG Apparatus.— The honey obtained from the 
blossoms, after mixing with the saliva (41), and passing 



through the mouth and the a?sophagus, is conveyed mto the 

63. This organ, located in the abdomen, is not larger than 
a veiy small pea, and so perfectly transparent as to appear, 
when filled, of the same color as its contents; it is properly 

Fig. 15. 


(Magnified. After Barbd.) 

a, tcngue ; b, oesophagus: c. honey-sack: cl, stomach; 
tubes; f, small intestine; (j, large intestine. 



the tirst stomach, aud is suiTouiided by muscles which enable 
the bee to compress it, and empty its contents through her 
proboscis into the cells. She can also, at will, keep a supply, 
to be digested, at leisure, when leaving with a swarm (418). 
or while in the cluster during the cold of winter (620), and 
use it only as fast as necessai-y. For this purpose, the honey- 
sack is supplied at its lower extremity, inside, with a round 
ball, which Burmeister has called the stomach-mouth, and 
which has been beautifully described by Schiemenz (1883). 
It opens by a complex valve and connects the honey-sack with 
the digesting-stomach, through a tube or canal, projecting in- 
side the latter. Tliis canal is lined with hairs pointing down- 
ward, which prevent the solid food, such as pollen grains, 
from returning to the honey-sack. Cheshire affirms that this 
stomach-mouth, which protinides into the honey-sack, acts as 
a sort of sieve, and strains the honey from the gi'ains of pollen 
floating in it, appropriatmg them for digestion, and allowing 
the honey to flow back into the sack. The bee could thus, at 
will, "eat or drink from the mixed diet she carries." 

64. According to Schonfeld, {Illustrierte Bienenzeitung) 
the chyle, or milky food which is used to feed the yomig 
larvae,— and which we have shown to be, most probably, the 
product of the upper pair of glands (39-40),— would be 
produced from the digesting-stomach, which he and others call 
chyle-stomach. Although we are not competent in the matter, 
we would remark that the so-called chyle-stomach produces 
chyme, or digested food, from which the chyle, or nourishing 
constituent, is absorbed by the cell-lming of the stomach and 
of the intestines, and finally converted into blood. We do not 
see how^ this chyle could be thickened and regurgitated by the 
stomach to be returned to the mouth. 

65. In mammals, the chyliferous vessels do not exist in 
the stomach, but in the intestine, the function of the stomach 
being only to digest the food by changing it into chyme, from 
which the chyle is aftel'^vards separated, for the use of the 

66. Again, in the mammals, the glands which produce 


milk are composed of small clusters of acini, which take their 
secretions from the blood and empty them mto vessels ter- 
minating at the surface of the breast. The action of the 
upper gland (39-4:0), in the bee, is exactly similar to the 
action of those lacteal glands, and the fact that this gland is 
absent in the queen and in the drone is, to us, positive evidence 
that the chylous or lacteal food (given the larvae) is pro- 
duced by these glands alone, and not by the direct action of 
the digesting-stomach. 

67. The food arriving in the stomach is mixed with the 
gastric juice, which helps its transformation, and the undu- 
latmg motion of the stomach sends it to its lower extremity, 
toward the intestines. But, before entering into them, the 
chyme receives the product of several glands which have been 
named Malpighian tubes {e, fig. 15) from the scientist Mal- 
pighi, who was the first to notice them. A grinding motion 
of the muscles placed at the junction of the stomach with the 
intestines, acting on the grains of pollen not yet sufficiently 
dissolved, prepares them to yield their assimilable particles to 
the absorbing cells in the walls of the small intestine. Thence 
they go into the large intestine, from which the refuse matter 
is discharged by the worker-bee, while on the wing. \Ye 
italicize the words, because this fact has considerable bearing 
on the health of the bees, when confined by cold or other causes, 
as will be seen further on. (639. ) 

68. ^'The nervous system (fig. 16) of the honcy-bce, the 
seat of sensation and of the understanding, is very interesting. 
The honey-bee, more perfect in organization than the butterfly, 
begins as a larva deficient in legs, very much inferior to the 
caterpillar from which the butterfly proceeds. The drones, al- 
though larger than the workers, especially in the head, have a 
smaller brain. This state of things coincides with the fact that 
the drones are not intelligent, while no one can refuse gleams 
of intelligence to the worker-bees, as nurses and builders." — 

69. The heart, or organ of the circulation of the blood, 
fonned of five elongated rooms, in the abdomen, is terminated 



ill the thorax, and in the head, by the aorta, which is not con- 
tractible. Each room of the heart presents, on either side, an 
opening for the returning blood. Tlie bh)od. "soaking through 

Fig. 16. 


(Magnified. After Br.rb6.) 

tlie body'' (Cheshire), comes in contact with the air contained 
in the tracheal ramifications, where it is arterialized, or in 
plainer words, renovated, before coming back to the heart. 


The bee is not provided with any discernible blood or 
lymphatic vessels save the aorta, and its blood is colorless. 

70. The breathing organ of the bee is spread through its 

Fig. 17. 


(Magnified. After Barbo.) 

whole body. It is formed of membranous vessels, or tracheae, 
whose ramifications spread and penetrate into the organs, as 
the rootlets of a plant sink down into the soil. Connected 


with these, there is, on each side of the abdominal cavity, a 
large tracheal bag, (fig. 17), variable in form and dimensions, 
according to the quantity of air that it contains. Bees breathe 
through holes, or spiracles, which are placed on each side of 
the body, and open into the tracheal bags and tracheae. 

71. "The act of respiration consists in the alternate dila- 
tation and contraction of the abdominal segments. By filling, 
or emptying the air-bags, the bee can change her specific grav- 
ity. When a bee is preparing herself for flight, the act of 
respiration resembles that of birds, under similar circum- 
stances. At the moment of expanding her wings, which is 
indeed an act of respiration, the spiracles or breathing holes 
are expanded, and the air, rushing into them, is extended into 
the whole body, which by the expansion of the air-bags, is en- 
larged in bulk, and rendered of less specific gravity; so that 
when the spiracles are closed, at the instant the insect endeav- 
ors to make the first stroke with, and raise itself upon, its 
wings, it is enabled to rise in the air, and sustain a long and 
powerful flight, with but little muscular exertion." - * * 
' ' Newport has shown that the development of heat in insects, 
just as in vertebrates, depends on the quantity and activity of 
respiration and the volume of circulation." — (Packard, Salem, 

72. Mr. Cheshire notices that bees, even in full, vigorous 
youth and strength, are not at all times able to take flight. 
The reader may have noticed that if they are frightened, or 
even touched with the finger, they will occasionally move only 
by slight jumps. This temporary inability to fly, is due to 
the small quantity of air that their tracheal sacs contain. 
They were at rest, their blood circulated slowly, their body 
was comparatively heavy; but when their wings were ex- 
panded, the tracheal bags, that were as flat as ribbons, were 
soon filled with air, and they were ready to take wing. 

Practical Apiarists well know that bees may be shaken off 
the comb, and gathered up, with a shovel, w4th a spoon, or 
even with the hands, to be weighed or measured in open ves- 
sels like seeds. The foregoing remarks give the explanation 
of this fact. 


73. When the tracheal bags are filled with air, bees, owing 
to their peculiar structure, can best discharge the residue con- 
tained in their intestmes. 

The queen is differently formed, her ovaries occupying part 
of the space belonging to the air-sacks in the worker, hence 
her discharges, like those of the drones (190), take place in 
the hive. (40.) The queen's air-sacks are much smaller than 
those of the worker, hence comes a difficulty to take wing. 

74. ''The tracheous bags of the abdomen, which we would 
be tempted to name abdominal lungs, hold in reserve the air 
needed to arterialize the blood and to produce muscular 
strength and heat, in connection with the powerful flight of the 
insect. Heat is indispensable, to keep up the high temperature 
of the hive, for the building of comb and rearing of brood. 
The aerial vesicles increase, by their resonance, the. intensity of 
the humming, and are used also like the valve of a balloon, to 
slacken or increase the speed of the flight, by the variation of 
density, according to the quantity or weight, of the air that 
they contain. This accumulated air is also the means of pre- 
venting asphyxy, which the insects resist a long time. Lastly, 
these air-bags help in the mating of the sexes, which takes 
place in the air; the swelling of the vesicles being indispensable 
to the bursting forth of the male organs." — (Girard.) 

75. The hum that is produced by the vibration of the 
wings is different in each of the three kinds of inhabitants 
of the hive, and easily recognizable to a practiced ear. The 
hum of the drone is the most sonorous. But worker-bees, when 
angry or frightened, or when they call each other, emit dif- 
ferent and sharper sounds. On the production of these sounds, 
bee-keepers and entomologists are far from being agreed. 

''Inside of every opening of the aerial tubes is a valvular 
muscle, which helps to control the mechanism of respiration. 
This can be opened or closed at will, by the bee, to prevent the 
ingress, or egress, of air. It is by this means that the air is 
kept in the large tracheous bags and decreases the specific grav- 
ity of the insect. The main resonant organ of the bee is placed 
in front of this stopping muscle, at the entrnnce of the 


' * The humming is not produced solely by the vibrating of 
the wings, as is generally admitted. Chabrier, Burmeister, Lan- 
dois, have discovered in the humming, three different sounds: 
the first, catised by the vibration of the wings; the second, 
sharper, by the vibration of the rings of the abdomen; the 
third, the most intense and acute, produced hy a true vocal 
mechanism, placed at the orifices of the aerial tubes." — 

76. The bee-keeper who understands the language of bees, 
can turn it to his advantage. Here are some examples: 

''When something seems to irritate the bees, who are in front 
of a hive, on the alighting-board, they emit a short sound, 
Z-Z-Z-, jumping at the same time towards the hive. This is a 
warning. Then they fly and examine the object of their fears, 
remaining sustained by their wings, near the suspected object, 
and emitting at the same time, a distinct and prolonged sound. 
This is a sign of great suspicion. If the object moves quickly, 
or otherwise shows hostile intent, the song is changed into a 
piercing cry for help, in a voice whistling with anger. They 
dash forward violently and blindly, and try to sting. 

' ' When they are quiet and satisfied, their voice is the hum- 
ming of a grave tune; or, if they do not move their wings, an 
allegro murmur. If they are suddenly caught or compressed, 
the sound is one of distress. If a hive is jarred at a time when 
all the bees are quiet, the mass speedily raise a hum, which 
ceases as suddenly. In a queenless hive, the sound is doleful, 
lasts longer, and at times increases in force. When bees swarm, 
the tune is clear and gay, showing manifest happiness. ' ' — 
(CEttl-Klauss, 1836.) 

77. The German pastor Stahala has published a very com- 
plete study on the language of bees, which has appeared in 
some of the bee-papers of Italy, France and America, We 
do not consider it as altogether accurate; but there are some 
sounds described that all bee-keepers ought to study, especially 
the doleful wail of colonies which have lost their queen, and 
ha\'e no means of rearing another. 

78. The Stixg.— The sting of a bee, a terror to so many, 
is indispensable to lier }>reserA'ation. Without it, the attrac- 


tion, which honey presents to man and animals, must have 
caused the complete destruction of this precious insect, years 

79. This organ is comjDosed, Ist^ of a whitish vesicle, or 
poison sack, about the size of a small mustard seed, located 
in the abdomen, in which the venomous liquid is stored. This 
liquid is elaborated in two long canals, similar in appearance 
to the Malpighian tubes, each of which is teiTainated at its 
upper extremity, by a small round bag or enlargement. It 
is similar to formic acid, although perhaps more poisonous. 

80. 2ndy In the last rmg of the abdomen, and connected 
with the poison sack, is a firm and sharp sheath, open in its 
Avhole length, which supports the sting proper, and acts 
independently of it. The bee can force this sheath out of the 
abdomen, or draw it in, at will. 

81. 3d, The sting is composed of two spears of a jDolished, 
chestnut-colored, horny substance, which, supjDorted by the 
sheath, make a very sharp weapon. In the act of stinging, the 
spears emerge from the sheath, about two-thirds of their 
length. Between them and on each of them, is a small groove, 
through which the liquid, coming from the poison-sack, is 
ejected into the womid. 

82. Each spear of the sting has about nine barbs, which 
are turned back like those of a fish hook, and prevent the 
sting from being easily withdrawn. When the insect is pre- 
pared to stmg, one of these spears, having a little longer 
point than the other, first darts into the flesh, and being fixed 
by its foremost barb, the other strikes in also, and they alter- 
nately penetrate deeper and deeper, till they acquire a finn 
hold of the flesh with their barbed hooks. 

''Meanwhile, the poison is forced to the end of the spe.irs, by 
much the same process which carries the venom from the tooth 
of a viper when it bites." — (Girard.) 

S3. The muscles, though invisible to the eye, are yet strong- 
enough to force the sting, to the depth of one-twelfth of an 
inch, throu£i'h the thick skin of a man's hand. 



* ' The action of the sting, ' ' says Paley, ' ' affords an example 
of the union of chemistry and mechanism; of chemistry, in re- 
spect to the venom which can produce such powerful effects; of 
mechanism, as the sting is a compound instrument. The ma- 
chinery would have been comparatively useless, had it not been 
for the chemical process by which, in the insect's body, honey 

Fig. 18. 


(Magnified. After Barbd.) 
a, sting ; h, poison-sack ; c,c, poison glands ; d,cl, secreting bags. 


is converted into poison; and on the other hand, the poison 
would have been ineffectual, without an instrument to wound, 
and a syringe to inject it. 

''Upon examining the edge of a very keen razor by the micro- 
scope, it appears as broad as the back of a pretty thick knife, 
rough, uneven, and full of notches and furrows, and so far from 
anj'thing like sharpness, that an instrument as blunt as this 
seemed to be, would not serve even to cleave wood. An ex- 
ceedingly small needle being also examined, it resembled a 
rough iron bar out of a smith's forge. The sting of a bee 
viewed through the same instrument, showed everywhere a pol- 
ish amazingly beautiful, without the least flaw, blemish, or in- 
equality, and ended in a point too fine to be discerned." 

84. As the extremity of the stiiig is barbed like an arrow, 
the bee can seldom withdraw it, if the substance into which 
she darts it is at all tenacious. A strange peculiarity of the 
sting and the muscles pertaining to it, is their spasmodic 
action, which continues quite a while, even after the bee has 
torn herself away, and has left them attached to the wound. 
In losing her sting, she often parts with a portion of her 
intestines, and of necessity soon perishes. AVasps and hornets 
are different from bees in this respect, for they can sting re- 
peatedly without endangering their lives. 

Although bees pay so dearly for the exercise of their 
patriotic instincts, still, in defense of home and its sacred 
treasures, they 

''Deem life itself to vengeance well resign 'd. 
Die in the wound and leave their sting behind." 

85. The sting is not, however, always lost. When a bee 
prepares to sting, she usually curves her abdomen so that she 
can drive in her stmg perpendicularly. To withdraw it, she 
turns around the wound. This probably rolls up its barbs, 
so that it comes out more readily. If it had been driven 
obliquely instead of perpendicularly, as sometimes happens, 
she could never have extracted it by turning around the 

86. Sometimes, only the poison-bag and sting are torn 


off, then she may live quite a while without them, and strange 
to say, seems to be more angrj* than ever, and persists in 
making useless attempts to sting. 

87. If a hive is opened during a Winter day, when the 
weather does not permit the bees to fly, a great number of 
them raise theii- abdomens, and thrust out their stings, in a 
threatening manner. A minute drop of poison can be seen 
on their points, some of which is occasionally flirted into 
eyes of the Apiarist, and causes severe irritation. The odor 
of this poison is so strong and peculiar, that it is easily rec- 
ognized. In waiTu weather it excites the bees, and so pro- 
vokes their anger, that when one has used its sting in one 
spot on skin or clothes, others are inclined to thrust theirs in 
the same place. 

88. The sting, when accompanied by the poison-sack, may 
inflict wounds hours, and even days, after it has been re- 
moved, or torn, from the body of the bee. But when buried 
in honey, its poison is best preserved, for it is very volatile, 
and when exposed to the air, evaporates in a moment. The 
stings of bees, which, perchance, may be found in broken 
combs of honey, often retain their power, and we have known 
of a person's being stung in the mouth, by carelessly eating 
honey in Avhich bees had been buried by the fall of the combs. 

Mr. J. R. Bledsoe, in the American Bee Journal^ for 1S70, 
writes : 

89. ''It may often happen that one or both of the chief 
parts of the sting are left in the wound, when the sheath is 
withdrawn, but are rarely perceived, on account of their minute- 
ness; the person stung congratulating himself, at the same 
time, that the sting has been extracted. I have had occasion 
to prove this fact repeatedly in my own person and in others. 
* * * The substance of the sting, on account of its nature, 
is readily dissolved by the fluids of the body, consequently giv- 
ing irritation as a foreign body for only a short time compara- 
tively. The sting when boiled in water becomes tender and 
easily crushed." 

For further particulars concerning the sting, we will refer 
our readers to the chapter entitled ''Handling Bees."— (378.) 

Plate 9. 

F. R. CHESHIRE, F. L. S., F. R. M. S. 

Author of " Bees and Bee- /keeping.'''' 

The writer is mentioned pages 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, IG. 17. 18, 20, 

21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30, 32, 39, 61, 73, 84, 94, 104. 122, 

127, 145. 352. 358, 394, 395, 472, 474, 481, 483. 


90. Before terminating this comparatively short, but per- 
haps, to many of our readers, tedious study of the organs 
of the bee, we desire to commend Messrs. Girard, Packard, 
Cook, Schiemenz, Dubini, and especially Mr. F. Cheshire, 
who, by their writings, have helped us in this part of our 
imdertakmg. We must add also that the more we study bees, 
\ne more persuaded we are that Mr. Packard was right when 
he wrote: 

91. "Besides these structural characters as animals, en- 
dowed with instinct, and a kind of reason, differing, perhaps, 
only in degree, from that of man, these insects outrank all the 
articulates. In the unusual differentiation of the individual 
into males, females, and sterile workers, and a consequent sub- 
division of laoor between them; in dwelling in large colonies; in 
their habits and in their relation to man as domestic animals, 
subservient to his wants, the bees possess a combination of 
characters which are not found in any other sub-order of insects, 
and which rank them first and highest in the insect series." — 
("Guide to the Study of Insects.") 

92. One of the especial peculiarities of the hymenopters 
is the care most of them give to their progeny. We will show 
how bees nurse their young. Other insects of the same sub- 
order construct their nests of clay or paper, or burrow in the 
wood, or in the earth. All prepare for their yomig a sufficient 
supply of food; some of pollen and honey, others of animal 
substance. Several kinds of wasps provide their nests with 
living insects, spiders, caterpillars, etc., that they have pre- 
viously paralyzed, but without killing them, by piercing them 
with their stings. 

Ants seem to possess even a greater solicitude. When their 
nests are overthrown, they carry their larvas to some hidden 
place out of danger. 

We have exhibited the use of the organs of bees as a race. 
We will now examine the character of each of the three kinds 
of inhabitants of the bee-hive. 

40 PHV81UL0(iV OF THE HONEV-litE. 

The Queen. 

Although huuey-bees have attracted the attention of 
naturalists for ages, the sex of the 
inmates of the bee-hive was, for a 
long- time, a mystery. The ancient 
authors, having noticed in the hive, 
a bee, larger than the others, and 
differently shaped, had called it the 
"King Bee." 

*'^- ■'■^ 94. To our knowledge, it was 

nn English bee-keeper, Butler; who, first among bee- writers, 
affirmed in 1609, that the King Bee was really a queen, and 
that he had seen her dej^osit eggs. ("Feminine Monarchy.") 
95. This discovery seems to have passed unnoticed, for 
Swammerdam, who ascertained the sex of bees by dissection, 
is held as having been the first to proclaim the sex of the 
queen-bee. (Leyde, 1737.) A brief extract from the cele- 
brated Dr. Bcerhaave's Memoir of Swannnerdam, showing 
the ardor of this naturalist, in his study of bees, should put 
to blush the arrogance of those superficial observers, who are 
too wise to avail themselves of the knowledge of others: 

"This treatise on Bees proved so fatiguing a performance, 
that Swammerdam never afterwards recovered even the appear- 
ance of his former health and vigor. He was most continually 
engage'l by day in making observations, and as constantly by 
night in recording them by drawings and suitable explanations. 

"His daily labor began at six in the morning, when the sun 
afforded him light enough to survey such minute objects; and 
from that hour till twelve, he continued without interruption, 
all the while exposed in the open air to the scorching heat of 
the sun, bareheaded, for fear of intercepting his sight, and his 
head in a manner dissolving into sweat under the irresistible 
ardors of that powerful luminary. And if ho desisted at noon, 
it was only because the strength of his eyes was too much weak- 
ened by the extraordinary afflux of light, and the use of micro- 
scopes, to continue any longer upon such small objects. 

THE gUEEX. 41 

'*He often wished, the better to accomplish his vast, unlim- 
ited views, for a year of perpetual heat and light to perfect his 
inquiries; with a polar night, to reap all the advantages of 
them by proper drawings and descriptions. ' ' 

96. The name of queen was then given to the mother bee, 
although she in no way governs, but seems to reign like a be- 
loved mother in her family. 

97. She is the only perfect female in the hive, the laying 
of eggs being her sole function ; and so well does she accom- 
plish this duty, that it is not uncommon to find queens who 
lay more than 3,500 eggs per day, for several weeks in suc- 
cession during the height of the breeding season. In our 
observing hives we have seen them lay at the rate of six eggs 
in a minute. The fecundity of the female of the white ant 
is, however, much greater than this, being at the rate of 
sixty eggs a minute; but her eggs are simply extruded from 
her body, and carried by the workers into suitable nurseries, 
while the queen-bee herself deposits her eggs in their appro- 
priate cells. 

98. This number of 3,500, that a good queen can lay per 
day, A\all seem exaggerated to many bee-keepers, owners of 
small hives. Thej^ will perhaps ask how such laying can be 
ascertained. Nothing is easier. Let us suppose that we have 
found a hive, with 1,200 scjuare inches of comb occupied by 
brood. As there are about 55 worker-cells to the square inch 
of comb (217), 27 to 28 on each side, we multiply 1,200 by 
55, and we have 66,000 as the total number of cells occupied 
at one time. Now, it takes about 21 days for the brood to 
develop from the egg to the perfect insect, and we have 3,145 
as the average number of eggs laid daily by that queen, in 
21 days. Of course, this amount is not absolutely accurate, 
as the combs are not always entirely filled, but it ^\dll suffice 
to show, within perhaps a few hundred, the actual fecundity 
of the queen. 

Such numbers can be found eveiy y<?ar. in most of the 
good colonies, provided that the limited capacity of the hive 
will not prevent the queen from laying to the utmost of her 


99. The laying of the queen is not equal at all seasons. 
She lays most during the spring and summer months, pre- 
vious to the honey crop and during its flow. In late autumn 
and winter months, she lays but little. 

100. Her shape is widely different from that of the other 
bees. While she is not near so bulky as a drone, her body is 
longer; and as it is considerably more tapering, or sugar- 
loaf in form, than that of a worker, she has a somewhat wasp- 
like appearance. Her wings are much shorter in proportion 
than those of the drone or worker;* the under part of her 
body is of a golden color, and the upper part usually darker 
than that of the other bees.t Her motions are generally slow 
and matronly, although she can, when she pleases, move with 
astonishing quickness. No colony can long exist without the 
presence of this all-important insect; but must as surely 
perish, as the body without the spirit must hasten to in- 
evitable decay. 

101. The queen is treated with the greatest respect and 
affection by the bees. A circle of her loving offspring often 
surromid her, testifymg in various ways their regard; some 
gently embracing her with their antennae, others offering her 
food from time to time, and all of them politely backing out 
of her way, to give her a clear path when she moves over the 
combs. If she is taken from them, the Avhole colony is thrown 
into a state of the most intense agitation as soon as they 
ascertain their loss; all the labors of the hive are abandoned; 
the bees run wildly over the combs, and frequently rush from 
the hive in anxious search for thfeir beloved mother. If they 
cannot find her, they return to their desolate home, and by 
their sorrowful tones reveal their deep sense of so deplorable 
a calamity. Their note at such times, more especially when 
they first realize their loss, is of a peculiarly mournful char- 
acter; it sounds somewhat like a succession of waiiings on 
the minor key, and can no more be mistaken by an experienced 
bee-keeper, for their ordinaiy happy hum (76), than the 

'' The wings of the queen are in reality longer than those of the 

t This applies only to queens of the black or ccmmon race 



piteous moanings of a sick child could be confounded by the 
anxious mother with its joyous crowings when overflowing 
with health and happiness. We shall give in this connection, 
a description of an interesting experiment. 

102. A populous stock was removed, in the morning, to 
a new place, and an empty hive put upon its stand. Thou- 

Fig. 20. 


(Magnified. After Barbo.) 

sands of workers which were rangmg the fields, or which left 
the old hive after its removal, returned to the familiar spot. 
It was truly affecting to witness their grief and despair; they 
flew in restless circles about the place where once stood their 
happy home, entering the empty hive continually, and express- 
ing in various ways, their lamentations over so cruel a be- 
reavement. Towards evening, ceasing to take wing, they 
roamed in restless platoons, in and out of {he hive, and over 
its surface, as if in search of some lost treasure. A small 


piece of brood-eonib was then given to them, containmg 
H'orker-eggs and worms. The effect produced by its intro- 
duction took place nmch quicker than can be described. Those 
which first touched it raistd a peculiar note, and in a moment, 
the comb was covered with a dense mass of bees; as they rec- 
ognised, in this small piece of comb, the means of deliverance, 
despair gave place to hope, their restless motions and mourn- 
ful voices ceased, and a cheerful hum proclaimed their de- 
light. If some one should enter a building filled with thou- 
sands of persons tearing their hair, beating their breasts, and 
by piteous cries, as well as frantic gestures, giving vent to 
their despair, and could by a single word cause all these dem- 
onstrations of agony to give place to smiles and congratula- 
tions, the change w^ould not be more instantaneous than that 
produced when the bees received the brood-comb! 

The Orientals called the honey-bee ^'Deborah; She thut 
speaketh." Would that this little insect might speak, in 
words more eloquent than those of man's device, to those who 
reject any of the doctrines of revealed religion, with the 
assertion that they are so improbable, as to labor under a 
fatal a priori objection. Do not all the steps in the devel- 
opment of a queen from the worker-egg, labor under the 
very same objection? and have they not, for this reason been 
formerly regarded, by many bee-keepers, as unworthy of 
belief? If the favorite argument of infidels will not stand 
the test, when applied to the wonders of the bee-hive, is it 
entitled to serious weight, when, by objecting to religious 
truths, they arrogantly take to task the Infinite Jehovah for 
what He has been pleased to do or to teach? With no more 
latitude than is claimed by such objectors, it were easy to 
prove that a man is under no obligation to believe any of the 
wonders of the bee-hive, even although he is himself an intelli- 
gent eye-witness to their substantial truth.* 

103. The process of rearing queen-bees will now be par- 

♦ The passages referring to religious subjects have been nearly all 
retained in the revision, at Mr. Langstroth's request, even when not 
In accordance with our views. As intelligent men are always tolerant, 
we know our readers will net object to them. Mr. Langstroth was a 



tieularly described. Early in the season, if a hive becomes 
very populons, and if the bees make preparations for swarm- 
ing, a number of royal cells 
are begun, being commonly 
constructed upon those edges 
of the combs which are not 
attached to the sides of the 
hive. These cells somewhat 
resemble a small pea-nut, 
and are about an inch deep, 
and one-third of an inch in 
diameter: being very thick, 
they require much Avax for 
their construction. They are 
seldom seen in a perfect state 
after the hatching of the 
queen, as the bees cut them 
down to the shape of a small 
acorn-cup (fig. 21.) These 
queen-cells, while in prog- 
ress, receive a veiy unusual 
amount of attention from the workers. There is scarcely a 
second in which a bee is not peeping into them; and as fast 
as one is satisfied, another pops hi her head to report prog- 
ress, or increase the supply of food. Their importance to 
the community might easily be inferred from their being the 
center of so much attraction. 

104. While the other cells open sideways, the queen-cells 
always hang with their mouth downw'-.rds. Some Apiarists 
think that this peculiar position affects, in some way, the devel- 
opment of the royal larvae; while others, ha^mig ascertained 
that they are uninjured if placed in any other position, con- 
sider this deviation as among the inscrutable mysteries of the 
bee-hive. So it seemed to us until convinced, by a more careful 
observation, that they open downwards simply to save room. 
The distance between the parallel ranges of comb in the hive 
is usually too small for the royal cells to open sideways, with- 
out interfering with the opposite cells. To economize space, 

Fig. 21. 




the bees put them on the unoccupied edges of the comb, where 
there is plenty of room for such vei-y large cells. 

105. The number of royal cells in a hive varies greatly; 
sometimes there are only two or three, ordinarily not less 
than five; and occasionally, more than a dozen. 

Some races of bees have a disposition to raise a greater 
number of queen-cells than others. At the Toronto meet- 
ing of the North American Bee-keepers' Association, in Sep- 
tember, 1883, Mr. D. A. Jones, the noted Canadian importer 
of Syrian and Cyprian bees, and at that time publisher of 
the Canadian Bee Journal, exhibited a comb containing about 
eighty queen-cells, built by a colony of Syrian bees (560). 
In 1905, Dr. C. C. Miller succeeded in raising one hundred 
and nineteen queen cells on two combs of brood in a colony 
of Cyprian bees. (Fig. 22.) Such case^ are rare in the hive 
of any other race. 

Fig. 22. 

'queen cells built by CYPRIAN BEES. 

(American Bee Journal.) 


106. As it is not intended that the young queens should 
all be of the same age, the royal-cells are not all beg"un at 
the same time. It is not fully settled how the eggs are de- 
posited in these cells. In some few instances, we have 
known the bees to transfer the eggs from common to queen- 
cells; and this may be their general method of procedure. 
Mr. Wagner put some queenless bees, brought from a dis- 
tance, mto empty combs that had lain for two years in his 
garret. When supplied with brood, they raised their queen 
in this old comb! Mr. Richard Colvin, of Baltimore, and 
other apiarian friends, have communicated to us instances 
almost as striking. Yet, Huber has proved that bees do 
not ordinarily transport the eggs of the queen from one cell 
to another. We shall hazard the conjecture, that, in a 
crowded state of the hive, the queen deposits her eggs in cells 
on the edges of the comb, some of which are afterwards 
changed by the workers into royal cells. Such is a queen's 
instinctive hatred of her own kind, that it seems improbable 
that she should be intrusted with even the initiatory steps 
for securing a race of successors. 

(For further particulars concerning the raising of large 
numbers of queen'-cells, see 515-530.) 

107. The egg Avhich is destmed to produce a queen-bee 
does not differ from the egg intended to become a worker; 
but the young queen-larvae are much more largely supplied 
with food than the other larvae; so that they seem to lie in 
a thick bed of jelly, a portion of which may usually be found 
at the base of their cells, soon after they have hatched, while 
the food given to the worker-larvae after three days, and for 
the last days of their development, is coarser and more 
sparingly given, as will be seen farther on. 

108. The effects produced on the royal larvae by their 
peculiar treatment are so wonderful, that they were at lirst 
rejected as idle whims, by those who had neither been eye- 
witnesses to them, nor acquainted with the opportmiities en- 
joyed by others for accurate observation. They are not on(y 
contrary to all common analogies, but seem marvelously 



strange and improbable. The most important of these eifects 
we shall briefly enumerate. 

1st. The peculiar mode in which the worm designed for a 
queen is treated causes it to arrive at maturity almost one- 
third earlier than if it had been reared a worker. And yet, 
as it is to be much more fully developed, according to ordi- 
jiary analogy, it should have had a slower growth. 

Fis. 2H. 

(Magnified. After Barbo.) 


2d. Its organs of reproduction are completely developed, 
so that it can fulfill the office of a mother. 

3d. Its size, shape, and color are gTeatly changed; its 
lower jaws are shorter, its head rounder, and its abdomen 
without the receptacles for secreting wax; its hind legs have 
neither brushes nor baskets, and its sting is curved (fig. 23) 
and one-third longer than that of a worker. 

4th. Its instincts are entirely changed. Reared as a 
worker, it would have thrust out its sting at the least provo- 
cation; whereas now, it may be pulled limb from limb with- 
out attempting to stmg. As a worker, it would have treated 
a queen with the greatest consideration; but now, if brought 
in contact with another queen, it seeks to destroy her as a 
rival. As a worker, it would frequently have left the hive, 
either for labor or exercise; as a queen, it never leaves it 
after unpregnation, except to accompany a new swarm. 

5th. The tenu of its life is remarkably lengthened. As a 
worker, it would not have lived more than six or seven months; 
as a queen, it may live seven or eight times as long. All these 
wonders rest on the imx^regnable basis of demonstration, and 
instead of being witnessed only by a select few, are now, 
by the use of the movable-comb hive, familiar sights to any 

109. The process of rearing qaeens, to meet some special 
emergency, is even more wonderful than the one already 
described. If the bees have worker-eggs, or worms not 
more than three days old, they make one large cell out of 
three, by nibbliiuv away the partitions of two cells adjoining 
a third. Destroying the eggs or worms in two of these cells, 
they place before the occupant of the other, the usual food 
of the young queens; and by enlarging its cell, give it ample 
space for development. As a security against failure, they 
usually start a number of queen-cells, for several days in 

It was a German bee-keeper, Schirach, who discovered tha^ 
a queen can be raised from a worker-egg. ("The New Natural 
and Ai-tificial Multiplication of Bees," Bautzen, 1761.) 


110. Duration of Development. — The eggs hatch in 
three days after they are laid. The small worm which is 
intended to produce a queen, is six days in its larval state, 
and seven in its transformation into a chrysalis and winged 
insect. These periods are not absolutely fixed; being of 
shorter or longer duration, according to the warmth of the 
hive and the care given by the bees. In from ten to sixteen 
days, m ten days, if the lai'\'a selected is about three days 
old; in sixteen, if newly laid eggs are selected, they are in 
possession of a new queen, in all respects resembling one 
reared in the natural way; while the eggs in the adjoining 
cells, w^hich have been developed as workers, are nearly a 
week longer in coming to maturity. 

111. The Virgin Queen.— Feeble and pale, in the first 
moments after her birth, the young queen, as soon as she has 
acquired some streng-th, travels over the combs, looking for 
a rival, either hatched or unhatched. 

112. ''Hardly had ten minutes elapsed after the young 
queen emerged from her cell, when she began to look for sealed 
queen-cells. She rushed furiously upon the first that she met, 
and, by dint of hard work, made a small opening in the end. 
We saw her drawing, with her mandibles, the silk of the cocoon, 
vvhich covered the inside. But, probably, she did not succeed 
according to her wishes, for she left the lower end of the cell, 
and went to .work on the upper end, where she finally made a 
wider opening. As soon as this was sufficiently large, she 
turned about, to push her abdomen into it. She made several 
motions, in different directions^ till she succeeded in striking 
her rival with the deadly sting. Then she left the cell; and the 
bees, which had remained, so far, perfectly passive, began to 
enlarge the gap which she had made, and drew out the corpse of a 
queen just out of her nymphal shell. During this time, the vic- 
torious young queen rushed to another queen-cell, and again 
made a large opening, but she did not introduce her abdomen 
into it; this second cell containing only a royal-pupa not yet 
formed. There is some probability that, at this stage of de- 
velopment, the nymphs of queens inspire less anger to theii 
rivals; but they do not escape their doom; for, whenever a 
queen-cell has been prematurely opened, the bees throw out its 


occupant, whether worm, nymph, or queen. Therefore, as soon 
as the victorious queen had left this second cell, the workers 
enlarged the opening and drew out the nymph that it contained. 
The young queen rushed to a third cell; but she was unable to 
open it. She worked languidly and seemed tired of her first 
efforts."— (Huber.) 

113. Huber did not allow this experiment to go on any 
further, as lie wished to use the remainder of the queen-cells. 
Had he left these cells untouched, the bees would have fin- 
ished the work of destruction. 

114. We ha\e noticed repeatedly, that the queen-cells 
are always destroyed a few hours after the birth of the queen, 
unless the colony has determined to swarm. In the latter 
case, the workers prevent the newly-hatched queen from ap- 
proaching the queen-cells, till she is old enough and strong 
enough to leave with the swarm. (443.) 

115. Like some human beings who cannot have their own 
way, she is highly offended w^hen thus repulsed, and utters, 
in a quick succession of notes, a shrill, angry sound, not 
mi like the rapid utterance of the words, "peep, peep." If 
held in the closed hand, she will make a similar noise. To 
this angry note, one or more of the mihatched queens, im- 
prisoned and nursed in their cells by the bees, answer by 
the sound "kooa, kooa"; the difference in their voices being 
due to the confinement of the latter in the cell. 

These sounds, so entirely unlike the usual steady hum of 
the bees, are almost infallible indications that a sv/arm will 
soon issue. They are occasionally so loud as to be heard at 
some distance from the hive. 

The reader will miderstand that all these facts relate to a 
hive of bees, from which the old queen has been previously 
and suddenly removed, either by the Apiarist for some pur- 
pose, or by swarming, or accident. 

116. Sometimes tw^o queens batch at the same time. We 
give below a translation of Huber's account in such event: 

*'0n the loth of May, 1790, two queens emerged from their 
cells, at about the same time, in one of our observing hives. 

52 PHYS10L0(;V OF TllK HONPn'-KKK. 

They rushed quickly upon oue another, apparently in yreat 
anger, and grasped one another's antennae, so that the head, 
corselet and abdomen of the one, were touching the head, corse- 
let and abdomen of the other. Had they curved the posterior 
extremity of their bodies, they could have stung each other, and 
both would have perished. But it seems that Nature has not 
wished that their duels should result in the death of both com- 
batants, and that it is prescribed to queens, while in this posi- 
tion, to flee instantly with the greatest haste. As soon as both 
rivals understood that they were in danger from one another, 
they disentangled themselves and fled apart A few min- 
utes after, their fears ceased and they attacked one another 
again, with the same result. The worker bees were much dis- 
turbed, all this time, and more so while the combatants were 
separated. Each time, the bees stopped the queens in their 
flight, keeping them prisoners for a minute. At last, in a 
third attack, the stronger, or more savage, of the queens, ran 
to her unsuspecting rival, seized her across the wings, and, 
climbing upon her, pierced her with her sting. The vanquished 
queen, crawled languidly about, and soon after died.'' — (" Nou- 
velles Observations. ' ') 

117. Although it is generally admitted that two queens 
cannot inhabit the same hive, it happens, sometimes, that 
mother and daughter are found living peaceably together, 
and even laying eggs at the same time. This is when the 
bees, having noticed the decrease in fecundity of the old 
queen, have raised a young queen to replace her. But this 
abnormal state lasts only a few Aveeks, or a few months at 

118. Our junior partnei- was, one day, hunting for a 
queen with his sister. "What a large and bright-colored 
queen !" exclaimed he, on finding her. ''Why, no ! she is dark 
and small," said bis sister. Both were right, for there were 
two queens, mother and daughter, on the same comb, and 
not six inches apart. At another time we were looking for 
an old queen, whose prolificness had decreased, intending to 
supersede her. To our wonder, the hive was full of brood. 
We found the old queen. Evident^ a queen so small, so 

'Fn^ QUEEN. r)3 

ragged and worn, could not be the mother of such a quan- 
tify of brood. We continued our search and found another 
queen, daughter of the first, large and plump. Had we 

introduced a strange queen into this hive, after having de- 
stroyed the old one, thinking that we had made the colony 
(jueenless, she would have been killed. 

119. We could relate a number of such instances. The 
most interesting case was the simultaneous laying of two 
fjueens of different breeds in the same hive, one black, the 
other Italian. The colonj^ had two queens, when we intro- 
duced our Italian queen. We found the younger one and 
killed her, and the old one was so little considered bj^ her 
bees, that they accepted our imported queen and allowed both 
to remain together. To our astonishment there were some 
black bees hatching among the pure Italians, and it was not 
till we accidentallj^ discovered the old black queen that we 
understood the matter. 

There are more such cases than most bee-keepers would 
imagine, and when these happen to buyers of improved races 
of bees, if they are not veiy close observers, they are apt to 
accuse venders of having cheated them. Such instances make 
the business of queen selling quite disagreeable. 

120. T:mpregxatiox, — The fecundation of the queen bee 
has occupied the minds of Apiarists and savants for ages, 
A number of theories were advanced. If a number of drones 
are confined in a small box, they give forth a strong odor: 
Swammerdam supposed that the queen was impregnated by 
this scent (aura seminaUs) of the drones, Reaumur, a re- 
nowned entomologist, in 1744, thought that the mating of 
the queen was effected inside of the hive. Others advanced 
that the eggs were impregnated by the drones in the cells. 

After making a number of experiments to verify these 
fheories, and finding all false, Huber finally ascertained that, 
like many other insects, the queen was fecundated in the 
open air and on the wing; and that the influence of this 
connection lasts for several years, and probably for life, 

121. Five days or more after her birth, the virgin queen 


goes out to have intercourse with a drone. Several bee-keepers 
of note, such as Neighbour of England ("Cook's Manual, 
1884), and Dzierzon of Gennany, wrote that a queen may 
go out on her marriage-flight when only three days old. The 
shortest time we have ever noticed between the birth of a 
queen and her first bridal-flight was five days, and on this we 
are in accordance with Mr. Alley of Massachusetts, one of 
the most extensive queen breeders in the world. The average 
time is six or seven days. Earlier bridal-trips are probably 
due to the disturbing of the colony by the Apiarist, for we 
have noticed that this disturbing hastens the maturity of 
the workers. The bridal-flight takes place about noon, at 
which time, the drones are fljung most numerous]j\ 

122. On leaving her hive, the queen flies with her head 
turned towards it, often entermg and departing several times 
before she finally soars into the air. Such precautions on the 
part of a young queen are highly necessaiy, that she may 
not, on her return, lose her life, by attempting, through mis- 
take, to enter a strange hive. Many queens are lost in this 

123. As the matmg of tlie queen and the drone takes 
place in the air, veiy few persons have witnessed it. The 
following narration will please our readers: 

"A short time ago, during one of those pleasant days of May, 
I was roaming in the fields, not far from Coiirbevoie. Suddenly 
I heard a loud humming and the wind of a rapid flight brushed 
my cheek. Fearing the attack of a hornet, I made an instinc- 
tive motion with my hand to drive it away. There were two 
insects, one of which pursued the other with eagerness, coming 
from high in the air. Frightened no doubt, by my movements, they 
arose again, flying vertically to a great height, still in pursuit 
of each other. I imagined that it was a battle, and desiring 
to know the result, I followed, at my best, their motions in the 
air, and got ready to lay hold of them, as soon as they would 
be within reach. 

"I did not wait long. The pursuing insect rose above the 
other, and suddenly fell on it. The shock was certainly violent, 
for both united, dropped with the swiftness of an arrow and 


passed by me, so near that I struck them down with my hand- 
kerchief. I then discovered that this bitter battle was but a 
love-suit. The two insects, stunned and motionless, were 
coupled. The copulation had taken place in the air, at the in- 
stant when I had seen one of them falling on the other, twenty 
or twenty-five feet above the ground. 

"It was a queen-bee and a drone. Persuaded that I had 
killed them, I made no scruple of piercing them both with the 
same pin. But the pain recalled them to life again, and they 
promptly separated. This separation was violent, and resulted 
in the tearing off of the drone's organ (ISS) which remained 
attached to the queen. The queen was yet alive on the follow- 
ing morning. For some time after her separation from the 
drone, she brushed the last ring of her abdomen, as though 
trying to extract the organ of the drouo. She endeavored to 
bend herself, probably in order to bring this part within reach 
of her jaws, which were constantly moving, but the pin pre- 
vented her from attaining her aim. Her activity soon de- 
creased, and she ceased to move." — (Alex. Levi, Journal Des 
Fermes, Paris, 1869.) 

Messrs. Caiy and Otis had witnessed a similar occurrence 
in July, 1861. {American Bee Journal, Vol. I, page 66.) 

124. It is now well demonstrated that in a single mating, 
a queen is fertilized for life, although in a few rare instances 
thej' have been said to mate two days in succession, perhaps 
because the first mating was insufficient. 

125. After the queen has re-entered the hive, she gets 
rid of the organ of the drone by drawing it with her claws, 
and she is sometimes helped in this work by the worker-bees. 
The drone dies in the act of fertilization. (188.) 

126. Although fertilization of the queen in confinement 
has been tried by many, it has never been successful. Those 
who, from time to time, claimed to have succeeded were evi- 
dentlv deceiving themselves through ill-made experiments. 

127. Having ascertained that the queen-bee is fecund- 
ated in the open air and on the wing, Huber still could not 
form any satisfactoiy conjecture how eggs were fertilized 


■which were not yet developed in her ovaries. Years ago, the 
celebrated Dr. John Hunter (1792), and others, supposed that 
there must be a permanent receptacle for the male sperm, 
oi)ening' into the oviduct. Dzierzon, who must be regarded 
as one of the ablest contributors of modern times to apiarian 
science, maintained this opinion, and stated that he had 
found such a receptacle filled with a fluid resembling the 
semen of the drones. He does not seem to have then demon- 
strated his discoveries by any miscroscopic examinations. 

128. In the Winter of 1851-2, the writer submitted for 
scientific examination several queen-bees to Dr. Joseph Leidy, 
of Philadelphia, Avho had the highest reputation both at home 
and abroad, as a naturalist and miscroscopic anatomist. He 
found, in making his dissections, a small globular sac, about 
1-38 of an inch in diameter, communicating with the oviduct, 
and filled with a Avhitish fluid; this fluid, when examined un- 
der the miscroscope, abounded in the spermatozoids, the living 
germs which characterize the seminal fluid. A comparison of 
this substance, later in the season, with the semen of a drone, 
proved them to be exact!}' alike. Prof. Siebold, in 1843, 
examined the spermatheca of the queen-bee, and found it 
after copulation, filled with the seminal fluid of the drone. 
At that time, Apiarists paid no attention to his views, but 
considered them, as he says, to be only ^^theoretical stuff J' It 
seems, then, that Prof. Leidy's dissection was not, as we had 
hitherto supposed, the first, of an impregnated spermatheca. 

129. These examinations have settled, on the impregnable 
basis of demonstration, the mode in which the eggs of the 
queen are fecundated. In descending the oviduct to be de- 
posited in the cells, they pass by the mouth of this seminal 
sac, or "spermatheca" and receive a portion of its fertilizing- 
contents. Small as it is, it contains sufficient to impregnate 
millions of eggs. In precisely the same way, the mother- 
wasps and hornets are fecundated. The females only of 
these insects survive the Winter, and often a single one begins 
the construction of a nest, in which at first only a few eggs 
are deposited. How could these eggs hatch, if the females 

Plate 10. 




H and G, ovaries uniting in a common oviduct E; D, spermatheca ; A; 

poison-pack ; R, rectum ; C, muscles ; F, air bag. 

THE QUEE>r. 57 

had not been impregnated the previous season? Dissection 
proves that they have a spermatheca similar to that of the 
queen-bee. It never seems to have occurred to the opponents 
of Huber, that the existence of a permanently-impregnated 
mother-wasp is quite as difficult to be accounted for. as the 
existence of a similarly impregnated queen-bee. 

130, The celebrated Swammerdam, in his observations 
upon mseets, made in the latter part of the seventeenth cen- 
tury, has given a highly magnified drawing of the ovaries of 
the queen-bee, a reduced copy of which we present (Plate 10) 
to our readers. The small globular sac (D), communicating 
with the oviduct (£"), which he thought secreted a fluid for 
sticking the eggs to the base of the cells, is the seminal reser- 
voir, or spermatheca. Any one Avho will carefuUj' dissect a 
queen-bee, may see this sac, even with the naked eye. 

It will be seen that the ovaries {G and H) are double, each 
consisting of an amazing number of ducts filled with eggs, 
which gradually increase in size. Since the first edition of 
this work was issued, we have ascertained that Posel (page 
54) describes the oviduct of the queen, the spermatheca and 
its contents, and the use of the latter in impregnating the 
passing egg. His work was published at Munich, in ITS-i. It 
seems also from his work ("A Complete Treatise of Forest 
and Horticultural Bee-Culture," page 3G), that before the 
investigations of Huber, Jansha, the bee-keeper royal of 
Maria Theresa, had discovered the fact that the young queens 
leave their hive in seai'ch of the drones. 

131. Huber, while experimenting to ascertain how the 
queen- was fecundated, confined some young ones to their 
hives by contracting the entrances, so that they were more 
than three weeks old before they could go in search of the 
drones. To his amazement, the queens whose impregnation 
was thus retarded never laid any eggs but such as produced 
drones ! 

He tried this experiment repeatedly, but always with the 
same result. Bee-keepers, even from the time of Aristotle, had 
observed that all the brood in a hive were occasionally drones, 


132. Dzierzon ai)pears to have l)eeii the lirst to ascertain 
the truth on this subject ; and his discovery nuist certainly 
be ranked among the most astonisliing' facts in all the range 
of animated nature. 

Dzierzon asserted that all impregnated eggs produce fe- 
males, either workers or queens; and all unimpregnated ones, 
males, or drones! He stated that in several of his hives he 
found drone-laying queens, whose wings were so imperfect 
that they could not fly, and which, on examination, proved 
to be unfecundated. Hence, he concluded that the eggs 
laid by an unimpregnated queen-bee had sufficient vitality 
to produce drones. 

133. Parthenogenesis, meanmg "generation of a virgin," 
is the name given to this faculty of a female, to produce 
offsj^rmg without having been fecundated, and is not at all 
rare among insects. 

134. In the Autumn of 1852, our assistant found a young 
queen whose progeny consisted entirely of drones. The 
colony had been formed by removing a few combs contain- 
ing bees, brood, and eggs, from another hive, and had raised 
a new queen. Some eggs were found in one of the combs, 
and young bees were already emerging from the cells, all of 
which were drones. As there were none but worker-cells in 
the hive, they were reared in them, and not having space for 
full development, they were dwarfed in size, although the 
bees had pieced the cells to give more room to their occu- 

We were not only surprised to find drones reared in worker- 
cells, but equally so that a young queen, who at first lays 
only the eggs of workers, should be laying drone-eggs; and 
at once conjectured that this was a ease of an unimpregnated 
drone-laying queen, sufficient time not having elapsed for her 
impregnation to be unnaturally retarded. All necessary pre- 
cautions were taken to determine this point. The queen was 
removed from the hive, and although her wings appeared to 
be perfect, she could not fly. It seemed probable, therefore, 
that she had never been able to leave the hive for impregnat? x 

THE t^UEK.N. 59 

135. To settle the question beyond the possibiUt}' of 
doubt, ^xe submitted this queen to Professor Leidy for mi- 
croscopic examination. The following is an extract from 
his report : "The ovaries were filled with eggs, the poison- 
sac full of fluid; and the spermatheca distended with a per- 
fectly colorless, transparent, viscid liquid, without a trace of 

136. On examining this same colony a few days later, we 
found satisfactory evidence that these drone-eggs were laid 
by the queen which had been removed. Xo fresh eggs had 
been deposited in the cells, and the bees on missing her had 
begun to build royal cells, to rear, if possible, another queen. 
Two of the royal cells were in a short time discontinued; 
while a third was sealed over in the usual Avaj^, to undergo 
its changes to a perfect queen. As the bees had only a drone- 
laying queen, whence came the female egg from which they 
were rearing a queen? 

At first we imagined that they might have stolen it from 
another hive; but on opening this cell it contained only a 
dead drone! Huber had described a similar mistake made 
by some of his bees. At the base of this cell was an un- 
usual quantitj' of the peculiar jelly fed to develop young 
([ueens. One might almost imagine that the bees had dosed 
the unfortunate drone to death; as though they had hoped 
by such liberal feeding to produce a change in his sexual 

137. In the Summer of 1854, we found another drone- 
laying queen in our Apiaiy, with wings so shrivelled that 
she could not fly. We gave her successivelj^ to several queen - 
less colonies, in all of which she deposited only drone-eggs. 

138. In Italy there is a variety of the honey-bee differing 
in size and color from the common kind. If a queen of this 
variety is crossed with the common drones, her drone-prog- 
eny will be Italian (551), and her worker-brood a cross 
between the two; thus showing that the kind of drones she 
will produce has no dependence on the male by which she 
is fecundated. 


''The following interesting experiment was made by Ber 
lepsch, in order to confirm the drone-productiveness of a virgin 
queen. He contrived the confinement of queens at the end of 
September, 1854, and, therefore, at a time when there was no 
longer any males; he was lucky enough to keep one of them 
through the Winter, and this produced drone-offspring on the 
2d of March, in the following year, furnishing fifteen hundred 
cells with brood. That this drone-bearing queen remained a 
virgin, was proved by the dissection which Lcuckart undertook, 
at the request of Berlepsch. He found the state and contents 
of the seminal pouch of this queen to be exactly of the same 
nature as those found in virgin queens. The seminal receptacle 
in such females never contains semen-masses, with their char- 
acteristic spermatozoids, but only a limpid fluid, destitute of 
cells and granules which is produced from the two appendicu- 
lar glands of the seminal capsule; and, as I suppose, serves the 
purpose of keeping the semen transferred into the seminal cap- 
sule in a fresh state, and the spermatozoids active, and, conse- 
quently, capable of impregnation." — (Siebold, "Parthenogen- 

131>. Again, to prove that Dzierzon was right, Professor 
Von Siebold, in 1855, dissected several eggs at the Apiaiy 
of Baron Von Berlepsch, and he found spermatozoids in 
eveiy female egg, or egg laid in Avorker-cell, but although 
he examined thirty-two male eggs, or eggs laid in drone- 
cells, he could not discover a single spermatozoid either in 
or around them. In the act of copulation, the spenii of the 
drone is received into the spermatheca (Plate 10, D), which 
is placed near and can empty itself into the oviduct. When 
an egg passes by the spermatheca, if the circumstances are 
such that a few spermatozoids empty out of the bag on the 
egg, the sex of it is changed from male to female. 

It appears that there is in each egg a small opening called 
mieropyle, through which the living spermatozoids enter, when 
the circumstances are such that a few of them can slip out of 
the seminal bag and slide into the oviduct. Such is the pro- 
cess of irtipregnation. 

140. Anstotle noticed, more than 2,000 years ago, that 

Plate 11. 


Discoverer of Parthenogenesis in Queen-bees. 

This writer is mentioned pages 54, 56, 58, 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 69, '{5, 

84, 124, 125, 140, 145, 244, 294, 296, 297, 298, 

360, 361. 366, 375, 397, 549. 


the eggs wliicli iDroduce drones are like the worker-eggs.* 
With the aid of powerful microscopes we are still unable to 
detect any difference in the size or outside appearance of 
the eggs of the queen. 

141. These facts, taken in connection, constitute a per- 
fect demonstration that unfecundated queens are not only able 
to lay eggs, but that their eggs have sufficient vitality to 
produce drones. 

It seems to us probable, that after fecundation has been 
delayed for about three weeks, the organs of the queen-bee 
are in such a condition that it can no longer be effected; 
just as the parts of a flower, after a certain time, wither 
and shut up, and the plant becomes incapable of fructifica- 
tion. Perhaps, after a certain time, the queen loses all de- 
sire to go in search of the male. 

There is something analogous to these Avonders in the 
^''aphides'' or green lice, which infest plants. We have un- 
doubted evidence that a fecundated female gives birth to 
other females, and they in turn to others, all of which with- 
out impregnation are able to bring forth young; until, after 
a number of generations, perfect males and females are pro- 
duced, and the series starts anew! 

However improbable it may appear that an unimpregnated 
egg can give birth to a living being, or that sex can depend 
on impregnation, we are not at liberty to reject facts be- 
cause we cannot comprehend the reasons of them. He who 
allows himself to be guilty of such folly, if he aims to be con- 
sistent, must eventually be plunged into the dreaiy gulf of 
atheism. Common sense, philosophy, and religion alike teach 
us to receive, with becoming reverence, all undoubted facts, 
whether in the natural or spiritual world; assured that how- 
ever mysterious they may appear to us, they are beautifully 
consistent in the sight of Him whose ^'understanding is in- 

* Cheshire says that "worker-egg" is a misnomer, since all worker- 
eggs are impregnated, and hence female-eggs. But the term is too in- 
telligible and popular, for us to change it ; since Cheshire himself 
bows before custom, and uses it. 


142. It had long been known that the queen deposits 
drone-eggs in the large or drone-cells, and worker-eggs in 
the small or worker-cells (fig 47), and that she usually makes 
no mistakes. Dzierzon mf erred, therefore, that there was 
some way in which she w^as able to decide the sex of the egg 
before it was laid, and that she must have such control over 
the mouth of the seminal sac as to be able to extrude her 
eggs, allowing them at will to receive or not a portion of its 
fertilizing contents. In this way he thought she determined 
their sex, according to the size of the cells in which she laid 

143. Mr. Samuel Wagner had advanced a highly in- 
genious theoiy, which accoimted for all the facts, without 
admitting that the queen had any special knowledge or will 
on the subject. He supposed that, Avhen she deposited her 
eggs in the worker-cells, her body was slight Ij^ compressed by 
their size, thus causing the eggs as they passed the sperma- 
theca to receive its vivifying mfluenee. 

144. But this theoiy was overthrown by the fact that 
the queen sometimes lays eggs in cells that are built only to 
a third of their length, whether worker-cells or drone-cells, 
and m which no compression can take place. Yet, it is veiy 
difficult to admit that the queen is endowed with a faculty 
that no other animal possesses, that of knowing and deciding 
the sex of her progeny beforehand. It seems to us that she 
must be guided by her instinct like all other beings, for she 
always begins, in the Spring, by laying in small cells, using 
large cells only when no others are in reach in the warm 
part of the hive. Sometimes, however, when she is veiy 
hea\y with eggs, she lays in drone-cells as she comes to them, 
and will sometimes seek them. Usually it is only when the 
hive is warm throughout, and worker-cells all occupied, that 
she fills the unoccupied drone-cells. This has given rise to 
the popular theory that the bees raise drones whenever they 
intend to swarm. It is possible that the width of the cells 
and the position of her legs when laying in drone-cells (224) 
prevents the action of the muscles of her spermatheca. 

145. The preference of the queeii for worker-cells can 
not be disputed. If all the drone-combs are removed from a 
hive and replaced with worker-combs, she will not show any 
displeasure. She will live in that hive for years, without 
laying any drone-eggs, except, perhaps, here and there, in 
odd-shaped junction-cells. Mr. A. I. Root makes the same 
remark : 

''By having a hive furnished entirely with worker-comb, we 
can so nearly prevent the production of drones, that it is safe 
enough to call it a complete remedy." — (''A B C of Bee Cul- 
ture," 1883.) 

146. If, on the other hand, we furnish a swarm with 
nothing but drone-comb, already built, they would soon leave 
the hive. But, if a few worker-cells are among the drone- 
cells, the queen will find them and w411 lay in them. On this 
subject, Mr. Root says: 

147. "Bees sometimes rear worker-brood in drone-comb 
when compelled to from want of room, and they always do it 
by contracting the mouth of the cells, and leaving the young 
bee a rather large berth in which to grow and develop." "If 
you give a young laying queen a hive supplied only with drone- 
combs, she will rear worker-brood in these drone-cells. The 
mouth of the cells will be contracted with wax as mentioned 

148. An experiment, made in Bordeaux, under the SU' 
pervision of Mr. Drory, editor of the "Rucher," has proven 
that the queen may lay worker-eggs in drone-cells. A piece 
of drone-comb containing worker-brood, was sent us by him. 
The eggs were laid irregular^ and the mouth of the cells had 
been contracted, as mentioned by Mr. Root. This contraction 
of the cell mouth seems indispensable to enable the queen to 
put in motion the muscles of her spermatheca. 

149. We will add, with Mr. Root, that in the Spring, or 
late in the Fall, when the crop is not abundant, the queen 
will travel over drone-combs without depositing a single egg- 
in them Even by feeding the colony, when in these con- 


l*HVSlULO<iV OF TllK llUNKY-HhlE. 

ditions, the queen cannot be readily induced to lay in drone- 
ceils. Our conclusions on this point differ from those of 
Mr. Root. We think that the queen prefers worker-cells to 
drone-cells, because the fecundation of the eggs by the action 
of the muscles of the spermatheca probablj- gives her a pleas- 
ant sensation, which she does not experience in laying drone- 

Fig. 2-i. 

(Magnified. From the "Illustricrtc Bicnenzeitung.'') 

U; h, c, d, e, rings of the abdomen ; .V, nerve-chain ; M, honey-sack 
E, ovaries ; D, stomach ; R. rectum ; G, ganglions ; A, anus ; Ss, ovi 
positor ; St, sting ; P, muscles ; H, gland ; S, poison-sack. 

150. Some veiy prolific queens occasionally lay drone- 
eggs in worker-cells. It may be due to fatigue. This will 
readily be admitted when we consider the number of eggs 
laid in one day. (98.) 

151. Dzierzon found that a queen which had been refrig- 
erated for a long time, after being brought to life by warmth, 
laid only male eggs, whilst previously she had also laid fe- 
male eggs. Berlepsch refrigerated three queens by placing 
them thirt3'-six hours in an ice-house. Two of thlem never 
]-evived, and the third laid, as before, thousands of eggs, 
but from all of them only males were evolved. In two in- 
stances, Mr. Mahan has, at our suggestion, tried similar ex- 
periments, and with like results. A short exposure of a 
queen, to pounded ice and salt, answers even- purpose. The 

THE QIKKX. , 05 

spenuatozoids aiv in sonic way I'eiuk'red in()i)erative by severe 

152. The queen begins laying about two days after im- 
pregiiation. She is seldom treated with much attention by 
the bees until after she has begun to replenish the cells with 
eggs; although if previously deprived of her, they show, 
by their despair, that thej^ fully appreciated her importance 
to their welfare. 

The extra ordinaiy fertility of the queen-bee has already 
been noticed. The process of laying has been well described 
by the Rev. W. Dunbar, a Scotch Apiarist : 

153. "When the queen is about to lay, she puts her head 
into a cell, and remains in that position for a second or two, to 
ascertain its fitness for the deposit she is about to make. She 
then withdraws her head, and curving her body downwards, in- 
serts the lower part of it into the cell; in a few seconds she 
turns half round upon herself and withdraws, leaving an egg 
behind her." 

In the Winter, or early Spring, she lays first in the middle 
t.f the cluster, and continues in a circle, aroimd the first eggs 
laid, till she has filled most of the wanned space. She 
then crosses over to the next comb and does the same thing; 
as the bees always cluster on different combs in groups ex- 
actly opposite, to produce the utmost possible concentration 
and economy of heat for developing the various changes of 
the brood. 

154. Queens lay more or less according to, Ist, The sea- 
son; 2nd, The number of bees that keep up the heat of the 
brood-nest, and 3d, The quantity of food which thej^ eat. 
When bees har^-est honey or pollen, or when these necessaries 
are provided artificially by the Apiarist, they feed the queen 
as they pass by her, oftener than they would otherwise; hence 
her laying increases in Spring, and decreases in Summer or 
Fall. It is certain that when the weather is uncongenial, or 
the colony too feeble to maintain sufficient heat, fewer eggs 
are matured, just as unfavorable circumstances diminish the 


number of eggs laid by the hen; and when the weather is 
very cold, the queen stops laying, in weak colonies. 

In the latitude of Northern Massachusetts, we have found 
that the queen ordinarily ceases to laj' some time in October; 
and begins again, in strong stocks, in the latter part of Decem- 
ber. On the 14th of Januai'j", 1S57 (the previous month having 
been verj^ cold, the thenncmeter sometimes smking to 17° be- 
low zero), we exammed three hives, and found that the central 
combs m two contained eggs and misealed brood; there were 
a few cells with sealed brood in the third. Strong stocks, 
even in the coldest climates, usually contain some brood ten 
months in the year. 

155. '^ Queens differ much as to the degree of their fertil- 
ity. Those are best which deposit their eggs with uniform reg- 
ularity, leaving no cells unsupplied — as the brood hatches at the 
same time on the same range of comb, which can be again sup- 
plied; the queen thus losing no time in searching for empty 
cells. ' ' — (Dzierzon.) 

In bee-life, as well as in human affairs, those who are 
sj'stematic, ordinarily accomplish the most. 

To test the difference of fecundity between queens, Mr. 
De Layens, while transferrmg bees (574), in middle April, 
comited the eggs dropped on a black cloth (577), in forty 
mmutes, by the queens of four different colonies. The 
poorest queen dropped but one egg, the second twelve, the 
third eighteen, and the fourth twenty. On the fifteenth of 
July the colony of the first queen was veiy poor, the second 
was of average strength, and both the others Avere veiy strong. 

156. It is amusing to see how the supernumeraiy eggs 
of the queen are disposed of. If the workers are too few to 
take charge of all her eggs, if there is a deficiency of bee- 
bread to nourish the yomig; or if, for any reason, she does 
not think best to deposit them in the cells, she stands upon 
a comb, and simply extnides them from her oviduct, the 
workers devouring them as fast as they are laid. 

One who carefully watches the habits of bees will often 
feel inclmed to speak of his little favorites as having an 


intelligence almost if not quite akin to reason; and we have 
sometimes queried, whether the workers who are so fond of 
a tit-bit in the shape of a newly-laid egg ever experienced 
a struggle between appetite and duty; so that they must 
practice self-denial to refrain from breakfasting on the eggs 
so temptingly deposited in the cells. 

157. It is well known to breeders of poultry, that the 
fertility of a hen decreases with age, until at length she may 
become entirely barren. By the same law, the fecundity of 
the queen-bee ordinarily diminishes after she has entered her 
third year. An old queen sometimes ceases to lay worker- 
eggs; the contents of her spermatlieca becoming exhausted, 
the eggs are no longer impregnated, and produce only drones. 

The queen-bee usually dies of old age m her fourth year, 
although she has been known to live longer. There is great 
advantage, therefore, in hives which allow her, when she has 
passed the period of her greatest fertility, to be easily re- 
moved. % 

The AVorker-Bee. 

158. The workers are the smallest inhabitants of a bee- 
hive, and compose the bulk of the pop- 
ulation. A good swarm ought to contain 
at least 20,000; and in large hives, strong- 
colonies, which are not reduced by swarm- 
ing, frequently number three or four times 
as many during the height of the breeding 
season. Fig. 25. 

159. Their functions are varied. The young bees work 
inside of the hive, prepare and distribute the food to the 
larvae, take care of the queen, by brushing her A\dth their 
tongues, nurse her, maintain the heat of the hive, or renew 
the air and evaporate the newly-gathered honey (219), by 
ventilating (261, 366). They clean the hive of dirt or 


debris, close up all the cracks, and secrete the greater part 
of the wax which is produced in the hive. 

The old bees may, if necessaiy, do a part of the same work; 
but, as we have seen, (39), old age renders some unfit to 
prepare the food of the larvae. More alert than the young 
bees, they do the outside work, gather honey (24:<>), pollen 
(263), and water (271), for the use of the family, and 
l)ropolis (236) to cement the cracks. 

160. ''Dzierzon states it as a fact, that worker-bees attend 
more exclusively to the domestic concerns of the colony in the 
early period of life; assuming the discharge of the more active 
out-door duties only during the later periods of their existence. 
The Italian bees (551 ) furnished me with suitable means to 
test the correctness of this opinion. 

' ' On the 18th of April, 1855, I introduced ( 533 ) an Italian 
queen into a colony of common bees; and on the 10th of May 
following, the first Italian workers emerged from the cells. 
On the ensuing day, they emerged in great numbers, as the col- 
ony had been kept in good condition by regular and plentiful 
feeding. I will arrange my observations under the following 
heads : 

161. "1. On the 10th of May, the first Italian workers 
emerged; and on the 17th they made their first appearance out- 
side of the hive. On the next day, and then daily till the 29th, 
they came forth about noon, disporting in front of the hive, in 
the rays of the sun. They, however, manifestly, did not issue 
for the purpose of gathering honey or pollen, for during that 
time none were noticed returning with pellets; none were seen 
alighting on any of the flowers in my garden; and I found no 
honey in the stomachs of such as I caught and killed for exam- 
ination. The gathering was done exclusively by the old bees of 
the original stock, until the 29th of May, when the Italian bees 
began to labor in that vocation also — being then 19 days old. 

162. "2. On the feeding troughs placed in my garden, and 
which were constantly crowded with common bees, I saw no 
Italian bees till the 27th of May, seventeen days after the first 
had emerged from the cells. 

"From the lOtli of May on, I daily presented to Italian bees, 
in the hive, a stick dipped in honey. The younger ones never 


attempted to lick any of it; the older oceasioually seemed to si}' 
a little, but immediately left it and moved away. The common 
bees always eagerly licked it up, never leaving it till they had 
filled their honey-bags. Not till the 2oth of May did I see any 
Italian bee lick up honey eagerly, as the common bees did from 
the beginning. 

"These repeated observations force me to conclude that, dur- 
ing the first two weeks of the worker-bees 's life, the impulse 
for gathering honey and pollen does not exist, or at least is not 
developed; and that the development of this impulse proceeds 
slowly and gradually. At first the young bee will not even 
touch the honey presented to her; some days later she will sim- 
ply taste it, and only after a further lapse of time will she con- 
sume it eagerly. Two weeks elapse before she readily eats 
honey, and nearly three weeks pass, before the gathering im- 
pulse is suflSciently developed to impel her to fly abroad, and 
seek for honey and pollen among the flowers. 

163. "I made, further, the following observations respect- 
ing the domestic employments of the young Italian bees: 

*'l. On the 20th of May, I took out of the hive all the combs 
it contained, and replaced them after examination. On inspect- 
ing them half an hour later, I was surprised to see that the 
edges of the combs, which had been cut on removal,* were cov- 
ered by Italian bees exclusively. On closer examination, I found 
that they were busily engaged in re-attaching the combs to the 
sides of the hive. When I brushed them away, they instantly 
returned, in eager haste, to resume their labors. 

' ' 2. After making the foregoing observations, I inserted in 
the hive a bar from which a comb had been cut, to ascertain 
whether the rebuilding of comb would be undertaken by the 
Italian bees. I took it out a few hours subsequently, and found 
it covered almost exclusively by Italian workers, though the 
colony, at that time, still contained a large majority of com- 
mon bees. I saw that they were sedulously engaged in build- 
ing comb; and they prosecuted the work unremittingly, whilst 
I held the bar in my liand. I repeated this experiment several 

* Mr. Donhoff, the writer of this quctation, used the Dzierzon hive, 
the combs of which are suspended in the hive by an upper bar only, 
and cannot be taken out unless their edges, that are built against the 
sides of the hive, are cut. 


days in succession, and satisfied myself that the bees engaged in 
this work were always almost exclusively of the Italiaa race. 
Many of them had scales of wax visibly protruding between 
ili« if abdominal rings ( 201). These observations show that, 

Fig. 2.J. 

(Magnified. After Barbd.) 

in the early stage of their existence, the impulse for comb- 
building is stronger than later in life. 
164. "3. Whenever I examined the colony during the first 


three weeks after the Italian bees emerged, I found the brood- 
combs covered principally by bees of that race: and it is, hence, 
probable that the brood is chiefly attended to and nursed by the 
younger bees. The evidence, however, is not so conclusive as 
in the case of comb-building, inasmuch as they may have con- 
gregated on the brood-combs because these are warmer than 
the others. 

"I may add another interesting observation. The faeces in 
the intestines of the young Italian bees was viscid and yellow; 
that of the common or old bees was thin and limpid, like that 
of the queen-bee. This is confirmatory of the opinion, that, for 
the production of wax and jelly, the bees require pollen; but 
do not need any for their own sustenance." — (B. Z., ISfb, p. 
163. Dr. Donhoff, translated by the late S. Wagner.) 

165. There are none but gentlemen of leisure in the com- 
monwealth of bees, but assuredly there are no such ladies, 
whether of high or low degree. The queen 
herself has her full share of duties, the 
royal office being no sinecure, when the 
mother who fills it must daily deposit thou- 
sands of eggs. 

' ' The eggs of bees are of a lengthened, 
oval shape with a slight curvature, and or ^„ ^^^- ^^• 


a bluish white color: being besmeared, at cell. 

the time of laying, with a glutinous sub- ^^°' ^ 

stance, they adhere to the bases of the cells, and remain un- 
changed in figure or situation for three or four days; they are 
then hatched, the bottom of each cell presenting to view a small 
white worm." — (Bevan.) 

166. For the first three days after their hatching, these 
worms are fed with a jelly, thought to be prepared or secreted 
by the upper pair of glands of the worker-bees (39), which 
are very large in the nurses. This milky food is a whitish, 
transparent fluid, and is distributed to the larvae, as it is 
needed. After four or perhaps five days, the larva is too 
large for the bottom of the cell, where it was coiled up, to 
use the language of Swammerdam, like a dog when going 



to sleep; and stretches itself till it oeeupies the whole length 
of the cell, lying on its back. Its food at this time, is 
changed for a semi-digested mixture of honey and pollen. 

Fig. 2.S. 

(Magnified. After Barb6.) 

"The mixture of honey and pollen given at the end of the 
nursing, is easily detected by its color, which is yellower, on ac- 



Fig. 29. 


(Magnified. Frcm Sartor! and Rausch- 

count of the pollen, and 
can be seen through the 
skin of the larva. ' ' — 

167. "The larva, or 
grub, grows apace, but 
not without experiene 
ing a difficulty to which 
the human famil}' is^ in 
some sort, subject in the 
period of youth. Its 
coat is inelastic and does not grow with the wearer, so that it 
soon, fitting badly, has to be thrown off; but, happily in the 
case of the larva, a new and larger one has alreacl}' been formed 
beneath it, and the discarded garment, more delicate than gos- 
samer, is pushed to the bottom of the cell." — (Cheshire.) 

168. ''The nursing- 
bees now seal over the 
cell with a light brown 
cover, externally more 
or less convex (the cap 
of a drone-cell being 
more convex than that 
of a worker), and thus 
differing from that of a 
honey - cell, which i > 
paler and somewhat concave." — ("Bevan on the Honey-Bee, ") 

The cap of the brood-cell is made not of pure Avax, but 
of a mixture of bee-bread and wax; and appears under the 
microscope to be full of fine holes, to give air to the in- 
closed insect. From its texture and shape it is easily thrust 
off by the bee when maturej whereas if it consisted wholly 
of wax, the insect would either perish for lack of air, or bo 
unable to force its way into the world. Both the material 
and shape of the lids which close the honey-cells are differ- 
ent : they are of pure wax, and are slightly concave, the better 
to resist the pressure of their contents. The bees sometimes 
neglect to cap the cells of some of the brocd, and some per- 
sons have thought that this brood was diseased, but it hatches 

Fig. .3n. 

( Magnified.) 


all the same. The larva is no sooner perfectly inclosed, than it 
begins to spin a cocoon after the manner of the silk-worm, 
and Cheshire teaches us that it does not encase the insect, 
but is only at the mouth of the cell, "and in no case extends 
far down the sides." 
To return to Bevan : 

169. ''When it has undergone this change, it has usually 
borne the name of nymph, or pupa. It has now attained its full 
growth, and the large amount of nutriment which it has taken 
serves as a store for developing the perfect insect. 

''The working-bee nymph spins its cocoon in thirty-six hours. 
After passing about three days in this state of preparation for a 
new existence, it gradually undergoes so great a change as not 
to wear a vestige of its previous form. ' ' 

Fig. 31. 


(Magnified. Frcm Sartcri and Rau3chenfels.) 

170. The last cast-off skin of the larva, "which, by the 
creature's movements within the cell, becomes plastered to 
the walls and joins the cocoon near the mouth end" (Chesh- 
ire), is left behind, and forms a clcsely-attaclied and exact 
lining to the cell; by this means the breeding-cells become 
smaller, and their partitions stronger, the oftener they change 
their tenants. 

So thin is this lining, that brood combs more than twenty 
years old have been found to raise bees apparently as large 
as any other in the Apiaiy. 

lYl. About twenty-one days are usually required for the 
transformations from the worker-egg to tlie perfect insect. 
But the time may be shortened or lengthened by the tem- 


perature, or the conditions of the colony. Dzierzon and others 
wrote that a Avorker-bee can hatch in nineteen to twentj^-one 
days. Collin says nineteen to twenty-three. That the brood 
can remain even longer before hatching, is confirmed by the 

Fig. 32. 


(Magnified. After Barbo.) 

report of A. Saunier, in the South of France. Having de- 
prived a hive of all its inhabitants, he found bees, hatching 
twentv-three davs aftei-wards, that had not even been sealed 

76 rnvsioLOGV of the jioney-bee. 

ill their cells, since there had been no nurses there to do this 
work. ("L'Apiculteur." Paris, 1870.) As these were al- 
ready full-grown larv£P, when the hive was deprived of its 
bees, they must have been twenty-seven daj^s old when hatch- 
ing. In this experiment, the heat produced by the larvae, 
coupled Avith that of the atmosphere, had been sufficient to 
keep them alive and help their slow development. 

We have often noticed the brood of swarms, that had de- 
serted their hives, still alive after a cold night, but in each 
case its development was delayed. 

172. A newly hatched worker, like a newly hatched queen, 
is easily recognized by her small size, her pale gray color, and 
her weak appearance. After a few days, she has gi'own con- 
siderably larger. She is then in the bloom of health; her 
color is bright, she has not yet lost a smgle hair of the down 
which covers her body. These hairs fall gradually from age 
and work, and sometimes disappear almost entirel5^ 

173. The first excursion of the young bee out of the hive 
takes place when she is about eight daj\s old (160.) The dis- 
turbing of the colony, or the lack of old bees ma^' cause them 
to go out earlier. 

The first flight of j'oung Avorker-bees is easily remembered 
^^•llen once seen. It usually takes place in the afternoon of a 
sunny day. They first walk about on the platform in a hesi- 
tating manner and then take flight. Their humming, and 
joyous and peaceable circles to reconnoitre the location of 
their home, recalls to memoiy the gay playing of children 
in front of the school-house door. Their second trip is made 
about a week after the first ; it is then that they bring in 
their first load. A young bee commg home is readily recog- 
nized by the small size of the pollen pellets she carries, when 
compared with those of older bees, and by the tunis she makes 
before alighting. 

174. The Apiarist should become acquainted with the 
l)ehavior of young bees, so as not to mistake their pleasant 
flight for the restless motions of robber-bees. (664.) 

175. Although the workers are females, they are incapable 


of feeundalion (108). Yet the rudimental ovaries of some 
of them contain a few undeveloped eggs (fig. 33). 

176. Occasionally some of them are suflftciently developed 
to be capable of laying eggs; but these eggs always produce 
drones. Laying workers appear only when a colony has been 
(lueenless for some time. Huber thought that fertile workers 
were reared in the neighborhood of the young queens, and 
that they received some of the peculiar food, or jelly on 
which these ciueens are fed.* But it is more probable that 
it is the increase of the milky food, given lavishly to the 
larvae in the first stage of their development, during a good 
honey flow, which enlarged their ovaries (108), and that the 
young bees, thus raised, having no more larvas to nurse 
when the hive has suddenly become queen less, feed each other 
Avith their milky food, which excites their laying, as it does 
for the queens (39). The number of drone-laying worker^ 
is sometimes veiy large in a hopelessly queenless hive; we 
have seen at least a dozen laying on the same comb. Mr. 
Viallon, a noted bee-keeper of Louisiana, once had so many 
in one queenless colony, that he was able to send several dozen 
for dissection to bee-keepers in this countiy and Europe. 

177. Some persons may question the wisdom of Nature 
in endowing the workers with the means of lajdng drone- 
eggs, when there is no queen in the colony to be fecundated 
by them. But Nature does nothing without purpose. The 
main cause of the loss of the queen, when there is no brood 

* An extract from Huber's preface will be interesting in this con- 
nection. After speaking cf his blindness, and praising the extraordinary 
taste for Natural History, of his assistant, Burnens, "who was born 
with the talents of an observer," he says : "Every one of the facts I 
now publish, we have seen, over and over again, during the period cf 
eight years, which we have employed in making our observations en 
bees. It is impossibls to form a just idea of the patience and skill 
with which Burnens has carried out the experiments which I am about 
to describe ; he has often watched some of the working-bees of our 
hives, which we had reason to think fertile, fcr the space of twenty- 
four hours, without distraction * * * * and he counted fatigue 
and pain as nothing, compared with the great desire he felt to know 
the results." 



fit to raise others (107j, and therefore, no hopes of survival 
for the colony, is usually the death of the young queen in 
her bridal flight (122). At some seasons, the drones are 

Fig. 33. 


(Magnified. After Barbo.) 

scarce, and a young queen may be compelled to make several 
trips before she finds one. If she gets lost, the hive having 
remained queenless for at least eight or ten days (109), the 



brood is too old to be used to raise another, and the colony 
is doomed. That other colonies may not be victims of similar 
accidents, owing to the scarcity of drones. Nature endows 
this worthless colony with the faculty of drone-raising. 

It is by the same provision of Nature that mihealthy trees, 
on the eve of death, are seen covered with blossoms and 
fruits. They make the strongest efforts to save their race 
from extinction, and perish afterwards. 

178. The drone-laying of worker-bees is easily discovered 
by the Apiarist. Their eggs are laid without order, some cells 
containing grown larvae, or sealed pupae, by the side of cells 
containing eggs; while the eggs of a queen are veiy regularly 

' <.-*^,fS^^- 

Fig. 34. 


(Fcrty Years Amcng the Bees.) 
By C. C. Miller. 

laid. Huber states that the fertile workers prefer large cells 
in which to deposit their drone eggs, resorting to small ones 
only when unable to find those of greater diameter. A hive 
in our Apiary having much worker-comb, but only a sm^l] 
piece of drone size, a fertile worker filled the latter so entireij' 
with eggs that some of the cells contained three or four each. 


179. Sometimes the bees do not seem to know tliat these 
eggs are drone-eggs, and in their eagerness to raise a queen, 
they treat some of them as such, by enlarging their cells and 
feeding them on special food (109). The poor overfed 
drones, thus raised, usually perish in the cell (136). The 
workers soon dwindle away, and the colony perishes. 

180. They often even fail to raise any queen from brood, 
which may be given them by the Apiarist, unless some hatch- 
ing bees are gi\'en at the same time. The latter, when informed 
of the needs of the colony, usually succeed in raising a queen. 
The introduction of a laying-queen in a laying-worker colony, 
is the best remedy. (533.) 

181. The bees of the same colony understand each other 
vei'y well for all their necessities, and they work with an 
entrain which is truly admirable. They know each other, 
probably by smell, for it is veiy rare to see a bee of the 
hive treated as a robber (664). They never use their sting 
except to defend themselves, when hurt, or their home, when 
they think it is threatened. 

182. Their life is short, but their age depends very much 
upon their greater or less exposure to injurious influences, 
and severe labors. Those reared in the Spring and early 
part of Summer, upon whom the heaviest labors of the hive 
devolve, appear to live not more than thirty-live days, on an 
average; Avhile those bred at the close of Summer, and early 
in Autumn, being able to spend a large pan of their time 
in repose, attain a much greater age. It is very evident 
that "the bee" (to use the words of a quaint old writer) "is 
a Summer bird"; and that, with the exception of the queen, 
none live to be a year old. 

If an Italian queen be given, in the working season, to a 
hive of common bees, in about three months none of the 
latter will be found in the colony, and as the black queen 
removed has left eggs in the cells, w^iich take twenty-one days 
to hatch, it is evident that the bees all die from fatigue or 
accident in the remaining seventy days, making their average 
life thirty-five days in the worJcing peai^on. 



The age which individuai members of the community may 
attain, must not be confounded with that of the colony. Bees 
have been known to occupy the same domicile for a great 
number of years. We have seen flourishhig colonies more than 
twenty years old; the Abbe Delia Rocca speaks of some over 
forty years old; and Stoche says that he saw a colony, which 

Fig. 35. 


(Fortj^ Years Among the Bees.) 

he was assured had swaruied annually for forty-six years! 
Such cases have led to the erroneous opinion, that bees are 
a long-lived race. But this, as Dr. Evans* has observed, is 
just as wise as if a stranger, contemplating a populous city, 
and personally unacquainted with its inhabitants, ' should, on 
paying it a second visit, many j^ears after, and finding it 
equally populous, imagine that it was peopled by the same 
individuals, not one of whom might then be living. 

* Dr. Evans was an English physician, and the author of a beauti- 
ful poom on bees. 


'Like leaves on trees, the race of bees is found, 
Now green in youth, now withering on the ground. 
Another race the Spring or Fall supplies, 
They droop successive, and successive rise. ' ' ' — Evans. 

Apiarists, unaware of the brevity of the bee's life, have 
often constructed huge '^bee-palaces" and large closets, vainly 
imagining- that the bees would fill them, being unable to see 
any reason why a colony should not increase until it numbers 
its inhabitants by millions or billions. But as the bees can 
never at one time equal, still less exceed, the number which 
the queen is capable of producing in a season, these spacious 
dwellings have always an abmidance of spare room. It seems 
strange that men can be thus deceived, when often in their 
own ajDiaiy thej^ have healthy stocks, which, though they have 
not swarmed for a year or more, are no more populous in the 
Spring, than those which have regular!}' parted with vigor- 
ous colonies, 

183. There is something cruel in the habits of the bee. 
Whenever one of them becomes miable to work from some 
cause or other, if she does not perish in her efforts to go to 
the fields, the other bees drag her out pitilessly ; their love 
benig concentrated on the whole family, not on a single 
individual. Yet, when one is hurt, and complains, hundreds 
of others resent the injuiy and are ready to avenge her. 

184. Notched and ragged wings and shiny bodies, in- 
stead of gray hairs and Avrinkled faces, are the signs of old 
age in the bee, indicating that its season of toil will soon be 
over. They apjDcar to die rather suddenly; and often spend 
their last clays, and even their last hours, in useful labors. 

Place yourself before a hive, and see the indefatigable 
energy of tliese industrious veterans, toiling along with their 
heavy burdens, side by side with their more youthful com- 
peers, and then judge if, while qualified for useful labor, you 
ought ever to surrender yourself to slothful indulgence. 

Let the cheerful hum of their busy old age inspire you with 
better resolutions, and teach you how much nobler it is to die 
with harness on, in the active discharge of the duties of life. 


The Drones. 

185. The drones are the male bees. They are much 
larger and stouter than either the queen or workers; although 
their bodies are not quite so long 
as that of the queen. They have 
no sting (78) with which to de- 
fend themselves, and no suitable 
proboscis (1:8) for gathering 
honey from the flowers, no baskets 
on their thighs (59) for holding 
bee-bread, and no pouclies (201) 

on their abdomens for secreting wax. They are, therefore, 
physically disqualified for the ordinaiy work of the hive. Their 
proper office is to impregnate the young queens. 

''Their short proboscis sips 
No luscious nectar from the wild thyme's lips, 
From the lime's leaf no amber drops they steal, 
Nor bear their groovelcss thighs the foodful meal: 
On other's toils in pamper 'd leisure tlmve 
The lazy fathers of the industrious hive." 

— Evans. 

186. The drones begin to make their appearance in April 
or May; earlier or later, according to the forwardness of 
the season, and the strength of the colony. Like the other 
inhabitants of the hive they cannot perform the work for 
which they are intended, till at least one week old. They 
go out of the hives only when the weather is warm, and at 

187. As Ave have seen (122), the mating of the queen 
with a drone always takes place in the air. Physiologists 
say that it cannot be othenvise, because the sexual organs 
of the drone cannot be extruded unless his abdomen is swelled 
by the filling of all the tracheas with air. This happens only 
in swift flight (74). 


Dzierzuii supposes that the sound of the (jueeii's wingS; 
when she is m the air, excites the drones. Evidently tiieir 
eyes (11) and ears (25) which are highly developed, as 
proven by Cheshire, help them also in the search of the 
queen, which is their sole occupation, when m the field. In 
the interior of the hive, they are never seen to notice her; 
so that she is not molested, even if thousands are members 
of the same colony with herself. But outside of the hive, 
they readily follow her, led, according to Dzierzon, by the 
peculiar hum of her flight, and certainly also, by the senses 
of smell and of sight, which are more perfect than those of 
the worker, most likely for this single purpose. 

"When the queen flies abroad, the fleetest drone is more 
likely to succeed in his addresses than another, and thus he im- 
presses upon posterity some part of his own superior activity 
and energy. The slow and weak in the race die without heirs, 
so that the survival of the fittest is not an accident, but a pre- 
determination. In previous chapters we have considered his 
highly-developed eyes, meeting at the vertex of his head, his 
multitudinous smell-hollows, and his strong large wings, the ad- 
vantage of which now appears in a clearer light; his C[uickness 
in discovering a mate, whose neighborhood is to him filled with 
irresistible odours, and his ability in keeping her in view dur- 
ing pursuit, are no less helpful to his purpose than fleetness on 
the wing. . . . " — (Cheshire.) 

188. The drone perishes iu the acl of impregnating the 
queen. Although, when cut into two pieces, each i)iece will 
retain its vitality for a long time, Ave accidentally ascertained, 
in the Summer of 1852, that if his abdomen is gently pressed, 
and sometimes if several are closely held in the warm hand, 
the male organ will often be permanently extruded, with a 
motion very like the popping of roasted pop-corn ; and the 
insect, with a shiver, will curl up and die, as quickly as if 
blasted with the lightning's stroke. This singular provision 
is unquestionably intended to give additional security to the 
queen when she leaves her hive to have intercourse with the 
drone. Iluber first discovered that she returned with the male 



organ torn from the drone, and still adhering- to her body. If 
it were not for this arrangement, her spennatheca could not 
be filled, unless she remained so long in the air with the drone, 
as to incur a veiy great risk of being devoured by birds. In 
one instance, seme days after the impregnation of a queen, we 
found the male organ, in a dried state, adhering so firmly to 
her body, that it could not be removed without teanng her to 

Fig. 37. 

(Magnified. After Barbo.) 

181). The number of drones in a hive is often veiy great, 
amounting not merely to hundi-eds, but sometimes to thousands. 
As a single one will impregnate a queen for life, it would 
seem that only a few should be reared. But as sexual inter- 
course always takes place high up in the air, the young queens 



must necessarily leave the hive; and it is very important to 
their safety that they should be sure to find a drone without 
being compelled to make frequent excursions ; for being larger 
than workers, and less active on the wing, queens are more 

Fig. 38. 

(Magnified. After Barbd.) 

a,a, testicles; b,b, mucous glands; c, seminal duct; d, part in which 
the'spermatophore is formed; e, hollow horns and penis. 



exposed to be caught by birds, or destroyed by sudden gusts 
of wind. 

In a large Apiaiy, a few drones in each hive, or the num- 
ber usually found in one, would suffice. Under such cir- 
cumstances bees are not in a state of nature, like a colony 
living in a forest, which often has no neighbors for miles. 

Fig 39. 


(Much magnified. After Barbo.) 


A good colony, even in our climate, sometimes sends out 
three or more swarms, and in the tro])ical climates, of which 
the bee is probably a native, they increase Avith astonishing- 
rapidity. Every new swarm, except the first, is led oft by a 
young- queen ; and as she is never impregnated until she has 
been established as the head of a separate family, it is im- 
portant that each should be accompanied by a goodly number 
of drones; this requires the production of a large number 
in the parent-hive. 

190. This necessity no longer exists when the bee is do- 
mesticated, smce several colonies are kept in the same place, 
and the breeding of so many drones should be discouraged. 
Their brood takes useful space that might as well be occupied 
with worker-brood. One thousand good-for-nothing- drones 
take up as much breeding-space as fifteen hundred workers 
(224:), and require as much food, with negative results. Some 
hives, m a state of nature, produce so many drones that a 
great part of the surplus crop is disposed of by these vora- 
cious loafers. Besides, the comparatively large volume of the 
mate organs, in connection with the gluttony of the drones, 
explains why they usualh^ void their dejections in the hive, 
while workers retain them till they are on the wing (Y3), and 
why the cells of the combs of hives which have a large <iuantity 
of these gormands, become dark and thick sooner than the 

The importance of preventing the over-production of drones 
has been corroborated by the discoveiy of Mr. P. J. Mahan, 
that those leaving the hive have cjuite a large drop of honey 
in theii; stomachs— while those returning from their pleasure 
excursions, having digested their dinners, are prepared for a 
new supply (600). 

Aristotle (''History of Animals," Book IX, Chap. XI) 
speaks of the irregular and thick combs built Iw some colonies, 
and the superabundance of drones issuing from them. He 
describes their excursions as follows : 

"The drones, when they go abroad, rise into the air with a 
circular flight, as though to tako violent oxerfiso. niid wlion they 

THE KKuxt:. 


have taken enough, return liome. and gorge themselves with 
honey. ' ' 

''The drone," says quaint old Butler (1609) "is a gross, 
stingless bee, that spendeth his time in gluttony and idleness. 
For howsoever he brave it with his round velvet cap, his side 
gown, his full paunch, and his loud. voice, yet is he but an idle 
companion, living by the sweat of others' brows. He worketh 
not at all; either at home or abroad, and yet spendeth as much 
as two laborers: you shall never find his maw without a drop 
of the purest nectar. In the heat of the day he flieth abroad, 
aloft and about, and that with no small noise, as though he 
would do some great act; but it is only for his pleasure, and to 
get him a stomach, and then returns he presently to his cheer." 

191. The bee-keepers in Aristotle's time were in the habit 

of destroying- the excesr 
of drones. They ex- 
clnded them from the 
h i v e — when taking 
their accustomed airing 
— by contracting tlie 
entrances with a kind 
of basket work, 
recommends a 
trap, which he calls a 
'UJ rone -pot." 
One of the modem inventions to destroy them is Alley's 
drone-trap* improved by J. A. Batchelder; but it is much 
better to save the bees the labor and expense of rearing such 
a host of useless consumers. This can readily be done, when 
we have the control of the combs ; for, by removing the idrone- 
comb, and supplying its place with worker-cells, the over- 
production of drones may be easily prevented. Those who 
object to this, as interfering with nature, should remember 
that the bee is not in a state of nature; and that the same 
objection might, with equal force, be urged against killing off 

Fig. 40. 
alley's droxe-trap. 


* The perforated zinc, used in drone-traps, which we think was in- 
vented by Collin. ("Guide." p. 3. Paris, 1865), is so cut, that neither 
queen nor drone but only the worker bee can pass through its opening. 


or castrating the supernumerary males of our domestic ani- 

192. Soon after the harvest is over, or if there is a lull 
in the yield of honey, the drones are expelled from the hive. 
The worker-bees sting them, or gnaw the roots of their wings, 
so that when driven from the hive, they cannot return. If 
not ejected in either of these summaiy ways, they are so per- 
secuted and starved, that they soon perish. At such times they 
often retreat from the comb, and keep by themselves upon the 
sides or bottom-board of the hive. The hatred of the bees 
extends even to the unhatched young, which are mercilessly 
pulled from the cells and destroj'ed with the rest. 

Healthy colonies almost always destroy the drones, as soon 
as forage becomes scarce. In the vicinity of Philadelphia, 
there were only a few days in June, 1858, when it did not 
rain, and in that month the drones were destroyed in most 
of the hives. When the weather became more propitious, 
others were bred to take their place. In seasons when the 
honey-hars'est has been abundant and long protracted, we 
have knoAvn the drones to be retained, in Northern Massa- 
chusetts, until the 1st of November. If bees could gather 
honey and could swarm the whole year, the drones would 
probably die a natural death. 

How wonderful that instinct which, when there is no longer 
any occasion for their services, impels the bees to destroy 
those members of the colony reared with such devoted atten- 
tion ! 

193. It is interesting to notice the actions of the drones 
when they are excluded from the hive. For a while they 
eagerly search for a wider entrance, or strive to force their 
bulky bodies through the narrow gateway. Finding this to 
be in vain, they solicit honey from the workers, and when 
lefresh^d, renew their efforts for admission, expressing, all 
the while, with plaintive notes, their deep sense of such a 
cruel exclusion. The bee-keeper, however, is deaf to their 
entreaties; it is better for him that they should stay without, 
and better for them— if they only knew it— to perish by his 


hands, than to be starved or butchered by the unfeelmg work- 
ers. Towards dark, or early in the mommg— when chistered, 
for warmth, in the portico — they may be brushed into a vessel 
of water, and given to chickens, which will soon learn to de- 
vour them. 

194. Drones are sometimes raised in worker-cells (150). 
They are smaller in size, but apparently as perfect as the 
full-size drones, all their organs being well developed. 

For the stages of development of drones, see the compara- 
tive table at the end of this chapter (197). 

195. AYe have repeatedly queried, why impregnation 
might not have taken j^lace in the hive, instead of in the 
open air. A few dozen drones would then have sufficed for 
the wants of any colony, even if it swarmed, as in warm 
climates, half a dozen times, or oftener, in the same season; 
and the young queens would have incurred no risks by leav- 
ing the hive for fecundation. 

196. If a farmer persists in what is called "breeding in 
and in," that is, without changing the blood, the ultimate 
degeneracy of his stock is the consequence.* This law extends, 
as far as we know, to all animal life, man himself not being 
exempt from its influence. Have we any reason to suppose 
that the bee is an exception/? or that degeneracy would not 
ensue, unless some provision were made to counteract the ten- 
dency to "in-and-in breeding f If fecundation had taken 
place. in the hive, the queen would have been impregnated by 
drones from a common parent; and the same result must 
have taken place in each successive generation^ until the whole 
species would eventually have "run out." By the present 
arrangement, the young queens, when they leave the hive, 
often find the air swarming with drones, many of which. be- 
long to other colonies, and thus, by crossing the breed, pro- 
vision is constantly made to prevent deterioration. 

* In the above, Mr. Lar.gstroth refers to indiscriminate breeding. 
In-and-in breeding, by selection, intensifies certain qualities, such as 
the development of fat, or of muscle, but it also intensifies the de- 
fects, generally causing a decrease of \ itality or of health in the race. 



Exi)erieiice lias proved that impregnation may be effected 
nut only when there are no drones in the colon j^ of the young 
queen, but even when there are none in her immediate neigh- 
borhood. Intercourse takes place veiy high in the air (per- 
haps that less risk may be mcurred from birds), and this 
favors the crossmg of stocks. 

197. Comparative Table of the Normal Duration of 
THE Bee's Transformations from Eggs to \Yinged Insects. 

Queen. Worker. Drone. 

Eggs days 3 3 3 

Growth of larva *" o' 2 G GV2 

Spinning of cocoon " 1 2 iy2 

Period of rest '" 2 2 3 

Metamorphosis into pupa '■ 1 1 1 

Duration of this stage " 3\2 " ^ 

Av. time from egg to winged insect 





198. When a swarm (J:06) has found a suitable habita- 
tion, some of the bees clean it of its rubbish, if necessaiy, 
while others, at once, prepare to build the furniture, which 
is intended as cradles for the young bees, and as a store-room 
for the provisions, and is called comb. 

According' to Webster, this word is probably taken from 

Fig. 41. 


the Anglo-Saxon ''comb," which means a hollow; the combs 
being hoUoAv structures, with exceedingly light Avails. 

199. The combs are usually begun at the highest point of 
the hive and built doA\iiwards, yet, when some breaking hap- 




pens, or when the harvest is short and the weather is cool, 
the bees sometimes build them upwards; but they are far from 
havmg the usual regularity. Combs are made of wax, a 
natural secretion Avhich is produced by bees somewhat as cattle 
produce fat, by eating. 

200. ' * Wax is not chemically a fat or glyceride, yet it is 

nearly allied to the fats in 
atomic constitution, and the 
physiological conditions fa- 
voring the formation of one 
are curiously similar to 
those aiding in the produc- 
tion of the other.. We put 
our poultry up to fat in con- 
finement, with partial light, 
to secure bodily inactivity, 
we keep warm and feed highly. Our bees, under Nature's 
teaching, put themselves up to yield wax under conditions so 
parallel, that the suitability of the fatting coops is vindi- 
cated. ' ' — (Cheshire.) 

Yet let it not be thought that beeswax is the fat of the bee, 
but its production is on similar lines. 

201. If they remain quietly clustered together, when 
gorged with honey, or any 
liquid sweet, the wax is se- 
creted in the shape of delicate 
scales in four small pouches, 
on each side of the abdomen, 
of worker-bees. 

Fig. 42. 



"These scales, of an irreg- 
ular pentagonal shape, are so 
thin and light, that one hun- 
dred of them hardly weigh as 
much as a kernel of wheat." 
— (Dubiui, "L'Ape.") 

202. In the young bees, which are endowed with a great 
appetite, they form, probably, without their knowledge, dur- 

Fig. 43. 


(Frcm the ''lUustrierte Bienen- 



ing the honey season; and if there is no place to use them, 
they are gathered in small knots here and there. This only 
happens when the combs are entirely filled and sealed. It 
has been noticed, most especially, in hives in which a comb 
had been broken down by heat. (333.) In such cases, many 
of the bees ooro-e themselves with the wastins^ honev, and 
















Fig. 44. 


(Magnified. After Barbo.) 

cluster on the outside, until the heat has subsided, and the 
running honey has been gathered up. Scales of wax, in lumps, 
can then be found where they have clustered. 

203. Although the faculty of producing wax is diminished 
ill old bees, who are subject to the natural law which makes 
it more difficult to fatten an old animal, it is proved that 
they may also produce small scales of wax. 


' ' During the active storing of the past season, especially when 
comb building was in rapid progress, I found that nearly every 
bee taken from the flowers contained wax scales of varying 
sizes in the wax-pockets." — (A. J. Cook.) 

204. The first condition indispensable for bees to pro- 
duce wax, is to have the stomach well filled. 

It is an interesting fact that honey-gathering and comb- 
building go on simultaneously ; so that when one stops, the 
other ceases also. As soon as the honey harvest begins to 
fail, so that consumption is in advance of production, the 
bees cease to build new comb, even though large portions of 
their hive are mifilled. When honey no longer abounds in the 
fields, it is wisely ordered that they should not consume, in 
comb-building, the treasures which maj^ be needed for Winter 
use. What safer rule could have been given them*? 

It takes about twenty-four hours for a bee's food to be- 
come transformed into wax. 

205. "Having filled themselves with lioney, they gather in 
chains; not in a single group, but in a number of groups, hang- 
ing in a parallel curtain, in the direction of the comb to be 
couf^'tructed. Thus a bee clings to the ceiiing with her claws, 
or the sticky rubber of her feet, her posterior limbs hanging 
down; another bee grapples the claws of these posterior feet, 
with the claws of her anterior limbs, letting her hind limbs 
hang also, to be grappled by a third, and so on, till the first 
chain meets another, and both united form an arch, top down- 
ward. This single chain becomes compound when several are 
in the same line, and grouped near one another." — (Sartori 
and Rauscheufels, " L'Apicoltura in Italia," Milan, 1878.) 

206.1 "If we examine the bees closely during the season of 
comb-building and honey-gathering, we shall find many of them 
with the wax scales protruding between the rings that form the 
body, and these scales are either picked from their bodies, or 
from the bottom of the hive or honey boxes in which they are 
building. If a bee is obliged to carry one of these wax scales 
but a short distance, he takes it in his mandibles, and looks as 
business-like with it thus, as a carpenter with a board on his 
shoulder. If he has to carry it from the bottom of the honey- 

(1) In this witty quotation, the worker ehouW have been In the feminine 
and not in the inasculine, 

Platf 12. 


Author of '•'Hie Bcr-Kceper'fi GiiUJc " 
This writer is mentioned page? C. 11, 39, ,'>4, 96, 142. 200. 490, 507. 



box, he takes it in a way that I cannot explain any better than 
to say he slips it under his chin, in the mandibles or jaws. 
When thus equipped, you would never know he was encumbered 
with anything, unless it chanced to slip out, when he will very 
dexterously tuck it back with one of his forefeet. The little 

Fig. 45. 


fFrom Advanced Bee Culture. By W 

Z. Hutchinson.) 

plate of wax is so warm, from being kept under his chin, as to 
be quite soft when it gets back; and as. he takes it out, and 
gives it a pinch against the comb where the building is going 
on, one would tiiink he might stop a while and put it into place; 
but not he; for off he scampers and twists around so many dif- 
ferent ways, you might think he was not one of the working 


kiud at all. Another follows after hiin sooner or later, and 
gives the wax a pinch, or a little scraping or burnishing with his 
polished mandibles, then another, and so on, and the sum total 
of all these manoeuvres is that the comb seems almost to grow 
out of nothing; yet no bee ever makes a cell himself, and no 
comb building is ever done by any bee while standing in a 
cell; neither do the bees ever stand in rows and 'excavate,' or 
any thing of the kind. 

' ' The finished comb is the result of the united efforts of the 
moving, restless mass, and the great mystery is, that anything 
so wonderful can ever result at all, from such a mixed-up, skip- 
ping-about way of working, as they seem to have. 

' ' When the cells are built out only part way, they are filled 
with honey or eggs, and the length is increased when they feel 
disposed, or 'get around to it,' perhaps; as a thick rim is left 
around the upper edge of the cell, they have the material at 
hand, to lengthen it at any time. This thick rim is also very 
necessary to give the bees a secure foothold, for the sides of the 
cells are so thin, they would be very apt to break down with 
even the light weight of a bee. When honey is coming in rap- 
idly, and the bees are crowded for room to store it, their 
eagerness is so plainly apparent, as they push the work along, 
that they fairly seem to quiver with excitement; but, for all 
that, they skip about from one cell to another in the same 
way, no one bee working in the same spot to exceed a minute 
or two, at the very outside. Very frequently, after one has bent 
a piece of wax a certain way, the next tips it in the opposite 
flirection, and so on until completion; but after all have given 
it a twist or a pull, it is found in pretty nearly the right spot. 
As near as I can discover, they moisten the thin ribbons of 
wax, with some sort of fluid or saliva (41). As the bee always 
preserves the thick rib* or rim of the comb he is working, the 
looker-on would suppose he was making the walls of a consid- 
erable thickness, but if we drive him away, and break this 
rim, we will find that his mandibles have come so nearly to- 

* The constant preserving cf this rib or heavy edge of the comb 
while the work progresses, explains why old comb lengthened and 
sealed with new wax, sometimes retains a part of its dark color 
throughout. Some of the old wax is undoubtedly mixed with the new, 
ill the rrnstant remodeling- of this heavier edpe. till the pomb is sealed. 

COMB. 99 

gether, that the wax between them, beyoud the rim, is almost 
as thin as a tissue paper." — (''A B C of Bee Culture.") 

207. It is very difficult to ascertain who first discovered 
these scales of wax. According to Mr. S. Wagner, J, A. 
Overbeck, in his Glossarium Melliturgium, p. 89, Bremen, 
1765, claims that a Hanoverian pastor, named Herman C. 
Honibostel, described them in the Hamburg Library, about 
1745. Mr. L. Stachelhausen informed us that they were men- 
tioned by Martin John in Ein Neu Bienenhuchel, 1691. 

They were also discovered, m Germany, by a farmer. This 
discover^' was communicated to the naturalist Bonnet by Wil- 
lelmi, under the date of Aug-ust 22, 1765. (Huber.) 

In 1779, Thos. Wildman had noticed the scales of wax on 
the abdomen of the workers; and he was so thoroughly con- 
vinced that wax was secreted from honey, that he recommended 
feeding new sw;arms, when the weather is stormy, that they 
may sooner build comb for the eggs of the queen. 

From the books wi'itten in the French language, it seems 
that it was Duchet, who, in his "Culture des Abeilles," printed 
in Freiburg in 1771, wrote first that beeswax is produced from 
honey, of which they eat a large quantitj', "icliich is cooked in 
their bodies, as in a stove/' increasing thereby the waraith of 
the hive, and that beeswax '' exudes out of this stove'' through 
the rings of their body which are near the corselet. This idea 
of Duchet led Beaunier to examine bees, and he discovered 
that they produce, at one time, not two scales of wax only, 
but nine, the last ring having seemed to produce one. He 
adds : 

208. * ' To employ this material, bees use their jaws, their 
tongues, and their antennae. In favorable years you can see 
a great quantity of these pieces of wax which have fallen on 
the bottom of the hives." — ('^Traite sur 1 'Education des 
Abeilles," Vendome, 1808.) 

209. TMien bees are building combs, some scales of wax 
are often found on the bottom board, the bees having been 
unable to use them before they became too tough. Sometimes 
they pick them up afterwards and use them ; some races of 


bees, the Italian (551), for instance, often use also pieces 
of old combs, which may be within their reach. 

The comb, thus built, is easily detected on account of its 
darker color. Queen-cells (104) seem to be always built of 
particles, taken from the comb on which they hang, and are 
never of pure wax. 

"Thus, filtered through yon flutterer's folded mail, 
Clings the cooled wax, and hardens to a scale. 
Swift, at the well-known call, the ready train 
(For not a buz boon Nature breathes in vain) 
Spring to each falling flake, and bear along 
Their glossy burdens to the builder throrg. 
These with sharp sickle, or with sharper tooth. 
Pare each excrescence, and each angle smoothe, 
Till now, in finish 'd pride, two radiant rows 
Of snow white cells one mutual base disclose. 
Six shining panels gird each polish 'd round; 
The door's fine rim, with waxen fillet bound; 
While walls so thin, with sister walls combined. 
Weak in themselves, a sure dependence find. ' ' 


210. The cells of bees are found to fulfill perfectly the 
most subtle conditions of an intricate mathematical problem. 

Let it be required to find what shape a given quantity of 
matter must take, in order to have the greatest capacity and 
strength, occupying, at the same time, the least space and con- 
suming the least lahoi- in its construction. When this problem 
is solved by the most refined mathematical processes, . the 
answer is the hexagonal or six-sided cell of the honey-bee, 
with its three four-sided figures at the base ! 

The shape of these figures cannot be altered ever so little, 
except for the worse. 

211. The bottom of each cell is formed of three lozenges, 
the latter forming one-third of the base of three opposite 

"If the little lozenge plates were square, we should have the 
same arrangement, but the bottom would b*^ *.^ sharp pointed 

COMB. 101 

as it were, to use wax with the best economy, or to best ac- 
commodate the body of the infantile bee. Should we, on the 
contrary, make the lozenge a little longer, we should have the 
bottom of the cell too nearly flat to use wax with most econ- 
omy, or for the comfort of the young hee." — ("A B C of Bee 

212. *' There are only three possible figures of the cells," 
says Dr. Reid, ''which can make them all equal and similar, 
without any useless spaces between them. These are the equi- 
lateral triangle, the square, and the regular hexagon. It is well 
known to mathematicians, that there is not a fourth way pos- 
sible in which a plane may be cut into little spaces that shall 
be equal, similar, and regular, without leaving any interstices. ' ' 

An equilateral triangle would have been impossible for an 
insect with a round body to build. A circle seems to be the 
best shape for the development of the larvae ; but such a figure 
would have caused a needless sacrifice of space, materials, and 
strength. The body of the immature insect, as it undergoes 
its changes, is charged with a superabundance of moisture, 
which passes off through the reticulated cover of its cell; may 
not a hexagon, therefore, while approaching so nearly to the 
shape of a circle, as not to mcommode the young bee, fur- 
nish, in its six comers, the necessary vacancies for a more 
thorough ventilation 1 

Is it credible that these little insects can unite so many re- 
quisites in the construction of their cells! 

213. The fact is that the hexagonal shape of the cells is 
naturally produced, and without any calculation, by the bee. 
She wants to build each cell round; but as every cell touches 
the next ones, and as she does not wish to leave any space 
between, each one of the cells flattens at the contact, as would 
soap bubbles if all of the same diameter. It is the same for 
the lozenges of the bottom. The bee, wanting the bottom of 
the cell concave inside, makes it, naturally, convex outside. 
As this convexity projects on the opposite side of the median 
line, the bee who builds the opposite cells begins, naturally, on 
the tip of the convexity, the walls of cells just begun, since 


she wants also to make tlieir bottom concave. The final re- 
sult is that one-third of the bottom of each of three cells 
makes the bottom of the one cell opposite, and each one of 
the lozenges is flattened, so as not to encroach on the opposite 

214. The cells are not horizontal, but inclined from the 
orifice to the bottom (fig. 46), so as to be filled with honey 

more easily. The thickness of 
worker-brood comb is about 
one inch, with cells opening 
on each side. The distance 
between combs is about 7-16 
of an mch. This space is 
not always exact, but is never 
under 5-16, that being neces- 
sary for the bees to travel be- 
tween the combs without in- 
AND SHAPE OF THE BASE. ^ tcrferiug wlth oue another. 

These distances can be a little 

Fig. 46. 

(From Sartori and Rauschenfels.) 

increased without troubling the bees, and we place the combs 
in our hives one and a half inches from center to center, for 
easier manipulation. 

215. When the combs are newly built, they are white, but 
they get color shortly afterguards, especially during the har- 
vest of yellow honey. When used for breeding, the cast skins 
and residues from the larvae (167) give them a dark color, 
which becomes nearly black with age, especially if bees have 
suffered with diarrhoea (784). or raised a great manv drones. 

As wax is a bad conductor, the combs aid in keeping the 
bees warm, and there is less risk of the honey candying in the 

216. Is the size of the cells mathematically exact? When 
the first Republic of France inaugurated the decimal system 
of weights and measures, Reaumur proj)osed to take the cells 
of the bees as a standard to establish the basis of the system, 
but it was ascertained that cells are not uniform in size. 

COM I!. 


217. The cells in which workers are reared are the 
smallest. Those in which the" drones are reared are larger. 
It IS generally admitted that five worker-cells measure about 
a linear inch, or twenty-five cells to the square inch, but this is 
incorrect. If five Avorker-cells measured exactly an inch, 
the number contained in a square inch would be about twenty- 
nine. As they are usually somewhat larger, the average num- 
ber in a square inch is a trifle over twenty-seven. Drone-cells 
number about eighteen, in the same area. 

Fig. 47. 


L'Abbe Collin measured the average dimensions of the cells 
veiy carefully, and the measurements given in his work (Paris, 
1865) are about the same as those given above. 

218. The queen-cells have already been described. (104.) 

As bees, in building their cells, cannot pass immediately 

from one size to another, they display an admirable sagacity 

in makina" the transition bv a set of irregular intermediate 


cells. Fig. 47 exhibits an accurate and beautiful representa- 
tion of comb, drawn for this work from nature, by M. M. 
Tidd, and engraved by D. T. Smith, both of Boston, Mass. 
The cells are of the size of nature. The large ones are drone- 
cells, and the small ones, worker-cells. The irregular, five- 
sided cells between them, show how bees pass from one size 
to another. 

Mr. Cheshire, in his book, has criticized this engi'aving, on 
account of the acuteness of the cells of transition, or as he 
terms them, of accommodation. He writes: ''The head of a 
bee could not reach the bottom of the acute angles as they are 
represented." Our first imprecsion, on readmg the criticism, 
was that Mr. Cheshire was right. Then the thought that Mr. 
Langstroth had his engravings made from nature led us to 
inspect some combs, when we found several cells of accom- 
modation with angles at least as acute as m the cut. But we 
noticed also that this acuity exists only on the rims of the cells 
and not inside; the bees, inside the cells, having pushed out 
the walls, to be enabled to reach the bottom of the angles 
which were thus rounded inside. Mr. Langstroth Avrote to 
us, in regard to this criticism cf Mr. Cheshire: "This piece 
of comb was actually copied from nature by a man of extraor- 
dinary accuracy." 

219. The combs are built Avith such economy, that the 
entire construction of a hive of a capacity of nine gallons 
does not yield more than two pounds of beeswax when melted. 

According to Dr. Donhoff, the thickness of the sides of a 
cell in a new comb is only the one hundred and eightieth part 
of an inch ! Cheshire states that he found some that measured 
only the four hundredth of an inch. 

220. Most Apiarists before Hubei-'s time supposed that 
wax was made from pollen, either in a crude or digested state. 
Confining a new swarm of bees to a hive in a dark and cool 
room, at the end of five days he fomid several beautiful white 
combs in their- tenement ; these being taken from them, and 
the bees supplied with honey and water, new combs were again 
constructed. Seven times in succession their combs were re- 
moved, and were in each instance replaced, tiie bees being all 

COMB. 105 

the time jDrevented from ranging the fields to supply them- 
selves with pollen. By subsequent experiments, he proved that 
sugar-syrup answered the same end with honey. Giving an im- 
prisoned swarm an abundance of fruit and pollen, he found 
that they subsisted on the fruit, but refused to touch the 
pollen; and that no combs were constructed, nor any wax- 
scales formed in their pouches. 

Notwithstanding Huber's extreme caution and unwearied 
patience in conductmg these experiments, he did not dis- 
cover the whole truth on this important subject. Though he 
demonstrated that bees can construct comb when fed honey 
or sugar, without pollen, and that they cannot make it if fed 
pollen without honey or sugar, he did not prove that when 
permanently deprived of it they can continue to work in wax, 
or if they can, that the pollen does not aid in its elaboration. 

Some pollen is always found in the stomach of wax-pro- 
ducing workers, and they never build comb so rapidly as when 
they have free access to this article. It must, therefore, in 
some way, assist the bee in producing it. 

221. The experiments made by Berlepsch show that bees, 
which are deprived of pollen when they construct combs, con- 
sume from sixteen to nineteen pomids of honey to produce a 
pound of comb, while, if provided with it, the amount of honey 
is reduced to ten or twelve pounds. If the experiment is con- 
tinued without pollen for some time, the bees become exhausted 
and begin to perish. It is therefore demonstrated that although 
nitrogen, which is one of the elements of pollen, does not 
enter into the composition of beeswax, yet it is indispensable 
as food to sustain the strength of bees during their work in 
comb making. 

222. Honey and sugar contain by weight about eight 
pounds of oxygen to one of carbon and hydrogen. When 
converted into wax, these proportions are remarkably changed, 
the wax containing only one pound of oxygen to more than 
sixteen of hydrogen and carbon. Now as oxygen is the grand 
supporter of animal heat, the large quantity consumed in 
secreting wax aids in generating that extraordinary heat which 
always accompanies comb-building, and which enables the bees 


to mould the softened wax into such exquisitely delicate and 
beautiful fomiS; This interesting instance of adaptation, so 
clearly pointing to the Divine Wisdom, seems to have escaped 
the notice of previous writers. 

223. Careful experiments prove that from seven to fifteen 
pounds of honey are usually required to make a single pound 
of wax. As wax is an animal oil, secreted chiefly from honey, 
this fact will not appear incredible to those who are aware 
how many pounds of corn or hay must be fed to cattle to 
have them gain a single pound of fat. From experiments 
made by Mr. P. Yiallon here, and by Mr. De Layens in France, 
it seems that in good circumstances bees use only about seven 
pounds of honey to produce a pound of wax. But the actual 
cost of comb to the bees is not to be reckoned only by the 
amount of honey digested by them to produce this wax. It 
must also be borne in mind that there is nearly always a loss 
of time, in comb-building, since the bees must digest the honey 
before the wax cells are formed. As stated before, comb 
building and honej'- gathering go on simultaneously, but when 
a swarm is hived, it takes quite a little time before anj^ 
amount of comb is built, and in the meantime the harvest is 
on and the bees that have to build comb are unable to take 
full advantage of it. 

Many bee-keejDers are unaware of the value of empty comb. 
Suppose honey to be worth only ten cents per pomid, and 
comb, when rendered into wax, to be worth thirty cents, the 
Apiarist who melts a pound of comb loses largely by the 
operation, even without estimating the time his bees have con- 
sumed in building it. It is, therefore, considered a first prin- 
ciple in bee-culture never to melt good worker-combs. A 
strong colony of bees, in the height of the honey-harvest, will 
fill them with veiy great rapidity. 

With the box hives (275), but little use can be made of 
empty comb, but by the use of movable frames, eveiy good 
piece of worker-comb may be given to the bees (574). 

224. As we have seen before, while the small cells are 
designated as worker-cells, the large ones, which vary greatly 
in depth and are more especially ])ro]iared to store honey, and 

COMB. 107 

ill which the drones are raised, are known as store or drone- 

225. Generally, bees build a larger number of worker 
than of store-cells; yet they do not follow any regulation as 
to the relative proportion in the quantity of each kind. Not 
two colonies, in the same Apiaiy, will show the same number 
of large cells, even when the hives are of equal capacity, and 
even if the building was done in circumstances seemingly' 
identical. You will find a colony whose comb will consist of 
two-thirds worker and one-third store-cells, the adjacent colony 
will have but one-sixth of the latter, another a few square 
inches only. In a hive all the large cells are together, in 
another they are scattered. Some of these drone-combs are 
built from top to bottom of the hive, others are at the top 
only, others at the side, or at the bottom, or scattered, etc. 

226. These facts, not explainable by themselves, when 
added to the wonderful habits of bees, have led to the theory 
that it was with foresight, with perfect knowledge and for a 
special purpose, that bees construct such a varied proportion 
of the two kinds of cells. Bees are represented as knowing 
the sex of the eggs which each kind of cells w411 receive; and 
foreseeing that their queen may not live long and that the 
3'oung queens have to be fecundated (120), they build large 
cells in which drones could be raised. 

227. AYe have demonstrated (213) that bees construct 
their cells without any geometrical calculation. We had 
previously (142) established that the queen does not know 
the sex of the eggs she is laying, and although regretting 
to decrease the charm with which bees were surrounded by 
the imagination of bee-keepers, Ave will try to demonstrate 
that, in the building of cells, they simply follow their inclina- 
tion ; as do all other beings, in the acts that they perform. 
But we have first to put forward a few facts, Avhich are gen- 
erally accepted, on Avhich we will ground our reasoning. 

228. 1st, A swarm (406), hived on empty frames, always 
begins its constructions by worker or small cells : 

2d, If the queen of a swarm is vers" prolific, veiy little of 
lar2:e, or store-comb, will 2:enprallv bo l)uilf bv her bees: 


3d, If, on the contrary, from old age, or from some other 
cause, the fecundity of a queen is deficient, her bees will fill 
the hive with a large quantity of store-combs: 

itli, If the queen of a swarm is removed, or dies while the 
bees are building, all the combs, made during her absence, will 
consist of store-cells: 

5th, If all or part of the store-combs of a hive are removed, 
the bees will rebuild large cells, at least three times out of 

229. Besides these five propositions, we will remember 
that queens generally prefer to lay in small cells (145), and 
that they seem to know how to ask the workers to narrow the 
orifices of the store-cells, when there are no others m the hive 
to receive their impregnated eggs (146 to 148). 

We have to remark also that, while the queen prefers the 
narrow cells, the workers prefer to build the wide ones, since 
they cease to construct worker-cells when the queen is gone, 
or when she is not on the spot, to remind them, by her pres- 
ence, that she needs narrow cells for her impregnated eggs 
(146), and we will find out the cause of such differences, in 
the number and in the position of each kind of combs, by fol- 
lowing the work of the bees, in some of the circumstances in 
which they may have to build. 

230. (a) The queen of a swarm is very prolific, the crop 
is abundant, and the building goes on very fast. The queen 
lays in all the cells, as soon as begun, disputing for tiiem 
with the workers, who want to fill them with honey. As she 
follows the builders, waiting for cells, no large cells are made. 
After about three weeks, the bees of the first laid eggs begin 
to leave their cells (171) ; the queen goes back to fill these 
empty cells, and the workers, henceforth free from restraint, 
follow their preferences by building store-combs. Result: A 
few large cells, placed on the side or at the back of the hive. 

231. (b) This other swarm has a queen as prolific as the 
one above. For two weeks she follows the builders as the 
first did, laying in the cells as soon as built. But, the crop 
stopping suddenly, both the building and the laying slacken, 
when only two-thirds of the constructions are made. After 

COMB. 109 

three weeks of scarcity, abundance comes again, and the build- 
ing is resumed. But the queen is no longer among the work- 
ers, waiting for cells; she is at the other end of the hive, 
where she lays in the cells which were left empty when the 
larvcD that they harbored were bora. Kesult : About one-third 
of store-combs. 

233. (c) This third swarm has a queen whose prolificness 
is deficient, yet she has been able to follow the builders for a 
few days. She is at last left behmd, and the workers begin 
combs with large cells. On reaching these cells, one or two 
days later, she passes over them without laymg (149), and 
rejoins the builders, who hasten to comply with her desire to 
have worker-cells. But she is soon left behind for the second 
time, and the workers, unrestrained again, build large cells 
till she again rejoins them, to be again left behind, and so 
on. Result: Parts of store-combs mixed, here and there, 
with worker-combs. 

233. (d) We have removed from a hive all its drone- 
combs; but as the queen is occupied in filling empty worker- 
cells in another part of the hive, the builders, following their 
preference, reconstruct large cells, thus annulling our work of 

234. (e) We have given one or two combs to a swarm 
as soon as it was hived, and we wonder why its bees have 
built so much drone-comb. The cause is obvious: the queen, 
finding empty cells to fill, remained a long time far from the 
Ijuilders, who, following their inclination, constructed drone- 

235. We have to utilize the facts just enunciated. If we 
desire to prevent a swarm from building too many store-combs, 
we should watch the builders, and remove the large cells as 
soon as built; these combs, if worth saving, may be used in 
the surplus sections. We must remember that, to succeed, it 
is indispensable that no other cells but the ones to be rebuilt 
be left at the disposal of the queen. The same i-ule applies 
also to the removal of drone-combs at any time; and as the 
fulfilling of this condition is not always possible, it is better 
to replace the removed combs with worker comD or comb foun- 
dation (674). 

110 THE liLILL)I\(i OF HKKS. 

The above rules are nut without exception, for unnoticed 
ciicunistanees ma}' have some influence on the building of 
combs; but we think that we have stated the main causes of 


236. This substance, which is used by the bees to coat 
the inside of the bee-hive, and make it water and air tight, 
is obtained from the resinous buds and limbs of trees; the 
dilferent varieties of poplar jdeld a rich supply. When first 
gathered, it is usually of a bright golden color, and so sticky 
that the bees never store it in cells, but apnlv it at once to 
the purposes for which they procured it. If a bee is caught 
while bringing in a load, it will be found to adhere veiy firmly 
to her legs. 

Huber planted in Spring some branches of the wild pop- 
lar, before the leaves were developed, and placed them in pots 
near his Apiary ; the bees alighted on them, separated the folds 
of the large buds with their forceps, extracted the varnish in 
threads, and loaded with it first one thigh and then the other; 
for they convey it like pollen, from one leg to the other. 
We have seen them thus remove the warm propolis from old 
bottom-boards standing in the sun. 

Propolis is frequently gathered from the alder, horse- 
chestnut, birch, and willow; and as some think, from pines 
and other trees of the fir kind. Bees will often enter varnish- 
ing shops, attracted evidently by their smell; and in the 
vicinity of Matamoras, Mexico, where propolis seems to be 
scarce, we saw them using green paint from window-blinds, 
and pitch from the rigging of a vessel. Bevan mentions the 
fact of their carrying off a composition of wax and turpen- 
tine from the trees to which it had been applied. Dr. Evans 
says he has seen them collect the balsamic varnish which coats 
the young blossom-buds of the hollyhock, and has known 
them to rest at least ten minutes on the same bud, moulding 
the balsam with their fore-feet, and transferring it to the 
liinder less, as described bv Huber. 

l^kOPOLlS. Ill 

*'With merry hum the Willow's copse they scale, 
The Fir's Dark pyramid, or Poplar pale; 
Scoop from the Alder's leaf its oozy flood, 
Or strip the Chestnut's resin-coated bud; 
Skim the light tear that tips Narcissus' ray. 
Or round the Hollyhock's hoar fragrance play; 
Then waft their nut-brown loads exulting home. 
That form a fret -work for the future comb; 
Caulk every chink where rushing winds may roar, 
And seal their circling ramparts to the floor." 


237. A mixture of wax and propolis being much more 
adhesive than wax alone, serves admirably to strengthen the 
attachments of the combs to the top and sides of the hive. 
]f the combs are not filled with honey or brood soon after 
they are built, they are varnished with a delicate coating of 
propolis, which adds greatly to their strength; but as this 
natural vaniish impairs their snowy whiteness, the bees ought 
not to be allowed access to the surplus honey-receptacles, ex- 
cept when about ready to store them with honey. (734.) 

238. Bees make a very liberal use of propolis to fill any 
crevices about their premises; and as the natural summer- 
heat of the hive keeps it soft, the bee-moth (802) selects it 
as a place of deposit for her eggs. Hives ought, therefore, to 
be made of lumber entirely free from cracks. The comers, 
which the bees usuallj' fill with jDropolis, may have a melted 
mixture run into them, consisting of th^ee parts of resin and 
one of beeswax; this remaining hard during the hottest 
weather, will bid defiance to the moth. 

239. Bees gather propolis, especiallj' when they can find 
neither honey nor pollen in the fields. Thus, during the 
honey-erop, veiy little of it is taken. In some countries, they 
use it much more plentifully, owing- to its being found more 

240. Propolis is hard and brittle in the Winter, and its 
use by the bees, to glue up all parts of the hive, has created 
tlie greatest objection to drawers, close-fitting frames, hinged 
doors, etc., with which some patent hives are provided, and 


which become entirely immovable, when once coated with it. 
It is, at all times, the greatest hindrance to the neat handling 
of the combs, and in warm weather daubs the hands of the 
Apiarist. It can only be cleaned from the fingers by the use, 
in place of soap, of a few drops of turpentine, alcohol, spirits 
of hartshorn, or ether. 

To clean it from metal surfaces, use steam or boiling water 
strengthened with lye. Scraping is necessary to remove it 
from smooth wooden surfaces. 

241. Propolis is sometimes put io ai very curious use by 
the bees. 

'*A snail, having crept into one of M. Keaumur's hives early 
in tlie morning, after crawling about for some time, adhered, 
by means of its own slime, to one of the glass panes. The bees 
having discovered the snail, surrounded it, and formed a border 
of propolis round the verge of its shell, and fastened it so 
securely to the glass that it became immovable." — (Bevan.) 

"Forever closed the impenetrable door; 
It naught avails that in its torpid veins 
Year after year, life's loitering spark remains." 

"Maraldi, another eminent Apiarist, states that a snail with- 
out a shell having entered one of his hives, the bees, as roon as 
they observed it, stung it to death; after which, being unable 
to dislodge it, they covered it all over with an impervious coat 
of propolis." — (Bevan.) 

'Tor soon in fearless ire, their wonder lost. 
Spring fiercely from the comb the indignant host, 
Lay the pierced monster breathless on the ground, 
And clap in joy their victor pinions round: 
While all in vain concurrent numbers strive — 
To heave the slime-girt giant from the hive — 
Sure not alone by force instinctive swayed. 
But blest with reason's soul-directing aid. 
Alike in man or bee, they haste to pour, 
Thick, hardening as it falls, the flaky shower; 
Embalmed in shroud of glue the mummy lies, 
No worms invade, no foul miasmas rise." 



24^2. In these instances, who can withhold his admiration 
of the ingenuity and judgment of the bees'? In the first case, 
a troublesome creature gained admission to the hive, which, 
from its unwieldiness, they could not remove, and which, from 
the impenetrability of its shell, they could not destroy; here, 
then, their only source was to deprive it of locomotion, and 
to obviate putrefaction; both which objects they accomplished 
most skillfully and securely, and, as is usual with these 
sagacious creatures, at the least possible expense of labor and 
materials. They applied their cement where alone it was re- 
quired—round the verge of the shell. In the latter case, to 
obviate the evil of decay, by the total exclusion of air, they 
were obliged to be more lavish in the use of their embalming 
material, and to case over the "slime-girt giant," so as to 
guard themselves from his noisome smell. What means more 
effectual could human wisdom have devised, under similar cir- 
cumstances ? 

243. In bygone days, it was a prevalent belief, that when 
any member of a family died, the bees knew what had hap- 
pened; and some were superstitious enough to put the hives 
in mourning, to pacify their sorrowing occupants; imagining 
that, unless this was done, the bees would never afterwards 
prosper! It was frequently asserted that they sometimes 
look their loss so much to heart, as to alight upon the coffin 
whenever it was exposed. A clergyman told the writer that 
he attended a funeral, where, as soon as the coffin was brought 
from the house, the bees gathered upon it so as to excite much 
alarm. Some years after this occurrence, being engaged in 
varnishing a table, the bees alighted upon it in such numbers, 
as to convmce him, that love of varnish, rather than sorrow 
or respect for the dead, was the occasion of their conduct 
at the fimeral. How many superstitions, believed even by in- 
telligent persons, might be as easily explained, if it were pos- 
sible to ascertain as fully all the facts connected with them ! 

Whittier has written a little poem. "Telling the Bees," 
a propos of their knowing of some one's death. 


The following is the first stanza of another poem by one of 
our later writers : 

"Out of the house, where the slumberer lay, 
Grandfather came one summer day. 

And under the pleasant orchard trees 

He spake this wise to the murmuring bees: 
'The clover bloom that kissed her feet 

And the posey bed where she used to play 
Have honey store, but none so sweet 

As ere our little one went away. 
O bees, sing soft, and, bees, sing low; 
For she is gone who loved you so.' " 

(Eugene Field.) 

24:4. Commercial Uses OF Pkopolis. — "Dissolved in alcohol 
and filtered, it is used as a varnish, and gives a polish to wood, 
and a golden color to tin. A preparation made with finely- 
ground propolis, gum arable, incense, storax, benzoin, sugar, 
nitre, and charcoal, in quantities varied at will, is moulded 
into fumigating cones, for perfuming rooms or halls." — (Dubini, 
Mnan, 1881.) 

245. The foUowhig letter from a noted Russian Apiarist, 
to Mr. E. Bertrand, then editor of the Revue Internationale 
(V Apiculture, will be found of interest: 

' ' During my pleasant stay at your pretty villa, I spoke to 
you of the utilization of propolis in the varnish of our wooden 
ware, which resists the dissolving power of hot water so well. 
I have just found a description of the process, and will com- 
municate it to you. 

"Propolis is purchased by hucksters, who pay five copecks — a 
little over two cents — and sometimes even less, for permission 
to scrape or plane the propolis from the walls of a hive that 
lias lost its bees. The shavings, covered with propolis, are 
heated, put into a wax-press, and subjected to the treatment 
used in the extraction of beeswax; the propolis is then purified 
in hot water, to which sulphuric acid is added. About fifty 
T>er cent, of propolis is thus obtained, which sells at forty 
cents per pound. 


"This propolis is poured iuto hot liuseed-oil and beeswax, in 
the following proportions: Propolis 1, beeswax Vj, oil 2. Previ- 
ously, the oil should 'linger,' as we say, on the stove, for fif- 
teen or twenty days, that is, remain hot without boiling, to give 
it the property of drying. The wooden ware is dipped into 
the above mentioned preparation, and must remain in it ten 
or fifteen minutes, after which it is cooled, and rubbed and 
polished with woolen rags." — (A. Zoubareff, St. Petersburg, 
Sept. 26, 1882.) 



246. The main food of bees is the honey or nectar, pro- 
duced by plants and flowers. That honey is a vegetable 
product was known to the ancient Jews, one of whose Rab- 
bins asks : "Since we may not eat bees, which are unclean^ why 
are we allowed to eat honey?" and replies: "Because bees do 
not make honey, but only gather it from plants and flowers.'' 

247. Yet during- its sojourn in the honey-sack, the nectar 
undergoes a chemical change. Most of its cane-sugar, or 
saccharose, is changed into grape-sugar, or glucose.* This 
change is due to its mixture Avitli the saliva of the glands, 
while hi the honey-sack (63). "But the cane-sugar yet re- 
mains in large proportion in honey gathered on the moun- 
tains" (Girard), — or when it is gathered very fast. 

248. The nectar is produced by the plants in nectariferoi:s 
tissues, in which accumulations of sugar can be found, and 
exudes most frequently through small apertures, named 

249. It contains more or less water, according to the kind 
of flowers, and the conditions in which it is produced. Some 
flowers give nectar which is almost completely deprived of 
Avater. Such is the fuschia. When the nectar of this flower 
is produced in veiy dry weather, it sometimes ciystallizes in 
the blossom, as it comes in contact with the air. 

In some other flowers, as in the Frit ilia ria impcrialis, the 
nectar contains as much as ninety-five per cent of water. But 
in many cases, in dry weather and especially in late honey 
crops, the nectar contains but little Avater. Although the 
honey of the summer crop may be said to contain from sixty 

* What is cliemically known as glucose should not be confoundecl 
with the impure glucose of commerce. 




to eighty per cent of water, there are many late plants that 
give honey which needs little evaporation. The honey from 
heather is said to be dififlcnlt to extract from the combs (Y4(>), 
owing to its density. 

250. The quantity of nectar produced by the flowers 
decreases during drought, and increases on the first or second 
day after a rain. But it is then more watery. In some sea- 
sons the saccharine juices abound, while in others they are so 
deficient that bees can obtain scarcely any food from fields all 




Fig. 48. 


(Forty Years Among the Bees.) 

white with clover, A change in the secretion of honey will 
often take place so suddenly, that the bees will, in a few 
hours, pass from idleness to great activity. 

As a rule, the quantity of nectar, exuded by the plants, 
varies according to the time of day and atmospheric condi- 
tions. Usually, it is most abundant in the morning. Its 
quantity decreases as the sun rises higher. At three o'clock 
in the afternoon, the flowers give the least nectar. Then the 
yield again increases till dark. In Algeria, Africa, in the 


neighborhood of Blidah, bees cannot find honey later than 
eight in the morning. 

251. It is when the blossom is ready for fertilization, 
that the nectar is most abundant in it; if it is not gathered 
by insects, it is re-absorbed by the plant and serves, together 
with the sugar accumulated in the ovaries, to nourish the 

232. The accumulations of sugar in the tissues, may exist, 
not only in the flower, but in different parts of plants, in the 
cotyledons, in the leaves, in the stipules, in the bracts, and 
between the leaves and twigs. They help the development of 
the tissues. 

Sometimes the nectariferous tissues are destitute of stomata 
or openings. Then the accumulated nectar may force itself 
through the cuticle or skin of the plant. 

The water of the sap, Avhich rmis incessantly in the plants, 
goes out through the different tissues in unequal quantities; 
as some tissues are more porous than others. Generally, water 
escapes m the form of steam; but, in some circumstances, 
when the air is moist, the water is emitted in liquid form, and 
may carry with it, to the outside, a part of the accumulations 
of sugar through which it has passed, thus producing honey- 
dew. The more sugar this water contains, the slower its 
evaporation will be. 

253. The dampness of the soil and of the air, and a tem- 
perature iDroducing a profuse transpiration in plants, then a 
sudden stop of transpiration, are the best conditions to pro- 
duce the maximum of nectar in the nectariferous tissues and 
of liquid exudations on the outside. 

254. Most of the above statements are taken, or rather 
abridged, from "Les Nectaires." of Gaston Bonnier, a pro- 
fessor at the Ecole Xormale Superieure of Paris (1879). 
This Avork was awarded a medal by the Academy of Science 
of Paris. Bonnier backs his statements with one hundred and 
thirty engravings made from microscopic researches. 

255. He explains, not only how the nectar is formed in 
the blossoms, but also how the extra floral nectar, the so-called 
honey-dew, is produced on different parts of plants, or trees. 

Hoxfcv. 119 

i.?e has noticed and described the production of neciar 
(honey-dew without aphides), on many herbaceous plants, 
and on the following trees or shrubs: Two kinds of oak, 
the ash, two kinds of linden, the sorb, the barberiy, two kinds 
of raspberry, the poplar, the birch, two kinds of maple, and 
the hazel brush. In some parts of Europe, this honey -dew 
is so plentiful, that some Apiarists transport their bees to 
the districts in which it is produced, during its yield. 

The Abbe Boissier de Sauvages, in 1763, described two 
species of honey-dew. The first kind, he says, has the same 
origin with the manna on the ash and maple trees of Calabria 
and Brianson, where it flows plentif ullj^ from their leaves and 
trunks, and thickens in the form in which it is usually seen.— 
(•'Observations sur I'Origine du Miel.") We have received 
specimens of a honey-dew from California, which is said to 
fall from the oak trees in stalactites of considerable size. 

256. Bees also harvest, in some seasons, a sweet substance 
of poorer quality, which is a discharge from the bodies of 
small aphides or "plant lice." 

Messrs. Kirby and Spence, m their interesting work on 
Entomology, have given a description of the honey-dew fur- 
nished by the aphides: 

''The loves of the ants and the aphides have long been cele- 
brated; you will always find the former very busy on those 
trees and plants on which the latter abound; and, if you ex- 
amine somewhat more closely, you will discover that the object 
of the ants in thus attending upon aphides, is to obtain 
the saccharine fluid secreted by them, which may well be 
denominated their milk. This fluid, which ,is scarcely inferior 
to honey in its sweetness, issues in liquid drops from the 
abdomen of these insects, not only by the ordinary passage, 
but also, by two setiform tubes, placed one on each side, just 
above it. Their sucker being inserted in the tender bark is, 
without intermission, employed in absorbing the sap, which, 
after it has passed through these organs, they keep continu- 
ally discharging. When no ants attend them, by a certain 
jerk of the body, which takes place at regular intervals, they 
ejaculate it to a distance. 


257* "Mr. Knight once observed a shower of honey-clew 
descending in innumerable small globules, near one of his oak 
trees. He cut off one of the branches, took it into the house, 
and, holding it in a stream of light admitted through a small 
opening, distinctly saw the aphides ejecting the fluid from their 
bodies with considerable force, and this accounts for its being 
frequently found in situations where it could not have arrived 
by the mere influence of gravitation. The drops that are thus 
spurted out, unless interrupted by the surrounding foliage, or 
some other interposing body, fall upon the ground; and the 
spots may often be observed, for some time, beneath and around 
the trees, affected with honey-dew, till washed away by the rain. 
The power which these insects possess of ejecting the fluid 
from their bodies, seems to have been wisely instituted to pre- 
serve cleanliness in each individual fly, and, indeed, for the 
preservation of the family; for, pressing as they do upon one 
another, they would otherwise soon be glued together, and ren- 
dered incapable of stirring. On looking steadfastly at a group 
of these insects (Aphides salicls) while feeding on the bark of 
the willow, their superior size enabled us to perceive some of 
them elevating their bodies and emitting a transparent sub- 
stance in the form of a small shower: 

" Xor scorn ye now, fond elves, the foliage sear, 
When the light aphids, arm'd with puny spear. 
Probe each emulgent vein, till bright below. 
Like falling stars, clear drops of nectar glow." 

258. '^Honey-dew usually appears upon the leaves as a vis- 
cid transparent substance, as sweet as honey itself, sometimes 
in the form of globules, at others resembling a syrup. It is 
generally most abundant from the middle of June to the middle 
of July — sometimes* as late as September. 

'It is found chiefly upon the oak, the elm, the maple, the 
plane, the sj^camore, the lime, the hazel, and the blackberry; 
occasionally also the cherry, currant, and other fruit trees. 
Sometimes only one species of trees is affected at a time. The 
oak generally affords the largest quantity. At the season of its 
greatest abundance, the happy, humming noise of the bees may 
be heard at a considerable distance, sometimes nearly equalling 
in loudness the united hum of swarming." — (Bevan.) 

i'LATL lo. 


Author of -'Cours Complct d'Apwulture'' and of ''Les XccUib-cs.'" 
Thi.^ writer is mentioned pages 6, 118, 121, 122. 

HOXEV. 121 

111 some seasons, bees gather large supplies from these 
honey-dews, but it is abundant only once in three or four 
years. The honey obtained from this source is usually of a 
dark color, and never of a good quality. 

259. It is veiy difficult to ascertain, at all times, the 
special source of honey-dew, whether from the trees or from 
the aphides. In order to give all sides a hearing, we will 
cite a letter from Mr. Bonnier on this subject, and leave the 
reader to draw his own conclusions : 

"Plant lice are seen even on trees that have no extra floral 
nectaries. They do not produce exudations (properly speaking), 
but bore the tissues to eat the contents. Their presence on 
the plant has no connection with that of the nectar. The ex- 
crement al liquid of aphides is not equally sweet in all the 
species, and the bees harvest only that which is very sweet. 
They generally prefer the true honey-dew (miellee), which 
exudes from the leaves at certain times, and contains mannite 
and saccharine matter. 

**I have seen bees, however, harvesting the sweet liquid of 
the aphides and the true miellee at the same time, on the 
aspen, maple, and sycamore. 

"I have rarely seen the extra floral nectar of the special 
nectaries overflow and run in drops, but the true miellee of trees 
may fall in small drops, and some observers conclude, from 
this fact, that it is produced by aphides. I have often seen 
some trees, and even all the trees, of a timber, covered with an 
abundant miellee, falling in small drops, although there was 
not a single louse on the higher limbs. 

' ' To sum up, we must not confound the three kinds of sweet 
liquid, which may be produced outside the flowers: 1st, The 
extra-floral nectar proper, produced, like the nectar of flowers, 
from special sugar tissues; 2d, The true miellee, produced on 
the surface of the leaves of trees or shrubs, without the action 
of aphides; 3rd, the excretion, more or less sweet, sometimes 
containing very little sugar, abundantly produced by a great 
number of aphides. ' ' 

260. Ill some blossoms, as in the red clover, the corolla 
is so dee)) and narrow, that the nectar is out of reach of the 


honey-bee. Larger insects, such as the bumble-bee, or smaller 
ones, as some wasps, enjoy it to the exclusion of our favorites. 
Yet in some seasons, we have seen bees working on red-clover 
bloom, and have attributed this to the corollas being shorter, 
owing to drouth, or scant growth. Mr. Bonnier has discovered 
that, in some such flowers, the nectar is sometimes so abundant 
that the bees can reach it. It is true that insects, and even 
bees, can tear the tender corollas of some blossoms, opposite 
the honey receptacle, to reach the nectar, but this is of such 
rare instance, in the honey-bee, that it cannot be considered 
of any practical value. 

261. The honey, when harvested, is stored in the rear 
of the hive, above the brood, and as near it as possible. 

When just gathered, it is too wateiy to be preserved fcr 
the use of the bees. To evaporate this water, they force a 
strong current of air through the hive, and the bee-keeper 
can ascertain the days of large honey-yield, by the greater 
roar of the bees in front of their hive during the night fol- 
lowing. If a strong colony is put on a platform scale, it will 
be found, during the height of the honey-harvest, to gain a 
number of pounds on a pleasant day. Much of this weight 
will be lost in the night, from the evaporation of the newly- 
gathered honey. A thorough upward ventilation, in hot 
weather, will therefore contribute to increase the ripening of 
honey (763). 

When the cell is about full, the bees seal it with a flat cover 
or capping made of wax. This capping is begmi at the lower 
edge of the cell, and is raised graduall}', as the honey is de- 
posited within, till the cell is entirely sealed. These cappings 
being flat, depressed, or uneven, are easily distinguished from 
the caps of the brood, which are convex and of a darker color. 

262. Are the caps of the honey-cells air-tight ? 

The caps of the brood-cells, made of pollen and wax, are 
undoubtedly porous enough to allow the air to reach the 
lar\'a; and some Apiarists question the impen^ousness of the 
sealing of honey-comb. Mr. Cheshire himself, while of opmion 
that "the bee aims at compact coverings for her honey," says 
that "not more than ten per cent of these are absolutely im- 

POLLEX. 123 

pervious to air." Yet his own description of the cause of 
the well-known whiteness of the cappings, owing to the air 
which is left behind and "cannot escape," would prove that 
these eappings are originally made as air-tight as a thin coat 
of wax can make them. But it is possible that the thin coat 
of wax, though evidently air-tight, be, in some circumstances, 
porous enough to alloAV moisture to soak through it slowly, 
like water through leather. 


263. The pollen, or fertilizing dust of flowers, is gathered 
by the bees from blossoms, and is mdispensable to the nourish- 
ment of. their young — repeated experiments having proved 
that brood cannot be raised without it. It is very rich in 
the nitrogenous substances Avhich are not contained in honey, 
and without which ample nourishment could not be furnished 
for the development of the growing bee. Dr. Hunter, on 
dissecting some immature bees, found that their stomachs con- 
tamed pollen, but not a particle of honey. 

We are indebted to Huber for the discoveiy that pollen is 
the principal food of the young bees. As large supplies were 
often found in hives whose inmates had starved, it was evident 
that, without honey, it could not support the mature bees; 
and this led former observers to conclude that it served for 
the building of comb. Huber, after demonstrating that wax 
can be secreted from an entirely different substance, soon 
ascertained that pollen was used for ihe nourishment of the 
embiyo bees. Confining some bees to their hive without any 
pollen, he supplied them with honey, eggs, and larvse. In a 
short time, the young all perished. A fresh supply of brood 
being given to them, with an ample allowance of pollen, the 
development of the larvse proceeded in the natural way. 

264. AVe had an excellent opportunity of testing the value 
of this substance, in the backward Spring of 1852. On the 
5th of February', we opened a hive containing an artificial 
swarm of the previous j^ear, and found many of the cells filled 
with brood. The combs, being examined on the 23d, contained 

l24 t'OoD Oi' BEES. 

neither eggs, brood nor bee-bread; and the colony was sup- 
plied with pollen from another hive; the next day, a large 
number of eggs were found in the cells. When, this supply 
was exhausted, laying again ceased, and was only resumed 
when more was furnished. During the time of these experi- 
ments, the weather was so unpromising, that the bees were 
unable to leave the hive. 

Dzierzon is of opinion that bees can furnish food for their 
young, without pollen; although he admits that they can do 
it only for a short time, and at a great expense of vital 
energy; just as the strength of an animal nursing its young 
is rapidly reduced, if, for want of proper food, the vei*y sub- 
stance of the mother's body must be converted into milk. 
The experiment just described does not -corroborate this 
theory, but confirms Huberts view, that pollen is indispensable 
to the development of brood. 

Gundelach, an able German Apiarist, says that if a colony 
with a fertile queen be confined to an empty hive, and sup- 
plied with honey, comb will be rapidly built, and the cells 
filled with eggs, which in due time will be hatched; but the 
worms will all die within twenty-four hours. 

Sometimes bees, unable to feed their brood for lack of 
pollen, desert their hives (407, 663). 

265. In September, 1856, we put a very large colony of 
bees into a new hive, to determine some points on which we 
were then experimenting. The weather Avas fine, and they 
gathered pollen, and built comb very rapidly; still for ten 
days, the queen-bee deposited no eggs in the cells. During 
all that time, these bees stored very little pollen in the combs. 
One of the days being so stormy that they could not go 
abroad, they were supplied with rye flour (267), none of 
which, although very greedily appropriated, could be found 
in the cells. During all this time, as there was no brood to 
be fed, the pollen must have been used by the bees either for 
nourishment, or to assist them in secreting wax; or, as we 
believe, for both these purposes. 

266. Bees prefer to gather fresh, pollen, even when there 
are large accumulations of old stores in the cells. With hives 

POLLF.X. 125 

giving- the control of the combs, the surplus of old colonies 
may be made to supply the deficiency of young ones; the 
latter, in Spring, being often destitute of this important 
article. Although the bees of queenless colonies do not usually 
go in quest of pollen, some occasionally harvest it, and as 
it is not used, it accumulates in the hive. Sometimes it de- 
teriorates during the Winter and becomes worthless, from 

If honey and pollen can both be obtained from the same 
blossom, the mdustrious msect usually gathers a load of each. 
To prove this, let a few pollen-gatherers be dissected when 
honey is plenty; and their honey-sacks will ordinarily be 

When the bee brings home a load of pollen, she stores it 
away, by inserting her body in a cell, and brushing it from 
her legs; it is then carefully packed down, being often cov- 
ered with honej', and sealed over with wax. Pollen is seldom 
deposited in any except worker-cells. 

Aristotle observed, that a bee, in gathering pollen, confines 
herself to the kind of blossom on which she begins, even if 
it is not so abundant as some others; thus a ball of this 
substance taken from her thigh, is found to be of a uniform 
color throughout ; the load of one insect being yellow, of 
another, red, and of a third, brown; the color varying with 
that of the plant from which the supply was obtained. They 
may prefer to gather a load from a' single species of plant, 
because the pollen of different kinds does not pack so well 
together. Reaumur has estimated, that a good colony may 
gather and use as much as one hundred pounds of it in a 

267. When bees cannot find pollen, in early Spring, they 
will gather flour, or meal, or even fine sawdust, as a sub- 
stitute. This was noticed by Hartlib, as early as 1655. 

Dzierzon, early in the Spring, observed his bees bringing 
rye-meal to their hives from a neighboring mill, before they 
could procure any pollen from natural supplies. The liint 
was not lost; and it is now a common practice, wherever bee- 
keeping is extensively carried on, to supply the bees early 


in the season mih this article. Shallow troughs or boxes are 
set not far from the apiaries, filled about two inches deep 
with finely-ground^ dry, unbolted rye-meal, oatmeal or even 
with flour. ^Yhere bolted flour, or meal, is given, it should 
be tightly pressed with the hands, to prevent the bees from 
drownmg in it. To attract them to it, we bait them with a 
few old combs, or a little honey. 

The boxes must be placed in a warm spot sheltered from 
the wind. Thousands of bees, when the weather is favor- 
able, resort eagerly to them, and return heaviiy laden to their 

This artificial pollen or bee-bread, is kneaded by them with 
saliva, or honey brought from the hive. This is easily ascer- 
tained by tasting the little pellets, which in the hurry are 
loosened from their baskets, and fall to the bottom of the 
flour box. In fine, mild weather, they labor at this work 
with great industry; preferring the meal to the old pollen 
stored in their combs. They thus breed early, and rapidly 
recruit their numbers. The feeding is continued till, the blos- 
soms furnishmg a preferable article, they cease to cany off 
the meal. 

We will here add that, as a rule, colonies that do not carry 
in meal <or pollen, at the opening of Spring, are without 
brood, either because they are queenless, or from w^ant of 
honey, or from some other cause. 

The discovery of flour, as a substitute for pollen, removes 
a very serious obstacle to the culture of bees. In many dis- 
tricts, there is for a short time such an abundant supply of 
honey, that almost any number of strong colonies will, in a 
good season, lay up enough for themselves, and a large sur- 
plus for their owners. In many of these districts, however, 
the supply of pollen is often quite insufficient, and in Spring, 
the swarms of the previous year are so destitute, that unless 
the season is early, the production of brood is seriously 
cheeked, and the colony cannot avail itself properly of the 
the superabundant harvest of honey. 

268. As bees carry on their bodies the pollen, or fer- 
tilizing substance, they aid most powerfully in the impreg*na- 



tion of plants (878), while piyiiig into the blossoms in search 
of honey or bee-bread. In genial seasons, fruit will often 
set abundantly, even if no bees are kept in its vicinity; but 
many Springs are so unpropitious, that often during the 
critical period of blossoming, the sun shines for only a few 
hours, so that those only can reasonably expect a remunerating 
crop whose trees are all murmuring with the pleasant hum of 

269. One of the laws of Nature is that the crossing of 
the races produces offsjoring with greater vigor, endurance. 

rig. 49. 


(Magnified. Frcm Cheshire.) 

A, young blossom, s, stigma. 

B, section of blossom, ca, calyx ; Cj corolla ; aa, aborted anthers ; 
5^ stigma ; I, lip ; a, anthers ; n, nectar ; hi, black lip. 

C, older blossom, s, dropping stigma ; a, anthers. 

and faculty of reproduction. Fruits succeed better, when 
the pollen, which fertilizes the pistil, comes from some other 
blossom; and the insects are intrusted with the mission of 
transporting this pollen from one blossom to another, while 
gathering it for their own use. In some plants, fertilization 
would have been impossible, without the help of insects. For 
instance, some plants, such as the willows, are diecious, having 
their male organs on one tree, and their female organs on 
another. The bees after visiting the one for pollen, go to 
tlie other for honey, and the fecundation is effected. In some 


other plants, such as the Scrophularia Nodosa (Simpson 
honey plant— Fig. 49), the female organs are ready for 
fecundation earlier than the male. But as the flower secretes 
a large quantity of honey, which is replaced in its nectaries 
as fast as the bees gather it, the bees, in traveling from one 
blossom to another, cany the pollen of an old blossom to the 
pistil of a younger one, and fertilization is accomplished. 
Some plants, corn, for instance, produce such quantities of 
pollen, that the agency of msects is less indispensable to the 
fertilization of their blossoms. 

270. To determine the advantages which flowers derive 
from insect fertilization, any one can wrap a few flowers in 
gauze, just before the opening of the bud, and compare the 
number of fertile seeds, from flowers thus treated, with those 
of other blossoms. 

We have heard farmers mention the fact that the first crop 
of red clover furnishes but little seed, compared with the 
second crop. This is because the bumble-bees, which help its 
fertilization, are ver}^ scarce in Spring, while they are much 
more plentiful in Summer. "In Australia it was found im- 
possible to obtain seed from red clover until the bumble-bees 
were imported into that country" (Darwin). 

A large fruit-grower told us that his cherries were a veiy 
uncertain crop, a cold northeast storm frequently prevailing 
when they were in blossom. He had noticed that, if the sun 
shone only for a couple of hours, the bees secured him a crop. 

If those horticulturists, who regard the bee as an enemy 
(871), could exterminate the race, they would act with as 
little wisdom as those who attempt to banish from their inhos- 
pitable premises every insectivorous bird, which helps itself to 
a small part of the abundance it has aided in producing. By 
making judicious efforts early in the Spring, to entrap tlie 
mother-wasps and hornets, which alone survive the AVinter, 
an effectual blow may be struck at some of the worst pests 
of the orchard and garden. In Europe, those engaged ex- 
tensively in the cultivation of fruit, often pay a small sum 
in the Spring for all wasps and hornets destroyed in their 




271. Water is necessary to bees to dissolve the honey, 
which sometimes granulates in the cells, to digest the pollen 
and to prepare the food with which they feed the larvee. 
They can raise a certain amount of brood without water, but 
they always seem to suffer more or less in consequence (662). 
In the Winter, they breed but little, and the moisture which 
condenses on the walls of the hive is generally sufficient. Yet 
we have noticed that as soon as bees are brought out of the 
cellar (653), if the temperature is sufficiently warm, a great 
many will be seen sucking water. This fact shows that Ber- 
lepsch was right w^hen he advised bee-keepers to give water 
to bees during Winter, to avoid what he called disease of the 
thirst. Besides, every one may notice that bees take advantage 
of any warm Winter day to bring it to their hives; and, in 
early Spring, may be seen busily drinking around pumps, 
drains, and other moist places. Later in the season, they sip 
the dew from the grass and leaves. 

272. Every careful bee-keeper will see that liis bees 
well supplied with water. If 
he has not some sunny spot, 
close at hand, where they can 
safely obtain it, he will fur- 
nish them with shallow wood- 
en troughs, or vessels filled 
with floats or straw, from 
which — sheltered from cold 
wiiids, and warmed by the 
genial rays of the sun— they 
can drink without risk of 

A baiTel half filled with' 
earth and then filled with 
water, in which some water- 
cress or other aquatic plants are kept, to preserve it from 
])utrefaction, and to prevent the bees from drowning, will 
do very well. For a small a]iiaT-y, a jug or bottle (fio. 50), 



(From Sartori and Rauschenfels.) 


filled with water, and inverted on a plate covered with a 
small piece of carpet, will be sufficient. It can also be given 
in the combs. Mr. Vogel, editor of the Bienenzeitung, on 
the 19th of March gave to a colony a comb containing crystal- 
lized honey, and another containing about three-fourths of a 
pound of water. Within sixteen hours, both combs were 
altogether emptied by the bees. 

273. A learned French bee-keeper, Mr. De Layens, made 
many experiments in regard to this matter. 

"In the month of May, 1878, I put a lump of sugar near a 
spot where a great many bees came for water; they paid no 
attention to it. The sugar was then moistened and covered 
with honey. The bees, attracted by the honey, came in great 
numbers, and sucked up most of the moist sugar. After they 
became accustomed to this, I decreased the moistening, till I 
gave them nothing but dry sugar, when they brought water to 
dissolve the sugar, and removed all except the parts which were 
too hard to be dissolved easily." — (Bulletin de la Suisse, Nov., 

The same writer has noticed that, in Spring, if the bees 
are compelled to go veiy far for water, many of them perish. 
He found a loss of three hundred and fifty grammes of bees— 
four-fifths of a pound— from a hive, during a sudden Spring- 
storm (606). 

From the 10th of April to the 31st of July, forty colonies 
consumed 187 litres of water, about fifty gallons; the greatest 
quantity used in a day being seven litres, or about fifteen 

That bees do not need water, in circumstances other than 
those named above, is evidenced from the fact that, in im- 
porting bees from Italy, Ave did not succeed in receiving them 
alive, until our shippers reluctantly consented to send them 
without water (595). 


274. Bees seem to be so fond of salt, that they will often 
alight upon our hands to lick up the saline perspiration. 

SALT. 131 

''During the early part of the breeding season," said Dr. 
Bevan, ' ' till the beginning of May, I keep a constant supply of 
salt and water near my apiary, and find it thronged with bees 
from early morn till late in the evening. About this period 
the quantity they consume is considerable, but afterwards they 
seem indifferent to it. The eagerness they evince for it at one 
period of the season, and their indifference at another, may 
account for the opposite opinions entertained respecting it." 



275. The first hives that were provided for bees were as 
rude as their natural abodes. We do not need to look bnck 
very far to remember the "bee-gum," so called, probably, be- 
cause it had often been made out of the g-um tree, with two 
sticks crossmg in the middle, and a rough board nailed on 
top, while a notch in the lower end formed the entrance. In 
the Old World, they manufactured straw or willow "skeps" 
and pottery hives, which are still used in Asia and Africa. 
The earthen hive was simply a tube, laid on its side, and 
closed at each end with a movable wooden disk. This disk 

Fig. 51. 

(From "L'Apicoltore," Milan.) 

was removed to take the honey, which is always located at the 
back part of the hives. 

These eaithen hives were, unquestionably, the most sensible 
of those old kinds. In the Islands of Greece they were set 
in thick stone walls, built on purpose with the entrance on one 
side of the wall. Sometimes they were located in the walls 
of the houses, and the honey was removed from the inside of 
the house, or, if in walls, from behind, out of the flight of 




?J7(>. To get the honey from the gums, or boxes, the bee- 
keepers used at first to drive the bees to another hive (5'S'4) 
and take all the contents. But most of the thus impoverished 
colonies perished. This led to the thought that killing bees 
would be more facile, and the brimstone-pit was invented. 
This killing of bees was so customaiy that in the XVIIIth 
centurj', Joseph II, Emperor of Austria, decreed that eveiy 
bee-keeper Avho would cut the combs in Spring, instead of 
brimstoning the bees, would receive one florin (about forty 
cents) per colony. 

Fig. 52. 


(From Hamet.) 

277. About the j^ar 1830, our senior, then a boy, saw 
this harvesting of combs for the first time. Clothed with a 
heavy linen frock, equipped with a mask of wire strong 
enough to be sword-proof, and sweating- under a scorching 
sun in this hea\y gamient, he helped (?) the old priest of 
his \nllage to prune about twenty colonies, removing the back 
combs with a curved knife, from the upturned hives. It was 
in April: and, while the crop thus harvested was lisht, the 



damage inliicted to the bees was immense, for they had to 
rebuild their combs at a time when queens begin their greatest 
laying. But the bee-keepers of old were persuaded that this 
crop of beeswax was beneficial to bees, since it compelled them 

CO K w) 


O < 

o o 
< m 

X 2 



to make new combs, which were considered better than older 
ones (676). 

278. Some bee-keepers, having noticed that bees place 
their honey at the highest part of the hive, added a cap or 
upper ^ory, which i3oinmnnicated with the hive through a 
hole in the top of the latter. Still later, Apiarists found out 
that when the hive was very deep and the connecting hole 
small, the bees refused to store their honey in the cap, and 

Fig. 54. 


(From Hamet.) 

B, body ; A, hole to connect the 

stories with the surplus cap. 

Fig. 55. 


(From Hamet.) 

they made their hives with open ceilings, repla<?ing the top 
board of the breeding-stoiy with slats or bars. The hives 
were aftein\'ards divided into several horizontal sections, called 
"ekes" (figs. 54 and 55). Instead of using a cap, some Apiar- 
ists removed the upper stoiy, when full of honey, and placed 
a new stoiy under the others. The bees then continued their 
constructions downwards. To separate the sections from one 
another, they used a wire that cut the combs. Butler, in his 
"Feminine Monarchy," 1634, showed hives composed of four 
sections, piled upon one another. Palteau, in 1750, advised 
bee-keepers to use a perforated ceiling at the top of each 



section. Radouan, iu 1821, instead of a perforated ceiling, 
used triangular bars, to which the bees attached theii' combs. 
Chas. Soria, in 1845, used these bars at the bottom of each 
stoiy as well as at the top, with bee space between, so that 
they could be removed, exchanged, or reversed, without crush- 
ing any bees, or damaging a single cell (fig. 56). 

279. Other Apiarists divided their hives vertically, con- 
formably with the shape of the combs of the bees, which hang 
vertically. If we are correctly informed, it was Jonas de 
Gelieu who maugurated this style (fig. 57). He made his 

Fig. 56. 


(From Hamet.) 

Fig. .5 7. 


(From Hamet.) 

hive divisible mto only two parts. Oettl, towards the middle 
of the nineteenth century, made a straw hive divided into 
three vertical parts. The main advantage of these hives re- 
sides in the facility of dividing them for artificial swarming. 
But as this method of making artificial swarms is defective, 
as will be shown further (470), and as all these con- 
trivances did not allow a close study of the habits of the bee, 
or pennit the needed manipulations, it became necessaiy to 
invent a hive whose eveiy comb, and eveiy part, the Apiarist 
could promptly and easily control; a hive which, to employ 
the forcible expression of Mr. Hamet, could ''sc demonter 
comme nn jcu dc marionettes'" ; (be taken to pieces like a 


Requisites of a Complete Hive. 

280. 1. A complete hive should give the Apiarist such 
perfect control of all the combs, that they may be easily 
taken out without cutting them, or exciting the anger of the 

2. It should permit ail necessaiy operations to be performed 
without hurting or killmg a suigle bee. 

Some hives are so constructed, that they cannot be used 
without mjuring or destroying some of the bees; and the 
destruction of even a few materially increases the difficulty 
of managing them (399). 

3. It should afford suitable protection against extremes 
of heat and cold, sudden changes of temperature, and the m- 
jurious effects of dampness. 

The interior of a hive should be dry in Winter, and free 
in Summer from a pent and suffocating heat. 

i. Not one unnecessary motion should be required of a 
single bee. 

As the honey-harvest, in most locations, is of short con- 
tinuance, all the arrangements of the hive should facilitate, 
to the utmost, the work of the busy gatherers. Hives w^iich 
compel them to travel with their hea^y burdens through 
densely crowded combs, are very objectionable. Bees instead 
of forcing their way through thick clusters, must easily pass 
into the top surplus honey-boxes of the hives, from any comb 
in the hive, and into eveiy part, without traveling much over 
the combs. 

.5. It should be capable of being readily adjusted to the 
wants of either large or small colonies. 

6. It should allow eveiy good piece of worker-comb to be 
given to the bees, instead of melting it into wax, and should 
permit of the use of comb-foundation (674). 

7. It should prevent the over-production of drones, by 
permitting the removal of drone-comb from the hive. 

A hive containing too much comb suitable only for storing 
honey, or raising drones, cannot be expected to prosper. 


S. It should allow the bottom board to be loosened or fas- 
tened at will, for ventilation, or to clear out the dead bees 
in Winter. If suffered to remain, they often become mouldy, 
and injure the health of the colony. In dragging them out, 
when the weather nioderates, the bees often fall with them on 
the snow, and are so chilled, that they never rise again; for 
a bee, in flying away with the dead, frequently retains its hold 
until both fall to the ground. 

9. No part of the interior of the hive should be below the 
level of the place of exit. 

If this principle is violated, the bees must, at great disad- 
vantage, drag, up liill, their dead, and all the refuse of the 

10. It should afford facilities for feeding bees, both in 
warm and cool weather, in case of need. 

11. It should furnish facilities for enlarging, contracting, 
and closing the entrance, to protect the bees against robbers; 
and when the entrance is altered, the bees ought not, as in 
some hives, to lose valuable time in searching for it. 

12. It should furnish facilities for admitting at once a 
large body of air, that the bees may be tempted to fly out 
and discharge their faeces, on warm days in Winter, or early 

If such a free admission of air cannot be given, the bees, 
by losing a favorable opportunity of emptying themselves, 
may suffer from diseases resulting from too long confine- 

13. It should allow the bees, together with the heat and 
odor of the main hive, to pass in the freest manner, to the 
surplus honey receptacles. 

14. Each of the parts of eveiy hive in an apiary should 
be so made, as to be interchangeable from one hive to an- 
other. In this way, the Apiarist can readily make the ex- 
changes of brood, honey, or pollen, which circumstances de- 

15. The hive should permit the surplus honey to be taken 
away in the most convenient, beautiful and salable forms. 


16. It should be eqiialh' well adapted to be used as a 
swarmer, or non-swarmer, 

17. It should enable the Apiarist to multiply his colonies 
with a certamty and rapidity which are impossible if he de- 
pends on natural swarming. 

18. It should enable the Apiarist to supply destitute col- 
onies with the means of obtaining a new queen. 

19. It should enable him to catch the queen, for any pur- 
pose; especially to remove an old one whose fertility is im- 
paired by age. 

20. It should enable a smgle bee-keeper to superintend 
several hundred colonies for different individuals. 

Many persons would keep bees, if an apiary, like a gar- 
den, could be supermtended by a competent individual. If the 
bees are allowed to swarm, he may be called in a dozen dif- 
ferent directions at once, and if any accident, such as the 
loss of a queen, happens to the colonies of his customers, 
he can usually apply no remedy. 

21. All the joints of the hive should be water-tight, and 
there should be no doors or shutters or drawers liable to shrink, 
swell, or get out of order. 

22. A complete hive should be protected against the de- 
structive ravages of mice in Winter. 

23. It should permit the honey, after the gathering season 
is over, to be concentrated where the bees will most need it. 

24. It should permit the space for spare honey receptacles 
to be enlarged or contrcX.cted at will, without any alteration 
or destruction of existmg parts of the hive. 

Without the power to do this, the productive force of a 
colony is in some seasons greatly diminished. 

25. Its surplus honey receptacle should be as close to the 
brood as possible. 

26. A complete hive, while possessing all these requisites, 
should, if possible, combine them in a cheap and simple form, 
adapted to the wants of all who are competent to cultivate 


281. There are a few desirables to which a hive, even if 
it were perfect, could make no pretensions! 

It could not promise splendid results to those who are too 
ignorant or too careless to be entrusted with the manage- 
ment of bees. In bee-keeping, as in all other pursuits, man 
must first understand his business, and then proceed upon the 
good old maxim, that "the hand of the diligent maketh rich." 
^^In a word, to succeed it is indispensable to know what to do, 
and to do it just in time/'—{^. Wagner). 

It could not have the talismanic influence to convert a bad 
situation for honey into a good one; or give the Apiarist an 
abundant harvest, whether the season was productive or other- 
wise. As well might the farmer seek for some kind of wheat 
which will yield an enormous crop, in any soil, and in every 

It could not enable the cultivator, while rapidly multiply- 
ing his colonies, to secure the largest yield of honey from his 
bees. As well might the breeder of poultry pretend, that in 
the same year, and from the same stock, he can both raise the 
greatest number of chickens, and sell the largest number of 


282. The bee-keepers of Greece and of Candia seem to 
have been the first to provide their hives with movable bars, 
under which bees suspended their combs. Delia Rocca men- 
tions these and gives engravings of them in his work, pub- 
lished in 1790. In 1838, Dzierzon revived this hive and 
improved it. In spite of the difficulty of its management, 
since the combs not being attached to movable-frames, but 
to top bars, cannot be removed without cutting them loose 
from the sides of the hive, Dzierzon succeeded in making 
discoveries, in bee physiology, which rank among the most 
important (132). His success was marvelous for the epoch. 

283. But in the Dzierzon hive, it is often necessary to cut 
and remove many combs to get access to a particular one; thus 
if the tenth from the end is to be removed, nine must be 

Plate 14. 


Author of ''The Mustcrlcs of Bee- Keeping.'" 

This writer is mentioned pages 141, 151. 154, 155, 157, 158, 164, IT- 

193, 378. 



taken out. This hive cannot furnish the surplus honey in a 
form the most salable in our markets, or admitting of safe 
transportation in the comb. Notwithstanding these disad- 
vantages, it has achieved a great triumph m Germany, and 
given a new impulse to the cultivation of bees. 

Movable-Frame Hives. 

284. About one hmidred years ago, Huber invented the 
leaf-hive, which enabled him to make his discoveries. It con- 
sisted of twelve frames, each an inch and a quarter in width, 

Fig. 58. 


which were connected together by hhiges, so that they could 
be opened or shut at pleasure, like the leaves of a book. 

285. This hive was improved upon by several bee-keepers 
in Europe and America, themost noted of whom were Quinby, 
and his son-in-law, L. C. Root, author and publisher of 
"Quinby's Xew Bee-keeping." This style of hive is generally 
known as the closed-end standing- frame hive. The reader will 
understand that, in these hives, the combs liang separately in 
frames, which, when joined together, make a body, enclosed 
in an outer covering. Their being used by a number of 


Apiarists, shows that these hives have some advantages, the 
greatest objection to them being the difficulty of fitting the 
frames together, after inspection, without crushing some bees, 
unless they have been previously shaken out. 

286. Several attempts were made, in the first half of the 
nineteenth century, to invent a practical hanging-frame hive; 
that is, a hive in which each comb, hanging in a separate 
frame, could be readily taken out and replaced without jarring 
the hive, or removing the other frames. Propokovitsch, in 
Russia, Munn, in England, Debeauvoys, in France, tried and 
failed. At last, in October, 1851, Mr. Langstroth invented the 
top-openmg movable-frame hive, now used the world over 
Avith slight variations, in which the combs are attached to 
movable frames so suspended in the hives as to touch neither 
the top, bottom, nor sides; leaving, between the frames and 
the hive walls, a space of from one-fourth to three-eighths of 
an inch, called bee-space. (Fig. 59.) 

287. By this device the combs can be removed at pleas- 
ure, without any cutting, and speedily transferred to another 
hive. Our congenial friend. Prof. A. J. Cook, author of "The 
Bee-keepei*'s Guide," says of it : "It is this hive, the greatest 
apiarian invention ever made, that has placed American 
Apiculture in advance of that of all other countries." And 
no one knows, better than the revisers of this work, that such 
is the plain truth, as they have watched the progress of 
bee-keeping in Europe, through its French. Italian, Swiss, 
and German bee-papers, for forty years past. 

288. Mr. Langstroth, however, modestly disclaimed the 
idea of having attained perfection in his hive. He wrotfe: 

''Having carefully studied the nature of the honey-bee, for 
many years, and compared my observations with those of writ- 
ers and cultivators who have spent their lives in extending the 
sphere of apiarian knowledge, I have endeavored to remedy the 
many difficulties with which bee-culture is beset, by adapting 
ray invention to the actual habits and wants of the insect. I 
have also tested the merits of this hive by long and continued 
experiments, made on a large scale, so that I might not. by de- 



ceiving both myself aud others, add another to the useless con- 
trivances which have deluded and disgusted a too credulous 
iniblic. I would, however, utterly repudiate all claims to hav- 

Hiliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiliiiii nil III! iiiiiHilH I 
Fig. oJ 


h,b, front and rear of hive ; d.d, pieces forming the rabbets for the 
frames to rest upon ; c,c, sides of hive ; f, movable cover ; u,u,t, movable 

ing devised even a perfect bee-hive. Perfection belongs only 
to the works of Him, to whose omniscient eye were present all 
causes and effects, with all their relations, when He spake, and 
from nothing formed the Universe. For man to stamp the label 
of perfection upon any work of his own, is to show both his 
folly and presumption. ' ' 



289. A short time after the issuing of the Langstroth 
patent, the Baron Von Berlepseh, of Seebach, Thuringia, 
invented frames of a somewhat simliar character. Carl T. E. 
Von Siebold, Professor of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy, 
in the University of Munich, thus speaks of these frames: 

Fig. 60. 


(From the "Illustrierte Bienenzeitung.") 

"As the lateral adhesion of the combs built down from the 
bars frequently rendered their removal difficult, Berlepsch tried 
to avoid this inconvenience, in a very ingenious way, by sus- 
pending in his hives, instead of the bars, small quadrangular 
frames, the vacuity of which the bees fill up with their comb, 
by which the removal and suspension of the combs are greatly 
facilitated, and altogether such a convenient arrangement is 

movable-fra:me hives. 


given to the Dzierzon-hive, that nothing more remains to be 
desired.'' (???) 

Mr. Clieshire (Bees and Bee-keeping, 2d vol. page 46) was 
mistaken in attributing to Dzierzon the invention of the 
frame-hive, for Dzierzon has not even invented, but only per- 
fected the movable-eomb hive (282-283), having always, to 
this day, been opposed to frames. So the German hive is 
knowTi as the Berlepsch hive. 

290. For years, both of these inventions shared equally 
the attention of bee-keepers in Europe. Berlepsch's hive is 


Fig. 61. 


used principally in Germany, Italy, and part of Switzerland: 
Langstroth's in England, France, and the French-speaking 
part of Switzerland; but it is to be noted that hives made on 
the principle of the Langstroth invention, are steadily gaining 
ground wherever both styles are used. 

291. And this is not to be wondered at. The Berlepsch 
hive opens from the rear, like a cupboard. Two stories are 
used for the brood, and the third for surplus honey. This is 
sometimes separated from the main apartment by perforated 

146 THE BEK-H1\ES. 

zinc (467), to exclude the queen, or by a board with a square 
liole in the center. The frames are suspended, in grooves, by 
the ends of their uppei' bars, and have to be taken out with 

292. The worst feature of this hive is that, if it is neces- 
sai-y to reach the last frame, every one of the others has 
to be taken out. There are tw-enty combs in the brood-chamber. 
It is safe to say, that a hive built on the Langstroth principle, 
can be visited five times more rapidly, than a hive built on 
the Berlepsch idea. These inconveniences, coupled with the 
fact that the brood apartment of the Berlepsch hive is divided 
into two stories, and that the surplus apartment cannot be 
enlarged, ad infinitum^ make the Berlepsch hive inferior; and 
we can safely predict that hives with movable ceiling will some 
day be exclusively used throughout the world. 

293. The superiority of the Langstroth hive is so evident 
that we were not suri3rised to read in the Revue Interna- 
tionale d' Apiculture, Sept., 1885 : 

"The question of the mobility of the ceiling was discussed at 
length at the Bee-keepers' Meeting held in Milan, Italy, in 
September, 188.5. Mr. Cowman and I were unable to conceal from 
the Italian bee-keepers our wonder that it was not solved for 
them, as it has been, for a long time, in the countries of large 

*'We can predict, and without any fear of mistake, that the 
principles on which the Langstroth hive is based will be ad- 
mitted sooner or later by the most progressive bee-keepers of 
the world." — (Ed. Bertrand.) 

294. In 1905, an Italian Avriter, speaking of the Lang- 
stroth-Dadant hive, as described by the elder Dadant, calls 
it, "the preferred, the inteniational, the classic, the queen of 
hives." (Romagna Agricola, June, 1905.) 

295. The success of American bee-culture, in the last 
Mfty years, was first attributed, by European bee-keepers, to 
the honey-producing power of the country; but the most in- 
telligent Apiarists, who have tried the American methods, 



with the Laiigstroth hive, now recognize that success is prin- 
cipally due to the manipulations that it permits. 

296. Xav, if the student will but refer to a former edition 

Fig. 62. 


(From the "lUusfrierte Bienenzeitung.") 

Fig. 63. 


of this very book (1859), the first words of it will show hini 
the progress accomplished since then: 

"Practical bee-keeping in this country is in a very depressed 
ponditinn, lacing entirely neglected by the mass of those most 



^ 2 


favorably situated for its pursuit. Notwithstanding the numer- 
ous hives which have been introduced, the ravages of the bee- 
moth have increased, and success is becoming more and more 
precarious. While multitudes have abandoned the pursuit in 
disgust, many even of the most experienced are beginning to 
suspect that all the so-called 'Improved Hives' are delusions 
or impostures; and that they must return to the simple box 
or hollow log, and 'take up' their bees with sulphur in the 
old-fashioned way." 

'^97. Mr. Graveiihorst, also a German, invented a mov- 
able-frame hive made of straw. We give a cut of his hive, not 
that it has any praetiteal importance for us, but because 
his system is peculiar. The frames are removed from the 
bottom so that in order to examine the hive, one must invert 
it. There is no separate apartment for surplus honey. 

298. Although the movable frame, hanging in the hive, 
by projections of the top bar (figs. 59, 63), as invented by 
Mr. Langstroth, is the style now almost universally adopted, 
there is a great diversity of opinions as to the proper size 
and shape of the frames, and the number, which a hive 
should contain. Hundreds of different sizes are used with 
success, from Maine to California, and from Canada to 

Frames as short as IIV2 inches are used, but the standard 
size is still the Langstroth, the standard frame of America. 

A frame which is now very highly recommended by a num- 
ber of bee-keei)ers and sold by most manufacturers in Ameri- 
ca is the "Hoff mail frame" (fig. 65). The frames touch one 
another in' the upper third of their side bars and are thus 
spaced. The advantage claimed for these is that any be- 
ginner can use them without running the risk of putting too 
many or too few in a hive, a mistake sometimes made by 
novices, and also that they can be handled in twos or threes 
without dilRculty. These advantages seem to us much over- 
balanced by the fact that it is difficult to put the frames 
together in a populous hive without crushing some bees. "Wlien 
a hive is opened to ascertain its condition, it is usually ne<jes- 



saiy to look over eveiy part of it. The help gained by being 
able to handle two or three frames at a time is therefore more 
imaginary than real. 

Mr. E. R. Root, the well-known editor of Gleanings in Bee 
Culture, who has been the most active supporter of this frame, 
in replj" to a correspondent who complained of the frame, in 
Gleanings for November 1st, 1905, page 1127, acknowledges 
that the Hoffman frame is unsuited to localities where much 
propolis is used by the bees, owing to the difficulty of separat- 
ing the frames when glued together. 

Another veiy strong objection which has been raised against 

Fig. 65. 


('The A B C of Bee Culture. "■) 

the Hoffman frame is that it cannot be manufacturetl hi a 
small shop, as it requires special tools to manufacture it. This 
may not have much weight with the up-to-date Apiarist, but 
it has been our aim to recommend the simplest and most 
practical implements, if effective, and we consider this ob- 
jection as a weighty one, when added to other objections. The 
main desideratum attained by the use of the Hoffman frame, 
namely the s]iacing of the combs hi a practical and stable 

Plate 16. 

E. R. ROOT, 

Son of A. I. Root, Reviser of ''The A B C and X Y Z of Bee- 
Culture,'^ Editor of ''Gleanings in Bee-Culture,*^ 
This writer is mentioned pages 150, 151, 326, 481, 482. 



way, can be attained by other methods which will be de- 
scribed farther. 

299. The "Hanging Quinby'' (fig. 68) is the frame pre- 
ferred by the writers. The "Gallup" frame is used with suc- 
cess by such practical Apiarists as G. M. Doolittle. The 
closed-end-Quinby and the Danzenbaker frames are not hang- 
ing frames, but the former is much used by New York State 
Apiarists and the latter is the frarae preferred by E. R. Root. 
It is a very shallow frame. 

Fig. ee. 


("The A B C of Bee Cuture.") 

300. It is evident that profit can be derived from bee- 
culture with almost any style of frame; but it is certain also, 
that, in eveiy pursuit, some conditions produce better effects 
than others, under the same circumstances. 

In apiculture, as in everything else, we should try to ob- 
tain the best results with the least labor and expense, and 
these can only be attained by studying the habits of the bee, 
and complying ^^th them, as far as is practicable. 

The combs of the brood-chamber, or main apartment of the 
hive, are used by the bees to raise their young, and to store 
their food for Winter. The size of frames must be consid- 
ered, with reference to this. 

301. We have seen (153) that the queen lays her egg^s 



ill a circle. In fact, it is necessary that she should do so, 
in order to lose no time in hunting for cells; else how could 
she \'dy three thousand eg-gs, or more, per day*? A veiy 
shallow frame will break the circle, and compel her to lose 
time. In a comb five inches deep, for instance, and fifteen 
or sixteen inches long, the largest circular area contains less 
than twenty square inches, or five hundred and fifty worker- 
cells on each side. \Yhen these are occupied with eggs, the 
queen, while hunting for empty cells, will find wood above 
and below, instead of comb, at every half turn, and will lose 
not only time, but eggs ; for, in the busy season, her eggs have 
to drop, like mature fruit, if not laid in the cells. Loss of 
eggs is loss of bees; loss of bees at the proper time is loss of 

1502. A two-stoiy shallow brood-chamber is objectionable 




H G 

Fig. 67. 


(From the "A B C of Bee-Culture.") 

for the same reason. Besides, the bees which cover the brood 
and keep it warm, must also keep warm the lower bar of the 
top frame, the upper bar of the lower frame, and the space 
between the two, Avithout deriving any benefit from such an 
arrangement. This division of the brood-combs, into two 
shallow stories, is one of the causes which prevent the bee- 
keepers of Germany from raising as many bees, in their hives, 
as we do here in the ordinary Langstroth hives. This disad- 
vantage was so evident that the bee-keepers of Switzerland, 
who had adopted, as a standard, the Berlepsch hive (fig. 60), 
decided to replace the double story by a single one of the 
same dimension, as the Italian bee-keepers had done before, 
but for half the hive only. 


A short frame like the Gallup (tig. 67), presents another 
objection, the cluster being- divided among a greater number 
of frames. 

"For Winter, it is evident that the sides of the clusters 
A. B. and C. D. (fig. 67) are better protected than the ends 
G. H. and E. F., and also that the long frames protect the 
center of the brood-nest much better than the short ones." — 
("A B C") 

Even a cross-bar through a frame (fig. 59) will hinder 
the laying of the queen, so that brood will .often be raised only 
on one side of it. Any one can easily tiy this. 

303. From the foregoing, it appears that a square frame 
is the best for breeding. But square frames are objectionable. 
If they are small, they do not have enough space in each 
frame for Winter supplies, above or behind the brood. If 
they are large, they are unhandy, and their depth makes them 
difficult to take out without crushing bees. We have used 
some sixty hives, American frames, 12%xl2%, for many 
years, and this is our greatest objection to them. 

304. A dcGper frame is still more objectionable for the 
same reason, and because the surplus cases on top are too re- 
mote from the brood. (278.) In early Sprmg, the bees have 
more difficulty in keeping the lower end of such frames warm, 
as the heat always rises, and a part of it is wag-ted, warming 
up the stores, which in this hive are all above the brood. In 
hot weather, the combs are also more apt to break down from 
heat and weight combmed. Such a hive is deficient in top- 
surface for the storing of honey in boxes. 

305. It is thus evident that Mr. Langstroth and Mr. Quin- 
bj^ were right in using frames of greater length than depth, 
especially as these frames allow of more surplus room above 
the brood, a matter of some importance. 

306. But we must beware of excess in anything. A 
shallow frame has too little honey above the cluster in Win- 
ter, and in long cold Winters, like that of 1884-5, a great 
many bees die for want of food above them, in hives con- 


taiuing plenty of honey, the combs, hack of the cluster, being 
too cold. 

The Langstroth-Simplicity frame is long enough, but hardly 
deep enough. The Quinby frame is deep enough, but would 
be better if a little shorter. 

307. We have used on a large scale Quinby, American 
and Standard Langstroth-sized frames for years, and have 
obtained better results from the Quinby, both for wintering- 
out of doors, and for honey producing. Yet, the Lang- 
stroth-Simplicity being the standard frame of America, we 
would hesitate to advise any Apiarist to change from this 
size; knowing, by practical experience, how annoying it is, 
not to have all frames and all hives in one apiaiy uniform in 

But we would counsel beginners to use the Quinby size- 
especially if they intend to winter out-of-doors — or at least 
to use a frame as long as the standard Langstroth and as 
deep as the Quinby. 

The recommendation which we make of the Quinby size 
of frame is not a hasty one. This frame has been tested by 
us for years, side by side with numerous others, for Mr, 
Charles Dadant was never content until he had made a trial 
of all things that were given as improvements. He tested 
triangular frames as well as frames that approached as near 
to the circular shape as was possible with pine lumber as a 
material of manufacture. He tried deep and shallow frames, 
small and large frames, ranging in size from 0x6 inches to 
18x18 inches. So the reader may rest assured that a very 
thorough practical experience caused our decision. 

308. The number of frames to be used in a hive depends 
on their size; for w^e should manage our bees, as we do our 
other domestic animals, and give them as much space as is 
necessary to obtain the best results. What would we think 
of a farmer who would build a barn without first consider- 
ing the number of animals and the amount of feed which he 
intended to shelter in if? 

309. Many hives cannot hold one-quarter of the bees, 


comb, and honey which, in a good season, may be found in 
large ones; while their owners wonder that they obtain so 
little profit from their bees. A good swarm of bees, put, 
in a good season, mto a diminutive hive, may be compared 
to a powerful team of horses harnessed to a baby wagon, or 
a noble fall of water wasted in turnmg a petty water-wheel. 
As the harvest of honey is always in proportion to the 
number of bees in the hive, and as a large colony requires 
no more labor from the Apiarist than a small one, the hive 
should afford the queen sufficient space to deposit all the 
eggs, which she is able to lay during twenty-one days, the 
average time for an egg to be transformed into a worker. 
Besides, it should contain a certain amount of food, honey and 
pollen. It is unquestionable that the quality of a queen de- 
pends on the quantity of eggs that she is able to lay. Then 
why limit her, by using hives so narrow that she cannot de- 
velop her fertility? 

310. We have seen before (97) that a good queen can 
lay 3,500 eggs per day in the good season, so that 73,500 cells 
may be occupied with brood at one time. If Ave add to this 
number about 20,000 cells for the provisions needed in the 
breeding season, we have about 94,000 cells as the number re- 
quired for a strong colony. As eveiy square inch of comb 
contains about 55 cells (217), 27 to 28 on each side, the 
combs of a hive should measure over 1,700 square inches. This 
space nuist, of course, allow of contraction, according to the 
needs of the colony by what is called movable division boards. 

311. As a Quinby frame measures 1S9 square inches in- 
side, a hive should contain at least 9 of these frames. 

As the Standard Langstroth-Simplicity frame measures 
about 149 square inches, the hive must contain 12 frames. The 
American frames must number 12, and the Gallup 14. 

312. We know that many Apiarists object to these fig- 
ures, because they succeed, and harvest good crops, with 
smaller hives. But figures, based on facts, cannot lie. Smaller 
hives will do only in localities, where late Springs and short 


iioney crops make it impussible ior the queen to lay to the 
utmost of her capacity, before the time when her bees would 
be usefuL 

It is perhaps necessaiy to say here, that we have found more 
opposition on this subject than on any other, especially in 
ihe bee-papers. But we take this opportunity of again ener- 
yeticallif asserting that our preference for large hives is based 
on a successful practice of more than forty years, with sev- 
eral hundred colonies in different sized hives. 

Men of great experience and success, like Doctor C. C. 
Miller, who use eight-frame Langstroth hives, manage to 
secure the fullest breeding of prolific queens, before the open- 
ing of the honey harvest, by adding another brood chamber 
when the queen has filled the first. This additional brood 
chamber is removed at the time of putting on the supers and 
the combs of brood are divided among weaker colonies, if 
there are too many of them to fill one brood chamber. 

This is the only way in which full results may be achieved 
with small hives. 

313. It is only by testing different sizes of hives and 
frames side by side, for years, on a large scale, and with 
the same management, as we have done, that the compari- 
son can be made serviceable. Our experiments prove also 
that small frames impede the laying of the queen. The 
hrood-chamher of a large hive can easily he reduced in size, 
if need he; hut a small hive cannot he enlarged at icill, except 
hy the addition of upper stories, ivhich should properly he 
devoted to the storing of honey. 

314. In addition to the disadvantages of small frames 
and small hives already enumerated, another— and the great- 
est of all— is the excess of natural swarming whicli they 
cause. The leading advocates of small hives, some of w^hom 
are large honey producers, invariably acknowledge that they 
have too much natural sivarming ; nor is it to be wondered at, 
since swarming is mainly caused by the lack of breeding 
room for the queen. (106.) 

315. The main criterion of a liood farnici- is the awe 


that he takes to improve his stock, by selecting the best ani- 
mals as reproducers. If we use hives so narrow that we 
cannot discern which are our most prolific queens, and that 
they incite natural swarming, we are unable to improve our 
bees by selection. (452, 511.) 

316. The distance between frames from center to center 
can be varied from 1% inches to l^^ in the breedmg apart- 
ment, of which we are now treating. In the surplus cases, it 
may be made much greater. 

317. The distance of 11/2 inches, advised by Mr. Quinby, 
is preferable for two reasons: 

1st, It facilitates the taking out of the combs, giving a 
little more room to handle them, and thus aids in inter- 
changing combs, which may have slight irregularities; when 
such changes are necessary to help weak colonies with brood 
or honey from stronger ones. 

2nd, It gives more room between brood-combs for the bees 
to cluster in Winter, and a "greater thickness of honey above 
them, thereby placing the bees in better condition for Winter. 

318. The frames must be properly distanced m the hive, 
and the combs must be built straight in them; for a movable- 
frame hive, with crooked combs, is worse than a hive without 
any frames. 

319. The building of straight combs in the frames was 
formerly tolerably secured by the use of a triangular wooden 
guide fastened to the mider side of the top bar of the frame, 
and which the bees follow in most instances. Something of 
this kind was mentioned by Delia Rocca as early as 1790. 
("Traite Complet sur les Abeilles.") 

320. A metallic stamp was invented by Mr. Mehring, of 
Bavaria, Germany, for printing or stamping the shape of the 
comhs upon the mider side of the top bar of the frames. 
After the outlines were made he rubbed melted wax over 
them, and scraped off all that did not sink into the de- 
pressions. Mr. Mehrmg represented this device as enabling 
)iim to dispense Avith guide combs, the bees appearing to be 



delighted to have their work thus accurately sketched out for 
them.* In practice it was found to be inferior to the tri- 
angular comb guides. 

321. Pieces of worker-comb, glued to the under side of 
the top bar with melted wax, were used successfully. But the 
introduction of comb-foundation (674) has finally given us 
the means of securing straight combs at all times, and it may 
be used, for this purpose, in such narrow strips, that its cost 
cannot be an objection.' 

Fig. 68. 


IVZ2. As stated before (299), the frame that we use is 
similar in size and shape to the Quinby hanging frame, a little 
longer and a little deeper than the regular Langstroth frame, 
tig. 68. The exact sizle of these frames is given in diagram, 
fig. 72. 

323. All the parts of the movable frames should be cut 
out by circular saws, and the measurement should be exact, 
.so that the frames when nailed together may be square. If 

♦This inventicu should not be confused with that of comb-founda- 
ticn, made a few years later by the same distinguished Apiarist. (677) 



they are not strong and perfectly square, the proper working; 
of the hive will be greatly interfered with. 

324. The underside of the top-bar may be cut to a tri- 
angular edge, which bees usually follow readily in building 
combs. But comb foundation strips are now used almost 
altogether, and a groove, with wedge as in fig. 69, will be 
found very much more serviceable. Above all, the outside 
measurements of the frames must be carefully preserved, no 
matter what style of hive and frame we use. 

Fig. 69. 


325. The width of the top bar has something to do with 
the amount of bridges and brace combs (397), built by the 
bees, between the brood-chamber and the upper stories. A 
wide top bar, leaving but a narrow space for passage above, 
will almost altogether prevent the building of bridges. For 
that reason, we make our top bars l^/g inches in width. Yet 

160 THh: BEE- HIVES. 

in producing- extracted bonej' {7-l^) these bridges and brace 
combs do not annoy much. 

326. It is necessary that the hive should always slant 
fonvard, toward the entrance, when occupied by bees, to 
facilitate the carrying out of dead bees and other useless 
substances, to aid the colony in protecting itself against 
robbers, to carry off moisture, and prevent rain from beat- 
ing into the hive. 

327. For this, and other reasons, the combs should run 
from front to rear,— so as to hang perpendicularly,— and not 
from side to side as they do in the Berlepsch hive. 

328. The Langstroth hive, from the simple form given 
in fig. 59, was improved upon in many different ways. The 
Standard Langstroth hive has been for a long time a hive 

Fig 70. 


with portico, honey-board, permanent bottom-board, and ten 

329. The movable honey-board, between the brood- 
chamber and the upper stories, has been discarded of late 
years, the great objection to honey -boards being that the bees 
glue them, and build small pieces of comb or bridges, in the 
space between them and the frames; the jar of their break- 
ing, when the honey-board is removed, angering the bees. 

330. The permanent bottom-board has lost favor with the 
great majority of bee-keepers, and is now replaced by mova- 
ble bottom-boards adjustable at will. The Van Deusen hive- 
clamp (fig. 70), is used by many Apiarists for fastening 
movable bottoms or additional stories. We have discarded 
llio permanent bottom-board, owing to the difficulty of 


Ijromptly cleaning' it of dead bees and rubbish, when remov- 
ing bees from the cellar in Spring-, or after a hard winter 
passed out of doors. 

Fig. 71. 


The cap is thrown back to shew the straw mat. 


331. In the ventilation of the hive, we should endeavor, as 
far as possible, to meet the necessities of the bees, under a '.I 
the vaiying circumstances to which they are exposed in our 
micertain climate, whose severe extremes of temperature 
forcibly impress upon the bee-keeper, the maxim of Viriril, 

''Utraque vis pariter apibus metueiula. " 
"Extremes of heat or cold alike are hurtful to the bees." 

332. To be useful to the majority of bee-keepers, artificial 
ventilation must be simple, and not as in Nutt's hive, and 
other labored contrivances, so complicated as to require almost 
as close supenision as a hot-bed or green-house. 

333. AVith an independent bottom-board, ventilation can 
be given to any amount by raising the hive, as in fig. 71, or 
even more. By furnishing ventilation independent of the 
entrance, above the brood-chamber, or between the differ- 
cMit surplus apartments, if necessaiy, we improve upon the 
method which bees, in a state of nature, are compelled to 
adept, when the openings in their hollow trees are so small, 
that they must employ, in hot weather, a larger force in ven- 
tilation, than would otherwise be necessaiy. 

It has been held that an upp^^r entrance to the brood- 
chamber (fig. 71), with a sufficient amount of super room, is 
an infallible preventive of swarming. It is, at least, a veiy 
great help towards this result. 

335. The bees, finding their home more pleasant, will 
cease to cluster on the outside, as long as there ^vi\\ be 
h<»ney to gather, arid room to store it in. 

336. On the other hand, by the use of movable blocks, 
the entrance maj' be kept so small, in cool weather, that only 
a .single bee can go in at once, or it may be entirely closed. 

While sufficient airing must be given, the supply should 
be controlled, so as not to injure the brood by admitting 
too strong a current of chilly air. In the chapter on win- 
tering bees, directions are given for placing absorb- 


ents ill the upper stoiy, in the winter, so as to eariy off all 
superfluous moisture (636), without injurious ventilation. 

337. For the benefit of begmners, it may be necessary 
to add, that the bees will giue up with propolis (236), and 
sooner or later entirely close any ventilatmg holes through 
which they cannot pass. Hence air holes, covered with wire 
cloth, miss their purpose altogether. In the same manner, 
and with a great deal of labor, bees will try to close any 
upper entrances, such as that of fig. 71, if these remain open, 
when not needed for the welfare of the colony. 

338. The portico (fig. 64) of the Langstroth hive has 
advantages, and disadvantages, which about balance one an- 
other. Its advantages are, that it shelters the bees from rain 
in Summer, and from cold and snow in Winter. Its disad- 
vantages are, that it sometimes harbors enemies of bees, moths, 
spiders, etc., etc., and sometimes helps to hide the queen from 
the Apiarist's diligent search. It hinders the bee-keeper 
when he wants to watch closely the sport of bees before the 

339. An entrance block, e, fig. 73, is used to reduce the 
entrance of weak colonies in Spring or at any time when 
robbing is feared (668), or when warmth is desired. 

The Hive We Prefer. 

340. The diagram we give (fig. 72), of the hive we pre- 
fer to all others, can be taken as a pattern for any other 
size, by changing the size of the pieces and retaining only 
the exact distances between the frames and the body, and 
the height of the entrance. Its details can be varied ad 
infinitum. It can hold eleven frames, but generally we use 
only nine frames and two contracting, or division-boards, or 
ten frames and one division-board. (349.) 

This hive, in the dimensions given, is not a new, untried 
pattern. We have used several hundreds of them for years, 


THE liEE-lllVES. 

Fig. 72. 


AA, cross-pieces to support the bottom, 18x2x2. B, bottom, 25x17 VjX 
%. C, apron, 10x17 i,l>x%. DD, front and rear of the hive, 16V,xl2i4x 
%. E, entrance, 8x%. F, double board nailed at the rear, 18Uxl3x 
%. GG, square slats to support the cover. H, lath, %xl%, to widen 
the top edge of the front board. I, top bar of frame, 2014x1% wide x 
% thick. JJJJ, rabbets % wide x% high, dug in front and rear boards, 
and furnished with sheets of iron % inches wide, or metal spacers pro- 
jecting \i of an inch, on which the frame-shoulders are supported. If 
the grooves are not provided with these, their size should be V2X%. 

KKKK shows how the uprights NN of the frames are nailed to the top 
bar. M, bottom bar of the frame, 17%x%x%. NN, sides of the frame, 
lli/4x5-16x%. PP, front and rear of the cap, 18y2x9xT{s. RR, front 
and rear of the surplus-box, 16i4x6%x%. T, empty space on 
top of the surplus-box, l^A for the cloth and mat. JJ, top bar 
of the surplus-frame, same as top-bar 7. V, bottom bar of the surplus 
frame, same as M. YY, sides of the surplus frames, 6xi/4x%. 

The space between M and B is about V^ inch ; between DN, ND, VI, 
RY, YR, should be Y^ to % of an inch. Hives of every size can be 
constructed on this diagram, with the only caution to preserve the 
spaces of the width indicated. Beth tcp bars are grooved on the under 
side for foundation and wedge as per Fig. 69. 


Avith the best of success. It is used extellsi^•e:y by mauy large 

341. As a result of the publication of this book hi the 
French and Russian languages, this hive has been adopted by 

Fig. 73. 


n, front of the hive; h, slanting board; c, movable block; d, cap; r,, 
straw mat ; f, enamel cloth ; g, frame with foundation. 

progressive bee-keepers in Europe, in Algeria, and even in 
Asiatic countries, under the name of Dadant hive. 

342. The movable bottom-hoard (tig. 72) is adjusted or 
euca.'^ed in the body of the main hive, en all sides but the 


tiif: bee-hives. 

front, to shed the ram and better protect the colony against 
ants and moths. It projects forward three inches, at least, 
to support an adjustable entrance-block. Some Apiarists 
use a tin slide, instead of an entrarice-hlock. "NVe object to 
it, because, if glued by bees it may be bent in handling, and 
if it is mislaid, it cannot always be promptly replaced; while 

Fig. 74. 


any square wooden-block can take the place of the entrance- 
block, if necessary. 

343. The apron^ or slanting-board, helps overladen work- 
ers to reach the entrance, when they have fallen to the ground. 
The blocks that support the bottom, may be made of unequal 
height, so as to give the hive the proper forward slant, on 



level ground. If the grain of the lumber in the bottom-board 
runs from front to rear, it will shed water more readilj',, and 
rot less. If the bottom is nailed on the cross-blocks, it will 
not be in danger of warping. 

Our Swiss friends make the bottom-board with the grain 
running from side to side. They say that in this way they 
can make it fit exactly in the lower rabbet of the hive, 
without swellmg or shrinking. They also make the apron, 
with hinges fastened on the bottom-board, and in snowy or 
cold weather, they raise it and lean it against the hive, to 
protect the entrance. 

344. The adjustable bottom-hoard is convenient in many 
instances. If in taking the bees from a winter repository, 





D I 

Fig 75 

it is found wet and inouldy, you can at once exchange it for 
a dry one, and wipe the wet board at leisure. Or, if a 
comb breaks down in Summer, by weight and heat, the hive 
can be lifted off its bottom, and placed on a clean stand, so 
that the leaking honey and broken combs can be instantly 
removed, and robbing or daubing of bees avoided. More- 
over, the bottom-board is the first part of the hive to decay, 
and a hive-body and cover will usually outlast two bottom- 
boards. As many bee-keepers use the hive-bodies of small 
Langstroth hives in two or more stories, they do not cut an 
entrance in the front board, but make the bottom-board with 
slats on three sides so as to leave an entrance in front, fig. 84. 
Doctor C. C. Miller makes his bottom-boards with a two- 
inch space under the frames. 


345. The budy of (he Jiivc is made doable on the back, 
which should always be the North side of the hive. (567.) 
This, with the division-board inside, on the West, shelters 
the rolonv more ellieientiv tiian a siniile board au'ainst the 


Fig. 76. 


Fig. 77. 




cold North- West winds of Winter. If the bees are to be 
wintered indoors, the double back may be dispensed with. A 
more simple form of body, setting flat on the bottom, as in 
fio>. 74. can also be made. 


Objections are raised to this double back, by Apiarists who 
move their bees often. In such cases the hive must be as 
light as possible. But we aim to leave our hives on the spot 
where the bees are located and weight is not an objection 
for us. 


I'liK bee-hivp:s. 

346. The rabbet iii which the frames hang is made with a 
sheet-iron shoulder (fig. 75), supporting the frame. This can 
be dispensed with altogether, but in such cases, the rabbet 
.should be only deep enough for the frame to hang as repre- 
sented in fig. 59. The plain wooden rabbet is objectionable, 
because the bees glue the frame shoulders with propolis. 


A hive has been devised by E. T. Abbott of Missouri, which 
has a nietal rabbet notched for the frames to hang at proper 
distances, fig. 76. This rabbet which we now use in some of 
our hives is made by us quite shallow, so the frames may be 
slipped along Avith but little difficulty in case of need. A 
liangstroth hive made with these improvements as also with 

Fig. 80. 


a bottom guide as in fig. 78, is now sold extensively for comb 
honey production (fig. 77). 

347. The Spacing-wire, an improvement on Quinby's wire 
brace, to space the frames at the bottom, is found veiy con- 
venient in hives as deep as this. It is also useful in indicat- 


ing to novices the imiiiber of frames to be placed in the hive. 
Even a practical bee-keeper will sometimes make the mis- 
take of putting eleven or thirteen frames, in a hive that 
should hold twelve. With this wire, mistakes are impossible, 
as they will at once be detected. Besides, if the hive has to be 
transported some distance, it keeps the frames from jarring. 
Its cost is insignificant. Some Swiss Apiarists use two of 
these, one in each end. 

348. The entrance should not be less than five-sixteenths, 
or more than three-eighths of an inch in depth, in order to 
give easy passage to the bees, and at the same time, keep 
out mice. Round holes are objectionable. Each hive is 

Fig. 81. 


furnished Avith an entrance-block, somewhat heavy, and cut 
as in fig. 73, to reduce, or close the entrance according to 
the emergencies. 

349. The division hoards also called contractor or dummy, 
is an indispensable feature of all good hives. "With its help, 
the hive may be adjusted to the size of the weakest swarm, 
and in Winter, the space behind it can be filled with warm 
and absorbing material (636). The constant use of a divi- 
sion board, even in the strongest colonies, renders the handling 
of combs much easier. All Apiarists know that the first 
comb is the hardest to remove. By removing the board first, 
the combs are at once free and can be easily taken out. 


350. This board is made of the same depth as the frames, 
witli a similar top-bar. Some Apiarists use a division-board 
the full depth of the hive, but in moving it, bees are crushed 
under it, and if any bees happen to be on the outside of it, 
they cannot escape, and die there. On the other hand, this 
bee-passag-e is not objectionable, since heat, having a ten- 
dency to rise, does not escape through it. The board is 
made one-foui-th inch shorter than the inside of the hive, 
and a strip of oil-cloth or enamel-cloth, one and a half inches 
wide, is tacked on, to fill the spaces at each end. In this 
way, the board fits well against the ends, and is never glued 
so as to make it difficult to remove. A small half-round 
pine-strip, laid against the end of the board, while tacking 
on the cloth, and pulled out aftenvards, helps to tack the 
cloth properly. To prevent the bees from tearing or gnawing 
the edge of the cloth, scmie Apiarists nail a small strip of 
tin over it. 

We make our division b(>ard ~/^ of an inch in thickness 
and put it in the place of a frame. This gives % of room 
behind it, which allows more freedom to move it. 

351. In the diagram (fig. 72) the reader will notice the 
strip H used to widen the upper surface of the rabbeted 
end of the hive. This wide surface is veiy convenient, to 
make the cloth and straw-mat fit closely, as they can thus 
be cut a little longer. 

352. The oil-clolh or enamel-cloth, first applied to hive 
purposes by R. Bickford, is used over the brood-frames in 
Spring. It fits closely, concentrates the heat, and can be 
removed without jar or effort. When the surplus arrange- 
ment, or upper story, is jnit on, this cloth is removed and 
placed at the top. (759). All Apiarists, or nearly all, who 
have tried the oil-cloth and honey-board sinudtaneously, have 
discarded the latter forever, except in some cases of comb- 
honey production, when a perforated zinc (732) honey -board 
is used between the stories. The oil-cloth is sometimes 
gnawed, or rather pulled to jiieces by the bees in a few years. 



but its cost is so small, and its use so great, that it is worth 
while to replace it as often as necessary. 

353. The straiu-mat is one of the most useful and neces- 
sary implements of the bee-hive. It is far superior to the 
wooden-mat described by one or two writers. It is flexible 
and porous, warm in Winter, cool in Summer. It may be 
made of lye straw, or of what is called slough-grass, a tough 
and coarse grass growing in marshy places, and abounding on 
the bottoms of the Mississippi Valley. The mat shown in 
fig. 73 is only about one inch thick. 

Fig. 82. 


But it is quite sutticient. We are sure that there is nothing 
that will equal this implement, except a piece of heavy felt 
of proper size. 

In lig. 82 we present to our readers an engraving of a 
frame, for making these mats. They are veiy simple in 
construction. It is well, in making them, to use strong- 
twine, soaked in linseed-oil; for the moisture, which escapes 
from the bees in Winter, would soon rot the string. 


The enamel-cloth is removed before Winter (635), and 
the mat placed immediately over the frames. A good mat 
will last as long as the hive. 

We have used these mats for forty years and would not 
think of getting along without them. 

354. The upper stoiy or cover may be a half-story cap, 
in one piece (fig. 72), or in two pieces (fig. 74), or, if only 
full stories are used for surplus, it may be a shallow cover, 

Fig. 83. 


which will fit over either the first or the second story. We 
prefer the half-story cap, which can be readily filled with 
absorbents for Winter, and is adapted to any style of supers.* 
355. The caps must fit freely so as to be easily removed. 
They may be made of lighter lumber than the body of the 
hive, to save fatigue to the Apiarist in handling them. The 
top of the hive must be water-tight. Cracks, knots and 
seams should be avoided, or should be thoroughly painted 

* This term is used by Apiarists to designate any upper box placed 
over the main lower hive. 



with roof-cement Before putting together the boards which 
form the top of the cap of our hives, we make, along both 
sides of the joints, a rounded groove, three-eighths of an 
inch wide and one-fourth of an inch deep, in which the rain- 
water runs, instead of leaking inside. Mr. McCord of Ox- 
ford, 0., made the covers of his hives water-tight, by cover- 
ing them Avith strong muslin, tacked on Avith a strip nailed 

Fig. 84. 


to the edges and thoroughly painted. Mr. G. M. Doolittle 
and Dr. C. C. Miller use tin, painted white, on the tops of 
their hives. The Swiss and French bee-keepers do the same. 
A hive is made by some manufacturers which contains about 
as much brood-chamber space as our large hive, while more 
cheaply constructed. This is called the Jumbo hive (fig. 85), 
and is made with lock corners similar to what is termed the 


Tllfc: BKE-llIVES. 

"dovetailed hive." It is an economical hive, but we prefer 
our hive with telescope cap as described. 

356. The hives should always be painted, not only to 
make them last, but to give them a neat appearance. No 
dark colors should be used, as they absorb the sun's heat, 
nor should all the hives be of the same tint (503). If the 
joints are painted when they are put together, they will last 
much longer. Eveiy old Apiarist well knows that the joints 
are the first to decay. 

357. Each hive, in an apiary, should bear a number, on 

Fig. 85. 

("Thp A B C of Bee Culture.") 

the back of the brood apartment; and this should be printed 
in black characters, large enough to be seen at a distance. 
In small apiaries bee-keepers use a slate, on each hive; but 
in large ones, where many operations are performed, it is 
better to keep a record of the condition of the colonies, 
and of all the operations, in a special book. 

We will add, that a hive which does not furnish a thorough 
control over every comb cannot allow of the manipulations 
which the bee-keeper's necessities demand. Of such hives, 
the best are those which best unite cheapness and simplicity, 
with protection in Winter, and ready access to the spare 
honey-boxes, or supers. 


358. In closing this chapter on hives, we cannot refrain 
from advising the beginners in bee-culture to be very cau- 
tious in buying patent hives. More than eight hundred pat- 
ents on bee-hives and implements have been issued in the 
United States from 1873 to 1890. Not ten of these have 
proved to be of any use to bee-keepers. The mention of 
this fact will suffice to show the small value of these 790 pat- 
ents, and the loss incurred by those who have bought tl>em, 
before they were able to judge of their merits. 

Materials for Bee-Hives. 

359. The variety of opinions respecting the best mate- 
rials for hives, has been almost as great as on the subject 
of their proper size and shape. Columella* and Virgil rec- 
ommend the hollowed trunk of the cork tree, than which no 
material would be more admirable if it could only be cheaply 
procured. Straw hives have been used for ages, and are 
warm in Winter and cool in Summer. The difficulty of 
making them take and retain the proper shape for improved 
bee-keeping, is an objection to their use. Hives made of 
wood are, at the present time, fast superseding all others. 
The lighter and more spongy the wood, the poorer will be its 
power of conducting heat, and the warmer the hive in 
Winter and the cooler in Summer. Cedar^ poplar , tulij>tree, 
and especially soft pine, afford excellent materials for bee- 
hives. The Apiarist must be governed, in his choice of lum- 
ber, by the cheapness with which any suitable kind can be 
obtained in his own immediate vicinity, and by its lasting 

Scholz, a German Apiarist, recommends hives made of 
adohe—in which frames or slats may be used— as cheaply 
constructed, and admirable for Summer and Winter. Such 
structures, however, cannot be moved. But in many parts 

* Columella, about the middle of the first century of the Christian 
Era, wrote twelve books on husbandry — "De re rustica." 


(if our country, where both lumber and saw-mills are scarce, 
and where people are accustomed to build adobe houses, 
they might prove desirable. The material is plastic clay, 
mixed with cut straw, waste tow, etc. 

360. To make the movable-frame hives to the best ad- 
vantage, the lumber should be cut out by a circular saw, 
driven by steam, water, or horse-power, or even by foot- 
l)ower. In buildings where such saws are used, the frames 
may be made from the small pieces of lumber, seldom of any 
use, except for fuel, and may be packed almost solid in a box, 
or in a hive which will afterwards serve for a pattern. One 
frame in such a box, properly nailed together, will serve as 
a guide for the rest. The parts of the hive can easily and 
cheaply be made by any one who can handle tools. Much has 
been said of late, concerning the great cost of factorj^-made 
hives. Lumber is constantly growing more scarce and higher in 
price, and the only way to have cheap hives is to make them of 
lumber selected out of odds and ends and short pieces. The 
dovetailed or lock comer hive (figs. 83, 85), sold by most deal- 
ers cannot be manufactured in a small shop or factory; but the 
lock joints are not indispensable. When the lumber is halved 
at the joints and nailed both ways the corners are just as likely 
to hold and will rot less. 

361. Mr. A. I. Root, in a former edition of the A B C of 
Bee-Culture gave veiy good instructions about hive making on 
a small scale. We here cite, with illustrations, his explanation 
of "why boards warp" : 

"Before going further, you are to sort the bcrds so as to 
have the heart side of the lumber come on the outs'de of the 
hive. If you look at the end of each board, you can see by 
the circles of growth, which is the heart side, as is shown in 
the cuts. At B, you see a board cut off just at one side of ^^-^ 
heart of the tree; at C, near the bark; at A, the heart is in th 
center of the board. You all know, almost without being to!'V 
that boards always warp like C; that is, the heart side becomes 
convex. The reason is connected with the shrinkage of boards 

Plate 15. 

A. I. ROOT (Novice) 

Author of "T7ic A B C uf Bee-Culture."' 
Formerly editor of ^'Gleanings in Bee-Culture ** 

This writer is mentioned pages 63, 64, 96, 97, 98, 99, 152, 153, 178, 
179, 295, 298, 325, 333, 334, 357, 383, 384, 385, 454, 519. 

vp:xtilatiux of the bek-iiive. 


in seasoning. When a log lies until it is perfectly seasoned, it 
often cheeks as in fig. 2. You will observe that the wood 
shortens in the direction of the circles, and but very little, if 
any, along the lines that run from the bark to the center. To 
allow this shrinkage in one direction, the log splits or checks 
in the direction shown. Now to go back to our boards, you will 
see that B shrinks more than A, because A has the heart of the 
tree in its center; that C will shrink, in seasoning, much more 
on the bark side, than on the heart side; that this cannot fail 
to bring the board out of a level; and that the heart side will 
always be convex. You have all seen bee-hives, probably, with 
the corners separated and gaping open, while the middle of the 
board was tight up in place. The reason was that the mechanic 



Fig. SO. 

had put the boards on, wrong side out. If the heart side had 
been outward, the corners of the hive would have curled in- 
wardly, and if the middle had been nailed securely, the whole 
hive would have been likely to have close, tight joints, even if 
exposed to the sun, wind, and rain." 

362. Double-walled hives, eliatf hives, and Winter cov- 
ers, will be described in the chapter on "Wintering" (619). 
The upper stories, half stories, wide frames, sections, etc., 
for comb, or extracted honey, will be discussed in the chap- 
ter on honey producing' (716). 

Yextilatiox of the Bee-Hive. 

363. If a populous colony is examined on a warm day, 
a number of bees may be seen standing upon the alighting- 
board, with their heads turned towards the entrance of the 
hive, their abdomens slightly elevated, and their wings in 


such rapid motion, that they are almost as indistinct as the 
spokes of a wheel, in swift rotation on its axis. A brisk 
current of air may be felt proceeding from the hive; and if 
a small piece of down be suspended at its entrance, by a 
thread, it will be drawn out from one part, and drawn in at 
another. Why are these bees so deeply absorbed in their 
fanning occupation, that they pay no attention to the busy 
numbers constantly crowding in and out of the hive I and 
what is the meaning of this double current of air? To Huber, 
we owe the satisfactory explanation of these curious phe- 
nomena. The bees, thus singularly plying their rapid wings, 
are ventilating the hive; and this double current is caused by 
pure air rushing m, to supply the place of the foul air which 
is forced out. By a series of beautiful experiments, Iluber 
ascertained that the air of a crowded hive is almost as pure 
as the surrounding atmosphere. Now, as the entrance to 
such a hive is often very small, the air within cannot be 
renewed, without resort to artificial means. If a lamp is 
put into a close vessel, with only one small orifice, it will 
soon exhaust the oxygen, and cease to burn. If another 
small orifice is made, the same result will follow; but if a 
current of air is by some device drawn out from one open- 
ing, an equal current will force its way into the other, and 
the lamp will burn until the oil is exhausted. 

*^64. It is on this principle of maintaming a double cur- 
rent by artificial means, that bees ventilate their crowded 
habitations. A file of ventilating bees stands inside and 
outside of the hive, each with head turned to its entrance, 
and while, by the rapid fanning of their "many twinkling^' 
wings, a brisk current of air is blown out of the hive, an 
equal current is drawn in. As this important office demands 
unusual physical exertion, the exhausted laborers" are, from 
time to time, relieved by fresh detachments. If the interior 
of the hive permits inspection, many ventilators will be 
found scattered through it, in veiy hot weather, all busily 
engaged in their laborious employment. If its entrance is 



contracted, speedy accessions will be made to their ii um- 
bers, both inside and outside of the hive; and if it is closed 
entirely, the heat and impurity quickly increasing, the 
whole colony will attempt to renew the air by rapidly vi- 
brating their wings, and in a short time, if unrelieved, will 
die of suffocation. 

365. Careful experiments show that pure air is neces- 
sary not only for the respiration of the mature bees, but for 
hatching the eggs, and developing the larvae; a fine netting 
of air-vessels enveloping the eggs, and the cells of the larvae 
being closed with a covering filled with air-holes (168). 

366. Ventilation is also necessary to ripen the nectar 
harvested in the fields and evaporate the water that it con- 

In Winter, if bees are kept in a dark place, which is 
neither too warm nor too cold, they are almost dormant, and 
require very little air; but even under such circumstances, 
they cannot live entirely without it ; and if they are excited 
by atmospheric changes, or in any w^ay disturbed, a loud 
hummmg may be heard in the interior of their hives, and 
they need almost as much air as in warm weather. (621). 

367." If bees are greatly disturbed, it will be unsafe, es- 
pecially in warm weather, to confine them, unless they have 
a very free admission of air; and even then, unless it is ad- 
mitted above, as w^ell as below^ the mass of bees, the venti- 
lators may become clogged Avith dead bees, and the colony 
perish. Bees under close • confinement become excessively 
heated, and their combs are often melted; if dampness is 
added to the injurious influence of bad air, they become 
diseased; and large numbers, if not the whole colony, may 
perish from diarrhoea. Is it not under precisely such cir- 
cumstances that cholera and dysentery prove most fatal to 
human beings'? the filthy, damp, and un ventilated abodes 
of the abject poor, becoming perfect lazar-houses to their 
wretched inmates. 

368. We have several times examined the bees of new 


swarms whicli were bi\»iiyhl to our apiary, so closely con- 
fined, that they had died of suffocation. In each instance, 
their bodies were distended with a yellow and noisome sub- 
stance, as though they had perished from diarrhoea. A few 
were still alive, and although the colony had been shut up 
only a few hours, the bodies of both the living and the dead 
wei-e filled with this same disgusting fluid, instead of the 
honey they had when they swarmed. 

In a medical point of view, these facts are highly inter- 
esting; showing as they do, under what circumstances, and 
how speedily, diseases may be produced resembling dj'sen- 
teiy or cholera. 

i{(>9. In very hot weather, if thin hives are exposed to 
the sun's direct rays, the bees are excessively annoyed by 
the intense heat, and have recourse to the most powerful 
ventilation, not merely to keep the air of the hive pure, but 
to lower its temperature. 

Bees, in such weather, often leave, almost in a body, the 
interior of the hive, and cluster on the outside, not merely 
to escape the close heat within, but to guard their combs 
against the danger of being melted. 

370. Few novices have an adequate idea of the danger 
to heavily laden coml)s from heat, especially if the cluster 
of bees, outside, happens to obstruct the entrance, by hang- 
ing in front of it. In the Summer of 1877, we have seen 
whole rows of hives, which were exposed to the sun's rays, 
in a large apiary, ''melt down" almost simultaneously,— 
causing a loss of hundreds of dollars, — for lack of sufficient 
ventilation, owing to the cluatering of the bees in front of 
the entrance. 

3*71. After one comb breaks down, the leaking honey 
spreads over the bottom-board, runs out of the entrance, 
daubs the bees, and prevents further ventilation; then the 
rest of the combs fall pell-mell on one another, crushing the 
brood, the queen, and the remaining bees. It is utter de- 


372. In very hut weather, the bees are specially careful 
not to cluster on new combs contammg sealed honey, which, 
from not being lined Avitli cocoons, and from the extra 
amount of wax used for their covers, melt more readily than 
the breedmg'-cells. 

373. Apiarists have noticed that bees often leave their 
honey-cells almost bare, as soon as they are sealed; but it 
seems to have escaped their observation, that this is abso- 
lutely necessary in veiy hot weather. In cool weather, they 
may frequently be found clustered among the sealed honey- 
combs, because there is then no danger of their melting. 

Few things are so well fitted to impress the mind with their 
admirable sagacity, as the truly scientific device by which 
they ventilate their dwellings. In this important matter, 
the bee is immensely in advance of the great mass of those 
who are called rational beings. It has, to be sure, no ability 
to decide, from an elaborate analysis of the chemical con- 
stituents of the atmosphere, how large a proportion of oxy- 
gen is essential to the support of life, and hoAv rapidlj^ the 
process of breathing converts it into a deadly poison. It 
cannot, like Liebig, demonstrate that God, by setting the 
animal and the vegetable world, the one over against the 
other, has provided that the atmosphere shall, through all 
ages, be as pure as when it first came from His creating 
hand. But shame upon us I that with all our boasted intel- 
ligence, most of us live as though pure air was of little or 
no importance; w^hile the bee ventilates wath a philosophical 
precision that should put to the blush our criminal neglect. 

It is said that ventilation cannot, in our case, be had 
without cost. Can it then be had for nothing, by the indus- 
trious bees? Those ranks of bees, so indefatigably plying 
their busy wings, are not engaged in idle amusement; nor 
might they, as some shallow^ utilitarian may imagine, be 
better employed in gathering honey, or superintending some 
other department in the economy of the hive. At great ex- 
pense of time and labor, they are supplying the rest of the 


colony with the pure air so conducive to their health and 
prosperity., What a difference between them and some 
human beings, who, "if they lived in a glass bottle, would 
insist on keeping the cork in!" 

Impure air, one would think, is bad enough; but all its 
inherent vileness is stimulated to still greater activity by air- 
tight, or rather lung-tight stoves, which can economize fuel 
only by squandering health and endangering life. Not only 
our private houses, but our places of public assemblage are 
often either unimproved with any means of ventilation, or to 
a great extent, supplied ^vith those so deficient, that they 

"Keep the word of promise to our ear. 
To break it to our hope." 

Men may, to a certain extent, resist the injurious influences 
of foul air; as their employments usually compel them to live 
more out of doors: but alas, alas! for the poor women! In 
the very land where they are treated with such merited def- 
erence and respect, often no provision is made to furnish 
them with that first element of health, cheerfulness, and 
beauty, heaven's pure, fresh air. 

Observixg Hives. 

374. For nearly a century, hives have been in use con- 
taining only one comb, inclosed on both sides by glass. 
These hives are darkened by shutters, and, when opened, the 
queen is as much exposed to observation as the other bees. 
Mr. Langstroth discovered that, with proper precautions, 
colonies can be made to work in observing-hives, even when 
exposed continually to the full light of day; so that observa- 
tions may be made at all times, without interrupting by any 
sudden admission of light, the ordinaiy operations of the 
bees. In such hives, many intelligent persons from various 
States in the Union have seen the queen-bee depositing her 
eggs in the cells, while surrounded bv an affectionate circle 


of her devoted children. They have also witnessed, with as- 
tonishment and delight, all the mysterious steps in the proc- 
ess of raising queens from eggs, which with the ordinary de- 
velopment would have produced only the common bees. Often 
for more than three months, there has not been a day in 
our apiary, in which some colonies were not engaged in 
rearing new queens to supply the place of those taken from 
them; and we have had the pleasure of exhibiting these facts 
to bee-keepers, who never before felt willing to credit them. 
375. An Apiarist may use the box hives a whole life- 
time, and, unless he gains his information from other sources, 
may yet remam ignorant of some of the most important 
principles m the physiology of the honey-bee; while any 
intelligent cultivator may, with an observing-hive and the 
use of movable-frames, in a single season, verify for him- 
self the discoveries which have been made only by the 
accumulated toil of many observers, for more than two thou- 
sand years. 

"An opportunity of beholding the proceedings of the queen, 
in hives of the old form, is so very rarely afforded, that many 
Apiarists have passed their lives without enjoying it; and 
Reaumur himself, even with the assistance of a glass-hive, ac- 
knowledges that it was many years before he had that pleas- 
ure. " — (Bevan.) 

Swammerdam, who wrote his wonderful treatise on bees, 
before the invention of observing-hives, was obliged to tear 
hives to pieces m makmg his investigations! When we see 
what important results these great geniuses obtained, with 
means so imperfect, if compared with the facilities which 
the veriest tyro now possesses, it ought to teach us a be- 
coming lesson of humility. 

The sentiments of the following extract from Swammer- 
dam, ought to be engraven upon the hearts of all engaged 
in investigating the works of God: 

*'I would not have any one think that I say this from a love 
of fault-fincHnof." — h<» >»qfT booj^ criticising some incorrect draW' 



ings and descriptions — "my sole design is to have the true 
face and disposition of Nature exposed to sight. I wish that 
others may pass the like censure, when due, on my works; for 
I doubt not that I have made many mistakes, although I can, 
from the heart, say. that I have not, in this treatise designed 
to mislead. ' ' 

376. This hive is a simplified form, but Mr. 1). F. Sav- 
age suggested a still more simple one, by making the top so 
narrow as not to conceal any of the bees, and leaving- off 

Fig. 87. 


(From Alley's "Handy-Book.") 
a, stand ; B, CC , movable glass frame ; E, moulding under whicb the 
top of the shutter H slips, to darken the hive, if needed ; F, movable 
top, held in place by hooks. The comb of brood and bees is put in, 
by removing the top and one side. 

the shutters entirely, to replace them with a dark cloth 
thrown over the hive. But this cloth can be used only when 
the hive is established inside the house. Its main advan- 
tages are to do away with the noise and jar of opening 
the shutters. 

377. A parlor observing-hive of this form may be con- 
veniently placed in any room in the house; the alighting- 



board being outside, and the whole arrangement such that 
the bees may be inspected at all hours, day, or night, Avith- 
out the slightest risk of their stmging. Two such hives 
may be placed before one window, and put up or taken 
down in a few minutes, without cutting or defacing the wood- 
wcrk of the house. 

Fig. 88. 

("American Bee Journal.") 

An observing-hive will prove an unfailing source of pleas- 
ure and instruction ; and those who live in crowded cities, 
may enjoy it to the full, even if condemned to the penance 
of what the poet has so feelingly described as an "endless 
meal of brick." The nimble wings of the agile gatherers 
will quickly waft them above and beyond "the smoky 
chinuiey-iiots" ; and they will bear back to their citj? homes 


the balmy spoils of many a rustic Hower, "blushing uuseeu," 
ill simple loveliness. Might not their pleasant murmurmgs 
awaken in some the memoiy of long-forgotten joys, when 
the happy country child listened to their soothing music, 
while intently watching them in the old homestead-garden, 
t:r roved with them amid pastures and hill-sides, to gather 
the flowers still rejoicing in their "meadow-sweet breath," 
or whispermg of the precious perfumes of their forest home? 

"To me more dear, congenial to my heart, 
One native charm than all the gloss of art; 
Spontaneous joys, where nature has its play, 
The soul adopts and owns their first -torn sway; 
Lightly they frolic o'er the vacant mind, 
Unenvied, unmolested, unconfined, 
But the long pomp, the midnight masquerade, 
With all the freaks of wanton wealth array 'd. 
In these, ere triflers half their wish obtain. 
The toilsome pleasure sickens into pain; 
And e'en while fashion's brightest arts decoy, 
The heart distrusting asks, if this be joy." 



handling bees. 

The Honey-Bee Capable of Being Tamed. 

SYS. If the bee bad not such a formidable weapon (78) 
both of offense and defense, many who now fear it might 
easily be induced to enter upon its cultivation. As the 
present system of management takes the greatest possible 
liberties with this insect, it is important to show how all 
necessary operations may be performed without serious risk 
of exciting its anger. 

Many persons are unable to suppress their astonishment, 
when they see an Apiarist, with the help of a little smoke, 
opening hive after hive, removing the combs covered with 
bees, and shaking them off in front of the hives; forming 
new swarms, exhibiting the queen, transferring the bees 
with all their stores ii. another hive; and in short, dealing 
with them as if they were as harmless as flies. We have 
sometimes been asked, whethei' the hives we were opening 
had not been subjected to a long -"ourse of training; when 
they contained swarms which had been ^vought only the day 
before to our apiary. 

We shall, in this chapter, show that any ^ne favorably 
situated may enjoy the pleasure and profit o± a pursuit 
which has been appropriately styled, "the poetry of rural 
economy," without being made too familiar with a sk'^rp 
little Aveapon, which speedily converts all the poetry in*. 
sorry prose. 

It must be manifest to every reflecting mind, that the 
Creator intended the bee, as truly as the horse or the cow, 
for the comfort of man. In the early ages of the world, 
and indeed until quite modern times, honey was almost the 



JlAXI)LlX(i r.KKS. 

only natural sweet; and the promise of "a laud flowing 
with milk and honej'" had once a significance which it is 
diflficult for us fully to realize. The honey-bee, therefore, was 
created not merely to store up its delicious nectar for its own 
use. but with certain propensities, without which man could 

Fig. 89. 


Apiary of Mr. Mont-.Jovet, Albertville, Savoie. 

no more subject it to his control, than he could make a useful 
beast of burden of a lion or a tiger. 

379. One of the peculiarities which constitutes the foun- 
dation of the present system of management, and indeed of 
the possibility of domesticating at all so irascible an insect, 
lias never to our knowledge been clearly stated as a great and 
controlling principle by any one before Mr, La^gstroth. It 
may be thus expressed : 




A ho)iey-bt'c when heavily laden with honey never volunteers 
an attack, hut acts solely on the defensive. 

This law of the honeyed tribe is so universal, that a stone 
might as soon be expected to rise into the air, without any 
propelling power, as a bee well filled with honey to offer to 
sting, unless crushed or injured by some direct assault. The 
man who first attempted to hive a swarm (428) of bees, 
must have been agreeably surprised at the ease with which he 
was able to accomplish the feat; for it is wisely ordered that 
bees, when intending to swarm, should fill their honey-bags to 
their utmost capacity. They are thus so peaceful that they 





Fig. 90. 

can easily be secured by man, besides having materials for 
commencing operations immediately in their new habitation, 
and being in no danger of starving, if several stormy days 
should follow their emigration. 

380. While swarming, bees issue from their hives in the 
most peaceful mood imaginable ; and unless abused allow them- 
selves to be treated with the greatest familiarity. The hiving 
of them might always be conducted without risk, if there were 
not, occasionally, some improvident or unfortunate ones, who, 
coming forth without a sufficient amount of the soothing sup- 
ply, are filled instead with the bitterest hate against any one 



daring to meddle with them. Such thriftless radicals are 
always to be dreaded, for they must vent their spleen on some- 
thing, even though they perish in the act. (84.) 

If a whole colony, on sallying forth, possessed such a 
ferocious spirit, no one could hive them unless clad in a coat 
of mail, bee-proof; and not even then, until all the windows 
of his house were closed, his domestic animals bestowed in 
vome place of safety, and sentinels posted at suitable stations, 

Fig. 91. 


to warn all comers to keep at a safe distance. In short, if 
the propensity to be exceedingly good-natured after a hearty 
meal, had not been given to the bee, it could never have been 
domesticated, and our honey would still be procured from the 
clefts of rocks or the hollows of trees. Probably the good 
nature resulting from a hearty meal is not the only cause of 
the above fact. There is another physiological fact connected 
with it (85). When her stomacli ic ^mpty, a bee can curve 


her abdomen easily to sting. If lier honey-sack is full, the 
rings of the abdomen are distended, and she finds more diffi- 
culty in taking the proper position for stmging, 

381. A second peculiarity, in the nature of bees, gives 
an almost unlimited control over them, and may be expressed 
as follows: 

BeeSy ichen frightened, usually begin to pll themselves with 
honey from their combs. 

If the Apiarist only succeeds in frightening his little sub- 
jects, he can make them as peaceable as though they were 
incapable of stinging. By the use of a little smoke, the largest 
and most fieiy colony may be brought into complete subjection. 
As soon as the smoke is blown among them, they retreat before 
it, raismg a subdued or terrified note; and, seeming to imagine 
that their honey is to be taken from them, they cram their 
honey-bags to their utmost capacity. They act either as if 
aware that only what they can lodge in this inside pocket is 
safe, or, as if expecting to be driven away from tlieir stores, 
they are determined to start with a full supply of provisions 
for the way. The same result may be obtained by shutting 
them up in their hive and drumunng upon it for a short time, 
but this latter process is only successful with some races of 
bees easily frightened, like the black bees (549). 

382. The bellows-smokers, in present use, for smoking 
bees and controlling them, are as far superior to the old 
method of blowing smoke on them with the mouth from a 
piece of punk or rotton wood, or a bunch of rags, as the 
movable-frame hive is superior to the box hive of old. The 
writer of this, who kept bees in large numbers in several 
apiaries before the introduction of the practical bellows- 
smoker, has many a time felt dizzy from the fatigue of blow- 
mg smcke on the bees. 

Bellows-smokers were used m Europe long ago, but they 
were not j^ractical, as they could not be used with one hand. 

Quinby, one of the veterans of progTessive Apiculture, in- 
vented the first bellows-smoker that had the bellows on the 



side of the fire-box, tiiat could stand up and draw like a 
chimney, and that could practically be held with one hand. 
Bingham afterwards greatly improved on this smoker. Since 
then, others have made different styles, all based on Quinby's 
or on Bingham's ideas. 

The Improved Quinby-Bingham smokers have been imitated 
all over the world, especially in England and France, and we 
are soriy to say, some of these imitations have been sold as 
})ersonal inventions, without any credit being given to the 
real inventors. 

A bee-smoker is indispensable to an}- Apiarist, and should 

Fig. 92. 


be properly filled, when used, with dry wood, lighted at the 
bottom by a few hot coals. With a good smoker any kind of 
wood may be used. When the bees are located in an orchard, 
dead limbs of apple-trees are handiest and will make good 
smoke. Shavings, leaves, rags, can also be used, if no Avood 
is at hand. By setting the smoker upright, when not held in 
the hand, so as to create a good draft, and refilling it from 
time to time, a good smoke can be kept up from morning till 
night, if necessaiy. 

In his book, "Forty Years Among the Bees," Dr. C. C. Miller 
advises the use of what he calls '^saltpeter-rags" for lighting 
the smoker. "We nuote wliat ho savs : 


"Nothing has given me quite so much satisfaction as salt- 
peter-rags. Like the right kind of rotten wood, the least 
spark will light a saltpeter-rag so that it will be sure to go, 
but it is not so slow in its action as the rotten wood and makes 
a much greater heat, so that chips of sound, hard wood will 
at once be started into a secure fire. To prepare the salt- 
peter-rags a crock is kept constantly standing containing a solu- 
tion of saltpeter. The strength of the solution is not a matter 
of great nicety. A quarter or a half pound of saltpeter may 
be used to a gallon of water, and if it evaporates so that the 
solution becomes stronger, water may be added. A cotton rag 
dipped in this solution will be ready for use as soon as dried. 
As a matter of convenience, quite a lot of rags are prepared 
at a time. They are wrung out of the solution and spread out 
to dry in the sun," 

383. Some Apiarists of England have tried several liquids, 
for rubbing- on the hands, to pacify the bees. Most of these 
liquids are hydro-carbonous fluids, or volatile oils of plants, 
such as wintergreen, turpentine, berganiot, cloves, thyme, etc. 
Mr. Grimshaw, after divers trials, invented a compound of 
several of these oils, to which he seems to have added ether 
and chloroform, if our sense of smell does not mislead us. 
He calls it Apifuge. 

Several apiarists praise this drug, while others say that 
their bees did not mind it, and sting them as usual; and some 
complain of blisters on their hands after its use. {British 

Mr. Cowan presented us with a vial of Apifuge, but, after 
trying, we cannot see much advantage to be derived from its 

384. Mr. Raynor advises the use of a carbolized sheet, to 
frighten bees : 

' ' Make a solution of 3 oz. carbolic acid in a quart of water^ 
and preserve for use. Mix lYj oz. of this solution with l^A oz. 
of glycerine; put the mixture in a quart of water, shake well 
before using; steep in the mixture a piece of calico, or cheese 



cloth, sufficiently large to cover the top of the hive, wring out 
dry and spread over the hive as soon as the quilt is removed. 
*'You may use the same to drive the bees out of the sec- 
tions. Keep the bottles well corked for future use." — (Rev. 
G. Raynor, in the British Bee-Journal.) 

The same liquid may be forced among the bees through an 
atomizer. x\.s it evaporates it leaves no bad smell Ijehind. 
385. A neighbor of ours, who is a mag-netist, told our 





Fig. 93. 


fo reman- Ai3iarist that bees could be pacified by simply laying 
one's hands above the combs while the cloth is carefully re- 
moved. We have seen bees withdraw from the frames inside 
the hive, under this laying on of hands; but w^e are not sure 
that such magnetism, if there be magnetism in it, is sufficient 
to prevent the bees from stinging. 



386. A bee-veil, although objectionable to some bee- 
keepers, who prefer to handle their bees barefaced, is really 
a necessity in a large apiaiy. Timid persons feel safer in 
using it, and even the boldest bee-keepers recognize the neces- 
sity of wearing one, when colonies become aroused by accident. 
The best veils are sewed to the outer edge of the rim of a 
straw-hat; with a rubber at their lower extremity, to fasten 
around the neck. The veil can be slipped on and off in a 
twinkling, if necessity requires; when not in use, it is simply 
folded into the crown of the hat, where it is always at hand. 

We keep a number of these veil hats in our bee-house, for 
the accommodation of visitors, who wish to look through the 
wonders of the bee-hive, without fear of stings. 

Most veils are made removable, with a rubber at each end; 
the upper one being slipjDed over the crown of the hat. This 
veil can be taken off at will, and carried in the pocket. 

In his "Success In Bee-Culture," Mr. Heddon says: "A 
bee-veil should never be any color but black, as all other 
shades are more or less difficult to see through clearly," and 
we fully agree with him. ^Miite veils are most especially ob- 
jectionable. Green is the best color after black. 

387. The hands may be protected by uidia-rubber gloves, 
such as are now in common use. These gloves, while im- 
penetrable to the sting of a bee, do not materially interfere 
with the operations of the Apiarist. As soon, however, as he 
acquires confidence and skill, he will much prefer to use noth- 
ing but the bee-hat, even at the expense of an occasional sting 
on his hands. 

An English Apiarist advises persons using gloves to cut the 
tips of the fingers so as to handle the frames more dexterously, 
and to wash their fingers with some kind of Apifuge. 

Stings on the hands usually cause but little suffering or 
swelling, while stings on the face are quite painful; and the 
grotesque appearance which the swelling often gives to the 
human face, makes it much more desirable to protect the head 
than the hands. 


If the hands are wet with h(_)ney, they will seldom be stung-. 

388. All woolen clothes are more objectionable to bees 
than linen or cotton, for wool resembles the hair of animals, 
being made of it, while linen or cotton resembles the twigs 
and leaves of plants, being made of vegetable fibre. Butler 
says : 

''They use their stings against such things as have outwardly 
some offensive excrement, such as hair or feathers, the touch 
whereof provoketh them to sting. If they alight upon the hair 
of the head or beard, they will sting if they can reach the 
skin. When they are angry their aim is most commonly at 
the face, but the bare hand that is not hairy, they will seldom 
sting, unless they be much offended." — (''Feminine Monarchy," 

389. In handling bees, it is not always necessaiy to com- 
pel them to fill themselves with honey. With the c^uiet Italians 
(551), a few puffs of smoke, at the entrance, when opening 
the hive, and occasionally on the combs, if they show any dis- 
position to anger, are quite sufficient to keep them" down. 
Some of our best Apiarists often open their hives and handle 
the bees without smoke. It takes practice, patience and firm- 

While the timid, if unprotected, are almost sure to be stung, 
there is something m the fearless movements of a skillful 
operator, that seems to render a colony submissive to his will. 

390. Some races, however, like the Cyprian (559), can- 
not be controlled without a cloud of smoke, but they promptly 
retreat before the overpowering argument of a good smoker. 

391. Bees can be handled at all times; but they are quietest 
in the middle of the day. At such a time, the old bees, which 
are the crossest in the colony, are out in the field. In cold, 
cloudy, or stormy w^eather, they are most irritable, especially 
if there is a scarcity of honey, as the lurking robbers (664) 
excite the bees. Old bees that come home loaded, are not cross, 
while those going out empty, are easily angered. During a 
plentiful honey flow^, when the hives are crowded for room,. 


the bees are nearly all full of honey, and the colonies can then 
be handled without smoke. 

By our methods you can superintend a large apiary, per- 
forming" every operation necessaiy for pleasure or proiit, with- 
out as much risk of being stung, as must frequently be in- 
curred in attempting- to manage a single hive in the old way. 

392. .Let all your motions about your hives be gentle and 
slow; never crush or injure the bees; acquaint yourself fully 
Avith the principles of management detailed in this treatise, 
and you will find that you have little more reason to dread 
the sting of a bee, than the horns of a favorite cow, or the 
heels of your faithful horse. 

Cotton, quoting from Butler, who, in these remarks, fol- 
lows mainlj' Columella., says: 

393. ''Listen to the words of an old writer: — 'If then wilt 
have the favor of thy bees, that they sting thee not, thou must 
avoid such things as offend them: thou must not be unchaste or 
uncleanly; for impurity and sluttiness (themselves being most 
chaste and neat) they utterly abhor; thou must not come among 
them smelling of sweat, or having a stinking breath, caused 
either through eating of leeks, onions, garlick, and the like, or 
by any other means, the noisomeness whereof is corrected by a 
cup of beer; thou must not be given to surfeiting or drunken- 
ness; thou must not come puffing or blowing unto them, neither 
hastily stir among them, nor resolutely defend thyself when 
they seem to threaten thee; but softly moving thy hand before 
thy face, gently put them by; and lastly, thou must be no 
stranger unto them. In a word, thou must be chaste, cleanly, 
sweet, sober, quiet, and familiar; so will they love thee, and 
know thee from all others. When nothing hath angered them, 
one may safely walk along by them; but if he stand still be- 
fore them in the heat of the day, it is a marvel but one or 
other spying him, will have a cast at him.'* 

* Many persons imagine themselves to be quite safe, if they stand at 
a considerable distance from the hives ; whereas, cross bees delight to 
attack those whose more distant position makes them a surer mark 
to their long-sighted vision, than persons who are close to their hives. 


"Above all, never blowf on them; they will try to sting di- 
rectly, if you do. 

"If you want to catch any of the bees, make a bold sweep at 
them with your hand; and if you catch them without pressing 
them, they will not sting. I have so caught three or four at a 
time. If you want to do anything to a single bee, catch him 
*as if you loved him,' between your finger and thumb, where 
the tail joins on to the body, and he cannot hurt you." 

When gorged with honey, they may be taken up by haud- 
fuls, and suffered to run over the face, and may even have 
their glossy backs gently smoothed as they rest on our per- 
sons; and all the feats of the celebrated Wildman may be 
safely imitated by experts, who, by securing the queen, can 
make the bees hang in large festoons from their chin, without 
incurring any risk of being taken by the beard. 

"Such was the spell, which round a Wildman 's arm, 
Twin'd in dark wreaths the fascinated swarm; 
Bright o'er his breast the glittering legions led. 
Or with a living garland bound his head. 
His dextrous hand, with firm yet hurtless hold, 
Could seize the chief, known by her scales of gold. 
Prune 'mid the wondering train her filmy wing, 
Or o'er her folds the silken fetter fling." 

394. The ignorance of most bee-keepers of the almost un- 
limited control ivhich may he peaceably acquired over bees, 
has ever been regarded by the author of this treatise as the 
greatest obstacle to the speedy introduction of modern methods. 
Such ig-norance has led to the invention of costly and com- 
plicated hives, all the ingenuity and expense lavished upon 
which, are known, by the better informed, to be as unneces- 
saiy as a costly machine for lifting up bread and butter, and 

t While bees resent the warm breath exhaled slowly from the lungs. 
we have ascertained, that they will run from a blast of cold air blown 
upon them by the mouth of the operator, almost as quickly as from 
smoke. Before employing smoke Mr. Langstroth often used a pair of 


gently pushing it into the mouth and down the throat of an 
active and healthy child. 

We have before us a small pamphlet, published in London 
in 1851, describing the construction of the "Bar and Frame 
Hive" of W. A. Munn, Esq. The object of this invention is 
to elevate frames, one at a time, into a case with glass sides, 
so that they may be examined without risk of annoyance from 
the bees. Great ingenuity is exhibited by the inventor of this 
very costly and very complicated hive, who seems to imagine 
tliat smoke "must be injurious both to the bees and their 

395. In ojDening a hive, little danger may be feared from 
ihe bees that are exposed to the light, miless quick motions 
are made, as they are completely bewildered by their sudden 
exposure, and removal from the hive. 

It is not merely the sudden admission of light, but its in- 
troduction from an unexpected quarter, that for the time, dis- 
arms the hostility of the bees. They appear, for a few 
moments, almost as much confounded as a man would be, if, 
without any warning, the roof and ceiling of his house should 
suddenly be torn from over his head. Before they recover 
from their amazement, they are saluted with a puff of smoke, 
which, by alarming them for the safety of their treasures, 
induces them to snatch whatever they can. In the working 
season, the bees near the top are gorged with honey; and 
those coming from below are met in their threatening ascent, 
bj^ a small amount of harmless smoke, which excites their fears^ 
but leaves no mipleasant smell behind. No genuine lover of 
bees ought ever to use the sickening fumes of tobacco. 

396. Heddon says ("Success in Bee-Culture," page 18) : 
"I know of but one instance where the use of smoke can do 
hann, and that is in smoking the guards of a colony that is in 
danger of being robbed." (664.) To this important state- 
ment, we would add, that too much smoke to a colony already 
subdued, will drive them from their combs, and often cause 
them to get in the way of the Apiarist. 


But the greatest care should be taken to repress by suiuke, 
the first manifestations of anger; for, as bees communicate 
their sensations to each other with ahnost magic celerity, 
while a whole colony will quickly catch the pleased or subdued 
notes uttered by a few, it will often be roused to fuiy by the 
angry note of a single bee. When once they are thoroughly 
excited, it will be found very difficult to subdue them, and 
the unfortunate operator, if inexperienced, will often abandon 
the attempt in despair. 

It cannot be too deeply impressed upon the beginner, that 
nothing irritates bees more than breathing upon them, or 
jarring their combs. Eveiy motion should be deliberate, and 
no attempt whatever made to strike at them. If inclined to 
be cross, they will often resent even a quick pointing at them 
with the finger, by darting upon it, and leaving their stings 

397. The fiist thing to be done, after having opened a 
hive and removed the cloth (352), is to remove the division- 
board (3-49) from the inside of the hive— to give room for 
handling the frames, — with the help of a connnon wood chisel. 
Then the frames which have been glued (236) fast to the 
rabbets bj' the bees, must be very gently pried loose; this may 
be done without any serious jar, and without wounding or 
enraging a single bee. They may be all loosened for removal 
in less than a single minute. 

If there is no division-board (349) in the hive, the Apiar- 
ist should gently push the third frame from either end of 
the hive, a little nearer to the fourth frame; and then the 
second as near as he can to the third, to get ample room to 
lift out the end one, without crushing its comb, or injuring 
any of the bees. To remove it, he should take hold of its 
two shoulders which rest upon the rabbets, and carefully lift 
it, so as to crush no bees by letting it touch the sides of the 
hive, or the next frame. If it is desired to remove any par- 
ticular frame, room must be gained by moving, in the same 
way, the adjoining ones on each side. As bees usually build 



their combs slightly waving, it will be found impossible to 
remove a frame safely, without making room for it in this 
wa}'. If the combs are built on foundation (674:), however, 
they will be much easier to remove, as they are then perfectly 
straight. In handling heavy frames in hot weather, be care- 
ful not to incline them from their perpendicular^ or the combs 
will be liable to break from their own weight, and fall out of 
the frames. 

If more combs are to be examined, after lifting out the 
/)utside frame, set it carefully on end, near the hive, when 
the second one may be easily moved towards the vacant space. 

Fig. 94. 


and lifted out. After examination, put it in the place of the 
one first removed ; in the same way, examine the third, and 
put it in the place of the second, and so proceed until all have 
been examined. If a division-board is used, it will not be 
necessary to set any of the frames down outside of the hive, 
as the removal of this board will leave one vacant space in the 

If the frames, as they are removed, are put into an empty 
Iiivc, cr a comb-bucket, they may be protected from the cold, 
and from robber-bees. 

The inexperienced operator, who sees that the bees have 


built small pieces of comb, or bridges (325), between the 
outside of the frames and the sides of the hive, or slightly 
fastened together some parts of their combs, may imaghie 
that the frames cannot be removed at all. Such slight attach- 
ments, however, offer no practical difficulty to their removal.* 
The great point to be gained, is to secure a single comb on 
each frame; and this is effected by the use of the triangular 
comb-guides, or better, by comb-foundation (674). 

If bees were disposed to fly away from their combs, as 
soon as they are taken out, mstead of adhering to them 
with such remarkable tenacity, it would be far more difficult 
to manage them; but even if their combs, when removed, 
are all arranged in a continued line, the bees, and most 
especially the Italian bees, instead of leaving them, will 
stoutly defend them against the thieving propensities of other 

398. In returning the frames, care must be taken not to 
crush the bees between them and the rabbets on which they 
rest; they should be put in so slowly, that a bee, on feeling 
the slightest pressure, may have a chance to creep from under 
them before it is hurt. 

The frames should be returned, as far as possible, in the 
same position, as they were found, with the brood in the 
foi'ward part of the hive, and the honey in the back, for 
bees always live and breed in front of their stores, to more 
easily defend their treasures against intruders. 

In shutting up the hive, the surplus stoiy, if any is there, 
should be carefully lowered, so that any bees which are in 

* If sufficient room for storing surplus honey is not given to a strong 
(.olony, in its anxiety to amass as much as possible, it will fill the 
smallest accessible places. If the bees build comb between the tops 
cf the frames and the under side of the upper story, it can be easily cut 
off, and used for wax. If this shallow chamber were not used, they 
would fasten the upper story to the frames so tightly, that it would be 
very difficult to remove it ; and every time it was taken off, they would 
glue it still faster, so that, at last, it would be well nigh impossible 
in getting it off, not to start the frames so as to crush the bees between 
the combs. 


the way may be given a chance to move away, mstead of 
being crushed. A little smoke is always necessary. A be- 
ginner will find it to his advantage to practice— using an 
empty hive— the directions for opening and shutting hives, 
and lifting out the frames, until confident that he fully under- 
stands them. If any bees are where they would be im- 
prisoned by closing the upper cover, it should be propped up 
a little, until they have flown to the entrance of the hive, or, 
they may be brushed away gently. 

Mismanagement of Bees. 

399. When a colony of bees is miskillfully dealt with, 
they will "compass about" their assailant with savage ferocity ; 
and woe be to him, if they can creep up his clothes, or find 
a single unprotected spot on his person. 

Xot the slightest attempt should be made to act on the 
offensive; for, if a single one is struck at, others will avenge 
the insult; and if resistance is continued, hundreds, and at 
last, thousands, will join them. The assailed party should 
quickty retreat to the protection of a building, or, if none is 
near, should hide in a clump of bushes, and lie perfectly still, 
with his head covered, until the bees leave him. When no 
bushes are at hand, they will generally give over the attack, 
if he lies still on the grass, with his face to the ground. A 
practical Apiarist, sheltered with a veil and armed with a well 
lighted smoker, will not retreat much before the most ferocious 
swarm of bees. 

Those who are alarmed if a bee enters the house, or ap- 
proaches them in the garden or fields, are ignorant of the 
important fact, that a bee, at a distance from its hive, never 
volunteers an attack. Even if assaulted, they seek only to 
escape, and never sting, unless they are hurt. 

If they were as easily provoked away from home, as when 
called to defend those sacred precincts, a tithe of the meny 
gambols, in Avhich our domestic animals indulge, would 

speedily bring about tliein a swann of iiit'uriated enemies; 
Ave should be no longer safe in our (juiet rambles among 
the green fields; and no jticund mower could whet or swing 
his peaceful scythe, unless clad in a dress impervious to their 
stings. The bee, instead of being the friend of man, would, 
like savage wild beasts, provoke his utmost efforts for its 

100. Huber has demonstrated that bees have an exceed- 
ingly acute sense of smell and that unpleasant odors rjuicklj- 
excite their anger. 

Strong perfumes, however pleasant to us, are disagreeable 
to them; and Aristotle observes, that they will sting those 
scented with them. We have known i:)ersons ignorant of this 
fact to be severely treated bv' bees. 

Some persons, however cleanly, are assaulted by bees as 
soon as they approach their hives. It is related of a 
distinguished Apiarist that after a severe attack of fever, he 
was never able to be on good terms with his bees. That they 
can readily perceive the slightest differences in smell, is ap- 
parent from the fact that any number of bees, fed from a 
common vessel, will be gentle towards each other, while they 
will assail the first strange bee that alights on the feeder. 

Butler said, "Their smelling is excellent, whereby, wlieu 
they fly aloft into the air, they will quickly perceive anything 
under them that they like, even though it be covered." They 
have, therefore, a special dislike to those whose habits are 
not neat, and who bear about them a perfume not in the least 

" Sab can odors 
From tlic spicy shores of Araby the blest." 

A horse, when assailed by them, is often killed; as in- 
stead of running away, like most other animals, it will plunge 
and kick until it falls overpowered. The apiary should be 
fenced in, to prevent horses and cattle from molesting the 
Vives, We have known of n horse, which happening to be 

nF:.\n:i)rK;^ for tiik sTix(i of a nv.t. 20 1 

loose ill a bee-yard, was attacked by a few bees. In trying- 
to defend himself a.ijainst theni by kicking and rolling he up- 
set one hive and then another, till tens of thousands of bees 
assailed him, and the poor animal was stung to death before 
his owner could come to the rescue. We were informed by an 
eye-witness that although the carcass remained imburied two 
days, neither dogs, crows, buzzards nor any of the usual 
scavengers of decaying flesh, attempted to feed upon it, so 
great was the amount of poison \,79) instilled mto it by the 
revengeful bees. 

101. The sting of a bee {7S) upon some jDersons, pro- 
duces very painful, and even dangerous effects. We have 
often noticed that, while those whose systems are not sensi- 
ti^■e to the venom, are rarely molested by bees, they seem to 
take a malicious pleasure in stinging those upon whom their 
poison produces the most virulent effect. Something in the 
secretions of such persons may both provoke the attack and 
render its consequences more severe. 

The smell of their own j^oison (S^j produces a very irri- 
tating effect upon bees. A small portion of it offered to them 
on a stick, will excite their anger. 

' * If you are stung, ' ' says old Butler, ' ' or any one in the com- 
pany — yea, though a bee hath stricken but your clothes, es- 
pecially in hot weather — you were best be packing as fast as 
you can, for the other bees, smelling the rank flavor of the 
poison, will come about you as thick as hail." 


1Q2. If only a few of the host of cures, so zealously ad- 
vocated, could be made effectual, there would be little reason 
to drea<l being stung. 

The first thing to be done after being stung is to pull — 
or rather push— the sting out of the womid as qitickhj as pos- 
sible. When torn from the bee, the poison-bag and all the 
muscles which control the sting accompany it; and it pene- 
trates deeper and deeper into the flesh, injecting continually 

50S IIAN'DLIN'G nr.Rs. 

more and more poison into the wound. If extracted at once, 
it will very rarelj- produce any serious consequences; but, in 
extracting it, it should not be taken between the fingers. In 
so doing, most of the poison will be pressed mto the wound. 
It must be rubbed or scraped off with celerity by a quick mo- 
tion of the finger-nail so as to prevent any more of the 
poison of the sack from getting into the flesh. After the 
sting is removed the utmost care should be taken not to irri- 
tate the wound by the slightest rubbing. However intense the 
smarting, and the disposition to apply friction to the wound, 
it should never be done for the moment that the blood is put 
into violent circulation, the poison is quickly diffused over 
a large part of the system, and severe pain and swelling may 
ensue. On the same principle, by severe friction, the bite of a 
mosquito, even after the lapse of several days, may be made 
to swell again. As most of the popular remedies are rubbed 
in, thej' are worse than nothing. 

When the operator is perspiring abundantly, the stings are 
less painful, as some of the poison exudes with the sweat. 

If the mouth is applied to the wound, unpleasant conse- 
quences may follow; for, while the poison of snakes, affect- 
ing only the circulating system, may be swallowed with impuni- 
ty, the poison of the bee acts with great power on the organs 
of digestion. Distressing headaches are often produced by it, 
as any one, who has been stung, or has tasted the poison, veiy 
well knows. 

403. In our own experience, we have found cold water to 
be the best remedy for a bee-sting. The poison is quickly 
dissolved in it : and the coldness of the water has also a power- 
ful tendency to check inflammation. 

The leaves of plantain, crushed and applied to the wound, 
are a very good substitute, when water cannot at once be 
procured. Bevan recommends the use of spirits of hartshorn, 
and says that, in cases of severe stinging, its internal use is 
also beneficial. In veiy serious cases, the ammonia may be 
taken, in quantities of from five to twenty drops,— for an 


adult, less for a child, — in hot tea, with beneficial results. It 
causes an increased perspiration and neutralizes the effects of 
the poison. ("Commentaires Therapeutiques," Gubler, Paris, 

40-1:. It may be some comfort to novices to know that 
the poison will produce less and less effect upon their sys- 
tem. Old bee-keepers like Mithridates, appear almost to 
thrive upon poison itself. When we first became interested 
in bees, a sting was quite a formidable thing, the pain being 
often veiy intense, and the wound swelling so as sometimes to 
obstruct our sight. At present, the pain is usually slight, and, 
if the sting is quickly extracted, no unpleasant consequences 
ensue, even if no remedies are used. Huish speaks of seeing 
the bald head of Bonner, a celebrated practical Apiarist, cov- 
ered with stings, which seenied to produce upon him no mi- 
pleasant effects. The Rev. Mr. Kleine advises beginners to 
allow themselves to be stung frequently, assuring them that, 
in two seasons, their system will become accustomed to the 
l^^ison ! 

An old English Apiarist advises a person \\ho^ has beeu 
stmig, to catch another bee as speedily as possible, and make 
it sting on the same spot. Even an enthusiastic disciple of 
Huber might hesitate to venture on such a singular homoeo- 
pathic remedy; but, as this Apiarist had stated, what we had 
verified in our own experience, that the oftener a j^erson is 
stung the less he suffers from the venom, the writer deteiTnhied 
to make trial of his prescription. Allowing a string to re- 
mam until it had discharged all of its poison, he compelled 
another bee to insert its sting, as nearly as possible, in the 
same spot. He used no remedies of any kind, and had the 
satisfaction, in his zeal for new discoveries, of suffering 
more from the pain and swelling than for years before. 

That the bee-keeper becomes inocu'ated with the poison 
of the bee, and usually becomes proof against it, is no more 
to be doubted than the fact that vaccination is a preservative 
against small-pox. The discoveries of Pasteur, for the cure 


of hydrophobia, are another evidence of the etlieieney (»f 

The poison of the bee has a beneficial effect as a cure for 
i-heuniatisni. Numberless cases have been reported where a 
few stings have caused the disappearance of this affection. 

Bees as ]\Ieaxs of Defense. 

405. "A small corsair, equipped with forty or fifty men, 
and having on board some bees, purposely taken from a neigh- 
boring island, and confined in earthen hives ( 275 ), was pur- 
sued by a Turkish galley. As the latter boarded her, the sailors 
threw the hives from the masts down into the galley. The 
earthen hives broke into fragments and the bees dispersed all 
over the boat. The Turks who had looked on the small corsair 
with contempt, as an easy prey, did not expect so singular an 
attack. Finding themselves defenseless against the stings, they 
were so frightened, that the men of the corsair, who had pro- 
vided themselves with masks and gloves, took possession of the 
galley, almost without resistance." 

*'Amurat, Emperor of Turkey, having besieged Alba, and 
made a breach in the walls, found the I'rcach defended b}' bees, 
whose hives had been brought on the ruins. The Janissaries, 
the bravest militia of the Ottoman empire_, refused to clear the 
obstacle."— (Delia Roeca, 1790.) 



-100. Ill the Spring, as soon as the combs of a hive, well 
fillecl, can no longer accommodate its teeming population, the 
bees prepare for emigration, or in other words, for depart- 
ing with their queen, by building a number of royal-cells 
(104). These cells are begun about the time that the drones 
make their appearance in the open air; and when the young- 
queens arrive at maturity, the males are usually very numer- 
ous (186). 

The swarming of bees is one of the most beautiful sights 
in the whole compass of rural economj'. Although those 
who use movable-comb hives x^refer the artificial multiplica- 
tion of colonies, it bemg more profitable, all Apiarists de- 
light in the pleasing excitement of natural swarming. 

''Up mounts the chief, and to the cheated eye 
Ten thousand shuttles dart along the sky; 
As swift through aether rise the rushing swarms, 
Gay dancing to the beam their sun-bright forms; 
And each thin form, still ling 'ring on the sight, 
Trails, as it shoots, a line of silver light. 
High pois'd on buoyant wing, the thoughtful queen, 
In gaze attentive, views the varied scene. 
And soon her far-fetch 'd ken discerns below 
The light laburnum lift her polish 'd brow, 
"Wave her green leafy ringlets o 'er the glade. 
And seem to beckon to her friendly shade. 
Swift as the falcon 's sweep, the monarch bands 
Her tlight abrupt; the following host descends. 
Round the fine twig, like cluster 'd grapes, they close 
In thickening wreaths, and court a short repose. ' ' 

— Evans. 

407. Bees sometimes abandon their hives very early in 
Spring, or even late in Summer or Fall (264). Although 



exhibiting the appearance of natural swarming, they leave, 
not because the population is so crowded that they wish to 
form new colonies, but because it is either so small, or the 
hive so destitute of supplies, that they are driven to desper- 
ation. Seeming to have a presentiment that they must perish 
if they stay, instead of awaiting the sure approach of famine, 
they sally out to see if they cannot better their condition. 

FIG. 95. 


From Mont-Jovet, Savoie, France. 

Such desertions should not be mistaken for natural swarming 
408. The time, when new swarms may be expected, de- 
pends, of course, upon the climate, the forwardness of the 
season, and the strength of the colonies. In our Northern 
and Middle States, they seldom issue before the latter part 
of May, and .June may there be considered as the great 

PRIMARY SWAR-\r. 213, 

swarming montli. In Texas, on the lower Rio Grande, bees 
often swarm quite early in March. 

Swarming- does not alwaj's take place in Spring, although 
this is the usual time for it. Swarms are likely to issue in 
any locality, whenever the hive is crowded for room, or nearly 
so, during a good and prolonged honey-harvest. In warm 
latitudes, it lasts for several months, owing to a continuous 
flow of honey. Wherever there are two distinct honey crops 
(705), there are also two swarming seasons, especially along 
the low lands or river bottoms, where Fall pasturage is 
abundant. Swarms, hived during the forej^art of either of 
these honey seasons, are alwaj's the best ; having a few weeks 
of honey crop before them, they have ample time to build 
comb and fill it with honey and brood; while swarms which 
are cast during the latter part of either the clover or tlie Fall 
harvest, coming as they do, just before a dearth of honey, are 
unable to build comb and raise brood, and easily perish, if left 
to themselves. Thus, a swarm harvested in August, in this 
latitude, at the opening of the Fall crop, stands better 
chances than one harvested in July, at the close of the clover 
and basswood crop. 

First or Primary Swarm. 

409. The first swarm is almost invariably led off by the 
old queen, unless she has died from accident or disease, 
when it is accompanied by one of the young ones reared to 
supply her loss. There are no sig-ns from which the Apiarist 
can predict the certain issue of a first swarm. For years, 
wc spent much time in the vain attempt to discover some 
infaUihle indications of first swarming; until facts convinced 
us that there can be no such indications. 

410. If the weather is unpleasant, or the blossoms yield 
an insufficient supply of honey, bees often change their minds, 
and refuse to swarm at all. If. in the swarming season, but 
few bees leave a strong hive, on a clear, calm, and warm day, 


wlien otlier colonies are busily at woi-k, we may look with 
j^reat confidence for a swarm, unless the weather prove sud- 
denly unfavorable. 

If the weather is ver}' sultry, a swarm will sometimes issue 
as early as seven o'clock in the morning'; but from ten a. m._, 
to two p. M.^ is the usual time; and the majority of swarms 
come off when the sun is within an hour of the meridian. Oc- 
casionally, a swarm ventures out as late as five p. m.; but an 
old fjueen is seldom guilty of such an indiscretion. 

41 1. Wc have repeatedly witnessed in our observing- 
hives (374) the whole process of swarming. On the day 
fixed for departure, the queen is veiy restless, and instead 
of depositing her eggs in the cells, roams over the combs, and 
communicates her agitation to the whole colony. The emi- 
grating bees usually fill themselves with honey, just before 
their departure; but in one instance, we saw them lay in their 
sui^plies more than two hours before they left. A short time 
before the swarm rises, a few bees may generally be seen 
sporting in the air, with their heads turned always to the 
hive; and they occasionally fiy in and out, as though impa- 
tient for the important event to take place. At length, a 
violent agitation commences in the hive; the bees appear al- 
most frantic, whirling aroimd in circles continually enlarging, 
like those made by a stone thrown into still water, until, at 
last, the whole hive is in a state of the greatest ferment, and 
the bees, rushing impetuously to the entrance, pour forth in 
one steady stream. Not a bee looks behind, but each pushes 
straight ahead, as though flying '*for dear life,'' or urged on 
by some invisible power, in its headlong career, 

412. Often, the queen does not come out until many have 
left; and she is sometimes so heavy, from the number of eggs 
in her ovaries, that she falls to the ground, incapable of 
rising with her colony into the air (40). The bees soon miss 
her, and a very interesting scene may now be witnessed. Dili- 
gent search is at once made for their lost mother; the swarm 
scattering in all directions, so that the leaves of the adjoining 


trees and bushes are often covered almost as quickly with 
anxious explorers, as with drops of rain after a co^Dious 
shower. If she cannot be found, they commonly return to 
the old hive, in from 'live to fifteen minutes. 

413. The ringing of bells and beating of kettles and fry- 
ing-pans to cause swarms to settle, is probably not a whit 
more efficacious, than the hideous noises of some savage tribes, 
who, imagining that the sun, in an eclipse, has been swallowed 
by an enormous dragon, resort to such means to compel his 
snakeship to disgorge their favorite luminary. 

Many who have never practiced "tanging," have never had 
a swarm leave without settling. Still, as one of the "country 
sounds," and as a relic of the olden-times, even the most 
matter-of-fact bee-man can readily excuse the enthusiasm of 
that pleasant writer in the London Quarterly Review, who dis- 
courses as follows: 

' * Some fine, warm morning in May or June, the whole atmos- 
phere seems alive with thousands of bees, whirling and buzzing, 
passing and repassing, wheeling about in rapid circles, like a 
group of maddened bacchanals. Out runs the good housewife, 
with frying-pan and key — the orthodox instruments for ringing 
— and never ceases her rough music, till the bees have settled. 
This custom, as old as the birth of Jupiter, is one of the most 
pleasing and exciting of the countryman's life; and there is an 
old colored print of bee-ringing still occasionally met with on 
the walls of a country-inn, that has charms for us, and makes 
us think of bright, sunny weather in the dreariest November 
day. Whether, as Aristotle says, it affects them through pleas- 
ure or fear, or whether, indeed, they hear it at all, is still as 
uncertain as that philosopher left it; but we can wish no bet- 
ter luck to every bee-master that neglects the tradition, than 
that he may lose every swarm for which he omits to raise this 
time-honored concert." 

414. The queen sometimes alights first, and sometimes 
joins the cluster after it has begun to fonn. The bees do 
not usually settle, unless she is with them; and when they 
do, and then disperse, it is frequently the case that, after 


first rising- witii them, she lias fallen, Ironi weakness, into 
some spot where she is unnoticed by the bees. 

Perceiving a hive in the act of swarming, the writer on 
two occasions, contracted the entrance, to secure the queen 
when she should make her appearance. In each case, at 
least one-third of the bees came out before she joined them. 
As soon as the swarm ceased searching for her, and were re- 
turning to the parent-hive, he placed her, with her wings 
clipped, on a limb of a small evergreen tree, when she crawled 
to the very top of the limb, as if for the express purpose of 
making herself as conspicuous as possible. The few bees, 
that first noticed her, instead of alighthig, darted rapidly to 
their companions; in a few seconds, the whole colony was ap- 
prised of her presence, and flying in a dense cloud, began 
quietly to cluster around her. Bees, when on the wing, inter- 
communicate with such surprising rapidity, that telegrajihie 
signals are scarcely more instantaneous. 

415. That bees send out scouts to seek a suitable abode, 
admits of no serious question. Swarms have been traced 
directly to their new home, in an air-line flight, from the 
place where thej' clustered after alighting. Now this pre- 
cision of flight to an unknown home, would plainly be im- 
possible, if some of their number, by previous explorations, 
were not competent to act as guides to the rest. The sight 
of bees for distant objects is so wonderfully acute, that, after 
rising to a sufficient elevation, they can see, at the distance of 
several miles, any prominent objects in the vicinity of their in- 
tended abode. (13-14.) 

Whether bees send out scouts before or after swarming, 
may admit of more question, but these scouts are usually ab- 
sent for an hour or more, after the alighting of the swarm. 

It is probable that most of the scouts are sent during the 
alighting; otherwise how could they know where the swarm 
alighted, so as to come back to it? 

The necessity for scouts or explorers seems to be unquestion- 
able, unless we admit that bees have the faculty of flying in an 


''air line/' to a hollow tree, which they have never seen, and 
which may be the only one among* thousands where they can 
find a suitable abode. 

These views are conlirmed by the repeated instances in 
which a few bees have been noticed inquisitively prying into 
a hole m a hollow tree, or the cornice of a building, and have,, 
before long, been followed by a whole colony. 

About fifty yards from our home apiary, there was a large 
hoUoAV oak tree, which v^^e called '^The Squirrel's Oak," be- 
cause eveiy season it sheltered a family of these pretty ani- 
mals. One Summer we noticed for several days some bees 
flying, in and out of a hole, in one of its largest limbs. It 
seemed to us that they were cleaning the hollow, and we sup- 
posed that a swarm had taken possession of it. A change in 
the weather liavmg taken place, the swarming preparations 
were discontinued, and we never again noticed any bees around 
the limb. The tree was cut down the following Whiter, and 
no trace of comb was found in the hollow. It proved conclu- 
sively that the bees we had seen were scouts in search of a 

41(>. The swarm sometimes remains until the next day, 
Avhere bees have clustered in leaving the hive, and instances 
are not mi frequent of a more protracted delay. 

If the weather is hot when they first cluster, and the sun 
shines directly upon them, they Avill often leave before they 
have found a suitable habitation. Sometimes the queen of 
emigrating bees, being heavy with eggs, unaccustomed to fiy, 
is compelled to alight, before she can reach their intended 
home. Queens under such circumstances, are occasionally un- 
willing to take Aving again, and the poor bees sometimes at- 
tempt to lay the foundations of their colony on fence-rails, 
hay-stacks, or other unsuitable places. 

Mr. Wagner once kneAv a SAvarm of bees to lodge under the 
loAvermost limb of an isolated oak-tree, in a corn-field. It 
was not discoA'ered until the corn Avas harA^ested, in September. 
Those AAiio found it, mistook it for a recent swarm, and in 


brushiiii*: it down tu hive it, broke off three pieces of comb, 
each about eight inches square. Mr. Heniy M. Zollickoffer, 
of Philadelphia, informed us that he knew a swarm to settle 
on a willow-tree in that city, in a lot owned by the Pennsj^l- 
vania Hospital; it remained there for some time, and the 
boys pelted it with stones, to get possession of its comb and 

If the apiaiy is located in the woods, and the bees are 
allowed to swarm, they may settle on high trees, and the bee- 
master, unless some special precautions are used, will lose 
much time in hiving his swarms. 

417. Having noticed that swarming bees will almost al- 
ways alight wherever they see others clustered, we found 
that they can be determined to some selected spot by an old 
black hat, or even a muUen-stalk, which, when colored black, 
can hardly be distinguished, at a distance, from a clustering 
swarm. A black woolen stocking or piece of cloth, fastened 
to a shady limb, or to a pole, in plain sight of the hives, and 
where the bees c^n be most conveniently hived, would answer 
as good a purpose. Swarms are not only attracted by the 
bee-like color of such objects, but are more readily mduced 
to alight \x\)o\\ them, if they furnish something to which they 
can easil}' cling, the better to support their grape-like clus- 

Still better than the above, a frame of dry comb, as dark 
as possible, will often attract the bees and cause them to clus- 
ter. None of these devices however are infallible; hence the 
advisability of locating an apiaiy among low trees or bushes, 
or in an orchard, if possible. 

When no trees or bushes are to be found, and no settling 
place has been provided, they will settle wherever the queen 
may happen to alight, on a grape-vine, on weeds, on the 
ground, on the corner of a building, etc. 

418. It will inspire the inexperienced Apiarist with more 
confidence, to remember that almost all the bees in a swarm 
are in a veiy peaceable mood, having filled themselves with 


honey before leaving the parent-stock (380). Yet there are, 
in nearly eveiy swarm^ a few bees that have either joined 
from a neighboring hive, or have not filled their honey-sack 
completely before leaving. These bees are liable to get angry, 
when the swarm is harvested. So, if the Apiarist is timid, or 
suffers severely from the sting of a bee, he should, by all 
means, furnish himself with the protection of a bee-veil 
(386). The use of a smoker (382), is also advisable, both 
in preventing the -bees from stinging and in helping to drive 
them into the hive; but it must not be used plentifully, as it 
might cause the bees to abscond, or to return to the clustering 

•419. A new swarm should be hived as soon as the hees 
have quietly clustered around their queen; although there is no 
necessity for the headlong haste practiced by some, which 
increases their liability to be stung. Those who show so 
little self-possession, must not be surprised if they are stung 
by the bees of other hives; which, instead of being gorged 
with honey, are on the alert, and very naturally mistake the 
object of such excited demonstrations. The fact that the 
bees have clustered, makes it almost certain that, unless the 
weather is ver}'' hot, or they are exposed to the burning heat 
of the smi^ they will not leave for at least one or two hours. 
All convenient dispatch, however, should be used in hiving a 
swarm, lest the scouts have time to return,— w^hich will entice 
them to go, — or lest other colonies issue, and attempt to add 
them-selves to it. 

420. Should you give the scouts time to return, you would 
first see a few bees flying around the cluster. Slowly their 
number would increase, till the Avhole swarm took wing, and 
it would be almost useless to try to stop it or to follow it. 
When a swarm thus takes flight, it knows no bounds. Hedges, 
fences, woods, walls, ditches, rivers, are barriers only to the 
breathless and disappointed owner. The only thing that we 
ever have knowTi to stop a departing swarm is throwing water 
among them. Flashing the sun^s rays on them by the use of a 


looking-glass is advised by some. We tried it, but did not 
succeed in a single instance. 

421. As a matter of course, we suppose that the Apia- 
rist has an empty hive in readiness, clean and cool. Bees, 
when they swarm, being unnaturally heated, often refuse to 
enter hives that have been standing in the sun, or at best are 
slow in taking possession of them. The temperature of the 
l)arent-stock, at the moment of swarming, rises veiy suddenly, 
and many bees are often so drenched with perspiration that 
they cannot take wing to join the emigrating colony. To at- 
tempt to make swarming bees enter a heated hive in a blazing 
sun is, therefore, as irrational as it would be to force a pant- 
ing crowd of human beings into the suffocating atmosphere of 
a close garret. If the process of hiving cannot be conducted 
in the shade, the hive should be covered with a sheet or with 
leafy boughs. 

422. In the movable-frame hive, eveiy good piece of 
Avorker-comb, if large enough to be attached to a frame, should 
be used, both for its intrinsic value and because bees are so 
pleased when they find such unexpected treasure in a hive, 
that they will seldom forsake it. A new swarm often takes 
possession of a deserted hive, well stored with comb; whilst, 
if dozens of empty ones stand in the Apiaiy, the bees very 
seldom enter them of their own accord. 

"The bee-keepers of Greece used to attract the swarms into 
their hives by rubbing the entrance and the inside of their 
empty hives with bees-wax and propolis. But such practice was 
often the cause of contests between neighbors, for their bees 

did not inquire about the ownership of the hive selected." 

(Delia Rocca, 1790.) 

But when a few combs only are given to a swarm, as the 
queen will not follow the builders (229), too much drone 
comb (224) will be built. Then, in hiving a swarm, the 
Apiarist had better dispense with giving anv, unless he fills the 
hive (234). 

Drone-combs (224) should nerrr he put up in frames, or 


the bees may follow the pattern, and build comb suitable only 
for breedmg a horde of useless consumers. 

423. Frames containing worker combs, from colonies that 
have died in the previous Winter are very good, if the comb 
is diy and clean. Combs of honey will do if the swarm is 
hived on a propitious day, othei-wise they will attract robbers 
(664) and the presence of the latter will prevent the swarm 
from entering the hive. For this reason, combs containing 
honey should not be given to the swarm until the following 

424. In the absence of combs or comb-foundation start- 
ers (674), the triangular coqib-guide will greatly help to se- 
cure straight combs, in the frames, but it cannot be depended 
upon, in every case. Comb-foundation in full sheets or in 
strips is so far superior, and is now in such general use, that 
the triangular comb-guide (319, 324) is discarded by most 
Apiarists. By the use of comb-foundation, crooked combs,— 
the bane of the apiary— are no longer found, and eveiy comb 
hangs in its frame, as straight as a board. 

425. It is held by some writers that the giving of a hive 
full of drawn combs to a natural swarm is more injurious 
than beneficial, because the bees fill these combs at once with 
honey; the queen having no room to lay, the swarm declines 
in strength. Mr. W. Z. Hutchinson in his most excellent book, 
"Advanced Bee-culture," says: "Occasionally I have hived a 
swarm upon drawm combs, but the loss has ahvays been so 
great that it seems folly to repeat it." Such an occurrence 
happens in a veiy good season with small hives. During a 
heavy flow, the bees can fill the entire hive-body with honey 
in less time than it would take them to build the combs and 
the queen is thus deprived of room to lay. This same colony, 
if hived upon empty frames would harvest just enough honey 
in that length of time to build the combs and keep the brood 
nourished. The profitable saving thus turns out as a loss, 
smce this extra amount of honey is in the way of the queen. 
This does not prove the uselessness of combs, as some persons 


would iiiier, but on the contrary it evidences the fact that it 
costs the bees a great deal of honey to produce the comb, 
since they can save enough to fill the combs in the same time 
that it would take them to build those combs.' In localities 
where this condition proves to be common, it is best to use 
the built combs only in making artificial (469) increase, or 
with weak swarms. A veiy small quantity of bees with a 
good queen and built combs will soon make a powerful col- 
ony. But in poor honey seasons, when it is difficult for 
swarms to harvest enough to build their combs, a hive full of 
combs proves a gi'eat boon to them^ even if the swarm is 

426. It is veiy important that the frames should hang 
true in the hive, and at the proper distance apart (316). If 
the hive has to be removed, they should be previously fastened 
in their places, by the use of small w^ire nails only partly 
driven, and removed later. If, however, a frame spacer is used 
(fig. 76) this will not be necessary. The cloth (352) and 
mat (353) should be carefully placed over the frames, or the 
swarm would build and raise brood in the upper story, in- 
tended only for surplus honey. 

427. When the hive is thus prepared and placed in a con- 
venient position, the entrance should be opened as wide as 
possible. If it has a movable-bottom-board, it should be raised 
from it in front (344), and the entrance-blocks inserted un- 
der its edges, so as to leave a larger passage for the swarm, 
that the bees may get in as soon as possible; and a well- 
stretched sheet, or coarse cloth, should be securely fastened to 
the alighting-board, to keep them from becoming separated, 
or soiled by dirt; for, if separated, they are a long time in 
entering; and a bee covered with dust or dirt is verj^ apt to 
perish. Bees are much obstructed in their travel, by any cor- 
ner, or great inequality of surface; and if the sheet is not 
smoothly stretched, they are often so confused, that it takes 
them a long time to find the entrance to the hive. 

428. If the bees have alighted on a small limb, which can 


be cut with sharp pruning-shears, without jarring the swarm, 
or damaging the value of the tree, they may be gently carried 
on it to the hiving-sheet, in front of their new home. If they 
seem at all reluctant to enter it, gently scoop up a few of them 
with a large spoon, or a leafy twig, or even with the fingers 
(72), and shake them close to its entrance. As they go in 
with fanning wings, they will raise a peculiar note, which 
communicates to their companions the joyful news that they 
have found a home; and in a short time the whole swarm will 
enter, without injury to a single bee. 

When bees are once shaken dow^l on the sheet, they are 
quite unwilling to take wing again; for, being loaded with 
honey, they desire, like heavily-armed troops, to march slowly 
and sedately to their place of encampment. 

429. AMien they alight on a high limb, which cannot be 
reached, or when the limb is too valuable to be sacrificed, the 
swarm can be hived by using a light box or swarm-sack, at 

the end of a pole of proper length. 
This swarm-sack (fig. 96) is made of 
strong muslin, about two feet deep, 
fastened around a wire hoop, about 
one foot in diameter, and is similar 
to a butterfly net. A piece of braid 
SWARM-SACK. IS scwcd at the bottom, inside and 

^ ^^' ^^' outside, to help in emptying it. When 

the sack is placed under the swarm, the bees are suddenly 
shaken into it by a single tap on the limb. Hold the sack 
firmly, as the sudden weight will draw it down in a most un- 
expected manner. To prevent the bees from escaping, hold 
the handle perpendicularly, as this will close the opening of 
the bag instantly. 

430. In bringing it to the hive, and turning it inside out, 
by holding the braid with the fingers, some care must be exer- 
cised, as this unceremonious imprisoning of the bees is apt to 
cause some to be angiy. A little smoke (382) should be used, 


or a few seconds should be allowed to elapse before they are 
-•ently liberated in front of the hive. 

431. The sack is preferable to a box or a basket, as the 
latter do not close readily, and a number of the bees are apt 
to fly back to the clustering spot, befo-e they are emptied in 
front of their intended abode. 

If this happens, the process of hiving must be repeated, 
unless the queen has been secured, when they will quickly form 
a line of communication with those on the sheet. If the queen 
has not been secured, the bees will either refuse to enter the 
hive, or will speedily come out and take wing, to join her 
agam. This happens oftenest with after-swarms, whose young 
queens, instead of exhibiting the gravity of an old matron, apt to be frisking in the air. 

It is a mistake to suppose that a swarm will not enter a 
hive unless the queen is with them. If some start for it, the 
others will speedily follow, all seeming to take it for granted 
(liat the queen is somewhere among them. Even after they 
l)egin to disperse in search of her, they may often be induced 
to return, by pouring out a fresh lot of bees, which, by enter- 
ing the hive with ft;nning wings, cause the others to believe 
that the queen is coming at last. 

When the swarm is clustered so high that the sack cannot be 
raised to it on a pole, it may be carried up to the cluster, and 
the bee-keeper, after shaking the bees into it, may gently lower 
it. by a string, to an assistant below. 

432. When a colnr.y alijihts en ihe trunk of a tree, or on 
anything from which the bees cannrt easily be gathered in a 
basket, or in the sack, fasten a leafy bough, or a comb over 
them, and with a little smoke, compel them to ascend it. If 
the place is inaccessible, they will enter a well-shaded basket, 
inverted, and elevated just above the clustered mass. We once 
hived a neighbor\s swarm, which settled in a thicket, on the 
inaccessible body of a tree, by throwing water upon the bees, 
so as to compel them gradually to ascend the tree, and enter 
an elevated box. If proper alighting places are not furnished. 


the trouble of hiving a swarm will often be greater than its 

433. If the swarm is noticed, when it begins to issue from 
the parent hive, the practical bee-keeper often harvests it 
without trouble, by catching the queen (100). Provided with 
a queen cage (536) he watches for her exit, and as she comes 
out, he seizes her and places her in the cage. He then re- 
moves the old hive, and places the new one, ready for the 
swarm, on its stand, with the caged queen on the platform. 
The swarm may alight, but as soon as the bees notice their 
loss, they will return, and will cluster around her; and the 
hiving of the swarm takes but a few minutes. In a circum- 
stance of this kind, it is well to return the parent colony to its 
stand, after the swarm is hived, for, if entirely removed, it 
would lose all the bees that were in the field, when the swarm 
left, and would be too much weakened. 

434. To prevent primary swarms from escaping, some 
bee-keepers clip one of the wings of their queens previous to 
the swarming season. 

Virgil speaks of clipping the wings of queens, to prevent 
them from escaping with a swarm. Mr. Langstroth had de- 
vised a way of doing this, so as to designate the age of the 
queens .'—With a pair of scissors, let the wings, on one side, 
of a young queen be carefully cut off; when the hives are ex- 
amined next year, let one of her two remaining wings be re- 
moved, and the last one the third year. 

As an old queen leaves the hive only with a new swarm 
the loss of her wings in no way interferes with her usefulness 
or the attachment of the bees. If, in spite of her inability to 
fly, she is bent on emigTating, though she has a "will," she can 
find "no way," but helplessly falls to the ground, instead of 
gaily mounting into the air. If the bees find her, they cluster 
around her, and may be easily secured by the Apiarist; if 
she is not found, they return to the parent-stock, to await 
the maturity of the j'Oung queens. 

This method will do, provided the apiary ground is bare, 


SO that the queen runs no risk of getting lost in the grass. 
We abandoned it, after having tried it, for several years. But 
some very good Apiarists hold that clipping the queens' wings 
is desirable. Doctor C. C. Miller, one of America's most prac- 
tical and successful Apiarists, in his "Forty Years Among the 
Bees," already mentioned by us, says: 

''Although nowadays the practice of clipping has become 
quite general, there are a few who doubt its advisability. I 
would not dispense with clipping if I kept only one apiary and 
were on hand all the time and with out-apiaries and no one 
to watch them it seems a necessity. If a colony swarms with 
a clipped queen, it cannot go off. True, the queen may pos- 
sibly get lost, but it is better to lose the queen than to lose 
both bees and queen. If there were no other reason for it, 
T should want my queens clipped for the sake of keeping a 
proper record of them. A colony, for example, distinguishes 
itself by storing more than any other colony. I want to breed 
next spring from the queen of that colony. But she may be 
superseded in the fall after that big harvest, and if she is 
not clipped there is no way for me to tell in the following sea- 
son whether she has been superseded or not. Indeed I can 
hardly see how it is possible to keep proper track of a queen 
without having her clipped." 

435. Where a great many colonies are kept, several 
swarms may issue at the same time, and unite in a single clus- 

If two swarms cluster together, they may be advantageously 
kept together, if abundant room for storing surplus honey 
can be given them. Large cjuantities of honey are generally 
obtained from such colonies, if they issue early, and the sea- 
son is favorable. 

"When more than two swarms have clustered together, it is 
better to divide them. Let us suppose that three have united. 
After putting three hives near each other, so as to form a 
triangle, the sack ( 429 ) or box, in which the bees have been 
captured, is shaken on a cloth just between the three. If most 
of the bees seem to go into the same hive, this should be re- 


moved a little farther. Great care should be exercised to find 
the queens, and to direct one towards each hive. But if only 
one queen is seen, it is better to cage ( 536 ) her till the greater 
part of the bees have entered. Then, as soon as the bees of one 
of the hives show signs of uneasiness, and seem ready to join 
the bees in the others, release the queen, and direct her towards 
this queenless hive and all will be well." — (Hamet, *'Cours 
d 'Apiculture. ") 

436. If two queens ha\'e entered the same hive, they can 
often be found on its bottom-board, each in a ball (538) of 
angiy bees, strangers to them. Open the ball, and give one 
of the queens to the queenless hive, if the bees have not al- 
ready deserted it. When queens have been "balled" by mixed 
swarms, it is well to keep them caged, in the hive, for a few 
hours, or till the bees have quieted. The quantity of bees in 
each hive can be equalized, by shaking a few from the strong- 
est in front of the weakest. 

437. Dr. Scudamore, an English physician, who has writ- 
ten a tract on the Formation of Artificial Swarms, says that 
he once knew as "many as ten swarms go forth at once, and 
settle and mingle together, forming, literally, a monster meet- 
ing." There are instances recorded of a still larger number 
having clustered together. A venerable clergyman in Western 
Massachusetts, told us that in the apiaiy of one of his parish- 
ioners, five swarms once clustered together. As he had no 
hive wiiich would hold them, they were put into a large box, 
roughly nailed together. When taken up in the Fall, it was 
e\ndent that the five swarms had lived together as independent 
colonies. Four had begnin their work, each near a corner of 
the box, and the fifth in the middle; and there was a distinct 
interval separating the works of the different colonies. In 
Cotton's "My Bee Book," is a cut illustrating a similar sepa- 
ration of two colonies in one hive. By hiving, in a large box, 
sAvarms which have settled together, and leaving them undis- 
turbed till the following morning, they would sometimes be 


found ill separate clusters, and might easily be put into dif- 
ferent hives. 

If the Apiarist fears that another swarm will issue, to unite 
with the one lie is hiving, he may cover the latter from the 
sight of other swarms, with a sheet. 

438. If, while hiving a swarm, he wishes to secure the 
queen, the bees should be shaken from the hiving-basket or 
sack, a foot or more from the hive^ when a quick eye will 
generally see her as she passes over the sheet. If the bees 
are reluctant to go in, a few must be directed to the entrance, 
and care be taken to brush thein back, when they press for- 
ward in such dense masses that the cjueeii is likely to enter 
unobserved. An experienced eye readily detects her peculiar 
color and form (100). 

It is interesting to witness how speedily a queen passes 
into the hive, as soon as she recognizes the joyful note (76) 
announcing that her colony has found a home. She quickly 
follows in the direction of the moving mass, and her long 
legs enable her easily to outstrip, in the race for possession, 
all who attempt to follow her. Other bees linger around the 
entrance, or fly into the air, or collect in listless knots on the 
sheet; but a fertile mother, with an air of conscious import- 
ance, marches straight foi-ward, and looking neither to the 
right hand nor to the left, glides into the hive with the same 
dispatchful haste that characterizes a bee returning fully 
laden from the nectar-bearing fields. 

439. Swarms sometimes come off when no suitable hives 
are in readiness to receive them. In such an emergency, hive 
them in any old box, cask, or measure, and place them, with 
suitable protection against the sun, where their new hive is to 
stand; when this is ready, they may, by a quick, jerking mo- 
lion, be easily shaken out before it, on a hiving-sheet. 

Persons unaccustomed to bees may think that we speak 
about "scooping them up," and "shaking them out," almost 
as coolly as though giving directions to measure so many 
bushels of wheat; experience will soon convince them that 

rnniAKY swarm. 229 

the ease with which they may l)e managed (72) is not at all 

440. Bees which swarm early in the day will generally 
begin to range the tields in a few honrs after they are hived, 
or even in a few minutes, if they have empty comb; and 
the fewest bees will be lost when the hive is removed to its 
permanent stand, as soon as the bees have entered it. If it 
is desirable, for any reason, to remove the hive before all 
the bees have g-one in, the sheet, on which the bees are lying, 
may be so folded that the colony can be easily carried to their 
new stand, where the bees may enter at their leisure. 

While the hive should be set so as to ineluie slightly from 
rear to front (327), to shed the rain, there ought not to be 
the least pitch from side to side, or it will prevent the frames 
from hanging plumb, and compel the bees to build crooked 

441. If several rainy days, or a dearth of honey, should 
occur immediately after the hiving of bees, it is well to feed 
(606) them a little to keep them from starving, till there is 
honey in the blossoms. 

442. The Apiarist has already been informed of the im- 
poi'tance of securing straight vrorker combs for his hives 
(223), To a stock-hive, such combs are like cash capital to 
a business man ; and so long as they are fit for use, they 
should never be destroyed. 

Mr. S. Wagner had a colonj' over 21 years old, whose young 
bees appeared to be as large as any others in his apiary. Mr. 
J. F. Racine, an old settler of Wallen, Indiana, lost a colony 
in the Winter of 1884-5 which he had had ever since 1855, 
Avilhout changing the combs. He considered it one of the best 
in his apiaiy. 

We have ourselves kept colonies of bees without changing 
any but the veiy blackest combs, for thirty years or more. 
As long as a queen will utilize combs by laymg eggs in them, 
they may be considered as good as any. 

Those who have plenty of good worker-comb, will unques- 


Honably tiud it to their advantage to use it in the place of 
comb-foundation. If a swann is small, it ought to be con- 
fined, b}' a movable partition (349), to such a space in the 
hive as it can occupy with comb, as well for its encouragement, 
as to economize its animal heat. Yarro, who flourished before 
the Christian Era, says (Liber III, Cap. xviii), that bees be- 
eomo tiispirited, when placed in hives that are too large. 

Primary Swarm with a Youxg Queen. 

4:43. AVe have already stated (157) that queens die of 
old age. when about four years old. If the preparations for 
queen rearing (489) are begun during the swarming season, 
from tliis cause, or by her death through accident, or 
she has been removed by the Apiarist, it veiy often happens 
that bees prevent the first hatched queen from destroying her 
rivals (112), and the result is that a swarm leaves the hive 
with her. These primaiw swarms with young queens, are cast 
as miexpectedh', and may be as strong as those that are ac- 
companied by the old queen. They have that in common with 
.secondary .swarms, that they behave like them, both in their 
exit and afterwards. 

Secondary or After-Swarms. 

444. Having described the method commonly pursued for 
hiving a new swarm, we return to the parent-colony from 
which they emigrated. 

From the immense number which have abandoned it. we 
.should naturally infer that it must be nearly depopulated. To 
those who limited the fertility of the queen to four hundred 
eggs a day, the rapid replenishing of a hive, after swarm- 
ing, must have been inexplicable; but to those who have seen 
her lay from one to four thousand eggs a day, it is no mysteiy 
at all (40). Enough bees remain to carrv on the domestic 

S1':C0XDARV S\VAK.M.S. 231 

operations of the hive; and as the old queen departs only 
when there is a teeming population, and when thousands of 
young are daily hatching, and tens of thousands rapidly ma- 
turing, the hive, in a short time, is almost as populous as it 
was before swarming. 

Those who suppose that the new colony consists wholly of 
young bees, forced to emigrate by the older ones, if they 
closely examine a new swarm, will find that while some have 
the ragged wings of age. others are so young as to be barely 
able to fly. 

After the tumult of swarming is over, not a bee that did 
not participate in it, attempts to join the new colony, and 
not one that. did, seeks to return. What deteraiines some to 
go, and others to stay, we have no certain means of knowing. 
How wonderful must be the impression made upon an insect, 
to cause it in a few minutes so completely to lose its strong 
affection for the old home, that when established in a hive 
only a few feet distant, it pays not the slightest attention to 
is former abode I 

445. It has already been stated that, if the weather is 
favorable, the old queen usually leaves near the time that the 
young queens are sealed over to be changed into nymphs. In 
about a week, one of them hatches; and the question must be 
decided whether or not, any more colonies shall be formed 
that season. If the hive is well filled with bees, and the sea- 
son is in all respects promising, it is generally decided in the 
affirmative; although, under such circumstances, some veiy 
strong colonies refuse to swarm more than once. 

If the bees of the parent-colony decide to prevent the first 
hatched queen from killing the others, a strong guard is kept 
over their cells, and as often as she approaches them with 
murderous intent, she is bitten, or given to understand by 
other most uncourtier-like demonstrations, that even a queen 
cannot, in all things, do just as she pleases. 

446. About a week after first swarming, should the Apia- 
rist place his ear against the hive, in the morning or evening, 


when the bees are still, if the queens are "piping," he will 
readily recognize their peculiar sounds (115). The young 
queens are all mature, at the latest, in sixteen days from the 
departure of the first swarm, even if it left as soon as the 
royal cells were begun. 

The second swarm usually issues on the first or second day 
after piping is heard ; though the bees sometimes delay coming 
out until the fifth day, in consequence of an unfavorable state 
of the weather. Occasionally, the weather is so very unfavor- 
able that they permit the oldest queen to kill the others, and 
refuse to swarm again. This is a rare occurrence, as young 
queens are not so particular about the weather as old ones, 
and sometimes venture out, not merely when it is cloudy, but 
when rain is falling. On this account, if a very close watch 
is not kept, they are often lost. As piping ordinarily com- 
mences about a week after first-swarming, the second swarm 
usually issues eight or nine days after the first; although it 
has been known to issue as early as the third, and as late as 
the seventeenth; but such cases are veiy rare. 

447. It frequently happens, in the agitation of swarm- 
ing, that the usual guard over the queen-cells is withdrawn, 
and several hatch at the same time, and accompany the col- 
ony; in which case the bees often alight in two or more sepa- 
rate clusters. In our observing-hives, we have repeatedly 
seen yomig queens thrust out their tongues from a hole in 
their cell, to be fed by the bees. If allowed to issue at will, 
they are pale and weak, like other young bees, and for some 
time unable to fly; but if confined the usual time, they come 
forth fully colored, and ready for all emergencies. We have 
seen them issue in this state, while the excitement caused by 
I'emoving the combs from a hive has driven the guard from 
their cells. 

The following remarkable instance came under our obser- 
vation, in Matamoras, Mexico : A second swarm deserting 
its abode the second day after being hived, settled upon a 
tree. On examining the abandoned hive, fii^e young queens 


were found lying dead on its bottom-board. The swarm was 
returned, and, the next morning, two more dead queens were 
found. As the colony afterwards prospered, eight queens, at 
least, must have left the parent-colony in a single swarm! 

Young queens, whose ovaries are not burdened with eggs, 
are much quicker on the wing than old ones, and frequently 
fly much farther from the parent-stock before they alight. 

The bee-keej^ers of old, who were not acquainted with the 
habits of bees, noticing that primaiy-swarms were more pop- 
ulous tlian afrer-swarms, used to brimstone (2*76) the old 
colony w^hich had swarmed, and its after-swarm, . considering 
the first swarm as the best of the three; but this apparent 
superiority was often of short duration, for the first swarm 
is nearly always accompanied by the old queen. We know 
better now, since we consider the age of the queen as one of 
the qualities of a colony. 

448. After-swarms are much more prone to abscond or 
leave, after hiving, than primary-swarms. It is probably ow- 
ing to the fact that the young queen has to go out for her 
bridal trip (121), and the bees sometimes leave with her. A 
comb of misealed brood (166) given them will usually pre- 
vent this. An absconding swarm often leaves without settling. 

449. After the departure of the second swarm, the oldest 
remaining queen leaves her cell; and if another swarm is to 
come forth, piping will still be heard ; and so before the issue 
of each swarm after the first. It will sometimes be heard for 
a short time after the issue of the second swarm, even when 
the bees do not intend to swarm again. The third swarm usu- 
ally leaves the hive on the second or third day after the sec- 
ond swarm, and the others, at intervals of about a day. We 
once had five swarms from one stock, in less than two weeks. 
In warm latitudes, more than twice this number of swarms 
have been known to issue, in one season, from a single colony. 

After-swarms seriously reduce the strength of the parent- 
stock; since by the time they issue, nearly all the brood left 
by the old queen has hatched, and no more eggs can be laid 


until all swarming is over. If, after swarming, the weather 
suddenly becomes chilly, and the hive is thin, or the Apiarist 
continues the ventilation which was needed only for a crowded 
colony, the remaining bees being unable to maintain the requi- 
site heat, great numbers of the brood may perish. 

Prevention of Natural Swarming. 

450. The prevention of natural swarming, in the present 
state of bee-keeping, is an important item, for several rea- 

1st, Bee-keeping has so spread in the last few years, that 
many bee-keepers are possessors of as many colonies as they 
desire to keep. Most Apiarists, especially farmers, keep bees 
only for the honey, and as it is impossible to produce both 
an increase of stock, and a large yield of honey in average 
seasons, they prefer the production of honey to that of 

:2nd, Another objection to natural swarming arises from 
the disheartening fact, that bees are liable to swarm so often, 
as to destroy the value of both the parent-stock, and its after- 
swarms. Experienced bee-keepers obviate this difficulty by 
making one good colony out of two second swarms, and re- 
turning to the parent-stock all swarms after the second, and 
even this if the season is far advanced. Such operations often 
consume more time than they are worth. 

Jd, The bees may be located in a town, near a public thor- 
oughfare where people pass constantly, and accidents may 
take place; or perhaps near the woods where the swarm would 
cluster on such high limbs that it would be difficult or impos- 
sible to hive them. 

1th, It is very troublesome to have to watch the bees for 
weeks, or to have them swarm at unexpected or unwelcome 
times, when the family is away, or at dinner, or while the 
owner is engaged with his business, for many bee-keepers are 
also lawyers, doctors or merchants, occupied in daily labors. 


which require a definite part of their time. Tlie farmer may 
be mterrupted in the business of hay-making, by the cry that 
his bees are swarming; and by the time he has hived them, 
perhaps a shower comes up, and his hay is injured more than 
the swarm is worth. Thus the keeping of a few bees, instead 
of being a source of profit, may prove an expensive hixui-y; 
while in a large apiary, the embarrassments are often seri- 
ously increased. If, after a succession of days unfavorable 
for swarming, the weather becomes pleasant, it often happens 
that several swarms rise at once, and cluster together; and 
not unfrequently, in the noise and confusion, other swarms 
fly off, and are lost. We have seen the bee-master, under such 
circumstances, so perplexed and exhausted as to be almost 
ready to wish he had never seen a bee. 

451. Mr. J. F. Racine, of Wallen, Allen Co., Indiana, 
had 505 natural swarms from 165 colonies in the summer of 
1883. Sixty-one swarms came out on the 3d of July. We 
will let him tell the story in his own way : 

"In the morning, as soon as the watchword had been given 
for the first "Swarm, there was no rest. Primary, secondary^ 
and after-swarms, all passed under the same limb of the same 
tree. The bees were no sooner shaken in a basket, and emptied 
in front of a hive, than there was another cluster gathered, in 
the same spot. Some swarms had no queen, while others had 3, 
4, and even 5 of them. Some were young queens, some were 
old queens. When we could find a queen, we caged her ( 53(5 ) 
to preserve her from being balled ( 538 ). The sixty-one swarms 
were hived in 20 hives, and surplus cases were given them at 
once. A man, who had come with 5 hives to buy swarms, said 
that he had never seen the like, neither had T, although I have 
kept bees for 57 years. And the best of it is, I did not want 
any swarms at all that season. ' ' 

452. 5th. It is admitted, by all progressive people, that 
man can achieve a great deal by artificial selection and culti- 
vation of plants and animals- The same selection is advisable 
in the reproduction of hie honey-bee, and an increase from 


selected colonies or selected races, cannot always be had by 
natural swarming. In this, artificial swarming is much bet- 
ter, and gives much more satisfactoiy results whenever an in- 
ciease is desirable. 

453. O'tJi. The numerous swarms lost every year, is a 
strong argument against natural swarming. 

An eminent Apiarist has estimated that, taking into account 
all who keep bees, one-fourth of the best swarms are lost 
eveiy season. While some bee-keepers seldom lose a swarm, 
the majority suffer serious losses by the flight of their bees 
to the woods; and it is next to impossible, even for the most 
careful, to prevent such occuiTences, if their bees are allowed 
io swarm. 

Apiarists wiil then recognize that it is vei*y important to 
follow a method, which will nearly, if not altogether, pre- 
vent natural swarming. But in order to prevent it, we must 
know the causes of it. 

454. Natural SAvarming is a natural impulse in bees. Yet, 
it can be prevented, for it is always caused by uneasiness, as 
we will show in the next paragraph, ov by an abnormal con- 
dition of the colony. It is caused : 

1st. In the majority of instances, by the want of room in 
the combs. By want of room, we do not mean want of empty 
space in the hive, but want of emptj^ comb for the queen to 
deposit her eggs, or for the workers to deposit their honey. 
So long as bees have an abundance of empty space below 
their main hive, they veiy seldom swarm; but if it is on the 
sides of their hive, or above them, they often swarm rather 
than take possession of it. 

This happens, not only in the Southern latitudes, where the 
swarming instinct is so powerful, but even in our Xorthern 
or Middle States. This fact is corroborated by Simmins, 
whose non-swarming system is based on the idea of keeping 
"open space and unfinished combs at the front, or adjoining 
the entrance." (Rottingdean, England. 18,S6.) Persons who 
are unacquainted with the details of bee-keeping have no idea 


how suddenly the honey harvest comes, and how rapidly the 
combs can be filled, when it once begins. Strong colonies 
which were almost destitute, just at the opening of the crop, 
owing to the large amount of brood they were raismg, have 
been known to harvest twenty pounds, and more, in one day. 
When bees are thus gathering large quantities of honey, and 
the combs are becoming crowded, so that the cells, from which 
the young bees hatch, are filled with honey as fast as they are 
vacated, they feel the necessity of emigrating, especially as 
the constant hatching Avorkers add daily to their large popu- 
lation. The building of additional combs, by a part of the 
bees, is sometimes insutficient to keep them from making prep- 
arations for swarming, as it does not give employment to all. 
The reader must remember that in a good colon 3^, at this sea- 
son, there are between 50,000 and 100,000 bees, according to 
the laying capacity of the queen and the size of the breeding- 
room. There is also an additional increase over mortality of 
perhaps 2,000 bees daily. In spite of the admirable order of 
these w^onderful little insects, there cannot help be more or 
less crowding, miless there is ample room in the combs. 

455. If some of the bees decide that they are too crowded, 
queen-cells are raised (104) and the colony gets what Apia- 
rists call the "swarming fever:' It is a veiy appropriate 
name, indeed, since the so-called fever is cured only by swarm- 
ing. In some extraordinary seasons, after this "swarming 
fevei*'' has taken possession of their little brains; no amount 
of room given, even by dividing (470) will prevent them 
from executing their purj^ose, unless the weather and the 
honey crop become unfavorable. We have repeatedly, in such 
seasons, divided a colony into several nuclei (520) without 
avail, each nucleus swarming in spite of its Aveakness. 

456. 2d. The heat of the Summer sun, which alone would 
not cause them to swarm, hastens their preparations. Avhen the 
bees are disposed to emigrate. 

457. 3cL The hatching of a great number of drones due 
to an excess of drone-comb (224) in the brood chamber, in 


Avliicli the queen has deposited eggs,— is also an incitation to 
the "swarming fever.'' These big, burly, noisy fellows help 
to make the already crowded hive quite uncomfortable. This 
is why a great many bee-keepers of the old school noticed 
tliat hives which raise the most drones east the greatest num- 
ber of swarms. But they incorrectly concluded that the drones 
were beneficial. 

458. 4th. An improperly ventilated hive (333), or 
surplus arrangement, strongly induces natural swarming. We 
have seen ignorant bee-keepers, owners of box-hives, wonder 
why their bees swarmed and did not work in the surplus honey 
receptacle. In order to ventilate the honey receptacle, the 
bees have to form a line (363) from the outside of the hivt' 
through the thickly covered combs, and force in air enough 
t«> enable them to breathe and live there. 

Under such circumstances, hordes of useless consumers often 
blacken, for months, the outside of the hives, to the great loss 
of their disappointed owners. 

459. 1st. It results from the above that the principal 
condition for the prevention of natural swarming is, a suf- 
ficient amount of empty comb, and this empty comb must be 
given in an easily accessible place near and above the brood. 

The giving of comb foundation (674) instead of empty 
combs, will be sufficient if the crop is not flowing too fast. 
But in a veiy good season, if the harvesting workers bring 
the honey faster than the young bees can stretch the founda- 
tion into comb, it will not be sufficient. 

460. If the breeding story is full and the surplus arrange- 
ment is placed above with a wooden division or honey-board 
(352) between, the bees will often consider the latter as too 
remote from their breeding room, especially if the holes which 
connect the two are few, and ventilation cannot be readily 
given from one apartment to another. 

461. The giving of combs in a place of easy access, must 
he attended to, just before the crop begins, or the bees may 
make preparations which would render all later enlargements 


of the hive completely useless, as far as prevention of swarm- 
ing is concerned. The breeding room must he large enough 
to accommodate the most prolific queen (155). 

46S. 2d. The hive must he located where the sun will 
not strike it directly in the hottest hours of the day. It can 
easily be sheltered artificially with a roof, if there is no shrub- 
bery around it (369). 

463. 3d. The drone-comh must be carefully removed, in 
Spring", as far as possible, and replaced by worker-comb 
(675). It is impossible to remove every cell of drone-comb, 
but a few drones will not hurt. It is the excess, the breeding 
of thousands of drones which is objectionable, and an in- 
centive to swarming. The removal of drone-comb is highly 
advisable for other reasons (512). 

464. 4th. The hive should be thoroughly ventilated, so 
that the bees will find themselves comfortable in it. 

465. This system, which gives the smallest possible num- 
ber of swarms, and the largest possible amount of surplus- 
honey, was maugurated by us, years ago, and has been 
adopted on both continents. Mr. Cowan, the worthy editor 
of the British Bee-Journal, says of it, page 148, April, 1886, 
"Hives managed in this way, will give the maximum of honey 
with the least amount of labor." 

If the above directions are followed, the natural swarms 
will not exceed three to five per cent. These swarms will be 
very large— Mr. DeLayens once had a swarm weighing 11 V2 
lbs. — and after-swarms will be scarce. The few hives that 
swarm are those which, having old queens, attempt to replace 
them during the swarming season (499), or those whose 
queens die while the crop is abundant. 

In the first case, one or more young queens being raised in 
the hive, it often happens that the old queen tries to destroy 
them; the bees prevent her (114), and SAvarming is the re- 
sult. The same reason may cause swarming in a strong col- 
ony, in which a queen has been introduced by the Apiarist, 
during a good yield of honey. Perhaps the bees accept her 


''under protest/' and soon Ijegin raisin*^- queen-cells to replace 
lier, but the abundant honey harvest causes them to change 
their preparations, and they swarm with this introduced 
queen. A hive which has been made queenless during the 
honey crop, may swarm for the same reasons as soon as the 
young queens are old enough. 

H>l>. The prevention of natural swarming, when comb- 
honey is raised in sections (722), is not so successful, ])e- 
cause the Apiarist cannot furnish his bees with empty combs. 
But veiy good results can be obtained, by following as nearly 
as possible all the directions above given. 

467. As the queen cannot get through an opening 5-32 
of an inch high— which will just pass a loaded worker, if the 
entrance to the hive be contracted to this dimension, she will 
not be able to leave with a swarm. 

This is done with drone or queen-traps, perforated zinc, 
entrance-blocks, and other fixtures (191). 

This method of preventing swarming requires great accu- 
i-acy of measui'ement, for a veiy trifling deviation from the 
dimensions given will either shut out the loaded workers, or 
let out the queen. It should be used only to imprison old 
queens; for young ones, if confined to the hive, cannot be 
impregnated (120). These fixtures, if firmly fastened, will 
exclude mice from the hive in the "Winter. When used to 
prevent all swarming, it will be necessary to adjust them a 
little after sunrise and remove them before sunset, to take out. 
or allow the bees to carry out any drones that have died. 

Fig. 97. 


We have seen colonies kill their queen, and raise another, 
because she ha(i tlius been unable to follow the swarm, hence, 


these appliances will do only in small apiaries, where bee- 
keepers can examine each colony daily; and even there, we 
would not advise their constant use. 
Mr. Langstroth had formerly de- 
vised a non-swanner block, with a 
metallic slide, to prevent the es- 
cape of the queen. This was aban- ^^^- ^^• 


doned, because it annoyed the 

, ^ • . n T -,i i-i It is shown attached on 

bees and mteriered with ventila- the hive in Fig. 6i. 
tion, as all such arrangements do. 

It would be a useful implement to reduce the entrance in 

Mr. C. C. Miller succeeds in producing large crops, and 
almost entirely preventing the issue of swarms, but the manip- 
ulations to which he resorts are so frequent as to make the 
practice unadvisable for the average bee-keeper. The spe- 
cialist who wishes to raise comb honey and avoid swarming 
had best secure the book "Forty Years Among the Bees" and 
study it carefully. 

468. After-swarms have been prevented from issuing, by 
a method invented by Jas. Heddon. The Heddon method 
consists in placing the first swarm side by side with the parent 
hive, and one week after the issue of the swarm, or just pre- 
vious to the expected departure of the second swarm, remov- 
ing the parent hive to a new^ location, thus giving all its old 
bees to the first swarm. This is virtually preventing a nat- 
ural issue by a forced issue, but making the first swarm 
strong, at the expense of the mother colony. The sole objec- 
tion to this method is that it does away only with the annoy-' 
ance of catching the swarm, and leaves the parent colony 
much weakened. 

468 his. Some Apiarists who raise comb honey with small 
hives, such as the eight-frame Langstroth or dovetailed hive, 
have adopted a method similar to the one just mentioned and 
much more satisfaetoiy. The new swarm, when hived, is put 
on the stand of the old colony and this one is removed to a 


new spot. The supers on the old eohjny are also removed 
and given to the swarm, with a queen-excluder (732) be- 
tween the brood apartment and the upper stoiy. This virtu- 
ally gives the entire working force and the partly filled honey 
cases to the swarm, which henceforth becomes the producing 
colony from which surplus may be expected. The old colony 
thus depleted of its active bees and stores, barely replenishes 
itself for the end of the season. Sometimes it happens that 
there are not even bees enough left m the old hive to take 
care of the brood, since all the active bees have gone to the 
old stand. In such a case, the Apiarist may place the old 
colony on the stand of a third hive which is of insufficient 
strength either to produce a crop of honey or to swann. 
The active bees of this colony are thus given to the colony 
that swarmed and the third colony is itself removed to another 

This .method usually does entirely away with secondaiy 
swarming. It is recommended by W. Z. Hutchinson, editor 
of the Bee-Keeper's Revieiu, and author of "Advanced Bee- 

The increase of colonies may be kept down within reason- 
able limits by returning all after-swarms that have issued from 
the hives to the parent colonies. The swarm is hived in any 
any kind of box and allowed to remain twent>^-four to fortj^- 
eight hours. At the end of that time it is shaken in front of 
the hive from which it has issued. The bees willingly re-enter 
their former home and rarely issue again. This method of 
prevention of increase is sometimes successful even with pri- 
mary swarms, if the conditions are other^vise favorable to 
their comfort. It is not a prevention of swarming, but a 
Drevention of increase in spite of natural swarmiug. 

^■^■■^'y . 

Plate 18. 


The Late Publisher of "T/ie Bee-Keeper* s Review,''' 

Author of ''The Production of Comb-Honey.** and of '•Advunrcd 


This writer is mentioned pages 97, 221, 242, 279, 280, 281, 282, 39C. 
442, 451, 511. 


Artificial Swarming. 

469. Every practical bee-keeper is aware of the uncer- 
tainty of natural swarming-. Under no circumstances can it 
be confidently relied on. While some colonies swarm repeat- 
edly, others, apparentlj^ as strong- in numbers, and rich in 
stores, refuse to swarm, even in seasons in all respects highly 
propitious. Such colonies, on examination, will often be 
found to have taken no steps for raising young queens. Be- 
sides, it frequently happens that, when all the preparations 
have been made for swarming, the weather proves so inclem- 
ent that the j'oung queens approach maturity before the old 
ones can leave, and are all destroyed. Under such circum- 
stances, swarming, for that season, is almost certain to be 
prevented. The young queens are also sometimes destroyed, 
because of some sudden, and perhaps only temporary, suspen- 
sion of the honey-harvest; for bees seldom colonize, even if 
all their jireparations are completed, unless the blossoms are 
yielding an abmidant supply of honey. 

The numerous perplexities pertaining to natural swarming, 
have, for ages, directed the attention of cultivators to the 
importance of devising some more reliable method for increas- 
ing the number of their colonies. 

Dr. Scudamore quotes Columella as giving directions for 
making artificial swarms. Although he taught how to furnish 
a queen to a destitute colony, and how to transfer brood-comb, 
with maturing bees, from a strong stock to a weak one, he 
does not appear to have formed entirely new colonies by any 
artificial process. His treatise on bee-keeping shows not only 
that he Avas well acquainted with previous writers on the sub- 



ject, but that lie was also a successful practical Apiarist. Its 
precepts, with but few exceptions, ai'e truly admirable, and 
prove that in his time bee-keeping-, with the masses, must have 
been far in advance of what it was fifty years ago. 

We have spoken of the bar-hive (282) as at least two 
hundred years old. From "A Journey into Greece, by George 
Wheeler, Esq.," made in 1675-6, it appears that it was, at 
that time, in common use there, and, probably, even then an 
old invention : he described its uses in forming artificial 
swarms, and removing spare honey. As the new swarms were 
made by dividing the combs between two hives, and no men- 
tion is made of giving the queenless one a royal cell, those old 
observers were probably acquainted with the fact that they 
could rear one from the worker-brood. Huber says:— "Mon- 
ticelli, a Neapolitan Professor, claims that the plan of arti- 
ficial swarming was borrowed from Favignana, and that the 
practice is so ancient that even the Latin names are pre- 
served by the mhabitants in their procedure." 

470. Huber, after his splendid discoveries in the physi- 
ology of the bee, felt the need of some way of multiplying 
colonies, more reliable than that of natural swarming. Ho 
recommends forming artificial swarms, by dividing one of the 
hives, and adding six emptj- frames to each half. 

"Dividmg-hives" (278-279) of various kinds have been 
used in this comitry. The principle seems to have all the ele- 
ments of success; but it was ascertained that, however modi- 
fied, such hives are all practically worthless for purposes of 
artificial increase. 

It is one of the laws of the hive, that bees which have no 
mature queen, seldom build any cells except such a^ are de- 
signed merely for storing honey, and are too large for the 
rearing of workers (228). 

471. Messrs. Langstroth and Dzierzon were the first ob- 
servers who had noticed the bearing of this remarkable fact 
on artificial increase. It may, at first, seem unaccountable 
that bees should build only comb unfit for breeding, when 




their yoiinj? queen will so soon require worker-cells for her 
egg:s; but it must be borne in mind that at such times they 
are in an ^'ahnormaV condition. In a state of nature, they 
seldom swarm until their hive is full of comb; or if they do, 
their numbers are so reduced that they are rarely able to re- 
sume comb-buildinir, until the young queen has hatched. 

The determination of bees having no mature queen, to 
build comb designed only for storing honey, and unfit for 
rearing workers, shows veiy clearly the folly of attempting 
to multiply colonies by dividing-hives, unless the greater part 
of the bees are given to the queen, and the greater part of 
the combs to the queenless half, or unless the Apiarist has 
enough combs already built or sheets of comb foundation, 
on hand, to fill up the empty space. 

AVhen the queenless part proceeds to sujDply her loss, if it 
has bees enough to build new comb, it will build such as is 
designed only for storing honey. The next year, if this hive 
is divided, one-half will contain nearly all the brood, while 
the other, having most of its combs fit only for storing honej', 
or raising drones, will be a complete failure. 

So uniformly do bees with an unhatched queen build coarse, 
or drone-comb, that often a glance at the combs of a new 
colony, will show either that it is queenless, or that, haA^ng 
been so, it has just reared a new queen. 

472. Some Apiarists have attempted to multiply their 
colonies, by removing, when thousands of its inmates are 
ranging the fields, a strong stock to a new stand, and setting 
in its place an empty hive, with a frame of brood-comb, suit- 
able for raising a queen. This method is still worse than the 
one just described. One-half of the dividing-hive was filled 
A\ ith breeding comb, while this empty hive having next to none, 
all that is built before the queen hatches, will be of a size un- 
suitable for rearing workers. The queenless part of the di- 
vided hive might also have contained a young queen almost 
mature, so that the building of large combs would have quickly 
ceased; for it is not always necessaiy that a queen should have 


commenced laying eggs to induce licr colony to build worker- 
cells; we have known a strong swarm with a virgin queen, 
to build beautiful worker-comb, before a single egg was de- 
posited in the cells. 

When a new colony is formed by dividing the old hive, the 
queenless jDart has thousands of cells filled with brood and 
eggs, and young bees will be hatching for at least three weeks ; 
by this time the young queen will ordinarily be laying eggs, 
so that there will be an interval of not more than three weeks, 
during which the colony will receive no accessions. But when 
a new swarm is formed, in the way above described, not an 
egg will be laid for nearly three weeks, and not a bee hatched 
for nearly six. During all this time the colony will rapidly 

Every observmg bee-keeper has noticed how rapidly even 
a large swarm diminishes in number, for the first three weeks 
after it has been hived. So great is the mortality of bees dur- 
ing the height of the working-season, that often, in less than 
that time, it does not contain one-half its original number. 

By the time the progenj'- of the yomig queen begins to ma- 
ture, the new hive will have so few bees that it would seldom 
be of any value, even if its combs were of the best construc- 

473. One strong forced swarm ^ can be obtained in any 
style of hive, including box-hives, by the driving process 
(574 to 577) as follows: ^Yhen it is time to form artificial 
colonies, we mean a few days before swarming time, or as 
soon as the hives are about full of bees,— drum a strong stock 
—which call J. — so as to secure all its bees. 

They maj' be driven either into a forcing-box, or into the 
upper story of a movable frame hive, and hived like a new 
swarm, when, if placed on their old stand, they will work as 
vigorously as a natural swarm. If they were driven, at first, 
into a hive which will suit the Apiarist, it may be returned 
to their old location, without disturbing the bees. 

If any bees are abroad when this is done, thev will join 


this jiew colony. Keiiiove to a new stand in tiie apiary a 
second stock— which call S— and put A in its place. 

Thousands of the bees that belong to B, as they return 
from the fields, will enter A, which thus secures enough to 
develop the brood, and rear a new queen. In fact, this col- 
ony often becomes so strong, by the help of the field work- 
ers of B, as well as through its own constantly' hatching bees, 
that there is some danger of its casting off a swarm when 
the first young queen hatches, unless again divided at that 

474. It is quite amusing to observe the actions of the 
bees that return to their old stand, when their homes have 
been exchanged as above. 

If the strange hive is like their own in size and outward 
appearance, they go in as though all was right, but soon 
rush out in violent agitation, imagming that by some unae- 
comi table mistake, they have entered the w^rong place. Tak- 
mg wing to correct their blunder, they find, to their increas- 
ing surprise, that they had directed their flight to the proper 
spot; again they enter, and again they tumble out, in bewil- 
dered crowds, until at length, if they find a queen or the 
means of raismg one, they make up their mmds that if the 
strange hive is not home, it looks like it, stands where it ought 
to be, and is, at all events, the only home they are likely to 
get. No doubt they often feel that a very hard bargain has 
been imposed upon them, but they are generally wise enough 
to make the best of it. They will be altogether too much dis- 
concerted to quarrel with any bees that were left in the hive 
when it was forced, and these on their part give them a wel- 
come reception, especially if they come in with a hea^y load. 

This method of artificial swarming will not weaken either 
of the mother-colonies. If B had been first forced, and then 
removed, it would have been seriously injured: but as it loses 
fewer bees than if it had swarmed, and retains its queen, it 
will soon become almost as powerful as before it was re- 


The reader will notice that the treatment above recommended 
for the making of artificial swarms produces exactly the same 
result as the method mentioned at 468 his for natural 
swarms. It secured one swarm from two colonies. 

The Apiarist, by treating a natural swarm as he has been 
directed to treat a forced one, can secure an increase of one 
colony from two; and of all the methods of conducting nat- 
ural swarming, in regions where rapid increase is not profit- 
able, this is the best, provided the colonies do not stand too 
close together, and the hives used in the process are somewhat 
similar in shape and color. 

475. Whenever the hce-keeper learns how to handle the 
movable- f rames safely he must dispense with the forcing-box, 
and make his swarms by lifting out the frames from the pa- 
rent-stock, and shaking the bees from them, by a quick jerk- 
ing motion, upon a sheet, directly in front of the new hive. 

If the hive contains much fresh honey, which is usually 
very thin, the bees must be brushed off, for shakmg them off 
would also shake out a large amount of nectar (249). 

As soon as a comb is deprived of its bees, it should be 
returned to the parent-stock. If one or two combs contain- 
ing brood, eggs, and stores, are given to the forced swarm, 
it will be much encouraged, and will need no feeding (605) 
if the weather should be unfavorable. In removing the 
frames, the bee-keeper should look for the queen, and give 
the comb she is on, to the forced swarm, without shaking off 
the bees. If he dees not see her on the combs, he wall seldom 
after a little practice, fail to notice her, as she is shaken on 
the sheet, and crawls towards the new hive. The queen is 
seldom left on a frame after it has been shaken so that most 
of the bees fall off (439). 

476. The more combs with brood are taken from A, the 
less chance it will have to send forth a natural .swarm with its 
first hatched queen. 

If it is desirable to make a large number of swarms, and 
the parent colony is strong in hatching bees, only a few of 


the combs need be shaken in front of the new hive contain- 
ing the queen, and the parent colony, with the adhering young 
bees, may be set in a new place. 

By this method, one swarm is made from each of the hives 
set apart for increase, and although the colonies thus divided 
are not so strong as when one swarm is made from two hives; 
yet, in ordinary localities and seasons, they become strong 
enough for all purposes, long before the season is over, espe- 
cially if young queens are introduced (533) in the colonies 
made queenless, and comb-foimdation is used in full sheets in 
the frames (674). 

This method of making artificial swarms may be varied ad- 
infinitum. It is currently known among practical Apiarists 
under the name of "shook-swarming." 

477. If the mother-colony has not been supplied with a 
fertile queen, it cannot for a long time part with another 
swarm, without bemg seriously Aveakened. 

Second-swarming, as is well known, often very much in- 
jures the parent-colony, although its queens are rapidly ma- 
turing; but the forced mother-colony may have to start them 
almost from the egg. By giving it a fertile queen, and re- 
taining enough adhering bees to develop the brood, another 
swarm may be taken away in ten or twelve days in a good 
season, and the mother-colony left in a far better condition 
than if it had parted with two natural swarms. In favorable 
seasons and localities, this process may be repeated two or 
three times, at intervals of ten days, and if no combs are re- 
moved, the mother-colony will still be well supplied with 
brood and mature bees. Indeed, the judicious removal of 
bees, at proper intervals, often leaves it, at the close of the 
Summer, better supplied than non-swarming colonies with ma- 
turing brood; the latter having— in the expressive language 
of an old writer— "waxed over fat." 

We have had colonies which, after parting with four swarms 
in the way above described, have stored their hives with Fall 
honey, besides yielding a surplus in the supers. 


This method of artificial inci-ease, which resembles natural 
swarming', in not taking away the combs of the mother-colony, 
is not only superior to it, in leaving" a fertile queen, but ob- 
viates almost entirelj' all risk of after-swarming; for the 
forced swarm, containing the old queen, seldom attempts to 
send forth a new colony, and the parent hive, in which the 
young queen is placed, is too destitute of field-workers to 
swarm soon. The young queen herself is equally content — 
except in veiy warm climates, or in extraordinaiy seasons- - 
to stay where she is put. Even if the old queen is allowed 
to remain in the mother-colony, she will seldom leave, if suffi- 
cient room is given for storing surplus honey; and it makes 
no difference — as far as liability of swarming is concerned — 
where the young one is put. 

478. Artificial increase may be also made, by simply 
giving several frames of hatching bees to a nucleus (520) 
containing a fertile queen, and placing the colony thus built 
up on the stand of a strong hive, removing the latter to a 
new location. 

If, from some cause, the parent-colony could not be moved, 
the forced swarm might be made to adhere to a new location 
as follows: Secure their queen, when the bees are shaken 
out of the hive ; and when they show that they miss her, con- 
fine them to their hive, until their agitation has reached its 
height. Then open the hive, and as the bees begin to take 
wing, present their queen to them. When they have clustered 
around her, they may he treated like a natural swarm. To 
do this w4th every forced swarm would take too much time; 
but it would answer well when the forced SAvarm is to be 
moved a short distance. 

479. If no queens have been raised previously (514), 
by taking a few forced swarms, from select colonies (513), 
nine days before the time in which the most are to be made, 
there will be an abundance of sealed queens, almost mature, 
so that eveiy parent-colony may have one. If the forced 
swarms were made a short time before natural swarming 


would have taken place, some of tne })arent-colonies will 
contain a number of maturing queens, which may be removed, 
a few days before hatching, and given to such as have started 
none. But it is far better to rear the queens first, as they can 
be bred from choice stock (513). 

However, as queen-i'earing, by tlie Alley or Doolittle meth- 
ods (528, 530), has now become a special business in the 
South, Apiarists may find it profitable to buy their queens 
from some reliable breeder in a southern state, Avhere they can 
be reared more cheaply, early in the season (601). 

480. A nucleus (520) may be built up after its queen 
has commenced laj'ing, by helping it with a comb of brood 
and young bees, from a full colony, adding, at proper inter- 
vals, a third, and a fourth, until they are strong enough to 
take care of themselves. This mode of increase is laborious, 
and requires skill and judgment; for, the bee-keeper should 
be very careful never to give a weak colony more brood than 
its bees can cover, remembering that, should the temperature 
become colder, the brood might be chilled and perish. 

As a number of nuclei are to be simultaneously strength- 
ened the Apiarist cannot complete his artificial processes by 
a single operation, and must always be on hand, or incur the 
risk of ending the season with a number of starving colonies. 
For these and other reasons, we nuicli prefer the other meth- 
ods, above given, dispensing with so much opening of hives 
and handling of combs. If, however, any of the new colonies 
are weak enough to need it, they must be helped to combs 
from stronger ones. 

481. Whatever method of artipcial increase is pursued by 
the Apiarist, he should never reduce the strength of his mother- 
colonies, so as seriously to cripple the reproductive power of 
their queens. This principle should be to him as "the law 
of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not;" for, while a 
queen, with an abundance of worker-comb and bees, may, in 
a single season, become the parent of a number of prosper- 
ous families, if her colony, at the beginning of the swarm- 


ing season, is divided into three or four parts, not one of them 
will ordinarily acquire stores enough to survive the Winter. 
The practical bee-keeper should remember that no drone- 
comb is built when the queen is with the builders (229), and 
that the iess increase he takes, from the colonies on which he 
relies for surplus-honey, the better. 

482. With the movable-frame hive, and the improved 
system, the Apiarist, by raising his queens or queen-eelis 
(514) previously {and liiis is very important) can take the 
increase that he wishes to make, from colonies that would 
have produced little, if an)/, surplus, and preserve his best col- 
onies for honey production. Let it not be understood by 
this, that we advise taking the increase from weak colonies, 
in every apiary, there are some colonies, which, though of 
fair strength, do not become populous in time to harvest 
more than their supply. Such colonies can furnish good 
swarms, with but little help, owing to the fact that the greater 
number of their bees raised during the harvest, instead of 
before it, are too young to go to the field (162). 

If our method is followed, the colonies, which have been 
kept for honey production, can furnish help, if necessary, 
towards the end of the season, for those of the artificial 
swarms that need it. 

To the prudent Apiarist, they are as a reserve body of 
select troops to the skillful general, a timely help, in an 

Remember that populous colonies, that are raising queen- 
cells, during the early part of a good honey harvest, are 
strongly inclined to swarm when the young queens hatch 

483. The colonies that are raising young queens, either 
from worker-brood or from queen-cells given them, must be 
well supplied with honey, must have enough young bees to 
keep the brood warm and to take care of it, and no comb- 
building to do. 

One artificial swarm made at the opening of the honey 


harvest, when the hive is lull <•!' Ijrood, is better than two 
swarms made at its close. 

Wlien new colonies are made by purchasing queens (601 ) 
with nuclei (520), shipped from a distance (587), they 
should be hived on as many combs of brood, taken from other 
hives, as they can well cover. If full frames of foundation 
(074) are added, from time to time, strong colonies may be 
built out of them, quite readily. 

If the colonies are gathering much honey, when artificial 
swarms are made, but little smoke (^82) will be needed in 
the operations. The frequent use of smoke makes the queea 
leave the combs, for greater securit}-. This often causes great 
delay in the formation of artificial swarms by removing the 
frames, and in operations where it is desirable to catch the 
queen, or to examine her upon the comb. 

48-1. Artificial alterations of all kinds are most successful 
iihen bee- forage is abundant ; when it is scarce, they arc quite 
precarious, even if the colonies are well supplied with food. 

When bees are not busy in honey-gathering, they have 
leisure to ascertain the condition of weak colonies, which are 
almost certain to be robbed, if they are incautiously opened. 
AVhen forage is scarce, the Apiarist who does not guard 
against robbing (004) will seriously impair the value of his 
colonies, and entail upon himself much useless and vexatious 
labor. Beware of demoralizing bees, by tempting them to rob 
one another. 

485. During a good honey flow, bees from different hives 
may be mixed without quarreling, oAving to their more peace- 
able dis]^osition, when full of honey, hence all manipulations 
become much easier. But at other times, great caution is 
requisite not only in giving a hive a strange queen, but in 
all attempts to mix bees belonging to different colonies. Bees 
having a fertile queen will often quarrel with those having 
an unimpregnated one. 

Members of different colonies recognize their hive-com- 
panions especially by the sense of smell, and if there should 


be a thousand hives m the apiary, any one will readily detect 
a strange bee; just as each mother in a large flock of sheep 
is able, bj^ the same sense, in the darkest night, to distinguish 
her own lamb from all the others. Colonies might be safely 
mingled, bj^ sprinkling them with sugar-water, scented with 
peppermint or any other strong odor, which would make them 
all smell alike. 

Bees also recognize strangers by their actions, even when 
they have the same scent; for a frightened bee curls herself 
up with a cowed look, which unmistakably jDroclaims that 
she is conscious of being an intruder. If, therefore, the bees 
of one colony are left on their oicn stand, and the others are 
suddenly introduced, in a time of scarcity, the latter, even 
when both colonies have the same smell, are often so fright- 
ened that they are discovered to be strangers, and are instantly 
killed. If, however, hoth colonies are removed to a new stand, 
and shaken out together on a sheet, they will peaceably mingle, 
when scented alike. We find substantially the same thing rec- 
ommended, in 1778, by Thomas Wildman (page 230 of the 
3d edition of his valuable work on Bees), who says, that bees 
will "unite while in fear and distress, without fighting, as they 
would be apt to do, if strange bees were added to a hive in 
possession of its honey." 

486. The forcing of a swarm ought not to be attempted 
when the weather is cool, nor after dark. Bees are always 
much more irascible when their hives are disturbed after it 
is dark, and as they cannot see where to fly, they will alight 
on the person of the bee-keeper, who is almost sure to be 
stung. It is seldom that night work is attempted upon bees, 
without making the operator repent his folly. 

487. "We would strongly dissuade any but the most ex- 
perienced Apiarists, from attempting, at the furthest, to do 
more than double their colonies in one year. It would take 
another book to furnish directions for rapid multiplication, 
sufficiently full and explicit for the inexi:>erienced ; and even 
then, most who should undertake it. would be sure, at first, 


io fail. AN'itli ten strong colonies of bees, in movable-comb 
iiives, in one pj'opitious season, we could so nicrease them, 
in a favorable location, as to have, on the approach of Winter, 
one hundred good colonies; but we should expect to purchase 
queens, foundation, and perhaps hundreds of pounds of 
honey, devoting much of our time to their management, and 
bringing to the Avork the experience of many years, and the 
judgment acquired by numerous lamentable failures. 

In one season, being called from home after our colonies 
had been greatly multiplied, the honey harvest was suddenly 
cut short by a drought, and we found, on our return, that 
most of our stocks were ruined by starvation. 

The time, care, skill, and food required in our uncertain 
climate for the rapid increase of colonies, arc so great, that 
not one bee-keeper in a hundred* can make it profitable; 
while most who attempt it, will be almost sure, at the close 
of the season, to find themselves in possession of colonies 
which have been managed to death. 

A ce)tain rather than a rapid multiplication of colonies, is 
most needed. A single colony, doubling eveiy year, would, 
in ten years, increase to 1,024 colonies, and in twenty years 
to over a million ! f At this rate, our whole country might, in 

* Many a person who reads this will probably imagine that he is the 
one in a hundred. 

+ The following calculation of possible profits from bee-culture, taken 
from "Sydserff's Treatise on Bees," published in England, in 1792, is a 
perfect gem of its kind : 

"Suppose a swarm of bees at the first to cost 10s. 6d., and neither 
them nor the swarms to be taken, but to do well, and swarm once every 
year" — bees must be naughty, indeed, if they dare to do otherwise! — 
"what will be the product for fourteen years, and what the profit, if 
each hive i.s sold at 10s. 6d. ? 

Years. Hives. Profit^?. 

£ s. d. 

1 1 

9 ... 2 1 1 " 

3.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'..... 4 2 2 

4 S i ■i (^ 

14 8192 4300 16 

•N. B. Deduct 10s. fid., what the first hive cost, and the remainder 


a few 3'ears, be over-stocked witli bees; and even an increase 
of one-third, annually, would soon give us enough. 

488. All the methods of increase above given, and several 
others of less importance, were described by Mr. Langstroth 
years ago. He never hesitated to sacrifice several colonies, 
in order to ascertain a single fact; and it would require a 
large volume, to detail his various experiments on the single 
subject of artificial swarming. The practical bee-keeper, how- 
ever, should never lose sight of the important distinction 
between an apiary managed principally for purposes of 
observation and discovery, and one conducted exclusively with 
reference to pecuniary profit. Any bee-keeper can easily 
experiment with movable-frame hives; but he should do it, at 
first, only on a small scale, and if pecuniary profit is his 
object, should follow our directions, until he is sure that he 
has discovered others which are better. These cautions are 
given to prevent serious Idsses in using hives which, by facili- 
tating all manner of experiments, may tempt the inexperienced 
into rash and unprofitable courses. Beginners, especially, 
should follow the directions here given as closely as possible; 
for, although they may doubtless be modified and improved, it 
can only be done by those experienced in managing bees. 

Let us not be understood as wishing to intimate that per- 
fection has been so nearly attained, that no more important 
discoveries remain to be made. On the contrary, we believe 
that apiculture is a growing science. Those who have time 
and means should experiment on a large scale with the mov- 
able-comb hives; and we hope that every intelligent bee-keeper 

will be clear profit ; supposing the second swarms to pay for hives, 
labor, etc." The modesty with which this writer, who seems to have 
had as much faith in his bees as in the doctrine that "figures cannot 
lie," closes his calculation at the end of fourteen years, is truly refresh- 
ing. No bee-keeper, on such a royal road to wealth, could ever find it in 
his heart to stop under twenty-one years, by which time, probably, he 
would be willing to close his bee-business, by selling it for over two and 
three-quarter millions of dollars ! The attention of all venders of hum- 
bug bee-hives is respectfully invited to this antique specimen of the art 
of puffing. 


\\lio uses them, will experiment, at least, on a small scale. In 
this way, we may hope that those points in the natural history 
of the bee still involved in doubt, will, ere long, be satisfac- 
torily explained. 

There is a large class of bee-keepers— not %ee-masters"— 
who desire a hive which will give them, however ignorant or 
careless, a large yield of honey from their bees. They are 
easily captivated by the shallowest devices, and spend their 
money and destroy their bees, to fill the purses of unprincipled 
men. There never will be a "royal road" to profitable bee- 
keeping. Like all other branches of rural economy, it de- 
mands care and experience ; and those who are conscious of a 
strong disposition to procrastinate and neglect, will do well 
to let bees alone, unless they hope, by the study of their sys- 
tematic industiy, to reform evil habits which are well nigh 


QuEEX Rearing. 

489. ^\e have shown (109) that when a colony is de- 
prived of its queen, the bees soon laise another, if they have 
worker eggs or young larva?. 

In general, tliey select, first, some of the oldest among those 
whose milky "pap" has not yet been changed for coarser food 
(107). Such a selection is wise, for the older the larva is, 
the sooner the colony will recover a queen. 

490. But some Apiarists fear that the bees will secure 
poorer queens, if they use larvae, for they suppose that the 
food given to these during the first three days, may be dif- 
ferent from tlie food given to the queen-larvae, although it 
looks the same, and for this reason, they prefer to raise their 
queens from the egg. 

491. A learned bee-keeper, of Switzerland, Mr. De Planta, 
has made comparative chemical experiments, on the milky 
food which is first given to the larvae of drones, queens, and 
workers, and has ascertained that this food is composed of the 
same substances for all, albumen, fat, sugar, and water, and 
that the only difference is in the proportions of these sub- 
stances. Yet he concludes that these variations are but acces- 
sory, and not premeditated by the bees. 

We think that these conclusions are right, for Mr. De 
Planta, to get a sufficient quantity of this food, had to take 
it from different hives, and at different seasons of the year; 
and as this milky food is apparently the product of glands 
(64), as is the milk of our cows, the proportions of sub- 
stances in the "milk" of bees, may vary, as they do in the 
milk of cows, which contains more or less caseine, fat, sugar, 
or water, according to the race, the age, and the food eaten. 


260 (/lEEX REARING, 

492. Other bee-keepers suppose tliat the ne\vly-hatche«l 
larvae, intended by the bees to be raised as queens, are more 
plentifully fed from the first, than worker-larva?. But we 
have always noticed, that, except during' a scarcity, the laHer 
have as much of this pap as they can eat, durinix the first 
three days, since they float on the milky food (166). The 
wise bee-keeper can ward against the i-eanng of poor queens, 
by feeding his bees abundantly, if necessary, a few days in 
advance, and during the queen-breeding. 

493. Lastly, some bee-keepers think that bees sometimes 
use larvas more than three days old, and which consequently, 
have already received coarser food. One of our leaders in 
bee-culture writes that one of his colonies must have used 
a larva four and one-half days old, since this colony hatched 
a queen in eight and one-half days, instead of about ten, as 
usually (110). (Cook's Guide.) But we cannot admit that 
the nurses were guilty of such blunder, especially since they 
would have had the trouble of replacing with better food, 
the coarse pap already given. Most likely, some already con- 
structed queen-cell had passed unnoticed. Every one of us, 
old bee-keepers, has made siniilai* errors, some queen cells 
being deceptive (519). 

494. The worker-larvae are fed with milky food for three 
days, and with coarse food for the three following days. 
Not only does this coarse food change their organism, but 
it retards their growth, since the queens are mature in six- 
teen days, from the time that the egg is laid (19'?), while 
the workers do not hatch before twenty-one days, on average. 
Thus the three days of coarse food have prolonged the growth 
five days, or in other words, each day of coarse feeding has 
delayed the maturity forty hours. Therefore, if we suppose 
that bees could, and would use, larvcTe four and one-half days 
old, queens thus produced would hatch two and one-half days 
later than those raised from larvae three days old. They 
v/ouid consequently hatch in eleven and one-half days instead 
of ten as usual. 


495. If some Apiarists have noticed that their best queens 
were reared during the swarming fever (455), it is because 
the colonies are then in the best conditions to produce healthy 
queens. They have pollen and honey in abundance; as they 
are numerous, they keep the combs very warm ; and, in addi- 
tion, they have a large number of young bees, or nurses, to 
take care of the larvas. 

496. The following accidental experiment has proved to 
us that most of the old wx)rkers are unable to act as nurses. 
Years ago, one of our neighbors moved three colonies of 
bees about half a mile, in the Summer, without taking proper 
precautions; we were informed the next day, that quite a 
number of the oldest bees had returned, and had clustered 
under an old table. We brought a hive there, with a comb 
containing eggs and young larvae. They took possession of it, 
but neglected to raise a queen, and soon dwindled aw^ay. 

497. By placing the colonies, intended to raise queens, 
in the same condition as to food, heat, and nursing, as during 
the swarming fever, w^e will raise as good queens as are then 
raised. If, to these conditions, we add the selection of brood, 
from our best queens, w^e will greatly improve the quality of 
our stock. 

For many years, we have used all the precautions described 
above, and, although our queens have never been reared from 
the egg, they are veiy prolific and long-lived. Using hives 
with ten or eleven large frames, we are enabled to ascertain, 
beyond doubt, the prolificness of our queens. Our preventing 
swarming (459) enables us also to reckon their longevity. 

498. The interposition of the Apiarist, in queen-rearing, 
may be necessary 

1st. To supply the loss of a queen in a colony that has 
r.ot the means of raising another. 

2d. To breed a superior race of bees, or improve the pres- 
ent stock. 

3d. To' provide for the artificial increase of colonies. 


We will study the leariiiir of queens, in view of these 


499. That the queen-bee is often lost, and thqt her colony 
will be mined unless such a calamity is seasonably remedied, 
ought to be familiar facts to eveiy bee-keejjer. 

Queens sometimes die of disease, or old age, when there is 
no brood to supply their loss. Few, however, perish under 
such circumstances; for, either the bees build royal ceils, 
aware of their approaching end, or they die so suddenly as 
to leave young brood behind them. Queens are not only much 
longer-lived (157) than the workers, but are usually the last 
to perish in any fatal casualty. As many die of old age, if- 
their death does not occur under favorable circumstances, it 
would cause, yearlj-, the loss of a vei-j' large number of col- 
onies. As they seldom die when their strength is not severely 
taxed in breeding, drones are usually on hand to impregnate 
their successors. 

500. Young queens are sometimes bom with wings so 
imperfect that they cannot fly; and they may be so injured 
in their contests with each other, or by the rude treatment 
they receive when driven from the royal-cells, that they can- 
not leave the hive for impregnation (123). 

501. More querns, whose loss cannot he supplied hij the 
bees, perish when they leave the hive to meet the drones, than 
in all oilier waijs. After the departure of the first swarm, the 
mother-colony and all the after-swarms have young queens 
which must leave the hive for impreg-nation ; their larger size 
and slower flight make them a more tempting prey to birds, 
while others are dashed, by sudden gusts of wind, against 
some hard object, or blown into the water; for, with all their 
queenlj' dignity, they are not exempt from mishaps common 
to the humblest of their race. 

502. In spite of their caution to mark the position and 
appearance of their habitation, the young queens frequently 


make a fatal mlntake, and are destroyed, when attemjjUny lo 
enter the wrong hive. 

This accounts for the fact that ignorant bee-keepers, with 
forlorn and rickety hives, no two of which look just alike, 
are sometimes more successful than those whose hives are of 
the best construction. The former— unless their hives are 
excessively crowded— lose but few queens, while the latter lose 
them in almost exact proportion to the taste and skill which 
induced them to make their hives of uniform size, shape and 
color (356). 

503. We first learned the full extent of the danger of 
crowded apiaries, in the Summer of 1854. To protect our 
hives agamst extremes of heat and cold, they were ranged, 
side by side, over a trench, so that, through ventilators in 
their bottom-boards, they might receive, in Summer, a cooler, 
and in Winter, a much warmer air, than the external atmos- 
phere. By this arrangement— which failed entirely to answer 
its design— many of our colonies became queenless, and Ave 
soon ascertained under what circumstances young queens arc 
ordinarily lost. 

From the great miiformity of the hives in size, shape, 
color, and height, it was next to impossible for a young queen 
to be sure of returning to her hive. The difficulty was in- 
creased, from the fact that the ground before the trench was 
free from bushes or trees, and no hive— except the two end 
ones, which did not lose their queens — could have its location 
remembered, from its relative joosition to some external object. 
Most of the hives thus placed, which had young queens, be- 
came queenless, although supplied with other queens, again 
and again; and many, even of the workers, were constant]}^ 
entei'ing hives adjoining their own. 

504. If a traveler should be carried, in a dark night, to 
a hotel in a strange city, and on rising in the morning, should 
find the streets filled with buildings precisely like it, he would 
be able to return to his proper place, only by previously 
ascertaining its number, or by counting the houses between it 
and the corner. Such a numbering faculty, however, was not 

2i>4 «/LEEX KEARlN(i. 

yiven lu tJie queeii-bee; iur who, in a state of nature, ever 
saw a (iozen or more hollow trees or other places frequented 
by bees, standing close together, i)recisely alike in size, shape, 
and color, with their entrances all facing the same way, and 
at exactly the same height from the ground? 

On describing to a friend our observations on the loss uf 
queens, he told us that in the management of his hens, he 
had fallen into a somewhat similar mistake. To economize 
room, and to give easier access to his setting hens, he had 
partitioned a long box into a dozen or more separate apart- 
ments. The hens, in returning to their nests, were deceived 
by the similarity of the entrances, so that often one box con- 
tamed two or three unamiable aspirants .for the honors of 
maternity, while others .were entirely forsaken. Many eggs 
were broken, more were addled, and hardly enough hatched 
to establish one mother as the happy mistress of a flourishing 
famih'. Had he left his hens to their own instincts, they 
would liave scattered their nests, and gladdened his ej^es with 
a numerous offspring. 

Every bee-keeper, whose hives are so arranged that the 
young queens are liable to make mistakes, nuist count upon 
l:ea\^' losses. If he puts a number of hives, under circum- 
stances similar to those described, upon a bench, or the shelves 
of a bee-house, he can never keep their number good without 
constant renewal. 

505. The bees are sometimes so excessively agitated when 
llieir (lueen leaves for imjiregnation (120), that they ex- 
hibit all the appearance of swarming. Th^y seem to have an 
instinctive perception of the dangers which await her, and 
we have known them to gather around her and confine her. 
as though they ctuild not bear to have her leave. If a queeji 
is lost on her wedding excursion, the bees of an old colony 
wnll gradually decline; those of an after-swarm, will either 
unite with another hive, or dwindle away (182). 

506. It would be interesting, could Ave learn how bees 
become informed of the loss of their queen. When she is 
taken from them under circumstances that excite the whole 


colony, we can easily see liuw they lind it out; tor, as a 
tender mother, hi time of danger, is all anxiety for her help- 
less children, so bees, when alarmed, always seek tirst to assure 
themselves of the safety of their queen. If, however, the 
queen is very carefully lemoved, several Lours may elapse 
before they I'ealize their loss. How do they first become aware 
of it? Perhaps some dutiful bee, anxious to embrace her 
mother, makes diligent search for her through the hive. The 
intelligence that she cannot be found being noised abroad, 
the whole family is speedily alarmed. At such times, instead 
of calmly conversing, by touching each other's antennae, they 
may be seen violentlj^ striking them together, and by the 
most impassioned demonstrations manifesting their agony and 

We once removed the queen of a small colony, the bees 
of which took wing and filled the air, in search of her. 
Although she was returned in a few minutes, royal-cells 
were found two days later. The queen was unhurt, and the 
cells mi tenanted. Was this work begun by some that did not 
believe the others, when assured that she ^^as safe? or from 
(he apprehensicn that she might be removed again? 

507. As soon as the bees begin to fly briskly in the 
Spring, a colony which does not industriously gather pollen, 
or accept of flour (267), is almost certain to have no queen, 
or one that is not fertile— unless it is on the eve of perishing 
from starvation. 

A colony is sure to be queenless, if, after taking its first 
Spring-flight, the bees, by roaming, in an enquiring manner 
in and out of the hive show that some great calamity has 
befallen them. Those that come from the rields, instead of 
entering the hive with that dispatchful haste so character- 
istic of a bee returning, well loaded, to a prosperous home, 
usually linger about the entrance with an idle and dissatisfied 
appearance, and the colony is restless, late in the day, when 
others are quiet. Their home, like that of a man who is 
cursed in his domestic relations, is a melancholy place, and 
they enter it only with reluctant and slow-moving steps. 


508. And liere, if permitted to address a word of friendly 
advice, we would say to eveiy wife— Do all that you can to 
make your husband's home a place of attraction. When 
absent from it, let his heart glow at the thought of return- 
ing to its dear enjoyments; as he approaches it, let his 
countenance involuntarily assume a more cheerful expres- 
sion, while his joy-quickened steps proclaim that he feels that 
there is no place like the cheerful home where his chosen 
wife and companion presides as its happy and honored 

"The tenth and last species of women were made out of a 
bee; and happy is the man who gets such a one for his wife. 
She is full of virtue and prudence, and is the best wife that 
Jupiter can bestow." — Spectator, No. 209. 

509. The neglect of a colony to expel drones (192), 
when they are destroyed in other hives, is always a suspicious 
sign, and generally an indication either that it has no queen, 
or else a drone-laying one (134), or drone-laying workers 
(176). A colony, in these circumstances, will not even 
destroy the drones of other hives, which may come to it, 
until a healthy queen has been raised in the hive, and is fer- 
tilized, and laying worker-eggs. 

510. In opening a queenless hive, the plaintive hum of 
die bees, the listless and intermittent vibrating of their wings, 
and the total lack of eggs, or young worker brood, tell their 

A comb, with hatching bees,* should be given to it from 
ft stronger colony, together with another comb, of eggs and 
larvge, from the best colony in the apiary; and the number 
of its combs should be reduced to suit the size of the clus- 

A better way yet to supply the loss, is to give the colony 
a queen-cell (103) or a young queen raised in the manner to 
be now described. 

* That class of bee-keepers who suppose that all such operations are 
the "new fangled" inventions of modern times, will be surprised to learn 
that Columella, 1800 years ago, recommended strengthening feeble col- 
onies, by ruttinrf out combs from stronger ones, containing workers 
"just gnawing out of their cells." 


Rearixg IMPRO^'ED Races. 

511. We will show (550) that some races of bees are 
superior to others. Even in the same apiary , some colonies 
are better than others, in prolificness, honey-gathering, en- 
durance, gentleness, etc. It is very important to improve 
the apiary by rearing queens from the best breeds, for the 
increase of colonies, as well as to replace the inferior ones. 

To this end, the bee-keeper should select two or more of 
the best colonies in his apiary, one for the production of 
drones, the others for the production of queens. Italian 
(551) bees are universally preferred; and as they are now 
almost as easily found as common bees, and are very cheap, 
we advise the novice to begin with at least two queens of 
this race. 

A slight mixture of Cyj^rian or Syrian (559) blood is 
good, provided the issue be gentle and peaceable. Hybrids 
of common bees and Italians are often inferior, both in quality 
and disposition, and their characteristics are not fixed. 

512. In selecting a colony for drone production, the 
color and size of the drones should not be considered so 
much, as the prolificness of its queen, and the qualities of 
its workers, unless you wish to breed for beauty, in prefer- 
ence to honey-production. 

Place two drone-combs (224) in the center of the brood- 
chamber of this colony, as soon as it has recuperated from 
its winter losses. If the colony is kept well supplied with 
honej^, enough drones will be raised to impregnate all the 
queens in the neighborhood; otherwise, they might destroy 
these early drones after having raised them. 

If our directions on the removal of drone-comb (675) arc 
followed, but few drones will be raised outside of those 
colonies specially intended for drone-breeding. As soon as 
they begin to hatch, we may make preparations for queen- 
rearing, the best time being at the opening of fruit-blossoms. 
Some queen-breeders begin earlier, but early breeding gives 
much trouble and little paj^ and our advice to Northern Apiar- 
ists, who want early queens, is to buy them from some re- 

268 yUKKN KKAtilNd. 

liable biouthern Apiarist, as lliey can be raised earlier in the 
South, much more cheaply than in the North. 

513. In an apiary composed of several colonies, there 
ai"e always some which are not expected to yield much crop, 
either because their queens are old, or because they are not 
prolific. Such queens are of veiy little value, and should be 
replaced. Select one of these colonies— not the poorest, unless 
it is populous enough to raise good queens. Kill its queen, 
and exchange its brood-combs, after having brushed the bees 
off, for a less number of combs, containing eggs and larvae, 
from your best queen. It may be well to feed the colonies 
containing the select queens beforehand, so as to incite the 
laying of eggs (154) and nursing of the brood. 

514. If you desire to raise queens from eggs (490), or 
larvae just hatching', prepare for it, by giving your select 
colony some frames of diy comb, or comb foundation, (674) 
a few days ahead, for the queen to lay in. In this case, 
only those combs that contain eggs and young larv^ae should 
be given to the queenless colony. It is ahvays better to give 
but a small number of brood-combs to the colony intended 
for queen-raising, end to reduce its space wdth the division- 
board (349) ; as \h^j can best keep it warm, in this man- 
ner, and raise better queens. 

We should bear in mind that the nearer we get the colony 
that raises queens to the condition of a hive preparing to 
swarm, the better the queens will be. In a word, the hive 
in which queens are reared must be well supplied with bees, 
brood and honey, so the young queens may be well fed and 
kept warm. 

515. The largest number of queen-cells can be obtained 
by cutting holes into the combs under the cells containing 
young \arv8s or eggs, and feeding the bees plentifully. Some 
Apiarists hold that, by leaving them without brood of any 
kind for a few hours, they will raise more cells afterwards. 

516. Nme days after the furnishing of the brood to the 
queenless colony, count the number of queen-cells raised, 
remembering that one has to be left to the colony that raised 


Fig. 100. 



them. On the same day. make swarms, 
(475) or nuclei, (522 j or destroy worth- 
less queens (155) which you desire to re- 
place next day. 

517. The next day^ with a sharp pen- 
knife, carefully remove a piece of comb, aii 
inch or more square, that contains a queen - 
cell (Fig. 100), and in one of the brood 
combs of the hive to which this cell is to be 
given, cut a place just large enough to re- 
ceive and hold it in a natural position. 
(Fig. 101.) 

Each queenless stock can thus be supplied with a queoi., 
leady to hatch, from the best breeding mother. 

. Fig. 101. 
(From Gravenhor.«t. ) 


A, Unsealed cell. B, in- 
serted cell. C, Unfin- 
ished cell. D, Deceptive 
cell just begun. 

Unless very great care is used in transferring a royal cell, 
its inmate will be destroyed, as her body, imtil she is nearly 
mature, is so exceedingly soft, that a slight compression of 
her cell— especially near the base, where there is no cocoon— 
generally proves fatal. For this reason, it is best to defer 
removing them, until they are within three or four days of 
hatching. A queen-cell, nearly mature, may be known by 
its having the wax removed from the lid, by the bees, so as 
to give it a brown appearance. 

518. If the weather is warm, and the hive, to which a 



(jueeii-cell is given, is very populous, tiie cell may be intro- 
duced by simply inserting- it in its natural position between 
two combs of brood. It is very important to have the queen- 
cell in or near the brood, or the bees might neglect it. 

Sometimes, the bees so crowd the royal cells together 


Fig. 102. 


(From "Advanced Bee Culture.") 

(fig. 102) that it is difficult to remove one without fatally 
injuring: another, as, when a cell is cut into,, the destruction 
and removal of the larva usually follows. Mr. Alley, by 



his method, given further on (528), found a remedy for 
this. If many queens are to be raised, it is Avell to have a 
new supply of cells started every week or even oftener. 

519. A day or two after hitroducing the queen-cells, the 
Apiarist can ascertain, by examination, whether they have 
been accepted. If they have not been accepted, the cells will 
be fomid torn open, on the side 
(fig. 103), mstead of on the end, 
and the colonies will have begun 
queen-cells of their own brood. 
These queen-cells must be de- 
stroyed and replaced by others 
from the next supply. In removing 
them, the greatest care should be 
taken not to pass the deceptive 
queen-cells, if any are there (fig. 
101), which, although less appar- 
ent, would disappoint the end in 

520. When queens are raised 
ahead of time for artificial in- 
crease, italianizing, or for sale, it 
is more profitable to use nuclei in- 
stead of full colonies to hatch these 
queens. The word nuclei (plural 
of nucleus), from the Latin nucleus 
a nut, a kernel, was first applied 
by Mr. Langstroth to diminutive 
colonies of bees. This term is 
now universally adopted on both 

521. When we were raising 

queens for sale, we had contrived a, hatched cell ; b, sealed cell ; 
a divisible frame (figs. 104-105) to c, rudimentary cell; d, cell 

make these nuclei of combs taken ^^^ ^ 

from full colonies. Uur combs could be thus separated in two, 

and used in smaller hives, and in the Fall, these same combs 

Fig. 103. 



were returned to the full colonies. Two small frames are 
more advantageous than one large frame, as they give more 
compactness to the cluster. Besides, these small colonies can 

Fig. 104. 


be built up easily afterwards by coupling the frames, and 
uniting the combs of 3 or -4 nuclei into one large hive. 

Fig. 105. 


It is not necessaiy to have many of these frames in an api- 
ary, as a few are sufficient to make a number of nuclei, if 
they are placed in the centre of full colonies early in Spring. 



Two frames thus made from one standard Langstroth frame 
measure about 8^/^ by 8^2 inches each, a very convenient size 
for nucleus frames. 

ra fe- 

S as 

o = I 

In the Fall, a number of nuclei may be united, in a full 
sized hive, on their own combs by this method. 

522. To make a nucleus, take from a colony, as late in 


the afternoon as there is light enough to do it, a comb con- 
taining worker-egg's, and bees just gnawing out of their cells, 
and put it, with the mature bees that are on it, into an 
empty hive. If there are not bees enough adhering to it, 
to prevent the brood from being chilled during the night, 
more must be shaken into the hive from other combs. If 
the transfer is made so late in the day that the bees are not 
disposed to leave the hive, enough may have hatched, by morn- 
ing, to supply the place of those which will return to the 
l)arent stock. > 

523. In every case, when a swarm has left its hive for 
another quarter, each bee^ as she sallies out, flies with her 
head turned towards it, that by marking the surrounding 
objects, she may find her way back. If, however, the bees 
did not emigrate of their own free will, most of them appear- 
ing to forget, or not knowing, that their location has been 
(dianged, return to their familiar spot; for it would seem 

"A 'bee removed' against her will, 
Is of the same opinion still." 

Should the Apiarist, ignorant of this fact, place the nu- 
cleus on a new stand without providing it w^th a sufficient 
number of young bees, it would lose so many of the bees 
which ought to be retained m it, that most of its unsealed 
brood would perish from neglect. 

If the comb used in forcing such a nucleus was removed 
at a time of day when the bees would be likely to return to 
the parent stock, they should be confined to the hive, until 
it is too late for them to leave ; and if the number of bees, just 
emerging from their cells, is not large, the entrance to the 
hive should be closed, until about an hour before sunset of 
the next day but one. The hive containhig this small col- 
ony, should be properly ventilated, and shaded— if thin — 
from the intense heat of the sun; it should always be well 
supplied with honey. The space unoccupied in the hive should 
be separated from the nucleus by a division board (340). 


524. Beginners must remember that it is better to have 
these small nuclei strong with bees; but, in giving them 
young bees, care should be taken not to give them the queen. 
If a nucleus is made at mid-day, nearly all the bees given 
to it will be j'oung bees, as the old bees are then in the field.* 

The best manner to add young bees from strange colonies 
to weak nuclei, is to shake or brush them, on the apron board 
in front of the entrance, as is done m swarming (428). t 

525. Hives, or nuclei in which queen-cells are to be in- 
troduced, should be aware of their queenless condition before 
a queen-cell is given them. Hence the necessity of preparing 
them 24 hours previous. 

526. A vigilant eye should be kept upon every colony 
that has not an impregnated queen; and when its Cjueen is 
about a week old it should be examined, and if she has be- 
come fertile, she will usually be found supplymg one of the 
central combs with eggs. If neither queen nor eggs can be 
found, and there are no certain indications that she is lost, 
the hive should be examined a few days later, for some queens 
are longer in becoming impregnated than others, and it is often 
difficult to find an unimpregnated one, on account of her adroit 
way of hiding among the bees. 

As soon as the young queen lays, she may be mtrodiiced 
to a queenless colony, or sold, and if queen-cells are kept 
on hand, another one can be given to the nucleus the next 
day. Thus, nuclei may be made to raise two queens or more 
in a month. 

527. If the queens are to be multiplied rapidly, the 
nuclei must never be allowed to become too much reduced 
in numbers, or to be destitute of brood or honey. With 
these precautions, the oftener their queen is taken from them, 
the more intent they will usually become in supplying her loss. 

* Some apiarists place nuclei in the cellar for a day or two, to ac- 
custom the bees to their new home. 

t If these bees are taken from colonies that have been previously 
made queenless, they will more readily remain in their new homes, but 
young bees that have not yet taken flight seldom leave the hive to 
which they are given, if it has already brood and bees. 


There is one trail in llie character of bies which is worthy 
of profound respect. Such is their indomitable energy and 
])erseverance, that under circumstances apparently hopeless, 
they labor to the utmost to retrieve tlieir losses, and sustahi 
the sinking State. So long as they have a queen, or any 
l)rospect of raising one, they struggle vigorously against im- 
jieiiding ruin, and never give up until their condition is abso- 
lutely desperate. We once knew a colony of bees not large 
enough to cover a piece of comb four inches square, to attempt 
to raise a queen. For two whole weeks, they adhered to their 
forlorn hope; until at last, when they had dwindled to less 
than one-half their original number, their new queen emerged, 
l)ut with wmgs so imperfect that she could not fly. Crippled 
as she was, they treated her with almost as much respect as 
though she were fertile. In the course of a week more, scarce 
a dozen workers remained in the hive, and a few days later, 
the queen was gone, and only a few disconsolate w^-etches were 
left on the comb. 



528. Mr. Alley, who raised (jueens by the thousand, has 
published his method of queen-rearmg. His queens are all 
raised in very small nuclei which he calls miniature hives. 
From a light-colored worker-comb filled with hatching eggs, 
he cuts strips with a sharp knife, as in fig. 107. 

Fig. 107. 


(From Alley.) 

"After the comb has been cut up, lay the pieces flat upon a 
board or table, and cut the cells on one side down to within 
one-fourth of an inch of the foundation or septum, as seen in 


fig. 108 which represents the comb ready to place in position 
for cell building. While engaged in this work, keep a lighted 
lamp near at hand, with which to heat the knife, or the cells 
will be badly jammed 

The strips of comb being ready, we simply destroy each alter- 
nate larva or egg, (fig. 107). In order to do this, take the 
strips carefully in the left hand, and insert the end of a com- 
mon lucifer match into each alternate cell, pressing it gently 
on the bottom of the cell, and then twirling it rapidly between 
the thumb and fingers. This gives plenty of room for large 
cells to be built without interfering with those adjoining, and 
permits of their being separated without injury to neighboring 
cells."— ''Bee-keepers' Handy Book," 1885. 

Fig. 108. (From Alley.) 

This strip, Mr. Alley fastens under a trimmed comb cut 
slightly convex, by dipping the cells, which have been left 
full length, into a mixture of two parts rosin and one of 
beeswax, taking care not to over-heat this mixture, as the 
heat might destroy the eggs (fig. 109). The comb thus pre- 
pared is given to a prepared colony, which has been queen- 
less and without brood for ten hours, Mr. Alley having noticed 
that the eggs may be destroyed if given to a colony just made 
queen less. 

529. As it happens very often, that more queen-cells are 
raised than are needed immediately, and as the bees usually 
destroy all after the first one has hatched, Apiarists have 
devised queen-nurseries to preser^'e the supernumerary cells 
until needed. It is not safe to leave the queen-cells under 
the control of the bees after ten days, as a queen may hatch 
at any time. 

The Alley queen-nursery is composed of a number of small 


cages, covered with wire cloth on each side aud inserted in 
a frame. Each cage has two holes at the top, one for a sponge 
saturated with honey, the other to receive the queen-cell. The 
frame is inserted in a strong colony, not necessarily queenless, 

Fig. 109. 


(From Alley.) 

since these young queens are caged, and have feed at hand 
when they hatch. 

The latest style of queen nursery is shown on i)late 19. 

The Doolittle Method. 

530. Since the foregoing was written, the breeding of 
queens for sale has taken a new impetus. Mr. G. M. Doolittle, 
of New York, devised a method by which it does not become 
necessarv for man to wait for the action of bees in rearing 


queens. He worked persistently until lie succeeded in pro- 
ducing queen-cells artificially, and this method, described by 
him in his little work, "Scientific queen-rearmg," has been 
much improved upon of late years and is now called "The 
Doolittle System." It consists in manufacturing queen cell 
cups artificially out of beeswax and supplying them Avith 
young larvae or eggs transferred into them from worker cells. 
A large number of these queen-cells are furnished to a queen- 
less colony, and after the work of perfecting the queen-cells 
has been done by the queenless bees, they are given into the 
upper stoiy of a strong colony whose bees will properly take 
care of these queen-cells on the only condition that this upper 
story is separated from the main breeding apartment in which 
the queen is laying, by means of a queen excluder (732). It 
is astonishing but it is nevertheless a fact that bees on the 
other side of a queen excluding ]jartition in a hive containing 
a good queen, will take care of queen-cells given them and will 
allow them to hatch. The Messrs. Giraud of Landreau, France, 
in their little work "Traite Pratique de I'elevage des reines" 
even advise the using of a colony with queen, for the entire 
work, separating the combs in which queen cells are reared 
from the main apartment by a perforated zinc. They suc- 
ceeded in rearing as many as five hundred queen-cells during 
one season from one of their best colonies and the entire work 
was done in the hive occupied by that colony. This colony 
was kept supjDlied with a plentiful amount of feed during a 
scarcity of honey to keep up its breeding and its strength. 

In the manner above mentioned, an unlimited number of 
queens, if properlj' cared for, may be i-aised from the best 
and most fertile queens. But when the queen-cells are about 
ready to hatch, the queens must he protected, for the first 
hatched would at once destroy the others. For this purpose, 
they use something similar to the queen-nursery of Alley. The 
nursery used by W. H. Pridgen of North Carolina, described 
and recommended by W. Z. Hutchinson, in his work "Ad- 
vanced Bee-culture" and of which we give an engraving, Plate 
19, is probably the most practical for the pur])ose, especially 



it is kept on the same frame as the cell cups and sealed 

*'For making the artificial cells, there is needed 
a dipping-stick (fig. 110) which is a round stick 
5-16 of an inch in diameter, with a peculiar taper 
at one end. The tapering part should be about 
5-16 of an inch long, reduced rapidly for the first 
Ys of an inch and then gradually reduced to the 
end. It would slip into a worker cell % of an inch 
before filling the lyouth of the cell. These dip- 
ping sticks can be made with a lathe, from any kind 
of hard wood. To dip the cells, beeswax must be 
kept just above the melting point by placing the 
dish containing it over a lighted lamp. Keep a 
little water in the dish, as this will be a guide to 
the temperature. No bubbling should be allowed. 
The stick after being thoroughly soaked in water 
is dipped rather less than a half inch into the 
beeswax, four dips usually completing the cell and 
attaching it to the wooden bar upon which it is 
supported while in the hive. Dip three times, then 
loosen up the cup on the stick, then dip again, and 
immediately press the base of the cell upon the 
stick at the point where it is *;tsired to have the 
cell remain." ("Advanced Boe Culture.") 

To transfer the larva, from worker cells into 
these artificial queen-cells, Mr. Pridgen gives the 
Fig. 110. following directions : 


**To make a success of this the comb must be old enough so 
that the outside of the cocoon is black and glossy. By shaving 
down the cells with a keen edge knife, slightly heated, until 
the walls of the cell are only about % of an inch deep, it is 
an easy matter to remove the cocoon with the accompanying 
larva. In fact, by bending the piece of comb back and forth, 
the cocoons can often be forced to drop out of their own accord 
By making a little funnel shaped cavity in the dipping stick. 
at the opposite end from that used in dipping the tells, tho 
larva and cocoon can be lifted by pressinnr this cavity down 


over them, much as a gun cap is pressed down over the tube. 
After placing the end of the stick in one of the cups, a slight 
pressure and a little twist leaves the cocoon snugly ensconced 
in the bottom of the cell-cup." 

In order to succeed, in breeding queens for sale, it requires 
good judgment, daily attention to the needs of the queens, and 
indefatigable perseverance. The queens when hatched should 
be at once removed from the queen-nursery, so they may not 
wear themselves out by repeated attempts at escaping. It may 
be borne in mmd, however, that yomig queens may be caged 
quite a while without injury, since in the natural conditions 
the worker bees often imprison the young queens in their cells 
until a favorable moment for swarming. 

531. In order to economize in the rearing of queens, queen 
breeders have lately devised what is called ''baby-nuclei" simi- 
lar to the diminutive hives of Alley, but still smaller, in which 
only about two hundred young bees full of honey are intro- 
duced. The virgin queen is introduced to one of these and is 
sure to be welcome, especially if those bees have been taken 
from a queen less colony. There she remains until mated, which 
is usually within a very short time. The only advantage that 
we can see in this method is its cheapness, and the jDerhaps 
greater ease with which the queen can be introduced, but for 
several reasons and especially for the greater comfort and 
success of the queen, we would prefer to use the larger nuclei 
(521), where the conditions are more nearly similar to those 
of full colonies. 

Whatever we do in the breeding of queens, let us bear in 
mind that we must keep our bees as nearly as possible in the 
conditions in which queens are reared naturally. This is indis- 
pensable for the raising of good stock. Apiarists of note have 
objected to the Doolittle method, because of its forcing nature, 
but as good stock is raised, by this method, as m the natural 
way, and a greater number of good queens may be raised than 
in any other way. This is very much similar to the methods 
in which we increase our choice varieties of fruit trees. Graft- 


iiig is not oue of nature's waj's, yet we succeed in raising some 
of our best fruit by grafting. But in grafting as in queen 
rearing, much care is needed in order to bring forth the most 
satisfactory results. 

The Apiarist who desires to make (]ueen rearing a specialty 
should carefully read everj'thing of importance concerning the 
subject. We recommend the special work of Doolittle, "Scien- 
tific Queen Rearing," and the magnificently executed book of 
Hutchinson "Advanced Bee Culture," of which extracts have 
been given. Bulletin No. 55 of the Bureau of Entomology at 
"Washmgton is a paper on the "Rearing of Queen Bees," by 
E. F. Phillips and contains also some valuable information 
concerning the different methods. 

532. Before we pass to the subject of introducing queens, 
we cannot refrain from noticing the rapid progress of the 
business of queen rearing in the last fifty years. The intro- 
duction of brighter races has greatly increased the spread- 
ing of apiarian science, and many facts which, years ago, 
were known only to the few, now belong to the public domain. 

In breedmg the new races, let the novice remember that the 
qualities he should seek to improve are, first, prolificness and 
honey production ; second, peaceableness ; third, beauty. 

Since their introduction into this countiy, the Italians 
have been bred too nmch for color, at the expense of their 
other qualities. We have seen queens, that had been so in- 
bred for color, that their mating with a black drone hardly 
showed the hybridization of their progeny. 

This in-and-in breeding, for color, has even produced white- 
eyed drones, stone blind, a degeneracy which would tend to 
the extinction of the race. 

TxTRODurixc; Impregnated Queens. 

533. Great caution is needed in (jiving to bees a stranger 
queen. Huber thus described the way in which a new queen 
is usually received by a colony: 

I'l.ATE 20. 


Author of '■'■Scientific Queen-Rearinq ** and of ^'Maimqement 
of Bees." 

This writer is mentioned pages 151, 175, 278, 279, 333, 392, 442, 443. 


''If another queen is introduced into the hive within twelve 
hours after the removal of the reigning one, they surround, 
seize, and keep her a very long time captive, in an impenetrable 
cluster, and she commonly dies either from hunger or want of 
air. If eighteen hours elapse before the substitution of a 
stranger-queen, she is treated, at first, in the same way, but the 
bees leave her sooner, nor is the surrounding cluster so close; 
they gradually disperse, and the queen is at last liberated; she 
moves languidly, and sometimes expires in a few minutes. Some, 
however, escape in good health, and afterwards reign in the 

The manner in which strange queens are treated by the 
bees, when they are queenless, depends mainly on the state of 
the honey harvest. 

534. But in order to meet with uniform success, the fol- 
lowing- conditions must be fulfilled : 

Fig. 111. 


(From "The A B C of Bee-Culture.") 

The bees must be absolutelj^ queenless. Sometimes a colony 
contains two (117) queens, and the Apiarist after removing 
one may imagine that he can introduce a stranger, safely. 
Many queens are thus killed. 

535. Bees recognize one another mainly by scent. The 
queen, especially when laying, has a peculiar odor, evidently per- 
vading the hive and known to the bees. It is thought that the 
absence of this odor, when a queen is removed, alarms the bees 
because they recognize their loss. When a nevv queen is intro- 
duced, if we cause the bees to become accustomed to her odor 
before we release her, she may be accepted more readily. 

536. Our method consists in placing the queen in a small 
flat cage, made of wire cloth, between two combs, in the most 


])opulous pai-t of the hive, near the brood and the honey, and 
keeping her there from 24 to 48 hours. These queen-cages 
were first used in Gennany for introducing queens. 

537. In catching a queen, she should be gently taken 
with the fingers, from among the bees, and if none are 
ci'ushed, there is no risk of being stung. The queen herself 
will not sting, even if roughly handled. 

If she is allowed to fly, she may be lost, by attempting to 
enter a strange hive. 

To introduce her into the cage, she should be allowed to 
climb up into it. It is a fact icell known to queen breeders 
that a bee or a queen cannot be easily induced to enter a cage 
or a box turned downu-ard. The meshes of the wire cloth 
should not be closer than 12 to the inch, that the bees may 
feed the queen readily through them. This is important, 
for we have lost two queens successively in a cage with closer 

The bees will cultivate an acquaintance -svith the imprisoned 
mother, by thrusting their antennae through the openings, and 
will be as quiet as though the queen had her liberty. Such a 
cage will be veiy convenient for any temporaiy confinement 
of a queen. 

538. It is necessaiy, when the queen is released, that the 
bees be in good spirits, neither frightened, nor angered, and 
there should be no robbers about, as they might take her for 
an intruder, and ball her. (436). 

This technical word is used to describe the peculiar way 
in whic'i bees surround a queen whom they want to kill. The 
cluster that encloses her, is in the form of a ball, sometimes 
as large as one's fist, and so compact that it cannot readily 
be scattered. She may be rescued by throwing the ball into 
n basin of water. But the writer never had the patience to 
delay, for fear of damage to the balled queen, and always 
succeeded in freeing her with his fingers. We have known 
bees to ball their own mother in such circumstances, for 
queens are of a timid disposition and easily frightened. When 


we release a strange queen, Ave put a small slice of comb 
honey, or honey cappmgs, in place of the stopper of the 
cage, and close the hive. It takes from 15 to 20 minutes for 
the bees to eat through, and by that time all is quiet, so the 
queen Avalks leisurely out of her cage, and is safe. 

539. If the colony, in which a queen is to be introduced, 
is destitute, the bees should be abundantly fed on the pre- 
ceding night (605). After she has been released, it is well 
to leave the colony alone for two or three days. 

As a fertile queen can lay several thousand eggs a day, it 
is not strange that she should quickly become exhausted, if 
taken from the bees. ^^Ex nihilo nihil fif'—trom nothing, 
nothing comes— and the arduous duties of maternity compel 
her to be an enormous eater. After an absence from the bees 
of only fifteen minutes, she will solicit honey, when returned; 
and if kept away for an hour or upwards, she must either be 
fed by the Apiarist, or have bees to supply her wants. 

Mr. Simmins has taken advantage of this appetite, and of 
the propensity of bees to feed the queens, in introducing them 
directlj^, after keeping them without bees and food, for about 
30 minutes. At dusk he lifts a corner of the cloth (352) of 
the hive in which he wants to introduce the queen, drives the 
bees away with a little smoke, and permits the queen to rim 
between the combs. Then he waits 48 hours before visiting 
the hive. Several bee-keepers report having succeeded with 
this method. On account of this propensity of bees to feed 
queens, any number of fertile ones may be kept in a hive 
already containing a fertile queen, if they are placed in cages 
between the combs, near the honey and the brood. 

In very good honey seasons, queens may be introduced to 
colonies without previous caging. They evidently accept a 
queen under such circumstances from the same reason that 
causes them to accept strange bees (485). But we strongly 
recommend never to attempt to introduce a valuable queen in 
this way. 

Woi'ker bees should never be caged with the queen when she 


is introduced, as the other bees, noticing- them to be strangers, 
will allow them to starve, though they will feed the queen. 

540. Some Apiarists use chloroform, ether, puff-balls, or 
other ingTedients, to stupefy the bees of mutinous colonies 
who persist in refusing to accept a strange queen and who 
show it by angrily surrounding the cage in which she is con- 

The Rev. John Tliorley, in his '^Female Monarclu//' pub- 
lished at London, in 1744, appears to have first introduced the 
practice of stupefying bees by the narcotic fumes of the 
"puff ball" (Fungus pulverulentus) , dried till it will hold 
fire like tinder. The bees soon drop motionless from their 
comb, and recover again after a short exposure to the air. 
This method was once much practiced in France, (L'Apicul- 
teur, page 17, Paris, 1856) but is veiy dangerous, as too large 
a dose of anaesthetics will cause death instead of sleep. 

Introduction of Virgin Queens. 

541. The difference in looks between a virgin queen and 
an impregnated one is striking, and an expert will distinguish 
them at a glance. The virgin queen is slender, her abdomen 
is small, her motions quick, she runs about and almost flies over 
the combs, when trying to hide from the light. In fact, she 
has nothing of the matronly dignity of a mother. 

Bees, in possession of a fertile queen, are quite reluctant 
to accept an unimpregnated one in her stead; indeed, it re- 
quires much experience to be able to give a virgin queen to 
a colony, and yet be sure of securing for her a good reception. 

Mr. Langstroth was the first to ascertain, years ago, that 
the best time to introduce her, is just after her birth, as soon 
as she can crawl readily. If introduced too soon, the bees 
may drag her out, as they would any imperfect w^orker. Most 
queen-breeders liberate them on the comb, or at the entrance 
of a queenless nucleus. Mr. H. D. Cutting recommends daub- 
ing the young queen with honey, as she comes out of her cell, 


and liberating' her among the bees, without touching her with 
the fingers. 

Nearly all breeders acknowledge that the introduction of 
virgin queens to full colonies is an uncertain business, and 
that they can be introduced safely only to small nuclei that 
have been queen less some time. In this, we fully agree. 

Doctor C. C. Miller recommends the introducing of a young- 
queen in a cage while the fertile queen is still in the hive, 
removing the old queen a little later and leaving the virgin 
queen caged for two or three days, allowing the bees to liberate 
her by eating through honey or candj^ to reach her (598). 
But the only way which may be held absolutely safe is to 
introduce the virgin queen to a colony or nucleus containing 
only young bees which have been deprived of queen for eight 
or ten hours. The smaller the number of bees, the greater 
the safety of the queen ; that is why breeders introduce the 
virgin queens to small nuclei (531). 

We would advise novices to abstain from introducing virgin 
queens, until they become expert in the business of queen rear- 
ing; the introduction of unhatched queen-cells being much 
more easily performed, and more uniformly successful. 

542, In introducing queens or queen-cells to full colonies 
during the swarming season, it happens veiy often that the 
bees also raise queen-cells of their own brood, and swarm with 
the queen given them (465), In view of this, the Apiarist 
should watch, for a few days, the colony to which a new 
queen has been introduced. 

543, In hunting for a queen, it is necessary to remember 
that she is on the brood combs unless frightened away. If the 
bees are not greatly disturbed, an Italian queen may be found 
within five minutes after opening the hive, 

A queen of common bees, or of hybrids, is more difficult to 
find, as her bees often rush about the hive as soon as it is 
opened. If she cannot be found on the combs, and the hive 
is populous, it is best to shake all the frames on a sheet, in 
front of an empty box, and secure them in a closed hive, out 


of the reach of robbers, until the search is over, when every- 
thing may be returned to its proper place. 

54-1. After a queen is taken from a cage, the bees will 
run in and out of it for a long time, thus proving that tliey 
recognize her peculiar scent. It is this odor which causes 
them to iTin inquiringly over our hands, after we have caught 
a queen, and over any spot where she alighted when her 
swarm came forth. 

This scent of the queen was probably known in Aristotle's 
time, who says: "When the bees swarm, if the king (queen) 
is lost, we are told that they all search for him, and follow 
him with their sagacious smell, mitil they find him." Wild- 
man says: "The scent of her body is so attractive to them, 
that the slightest touch of her, along any j^lace, or substance, 
Avill attract the bees to it, and induce them to pursue any 
path she takes." 

The intelligent bee-keeper has now realized, not only how 
queens may be raised or replaced, by the use of the movable- 
frame hive, but how any operation, which in other hives is 
performed with difficulty, if at all, is in this rendered easy 
and certain. Xo hive, however, can make the ignorant or 
negligent very successful, even if they live in a region where 
the climate is so propitious, and the honey resources so abun- 
dant, that the bees will prosper in spite of mismanagement or 


Races of Bees. 

545. The honey-bee is not indigenous to America. Thom- 
as Jefferson, m his "Notes on Virginia," says: 

' ' The honey-bee is not a native of our country. Marcgrave 
indeed, mentions a species of honey-bee in Brazil. But this has 
no sting, and is therefore different from the one we have, which 
resembles perfectly that of Europe. The Indians concur with 
us in the tradition that it was brought from Europe; but when 
and by whom, we know not. The bees have generally extended 
themselves into the country, a little in advance of the white 
settlers. The Indians therefore call them the white man's fly." 

"When John Eliot translated the Scriptures into the lan- 
guage of the Aborigines of North America, no words were 
found expressive of the terms wax and honey.' (A. B. J. 
July, 1866.) 

Longfellow, in his "Song of Hiawatha." in describing the 
advent of the European to the New World, makes his Indian 
warrior say of the bee and the' white clover: — 

"Wheresoe'er they move, before them 
Swarms t'le stinging fly, the Ahmo, 
Swarms the bee, the honey-maker; 
Wheresoe'er they tread, beneath them 
Springs a flower unknown among us. 
Springs the White Man's Foot in blossom." 

54(>. According to the quotations of the A. B. J., common 
bees were imported into Florida, by the Spaniards previous 
to 1763j for tliey were first noticed in West Florida in that 
year. They appeared in Kentucky in 1780, in New York 
in 17P3, and West of the Mississippi in 1797. 




547. "It is surprising iu what countless swarms the bees 
liave overspread the far West within but a moderate number 
of years. The Indians consider them the harbingers of the 
white man, as the buffalo is of the red man, and say that, in 
proportion as the bee advances, the Indian and the buffalo re- 
tire They have been the heralds of civilization, steadily 

Fig. 112. 


(From the ".American Bee .Tournal. 

preceding it as it advances from the Atlantic borders; and 
some of the ancient settlers of the West pretend to give the 
very year when the honey-bee first crossed the Mississippi. At 
present it swarms in myriads in the noble groves and forests that 
skirt and intersect the prairies, and extend along the alluvial 
bottoms of the rivers. ]i" seems to me as if these beautiful 


regions answer literally to the description of the land of prum- 
Be — *a land flowing with milk and honey;' for the rich pas- 
turage of the prairies is calculated to sustain herds of cattle 
as countless as the sands upon the sea-shore, while the flowers 
with which they are enamelled render them a very paradise for 
the nectar-seeking bee." — "Washington Irving, "Tour on the 
Prairies," Chap. IX. (1832). 

Many Apiarists contend that newly-settled countries arc 
most favorable to the bee ; and an old German adage runs 
thus: — 

' ' Bells ' ding dong, 
And choral song, 
Deter the bee 
From industry: 
But hoot of owl, 
And 'wolf '« long howl,' 
Incite to moil 
And steady toil. ' ' 

It is evident that the bees spread Westward very rapidlj', 
and to this day, many old bee-men can be found, who posi- 
tively assert that a swarm never goes Eastward, even after 
it is proven to them that they usually go to the nearest tim- 
ber. Our United States are now occupied by the honey-bee. 
from Maine to Calfomia, from Texas to Montana, wherever 
man and moisture may be found. The irrigated portions of 
the arid West, in Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Xevada, have 
proven an eldorado for them. 

At the National Convention of Bee-Keepers held at Los 
Angeles, California, in August, 1903, Mr. J. S. Harbison, 
gave an interesting account of his first introduction of bees 
to the Pacific Coast. He took 116 colonies, in 1857, from 
Newcastle, Penna., to Sacramento, by way of Panama and 
the Panama railroad, with the loss of only six colonies and 
when he reached California with them, he sold readily those 
that he wished to dispose of, at $100 per colony. The reader 
knows how successful bee-culture has become in California 
since that early date. 


548. Bees, like all other insects, are divided scientifically 
into genera, species, and varieties. 

Aristotle speaks of three different varieties of the honey- 
bee, as well known in his time. The best variety he describes 
as small, and round in size and shape, and variegated in 

Virgil (Georgica, lib. IV., 98) speaks of two kinds as tlour- 
ishhig in his time; the better of the two he thus describes: 

' * Elucent aliap, et f ulgore coruscant, 
Ardentes auro, et paribus lita corpora guttis. 
Haec potior soboles; bine coeli tempore certo 
Dulcia mella premes. " 

"The others glitter, and their variegated bodies shine like 
drops of sprinkling gold. This better breed! Thanks to them, 
if the weather of the skij is certain, you icill have honey 
combs to press/' 

This better variety, it will be seen, he characterizes as 
spotted or variegated, and of a beautiful golden color. 

549. The first bee introduced into America, was the com- 
mon bee of Europe, Western Asia, and Western Africa, Api/ 
mellifica, now called Apis mellifera, by many. "Mellihcs 
means ''honey maker," while "Mellifera" means "honey bear- 
er." It is usually designated under the name of black, or gray 
bee. Both names are appropriate, since the race varies in 
shade, according to localities. In the greater part of Africa, 
as well as in the European provinces of Turkey, the common 
bees are dark, nearly black. In other places, their color is 
grayish. They vary in size, as well. According to some 
French writers., the bees of Holland are small, and denomi- 
nated "la petite Hollandaise" (the little Hollander) ; on the 
other hand, the Camiolan* bees are quite large. We have 
never seen queens as large as some Caniiolans which we im- 
ported some thirty j-ears ago. But, in spite of the prolificness 

* Carniola is a province of Austria, near the Adriatic, but on the 
East slope of the mountains. 


and general good reputation of this race, we did not attempt 
to propagate it^ owing- to the difficulty of detecting their 
mating with the common bees, since they are almost alike m 

These bees have since been bred largely in the U. S., and are 
l>raised for their prolificness and peaceable disposition, 

550. Besides the common bee, there are a great many 
varieties. The best known are: . 1st, the Ligurian, Apis 
Ligustica, so named by Spinola, because he found it first, in 
the part of Italy called Liguria. The Rev. E. W. Gilman, 
of Bangor, Maine, directed the writer's attention to Spinola's 
''Inscctorum Liguriae species novae aut rariores/' from which 
it appears, that Spinola accurately described all the peculiari- 
ties of this becj which he found in Piedmont, in 1805. He 
fully identified it with the bee described by Aristotle. 

2nd. The Apis fasciata (banded bee). This bee, related to 
the Italian, or Ligurian, which has yellov.- bands also, is found 
in Egypt, in Arabia, along both sides of the Reel Sea, m Syria, 
in Cyprus and in Caucasus. 

3d. We shall mention also the large Apis dorsata of South- 
ern Asia, and the melipones of Brazil and Mexico. 

551. The Italian bee. Apis Ligustica, spoken of by Aris- 
totle and Virgil as the best kind, still exists distinct and pure 
from the common kind, after the lapse of more than two thou- 
sand years. 

The great superiority of this race, over any other race 
known, is now universally acknowledged; for it has victo- 
riously stood the test of practical bee-keepers, side by side 
with the common bee. The ultimate superseding of the com- 
mon bee by the Italian in this country is but a matter of 
time. Already, hi many parts of Colorad9, no other race 
is to be found. 

55S. The following facts are evident : 

1st. The Italian bees are less sensitive to cold than the 
t'ommon kind. 2nd. Their queens are more prolific. 3d. 
They defend their hives better against insects. Moths (802) 


are hardly ever found in their combs, while they are occa- 
sionally found in the combs of even the strongest colonies of 
common bees. Their great vigilance is due to the mildness of 
the climate of Italy, whose Winters never destroy the moth. 
Having to defend themselves against a more numerous enemy, 
they are more watchful than the bees of colder regions. 4th. 
They are less apt to sting. Not only are they less apt, but 
scarcely are they inclined to sting, though they will do so if 
mtentionally annoyed, or irritated, or improperly treated. 

Spinola speaks of the more peaceable disposition of this 
bee; and Columella, 1800 years ago, has noticed the same 
peculiarity, describing it as "'mitior moribtis/' (milder in 
habits). When once irritated, however, they become veiy 

5th. They are more industrious. Of this fact, all the 
results go to confirm Dzierzon's statements, and satisfy us 
of the superiority of this kind in every point of view. 6th. 
They are more disposed to rob than common bees, and more 
courageous and active in self-defense. They strive on all 
hands to force their way into colonies of common bees; but 
when strange bees attack their hives, they fight with great 
fiercene^■s, and with an incredible adroitness. 

Spinola speaks of these bees as "velociores moliC — quicker 
in their motions than the common bees. 

They however sooner grow tired of hunting, where nothmg 
can be gained; and if all the plunder is put out of their 
reach, they will give up the attempt at robbing (664) more 
promptly than common bees. 

7th. Aside from their peaceableness, they are more easily 
handled than the common bees, as they cling to their comKs 
and do not rush about, or cluster here and there, or fall to the 
ground, as the common bees do. 

It is hardly necessary to add, that this species of the honey- 
bee, so much more productive than the common kind, is of 
verj' great value in all sections of our countiy. Its superior 
docility makes it worthy of high regard, even if in other 



respects it had no peculiar merits. Its introduction into this 
country, has helped to constitute the new era in bee-keeping, 
and has imparted much mterest to its pursuit. It is one of 
the causes which have enabled America to surpass the world 
in the production of honey. 

553. Their appearance can be described as follows: 
"The first three abdominal rings (fig. 113) of the worker 
bee are transparent, and vary from a dark straw or golden 
color to the deep yellow of ochre. These rings have a nar- 
row dark edge or border, so that the yellow, which is some- 
times called leather color, constitutes the gromid, and is 

seemmgly barred over by these black 
edges. This is most distinctly percepti- 
ble when a brood-comb, on which bees 
are densely crowded, is taken out of a 
hive, or when a bee is put on a window. 
When the bee is full of honey these 
rings extend and slide out of one another, 
and the j^ellow bands show to better ad- 
vantage, especially if the honey eaten is 
of a light color. On the contrary, during 
a dearth of honey, the rings are drawn 
up, or telescoped in one another, and the 
bee hardly looks like the same insect. 
This peculiarity has annoyed many bee- 
keepers, who imagmed their beautiful bees 
had suddenly become hybrids. 
In doubtful cases, as the purity of Italian bees is veiy 
important, it is well to follow the advice of A, I. Root: "If 
you ar(3 undecided in regard to your bees' purity, get some 
of the bees and feed them all the honey they can take; now 
put them on a window, and if the band C (fig. 113) is nof 
plainly visible, call them hybrids.'^ 

554. Aside from this test, their tenacity and quietness 
on the comb, while handled, are infallible signs of purity. 
We have repeatedly carried a frame of brood covered with 

Fig. 113. 


(From The A B C of 
Bee Culture.) 


pure Italian bees, from a hive to the house, and passed the 
comb from hand to hand among visitors, some of whom 
were ladies, without a single bee dropping off, or attempting 
to sting. 

555. The drones and the queens are veiy irreglar in mark- 
ings, some being of a very bright yellow color, others almost 
as dark as drones or queens of common bees. 

"It is a remarkable fact that an Italian queen, impregnated 
hy a common drone, and a common queen impregnated by an 
Italian drone, do not produce workers of a uniform intermediate 
cast, or hybrids; but some of the workers bred from the eggs 
of each queen will be purely of the Italian, and others as purely 
of the common race, only a few of them, indeed, being ap- 
parently hybrids. Berlepsch also had several mismated queens, 
which at first produced Italian workers exclusively, and after- 
wards common workers as exclusively. Some such queens pro- 
duced fully three-fourths Italian workers; others, common work- 
ers in the same proportion. Nay, he states that he had one 
beautiful orange-yellow mismated Italian queen which did not 
l)roduce a single Italian worker, but only common workers, per- 
haps a shade lighter in color. The drones, however, produced 
by a mismated Italian queen are uniformly of the Italian race, 
and this fact, besides demonstrating the truth of Dzierzon's 
cheory, ( 133 ) renders the preservation and perpetuation of the 
Italian race, in its purity, entirely feasible in any country 
where they may be introduced." — S. Wagner. 

556. The Italian bees from different parts of Italy are of 
ditt'ereat shades, but otherwise, preserve about the same 
characteristics all over the peninsula. But how can they keep 
])ure, since there are common bees in Europe f A glance at 
the map will answer the question. Italy is surrounded on all 
sides by water or snow-covered mountahis, which offer an 
insuperable barrier to any insects. This is further evidenced 
l)y the fact that the bees of the canton of Tessin (Italian 
Switzerland) are Italians, being on the South side of the Alps, 
while tliosc (»f the canton of Uri (German Switzerland), on 


the other side of the mountains and only a few miles off, are 
common bees.* 

557. The importation of Italian bees to another country 
was first attempted by Capt. Baldenstein. 

''Being stationed in Italy, during part of the Napoleonic 
wars, he noticed that the bees,* in the Lombardo-Venitian dis- 
trict of Valtelin, and on the borders of Lake Conio, differed in 
color from the common kind, and seemed to be more industrious. 
At the close of the war, he retired from the army, and returned 
to his ancestral castle, on the Rhsetian Alps, in Switzerland; 
and to occupy his leisure, had recourse to bee-culture, which 
had been his favorite hobby in earlier years. While studying 
the natural history, habits, and instincts of these insects, he 
remembered what he had observed in Italy, and resolved to 
procure a colony from that country. Accordingly, he sent two 
men thither, who purchased one, carried it over the mountains, 
to his residence, in September, 1843. 

''His observations and inferences impelled Dzierzon — ^who 
had previously ascertained that the cells of the Italian and com- 
mon bees were of the same size — to make an effort to procure 
the Italian bee; and, bj' the aid of the Austrian Agricultural 
Society at Vienna he succeeded in obtaining, late in February, 
1853, a colony from Mira, near Venice." — S. Wagner. 

Some of the Governments of Europe have long ago taken 
great interest in disseminating among their people a knowledge 
of bee culture. 

The United States also recognized the importance of our 
pursuit. An apiarian department has been established and 
Mr. Frank Bentcn was sent for a trip around the world, in 
1905, to investigate the value of the bees and honey pro- 
ducing plants of other countries. 

558. An attempt was made in 185ti, by l\Ir. Wagner, to 
import the Italian bees into America; but, unfortunately, the 
colonies perished on the voyage. The first living Italian bees 

* The idea that select Italian bees raised in America, may be purer 
than any Italians ever imported, has been gravely discussed by some 


landed on this continent were imported in the Fall of 1859 
by Mr. AVagner and Mr. Richard Colvin, of Baltimore, from 
Dzierzon's apiary. Mr. P. G. Mahan, of Philadelphia, 
brought over at the same time a few colonies. In the Spring 
of 1860, Mr. S. B. Parsons, of Flushmg, L. I., imported a 
number of colonies from Italy. Mr. William G. Rose, of 
New York, in 1861, im])orted also from Italy. Mr. Colvin 
made a number of importations from Dzierzon's apiaiy; and 
in the Fail of 1863 and 1864 Mr. Langstroth also imported 
queens from the same apiary, but the first large successful 
importations were made by Adam Grimm of Wisconsin, in 
1867, from the apiaiy of Prof. Mona of Bellinzona, and by 
us in 1874, from the apiarj- of Signor Guiseppe Fiorini of 
Monselice, Italy. Smce then, Mr. A. I. Root, and others, 
have succeeeded well nearly evei-y season. 

This valuable variety of the honey-bee is now extensively 
disseminated in North Amerijea. 

559. The Egyptian bees (Apis fasciata) are smaller and 
brighter than the Italian bee. The hairs of their body are 
more whitish, and their motions are quick and fly-like. Their 
prolificness is great, but their ill-disposition has caused many 
who have tried them to abandon them. 

The Cj'prian bees (a sub-race of Apis fasciata) were im- 
ported from Cyprus to Europe in 1872, and they were so 
much praised that, in 1880, two enterprising American Apia- 
rists, Messrs. D. A. Jones and Frank Benton made a trip to 
Cyprus and the Holy Land, and brought bees from both coun- 
tries to America. 

The Cj'prian bees resemble the Italian bees. The main 
difference between them, m appearance, is a bright yellow 
shield on the thorax of the Cj^prians not to be seen in the 
Italians, and the j^ellow rings of the former are brighter, 
of a copper color, especially under the abdomen. Their 
drones are beautiful. 

Their behavior is like that of the Egj'ptians; quick and 
ready, they promptly assail those who dare handle them. 


Smoke astonishes but does not subdue them. At each puff 
of the smoker they emit a sharp, trilling sound, not easily 
forgotten, resembling that of "meat in the frying pan," and as 
soon as the smoke disappears, they are again on the watch, 
ready to pounce on any enemy, whether man or beast, bee 
or moth. Their courage and great prolificness would make 
them a very desirable race, if they could be handled safely. 

A sliglit mixture of this race with the Italian improves the 
latter wonderfully in color and working qualities. 

560. The Hoh' Land or Syrian bees are almost similar 
in looks to the Egyptian, these two countries being contigu- 
ous. Those who have tried them do not agree as to their 
behavior; some holding them to be very peaceable, others 
describing them as very cross. We have never tried them. 

Among the different races of Eastern bees, the Caucasian 
are cited by Vogel, a German, as of such mild disposition, 
that it is hard to get them to sting. Yet it is said that these 
bees defend themselves well against robber bees. This is con- 
firmed by Mr. Benton, who has imported them into the U. S. 
under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture. 

According to Yogel, they resemble the Syrian bees, having 
also the shield of the Cyprians. It would seem that these 
bees exist in the temperate zone of Asia, from the shores of 
the Mediterranean to the Himalayas, for Dr. Dubini, in his 
book, writes that they were found at the foot of these moun- 

561. According to an article in the "Scientific Review'' 
of England, although bees have been sent from this country 
and Europe, to Australia, there is an Australian native bee, 
which builds its nest on the Eucalyptus. These bees gather 
immense quantities of a kind of honey which, although veiy 
sweet, can be used as medicine, to replace the cod-liver oil, 
used with so much repugnance by consumptives. 

* Some apiarists assert that there are two varieties of this bee, which 
they name Apis caucasia aurea and Apis nigra argentea. So it would 
seem from the quotation of a catalog of a Russian apiarist and queen 
breeder mentioned by Giraud Freres in A. B. J. of .February 1st, 1906. 


562. Apis dorsuta, the largest bee known, lives in the 
jungles of India. Mr. Benton attempted to import this bee 
at great expense and danger, but only succeeded in bringing 
one colony to Syria, where it died. Mr. Vogel tried also to 
bring some of them to Germany without success. At all 
events further attempts at importing or domesticating these 
bees would be so expensive-, that private enterprise will be 
balked by the task. Besides Apis dorsata, tw^o other kinds 
exist in India, Apis florea and Apis Indica. The latter is 
cultivated by the natives with good results. Both are smaller 
than our common bee. 

563. Another race of bees,* the MeliiK>ne. is found in 
Brazil and Mexico. More than twelve varieties r»f these have 
been described, all without stings. 

Huber, in the beginning of the nineteenth centuiy, received 
a nest of them, but the bees died before reaching Geneva. Mr. 
Dror>", while at Bordeaux, France, was more successful. One 
of his friends sent him a colony of Melipones, and he pub- 
lished in the "Rucher du Sud-Oucst'' some \ery curious facts 
concerning them. The cells containing the stores of honey 
and pollen are not placed near those intended for brood, but 
higher in the hive; they are as large as pigeon eggs, and 
attached in clusters to the walls of the hive. The brood cells 
are placed horizontally in rows of several stories. The work- 
ers do not nurse the brood, but fill the cells with food, on 
which the queen lays. The cells are then closed till the young 
bees emers-e from them. 

* These bees are scientifically classified as belonging to a differenc 
genus of Apidae. 


The Apiary. 

564. Any uiie can keep bees, successfully, if he has a 
liking- for this pursuit and is not too timid to follow the 
directions given in this treatise. Even ladies can manage 
a large apiary successfully, with but little help. Miss Emma 
AVilson, sister-in-law of Dr. C. C. Miller, is an expert apiarist 
and does a great portion of the Avork iii two large apiaries of 
several hundred colonies. 

Almost any locality will yield a surplus of honey in aver- 
age seasons. The late Mr. Chas. F. Muth of Cincinnati, with 
22 colonies of bees, on the roof of his house, in the heart of 
this large city, harvested a surplus honey yield of 198 lbs. 
per colony in one season. Mr. Muth info:cnied us that this 
surplus was collected from white clover blossoms in 2G days. 

565. But an intimate acquaintance with the honey re- 
sources of the country is highly important to those desirous 
of engaging largely in bee-culture. While, in some localities, 
bees will accumulate large stores, in others, only a mile or 
two distant, they may yield but a small profit. 

* * While Huber resided at Cour. and afterwards at Vevey, his 
bees suffered so much from scanty pasturage, that he could 
only presenve them by feeding, although stocks that were but 
two miles from him were, in each case, storing their hives 
abundantly. ' ' — Bevan. 

Those desirous of becoming specialists will find the subject 
of location and yield further treated in the chapter on Pas- 
turage and Overstocking (698). 

566. Inexperienced persons will seldom find it profitable 
to begin bee-keeping on a large scale. By using movable- 





frame (286) hives, they can rapidlj^ hicrease their stock 
after they have acquired skill, and have ascertained, not 
simph' that money can be made by keeping bees, but that tho/ 
can make it. 

While large profits can be realized by careful and expei'i- 
enced bee-keepers, those who are otherwise will be almost 
sure to find their outlay result only in vexatious losses. An 
apiary neglected or mismanaged is worse than a farm over- 
grc^^^l with weeds or exhausted by ignorant tillage; for the 
land, by prudent management, may again be made fertile, 
but the bees, when once destroyed, are a total loss. Of all 
farm pursuits bee-culture requires the greatest skill, and it 
may well be called a business of details. 

567. Wherever the apiary is established, great pains 
should be taken to protect the bees against high winds. Their 
hives should be placed where they will not be annoyed by foot 
passengers or cattle^ and should never be veiy near Avherc 
horses must stand or pass. If managed on the swarming 
plan, it is very desirable that they should be in full sight 
of the rooms most occupied, cr at least where the sound cf 
their swarming will be easily heard. 

In the Xorthern and Middle States, the hives should have 
a South-Eastern. Southern, or South- Western exposure, to 
give the bees the benefit of the sun, when it will be most con- 
ducive to their welfare. 

568. The plot occupied by the Apiary should be grassy, 
mowed frequently, and kept free from weeds. 

Sand, gravel, saw-dust* or coal cinders, spread in front of 
the hive, will prevent the growing of grass in their (343) 
immediate vicinity, and be a great help to those overladen 
bees, that fall to the ground before reaching the entrance. 

Hives are too often placed where many bees perish by fall- 
ing into dirt, or among the tall weeds and grass, where spiders 
and toads find their choice lurking-places. 

* Sawdust is perhaps not very safe, owing to danger of fire from the 
smokers, in very dry weather. 



A geutle slope soutli\\ard will help to set the hives as they 
should be, slanting- toward the entrance (326, 327). 






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5(>9. They should be placed on separate stands, entirely 
independent of one another, and, whenever practicable, room 
should be left for the Apiarist to pass around each hive. We 



prefer to place tliem in rows sixteen feet apart, with the 
hives about six feet apart in the rows. This isolates each 

hive completeh^ and, while handling one colony, the Apiar- 
ist is not in danger of being stung by the bees of another. 
The bees are also less likely to enter the wrong hives (503). 

[HHi THk. AflAKl, 

Conrpf] Apiaries. 

570. Covered apiaries, unless built at great expense, 
afford little protection against extreme heat or cold, and 
greatly increase the risk of losing the queens (503) and the 
young bees. The weak colonies are always the losers, lor 
their young bees, hi returning from their first trip (173), 
are attracted by the noise of other hives closely adjoining, 
and prove the truth of the French proverb "La pierre va 
toujours au tas," (the stone always goes to the heap). 

When hives must stand close together, thej' should be of 
different colors. Even varying the color of the blocks will 
be of gi'eat usefulness. 

John Mills, in a work published at London, in 1766, gives 
(p. 93) the following directions: — "Forget not to paint the 
mouths of your colonies with different colors, as red, white, 
blue, yellow, &c., in form of a half-moon, or square, that the 
bees may the better know their own homes." 

Covered apiaries are common in Germany and Italy; their 
only quality is that of being thief proof, when shut and 
locked. But such structures, especially when several stories 
high, cannot easily shelter top-opening hives. 

571. Probably the most convenient covered apiaries are 
simple sheds, facing South, and open in front during the 
Summer and warm daj^s of Winter. House apiaries, in 
which the hives are placed in several stories, facing everj- 
direction, are worse than nothing. Their only qualitj^ is to 
be ornamental and costly. 

572. In the Summer, no place is so congenial to bees as 
the shade of trees, if it is not too dense, or the branches so 
low as to interfere with their flight. As the weather becomes 
cool, they can, if necessary, be moved to any more desirable 
Winter location. If colonies are moved in the line of their 
flight, and a short distance at a time, no loss of bees will be 
incurred : but, if moved a few yards, all at once, many will 




l)e lost. A slanting board placed in front of the hive, so as 
to prevent the bees from flying in straight line from the 
entrance to the field, will incite them to mark the change 
of their position. By a gradual process, the hives in a small 
apiary may, in the Fall, be brought into a narrow compass, 
so that they can be easily sheltered from the bleak Winter 
winds. In the Spring, they may be gradually returned to their 
old positions. 

By removing the strongest colonies in an apiary the first 
day, and others not so strong the next, and continuing the 
process until all were removed, we have safely changed the 
location of an apiary, when compelled to move bees in the 
working season. On the removal of the last hive, but few 
bees returned to the old spot. The change, as thus conducted, 
strengthened the weaker colonies, but we would advise bee- 
keepers to locate their hives in as permanent a position as 
possible, as this moving is not practical, especially with a 
large number of colonies. Those who do not winter their 
bees in the cellar, can easily protect them on their Summer 
stand. (635.) 

If the hives have to be placed in an exposed location with- 
out shade, it is well to protect them with roofs. A roof will 
be found highly economical, as it not only sheds the rain, 
but wards ofl; the heat of the sun. 

S'i'S. The beginner will ordinarily find it best to stock his 
apiary with swarms of the current year, thus avoiding, until 
he can prepare himself to meet them, the perplexities which 
often accompany either natural or artificial swarming. If 
new swarms are purchased, unless they are large and early, 
they miay only prove a bill of expense. If old colonies are 
purchased, such only should be selected as are healthy and 
populous. If removed after the working season has begun, 
they should be brought from a distance of at least two 
miles (13). 

If the bees are not all at home when the hive is to be re- 
moved, blow a little smoke into its entrance, to cause those 


within to fill themselves with honey, and to prevent them 
from leaving for the fields. Kepeat this process from time to 
time, and in half an hour nearly all will have returned. If 
any are clustered on the outside, they may be driven within 
by smoke. 

The best time to buy full colonies of bees, is Spring. A 
cool day may be selected, in which to move them, as the bees 
are not flying, none can be lost. In the present thriving 
state of bee-keeping, colonies of pure Italian bees (551) in 
movable-frame hives can usually be bought at veiy reason- 
able figures. If the Apiarist's means are veiy limited, black 
bees (549) in old style box-hives may prove the cheapest, 
if they can be fomid. But they should be promptly trans- 
ferred into more practical hives, and italianized; these manipu- 
lations will help to give to the novice the practice which he 
lacks. Italian bees and movable-frame hives are now a sine 
qua non of success. 

No colony should be purchased, unless it has brood in all 
stages, showing that it has a healthy queen. For transport- 
ing bees, see (587, 603). 

Transferring Bees from Common to Movable-Frame 

574. This process may be easily effected whenever the 
weather is warm enough for bees to fly.* 

It has sometimes been done m Winter, for purposes of 
experiment, by removing the bees into a warm room, but the 
best time for it, is when the bees have the least honey, at the 
begmning of the fruit bloom. If it can be done on a warm 

* It may be remarked, by some reader, that the number of box hives 
in existence in the United States is now so very limited, that a page 
or two on this subject is a waste, but in a protracted experience we 
have found that even the most practical Apiarist may occasionally be 
compelled to hive bees in any kind of box. It is therefore well to 
know how to transfer them safely to movable-frame hives, without 
destroying either the worker combs or the brood. 


day. when they are at work, there will be but little danger 
from robbers (664). 

It is conducted as follows: Have in readiness a box— 
which we shall call the forcing ?>ox— whose diameter is about 
the same with that of the hive from w^hich you intend to 
drive the swarm. Smoke the hive, lift it from its bottom- 
board without the slightest jar, turn it over, and carefully 
carry it off about a rod, as bees, if disturbed, are much more 
inclined to be peaceable, when removed a short distance from 
their familiar stand. If the hive is gently placed upside 
down on the gromid, scarcely a bee will fly out, and there will 
be little danger of bemg stung. The timid and inexperienced 
should protect themselves with a bee-veil, and may blow more 
smoke among them, as soon as the hive is inverted. After 
placing it on the ground, the forcing-box must be put over 
it. If smooth inside, it should have slats fastened one-third 
of the distance from the top, to aid bees in clustering. Some 
Apiarists place the box slanting on the hive, so as to be able 
to see the bees climbing. This method, called open driving, is 
a little slower, but it maj- give the operator the chance of 
seeing the queen; when the driving can be considered as done. 

575. As soon as the Aj^iarist has confined the bees, he 
should place an empty hive— which we call the decoy-hive 
—upon their old stand, which those returning from the fields 
may enter, instead of dispersing to other hives, to meet, per- 
haps, with a most ungracious reception. As a general rule, 
however, a bee -with a load of honey or bee-bread, after the 
extent of her resources is ascertained, is pretty sure to be 
welcomed by any hive to which she may carry her treasure; 
while a povertj'-stricken unfortunate that presumes to claim 
their hospitality is, usually, at once destroyed. The one 
meets with as flattering a reception as a wealthy gentleman 
proposing to take up his abode in a country village, while 
the other is as much an object of dislike as a poor man, who 
bids fair to become a public charge. 

If there are in the apiaiy several old colonies standing 



close together, it is desirable, in performing this operation, 
that the decoy-hive, and the forcing-box, should be of the 
same shape and even color with that of the parent-stock. If 
they arc very unlike, and the returning bees attempt to enter 
a neighboring hive, because it resembles their old home, the 
adjoining hives should have sheets thrown over them, to hide 
them from the l)ees, until the operation is completed. 



T ■■„. 

i H *-■■ 

Fig. 118. 


576. To return to our imprisoned bees: their hive should 
be beaten smartly with the palm% of the hands, or two small 
rods, on the sides to which the combs are attached, so as to 
run no risk of loosening* them. These "rappings," although 

* There is little danger of loosening the combs of an old colony, but 
the greatest caution is necessary when the combs of a hive are new. 
If, in inverting such a hive, the broad sides of the combs, instead of 
their edges, are inclined downwards, the heat, and weight of the bees, 
may loosen the combs, and ruin the colony. 


not of a very "spiritual*' character, produce, nevertheless, a 
decided effect upon the bees. Their first impulse, if no smoke 
were used, would be to sally out, and wreak their vengeance 
on those who thus rudely assail their honied dome; but as 
soon as they inhale its fumes, and feel the terrible concussion 
of their once stable abode, a sudden fear, that they are to be 
driven from their treasures, takes possession of them. De- 
termined to prepare for this unceremonious writ of ejection, 
by carrying off what they can, each bee oegins to lay in a 
supply, and in about five minutes, all are filled to their utmost 
capacity. A prodigious humming is now heard, as they begin 
to mount mto the upper box; and in about fifteen minutes 
from the time the rappmg began— if it has been continued 
with but slight intermissions— the mass of bees, with their 
queen, will hang clustered in the forcing-box, like any natural 
swarm, and may, at the j^roper time, be readily shaken out on 
a sheet, in front of their mtended hive. 

Now put the forcing box on their old stand, and cany the 
parent-hive to some place where you cannot be annoyed by 
other bees. 

577. It is important to make sure that the queen is re- 
moved, as she might be injured in the transfer of comb. 
Her presence among the driven bees can be ascertained in 
a few minutes, by the quietness of their behavior, or by the 
eggs which she drops on the bottom-board, and which can 
easily be seen if a black cloth is spread under the forcing 
box (155). 

If the queen is nut with the bees, a few will come out and 
run about, as if anxiously searchmg for something they have 
lost. The alarm is rapidly communicated to the whole colony ; 
the explorers are reinforced, the ventilators suspend theiv 
operations, and soon the air is filled with bees. If they can- 
not find the queen, they return to their old stand, and if no 
hive is there, will soon enter one of the adjoining colonies. 
If their queen is restored to them soon after they miss her, 
those running out of the hive will make a half-circle, and 

TKA\.SFt:RHiN<i. 313 

return; the joyful uews is (juic.kiy conimuuicated to those 
on the wing, Avho forthwith alight and enter the hive; all 
appearance of agitated running about on the outside of the 
hive ceases, and ventilation, with its joyful hum, is again re- 
sumed. To witness these interesting proceedings, it is only 
necessary to catch the queen, and keep her until she is missed 
by her colony. For greater security, she should be confined 
in a queen cage (536) during the experiment. 

If the queen has not left the old hive, it is safer to return 
the bees and to resume the driving at another time. 

578. To transfer the comb, have on hand tools for pry- 
ing off a side of the hive; a large knife for cutting out the 
combs; vessels for the honey; a table or board, on which 
to lay the brood combs; and water for washing off, from 
time to time, the honey which will stick to your hands. 

Have also a number of pieces of wire, Xo. 16, cut a little 
longer than the frame, and bent on the ends in this shape 

I I to be driven into the wood of the frame, and to hold 

the combs in place. Let a certain number of frames be in 
readiness, with three or four of these wires fastened on one 
side, and lay them on the table, idre-sidc down. You must 
also have your movable-frame hive in readiness near the 
table, with an extracting pan (770) under it, instead of a 
bottom-board, to receive what honey may drip. All this 
must be ready before disturbing the bees. 

579. Having selected the icorker-comhs, carefully cut them 
rather large, so that they will just crowd into the frames, 
and retain their places in their natural position (fig. 46), 
until the bees have time to fasten them. 

Xow tack as many wires over them as may be necessary 
to hold them securely', and hang them in the hive. Drone 
combs should invariably be melted into wax. If drone-brood 
is found, it can be fed to young chickens, who are veiy fond 
of the larvae. The bottom-board should be put under the 
hive just before carrying it out. 

When the hive is thus prepared, the bees may be put into 



it and confined, water being given to them, until they have 
time to make all secure asrainst robbers (664). 


If there is danger of robbers, it is preferable not to put 
the bees into the hive till late in the afternoon. They should 
be shaken in front of the new hive on a sheet (427) like a 
natural swarm. 

When the weather is cool, the transfer should be made in 
a warm room, to prevent the brood from being fatallj^ chilled. 
An expert Apiarist can complete the whole operation— from 
the driving of the bees to the returning of them to their new 
hive— in about an hour, and with the loss of very few bees, 
old or young. 

580. When transferring in early Spring, it should be 
remembered that the worker-brood (168) is of great value; 
and not the least bit of it should be neglected or wasted 
minecessarily. After a week, or more, according to the 
season, the hive may be opened and the fastenings removed. 

Let not the novice, however, think that transferring bees 
is a task that requires but little skill. He who transfers suc- 
cessfully a larger number of colonies may he called an expert 
in handling bees. 

The process, as it has been conducted by careless Apia- 
rists, has resulted in the wanton sacrifice of thousands of 

581. For the benefit oi: those who are timid in manipu- 
lations, Ave will give Mr. Jas. Heddon's method for trans- 
ferring, (page 562 of "Gleanings," 1885). About swarming 
time Mr. Heddon drives the old queen and a majority of the 
bees into the forcing-box, he then removes the old hive a few 
feet back, and places the new hive with frames full of foun- 
dation on its standi and "rans in" the forced swarm. It 
would be well to return a part of the bees to the old hive, as 
its brood might be chilled if the weather becomes cool. 

Twenty-one days after the transfer of the bees, he drives 
the old hive clean of all its bees, uniting them with the former 
drive. As the worker-brood of the old hive is all hatched, 
there is nothing left in it but the combs and the honey, which 
can be transferred at leisure in cool weather, or, the honey 


may be exlraeU'cl (749), and the eoinb melted iiilci wax 


582. When an Apiarist wishes to make bee-culture his 
special occupation, he should expect to keep bees in more than 
one location. If he owns more than 120 colonies, we would ad- 
vise his establishing an Out- Apiary. It is true that there are 
manj' drawbacks to the cultivation of bees four or five miles 
off, but there are also some advantages. The crop sometimes 
fails in one locality, and is veiy good in another a short dis- 
tance away. One apiaiy may be in a hilly country, where 
white clover abounds, and another on low lands, where Fall 
l)lossoms never fail. It is well — according to a familiar 
proverb— not to "put all your eggs in one basket." 

In many years' practice of keeping bees in five or six dif- 
ferent apiaries, occupying a range of country about twenty 
miles in widths we have found out that the crop will vaiy 
greatly in a few miles, owing to the different flora of the 
various localities, and more especially to the gi^eater or less 
amount of rain-fall at the proper time. We have also learaed 
that an apiaiy^ placed near a large body of water (the Mis- 
sissippi), will produce less honey than one a mile or two 
from it^ owing to the smaller area of pasturage in reach of 
the bees.* 

583. In establishing an Out-Apiary on some farmer's 
land, the following must be taken into consideration: Select 
a farm on which a grove or an orchard is near the house, 
some distance from the road. The place ought to be, at least, 
three miles in a bee-line from your own bee- farm. It is not 
necessary that it should be more than four miles away. Mr. 
J. M. Hambaugh, at Spring, 111., harvested . altogether differ- 

* Some apiarists, among them Mr. E. W. Alexander, of Delanson, N. 
v., keep a very large number of bees in one apiary, the above named 
apiarist keeping upwards of seven hundred colonies with great success 
in one spot. This, however, will succeed only in extraordinary loca- 
tions where almost the entire territory is occupied with honey-pro- 
ducing plants. Such locations are rare. 


ent yields both in quality and quantity, from two apiaries 
only two and a half miles apart. This agrees with our oft 
repeated experience in apiaries three or four miles apart. 

Locate your bees with some careful man. Do not trust 
a farmer who lets his fences fallj who leaves his mower in 
the yard over Winter, or puts his cows in his orchard. You 
Avill never rest easy, if you think that some of your hives 
may be upset any day by a vagrant cow. 

Do not put your bees on land which is tenanted. Let them 
be placed at some responsible farmei-^s own home, for a tenant 
may leave on short notice, and you cannot remove your bees 
at all seasons, 

584. The terms usually made by us for a bee location 
are as follows: The farmer furnishes us the apiaiy gromid, 
one spare room during extracting, and a shed or a corner 
in some empty room for our hives, combs, and fixtures. He 
also furnishes board for the Apiarist and his help while at 
work. In exchange, he gets one-fifth of the honey, and 
seventy-five cents for eveiy natural swarm he harvests. His 
sole duties are, hiving swarms, and seeing that no accidents 
happen to the apiary. When bees are rmi for extracted 
honey, the number of natural swarms is very limited. We 
can always find more bee locations than we want. In fact, 
Ave have never yet met a farmer who refused to take bees on 
such terms. 

We prefer giving the farmer a share of the crop, to giving 
him' a stated sum for ground rent, etc., as some of our lead- 
ing bee-keepers do, because we thus give him an interest in 
our success^ and he is more likely to pay attention to our 
bees, and to produce crops that Avill yield some honey. Asso- 
ciation of interests means progress, peace, and harmony. 

585. Six apiaries, containing in all 600 colonies, are 
probably the greatest number that one man can oversee prop- 
erly. In good localities, an Apiarist will find more profit 
from six such apiaries, than an intelligent farmer from half 
a section of land, and the outlay of money is less. 




586. Few pursuits require so small an outlay for tools 
and implements as practical bee-culture. Outside of the cost 
of hives, frames, sections, and honey packages, the total out- 
lay need not amount to $50. Almost any spare room will 
do for a honey-room. 

Fig. 120. 


Yet when the Apiarist wishes to be at ease, we would 
advise him to build his honey-house in the middle of his 
apiaiy. The windows and doors of this building must all 
be provided with wire-cloth netting, to exclude bees, flies, 
etc. We here give an engraving of a simple method of 


placing the wire screen, so as to allow these insects to escape. 
The netting is nailed on the outside of the window project- 
ing about six mches above. Three small slats are nailed be- 
tween the frame and the netting, so as to leave a space of ^ 
of an inch between the wire-cloth and the wall, at the top 
of the window. The bees and flies that have been brought 
in with the combs^ or that have entered the room, at some 
time or other, fly agamst the wire-cloth, and soon find the 
small fissure above, through which they escape; but, in re- 
turning, they smell the honey through the wire-cloth, and 
forgetting that they have escaped between the wire and the 
wall, they try in vain to pass through the wire-cloth. 

In the engraving, the window sashes have been removed, 
but their use in no way interferes with the screen, if the 
lower one is raised, or the upper one lowered, while there are 
bees in the room. 

The same method might be adopted in groceiy stores on 
windows where flies congregate. In the morning, the flies 
Avould climb out of the screen of their own accord. 

Shipping and Traxsporting Bees. 

587. In shipping colonies of bees by rail, it is not neces- 
saiy to give them much ventilation, if they are sent during the 
cool weather of Spring. We have successfully shipped hun- 
dreds of colonies to all parts of the U. S., in early Spring, 
with no other ventilation than was afforded by the joints of 
a rough block nailed over the entrance of the hive. But, if 
the weather is warm, and the colony populous, plenty of air 
is needed. "We usually replace the bottom-board by a wire- 
cloth-frame protected by slats. The entrance should never be 
covered with wire-cloth, but should be entirely closed, for the 
old bees will worry themselves tiying to get through it, and 
it will soon be clogged with dead bees. Jhey should be given 
as much air as needed with the least possible amount of light. 

When the colony is so populous, that draught through the 
hive cannot injure the brood, we nail a screen over the frames 
also, and shade it with a board nailed on slats, running 
across the ends of the hive. The closing of the portico alone, 
if there is one, with wire-cloth, is not practical, as a part 
of the swarm crowds into it and tars the ventilation. 

588. The frames should, of course, be securely fastened 
in their places, imless the colonies are in self-spacing frames 
held in place either by a metal spacer (346) or by pro- 
jections of the wood (298, 299). In addition, some Apia- 
rists fit wooden slats between the combs to keep them firmly 
in place. This is necessary only when hives are likely to be 

New combs had better not be shipped at all. If there is 
plenty of fresh honey, we would advise the extracting of all 
that is unsealed, previous to shipment. Wlien there is brood 



in every comb, and the weather is warm, it is safer to remove 
a part of the brood, and put frames of dry comb alternately 
with the frames of brood. The brood removed may be used 
to strengthen weak colonies. 

We have sent bees safely, from Illinois to Utah, by freight. 

589. In shipping bees, or colonies, it is important to place 
conspicuous cautionary cards or labels on the packages: 
Living Bees, Handle with Care, This Side Up, Keep out of 
Sun, etc. 

The damage done by rough railroad handling, is the great- 
est item of loss, in the transportation of bees properly packed. 
If colonies are shipped in carloads, they should be so placed, 
that the combs will run lengthwise, and not from side to 
side, as in vehicles drawn by horses. Surplus racks cr stories 
should be shipped separately. 

590. Some AiDiarists have practiced shipping bees by 
water routes to the Southern States in the Fall, for Winter, 
and returning them in Spring at the beginning of the honey 
harvest. If proper precautions are taken, this plan may 
be profitable, where low^ rates of transportation can be ob- 
tained, but much judgment must be exercised as to the time 
of returning them North. As the colonies become strong very 
early in the South, if they are brought back North before 
the warm weather, their brood may become chilled, and a 
tendency to the development of foul-brood is encouraged. 

"Mr. Cotton saw a man in Germany who kept all his num- 
erous stocks rich by changing their places as soon as the honey- 
season varied. * Sometimes he sent them to the moors, some- 
times to the meadows, sometimes to the forests, and sometimes 
to the hills.' In France — and the same practice has existed in 
Egypt from the most ancient times — they often put hundreds 
of hives in a boat, which floats down the stream by night and 
stops by day." — London Quarterly Eeview. 

591. Delia Rocca, in his treatise on "Bee-culture in the 
Island of Syra," speaks of the Egyptian method of keeping 
bees on boats, which were floated up and down the Nile to 


take advantage of the different crops of honey at different 

It would even appear that the Greeks in the time of Colu- 
mella transported their hives to Egj^pt by sea, "The season 
of blossoms being later than in Greece; for after the month 
of September there is no pasture in Achaia for bees, whilst 
in Egypt flowers are in full bloom even after that time, 
owing to the receding of the high waters of the Nile." He 
relates a laughable story about one of these floating apiaries. 
One hive having been upset by accident on a boat, the enraged 
bees attacked the mariners unexpectedly, and forced them to 
jump into the river and swim to the shore, which likeh', was 
not far distant, nor did they dare return, until they had pro- 
vided themselves with a supply of smoke-producing ingredi- 

592. There is a certain amount of fascinating romance 
connected with the idea of a floating apiaiy, following the 
blossoms, on the waters of the great Mississippi, or of some 
of its tributaries. An attempt of this sort was made on a 
large scale, years ago, bj^ a Chicago firm. It was a total 
failure, but we are inclined to thmk that the failure was due 
to the lack of practical knowledge in bee-keeping, on the 
part of the managers, rather than to any other cause. 

593. Transportation of bees from a location where blos- 
soms are scarce to a good field, and retuiTiing them after 
the crop, is sometimes attended with fair success. Some Apia- 
rists, located in places where the June crop alone can be 
depended upon, make it a practice to transport their hives 
to Fall pasturage evei-j^ Summer. We, ourselves, have taken 
120 hives of bees, about eighteen miles, to the Mississippi 
river bottoms, in August, 1880, when the drouth had destroyed 
all hopes of a Fall harvest on the hills. The high waters of 
the Mississippi, which had receded a few weeks before, had 
left those immense bottom lands covered with a luxuriant 
vegetation. The result fulh' answered our anticipations. 
Those lately starving colonies, yielded a bountiful surplus, 


while thek sisters on the hills had to be led for Winter. 
But the labor of transportation, the risk incurred, if the 
colonies are strong and heavy, and the difficulty of trans- 
porting old bee-hives, without danger of some bees escaping, 
make the habitual shipping of bees for pasturage hardly 

Shipping Queens. 

594. It was in the numerous and partially successful 
attempts, which we made before 1874, to import bees from 
Italy, that we became acquainted v^ith the conditions neces- 
sary to the shipping of queens. 

595. When they are to be confined a long time, the ques- 
tion of food is the most important. ]\Iany were the blunders 
made by the first shippers, who imagined that they required 
a large amount of food, and Jiterally dro^vned them in honey. 
By repeated and costly expeiiments, we ascertained that the 
bees that arrived in the best condition were those that were 
fed on the purest saccharine matter. Those that suffered the 
most, were those that had the most wateiy, or the dark«est, 
honey. Water (271), which some Italian shippers persisted 
in givmg them, in spite of whajt we could say, was noxious; 
as the consumption of it, with the food, helped to load their 
abdomen with matter that could not be discharged, causing 
what is improperly called dysentery (784). Water is needed 
only in hrood rearing. 

596. Old bees, or rather, bees that have begun to work 
in the field, will stand a longer trip than young bees, as the 
latter consume more honey, and need to discharge their 
abdomen oftener. 

* Yet, in some locations, it is practiced regularly with success. Mr. 
R. F. Holtermann, of the Province of Ontario, at the National Bee- 
Keepers' Convention held in Chicago in December, 1905, described the 
method by which he transported bees to different spots for the differ- 
ent crops during the season, with success. In Northern countries the 
transporting of bees in summer is attended with less danger than In 
warmer sections. 


The shipping boxes in which bees are sent from Italy^ are 
about three inches deep, by three inches in width, and four 
inches ni length, with two small frames of comb, one with 
thick sugar sj-rup, the other dry. From fifty to seventy-five 
bees are put with one queen in each box. Air holes are cut 
into the sides of the boxes, and these are fastened together 
ill a pyramidal shape, with an. outer covering of tin, to which 
is fastened the handle. Queens thus put up, reached us after 
thirty-six days of confinement with very little loss, and it is 
in this way that the greatest number of imported queens were 

597. We might mention in connection with this, an oft- 
repeated incident;, so touching and sweet, as to seem more 
like a romancer's fable, or a poetic idyl, than a mere fact. 
On receiving the boxes containing Italian queens, we noticed 
tliat frequently all the bees shipped with the queen had died, 
she being the only one alive in her prison. We afterward 
found out that the faithful little subjects denied themselves 
nourishment, and stars-ed to death, sacrificing themselves, that 
their queen might not be deprived of food. 

Mailing Queens. 

598. At the present day queens are foi-warded almost 
exclusively by mail. To Mr. Frank Benton is due the credit 
of first mailing queens safely across the ocean, but the mail- 
ing of them, with more or less success on the American con- 
tinent, has been practiced for years. Messrs. J. H. Townley 
and H. Alley, appear to have been the first to succeed, as 
early as 1868. 

Yet the mails are so roughlj- handled generalh', that we 
would not advise the sending of valuable queens in this way. 

The food given is the Seholz candy (613) made of pow- 
dered sugar and honey kneaded together. A sufficient num- 
ber of bees must be put with the queen to keep her warn^ 



but not enough to crowd the cage— six to ten bees are suffi- 
cient, m Summer. 

Fig. 121. 


599. Some j'ears ago, A. I. Root practiced the shipping 
of bees by the pound for the stocking of apiaries, but this 

Fig. 122. 


(From "'The Rearing of Queen P^es.") 
(U. S. Bulletin No. 55, Bureau of Entomology. By E. F. Pliillip.s ) 

method has not proven successful and although bees may still 
be bought by weight, it has been found advisable to shij: 


tliem with some brood and combs, A two-comb nucleus pro- 
vided with a liberal supply of bees and put into a shiiDpinj^ 
box of right size and of light weight, may be sent to great 
distance and will build a very fair colony if purchased at 
the opening of the clover hai*\^est and properly cared for and 
supplied with combs already built. 

600. How many bees are there in a pound? This ques- 
tion has been propounded to us several times. Uabbe Collin, 
by careful experiments, found that in a normal condition it 
takes about 5,100 bees to weigh a pomid ; while in the swarm, 
when they are supplied with honey, it takes less than 4,300. 

According to Bernard De Gelieu, their weight will vary 
from 3,640 to 5,460. He ascertained that, m a good season, 
a thousand bees carried in about an ounce of honey from the 
field, at each trip. 

The same writer, testing the weight of drones found that 
about 2,000 weighed a pound. This was verified by the tests 
of Prof. B. F. Keens, of Connecticut, quoted in the ABC 
of Bee Culture. 

But Collin, who was veiy accurate in these matters, tested 
drones, both at their leaving the hive and at their return from 
the field and fomid that the outgoing drones number about 
1,950 to the pound, while the returning drones number 2,100, 
which shows a loss of nearly eight per cent in their weight, 
through the taking of their daily exercise. This is evidently 
caused by their discharging their excrements and gives a faint 
idea of the amomit of food they must consume while in the 
hive, for they also discharge their excrements in the hive 
(190), without much regard to propriety. It also confirms 
the fact that they harvest nothing but ahvays come home with 
an appetite. 

601. Parties contemi)hiting the breeding of bees and 
queens for sale, will do well to locate themselves as far South 
as convenient for easy shipment, as it is by far more lucrative 
to raise them there than in the North. This is veiy easy to 
understand. In the South, the bees usually winter safely, and 


breed early, so that the colonies are strong, while those of 
the Northern latitudes are still confined in their hives, strug- 
gling against the rigors of Winter. 

If an Apiarist purchases bees or queens at the proper time 
— Spring— to recruit his Winter loss, he will most likely buy 
them from some location South of him, as he can there ob- 
tain stronger colonies, and earlier queens, than in his own 

602. On the other hand, as the honey of the Northern 
States is superior in quality to Southern honey, bee-culture 
for honey production can be made fully as profitable in the 
North, in spite of the difficulties of wintering. 

Transporting Bees Short Distances. 

Confine the hive, so that it cannot be jolted, in a Avagon 
with springs, and be sure, before starting, that it is impossible 
for a bee to get out. It will be next to impossible, in warm 
weather, to move a hive which contains much new comb or 
much fresh honey. 

Indeed, we would strongly urge beginners not to transport 
bees in warm weather. Just before fruit-blossom is the best 
time to transport full colonies of bees. Some advise trans- 
porting them in Winter, on sleds, but after trial we con- 
demned this method also. The joltings of a sleigh, though 
few, are hard, and will break combs; and disturbing bees 
in cold weather should always be discouraged. When hauling 
bees in warm weather, do not load or unload them while the 
horses are hitched to the wagon. We have seen serious acci- 
dents resulting from a hive dropping from a man's hand to 
the ground, causing the bees to escape, and to sting both the 
driver and the horses severely. 

If a colony, in hot weather, is to be moved any distance in 
movable-frame hives, it will be advisable to fasten frames 
of wire-cloth, both to the top and bottom of the brood apart- 
ment, and to transport the bottom-board, cloth, mat, or sur- 
plus cap or cover, separately. 


A specially maue rack; similar to a hay-rack, is often used, 
ill lar^e apiaries. Hives with movable-frames should be ar- 
ranged in such a position that the frames run from side to 
side, and not from front to rear, in the wagon. 

603. Upon arrival at the apiary, if the weather is warm, 
you should at once set the hives in proper position, and re- 
lease the bees. It is good policy to place a shade hoard 
(oYS^ in front of the entrances for a day or two. The 
object of this is to cause the old bees to notice that something 
is changed in their location, and to turn around and mark 
the place, instead of starting out as usual in a bee-line with- 
out looking behind. 

604. New swarms may be brought home in any box which 
has ample ventilation. A tea-chest, with wire-cloth on the 
top, sides, and bottom-board, will be found veiy convenient. 

The bees may be shut up in the box as soon as they are 
hived. New swarms require even more air than old colonies, 
being full of honey and closely clustered together. They 
should be set in a cool place, and, if the weather is veiy 
sultiy, should not be removed until night. Many swarms 
are suffocated by the neglect of these precautions. The bees 
may be easily shaken out from this temporaiy hive. 


Feeding Bees. 

605. Few things in practical bee-keeping are more im- 
portant than the feeding- of bees; yet none have been more 
grossly mismanaged or neglected. 

In the Spring, the prudent hee-keeper will no more neglect 
to feed his destitute colonies, than to provide for his own 
Cable. At this season^ being stimulated by the returning 
warmth, and being largely engaged in breeding, bees require 
a liberal supply of food, and many populous colonies perish, 
which might have been saved A^nth but trifling trouble or ex- 

'*If e'er dark Autumn, with untimely storm, 
The honey 'd harvest of the year deform; 
Or the chill blast from Eurus' mildew wing, 
Blight the fair promise of returning Spring,; 
Full many a hive, but late alert and gay, 
Droops in the lap of all-inspiring May. ' ' 

— Evans. 

'*If the Spring is not favorable to bees, they should be fed, 
because that is the season of their greatest expense in honey, 
for feeding their young. Having plenty at that time, enables 
them to yield early and strong swarms." — (Wildman.) 

A bee-keeper, whose colonies are allowed to perish after 
the Spring has opened, is on a level with a farmer whose 
cattle are allowed to starve in their stalls; while those who 
withhold from them the needed aid, in seasons when they 
cannot gather a supply, resemble the merchant who bums 
up his ships, if they have made an unfavorable voyage. 

Columella gives minute instructions for feeding needy 
colonies, and notes approvingly the directions of Hyginus— 



whose writings are no longer extant — that this matter should 
be most carefully ("diligentissime'') attended to. 

Spring Feeding. 

606. When bees first begin to fly in the Spring, it is 
well to feed them a little^ as a small addition to their hoards 
encourages the production of brood. Great caution, how- 
ever, should be used to prevent robbing. Feeding should 
always be attended to in the evening (666), and as soon as 
forage abounds, the feeding should be discontinued. 

Feeding to induce breeding should be done with diluted 
honey or thin sugar-syrup, warmed before using. This watery 
and warm food given in small quantities takes the place of 
fresh honey and, like fresh harvested nectar, saves the bees 
the necessity of going after water for breeding. It thus 
serves two purposes, it induces more plentiful breeding and 
supplies water for the larval food (662, 271). Mr. J. E. 
Johnson of Williamslield, Illinois, reported to us great suc- 
cess by this method which is not usually followed, owing to the 
care required, for one must be careful not to overdo the feed- 
ing or feed w^hen the weather is too cold. If a colony is 
over-fed, the bees will fill their brood-combs, so as to interfere 
with the production of young, and thus the honey given to 
them is worse than thro^vn away. 

The over-feeding of bees resembles, in its results, the 
noxious influences under which too many children of the 
rich are reared. Pampered and fed to the full, how often 
does their wealth prove only a legacy of withering curses, 
as, bankrupt in purse and character, they prematurely sink 
to dishonored graves. 

Colonies, which have abundant stores, may be incited to 
breed, by simply bruising the cappings of a part of their 
honey. This causes them to feed their queen more plentifully, 
and more eggs are laid. 

607. Bees may require feeding, even when there are many 


blossoms ill the fields, before the beg-iiining of the main har- 
vest, if the weather is unfavorable to the honey flow. Large 
quantities of brood hatch daily, requiring much food, and a 
few days without honey sometimes endangers the life of colo- 
nies, en the eve of a plentiful harvest. 

Few people realize the great risk of starvation just at the 
opening of the honey crop. A good way to feed destitute 
colonies in Spring is to give them combs of honey, which 
have been saved from the previous season for this purpose. 
If such cannot be had, the food may be put into an empty 
comb, and placed where it can be easily reached by the bees. 

Honey partially candied, or granulated (830), may be 
given them, in small quantities, by pouring it over the top 
of combs in which the bees are clustered. A bee deluged by 
sweets, when away from home, is a soriy spectacle; but what 
is thus given them does no harm, and they will lick eacli 
other clean, with as much satisfaction as a little child sucks 
its fingers while feasting on sugar candy. 

Hard candied honey is still better and may be heaped or 
plastered over the top bars back of the cluster. 

If a colony has too few bees, its population must be re- 
plenished before it is fed. To build up small colonies by 
feeding, requires more care and judgment than any other 
process in bee-culture, and will rarely be required by those 
who have movable-frame hives. It can only succeed when 
everything is made subservient to the most rapid production 
of brood. 

Fall Feeding. 

608. By the time the honey-harvest closes, all the colo- 
nies ought to be strong in numbers: and, in favorable sea- 
sons, their aggregate resources should be such that, when an 
equal division is made, there will be enough food for all. If 
some have more, and others less than they need, an equitable 
division may usually be effected in movable-frame hives. Such 
an agrarian procedure would soon overthrow human society; 



but bees thus helped, will not spend the next season m idle- 
ness; nor will those deprived of their surplus limit their 
iratherings to a bare competency. 

Before the first heavy frosts all feeding- 
required for wintei-ing bees should be care- 
fully attended to. 

(>(U>. Feeders of all descriptions are 
made and sold. To feed our bees we haN( 
used for years a finiit can, (fig. 123) qo\- 
ered with cloth and inverted over the hivt 
It costs nothing and can be found in every 
house. AVe now use HilTs Feeder (tig. 124), 
in which the cloth is replaced by a ]»erf()rated cover, 

Fig. 123. 

hill's bee-feeder. 

The bees can then get their food, without being chilled even 
in cold weather, and they promptly store it away in the 
combs, for later use. 

In order that the heat may be better retained, a hole of the 
size of the feeder may be cut mto a piece of enamel cloth 
used for the purpose in jjlace of the ordinaiy cloth. 

Columella recommended wool, soaked m honey, for feed- 
ing bees. When the weather is not too cold, a saucer, bowl, 
trough, or vessel of any kind, filled with straw, makes a con- 
venient feeder. 

It is desirable to get through with Fall feeding as rapidly 
as possible, as the bees are so excited by it that they con- 



sunie iijore food than they otherwise would. In feeding a 
large amount for Winter supply, we have given as many 
as five quart-cans to one colony at one time. Wooden feed- 
ers in the shape of troughs, as made by Root, Shuck, and 
Heddon, have the advantage over the cans of not needing 
removal to be refilled, but they are not so well in reach of the 

Fig. 125. 


The Doolittle division board feeder is made m the shajx^ 
of a wide frame boarded up on both sides. This feeder will 
drown the bees unless a slat is put inside of it^ to float at 
the top of the feed given. 

Fig. 126. 


The Miller feeder is placed over the combs in the same 
manner as a super. It places the feed well in reach of- the 
bees. Numerous other feeders have been devised and all 
have some good points. 


610. As honey is scarce in the seasons when Fall feed- 
ing has to be resorted to, we will give directions for making 
good syrup for Winter food: Dissolve twenty pounds of 
granulated sugar (use none but the best) in one gallon of 
boiling water, with the addition of five or six pounds of 
honey. Stir till well melted, and feed while lukewarm.* 

611. Sugar candy, for feeding bees, was first recom- 
mended by Mr. Weigel of Silesia. If the candy is laid on 
the frames just above the clustered bees, it will be accessible 
to them in the coldest weather. It may also be put between 
the combs, in an upright position, among the bees, or poured 
into combs before it is cold. 

To make candy for bee-feed: add water to sugar, and 
boil sloAvly until the water is evaporated. Stir constantly 
so that it will not burn. 

To know when it is done, dip your finger first into cold wa- 
ter and then into the syrup. If what adheres is brittle to the 
teeth, it is boiled enough. Pour it into shallow pans, a little 
greased, and, when cold, break into pieces of a suitable size. 

612. Before attempting to make candy for bee feed, the 
novice will do well to read the following advice from the 
witty pen of friend A. I. Root: 

**If your candy is burned, no amount of boiling will make it 
hard, and your best way is to use it for cooking, or feeding the 
bees in Summer. Burnt sugar is death to them, if fed in cold 
weather. You can tell when it is burned by the smell, color 
and taste. If you do not boil it enough, it will be soft and 
sticky in warm weather, and will be liable to drip, when stored 
away. Perhaps you had better try a pound or two, at first, 
while you 'get your hand in.' Our first experiment was with 
50 lbs. and it all got * scorched ' somehow. . . . Before you 
commence, make up your mind, you will not get one drop of 
sugar or syrup on the floor or table. Keep your hands clean, 
and everything else clean, and let the women folks see that 
men have common sense; some of them at least. If you should 

* Pure sugar syrup without addition of honey often crystallizes in 
the combs and becomes as hard as rock candy. 


forget yourself, and let the candy boil over on the stove, it 
would be very apt to get on the floor, and then you would be 
very likely to ' get your foot in it, ' and before you got through, 
you might wish you had never heard of bees or candy either; 
and your wife, if she did not say so, might wish she had never 
heard of anything that brought a man into the kitchen. I 
have had a little experience in the line of feet sticking to the 
floor and snapping at every step you take, and with door knobs 
sticking to the fingers, but it was in the honey house." 

613. The Rev. Mr. Seholz, of Silesia, years ago, recom- 
mended the folloAving as a substitute for sugar-candy in feed- 
ing bees: 

' ' Take one pint of honey and four pounds of pounded lump- 
sugar; heat the honey, without adding water, and mix it with 
the sugar, working it together to a stiff doughy mass. When 
thus thoroughly incorporated, cut it into slices, or form it into 
cakes or lumps, and wrap them in a piece of coarse linen and 
place them in the frames. Thin slices, enclosed in linen, may 
be pushed down between the combs. The plasticity of the 
mass enables the Apiarist to apply the food in any manner he 
may desire. The bees have less difficulty in appropriating this 
kind of food than where candy is used, and there is no waste.'' 

This preparation has been used of late years with success, 
as food in mailing and shipping bees, under the name of 
"Good's candy." 

Thick sugar-syrui3 and candy are undoubtedly the best bee- 
food, especially when the bees are to be confined a long time 
and no brood is to be raised. 

614. An experiment of De Layens has proved that bees 
can use water to dissolve sugar (273). The same writer re- 
lates how a French bee-keeper, Mr. Beuzelin, feeds his bees 
in Winter: 

"He saws into slices a large loaf of lump-sugar, and places 
these slices upon the frames under a cloth. Another bee-keeper 
told me several years ago of having saved colonies in straw 
hives by simply suspending in them, with wires, lumps of sugar 
weighing several pounds." — (Bulletin de la Suisse Romande.) 


While such methods succeed in a mild and damp climate, 
like that of France, they are not advisable in the Northern 
part of the United States, unless the bees are wintered in 
cellars (^646). 

615. The prudent Apiarist will regard the feeding of 
bees— the little given by way of encouragement excepted— 
as an evil to he submitted to only when it cannot be avoided, 
and will much prefer that they should obtain their supplies 
in the manner so beautifully described by him whose inimitable 
writings furnish us, on almost every subject, with the hap- 
piest illustrations: 

* ' So work the honey-bees, 
Creatures that, by a rule in Nature, teach 
The art of order to a peopled kingdom. 
They have a king and officers of sorts, 
Where some, like magistrates, correct at home. 
Others, like merchants, venture trade abroad; 
Others, like soldiers, armed in their stings, 
Make boot upon the Summer's velvet buds; 
Which pillage they, with merry march, bring home 
To the tent royal of their emperor. 
Who, busied in his majesty, surveys 
The singing masons building roofs of gold; 
The civil citizens kneading up the honey; 
The poor mechanic porters crowding in 
Their heavy burdens at his narrow gate; 
The sad-eyed justice, with his surly hum. 
Delivering o 'er, to executors pale, 
The lazy, yawning drone." 

Shakespeare's Henry Y, Act 1, Scene 2. 

(>1(>. All attempts to derive piotit from selling cheap 
lioney or syrup, fed to bees, have invariably proved unsuc- 
cessful. The notion that they can change all sweets, however 
poor their quality, into honey, on the same principle that cows 
secrete milk from any acceptable food, is a complete delusion. 

Pifferent kinds of honey or sugar-syrup fed to the bees 


can be as readily distinguished, after they have sealed them 
up, as before. 

The Golden Age of bee-keeping, m which bees are to trans- 
mute inferior sweets into such balmy spoils as were gathered 
on Hybla or Hymettus, is as far from prosaic reality as the 
visions of the poet, who saw — 

*'A golden hive, on a golden bank, 
Where golden bees, by alchemical prank, 
Gather gold instead of honey. ' ' 

Even if cheap sugar could be ''made over" by the bees so 
as to taste like honey, it would cost the producer, taking 
into account the amount consumed (223) in elaborating 
wax, as much as the market price of white clover honey. 

617. The experienced Apiarist will fully appreciate the 
necessity of preventing his bees getting a taste of forbidden 
sweets, and the inexperienced, if incautious, will soon learn 
a salutary lesson. Bees were intended to gather their sup- 
plies from the nectaries of flowers, and, while following their 
natural instincts, have little disposition to meddle with prop- 
erty that does not belong to them; but, if their incautious 
owner tempts them with liquid food, at times when they can 
obtam nothing from the blossoms, they become so infatuated 
with such easy gatherings as to lose all discretion, and will 
perish by thousands if the vessels which contain the food are 
not furnished w4th floats^ on which they can safely stand to 
help themselves. 

As the ^y Avas not intended to banquet on blossoms, but 
on substances in which it might easily be drowned, it 
cautiously alights on the edge of any vessel containing liquid 
food, and warily helps itself; while the poor bee, plunging 
in headlong, speedily perishes. The sad fate of their unfor- 
tunate companions does not in the least deter others who 
approach the temptmg lure, from madly alighting on the 
bodies of the dying and the dead, to share the same miserable 
end! No one can understand the extent of their infatuation. 


until lie has seen a cont'ectionei*'s shop assailed by myriads 
of hungry bees. We have seen thousands strained out from 
the syrups in which they had perished; thousands more alight- 
ing even upon the boiling sweets; the floors covered and win- 
dows darkened with bees, some crawling, others flying, and 
others still, so completely besmeared as to be able neither to 
crawl nor fly — not one in ten able to cany home its ill-gotten 
spoils, and yet the air filled with new hosts of thoughtless 

We once furnished a candj'-shop, in the vicinity of our 
apiaiy, with wire-gauze windows and doors, after the bees 
had commenced their depredations. On finding themselves 
excluded, they alighted on the wire by thousands, fairly 
squealing with vexation as thej" vainly tried to force a pas- 
sage through the meshes.* Baffled in eveiy effort, they at- 
temi:>ted to descend the chimney, reeking with sweet odors, 
even although most who entered it fell with scorched wings 
into the fire, and it became necessarj- to put wii-e-gauze over 
the top of the chimney also. 

618. As we have seen thousands of bees destroyed in 
such places, thousands more hopelessly struggling in the de- 
luding sweets, and j-et increasing thousands, all unmindful of 
their danger, blindly hovering over and alighting on them, 
how often have they reminded us of the infatuation of those 
who abandon themselves to the mtoxicating cup! Even al- 
though such persons see the miserable victims of this degrad- 
ing ^^ce falling all around them into premature graves, they 
still press madly on, trampling, as it were, over their dead 
bodies, that they too may sink mto the same abyss, and their 
sun also go down in hopeless gloom. 

The avaricious bee that plunges recklessly into the tempt- 
ing sweets, has ample time to bewail her folly. Even if she 

* Manufacturers of candies and syrups will find it to their interest 
to fit such guards to their premises ; for, if only one bee in a hundred 
escapes with its load, considerable loss will be incurred in the course of 
the season. 


clues nor t(»rl'eit her life, she r.>lurns h<!ir.e with a \V(ie-begune 
look, and soiTrwfiil note, in marked cr.ntrast wi;h the bright 
hues and merry sounds with which her industrious fellows 
come back frcm their happy rovin^s amid "budding honey- 
liowers and sweetly-breathing tieids.'^ 




619. Bees can be wintered safely in nearly all climates, 
where the Sunnuer is long- enough to enable them to store a 
Winter supply. In the natural state, the vital heat of the 
live hollow trees in which they dwell, helps to maintain a 
higher temperature than that of the outside air, and bees 
Winter so well in such abodes, that travelers, who visit North- 
ern Russia, wonder how so small an insect can live in such 
inhospitable countries. 

620. As soon as frosty weather arrives, bees cluster com- 
pactly together in their hives, to keep warm. They do not 
usually assemble on combs full of honey, but on the empty 
comb just below the honey. They are never dormant, like 
wasps and hornets, and a thermometer pushed up among them 
will show a Summer temperature, even when, in the open air, 
it is many degrees below zero. 

The bees in the cluster are imbricated, like the shingles of 
a roof, each bee having her head mider the abdomen of the 
one above her, and so on, to the ones who are in reach of 
the honey. These pass the honey to those below them, which 
pass it to the next, and so on, to the bottom of the mass. 

621. When the cold becomes intense, they keep up an 
incessant tremulous motion, in order to develop more heat* 

* Everybody knows that motion transforms itself into heat, and that 
heat is but a form of motion. . . . whether the motion comes from 
a large body or from a small one, whether this motion be suddenly 
or gradually stopped, the result is the same, it is transformed into 
heat. — (Flammarion, "Le Monde Avant la Creation de THomme.") 



bj^ active exercise; and, as those on tiie outside of tiie cluster 
become chilled, they are replaced by others. Besides, the fan- 
ning of wmgs, which causes this roar, sends the warm air 
from the top of the cluster to the bottom of the hive— thus 
warming the bees placed at the lowest part of the cluster; and 
these, if not too chilled, take advantage of a warmer day, 
to climb above the mass, and get honey in their turn. 

When the weather is very cold, their humming can often 
be heard outside of the hive; and, if the hive be jarred, at 
any time, there comes a responsive murmur, which is longer 
or shorter in duration, and lower or higher in tone, according 
to the strength of the col'ony. 

622. As all muscular exertion requires food to supply 
the waste of the system, the more quiet bees can be kept, 
the less they will eat. It is, therefore, highly important to 
preserve them as far as possible, in Winter, from every de- 
gree, either of heat or cold, which will arouse them to great 
activity. ' 

When all the food which is in their reach is consumed, they 
will starve, if the temperature is too cold to allow them to 
move their cluster to the parts of the combs which contain 
honey; hence, if the central combs of the hive are not well 
stored with honey, they should be exchanged for such as are, 
so that, when the cold compels the bees to recede from the 
outer combs, they may cluster among their stores. In districts 
where bees gather but little honey in the Fall, such precau- 
tions, in cold climates, will be specially needed, as, often, after 
breeding is over, their central combs will be almost empty. 
For this reason Canadian apiarists often feed their colonies 
until the central combs are entirely filled with honey at the 
opening of Winter. 

623. It is impossible to say how much honey will be 
needed to carry a colony safely through the Winter. Much 
will depend on the w^ay in which they are wintered, whether 
in the open air or in special depositories, where they are 
protected against the undue excitement caused by sudden 


and severe atmospheric cliaujjes; much, also, oii the length 
of the Winters, which vai-y so much in different latitudes, and 
the forwardness of the ensuing Spring. In some of our North- 
ern States, bees will often gather nothing for more than six 
months, while, in the extreme South, thej- are seldom de- 
l)rived of all natural supplies for as many weeks. In all our 
Northern and Middle States, if the colonies are to be win- 
tered out of doors, they should have at least twenty-five 
pounds of honey. 

In movable-frame hives, the amount of stores may be easily 
ascertained by actual inspection. The weight of hives is not 
always a safe criterion, as old combs are heavier than new 
ones, besides being often over-stored with pollen. (263.) 

624. Practical bee-keepers usually judge of the amount of 
stores by sight. The majoritj^ of combs in an ordinaiy Lang- 
strotli hive should be at least half full of honey, for outdoor 
wintering, in this latitude. Remember that food is needed, not 
only to cari-y them through the Winter, but also to help them 
to raise brood largely, during the cold days of early Spring. 
Bees do not waste their stores, and the wealthy colonies will 
usually be found stronger, and better i)repared for the follow- 
ing harvest. 

Enthusiastic beginners, in Apiculture, are apt to overdo ex- 
tracting, leaving too little honey in the* brood-chamber for 
Whiter. If the bees are not actually crowded with honey, 
w^e w^ould advise them to leave, to strong colonies, all the 
honey that the brood-chamber contains. Some may think that 
nine or ten heavy Quinby frames, are too many for a colony, 
for they may he wintered on six or seven. We will here give 
a bit of our experience on that point : 

625. About the year 1S75, in an apiary away from home, 
where we were raising comb-honey, Ave had a number of 
swarms, which, in the rush of the honey-crop, we did not 
examine until their combs were built. At that time, the 
triangular bar (319) was the guide principally used, and the 
combs of some of these swarms were joined together in a 


way that rendered the frames immovable. In the Fall, we 
extracted (749) from the brood-chamber of nearly every 
colony, as was then our practice, leaving only seven Quinby 
frames on an average— for Winter. The colonies that had 
crooked combs were left with all their stores— ten frames— 
because we could not disturb them without breaking combs, 
and causing leakage and robbing, and it was not the proper 
season to transfer (5 7.1:) them. These colonies did not have 
to be fed, the following Spring, became very strong, and 
yielded the largest crop. This untried-for result caused us 
to make further experiments, which proved that there is a 
profit in leaving^ to strong colonies, a large quantity of honey, 
so that they will not limit their Sirring hreeding. 

€26. The quality of the bee-food is an important matter 
in w^intering bees. Protracted cold weather compels them to 
eat large quantities of honey, fillmg their intestines with fecal 
matter w^hich they cannot void, for bees never discharge their 
faeces in the hive, unless they are confined too long, or greatly 

Unhealthy food in prolonged confinement, sooner or later 
causes diarrhcea (784), not only in wintering out of doors, 
but in cellar Avintering (646), and in shipping bees long 
distances (587). 

DiaiThoea, or as some call it, dysentery, in bees, is not 
properly a disease, since it is only caused by the retainmg 
in the abdomen, of a large amount of excrements, which in 
ordinary circumstances w^ould be voided regularly. Whenever 
bees have been confined for two weeks or more, they discharge 
in flight excrements which soil eveiything about the ajDiai-y. 
The housekeeper avoids hanging clothes out to diy on such 
days. These excrements or faeces, from a reddish yellow to a 
muddy black in color^ according to the quality of the food 
eaten, have an intolerably offensive smell. In excessive con- 
finement, with a large consumption, from any cause, of more 
or less healthy food, when bees can no longer retain the excre- 
ments in their distended abdomen, they void them upon one 


another, upon the combs, upon the floor, and at the entrance 
of the hive, "which bees in a heahhy state are particularly 
careful to keep clean." 

If bees can void them, in flight (73), before it is too late, 
they experience no bad effects, hence it is indispensable that, 
when wintered out of doors, bees should be enabled to ^y, at 
intervals, during the Winter. 

627. From numerous experiments made, it is evident that 
the purest saccharine matter will feed them with the least pro- 
duction of faeces. Hence watery, unripe, or sour honey, and 
all honey containmg extraneous matter, are more or less in- 
jurious to confined bees. Dark honey containing a large pro- 
portion of mcllose is inferior to clover-honey or sugar-syrup. 
Honey harvested from flowers which yield much pollen 
(1^3), is likely to contain many floating grams of it, and 
will be more injurious than clear, transparent honey, in cases 
where bees will be confined to their hives by cold for five or 
six weeks. Honey-dew (255) seems worse yet. The juices 
of fruits, apples, grapes, etc. (877), are worst of all. After 
the Winter of 1880-81, we purchased the remains of some 90 
colonies, that had been winter-killed, and in which the only 
food left was apple- juice, that had been carried in, during the 
preceding Fall, and had turned to cider. This unwholesome 
food in Winter confinement, by causing diarrhoea, had killed 
bees everywhere around us (784). 

628. Happily these instances, of bees storing apple- juice, 
are scarce, but the practical bee-keeper will not allow such 
food to remain in the hive. It may be extracted (749), 
boiled, and fed back in Spring, for bees do not suffer from 
this food when not confined to their hives. The same may be 
said of inferior or unripe honey (261). 

Much unsealed honey in the comb is injurious for Winter, 
even if the honey is ripe. This unsealed honey gathers 
moisture on account of its hygrometric properties, and be- 
comes thin and watery. In addition to this peculiarity, honey, 
when cold, condenses the moisture or steam from the bees, in 


the same manner that a pitcher of cold water condenses the 
moisture of the air in a warm room. In some Winters, we 
have seen unsealed lioney gather so much of the moisture that 
it overllowed, and ran out of the cells to the bottom-board. 
Luckily the bees usually consume this honey first, before Win- 
ter begins. 

629. To avoid the accidents caused by poor honey, some 
Apiarists have suggested that all the honey might be extracted 
every Fall, and sugar-syrup fed in its place. At the first 
glance, this course seems j)rofltable, when the difference be- 
tween the price of comb-honey and the cost of sugar-syrup 
is considered, but when we take into account the trouble of 
feeding, and the poor results obtained in wintering the bees, 
we see much labor for a small profit. Having ascertained 
that bees winter better on Spring or light-colored honey, w^e 
no longer extract from the brood-chamber, avoiding the annoy- 
ance and the extra labor of feeding. Our experience has con- 
vinced us that, unless the Spring crop has failed, or the food 
is decidedly bad, such as unripe honey (249), or honey-dew 
(255), or fruit-juice (8'77), it is cheaper to winter bees on 
natural stores. When sugar-syrup is needed, none but the best 
sugar should be used. (616.) 

630. All empty combs, whether brood-combs or surplus- 
combs, should be removed from the hive previous to cold 
weather, as the bees, which may cluster in them, would starve 
at the first cold spell without being able to join the cluster. 
We have seen a whole colony perish, during a cold fortnight 
in December, because they had occupied an extracting stoiy 
(which had but little honey in it, and had been left on by 
neglect), although there was plenty of honey m the hive, a 
few inches below them. The space left empty by the re- 
moval of the combs should be filled with a warm material 
placed between the side of the hive and the division board. 

631. As some bees which cluster on the outside combs 
are often unable to join the others in cold weather, it would 
be well to have holes, or Winter passages, through the combs, 


such as will allow them to pass readily, in cold weather, from 
one to another; but if these holes are made before they feci 
the need of them, they will frequently close them. It is susr- 
gested that small tubes made of elder^ the pith of which has 
been removed, would make permanent Winter-passages, if in- 
serted in the comb^ at any time. On a cold November day, 
Mr. Langstrolh found bees, in a hive without any Winter- 
passages, separated from the main cluster, and so chilled as 
not to be able to move; while, with the thermometer many 
degrees below zero, he repeatedly noticed, in other hives, at 
one of the holes made in the comb, a cluster, varying in size, 
ready to rush out at the slightest jar of their hive. 

Fig. 127. 


It has been found quite practical to give them a passage 
above the combs, or between the combs and the straw-mat, 
or quilt, above them. The Hill device sold by many dealers, 
is very good for this purpose, although we find that the bees 
often have hridge-comhs m sufficient quantity above the 
frames to give them the necessaiy passage, 

Out-Door Wixterixg. 

632. The usual mode of allowing bees to remain all Win- 
ter on their Summer stands, is, in cold climates, verj^ ob- 
jectionable. In those parts of the country, however, where 
the cold is seldom so severe as to prevent them from flying, 
at frequent intervals, from their hives, no better way, all 
things considered, can be devised. In such favored regions, 
bees are but little removed from their native climate, and their 
wants may be easily supplied, without those injurious effects 


which commonly result from disturbing them when the weather 
is so cold as to confine them to their hives. 

If the colonies are to be wintered in the open air, they 
should all be made populous, and rich in stores, even if to 
do so requires their number to be reduced one-half or more. 
The bee-keeper who has ten strong colonies in the Spring, 
will, by judicious management with movable-frame hives, be 
able to close the season with a larger apiary than one who 
begins it with thirty, or more, feeble ones. 

632 (bis). Small colonies consume, proportionally, much 
more food than large ones, and then perish from inability to 
maintain sufficient heat. 

Fig. 128. 


(From Hamet. ) 

Bees, in small or contracted hives, especially when deprived 
of all the honey gathered in Spring, as stated before (629), 
have too scanty a population for a successful wintering, espe- 
cially out of doors; for, as it is by eating that bees generate 
warmth, the abdomens of a small number are soon filled with 
residues, and if the cold continues for weeks the bees get the 
diarrhoea (784). We have often seen colonies in small hives 
perishing side by side Avith large ones whose bees were very 


Such facts abound, and we have but to open tlie bee-jour- 
nals to find the confirmation of our statement. 

In the American Bee- Journal for Februaiy S, 1888. page 
83, Mr. J. P. Stone of Holly, Mich., asks why a colony^ 
which was hived in 1859 in a large box, is prospering yet, 
while others have perished. The size given, 16X16X22, which" 
shows that the box has twice the capacity of an S-frame 
Langstioth hive, answers his question. 

In tlie following number of the same journal, page 107, 
Mr. Heddon mentions a colony which had wintered safely 
for seven years in a box ten times larger than the Langstroth, 
while many others died by its side. "The colony, when trans- 
ferred, contained about double the number of bees usually 
raised from one queen." 

Yet small colonies can be safely wintered out of doors, if 
their combs and honej- are not spread over a large space, 
and if they are sheltered so as to maintain the proper heat. 
It is therefore indispensable to reduce the combs of a hive to 
the amount of room which the bees can best keep warm, bj* 
the use of the division or contracting board (349), leaving a 
sufficient supply of good honey, supply which, sometimes, 
mav be taken from too rich colonies. 


633. A queenless colony, in the Fall, should always be 
united to some other hive. 

If two or more colonies, which are to be united, are not 
close together, their hives must be gradually drawn nearer, 
and the bees may then, with proper precautions, be put into 
the same hive. For this purpose, it is well to kill the poorest 
queen (if both have queens) and keep the best. This may be 
dispensed with, but the prudent bee-keeper will never neglect 
an opportunity to improve his stock. On a cool November 
day, the combs of the weaker colony that bear the cluster, 
should be lifted all together, and inserted in the other hive, 


after the bees of the latter have been thoroughly frightened 
with smoke. (382.) 

631. If, when two colonies are put together, the bees in 
the one on the old stand are not gorged with honey, they 
will often attack the others, and speedily sting them to death, 
in spite of all their attempts to purchase immunity, by offer- 
ing their honey. The late Wm. W. Cary, of Coleraine, Mas- 
sachusetts, who was an accurate observer of the habits of bees, 
united colonies very successfully, by alarming those that were 
on the old stand j as soon as they showed by their notes, that 
they were subdued, he gave them the new-comers. The alarm 
which causes them to gorge themselves with honey, puts them, 
doubtless, upon their good behavior, long enough to give the 
others a fair chance. 

They can also be made to unite peaceably, by sprinkling a 
little sweet-scented water on them (4:85). It is well to put 
a slanting board in front of the entrance (603) to show the 
moved bees that their location is changed. The empty hive 
should be removed from its place to prevent the bees from 
returning to it. The number of combs in the united colony 
may be reduced as soon as the bees have all clustered together. 

In this manner a strong colony with little honey, and a 
weak one with plenty of stores, may be united to form a good 
hive of bees. 

Out-Door Sheltering. 

635. The moving of a colony to a warmer or better 
sheltered place, just before Winter, is not advisable, for many 
bees, not having noticed their new location, would i)erish of 
cold, while searching for their home, and the population would 
be greatly decreased. 

In our Northern, Middle and Western States, the style of 
hive used has a considerable influence on the safety of out- 
door wintering. 

With hives that are shigle-walled all aroimd, great care 
should be taken to shelter the bees from the piercing winds, 



wliieli in Winter so powerfully exhaust their animal heat; 
for, like human beings, if sheltered from the wind, they will 
endure a low temperature far better than a continuous current 
of very much warmer air. 

In some parts of the West, where bees suffer much from 
cold winds, their hives are protected, in ^^'inter, by sheaves 
of straw, fastened so as to defend them from both cold and 
wet. With a little ingenuity, farmers might easily turn their 
waste straw to a valuable account in sheltering their bees. 

Not only can straw be used for this purpose with much 
service, but also forest leaves, corn fodder, and rushec. Snow 
is found to be a veiy good shelter, provided its successive 
meltmg and freezing does not interfere with the necessaiy 
ventilation. It must be removed from the entrance on the 
approach of a warm day. 

Fig. 128 bis. 


Mr. Geo. H. Beard, of Winchester, Mo., safely wintered 
ninety-three colonies out of ninety-six, in the severe Winter 
of 1884-5, in the lower apartment of two-stoiy Langstroth 
1 jives, by removing the oil-cloth and replacing it with coarse 


sack-clotli, tiiiing liie upper story with maple leaves, and 
covering the hives, on all sides, except the front, with what is 
commonly known as slough-grass. This success is worthy of 
notice, for in that memorable Whiter, more than two-thirds of 
the bees m the Northern States died, some Apiarists losing- 
all they had. Like that of 1S55-6, it will long be remembered, 
not only for the uiicouuuon deg-ree and duration of its cold, 
but for the tremendous wnids, which, often for days together, 
swept like a Polar blast over the land. 

We have, for years, whitered part of our bees on the Sum- 
mer stand, by sheltering them on all sides but the front, with 
forest leaves closely packed, and held with a frame-work of 
lath, or ladder. 

636. One of the most important requirements for success- 
ful out-door winterhig, is the placing of warm absorbents, 
innuediately over the cluster, to imbibe the excess of moisture 
that rises from the bees, without allowing the heat to escape. 

In March, 185(3, we lost some of our best colonies, under 
the foHowmg circumstances: The Winter had been intensely 
cold, and the hives, having no upward ventilation or moisture 
absorbents, were filled with frost — in some instances, the ice 
on their glass sides being nearly a quarter of an inch thick. 
A few days of mild weather^ in which the frost began to 
thaw, were followed by a severely cold spell with the ther- 
mometer below zero, accompanied bj^ raging winds, and in 
many of the hiveSj the bees, which were still wet from the 
thaw, were frozen together in an almost solid mass. 

As long as the vapor remains congealed, it can injure the 
bees only by keeping them from stores which they need; but, 
as soon as a thaw sets in, hives which have no upward ab- 
sorbents are in danger of being ruined. 

Mr. E. T. Sturtevant. of East Cleveland, Oliio, once known 
as an experienced Apiarist, thus gave his experience in win- 
tering bees in the open air: 

''Xo extr?mity of cold that we ever have in this climate, 
will injure bees, if their breath is allowed to pass off, so that 


they are dry. 1 never lost a good colony that was dry, and 
had plenty of honey. ' ' 

The absorbents generally used are chali' in cushions, straw, 
forest leaves (maple leaves preferred), com cobs, woolen 
rags, or wool waste, etc. ^Ir. Cheshire used cork-dust, which 
he claimed gave fourteen times as much protection as a dead- 
air space. The oil-cloth, which makes an air-tight covering, 
must be first removed, and if no straw-mat is used, the cushion 
of absorbents may be placed right over the frames. We use 
the straw-mat, and fill the upper half-stoiy with diy leaves, 
these being the cheapest and best absorbent at our command. 

In the coldest parts of our countiy, if upward absorbents 
are neglected, no amount of protection that can be given to 
hives, in the open air, will prevent them from becoming damp 
and mouldy, even if frost is excluded, unless a large amomit 
of lower ventilation is given. Then they need as much air as 
in Summer. Often, the more they are protected, the greater 
the risk from dampness. A very thin hive unpainted, so that 
it may readily absorb the heat of the sun, will dry inside much 
sooner than one painted white, and in every way most thor- 
oughly protected against the cold. The first, like a garret, will 
suffer from dampness for a short time only; while the other, 
like a cellar, may be so long in drying, as to injure, if not 
destroy, the bees. 

Some apiarists have objected to this paragraph, because 
they have never had the experience mentioned in the two 
Winters above named. Such Winters are rare, but we must 
be prepared for a recurrence of similar conditions, as we too 
often liave Winters similar to those of Siberia. 

637. If the colonies are wintered in the open air, the en- 
trance to their hives must be large enough to allow the bees to 
fly at will. Many, it is true, will be lost, but a large part 
of these are diseased ; and, even if thej- were not, it is better 
to lose some healthy bees than to incur the risk of losing, or 
greatly injuring, a wliole colony by the excitement .created by 



confinmg them wlieii the weather is warm enough to enliee 
them abroad. 

If the sun is warm and the gi'ound covered with new-fallen 
snow, the light may so blind the bees, that they will fall into 
this fleecy snow, and quickly perish. Even at such times, it is 
hardly advisable to confine them to their hives. A neighbor 
of ours killed four colonies, all he had, by closmg the en- 
trances witli wire-cloth for Winter. We had advised him to 
remove it, but he did not do so because some one had told 
him that his bees would set lost in the snow. 

Fig. 129. 


638. In some countries, as in parts of France, or Eng- 
land, the weather is often for weeks just chilly enough to make 
it necessary- for the bees to remain in the hive, as those who 
take advantage of an occasional ray of sun light become 



chilled before they can go far, and j'et there are no very cold 
days. In such countries the confining of them to the hive is 
not objectionable, because they ^have not consumed large quan- 
tities of honey at any time and do not become rpstless. For 
this reason Mr. Gouttefangeas, of Noiretable, France, has 
devised what he calls a "cloister." The hive is made with a 
portico, the alighting board is hinged on the bottom and raised 

Fig. 130. 


up SO as to close the hive when there is any necessity of 
confining the bees to the hive. Two tubes pierced with holes 
at their lower end serve for air, and light is excluded. With 
the use of this "cloister" the bees are confined in a way that 
keeps them quiet, for the}' see no light and the rays of the 
sun do not attract them to the field. But this implement must 
be used sparingly, for should a warm day come, the bees 
would become restless in spite of the darkness and the con- 
finement would be more injurious to tliem than freedom. Mr. 
Gouttefangeas claims for this invention a number of advan- 
tages, as it permits him to confine the bees without danger 
whenever there is chance of their being lost by sallying forth 



in bad weather. In the iiot and cold clhnate of the Missis- 
sippi Valley, the cloister could be used but little. 

Great injuiy is often done by disturbing a colony of bees 
when the weather is so cold that they cannot fly. Many that 

Fig. 131. 


Old .Style. 

a, b, c, double bottom-board. d, stationary outer-case. /, portico, 
r/, entrance through double wall, h, i, front and back of lower hive. 
;, z, rabbetted pieces. /, lower honey-board, m, lower part of cover, 
o, q, cover, r, upper honey-board, u, u, t, frames, iv, front and rear 
of upper story. 

are tempted to leave the cluster, perish before they can regain 
it, and eveiy disturbance, by rousing them to needless activity, 
causes an increased consumption of food. On the other hand, 



it is of the utmost importance that they be allowed to fly and 
void their excrements (73) whenever the weather is warm 
enough. At such times it will be advisable to clean the bottom- 
boards of hives, of dead bees, and other refuse. 

639. To show the advantages derived by the bees from 
a Winter flight, we will give our experience during one of 
the coldest Winters, that of 1S72-3. From the beginning 
of December to the middle of January, the weather was 
cold and the bees were unable to leave the hive. The 16th 

Fig. 132. 


(From Cheshire.) 
ab, apron-board, e, entrance, p, portico, hs^ hollow space, tr, 
tunnel-roof or cover to entrance, he, hive case, sc, surplus case. 
r, roof. 

of January was a rather pleasant day. We took occasion 
of this to examine our weak colonies, being anxious in re- 
gard to their ' condition. To our astonishment, they were 
found alive, and our disturbing them caused them to fly and 
discharge their excrements. Being convinced that all our bees 
were safe, we did not disturb the strong colonies, and a few 

Plate 21. 

T. W. COWAN, F. G. S., F. R. M. S. 

Editor of the ''British Bee Journal.'' 

Author of "The British Bee-Keeper's Oulde Book'' and of '"/7j€ 

Honey Bee.'" 

This writer is mentioned pages 12, 146, 195, 239, 356. 469: 4"9- 4S'.>, 

481, 487. 



of the latter remained quiet. The next day, the cold weather 
returned, and lasted three weeks longer. Then we discovered 
that the weak colonies, that had had a cleansing flight, were 
alive and well, while the strong ones which had remained con- 
Hned, were either dead or in bad condition. 

640. In order to shelter bees more efficiently, in outdoor 
wintermg, against climatic influences, Apiarists have devised 
hives, with double walls, filled at the sides, as well as on top, 
with some light material non-conductor of heat. Some are 
made on the same principle as the old two-story double-wall 
L. hive (fig. 131) without packing. 

Fig. 133. 


(A B C of Bee-Culture.) 

The most wide-spread style, is the chaff-hive, of A. I. 
Root. This hive is far superior to single-wall hives for out- 
door wintering. It w^as formerly made in two stories, all in 
one piece, which rendered it very inconvenient. They now 
make it as we made ours for years. The cap may be filled with 
chaff, di-y leaves, or a cushion of any warm material. Some 
Apiarists also use one-story chaff-hives with loose bottom- 



boards that can be taken off to remove the dead bees in 

641. After having used some eighty chaff-hives during 
twent3'-five years or more, we find two disadvantages in them: 
1st. Thej'^ are hea\'y and inconvenient to handle, especially 
when made to accommodate ten large Dadant frames. 2d. As 

Fig. 134. 


Jis, hives sides with cork-dust for packing, sc, section case. 
s, separators, fn, foundation. 


they do not allow the heat or cold to pass in and out readily, 
the bees in these hives may remain in-doors, in occasional 
warm AVinter days, while those of thin-front hives will have 
a cleansing flight. Thus, in hard Winters, these bees suffer as 
much from diarrhoea ( 626-784:) as others, unless the Apiar- 
ist takes pains to disturb them and make them fly, occasionally, 
in suitable Aveather. 



642. But we highly recoiiiinend the use of these hives, 
to the bee-keepers who do not wish to go to the trouble of 
sheltering their bees e\ery Winter. With the chaff-hive, it 
is a matter of only a few minutes to put into Winter-quarters 
a colony that has sufficient stores and beesj As to the ad- 
vantage, claimed for these hives^ of keeping weak 'colonies 
warm, in the Spring, we found it counterbalanced by the loss 

As u?ed by J. G. 

Fig. 135. 


Norton and others. One side is removed to show the 
hive within. 

of the sun's heat during the first warm days, and we found 
that bees bred as fast, in our ordinary hives (double onlj^ on 
the windward sides) owing to the quick absorption of the 
sun's rays by the boards. 

643. To obtain the advantages of the chaff-hive without 
any of its disadvantages and at the same time retain in use 
the single-wall Langstroth or dovetailed hives, some bee- 
keepers have devised outer-boxes to be placed over the colonies 
durmg Winter, and removed in Spring. These can be filled 


with absorbents, and make the best and safest out-door shel- 
ters (Fig. 135). They are only hooked together by nails 
partly driven, and are taken off in pieces, in the Spring and 
put away, under shelter. The roofs may be used over the 
hives all Summer, if desirable. The only disadvantage of 
outer-boxes is that they may harbor mice or insects. Some 
use them, without any packing, and we know by experience, 
that even in this way, veiy small colonies may be wintered 
safely. If the hive has a portico, the front of the box is 
made to fit around it. In any case, the portico itself can be 
closed, during the coldest weather, by a door fitting over it, 
but it must be opened on warm days. In the extraordinary 
Winter of 1884-5, several bee-keepers of McDonough Coun.y, 
Illinois, among whom, we will cite Mr. J. G. Norton, of Ma- 
comb, safely wintered their Simplicity hives with this method, 
wliile their neighbors lost all, or nearly all, their bees. 

64:4:. If the colonies are strong in numbers and stores, have 
tipper moisture absorbents, easy communication from comb to 
comb, good ripe honey, shelter from piercing winds, and can 
have a cleansing flight once a month, they have all the con- 
ditions essential to wintering successfully in the open air. 

In-door Wintering. 

645. In some parts of Europe, it is customary to winter 
all the bees of a village in a common vault or cellar. Dziei'zon 
says : 

*'A dry cellar is very well adapted for wintering bees, even 
though it is not wholly secure from frost; the temperature will 
be much milder, and more uniform than in the open air; the 
bees will be more secure from disturbance, and will be pro- 
tected from the piercing cold winds, which cause more injury 
than the greatest degree of cold when the air is calm. 

"Universal experience teaches that the more effectually bees 
are protected from disturbance and from the variations of 
temperature, the better will they pass the Winter, the less will 


they consume of their stores, and the more vigorous and num- 
erous will they be in the Spring. I have, therefore, constructed 
a special Winter repository for my bees, near my apiary. It is 
weather-boarded both outside and within, and the intervening 
space is filled with hay or tan, etc.; the ground and plat en- 
closed is dug out to the depth of three or four feet, so as to 
secure a more moderate and equitable temperature. When my 
hives are placed in this depository, and the door locked, the 
darkness, uniform temperature, and entire repose the bees enjoy, 
enable them to pass the Winter securely. I usually place here 
my weaker colonies, and those whose hives are not made of 
the warmest materials, and they always do well. If such a 
structure is to be partly underground, a very dry site must 
be selected for it." 

In Russia, bee-keepers dig a well from twenty to twenty- 
five feet deep, and six or eight feet wide. The hives, which 
there, are hollow trees, are then piled horizontally upon one 
another, like cord-wood, with one end open. The well is filled 
to within six feet of the top, and a shed, made of straw, is 
built above. The bees are left there during the five or six 
months of Winter. But Russia is fast adopting the methods 
of advanced countries and they are beginning to use our hives 
and winter bees much on our plan. 

In some other countries, they are kept in caves, abandoned 
mines, or any under-ground place near at hand. 

646. In the North of the United States, and in Canada, 
they are generally wintered in cellars, and remain there in 
quiet from November till March or April, sometimes till May. 

In all localities, where the bees cannot fly at least once a 
month, m the \Yinter, it is best to follow this method of 

As Dzierzon says, a dry cellar is the best, although bees 
can be wintered in a (Zamp cellar, but with more danger of 
loss, especially if ^he food is not of the best. 

647. In the first place, the bees should be moved to the 
cellar, just after they have had a day's flight, at the opening 
of cold weather. It is better to put them in a little early than 

362 wixterint;. 

run the risk of putting them away after they have been ex- 
posed to a long cold spell. 

Dr. C. C. Miller, who is one of the best authorities, be- 
cause he is much exjierieneed and a very good observer, says 
this on the proper time to take them in: 

"It is a thing impossible to know beforehand just what is 
the best time to take bees into the cellar. At best it can only 
be a guess. Living in a region where winters are severe, there 
are some years in which there will be no chance for bees to 
have a flight after the middle of November and I think there 
was one year without a flight after the first of November 
(Northern Illinois). One feels badly to put his bees into the 
cellar the first week in November and then two or three weeks 
later have a beautiful day. But he feels a good deal worse after 
a good flight-day the first week in November to wait for a later 
flight, then have it turn very cold, and after waiting through 
two or three weeks of such weather, to give up hope of any 
later flight and put his bees in after two or three weeks' en- 
durance of severe freezing. So it is better to err on the side 
of getting bees in too early." — (Forty Years Among the Bees, 
page 292.) 

We take only the brood-apartment leavmg the cap, and 
sometimes the bottom-board, on the Summer stand, bein.*;' 
careful to mark the number of each hive inside of its cap* so 
as to return it to the same location in Spring (32-33). Not 
all bee-keepers do this but we know that it helps. In the 
cellar, the hives are piled one upon another. An empty hive 
or a box is put at the bottom of each. pile, so that r.he bees 
will be as high up from the damp ground as possible. If 
the bottom-board is brought in with the hive, tho entrance 
should be left open. It is well to raise the lower tier of hives 
from their bottoms with entrance-blocks, unless they have 
good lower vc^ntilation without this. Some upper ventilation 
had better be given also, for the escape of moisture. If the 

* In a well-regulated apiary, each hive bears a number painted on 
the body, or a number tag fastenod in some way. 



cellar is damp, the couibs will mould more or less; if it is dry, 
they will keep in perfect order. 

648. After the bees are put in, they should be left in 
darkness, at the temperature that will keep them the quietest. 
We find that from 42^ to 45° is the best. Every Apiarist 
should have a thermometer, and use it. The cost is insigiiifi- 
cant, and it will pay for itself many times. 

Fig. 136. 


But thermometers vary, especially the cheap ones. Try to 
find at what temperature, with ijonr thermometer in your 
cellar, they are the quietest, and then aim to keep it at that. 

The fact that bees, in Russia (645), are confined in deep 
wells, for six months, shows that a total deprivation of light 
cannot be injurious. It prevents them from flying out of 
their hives, to which they would be unable to return, after 
flying to the windows, allured by the light, when the tempera- 
ture of the cellar rises occasionally and unexpectedly to 50 
or 60 degrees. 



As bees, wintered on tlieir Summer stands, begin to fly out 
when the temperature in the shade reaches about 50 degrees, 
and are in full flight at about 55, one can imagine how rest- 
less they become when the temperature of the cellar rises to 
55 or 60 degrees. They wait impatiently for the dawn of 
the day which will afford them the opportunity for flying out. 
But as the days pass and darkness continues they are uneasy 
and tired. 

Fig. 137. 


The warmth incites them also to breeds and as they need 
water for their brood (271), some leave the hive in quest 
of it and are lost. This happens more or less every Winter. 
To cool the air of the cellar, ice may be brought in and 
allowed to melt slowly over a tub. 

The Apiarist must guard against cold, also, but in winter- 
ing a large number of colonies, the heat which they generate 


will usually keep the cellar quite warm in the coldest weather. 
Ill our experience, we have had to keep the cellar windows 
open, often, in cold weather. 

649. To allow cold air to enter without givin*^' light, we 
have devised cellar blinds (figs. 136-137). When the window^, 
inside, is raised, a wire-cloth frame is put in its place to 
keep mice out, and there is a slide on the inside of the shutter 
which can be used to give more or less air as the case requires. 
Besides, the windows of our bee-cellar are made with double 
panes, to exclude cold or heat more efficiently, when they are 
shut. A slight quantity of pure air is needed at all times. 

As we have said above, when the warmer days of Sprmg 
come, with alternates of cold, the bees will breed a little, 
and if this is not begun too early, it will be a help to them 
rather than an injury, for they will become strong, all the 
sooner, after being taken out. * 

650. A small number of colonies can be wintered in any 
ordinary cellar, quite safely, when their food is of good qual- 
ity, and the temperature does not vary too much, but they 
must be quiet and in the dark. 

651. If the temperature of the cellar is too low^, or too 
high, or if the food is unhealthy, the bees will have a large 
amount of fecal accumulation in their intestines, and will 
show their anxiety by coming out of the hive in clusters, 
during the latter part of their confinement. If, in addition 
to this, the cellar is damp, the comb will mould; and when 
taken out, some colonies may desert (407, 663) their hives. 

652. Great loss may be incurred in replacing, upon their 
Summer stands, the colonies which have been kept in special 
depositories. Unless the day when they are put out is very 
favorable, many will be lost when they fly to discharge their 
faeces. In movable-frame hives^ this risk can be greatly 
dimmished, by removing tlie cover from the frames, and allow- 
ing the sun to shine directly upon the bees; this will warm 
^hem up so quickly, that they will all discharge their faeces in 
iv very short time. 


The following is an extract from Mr. Langstroth's journal: 

"Jan. 31st, 1857. — Removed the upper cover, exposing the 
bees to the full heat of the sun, the thermometer being 30 de- 
grees in the shade, and the atmosphere calm. The hive stand- 
ing on the sunny side of the house, the bees quickly took wing 
and discharged their fa-ces. Very few were lost on the snow, 
and nearly all that alighted on it took wing without being 
chilled. More bees were lost from other hives which were not 
opened, as few which left were able to return; while, in the 
one with the cover removed, the returning bets were able to 
alight at once among their warm companions." 

653. If more than one hundred colonies are wintered in 
the cellar, and it is desired to remove them all the same day, 
enough liel}) should be secured to put them all on Jieir staiuK 
before the warm part of the day is over. It is far better to 
keep them in the cellar even one week longer, than to take 
them out when the weather is so cold that they cannot cleanse 
themselves innnediately ; to our mind, 45-^ in the shade, is the 
lowest temj^erature in which it is best to put bees out. 

654. As bees remember their location, it is important to 
return each colony to its own place. If this is not done, the 
confusion maij cause some colonies to ahandon their hives. 
Dzierzon also advises placing them on their former stands, as 
many bees still remember the old spot. 

This, however, is important in locations where the 
confinement lasts a veiy long time, as it does in very eold 
countries. If it is desirable to remove some hives to a new 
location, a slanting board (603 his) should be placed in front 
of the hive. All the bottom boards should be cleaned of dead 
bees or rubbish, without delay. 

655. If the hives of an apiaiy are all removed from the 
cellar on the same day, there will be but little danger of 
robbing, for they are somewhat bewildered when first brought 
out; but if some are taken out later than others, the last 
removed will be in danger, unless some precautions are taken. 

656. If the bees that are winterino- in the cellar, are 



found to be restless, it may be good policy to give them some 
water (271), or to take them out on a warm day when the 
temperature is at least 45^ in the shade, to let them have a 

Fig. 138. (From L'Apicoltore, of Milan.) 


1, air draft, d, roof. 

(light, and return them to the cellar aftenvard. We do not 
advise it as a practice howcvei'. On the contrary, if they are 

Fig. 139. 


Fig. 140. 


quiet, it is better to keep them indoors, till the early Spring- 
days have fairly come, to avoid what is called Spring-dwind- 
ling (659). 


657. Tlu)se. wlio have no eellai', can sueeessfuUy winter 
their bees iii clamps or silos as advised by the Rev. Mr. Scholz, 
of Lower Silesia^ already mentioned in several instances. 
These clamps are made similar to those in which farmers 
place apples, potatoes, turnips, etc., to preser\'e them during 
cold weather. The only objection to this mode, is the damp- 
ness of the groimd in wet and warm Winters. The hives are 
put, on a bed of straw, in a pyramidal form (fig*. 139), and 
covered, first with old boards, then with a thick layer of 
straw, and another, of earth. Wooden pipes are placed at the 
bottom (fig. 140), and one in the shape of a chimney, at the 
top, for an air-draft. The requisites are the same as in cellar 
wintering, an equal temperature, sufficient ventilation, a fairly 
dry atmosphere, and quiet. 

658. We must warn novices against the wintering of bees 
in any repository in which the temperature descends below 
the freezing point. In such places the bees consume a great 
deal of honey, and they soon become restless, for want of a 
flight. Their Summer stand, even without shelter, is far safer 
than any such place, because they can at least take advantage 
of any warm Winter day to void their excrements. These 
facts are demonstrated beyond a doubt. 

Spring Dwindling. 

659. When the conditions necessary to the successful 
wintering of bees are not complied with, and they have suf- 
fered from diarrhoea (784), many colonies may be lost by 
Spring dwindling, especially if the Spring is cold and back- 
ward. Even colonies, which appeared to have gone through 
the Winter strong in numbers, may slowly lose bee after bee 
till the queen alone remains in the hive. This is sometimes 
mistaken for desertion (407), as will be seen in the foUowmg 
paragraph, which we quote from The London Quarterly Re- 
view, and in which the author attributes to lack of loyalty 
in the bees, that which evidently must have been due only to 
Spring dwindling: 


' ' Bees, like men, have their different dispositions, so that 
even their loyalty will sometimes fail them. An instance not 
!lcng ago came to our knowledge, which probably few bee- 
keepers will credit. It is that of a hive which, having early 
exhausted its store, was found, on being examined one morning, 
to be utterly deserted. The comb was empty, and the only 
symptom of life was the poor queen herself, 'unfriended, 
melancholy, slow,' crawling over the honeyless cells, a sad 
spectacle of the fall of bee-greatness. Marius among the ruins 
of Carthage — Napoleon at Fontainebleau — was nothing to this. ' ' 

Several such instances, caused by Spring dwindling, with 
subsequent robbing of the honey, were observed by us. Colo- 
nies are thus destroyed as late as April and May. 

S60. In some instances, the enlarged abdcmen of the bees 
will show that they are suffering from constipation— (785) — 
or inability to discharge their faeces, even though they may 
have voided their abdomen since their long confinement. Prob- 
ably their intestines are in an unhealthj^ condition. In the 
worst cases of Spring dwindling, sometimes, even the queens 
show signs of failing, and eventually disappear. This may 
occur also with colonies that were wintei"ed in the cellar, if 
they Jiave suffered from diarrhoea, or have been removed too 

There is another sort of Spring dwindling caused by the 
loss of working bees m cold Sprmgs, while in search of water 
(271), or pollen (263), for the brood. 

661. To avoid losses or to check them as far as possible, 
after a hard Winter, it is indispensable that the following be 
observed : 

'1st. The hives should be located in a warm, sunny, well- 
sheltered place. All Apiaries that are placed in exposed 
windy situations, or facing North, suffer most from Spring 

2d. The number of combs in the hive should be reduced 
in early Spring, with the division-board or contractor, to suit 
the size of the cluster (349). This helps the bees to keep 


warm and raise brood. The space must again be enlarged 
gradually, when the colony begins to recruit. 

We consider this contraction of the hive as altogether in- 
dispensable when using large hives. Let us suppose that, in 
early Spring, we have a colony whose population is so much 
reduced that it cannot warm^ to the degree needed for breed- 
ing, more than 500 cubic inches of space. If we leave the 
brood-chamber without contraction, as its surface, in a 10- 
frame Langstroth hive, will be about 270 square inches, the 
cubic space heated will have about two inches in thickness at 
the top, since heat always rises. If, on the contrary^, we have 
reduced the number of frames to three, the depth of the space 
warmed at the top will amount to more than three times as 
much, or to more than six inches. Thus, the bees will not 
only be more healthy, but the laying of the queen, not being 
delayed by the cold, and the number of the bees increasing 
faster, they will be able to repay the bee-keeper for the care 
bestowed, instead of dwindling, or remaining worthless for 
the Spring crop. 

3d. The heat should be concentrated in the brood apart- 
ment, by all meanSj and not allowed to escape above. The 
entrance also must remain reduced. 

In instances of this kind, the cloister (638) or some other 
method of confining the bees without light, might prove use- 
ful, provided the colonies were supplied with pollen and water 
so that they might breed without having to seek for the neces- 

662. AjDiarists in general, do not attach enough import- 
ance to the necessity of furnishing water (SYl) to bees in 
cold Springs, in order that they may stay at home in quiet. 
Although Berlepsch laid too much stress on the question of 
water, the lack of which he even said was the cause of dys- 
entery, yet he was right in calling our attention to the need 
of it for breeding: 

''The Creator has given the bee an instinct to store up honey 
and pollen, which are not always to be procured, but not water. 


which is always accessible in her native regions. In Northern 
latitudes, when confined to the hive, often for months together, 
they can obtain the water they need only from the watery par- 
ticles contained in the honey, the perspiration which condenses 
on the colder parts of the hive, or the humidity of the air which 
enters their hives. 

' * In March and April, the rapidly-increasing amount of brood 
causes an increased demand for water; and when the thermom- 
eter is as low as 45 degrees, bees may be seen carrying it in at 
noon, even on windy days, although many are sure to perish 
from cold. ' In these months, in 1856, during a protracted period 
of unfavorable weather we gave all our bees water, and they 
remained at home in quiet, whilst those of other apiaries were 
flying briskly in search of water. At the beginning of May, 
our hives were crowded with bees; whilst the colonies of our 
neighbors were mostly weak. 

"The consumption of water in March and April, in a popu- 
lous colony, is very great, and in 1856, one hundred colonies 
required eleven Berlin quarts per week, to keep on breeding 
uninterruptedly. In Springs where the bees can fly safely 
almost every day, the want of water will not be felt. 

''The loss of bees by water-dearth, is the result of climate, 
and no form of hive, or mode of wintering, can furnish an ab- 
solutely efficient security against it." — (Translated from the 
German, by S. Wagner.) 

That bees cannot raise much brood without water, unless 
they have fresh-gathered honey, has been known from the times 
of Aristotle. Buera of Athens (Cotton, p. 104), aged 80 
years, said in 1797: 

"Bees daily supply the worms with water; should the state 
of the weather be such as to prevent the bees from fetching 
water for a few days, the worms would perish. These dead bees 
are removed out of the hive by the working-bees if they are 
healthy and strong; otherwise, the stock perishes from their 
putrid exhalations." 

In any movable-frame hives, water" can be given to the 
bees by pouring it into the empty cells of a comb, 


A better metliod still is to supply the bees from time to 
time with small quantities of thin sugar syrup or watery 
honey (606) warmed up for thi.s purpose. This takes the 
place of fresh nectar and saves the bees many a trijD for cold 
water to the neighboring pond. But thin, watei-y syrup 
should never be fed at the opening of cold weather, in the 


663. ^Xe have shown (407) that bees sometimes desert 
their hives, when the colony is too weak, or short of stores, 
or suffering from dampness, mouldy combs, etc., etc. This 
desertion, which differs from natural swarming m this, that it 
may take place in any season, and that the deserting bees do 
not raise an^' (|ueen-cel]s previously, is more frequent in cold 
backward Springs than at any other time. 

At different times we have seen bees deserting their hives 
and forsaking their brood for lack of pollen (^4). A 
comb containing pollen having been put in their hive and the 
bees returned they remained happy. But the worst of these 
desertions is when the bees have suffered while wintered in- 
doors (651.) These colonies abandon their hives very soon 
after being replaced on their Summer stands. When such 
desertion is feared, it -is better not to put out more than 
one dozen colonies at one time, and to prepare a fcAv dry 
combs, in clean hives, to hive the swarm as soon as possible; 
for, too often some other colonies following the example, mix 
with the first, the queens are balled (538), causing great 
annoyance and loss to the bee-keeper. Such swarms should be 
hived on clean diy comb, and furnished with honey and 
pollen, '.'he capacity of the hive in which they are put should 
be reduced to suit the size of the swarm, and increased very 
cautiously, from time to time, when the bees seem to be 
crowded; for warmth is indispensable to bees in Spring. The 
condition of such colonies must be regularly ascertained and 
their wants supplied. 


"We would refer tliose who think that ^'it is too much 
trouble'' to examine their hives in the Spring, to the prac- 
tice of the ancient bee-keepers, as set forth by Columella : 
"The hives should be opened in the Spring, that all the filth 
which was gathered in them during the Whiter may be re- 
moved. Spiders, which spoil their combs, and the worms 
from which the moths proceed, must be killed. When the hive 
has been thus cleaned, the bees will apply themselves to work 

Fig. 141. 


Apiary oi L. W. Elmore, of Fairfield, Iowa. 

with the greater diligence and resolution.'' The sooner those 
abandon bee-keepin<r, who consider the proper care of their 
bees as "too much trouble," the better for themselves and their 
unfortmiate bees. 

In making this thorough cleansing, the Apiarist will learn 
which colonies require aid. and which can lend a helping hand 
to others; and any hive needing repairs, may be put in order 
before being used again. Such hives, if occasionally re- 
painted, will last for generations, and prove cheaper, in the 
long run, than any other kind. 



^^An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of care." 

664. Bees are su prone to rob each other, in time of 
scarcity, that, unless great precautions are used, the Apiarist 
will often lose some of his most promising colonies. Idleness 
is, with them, as with men, a fruitful mother of mischief. 
They are, however, far more excusable than the lazy rogues 
of the human family; for they seldom attempt to live on 
stolen sweets, when they can procure a sufficiency by honest 

As soon as they can leave their hives in the Spring, they 
may begin to assail the Aveaker colonies. In this matter, the 
morals of our little friends seem to be sadly at fault; for, 
those colonies which have the largest surplus are— like some 
rich oppressors— the most anxious to prey upon the meagre 
possessions of others. 

If the marauders, who are prowling about in search of 
plunder, attack a strong and healthy colony, they are usually 
glad to escape with their lives from its resolute defenders. 
The bee-keeper, therefore, who neglects to watch his needy 
colonies, and to assist such as are weak or queenless, must 
count upon suffering- heavj" losses from robber-bees. 

665. It is sometimes difficult, for the novice, to discrim- 
inate between the honest inhabitants of a hive, and the rob- 
bers which often mingle with them. There is, however, an 
air of roguery about a thieving bee which, to the expert, is 
as characteristic as are the motions of a pickpocket to a skill- 
ful policeman. Its sneaking look, and nervous, guilty agita- 
tion, once seen, can never be mistaken. It docs not, like the 



laborer carrying iiuiiie the fruits of lioiiest toil, alight boldly 
upon the entrance-board, or face the guards, knowing well 
that, if caught by these trusty guardians, its life would hardly 
be worth insuring. If it can glide by without touching any 
of the sentinels, those within — taking it for granted that all is 
right— may permit it to help itself. 

Bees which lose their way, and alight upon a strange hive, 
can readily be distinguished from these thieving scamps. The 
rogue, when caught, strives to pull away from his executioners, 
while the bewildered unfortunate shrinks into the smallest 
compass, submitting to any fate his captors may award. 

These dishonest bees a]-e the ''Jerry Sneaks]' of their pro- 
fession. Constantly creeping through small holes, and daub- 
ing themselves with honey, their plumes assume a smooth 
and almost black appearance, just as the hat and garments 
of a thievish loafer, acquire a "seedy*' aspect. 

Dzierzon thinks that these black bees, which Huber has 
. described as so bitterly persecuted by the rest, are nothing 
more than thieves. Aristotle speaks of "a black bee which is 
called a thief/' 

666. The writer has known the value of an apiaiy to 
be so seriously impaired by the bees beginning early in the 
season to rob each other, that the owner was often tempted 
to wish that he had never seen a bee. Yet, we should hardly 
blame them for their robbing propensities. With them, as 
with men, much depends on the education which they are 
allowed to receive. Their nature teaches them to hunt for 
sweets industriously, wherever they can find them, and any 
sweet, which they can reach, by the most strenuous efforts, is 
considered by them, at once, as their private property. Were 
it not for this disposition of the bee, to hunt for sweets 
everywhere, and take them home, the honey of those colonies 
that dwell in the woods, and frequently perish during the 
Winter, would be wasted. The propensity to rob is acquired 
only during a dearth of honey in the flowers; for bees have 
a much greater relish for fresh honey, as produced in the 


l)lossoiiis, than for any ulher sweet on earth. In a day oL 
abundant harvest, honey may be left exposed where bees can 
reacli it, without being touched, or even approached, by a 
single bee, for hours; while, if placed in the veiy same spot 
during a dearth of honey, it will be covered with bees in very- 
few minutes. 

If the bee-keeper would not have his bees so demoralized 
that their value will be seriously diminished, he will be c.i- 
ceedingly careful in time of scarcity to prevent them from 
robbing each other. If the bees of a strong colony once get 
a taste of forbidden sweets, they will seldom stop until they 
have tested the strength of every hive. Even if all the colonies 
are able to defend themselves, many bees will be lost in these 
encounters, and much time wasted. 

667. An experienced bee-keeper readily perceives when 
any robbing is going on in his apiar>\ Bees are flying va- 
grantly about, hunting in nooks and corners, and at all the 
hive-crevices. Extensive robbing causes a general uproar, and 
the bees of all the hives are much more disposed to sting. 
The robbers sally out with the first peep of light, and often 
continue there depredations until it is so late that they cannot 
find the entrance to their hive. Some even pass the night in 
Ihe plundered colony. 

The cloud of robbers arriving and departing need never be 
mistaken for honest laborers (173-174) candying, with un- 
wieldy flight, their heavy burdens to the hive. These bold 
plundeiers, as they enter a hive, are almost as^hungiy-looking 
as Pharaoh's lean kine, while, on coming out, they show by 
their burly looks that, like aldermen who have dined at the 
expense of the city, they are stuffed to their utmost capacity. 

668. When robbing-bees have fairly overcome a colony, 
the attempt to stop them— by shutting up the hive, or by 
moving it to a new stand— if improperly conducted, is often 
far more disastrous than allowing them to finish their work. 
The air will be quickly filled with greedy bees, who, unable 
to bear their disappointment, will assail, with almost frantic 

now TO STOP KOBUiNG. 377 

desperation, some uf the adjoining hives. In this way, the 
strongest colonies are sometimes overpowered, or thousands 
of bees slain in the desperate contest. 

How TO Stop Robbing. 

When an Apiarist perceives that a colony is being robbed, 
he should contract the entrance, and, if the assailants persist 
in forcing their way in, he must close it entirely. In a few 
mmutes the hive will be black with the greedy cormorants, 
who will not abandon it till they have attempted to squeeze 
themselves through the smallest openings. Before they assail 
a neighboring colony, they should be thoroughly sprinkled 
with cold w^ater, which will somewhat cool their ardor. 

Unless the bees, that Avere shut up, can have an abundance 
of air, they should be carried to a cool, dark place, after the 
Apiarist has allowed the robbers to escape out of it. Early 
the next morning they nnist be examined, and, if necessarj', 
united to another hive. 

' ' In Germany, when colonies in common hives are being 
robbed, they are often removed to a distant location, or put 
in a da;-k cellar. A hive, similar in appearance, is placed on 
their stand, and leaves of wormwood and the expressed juice 
of the plant are put on the bottom-board. Bees have such an 
antipathy to the odor of this plant, that the robbers speedily 
forsake the place, and the assailed colony may then be brought 

''The Eev. Mr. Klrinc says, that robbers may be repelled by 
imparting to the hive some intensely powerful and unaccus- 
tomed odor. He effects this the most readily by placing in it, 
in the evening, a small portion of musk, and on the following 
morning the bees, if they have a healthy queen, will boldly 
meet their assailants. These are nonplussed by the unwonted 
odor, and, if any of them enter the hive and carry off some of 
the coveted booty, on their return home, having a strange 
smell, they will be killed by their own household. The rob- 
bing is thus soon brought to a close." — S. Wagner. 


It will ot'teii be I'uund thai a hive whicli is; overpowered 
by robbers has no queen, or one that is diseased. 

669. One of the best methods which we have found to 
stop the robbing of one hive by another, when the robbed 
colony is worth saving, is to exchange them; /. e., to place 
the robbed colony on the stand of the robbing colony, and 
vice versa. The robbing colony can usually be found by 
sprinkling the returning bees with flour, as they come out of 
the robbed hive, and watching the direction which they take. 
It can also often be detected by the activity of its bees, if 
the neighboring hives are idle, especially after sunset. 

This method, however, cannot be practiced when the robbing 
and the robbed colonies do not belong to the same person; or 
Avhen the robbing is carried on by many hives at one time, 
although, in the latter case, the exchange of stands between 
the strongest of the robbing hives and the weak robbed 
colony, in the evening, and the reducing of the entrances of 
both, usually has a good result. The old robber bees, be- 
wildered by this exchange, make their home in the robbed 
colony, since they find it on the stand where they are accus- 
tomed to bring their honey; and they defend it w4th as much 
energy as they used in attacking it before. See Quinby's 
"Mysteries of Bee-Keeping," N. Y., 1866. 

670. We read in the British Bee- Journal that a carbol- 
ized sheet (38-1) can be used to stop robbing, if spread in 
front of the robbed hive. This same sheet, spread on the 
hive while extracting (749), and on the surplus box where 
the combs are placed (768), displeases the robbers and pro- 
tects the comb, but strong smelling drugs must be used spar- 
ingly over a super full of honey, for fear of damaging the 
flavor of the honey. 

671. There is a kind of pillage w^hich is carried on so 
secretly as often to escape all notice. The bees engaged in it 
do not enter in large numbers, no fightmg is visible, and the 
labors of the hive appear to be progressing wnth their usual 
quietness. All the while, however, strange bees are carrying 


off the honey as fast as it is gathered. After watching such 
a colony for some days, it occurred to us one evening, as it 
had an unhatched queen, to give it a fertile one. On the next 
morning, rising before the rogues were up, we had the pleas- 
ure of seeing them meet with such a warm reception, tha*^, 
they were glad to make a speedy retreat. 

This is another proof that discouragement caused by queen- 
lessness often leads to the loss of a colony. 


6'72. If the Apiarist luould guard his bees against dis- 
honest courses, he must be exceedingly careful, in his various 
operations, not to leave any combs or any honey where bees 
can find them, for, after once getting a taste of stolen honey, 
they will hover around him as soon as they see him operating 
on a hive, all ready to pounce upon it and snatch what they 
can of its exposed treasures. 

In times of scarcity, food should never be given to the bees 
in the day time, but only in the evening, always inside of the 
hive and above the combs. The feeding of bees (605) in the 
day time causes robbmg in two ways. It excites the bees 
which are fed, and induces them to go out to hunt for more, 
and the smell of the food given attracts the bees of the other 
hives. Hence follows fighting and trouble. But, above all 
thmgs, the Apiarist must try to keep his colonies strong. 
When there is a scarcity of blossoms, or of nectar in the 
flowers, the entrance of the hive should be lessened, to 
suit the needs of the colony, by moving the entrance blocks 
(339). If the hive contains more combs than the bees can 
well defend, the number of the combs should be reduced by 
the use of the division board (349). 

673. It is especially with weak colonies that care should 
be taken, in Spring or Fall. The strong hives being better 
able to keep warm, their bees fly out earlier in the day and 
will readily discover the weaker ones, which, unless their honey 
is protected, they will soon overpower. 


When the above inslructiuiis are carried out, if thieves try 
to slip into a feeble colony they are almost sure to be over- 
hauled and put to death; and if robbers are bold enough to 
attempt to force an entrance, as the bottom-board slants for- 
ward (3^6) it gives the occupants of the hive a decided ad- 
vantage. Should any succeed in entering, they will find 
hundreds standing in battle-array, and fare as badly as a for- 
lorn hojje that has stormed the walls of a beleaguered fortress, 
only to perish among thousands of enraged enemies. 

Cracks and openings in disjointed hives, should be securely 
closed with wet clay, until the bees can be transferred into 
better abodes. 

When the hives are opened, the work must be performed 
speedily and carefully; and, if any great number of robbers 
show themselves during the operation, it is well, after closing 
the hive, and reducing the entrance, to place a bunch of grass 
(fine grass or fine weeds preferred) over it, for an hour, or 
till the temporary excitement has subsided. The guardian bees 
station themselves in this grass and chase out robbers much 
more easily than they could otherwise. The robbers them- 
selves recognize that their chances of "dodging in" are slim, 
and give up the midertaking. We have never had any trouble 
with robbers after closing a hive in this way. 

When the robbed colonj- is weak, the robbing may be abated 
by preventing any bees from entering it till evening, when 
other colonies have stopped flymg; allowing, at the same time, 
any bee that wishes to depart from it, and closing the en- 
trance till late in the morning. By this course most of the 
robbers will be tired of their useless attempts, while the re- 
maining workers of the robbed hive will be ready to repel the 

When none of these methods succeed, a small comb of 
hatching Italian bees (551) may be given, with the necessary 
precautions (480), to the weak colony, and the hive placed 
in the cellar for a few days. The hatched Italians will receive 
the intruders warmly when the hive is broup;ht back. 


The Italian bees defend their hives much better than the 
black (549) against the intrusion of robbers, and the Cypri- 
ans and Syrians (559) surpass even the Italians. 

When a comb of honey breaks down m a hive from any 
cause, it should be removed promptly, and the bottom-bdaivl 
should be exchanged for a clean one at once. If any drops of 
honey fall about the apiary, it is best to cover them up with 
earth promptly. In sliort, no honey sliould be left exjDosed, 
where bees can plunder it. 

Of late years some Apiarists have practiced outdoor feedhig 
of thin watery honey on a large scale, to prevent robbing. 
Their aim is to produce the same conditions as are made by 
a crop of honey, supply all the bees with all they want, for 
the time. The robbers are thus kept busy and do not think 
about bothering the weak hives. We can see nothing accep- 
table in this method and we find that advanced Apiarists agree 
with us. Doctor C. C. Miller, on this subject, says: 

' ' I have fed barrels of sugar syrup in the open air, and it is 
possible that circumstances may arise to induce me to do it 
again, but I doubt it. There are serious objections to this out- 
door feeding. You are not sure what portion of it your own 
bees will get, if other bees are in flying distance. Consider- 
able experience has proved to me that by this method, the 
strong colonies get the lion's share, and the weak colonies very 
little." — (Forty Years Among the Bees.) 

We are glad to see that so high an authority agrees with us 
on this matter, for we have been considered as little short of 
old-foey, because we did not countenance outdoor feeding. 



674:. The invention and introduction of comb foundation, 
With the use of movable frames, marked an important step 
in the progress of practical bee-culture. The main drawback 
to the perfect success of movable-frame hives was the difficulty 
of alwaj's obtaining straight combs in the frames (318). 
Although the bevelled top bar (319) often secured this ob- 
ject, yet, in many instances, the bees deviated from this gTiide 
and fastened their combs from one frame to another; and if 
the matter was not promptly attended to, the combs of the 
hive became as immovable as those of box hives. One frame 
slightlj' out of place was a sufficient incentive for the bees 
to fasten two frames together. In the management of four 
large apiaries, previous to the introduction of comb founda- 
tion, we found that, in spite of our efforts, a certain number 
of colonies would so build their combs, that only a part of the 
frames were movable without the use of a knife. Even the 
combs that were built in the right place were made somewhat 
weaving, or bulged in spots, and were thus rendered mi fit for 
such interchanges as are daily required in ordiuaiy^ manipula- 

675. Another drawback to success was the building of 

drone-comb (225). We have had colonies m which nearly 
one-foui'th of the combs were drcne-comb. In such hives the 
number of drones that might be raised would be sufficient to 
consume the surplus honey. To be sure, with movable-frame 
hives, such combs can be removed, but the difficulty consists 
in procuring straight and neat. worker-combs to replace them; 
for if we simply remove the drone-combs, the bees often re- 
place them with the same kind (233). 




676. Good straight worker-comb, not too old, is the most 
valuable capital of the Apiarist (442). For years, before 
the introduction of comb-foundation, we had been in the habit 
of buying* all the worker-comb from dead colonies that we 
could findj but we never had enough. 

Fig. 142. 


(From Root's "A B C of Bee-Culture.") 

The consideration of the ab9ve important points, a'.d of 
the great cost of comb to the bees (223), had Ion? ago 
drawn the attention of German Apiarists to the possibility 
of manufacturing the base^ or foundation, of the comb. 



GT"?. In 1.S57, Johannes Mehring invented a press to make 
wax wafers, on which the inidiments of the cells were prmted. 
Those only, who experienced the obstacles w^hich this industry- 
presents, can form an idea of the energy and perseverance 
that were required to succeed as he did. 

The foundation made by him then, was far from being equal 
to w^hat is now made. The projections of the cell-walls were 
too rudnnentary, sometimes not printed, and the bees often 
built drone-cells instead of worker-cells; but these imperfect 
efforts were the beginning of an industiy which has proved 
of immense advantage to bee-keepers, and has spread like 
wild-fire wherever bees are kept. 

Fig. 143. 


(A B C of Bee-Culture.) 

678. Another Apiarist, Peter Jacob, of Switzerland, im- 
proved on the Mehring press, and in 18G5, some of hi§ foun- 
dation was imported to America, by Mr, H. Steele, of Jersey 
City {Am. Bee-Journal, Vol. 2, page 221), and tried by Mr. 
J. L. Hubbard, who reported favorably upon it. In 1861, 
Mr. Wagner had secured a patent in the United States, for 
the manufacture of artificial honey comb -foundation by what- 
ever process made. His patent was never put to use, and 
rather retarded the progress of this industry in America. 

679. The first comb-foundation made in America, was 
manufactured in 1875, bv a German, Mr. F. Weiss, very 

Plate 22. 


Inventor of Comb-Foundation. 
This Apiarist is mentioned pages 157 and 384. 


probably on an imported machine. Mr. A. I. Root, to whom 
the credit is due of popularizing the invention the world over, 
manufactured a large roller-mill, in Februarys, 1876, with the 
help of a skilled mechanic, A. Washburae. He sold hundreds 
of these mills afterwards. 

680. Li the practical use of comb-foundation, the most 
sanguine expectations were realized: 

1. Every comb that is built on foundation is as straight 
as a board, and can be moved from one place to another, 
in any hive, without trouble. 

2. The combs built on worker-foundation are exclusively 
worker-combs, with the exception of occasional patches, when 
the foundation sags slightly, owing to being overloaded by 
the bees before the cells are fully built out. 

3. All the wax produced by the bees, and gathered by 
the Apiarist from scraps, old combs, or cappings, is returned 
to the bees in this shape, instead of being sold at the com- 
mercial value of beeswax, which is several times less than 
its actual cost (223). The cost of foundation for brood- 
combs is not very great, especialty if we consider that this 
capital is not consumed, but only employed ; as the wax con- 
tained in the combs represents at least one-half of the 
primaiy value of the foundation, and can be rendered again, 
after years of use^ none the worse for wear. It has been 
asserted that beeswax decays with time when exposed to damp- 
ness. "We have never seen this and believe it to be an error. 

681. Comb foundation has been made largely, esiDCcially 
in Europe, on plaster casts. There is also a press, the 
Rietsche, which makes cast sheets of wax to which it gives 
the rudiments of cells. These sheets are made very much 
like waffles and for that reasoii the sheets of comb foundation 
are called in the French language "gaufres de eife.'^ Tliey 
have the advantage of being easily made by almost any per- 
son, but are veiy rudimentaiy and very brittle. Similar 
sheets were made in this country formerly by the Given 
press but they have gone into disuse, as our bee-keepers are 



not satisfied with imperfect work. The only reason we can 
ascribe to the Rietsche press bemg popular in Europe is that 
the bee-keepers find it difficult to purchase foundation made 
of pure beeswax there. So they prefer to make an imperfect 
article out of their own product, rather than buy an imitation 
which breaks down in the hive and which the bees often re- 
ject (686). 

6S2. Comb foundation is now made by several firms in 
endless sheets, which are cut to proper length as fast as they 

Fig. 144. 


are printed. The Weed process produces sheets most clear 
and malleable and makes a superior article of foundation. 
But for the bee-keeper who wishes to make his own wax into 
sheets, the dipping process may still be used. We give a short 
description of it (689). 

683. The wax used for thin surplus-foundation i? a 
selected giade. Wax from cappings (772) and Southern 
wax are the best for this purpose, owing to their light color. 


In every ease, whether the foundation is to be used for sur- 
plus, or for brood-combs, the wax should be thoroughly 
cleaned by heating it to a high temperature and allowing it 
to cool slowly in flarmg vessels, from which the cold wax can 
be easily removed. Wax, that is allowed to retain impurities, 
has less consistency, and will sag more readily. The method 
used by wax-bleachers of purifying with acids should not be 
resorted to, as the bees have a dislike for any disagreeable 
smell or taste. 

684. Nothing hut pure wax should he used in any grade 
of foundation. Paratfine, ceresine, etc., have been tried with 
disastrous results. Aside from the fact that these compounds 
melt at a lower degree than beeswax and hreak down in the 
hive, the bees readily discover the imposition and shoAV a de- 
cided jD reference for pure foundation. 

685. The most common adulteration, of crude beesv/ax is 
made with tallow. LucEiFy^ this is easily recognized by the 
soft, dull appearance of the cakes. The smell of tallow is also 
noticeable in freshly broken fragments. 

686. Paraffine and other mmeral waxes are detected in 
beeswax, by the following methods : 

Specific gravity. Beeswax is a little heavier than some of 
the other waxes. By putting a piece of beeswax into water 
and pouring in alcohol until the wax goes to the bottom, one 
has a solution which will test lighter materials. As comb 
foundation has been laminated and is uneven in surface it 
is well to chew the wax and the foundation, before making 
comparative tests., so as to put both in the same condition. 
Paraffine will readily show considerably lighter specific weight, 
and will float. 

Melting points. Tie a piece of the material you wish to 
test on the bulb of a round thermometer and hang this into 
a vial over a slow fire. Good beeswax melts between 144" 
and 150°, while the common grades of paraffine melt betwetru 
120^ and 1-40°. 

/Saponification Test. Hot liquid lye will entirely change the 



nature of beeswax, making it into a soapy substance, while it 
will leave paraffine and other mineral wax unchanged. 

687. The machines used for thin foundation are not the 
same as those used for brood foundation. The latter, made 
on a light wall machine, would be too weak to stand the weight 
of the bees, in a full-sized brood frame, and would not con- 
tain wax enough for the bees to build their comb; for it is 
a remarkable fact that the becb ^'thin out" the foundation 
to a certain extent and make it considerably deeper out of 

Fig. 145. 


(A B C of Bee-Culture.) 

the same material. AVhen it has been made, ivith a thin base 
and a heavy wall, the bees draw it out more readily into comb. 
On the other hand, foundation for surplus (731) must 
be made as light as the finest machine can make it, to avoid 
what is called the "fish-bone/' a central rib found in the 
honey-comb that has been built on too heavy foundation. 
There is no "fish-bone," if the proper grade has been used, 
and even an expert in comb-honey hesitates in deciding 
whether the base is natural or artificial. 



688. At the present day, nearly eveiy section (721) of 
comb-honey that is sold, has been built on such foundation. 
The daintiest and most fastidious ladies can have no objection 
to it, and on visiting a well-managed foundation shop, they 
declare that the tender sheets are "nice enough to eat." 

689. To prepare the wax sheets, use soft wood boards 
% of an inch thick, bathed in tepid water. They are wiped 
with a sponge, and dipped in melted wax, two or three times. 
The lower part of the board is then dipped in cold water, 
when it is turned bottom side up, and the other end is treated 
in the same manner. After the board has been put in water 

Fig. 1-16. 

to cool for a little while, it is taken out ; its edges are trimmed 
with a sharp knife, and the two sheets of wax are peeled 
off. If the sheets are intended for heaw foundation, twice 
as many dips are necessary. The wax should be liquid but 
not hot. If it is too hot, the sheets will crack. To secure 
rapid work, you must have a room arranged purposely for 
the dippers, with a zinc or tin floor to catch the drips of 
water and wax, 

690. The sheet wax, after a few days' cooling in a dn," 
cellar, is tempered, in the moulding tank with warm water, 
and run through the rollers. The latter are lubricated with 
starch, or soapsuds. "Wlien soapsuds are used, it is very im- 
portant that the sheets be pressed so tightly in the rollers, as 


to come out dry. This also makes a better print. The foun- 
dation, as fast as it comes from the rollers, is laid upon a 
hard wood block— a dozen sheets or more^ at a time. A 
wooden pattern is laid over them, and they are trimmed to 
the proper size, by a knife made for the purpose, whose 
blade has been wet with soapsuds. The projecting edges arc 
trimmed off, and the damaged sheets are melted over for 
future use. 

For the thin grades of foundation, the narrower the sheets 
are, the thinner the foundation can be made. A wide sheet 
spreads the rollers by springing the shafts to a certain extent, 
and is lieavier. 

691. The manufacture of foundation, which at first 
seemed likely to be undertaken by evei-y Apiarist, has become 
an industry- of itself, owing to the greater skill and speed 
acquired by those who make it daily. It might be compared 
to cigar making. Any Apiarist can make wax mto sheets and 
run it through rollers and any farmer can raise tobacco and 
roll its leaves into cigars, but, to the uninitiated, a neat sheet 
of foundation is as difficult to make as an elegant cigar. Im- 
proved and expensive machineiy is used in most factories for 
quick and perfect work. 

692. Well-made foundation will keep for years, in a dry 
place. It should never be handled when cold; and when too 
much softened by heat, should be cooled in a cellar, a few 
hours before it is handled. 

When it is cold, it becomes so brittle, after a few days of 
exposure, that the least handling will crack it. We have 
seen hundreds of pounds which had been handled roughly in 
cold weather, fall to pieces when taken out of the box. The 
jarring of the boxes had cracked the foundation imperceptibly, 
so that the sheets appeared perfect, but as soon as they were 
touched, they fell into numerous pieces. Too much heat has 
a contrai-y effect. It makes the foundation too malleable. 
The temperature of the blood is the proper degree at which 
the bees can best manipulate it and that is also the best tem- 



perature to handle it when fastening it in the frames, though 
some degrees lower will not be injurious. 

The best grade of foimdation for brood or extract- 

Fig 147 


ing combs is that which measures about six square feet to 
the pound; that for sections, ten to twelve feet. On this 

Fig. 148. 


Section folder and foundation fastener. 

latter grade, the comb is not so readily built, for the bees 
have to add their own wax to it. 



693. The foimdation is fastened iu the sections by ditt'er- 
eiit machines, the most simple of which is the Parker Fastener, 
sold by all dealers in bee-implements. 

In his "Management of Bees" Mr. Doolittle describes his 
method as follows: 

* * Turn your section top side down, hold a hot iron close to 
the box, and after holding the starter immediately above and 
touching the iron, draw the iron out quickly and press the 
starter gently on to the wood, when it is a fixture. 

Fig. 149. 


The daintiest implement we have .<een anywhere for fasten- 
ing foundation in sections, Avhile at the same time folding 
the one piece section, is the small press invented by Frank 
Rauchfuss, the energetic manager of the Colorado Honey Pro- 
ducers' Association, at Denver. Thousands of sections are 
prepared daily, by practical apiarists, with this instrument. 
It is th? most complete thing of its kind yet devised. 

To fasten the foundation on a flat top-bar. some use th^ 
roller (fig. 149) invented by the late Mr. Hambaugh. How- 



ever, at the present day, the frames are usually made with 
grooves and wedge under the top bar. This makes the inser- 
tion of foundation a veiy simple matter (fig. 69). 

694. In brood-frames, it may be fastened with or with- 
out wires. The wire used is malleable tinned wire, No. 30. 
A shallow frame needs no wires at all, but in brood-combs, 
—to insure safety and prevent warping — it is as well to use 
two or three horizontal wires as in fig. 150. This method 

Fig. 150. 


of horizontal-wiring was first given u.s by ]\[r. Vandervort. 
to whom the w^orld is also indebted for the spur for imbed- 
ding the wire in the foundation (fig. 151). The excessive 
Aviring resorted to by some is worse than useless. 

Dr. C. C. Miller uses light wooden splints perpendicularly 
in the frame, instead of wires to support the foundation. 
The bottom bar of his frame is made in two equal pieces so 
as to pinch or hold the foundation between them. The splints 
are dipped into a shallow tin pan containing hot beeswax 



until they are saturated with wax and while hot they are 
pressed upon the surface of the sheet of foundation so that 
they may be perpendicular when the frame is hung in tlie 
hive. These splints about 1-16 of an inch square do not 

Fig. 151. 


seem to he at all in the way when the combs are built upon 
them and they make an absolutelj^ solid support for the foun- 

695. As comb-foundation is generally bought in long 
strips, it may be well to give directions to cut it into pieces 
of the right size for sections. This may be done with almost 
any sharp knife. Have a pattern of the size of the pieces 
wanted, made of hard wood. Take six or eight sheets at 
one time, arranged in an even pile. Lay your pattern on 
them, holding it down firml}-. dip your knife in strong soap- 
suds, and if the wax is at the proper temperature, you will 
cut the eight pieces at one stroke of the knife. If the sheets 
have a tendency to slip from imder the pattern, you may nail 
cleats on three sides of it, to encase the pile as in a box. 

696. Are there a right and a wrong- way, to suspend 
foundation in the frames'? Or, in other words, should two 
of the six sides of the cell bo perpendicular or horizontal? 
Huber. and Cheshire after him, call our attention to the 
fact, that the bees always build their combs, with two sides 



of the cells perpendicular. Mr. Cheshire explams, at length, 
the adaptation and advantages of this natural fact, and its 
bearing' on the strength of the comb. From his explana- 

Fig. 152. 


(Forty Years Among the Bees.) 

tions. it results that foundation suspended thus : ^y>s^ 
i. e., with two perpendicular sides, would be properly f J 
fastened, while if suspended thus: / \ i. e., with ^^ 
two horizontal sides, it would be \ / improperly fas- 

Most of the machines that are made turn out foundation- 
sheets, which are to be hung horizontally, when the cells 
are in the proper position. But in the cutting of sec- 
tion foundation, the sheets are often made so that they 
must hang the other way. Yet there seems to be no 
bad result when this is done and the bees accept the 
foundation, no matter how the cells are turned. It is not 
always best however to give comb foundation in full 
sheets to natural swarms, for two reasons. The first is that 


advanced by W. /^. Hutchinson, in his book "Advanced Bee- 
Culture'' and which has been mentioned in "Natural Swarm- 
ing" (425). The other is that when a hea\'y swarm is hived 
on full sheets of comb foundation, the g-reat weight of the 
bees, connected with the unusual heat of the temperature at 
that time, sometimes causes the sheets to sag, and drone 
combs may be the result, wherever the sheets are slightly 
stretched. If the foundation is given to artificial divisions or 
to weak colonies to be drawn, such results are not to be feared. 
If a natural swanii for some reason is likely to be unable 
to promptly fill its hive with combs, the apiarist will be 
astonished to see how much of a help full sheets of comb 
foundation will be. Secondary swarms will always profit by 
its use, as they are not powerful enough to cause either of 
the inconveniences above mentioned. 

It is well, however, to place foundation in the correct posi- 
tion, whenever practicable, especially with the light grades for 
sections, which are more in danjrer of stretching under 
ordinarj-^ circumstances. 

697. It is astonishing', as well as pleasing, to see how 
quickly a swarm will build its combs, when foundation is 
used. The enthusiasm, with which it is used by bee-keepers, 
is only exceeded by that of the bees, "in being hived on it." 
This invention certainly deserves to rank next to those of the 
movable-frames (282) and of the honey-extractor (749). 


Pasturage and Overstocking. 

698. The quantity of nectar yielded by different flowers 
varies considerably; some give so little, that a bee has to 
visit hundreds to fill her sack, while the corolla of others 
overflows with it. 

In the vicinity of the Cape of Good Hope, there is a blos- 
som, the Protea mellifera, which probably surpasses all others 
in the abundance of its nectar. Indeed, so abundant is it, 
that it is said, the natives gather it by dipping it from the 
flowers, with spoons. Mr. De Planta, in a lengthy and 
scientific article published in the Revue Internationale d' Api- 
culture, gives an account of his analysis of some samples of 
this honey, which he had received through the "Moravian 
United Brothers." He reports it to have the scent and the 
taste of ripe bananas, and considers it xery sweet and good. 

699. The same plants yield nectar in different quantities 
in different comitries. The Caucasian Comfrey, from which 
the bees reap a rich harvest in some parts of Europe, is of 
little account here. 

700. Eveiy bee-keeper should carefully acquaint himself 
with the honey-resources of his own neighborTiood. We will 
mention particularly some of the most important plants from 
which bees draw their supplies. Since Dzierzon's discovei-y 
of the use which may be made of flour (26'}'), early blossoms 
producing pollen only, are not so important. All the varieties 
of willow abound in both pollen and honey, and their early 
blossoming gives them a special value. 

"First the gray willow's glossy pearls they steal, 
Or rob the hazel of its Q;ol(]pn meal, 


While the gay crocus and the violet blue, 
Yield to their flexible trunks ambrosial dew." 

— Evans. 

The sugar-iiiaple (Acer saccharinus) yields a large supply 
of delicious honey, and its blossoms, hanging in graceful 
fringes, will be alive with bees. 

In some sections, the wild gooseberry is a valuable help 
to the bees, as it blossoms vei-y early, and they work eagerly 
on it. 

Of the fruit trees, the apricot, peach, plum, cherry and 
pear, are great favorites; but none furnishes so much honey 
as the apple. 

The dandelion, whose blossoms furnish pollen and honey, 
when the yield from the fruit trees is nearly over, is worthy 
of rank among honey-producing plants. 

The tulip tree (Liriodendron) is one of the greatest 
honey-producing trees in the world. As its blossoms 
expand in succession^ new swarms will sometimes fill their 
hives from this source alone. The honey, though dark, is of 
a good flavor. This tree often attains a height of over one 
hundred feet, and its rich foliage, with its large blossoms 
of mingled green and yellow, make it a most beautiful sight. 

The common locust (Fig, 153), is a very desirable tree 
for the vicinity of an apiary, yielding much honey when it 
is peculiarly needed by the bees. 

The wild eheriy blooms about the same time. 

701. Of all the sources from which bees derive their sup- 
plies, white clover (Fig. 154), is usually the most important. 
It yields large quantities of very pure white honey, and 
wherever it abounds, the bee will find a rich harvest. In 
most parts of this counti-y it seems to be the chief reliance 
of the apiary. Blossommg at a season of the year when the 
weather is usually both dry and hot, and the bees gathering 
its honey after the sun has dried off the dew, if is ready to 
be sealed over almost at once. 

It is at the blossoming of this important plant that the 



main crop of honey usually begins, and that the bees prop- 
agate in the greatest number. 

Fig. 153. 


("From the .American Bee .Tournal.) 



The flowers of red clover (fig, 157) also produce a large 
quantity of nectar; unfortunately its corollas are usually 
too deep for the tongue of our bees. Yet sometimes, in Sum- 

Fig. 154. 

(From Vilmorin-Andrieux, Paris. 

mer. they can reach the nectar, either because its corollas are 
shorter on account of dryness, or because they are more 
copiously filled. 

Fig. 155. 


(From the American Bee Journal.) 

Attempts have been made to select, for breeding, bees with 
longer tongues, in order to secure the honey of the red clover 

Plate 24. 

Of the Bureau of Entomology at Washington, Author of 
* 'Bee-Keeping,'' and several United States Bulletins on Bees. 

Thi« uTit€T i« mentionpd pajfcs 474, 4S2, 4S:^, 4S7, 4S9. 



blossom at all times. The Italian bee seems to bf in advanc-o 
of other races, in this respect, and so-called ^'red-clover 
queens" have been bred and offered for sale. The attempt is 
praiseworthy, but we must not lose sight of the fact that 
traits of this kind are verj- slow to become fixed and we 

•- .^-*^>-?^ 

Fig. 156. 


(From Vilmorin-Andrieux. Paris.) 

should beware of too much enthusiasm. Very' fugitive prog- 
ress will probably be made for a long time, before anything 
fixed is secured. 

Bee-keepers may ascertain for themseh'es the comparative 
length of tongue of their bees, by the help of a very simple 



device (Fig. 155). A smooth glass surface moistened with 
thin honey is covered with a screen placed in a slanting posi- 
tion and graduated. The bees which reach the farthest on 
the glass may be selected for breeding, provided they are 
equally proficient in other respects. 

Fig. 157. 


(From Vilmorin-Andrieux, Paris.) 

Another desirable attainment is red clover with a shorter 
corolla. This will probably be secured only by hybridiza- 

702. The linden, or bass-wood {TiUa Americana, fig. 158^, 



yields white honey of a strong flavor, and, as it blossoms 
when both the swarms and parent-colonies are usually popu- 
lous, the weather settled, and other bee-forage scarce, its value 
to the bee-keeper is great. 

"Here their delicious task, the fervent bees 
In swarming millions tend: around, athwart, 
Through the soft air the busy nations fly, 
Cling to the bud, and with inserted tube. 
Suck its pure essence, its ethereal soul." 

— Thomson. 

This majestic tree, adorned with beautiful clusters of 
fragrant blossoms, is well worth attention as an ornamental 
shade-tree. By adorning our 
villages and countiy residences 
with a fair allowance of tulip, 
linden, and such other trees as 
are not onl}- beautiful to the eye, 
but attractive to bees, the honey- 
resources of the comitry might, 
in process of time, be greatly 
increased. In many disaicts. 
locust and basswood planta- 
tions would be valuable for their 
timber alone. 

703. TVe have also a variety 
of clover imported from Sweden, 
which grows as tall as the red 
clover, bears many blossoms on 
a stalk, in size resembling- the 

Fig. 138. 


(From Vilmorin-Andrieux, Pari.s.) 

white, . and^ while it answers 
admirably for bees, is preferred 
by cattle to almost any other 
kind of grass. It is known 
by the name of Alsike or Swedish clover (Fig. 159). 

The objection made to this clover is that its stem is so 
light that it falls to the gi'ound. This is remedied by sowing 



it with limotliy. The latter helps it to stand. It is as good 
for honey as white clover. 

704, The raspberry furnishes a most delicious honey. 
In flavor it is superior to that from the white clover. The 
sides of the roads^ the borders of the fields^ and the pas- 
tures of much of the "hill-countrv" of New England, and of 

Fig. 159. 


(From Vilmorin-Andrieux, Paris.) 

the great Northwest, from Wisconsin to Alaska, abound with 
the wild red raspberiy. When it is in blossom, bees hold 
even the white clover in light esteem. Its drooping blossoms 
protect the honey from moisture, and they can work upon 
it when the Aveather is so wet that they can obtain nothing 



from ihe upright blossoms of the clover. In spite of the 
barrenness of the soil, the precipitous and rocky lands, where 
it most abounds, might be made almost as valuable as some 
of the vine-clad terraces of the mountain districts of Europe. 

The Borage {Borago ofpcinalis), (Fig. 160), blossoms con- 
tinuall}^ from June until severe frost, and, like the raspberiy, 
is frequented by bees even in moist weather. The honey from 
it is of a superior quality. 

The Canada thistle, the Viper bugloss yield good honey after 

Fig. 160. 


(From Vilmorin-Andrieux, Paris.) 

white clover has begun to fail. But these plants are troubls- 
some, for they cannot easily be gotten rid of. 

705. Melilot, or sweet clover (fig. 161), which grows on 
any barren or rocky soil without cultivation, is one of the 
most valuable honey-plants. It will not always thrive, how- 
ever, where cattle can graze on it, as they often destroy it. 



If cut early to be used as forage, it blooms later than white 
clover and till frost. It is a biennial. 

According to the Department of Agriculture of the United 
States there are two kinds of yellow melilot, ''McJilotus ofli- 
cinalis" (Fig. 162) a biennial, and ''melilotus indica." smaller 
and annual. 






Fig. 161. 


Melilotus Alba. 
(From Vilniorin-Andrieu.x. Paris.) 

The different varieties of smart-weeds {Persicaria), golden- 
rod, buckwheat, asters, iron-weed, Spanish-needles in low 
lands and marshy places, give a verj^ abundant honey-crop 
in the latter part of the Summer. They form the bulk of 
what is called the "Fall crop" in this latitude. 



In California the Sage, in Texas tlie Horse-mint, in Florida 
the Mangi'ove, form the main honey-harvests of those coun- 

In the irrigated portions of the arid West, the Alfalfa (Fig. 

Fig. 162. 


(From L'Apicoltore.) 

156) is grown profusely, usually giving three crops of hay 
and at each blooming an abundance of the most delicious white 
honey. Alfalfa honey is a staple on the market. 



706. We here present a list of the flowers known as 
being visited by the bees for their nectar or for their pollen. 
We have grouped them in Families, and we give engravings 
of some of their most prominent types, in order to help the 
Apiarist in his investigation. But our list is far from being 

Fig. 163. 


(From Forty Years Among the Bees.) 

Compositae:— Dandelion, Thistle, Chamomile, Sunflower, 
Ox-eye Daisy, Goldenrod (Fig. 164), Coreopsis, Lettuce, 
Chicory, Boneset, Iron-weed, Indian Plantain, Fire-weed, 
Aster (figures 165, 166), Burr-Marigold, Spanish Needles, 



Coueflower, Star Thistle, Thoroughwort, Butterweed, Sneeze- 
wort, Blue Bottle, Rag-w^eed, several varieties of Echinops, 
one of which, the Spherocephalus, was introduced here by 

Fig. 164. 


(From Vilmorin-Andrieux, Paris.) 

Fig. 165. 


Fig. 166. 


Mr. Chapman. The Echinops ritro (smaller in size) (Fig. 167), 
is cultivated in Europe on account of its beautiful blue heads, 



Fig. 167. 


Fig. 168. 

Fig. 169. 


(From L'Apicoltore.) 



This family includes also the Helenium tenuifolium (Fig. 
168), which is the southern "sneeze weed." . H. Brown.) 


Fig. 170. 


Le^'Mmmosae;— Judas tree (Fig. 169), which blooms very 
early, Locust tree. Honey Locust, Wistaria, white, red a"nd 

Fig. 171. 


(Polygonum orientale.) 

alsike Clover, Melilot (Fig. 161), Lucerne or Alfalfa, Peas, 
Beans, Vetches, Lentils, False-Indigo, Partridge pea. Wild 



Senna, Milk vetch, Yelknv-Wood, Mesquit-lree of Texas, 
Cleome integrifolia and pungens (Fig. 170). 

Labiatac— {trom Labium, a lip). Ground Ivy, Sage, Mint, 
HorehoLind, Catnip, Motherwort, Horse-Mint, Basil, Hyssop, 

Fig. 172. 

(From Vilmorin-Andrieux, Paris.) 

Bergamot, Marjoram, Thyme, Melissa, Dead Nettle, Brunei la, 

Bosaceae : — ^Xi\d Rose, Cherry, Plum, Peach, Apricot. 



Apple, Pear, Quince, Hawthorne, Blackberry, Raspberry, 
Strawberry, Juneberry, Cinquefoil, Bowmansroot, Queen ol 
the Prairie, Meadow Sweet. Pvracantha. 

Polygonacae:— Buckwheat, Lady Thumb, Rhubarb, Sor- 
rel, and a variety of Knot-weeds or Persicarias (Fig. 171). 

Fig. 173. 


(From Vilmorin-Aiidrieux, Paris.) 

Borraghiaceae'. — Bm'age (Fig. 143). Yiper-bugloss. Com- 
frey, Phacelia, Virginia Lungr^vort. Hound's tongue, Gromwell. 

False Gromwell. 

.S'cro?9/?H/^War<'r/e:-Scrophularir. nodosa (Simpson's honey- 



Fig. 174. 


Fig. 175. 

plant), Veronicas, Yellow Jessamine of the South, 
whose honej'^ is poisonous.— (Dr. J. P. H. Brown.) 

Asclepiadaceae: — The common Milk- 
weed (Fig. 175), or Silkweed, Asclepias 
cornuti, is much frequented by bees, 
but these visits are often fatal to them. 
All the grains of pollen of the Silkweed, 
in each anther, are collected in a com- 
pact mass, inclosed in a sack; these 
sacks are united in pairs (a. Fig. 176) 
by a kind of thread, terminated by a 
small, viscous gland. These threads 
stick to the feet. (h. Fig. 176) and often fairs; b, the same at- 

tarhed to a bees foot. 

to the labial palpi (46) of the bees, who (From "A b c of Bee- 
cannot easily get rid of them, and perish. 
In some parts of Ohio and Westei-n Illinois, a variety of the 
common kind, the Asclepias Sullivantii, does not present to 
bees these difficulties to the same degree. We have seen bees 
gathering honey freely on four or five different varieties 
which grow in our neighborhood, and especially on the Tube- 

Fig. 176. 


a, sacs of pollen in 



rosa or Pleurisy root (Fig. 174), fitly recommended by Jamrs 
Heddon. This kind is noticeable by its orange flowers. 

Fig. 177. 


(From Vilmorin-Andrieux.) 

Fig. 17i 

(From Vilmorin-Andrieux.) 

Fig. 179. 


(From Vilmorin-Andrieux.) 

Cmci/emf?:— Rape, Mustard, Cabbage, Radish, Candytuft, 
stock, Wallflower, Moonwort, Sweet Alyssum, Cress. 



Ericaceae: — This family, on the Old Continent, includes 
the numerous varieties of Heath, on which bees reap a large 

Fig. 180. 


(From Vilmorin-Andrieux.) 

harvest of inferior honey, so thick that it is impossible to 
extract it. Blueberrv, Sour Wood. Laurel, Clethra alnifolia, 


Fig. 181. 



Fig. 182. 


Cowberi-y, Huckleberry, TThortleberry, Gaultheria procum- 
bens, or Creeping: wintergrreen,— which is indicated, by some 



English bee-keepers, as preventing bees from stinging the 
hands when they are rubbed with its leaves,— belong to this 

Valerianaceae: -Yalermn (Fig. 178), Com Salad or Lamb 
lettuce, belong to this family. 

nag race ae :— (Fivening Primrose family) Gaura, Fusehia, 
Oenothera (Fig. 179) Epilobium (Willow Herb, Fig 177). 

Liliaceae:— Lilies, Asparagus. Wild Hyacinth (Fig. 180), 
Star of Bethlehem, Lily of the Valley (Fig. 181), Solomon's 

Fig. 183. 


Seal (Fig. 182), Dog's tooth Violet, three-headed Night-shade, 
Garlic, Onion, Crocus. 

Malvaceae: — Common Mallows, and others, Hollyhock, Cot- 
ton, Abutilon. 

Caprifoliaceae :—'H.ouey:^nc'k\e. Snow and Coral berries. 

Cuciirhitaceae :—CnQmnher, Melon, Squash, Gourd. 

UmbeUiferae:—Favs\ey. Angelica, Lovage. Fennel. Parsnip. 
Coriander, Cow-parsnip. 

Caryophyllaceae:— Fink, Lychnis, Chickweed, Saponaria. 

We can name also: Rib-Grass, or Plantain, Goosefoot, 
Blue-eyed grass, Corn-flag, Buckthorn, BarbeiTy, Sumac, 



Grape-vine, Polanisia, Button weed, Mignonette, or Reseda 
(Fig. 183), Teasel, Skunk cabbage, Waterleaf, Hemp, Touch- 
me-not, Amaranth, Crowfoot, St. Johnswort, and among the 
trees: Willow, Poplar, which have their sexual organs on dif- 
ferent trees; Oak, Walnut, Hickory, Beech, Birch, Alder, 


Fig. 184. 

(From Vilmorin-Andrieux.) 

Elm, Hazelnut, Maple, whose organs of reproduction are 
separated, although on the same tree. 

Horse chestnut. Persimmon, Gum-tree, Dog-wood, Button- 
bush, Cypress, Liquidambar, Linden. 

We should mention also, Ailanthus glandulosus (Varnish 
tree of China), a large, ornamental tree, which gives an 



abundance of honey so bad in taste, as to compel the bee- 
keepers who have some in their neighborhood to extract it 
as soon as it is gathered, that it may not injure the quality 
of their crop. 

Bees also visit some of the plants of the grass family, such 

Fig. 185. 


(From Vilmorin-Andrieux. ) 

as corn and sorghum. A plant of this family, the Setaria, 
or bristly foxtail gTass, is known in France under the name 
of accroclie-abeilles, (bee-catcher). Its curved hairs grasp 
the bees* legs, and the poor insects, unable to free themselves, 
are soon exhausted, and die. 


Strange to say, the principal crop of honey in a country 
uiay be harvested from a flower which yields nothing in 
other countries. The white clover, so well known in the Mis- 
sissippi valley as the very best melliferous plant, yields 
nothing in Switzerland. The alfalfa, mentioned as the prin- 
cipal crop of Colorado, Utah, Nevada, is not a honey pro- 
ducer in Illinois. Some plants also attract the bees con- 
tinuously, by their fragrance, which yield little or no nectar. 

The Eryngium giganteum is one of these. Mr. Bertrand 
tested its yield by marking with flour l)ees that were working 
upon it. The same bee was seen to work about the same 
bunch of thesf flowers, for five consecutive hours, without any 
apparent result. He nicknamed this plant "the honey-bee's 
bar-room" because the more they sip, the drier they are. 

As a rule it is not advisable to plant for honey anything 
that has not value otherwise either as forage, ornament or 
shade. For this very reason, however, there are foreign 
forage plants which would be desirable everywhere. We will 
name among these the Crimson Clover and the Sainfoin or 
esparcet, of which we give engravings, figs. 184 and 1S5. Tl/e 
Sainfoin (healthy hay) is a very desirable forage plant. 

-our country not ix danger of being overstocked with 


707. If the opinions, entertained by some, as to the 
danger of overstocking were correct, bee-keeping in this coun- 
tiy would always have been an insignificant pursuit. 

It is difficult to repress a smile when the owner of a few 
hives, in a district where hundreds might be made to pros- 
per, gravely imputes his ill-success to the fact, that too many 
bees are kept in his vicinity. If, in the Spring, a colony of 
bees is prosperous and healthy, it will gather abundant stores, 
in a favorable season, even if many equally strong are in its 
immediate vicinity; while, if it is feeble, it will be of little 


or no value, even if it is in "a land flowing with milk and 
honey," and there is not another colony within a dozen miles 
of it. 

As the great Napoleon gained many of his victories by 
having an overwhelmmg force at the riglit place, in the right 
time, so the bee-keeper must have strong colonies, when num- 
bers can be turned to the best account. If they become 
strong only Avhen they can do nothing but consume what 
little honey has been previously gathered, he is like a farmer 
who suffers his crops to rot on the ground, and then hires a 
set of idlers to eat him out of house and home. 

70S. Although bees can fly, in search of food, over three 
miles, still, // it is not within a circle of about two miles in 
every direction from the apiary^ they will he able to store but 
little surplus honey.* It pasturage abounds within a quar- 
ter of a mile from their hives, so much the better; there is 
no great advantage, however, in having it close to them, 
unless there is a great supply, as bees, when they leave the 
hive, seldom alight upon the neighboring flowers. The instinct 
to fly some distance seems to have been given them to pre- 
vent them from wasting their time in prying into flowers 
already despoiled of their sweets by previous gatherers. 

Bees will go farthest in a direction where no obstacles 
exist, such as hills, Avoods or large areas of unproductive land. 
If the blossoms from which they gather honey extend out in 
a continuous stretch in one direction, they may travel iive 
miles away or perhaps farther when the wind brings to them 
the smell of flowers. But the fact that apiaries only four 
miles apart give different yields under the same management 
shows that the opportunities differ even at that short distance. 
"Mr. Kaden, of Mayence, thinks that the range of the bee's 
flight does not usually extend more than three miles in all 
directions. Several years ago, a vessel, laden with sugar, 

* "Judging from the sweep that bees take from the side of a railroad 
irain in motion, we should estimate their pace at about thirty miles an 
hour. This would give them four minutes to reach the extremity of 
their common range."— London Quartcrlii Review. 


anchored off Mayence, and was soon visited by the bees of the 
neighborhood, which continued to pass to and from the vessel 
from dawn to dark. One morning, when the bees were in full 
flight, the vessel sailed up the river. For a short time, the 
bees continued to fly as numerously as before; but gradually 
the number diminished, and, in the course of half an Jiour, all 
had ceased to follow the vessel, which had, meanwhile, sailed 
more than four miles." — Bienenzeitung, 1854, p. 83. 

Our own experience corroborates the statements of Kaden. 
We have known strong colonies of bees to starve upon the 
hills in a year of drouth, while the Mississippi bottoms, less 
than four miles distant, which had been overflowed during the 
Spiing, were yielding a large crop. It is evident that dis- 
tricts, where honey blossoms are scarce, can be much more 
readily overstocked than those rich lands which are covered 
with blossoms, the greater part of the Summer. A great 
amount of land in cultivation^ is not always a hindrance to 
honey production, for cultivated lands often grow weeds, 
which yield an abundance of honey. Heartsease and Spanish 
needle grow plentifully in cornfields and wheat stubble in 
wet seasons. Pasture lands abound with white clover. 

709. It is impossible to give the exact number of colo- 
nies that a country can support profitably. In poor locations, 
a few hives will probably harvest all the honey to be found, 
while some districts can support perhaps a hundred or more 
to the square mile. The bee-keeper must be his own judge, as 
to the honey capacity of his district. 

**When a large flock of sheep," says Oettl, "is grazing on a 
limited area, there may soon be a deficiency of pasturage. But 
this cannot be asserted of bees, as a good honey-district cannot 
readily be overstocked with them. To-day, when the air is 
moist and warm, the plants may yield a superabundance of 
nectar; while to-morrow being cold and wet, there may be a 
total want of it. When there is suflScient heat and moisture, the 
saccharine juices of plants will readily fill the nectaries, and 
will be quickly replenished when carried off by the bees. Every 
cold night checks the flow of honey, and every clear, warm day 


reopens the fountains. The flowers expanded today must be 
visited while open; for, if left to wither, their stores are lost. 
The same remarks will apply substantially in the case of 
honey-dews. Hence, bees cannot, as many suppose, collect to- 
morrow what is left ungathercd to-day, as sheep may graze 
hereafter on the pasturage they do not need now. Strong col- 
onies and large apiaries are in a position to coMect ample stores 
when forage suddenly abounds, while, by patient, persevering 
industry, they may still gather a suflSciency, and even a surplus, 
when the supply is small, but more regular ard protracted." 

Although we believe that a district can be overstocked, so 
as to make bee-culture unprofitable, yet the above extract 
gives a correct view of the honey harvest, which depends 
much on the weather, and must be gathered when produced. 

The same able Apiarist, whose golden rule in bee-keeping 
was, to keep none but strong colonies, says that in the lapse 
of twenty years since he established his apiaiy, there has not 
occurred a season in which the bees did not procure adequate 
supplies for themselves, and a surplus besides. Sometimes, 
indeed, he came near despairing, when April, May, and June 
were continually cold, wet, and unproductive; but in July, 
his strong colonies speedily filled their garners, and stored 
up some treasure for him; while, in such seasons, small colo- 
nies could not even gather enough to keep them from starva- 

In countries where the entire area of the farmmg land is 
devoted to honey-producing plants,— as in the irrigated plains 
of Colorado, where the only crop is alfalfa and thousands 
of acres of this plant are to be seen in a body, — the over- 
stocking of land with bees is almost an impossibility^ Ex- 
amples of this kind are to be fomid in California, with a 
natural honey plant, the sage, which covers the uncultivated 
hillsides. In New York State, buckwheat is raised in such 
large areas that as many as seven hmidred colonies are kept 
in one apiary. We will name that of Mr. E. W. Alexander 
of Delanson, N. Y., the description of whose methods 
attracted much attention in "Gleaninos in Bee Culture" at the 


end of the year 1905. Mr. Alexander reported a crop of 
about TOjOOO lbs. of honey m one season. But m years of 
scarcity of honey, it is quite probable that many colonies will 
starve in a veiy large apiary, while a small apiary might 
gather enough for AVinter. 

710. According to Oettl (p. 389), Bohemia contained 
1(30,000 colonies in 1853, from a careful estimate, and he 
thought the country could readily support four times that 
number. This province contains 19,822 square English miles. 

We say square English miles, and we insist on the word 
English, for we have read of reports from Germany, show- 
ing incredible figures as to the number of bees, and the amount 
of beeswax and honey gathered on areas of a few square 
miles; and yet, some of these reports may have been true, 
for there are different sized miles, in Germany. The German 
geographical mile is equal to 4. 611-1000 English miles; the 
German short mile, to 3. 897-1000 ; and the German long mile 
to 5. 753-1000, &c., the shortest German square mile being as 
about 15 of the English, and the long being about equal to 
33 of our square miles. This Ave glean from "Chambers 

According to an official report, there were in Denmark, in 
1838, eighty-six thousand and thirty-six colonies of bees. The 
annual product of honey appears to have been about 1,841,- 
800 lbs. In 1855, the export of wax from that country was 
118,379 lbs. 

In 1856, according to official returns, there were 58,964 
colonies of bees in the kingdom of Wurtemberg. 

In 1S57, the yield of honey and wax in the empire of 
Austria was estimated to be worth ovei- seven millions of 

Doubtless, in these districts, where honey is so largely pro- 
duced, great attention is paid to the cultivation of crops 
which, while in themselves profitable, afff)rd abundant pas- 
turage for bees. 

711. Galifornia, which seems to be tlie Eldorado of bee- 


culture, can probably support the greatest number of bees 
to the square mile, and yet in some seasons the bees starve 
there in great numbers owing to the drouth. 

We have no official statistics of the honey crops of the 
United States, but the following extract from the American 
Bee-Journal (1886), will give an idea of the immensity of 
our honey resources, considering the comparatively small 
areas of this country now occupied by Apiarists. 

' ' The California Grocer says that the crop of 1885 was 
about 1,250,000 pounds. The foreign export from San Fran- 
cisco during the year was approximately 8,800 cases. The ship- 
ments East by rail were 360,000 pounds from San Francisco, 
and 910,000 pounds from Los Angeles, including both comb and 
extracted. We notice that another California paper estimates 
the crop of 1885 at 2,000,000 pounds, and the crop of the 
United States for 1885 was put down at 26,000,000 pounds. We 
do not think these figures are quite large enough, though it 
was an exceedingly poor crop." 

But former years have given still better results. Through 
the courtesy of Mr. N. W. McLain, of the U. S. Apicultural 
Station, we have received the following statistics from "The 
Resources of California, 1881": 

The honey shipped from Ventura County, California, dur- 
ing 1880 amounted to 1,050,000 lbs. The Pacific Coast Steam- 
ship Company of San Diego shipped 1,191,800 pounds of 
honey from that county in the same year. 

The crop of the five lower counties in California that year, 
was estimated by several parties at over three million pounds. 

According to a report of S. D. Stone, Clerk of the Mer- 
chants' Exchange of San Francisco, the actual amount of 
honey shipped to that city from different parts of California 
in the sixteen months ending ^lay 1, 1881, was 4,340,400 
pounds, equal to two hundred and seventeen carloads. 

One hundred tons of honey, in one lot, were shipped during 
the same year, from Los Angeles to Europe on the French 


bark Papillon. This had all been purchased from Los Angeles 

712. In the excellent season of 1883, the honey crop of 
Hancock County, Illinois, was estimated at about 200,000 
pounds, which made an average of less than half a pound 
per acre. 36,000 pounds of this was our own crop, and 
the county did not contain one- tenth of the bees that could 
have been kept profitably on it. Yet, at this low rate, the 
crop of Illinois alone, with the same percentage of bees, 
would have been 15,000,000 pounds. We cannot form an 
adequate idea of the enormous amount of honey which is 
<vasted from the lack of bees to harvest it. 

713. In our own experience in the Mississippi valley, 
we have found eighty to one hundred colonies to be the 
number from which the most honey could be expected in 
one apiary. Dr. C. C. Miller in his interesting work "A 
Year Among the Bees," says also that one hundred colonies 
is the best number in one location. Mr. Heddon strongly 
urges bee-keepers not to locate within any area already 
occupied by an apiary of one hundred colonies or more. 
The extensive experience of both these Apiarists confirms 
ours, but we must remember that locations differ gTeatly. 

714. In all arrangements, aim to save every step for the 
bees that you possibly can. With the alighting-board prop- 
erly arranged, the grass kept down, or better still, coal-ashes 
or sand spread in front of the apron-board, bees will be able 
to store more honey, even if they have to go a considerable 
distance for it, than they otherwise could from pasturage 
nearer at hand. Manj^ bee-keepers utterly neglect all suitable 
precautions to facilitate the labors of their bees, as though 
they imagined them to be miniature locomotives, always fired 
up, and capable of an indefinite amount of exertion. A bee 
cannot put forth more than a certain amount of physical 
effort, and a large portion of this ought not to be spent in con- 
tending against difficulties from which it might easily be 
guarded. They may often be seen panting after their return 


from labor, and so exhausted as to need rest before they 
enter the hive. 

715. With proper management, at least fifty pomids of 
surplus honey may be obtained from each colony that is 
wintered in good condition. This is not a "guess" estimate, 
it is the average of our crops during a period of over twenty 
years in different localities. 

Such an average may appear small to experienced bee- 
keepers, but we think it large enough when we consider that 
we are in a district where wheat, com, oats, and timothy are 
the staple crojDS, none of these being honey producing plants. 

A careful man, who, with Langstroth hives, will begin bee- 
keeping on a prudent scale, enlarging his operations as his 
skill and experience increase, will succeed in any region. But. 
in favorable localities, a much larger profit may be realized. 

Bee-keepers cannot be too cautious in entermg largely 
upon new systems of management, until they have ascertained, 
not only that they are good, but that they can make a good 
use of them. There is, however, a golden mean between the 
stupid conser^'atism that tries nothing new, and that rash 
experimenting, on an extravagant scale, which is so char- 
acteristic of our people. 

Honey Production. 

716. History does not mention the first discovery of honey, 
by human beings. Whether it became known to primitive 
man by accident, from the splitting of a bee-tree by lightning, 
or by his observation of the fondness of some animals for it,— 
certain it is that when he first tasted the thick and transparent 
liquid, the fear of stings was overcome, and the bee-hunter 
was born. Since that time, the manner of securing honey has 
undergone a great many changes, improving and retrograding, 
as we can judge from writings now extant. 

Killing bees for their honey was, unquestionably, an in- 
vention of the dark ages, when the human family had lost— 
in apiarian pursuits, as well as in other things— the skill of 
former ages. In the times of Aristotle, Varro, Columella, 
and Pliny, such a barbarous practice did not exist. The old 
cultivators took only what their bees could spare, killing no 
colonies, except such as were feeble or diseased. 

The Modern methods have again done away with these 
customs among enlightened men, and the time has come when 
the following epitaph, taken from a German work, might 
properly be placed over evei-^^ pit of brimstrned bees: 











To the epitaph should be appended Thomson's verses: 

'*Ah, see, where robbed and murdered in that pit, 
Lies the still heaving hive! at evening snatched, 
< Beneath the cloud of gilt-concealing night, 
And fixed o'er sulphur! while, not dreaming ill. 
The happy people, in their waxen cells. 
Sat tending public cares. 
Sudden, the dark, oppressive steam ascends. 
And, used to milder scents, the tender race. 
By thousands, tumble from their honied dome 
Into a gulf of blue sulphureous flame!" 

717. The present methods are as far ahead of the old 
ways, as the steel rail is ahead of the miiy road; as the 
palace car is ahead of the stage coach. 

It is to the production of surplus honey that all the efforts 
of the bee-keeper tend, and the problem of apiculture is, 
how to raise the most honey from what colonies we have, 
with the greatest profit. 

718. In raising honey, whether comb or extracted, the 
Apiarist should remember the following: 

1st. His colonies should be strongest in bees at the time 
of the expected honey harvest (565). 

2d. Each honey harvest usually lasts but a few weeks. 

If a colony is weak in Spring, the harvest may come and 
pass away, and the bees be able to obtain veiy little from it. 
During this time of meagre accumulations, the orchards and 
pastures may present 

* ' One boundless blush, one white empurpled shower 
Of mingled blossoms;" 

and tens of thousands of bees from stronger colonies may 
be engaged all day in sipping the fragrant sweets, so that 
every gale w^hich "fans its odoriferous wings'^ about their 
dwellings, dispenses 


"Native perfumes, and whispers whence they stole 
Those balmy spoils."* 

By the time the feeble colony becomes strong— if at all— 
the honey harvest is over, and, instead of gathering: enough 
for its own use, it may starve, unless fed. Bee-keeping, with 
colonies which are feeble, except in extraordinary seasons and 
locations, is emphatically notliing but "vexation of spirit." 

3rd. Colonies that swarm cannot be expected to furnish 
much surplus, in average localities and seasons, 

■ith. A hive containing or raising many drones (189) 
cannot save as much surplus as one that has but few, owing 
to the cost of production of these drones, who do not work 
and are raised in place of workers. We have insisted on 
this point already, but it is of such importance, that we 
cannot refrain from recalling it. The hives should be over- 
hauled every Spring, and the drone comb cut out and re- 
placed by neat pieces of worker comb, or of comb foundation 
(674). Every square foot of drone comb, replaced with 
worker comb, represents an annual saving, in our estimation, 
of at least one dollar to the colony. 

Comb Honey. 

719. Although more extracted honey can be produced 
than comb honey, from the same number of colonies, yet a 
newly made and well sealed comb of honey is unquestionably 
most attractive, and, when nicely put up, will find a place 
of honor, even on the tables of the wealthy. White comb 
honey will always be a fancy article, and will sell at paying 

Dark honey in the comb does not usually find ready sale. 
Hence, the bee-keepers, in districts where white honey is har- 

* The scent of the hives, during the height of the gathering season, 
usually indicates from what sources the bees have gathered their sup- 



vested, are mostly producers of comb honey ; while those in 
the districts producing dark honey, in the South mainly, rely 
more on extracted honey. 

720. We have noi the space to describe the different 
evolutions, through which the production of comb honey has 
passed since box-hive times; production in large frames in 
glass boxes, in tumblers, etc. 

Fig. 186. 


Honey in large frames does not sell well, and cannot be 
safely transported. "Were it not for this, its production in 
this way wouM be advisable. The experienced bee-keeper 
well knows that bees will make more honey in a large box, 
than in several small ones whose miited capacity is the same. 
In small boxes, thev cannot so well maintain their animal heat 



in cool weather and cannot ventilate so readily in hot weather. 
In the exceedingly hot season of 1878, the colonies that were 
provided with glass boxes yielded on an average, less than 
one-fourth of the average yielded by others. 

The bees have another important and natural objection to 
the small receptacles, mentioned by a noted Apiarist, as will 
be seen farther (741). Practically, there is more labo^' for 
the bees in small receptacles, as the joints and corners of the 
combs require more time and more wax. 

721. But to produce salable comb honey, we have no 

Fig. 187. 


choice. We must produce it in a small receptacle. The Adair 
section boxes, which we used as early as 1868, marked the 
first progressive step, so far as we know. 

These sections forming a case by the overlapping of their 
top and bottom bars, and furnished with glass at each end. 
were much admired, and w^e sold several tons of honey, in 
this shape, in St. Louis, at the now fabulous prices of from 
25 to 28 cents per pound. 

722. But the one pound sections, as now made, have been 
universally adopted of late years. 

COilB HONEY. 433 

These sections are made of two kinds, dovetailed in four 
pieces, or in one piece and folded. The first can be made of 
any kind of white wood, while the latter are made of bass- 
wood only. 

723. Sections are usually made Vs inch thick and IVo to 
2 inches wide. The standard section for Langstroth hives is 
41/4x414 inches, with openings at the bottom and top. 

724. They are given to the bees in the upper stoiy. Stor- 

Fig. ISS. 


age room, on the sides of the brood chamber, has been periodi- 
cally advised by inventors of new hives, but bees never fill 
and seal sections placed at the side as fast as if put above 
the brood chamber. 

Sections are placed on the hive in supers with pattern slats 
on which the sections rest as in fig. 188, in T supers with 
metal rests, fig. 201, or in wide frames, figs 189 and 199. 

With either of these methods, some principles must be ad- 
hered to. 



725. These principles are based on the difficulties, that 
ha\^ to be overcome in comb-honey production, as follows* 

1st. Inducing the bees to work in small receptacles; 

2d. Forcing them to build the combs straight and even, 
without bulge, so that the sections can be interchanged with- 
out being bruised against one another, when taken off and 
crated for market; 

3d. Keepmg the queen in the brood apartment, and pre- 
venting her from breeding in the sections; 

4th. Preventing swarming as much as possible; 

oth. Arranging the sections so as to have as little propolis 
put on them as possible (237) ; 

6th. Getting the greatest number of sections thoroughly 
sealed, as unsealed honey is unsalable. 

Fig. 189. 


(From "Bees and Honey.") 

•726. 1st. Inducing bees to work in small receptacles. 

Rather than work in small, empty receptacles, the bees 
sometimes crowd their honey in the brood chamber, till the 
queen can find no room to lay in, and swarming, or a smaller 
crop of honey, is the consequence. To remedy this evil, some 
of our leading bee-keepers have resorted to an old, discarded, 
French practice, "reversing." Reversing consists in turning 
the brood chamber upside down and placing hives containing 
empty combs, whose bees died the preceding Winter, or empty 



supers, over it. The honey contained in the brood chambei:, 
.which is always placed above and be- 
hind the brood, safe from pilfering in- 
truders, is now at the bottom, near the 
entrance. The cells are wrong side up 
(fig. 190), and the most wateiy honey 
is in danger of leakmg out. Hence 
an uproar in the hive, and the imme- 
diate result is, that the bees promptly 
occupy the upper story, and store in it 
all this ill-situated honey. The result 
is so radical, that "reversing bee-keep- 
ers" admit that their bees have to be 
fed in the Fall, as too little honey is 
left in the brood chamber for the hives 
to winter on. In the box-hive times, 
the following was already the almost 
unanimous report of bee-keepers on 
the results of "reversing.'' Tlie re- 
cruiting and feeding for Winter of 
reversed colonies being considered too costly and risky, the 
apiaries were supplied every year with new colonies bought 
from bee-keepers whose business was to raise swarms to sell. 

**If you want the greatest quantity of honey, reverse your 
colonies; but if reversing was practiced everywhere, we would 
diminish the number of our colonies, and would finally even 
destroy the race of bees, for as far as bee reproduction is con- 
cerned the 'reversing Apiarist' reaches the same result as the 
'brimstoning Apiarist.' " — French Apiarian Congress, Paris 
1861. L 'Apiculteur, Volume, 6, page 175. 

In the present state of progress in bee culture, "reversing" 
is less damagmg, but its disadvantages to the bees cannot over- 
balance its advantages, unless it is practiced very cautiously 
and sparingly. 

727. Yet this practice is sufficiently enticing— as it forces 
the bees to occupy the supers so quickly— to have caused the 

Fig. 190. 




invention of a number of reversible hives or frames. The re- 
versing method caused quite a craze about 18S8, but it was a 
*^fad" svhich soon wore itself out. 

Fig. 191. 


(From Cheshire.) 
St, stand: bb, body; hb, honey board; sr, section racks; c, cover: 
hh, hand holds ; lb, entrance blocks ; e, entrance ; I, cleat to give bee 
space ; .s, screws to hold frames. 

728. Reversing during the harvest does not cause the 
bees to gather any more honey; nay, they harvest even a little 


less, owing to the time occupied iii transportiug the honey, 
but it is all placed in the surplus apartment at the mercy of 
their owner. 

A much safer method to induce the bees to work in the 
supers, is to place in them, nearest the brood, a few imfinished 
sections from the previous season. This is what Dr. C. C. 
Miller calls a "bait." These unfinished sections have been 
emptied of their honey by the extractor,, and cleaned by the 
bees the previous Fall. The supers should be located as near 
the brood apartment as possible, with as much direct com- 
munication as can be conveniently given. 

729. But, with the greatest skill, it is impossible to attract 
the bees into the supers, as long as there are empty combs in 
the brood-chamber. 

If the queen is unable to occupy all the combs with brood, 
the empty ones should be removed at the beginning of the honey 
harvest, and either given to swarms or divided colonies, or 
placed outside of the division board (34^9). This is called 
''contraction." We would warn our readers against excessive 
contraction, for, after the honey season is over, a hive which 
has been contracted to, say, two-thirds, of its capacity, has 
become dwarfed in honey, brood, and bees, and will run some 
risks through the Winter. Besides, that part of the super, 
which is above the empty space, is but rehictantly occupied bj' 

**If the reader has ever constructed a hive, whose surplus 
department was wider than the brood chamber, jutting out over 
the same, he has noticed the partial neglect paid by the bees, to 
the surplus toxes which rested over wood instead of combs. 

' ' Now this same difference made by the bees, between wood 
and comb, they will also make between combs of honey and 
combs of brood, and with our 8-frame Langstroth hive, we 
notice far less neglect of the side surplus combs than we noticed 
when using the 10-frame hives. This is one objection to the 
method of contracting by replacing the side combs of brood 
chambers with fillers or dummies." — J. Heddon "Success in 
Bee-Culture. ' ' 


730. A method which avoids contraction, and makes the 
best honey-producing colonies still better, consists in taking 
brood combs from colonies that are not likely to yield any 
surplus, and exchanging them, for empty combs from the best 
colonies, just before the honey harvest. This method requires 
too many manipulations to be very advantai;eous, and pre- 
vents the poorest colonies from becoming stronger. 

The most potent argument that has been advanced against 
the Dadant large hive is that, in the raising of comb honey, 
it becomes necessaiy to remove all the combs that may not 
have been filled with brood, by queens of inferior prolificness. 
This contraction is necessaiy if we want all our honey in the 
sections. But many bee-keepers like to produce both comb 
and extracted honey and with this hive they secure both. The 
eight-frame Langstroth hive, on account of its diminutive size 
has been preferred by many, because just as soon as there is a 
surplus the bees are compelled to put it into the sections, so 
that the Apiarist gets more honey, in a poor season, from 
small hives than from large ones, but if he were to weigh the 
amount of honey actually harvested, whether in the body or 
the supers, he would soon ascertain that the large hives aver- 
aged a great deal more crop, owing to the greater population 
in hives containing veiy prolific queens. We mention this be- 
cause the ten-frame Langstroth hives are usually preferred for 
the production of comb honey. 

We have already stated (312), how Doctor C. C. Miller, 
with eight-frame hives, manages to secure the greatest amount 
of brood before the opening of the honey crop, by adding 
another story for brood to his strongest colonies, then reducing 
them at the opening of the crop, to one stoiy full of brood, 
using the extra brood combs for weaker colonies. To this 
method Dr. Miller ascribes his constant success. It is only 
another method of achieving the same end, securing the great- 
est amount of brood and contracting the brood nest for the 
honey crop. By our method it is done with only one brood 
apartment. The bee-keeper who uses small hives must either 

Plate 25. 


Author of "A Year Among the Bees" ''Forty Years Among the 
Bees,'' and ''Fifty Years Among the Bees.'' 

This writer is mentioned pages 46, 156, 167, 175, 194, 195, 226, 241, 

283, 287, 333, 362, 381, 393, 426, 437, 442, 443, 444, 

445, 446, 449, 463, 464, 546. 



take one of these methods or expect less crop than he would 
othel'^vise get from the most prolific queens. 

731. 2d. Securing straight^ even combs, in sections. 
With thin comb foimdation (683), in strips filling ^2 to % 
of the section, the combs are always straight, but their surface, 
when sealed, is not always even. Some cells are built longer 
than others, and, m packing the honey, these bulged combs 
might come in contact with one another and get bruised. To 
prevent this occurrence, many Apiarists use "separators," made 
of tin, wood, or coarse wire cloth, placed between the rows of 
sections, as in figs. ISO and 192. This invention, claimed by 

Fig. 192. 


Mr. Betsinger, of New York, was first tried in the brood 
chamber, by Mr. Langstroth in 1858. It was suggested by Mr. 
Colvin. (See foiTner edition, page 374.) 

Another method has been devised. Plain sections, without 
insets for the passage of the bees, are made, and a "fence" 
is used between the sections. This fence is made of slats, fig. 
193, with upright strips which rest perpendicularly against 
the edge of the sections. The bee space is thus made by the 
help of the fence, the entire length of the sections at top and 
bottom. Either method succeeds in securing straight combs, 



though the results ditfer somewhat, as will be seen farther 

But many bee-keepers succeed in securing straight combs 
without separators simply by the use of full sheets of comb 
foundation in the sections. 

732. 3d. Keeping the queen in the brood apartment. 
If the supers have been put on just previous to the opening 
of the honey crop, with sufficient bait to attract the bees in 
them, there will be but litle danger of the queen's moving up 

Fig. 193. 


into them, unless her breeding room is too much cramped by 
honey, or by the exiguity of the brood nest. 

The condition of the honey crop has something to do with 
her propensity to move out of the brood apartment. When 
the honey crop is heavy, and of short duration, there is no 
danger on this score, as the honey combs are filled as fast as 
they are built, and the queen, should she move to the super, 
would soon leave it, owing to her inability to lay there. In 
localities where the crop is lasting and intermittent, much 
advantage has been derived from the use of the Collin per- 
forated zinc between the brood chamber and the supers. The 



only obstacle to its use, is that it hinders ventilation and free 
access for the bees. 

The slatted honey board with zinc strips between the slats 
is probab]}' the best queen excluder made. The full zinc sheet 

Fig. 194. 


Fig. 195. 


is more apt to get out of sliape by being glued up by the 
bees when propolis is plentiful. 

The greater or less necessity of queen excluders to prevent 

Fig. 196. 


the queen from ascending into the sections and filling them 
with broodj seems to depend much on location. We have 
never found that queen excluders were sufficiently needed to 


make them desirable, but uiaiiy other bee-keepers have often 
asserted that they cannot get along without them. However, 
such an authority as Dr. C. C. Miller says: "The queen so 
seldom goes into a super that not one section in a hundred, 
some times not more than one in a thousand, will be found 
troubled with brood." Other writers are equally emphatic in 
favor of the excluder. So each bee-keeper will have to decide 
this point for himself. 

According to Doctor Miller, the queen rarely goes into the 
supers except to seek drone cells in which to lay, when she 
becomes tired of worker cells. At such times, the bees seem 
to understand her wishes so well that they leave drone cells 
unoccupied in order to give her an opportunity to lay in them. 
If at such times she finds drone comb in the sections she will 
be likely to fill it with eggs. Otherwise her laying in sections 
will be very rare. 

733. 4th. Swarming with comb-honey production. As 
the directions given by us elsewhere (461) do not altogether 
prevent swarming, when comb-honey is raised, and as the 
swarming of a colony usually ends its surplus production for 
the seasouj it has been found advisable to give the surplus 
cases to the swarm, instead of leaving them on the old hive. 
(468 his.) To further strengthen the swarm, which is thus 
depended upon for surplus, it is placed on the stand of the 
old hive, and the latter is removed to a new location. This is 
a very practical method. It is due to Messrs. Heddon and 
Hutchinson-— at least they have popularized it. But the pru- 
dent Apiarist, who follows this course, will keep a vigilant 
eye on the old colony, thus deprived of all its working force, 
and will help it, if needed. 

734. 5th. Preventing the bees from propolizing. 

* ' Propolis on sections is a nuisance, be the same little or 
much, and a plan which will allow of the filling of the section 
with nice comb honey without changing the clean appearance 
which they present when placed upon the hive, will be her- 
alded with delight by all, and give great honor to him who 


works out the plan. ' ' — G. M. Doolittle, * * Gleanings, ' ' page 
171. 1886. 

We have shown (238) that bees propolize eveiy crack, and 
daub with this yellowish or bro"wnish glue every thing inside 
of their hive. This is very hard to clean, and it can never 
be removed sufficiently to restore to the sections their original 

**A11 four sides of the sections are scraped clean of propolis, 
and the edges as well. It is not a difficult job for a careful 
hand, but a very disagreeable one. The fine dust of the bee- 
glue is very unpleasant to breathe. A scraper should be a 
careful person, or in ten minutes' time he will do more dam- 
age than his day's work is worth. Even a careful person seems 
to need to spoil at least one section, before taking the care 
necessary to avoid injuring others. But when the knife makes 
an ugly gash in the face of a beautiful white section of honey, 
that settles it that care will be taken afterward. ' ' — Dr. C. C. 
Miller: *'A Year Among the Bees." 

To prevent propolizing, the sections should be fitted tightly 
together, and as little of their outside as possible exposed to 
the bees. The honey should be removed promptly, when 
sealed, before the bees have time to do much glumg. 

Xot only is it necessary that the sections should be removed 
early after they are filled, on account of the propolis brought bj' 
the bees, but it is also useful to remove the other contrivances 
employed, such as excluding honey -boards, separators or fences, 
so they may not be so daubed with the sticky substance as to 
become useless. Besides, in the present condition of progres- 
sive bee-culture and close competition, it is necessary to have 
honey which does not show any travel stains from the bees 
and the whitest honey is often soiled in appearance by the 
travel of the bees over it. An experienced eye will easily de- 
tect combs which have been left on the hive too long and have 
become travel-stained. 

735. 6th. Securing sealed comb honey. For this pur- 
pose no more cases should be given than the bees are likely 


to fill. The second case should not be added until the fii*st 
is half filled. The outside sections, being tlie last filled, may 
not be sealed at all, unless the bees are somewhat crowded for 
room. To remedy this, many bee-keepers are in the habit of 
"tiering out/' instead of ''tiering up;" that is, they put the 
empty or mifinished sections in the middle of the super, re- 
moving all that are filled, or placing them on the outside. This 
is an increase of labor, but some hold that it pays. 

There is quite a difference in localities and seasons, as to the 
time of adding supers. Much depends on the yield of honey. 
Each Apiarist must judge of the probabilities, not only of 
ordinaiy seasons, but of extraordinaiy seasons as Avell and this 
knowledge can be gained only by j^ractice. To show what 
may be expected in a good location, we will quote a passage 
from Dr. Miller's "Forty Years Among the Bees" : 

''On the whole, there is a mixture of judgment and guess- 
work as to putting on supers after the first. Perhaps the near- 
est to a general rule in the matter is to give a second super 
when the first is half filled. If, however, honey seems to be 
coming in slowly, or if the colony is not strong, and the bees 
seem to have plenty of room in the super, no second super is 
given, although the one already there may be filled with honey. 
On the other hand, if honey seems to be coming with a rush, 
and the bees seem crowded for room, a second super may be 
given, although there is very little honey in the first. These 
same conditions continued, a third super may be given when 
the second is only fairly started and the first not half full, 
and before the first super is ready to take off there may be 
four or five supers on the hive. In the year 1897 — a remark- 
ably prosperous year — there were at one time in the Wilson 
apiary an average of four supers to each colony, some colonies 
with less than four and some with more, and not a finished 
super in the lot. The supers were all well filled with bees, and 
although I took some chances as to unfinished work, I feel 
pretty sure that if I had allowed less room it would have 
been at a loss. But that was a very exceptional case." 

Instead of removing the filled sections from the center of 


the super as by the method above mentioned, Dr. Miller re- 
moves the entire super when nearly filled, without waiting for 
the outside sections to be sealed^ and the unfinished sections 
of several supers are put together and given back to some 
strong colony to be finished by them. This avoids much 
handling of sections on the hive. 

Fig. 197. 


(Forty Years Among the Bees.) 

736. It often happens that the bees fasten the comb only 
at the top of the section. For safe transportation it is very 
important that it should be fastened to the section wall, all 
around. To secure this, not only do Apiarists use comb foun- 
dation, but some have devised '^reversible" section cases. When 
the sections are turned over, the empty space now at the top, 
seems unnatural to tlie bees, and they hasten to fill it, making 
a solid comb in the section. But this is not the onty method. 

' ' Years ago my sections were always filled so full by the bees, 
that they carried very securely in transportation. Afterwards I 



began to have trouble from combs breaking down. It was due, 
perhaps, mainly to the bees having too much surplus room. 
Some sections would be filled with a nice comb of honey, not 
\ery strongly attached at the top, very little at the side, and 
not at all at the bottom. Aside from depending upon crowd- 
ing the bees to make them fill the sections, I wanted a plan 
whereby I could be sure of having the sections fastened at the 
bottom as well as at the top. I tried to take partly filled 
sections out of the supers and reversing them, and went so far 
as to invent a reversible super. I abandoned this, however, 
and adopted the plan of putting a starter in the bottom as well 
as at the top of the section. '^ (''A Year Among the Bees.") 


I^HHp'' .'1 

Fig. 19S. 


(Forty Years Among the Bees.) 

Between the publicatiuii of ^'A Year Among- the Bees," and 
that of "Forty Years Anionj? the Bees," both by the same 
author, Doctor C. C. Miller had seventeen years of practice 
of comb honey production, on a very large scale and with 
extraordinary results. The reader will readily agree with us 
that his opinion has great value. He insists that top and 



bottom starters as per Fig. 198 give tJie best results, the bot- 
tom starter being five-eighths of an inch wide, with a space 
of onl}' a quarter inch between the two. This allows of the 
slight stretching usual in comb foundation. 

737. It is held by some Apiarists that the fence with plain 
sections, fig. 193, secures better filled combs than the ordinaiy 
section with insets and separators, fig. 188. But when the bees 
are supplied with foundation in full or nearly full sheets, the 
advantage seems to be on the side of the separator. The 

Fig. 199. 


(Forty Years Among: the Bees.) 

fullest sections that the writer has seen were secured by split- 
ting the sections exactly through the center and placing the 
sheet of foundation so that it was caught between the two 
halves of the section and fastened all around. This is the 
Lnglish method. 

Miss Emma Wilson, Doctor Miller's able sister-in-law, who 
has for many years managed a large number of colonies for 
comb honey says : 



"I can pick just as well filled sections among those that 
have insets as among the plain fence sections, and I can find 
as many ill-filled sections among the latter as among the 
former. But I much prefer the sections with inset to the 
plain, because when handling them, I am more likely to damage 
the cappings of the honey in the plain sections, and the sec- 
tions are also more likely to topple over while being fixed for 

Mr. Frank Rauchfuss, the Secretaiy of the Colorado Honey 
Producers, handling ten to twenty carloads of honey annually 
for his stockholders, said : "In selling honey to our Eastern 


Fig. 200. 

trade we found that they were not so willing to handle honey 
in plain sections as in the standard sections." 

We will now consider a few of the various cases used in the 
production of comb honey. 

738. The deep wide frames (fig. 199), have the decided 
advantage of allowing the Apiarist to use sections in a full 
size upper stoiy. In limited comb honey production, they can 
probably be used with satisfaction, especially with the eight 
or ten frame Langstroth hive. 

739. The half-storj' comb honey supers, figs. 200 and 201, 
are preferable to the full story wide frames. A full story is 


often too large for surplus and two half stories will always 
be found more easily handled and more evenly filled, especially 
if given only when needed. Many styles are made, but the 
leading ones are with bottom and side slats enclosing the sec- 
tions and with springs crowding them together, an improve- 
ment on the Oliver Foster method described in a previous edi- 
tion of this work, fig. 200. 

Fig. 201. 


740. Mr. C. C. Miller places his sections in supers without 
top or bottom, three-eighths of an inch deeper than the sections. 
To support the sections in these boxes he nails, under both ends, 
a strip of tin, which projects one-fourth inch inside. Strips 
of tiuj bent in the form of a A. are supported across the 
box, by six small pieces of sheet iron nailed at regular inter- 
vals, under the sides of the box. The sections rest on these 
T '*s, and on the end strips. These supers holding 28 or 32 
sections, can be piled upon one another, leaving a bee space 
between them. The only objection that we have ever heard 
offered to the T super, as the Miller super is called, is the 
danger of the bees propolizing the exposed parts of the sec- 
tion. In the supers which furnish slats for the support of the 
sections, there is nothing exposed but the edges of a part of 
each section. Othenvise the Miller plan seems to bring the 
sections in closer proximity to each other. But the above men- 



tioned plans are all good and the Apiarist is to decide for 
himself which suits his taste best. 

741. There are a few considerations worthy of notice, in 
the raising of comb honey, which were advanced years ago, 
by Oliver Foster. We quote from his pamphlet, now out of 
l>rint : 

' ' There should be free communication between the sections 
ia every direction. They should have deep slots on all 8 edges 
as shown in Fig. 202 so that bees can pass freely over the 
combs from end to end of the case, as well as from side to 
side, and from top to bottom." 


Fig. 202. 


How to Raise Comb Honey.") 

"You may not appreciate the importance of this until you 
have tried them. 

*'When we take into consideration that the object on the part 
of the bees, in storing up honey in Summer, is to have it ac- 
cessible for Winter consumption, and that in Winter, the bees 
collect in a round ball, as nearly as possible, in a serai-torpid 
state with but little if any motion, except that gradual moving 
of bees from the center to the surface and from the surface 
to the center of this ball, we may imagine how unwelcome it 
is to them to be obliged to divide their stores between four 
separate apartments, each of which is four inches square and 
twelve inches long, with no communication between these apart- 


742. Although Mr. Foster's methods and iniplenieiits have 
been improved upon in the past twenty years, the ideas ex- 
pressed above are original and correct and it is necessaiy that 
we should consider them. The improvements which go towards 
a more comfortable situation for the bees while working in 
the supers are sure to be in the line of progress. Separators 
are needed to secure straight combs but the less we will have 
of them, the better for our success. The fence, the faults of 
which we have shown, is very certainly praised and used be- 
cause it gives a more thorough passage from one stoiy to an- 
other, since it gives an opening along the entire length of the 

743. For the same reason of comfort to the bees and also 
for ease of manipulation, it is advisable to abstain from using 
the queen excluder, if the Apiarist finds that he can get along 
without it. These implements are in the way for the travel 
of the bees over the combs, for the ventilation, and they are 
also much in the way of the Apiarist. 

744. So in accepting new improvements, we should at all 
times remember that simplicity in the implements makes for 
greater success, not only because it is an economy of money, 
but because our bees will feel better, fare better and swarm 
less if not hampered with obstructions. 

745. All improvements that are made must be based on 
a full consideration of the histincts of the bees. Like Mr. 
Hutchinson ("Production of Comb-Honey" p. 18), we "have 
seen bees sulk for days during a good honey flow, simply be- 
cause the present condition of things was not to their liking.'' 
You should make your bees feel as natural and as much "at 
home" as possible. 

Extracted Honey. 

746. To separate the honey from the wax, the bee-keepei^s 
of old used to melt or break the comb and drahi the honey out. 

Beeswax, as a sweet-scented luminifei'ous substance, far 


superior to oils or the crude grease of animals, was greatly 
appreciated by the priests, and placed among the best offerings 
required to please the gods. The custom of offering wax, or 
wax candles, continued to this day by some churches, especially 
by the Greek and Roman Catholic churches, caused for cen- 
turies the levy of hea\y taxes, payable in beeswax, in coun- 
tries where the inhabitants kept bees. Some comitries, in 
Europe, had to pay to the church, eveiy year, several hundred 
thousand pounds of beeswax. Such taxes compelled the bee- 
keepers to separate the honey from the wax with as little waste 
as possible. 

Different grades of honey were harvested by the careful 
Apiarists. The light-colored combs produced a light-colored 
and pure honey; the combs which had contained brood pro- 
duced turbid honey of inferior quality. 

747. These primitive methods were aftei-u-ards greatly 
ameliorated, as for instance, in the French province of Ga- 
tinais, where the bee-keepers used the heat of the sun to melt 
the combs, and separate the honey from the melted wax. The 
choice honey obtained in Gatmais, from the sainfoin, cannot be 
excelled by our best extracted clover honey, as to color and 
taste, and it is sold m Paris altogether. 

Owing to these causes, strained honey, of different grades, 
was a staple in Europe. But the demand being ahead of the 
supply, especially when the season was unfavorable for bees, 
Europe imported strained honey from Chili, and Cuba, and 
lately, extracted honey from Califoniia. 

748. These causes did not exist in this counti-y. Bees 
were scarce here at first. The American settlers had too 
much work on hand to care much for bees. The few who 
owned a limited number of colonies, brimstoned one of them 
occasionally, and consumed the honey at home. The more 
extensive bee owners could sell some broken combs to their 
neighbors, or a few pounds of strained honey to the diniggist, 
who was not veiy hard to please, being accustomed to buy 
Cuba honey, harvested with the most slovenly carelessness. By 


and by, however, owing to veiy favorable conditions, the wild 
woods swarmed with bees in the ^^ollow trees," and the hec- 
hunter made his appearance. Thousands of trees fell under 
his ax, to yield the sweets that they contamed. Bee-hunting 
became an occupation in some of our forests. The method 
followed to find the colonies established in hollow trees, was to 
place a bait of honey in some open spot, attracting the bees by 
burning a little of the comb. When the bees had formed a 
bee-line from the honey to their abode, a new baiting place was 

Fig. 203. 


started m a diagonal position to the first. The meetmg place 
of both lines was of course the spot occupied by the swarm. 

This rough-and-ready bee-keeping, or rather bee-killing, pro- 
duced comparatively large quantities of honey; but, as this 
honey was nearly always badly broken up and mixed with 
pollen, dead bees, and rotten wood, it became customaiy to 
boil the honey, so as to force the impurities and the wax to 
rise on top with the scum. Hence the cheap, liquid, dirty and 


opaque strained honey, dark in color and strong in taste. By 
the side of this unwholesome article, a little fancy comb honey 
was sold, that led to a national preference for comb honey. 

But in view of the cost of comb to the bees (223), in honey, 
time and labor, it was earnestly desired by progressive bee- 
keepers, especially after the invention of the movable frames, 
that some process be devised to empty the honey out of the 
combs without damaging the latter, so that they could be re- 
turned to the bees to be filled again and again. 

749. In 1865 the late Major de Hnischka, of Dolo, near 
Venice, Italy, invented ''II Smelatore/' the honey extractor. 

It happened in this wise : He had given to his son, a small 
piece of comb honey, on a plate. The boy put the plate in 
his basket, and swung the basket around him, like a sling. 
Hi-uschka noticed that some honey had been drained out by 
the motion, and concluded that combs could be emptied by 
centrifugal force. 

This invention was hailed, in the whole bee-keeping world, 
as equal to, and the complement of, the invention of movable 
frames; and it fully deserved this honor. 

750. As soon as we heard of the discoveiy, we had a ma- 
chine made. It was not so elegant as those which are now 
offered by our manufacturers. It was a bulkj^ and cumbersome 
affair ; four feet in diameter and three feet high ; yet it worked 
to our satisfaction, and we became convinced, by actual trial, 
of the great gain which could be obtained, by returning the 
empty combs to the bees. 

751. Let us say here, that the profit was greater than we 
had anticipated; but we, together with a great many others, 
first committed the fault of extracting, before the honey was 
altogether ripened by evaporation. Like "Novice" who thought 
of emptying his cistern to put the overflow of his extracted 
honey, we had to go to town again and again, for jars and 
barrels, to lodge our crop. But experience taught us that we 
cannot get a good merchantable article, unless the honey is 

Plate 26. 


Inventor of the Hone}^ Extractor. 
This Apiarist is mentioned page 454. 


752. If we give to bees empty combs, to store their honey, 
we will find, by comparing the products of colonies who have 
to build their combs, with those of colonies who always have 
empty combs to fill, that these last produce at least twice as 
much as the others. 

A little consideration will readily show, to the intelligent 
bee-keeper, the great advantages given to the bees by furnish- 
ing them with a full supply of empty combs. To illustrate 
all these advantages, let us compare two colonies of bees, of 
equal strength, at the beginning of the honey season ; one with 
empty boxes, the other wiQi empty comb in the boxes. 

The two colonies have been breeding plentifully, and har- 
vesting a large quantity of pollen, and a little honey, for 
several weeks past. The brood chamber is full from top to 
bottom. After perhaps one rainy day, the honey crop begins. 
The bees that have been given empty comby can go right up 
in them, and begin storing, as fast as they bring their honey- 
from the fields. Not a minute is lost; and as they have plenty 
of storing room, there is no need of crowding the queen out 
of her breeding cells. 

In the other hive, there is indeed plenty of empty space 
in the upper story; but before it can be put to any use, it 
has to be first partly filled with combs. Before a half day 
is over, the greater part of the bees have harvested, and 
brought, to their newly-hatched companions, all the honey 
that the latter can possibly hold in their sacks. What shall 
they do wilh the surplus? They have to go into that upper 
story, and hang there (205) for hours, waiting for the honey 
to be transformed into beeswax, by the wonderful action of 
these admirable little stomachs, whose work man cannot imi- 
tate, despite his science. But, while this slow transformation 
is going on, while the small scales of wax are emerging from 
under the rings of the abdomen (201) of each industrious 
little worker; while their sisters are slowly but busily cariy- 
ing, moulding and arranging the warm little pieces of wax in 
their respective places, in order to build the frail comb (206) ; 


during all this time, the honey is flowmg in the blossoms, and 
the other colonj- is fast increasing its supply of sweets. Mean- 
while, the few bees, which have found a place for their load, 
go back after more, and, finding no room, they watch for the 
appearance of each hatching bee, from its cell, and at once fill 
that cell with honey ; thus depriving the queen of her breeding- 
room, and forcing her to remain idle, at a time when she 
should be laymg most busily. 

The loss is therefore treble. First, this colony loses the 
present work of all the bees which have to remain inside to 
help make wax. Secondly, it loses the honey of which ihis 
wax is made. Thirdly, it loses the production of thousands 
of workers, by depriving the queen of her breeding-room, in 
the brood-chamber. All this, for what purpose? To enable 
the owner to eat his honey with the wax; when, as every one 
well knows, wax is tasteless and indigestible. 

One word more in regard to the loss of production, by the 
eroAvding of the queen. This loss is two-fold in itself. When 
the bees find that the queen is crowded out of her breeding- 
room, they become more readily induced to make preparations 
for swarming (406). 

It is then that a large number of young bees would be 
necessary to make up for the loss which the colony will sus- 
tain, in the departure of the swarm; and yet the diminished 
number of eggs laid produces exactly the reverse of the de- 
sired result. 

There is perhaps a fourth item of loss, in failing to furnish 
empty combs to this colony, and that when the season is not 
very favorable. Many practical bee-keepers have noticed that, 
in rather unfavorable seasons, it is difficult to induce bees to 
work in an empty surplus box, in which they would work 
readily if it were furnished with combs. It is a question which 
may remain doubtful, whether the bees do not sometimes, in 
such cases, remain idle for a day or two, rather than begin 
building comb in a box which they do not expect to be able to 
fill (745). 


753. In view of the above facts, and after an experience 
of many years with the honey extractor, we urge beginners to 
produce extracted honey in preference to comb-honey, when- 
ever they can sell it readily for half to two-thirds as much 
as comb honey. We have shown the advantages of its pro- 
duction to the bees; let us now show the advantages to the 

754. 1st, He can control, and take care of, a much 
greater number of colonies. The manipulations of an apiary, 
run for extracted honej', occupy less than one half of the time 
required for the production of comb-honey. Our largest comb- 
honey producers acknowledge that one man cannot handle 
more than two hmidred colonies successfully, when rmi for 
comb-honey, while as many as five hundred colonies, located 

Fig. 204. 


m different apiaries (582), are managed successfully by one 
Apiarist, when run for extracted honey. During extracting 
time, of course, additional help is required, but this needs not 
be skilled labor, which is always hard to find. 

755. 2d. By the production of extracted honey, the sur- 
plus combs are saved, and given to the bees at the opening of 
the following harvest. This virtually does away with natural 
swarming, and enables the bee-keeper to control the increase 
of his colonies to suit his desires. One of the most successful 


comb-honey producers, Mr. Manura, of Vermont, who sold 
some 1-5 tons of comb-honey in 1885, acknowledged to us, that 
with his management in the production of comb-honey, it was 
nearly impossible to control swarming. 

756. The farmer, or merchant, Avho keeps only a few 
hives, to produce honey for his own use, will find it much 
preferable to produce extracted honey. With three colonies of 
bees and an extractor, in a veiy ordinary location, from 150 
to 300 lbs. of honey can be produced on an average, evei-y 

757. For the production of extracted honey, we use half 
stories or cases (fig. 204) with frames 6 inches deep, and of 
the same length as the frames of the lower stoiy. AVe have 
also used full-stoiy supers, but only on standard Langstroth 
hives, and we decidedly prefer the half-story supers, for sev- 
eral reasons, after having used both kinds on a large scale for 

75 S. The frames of the half -story supers are more easily 
handled when full, and the combs are less apt to break down 
from heat or handling. The half-stoiy super is better suited 
for the use of an average colony, and in cool weather is more 
easily kept warm by the bees, than a full-story. Very strong 
colonies, in extraordinary seasons, can be readily accommodated 
with two and even three of these cases successively. 

With the full-story supers, the queen and the bees are more 
apt to desert the lower stoiy altogether, in poor honey seasons, 
and establish their brood-nest in the upper story, especially 
when the combs of the lower or brood chamber are old, and 
those above are new. The sole advantage of the full-story 
super is that the frames in it are exactly of the same size as 
those below, and can be interchanged with them if necessaiy; 
but with large hives it will never be required to use upper story 
combs for feeding, and even if the queen should breed in these 
shallow cases, at times, she is soon crowded out of them by 
the surplus honey. 

759. The upper story frames are filled with comb founda- 


tion (674), or even willi old worker combs, and can be used 
indefinitely, since the honey is extracted from them, and they 
are returned unbroken to the bees. "We have now several thou- 
sands of these combs, some of which have already passed thirty 
or forty times through the extractor and are now as good as 
at first, nay, even better; for some, which were very dark, are 
lighter in color now, on account of the dark cells having been 
shaved by the honey knife and mended, by the bees, with new 
wax. These supers are given to the bees, a few days previous 
to the opening of the honey crop. 

The mat (353), and cloth (352), are removed and the 
upper stoiy is placed immediately over the frames (fig. 72). 

yeO. One great advantage of this style of supers, lies in 
the facility, with which the bees can reach the upper story 
from any comb, or from any part of a comb, either to de- 
posit their honey or for ventilation, during hot weather. Bees 
show their preference for these large receptacles very decidedly. 
For comparison, let two or three wide frames (724)— filled 
with sections Avhich are of more difficult ventilation and access 
—be placed in the center of one of these supers wdih some 
extracting frames on each side, all equally filled with strips 
of foundation, and the small sections (722) will be filled last 
almost in every instance, even although placed nearest to the 
center of the brood-nest. 

Mr. Langstroth was the first to call the attention of Apiarists 
to the loss incurred by compelling bees to store the surplus 
honey in small receptacles. The bee-keeper cannot afford to 
sell honey stored in small sections, except at a considerable 
advance over its value in large frames. It is for this reason 
that some Apiarists have practiced producing comb honey in 
large frames, which has been sold in "chunks." They find it 
pays, in some markets, although sold at a less price than honey 
in sections. 

For extracting, a super as shallow as that used for one- 
pound sections is not satisfactory. It requires too much 
handling, for the quantity of honey that may be stored in a 


frame only 4^/4 inches deep is inadequate when the extractor 
is used. Tlie smallest super that we woud use on Langstroth 
hives is that with a 5% ii^ch side bar to the frame. The frames 
of our supers have a C-inch side bar. 

761. Colonies, which do not have the breeding apartment 
nearly full of brood, honey and pollen, need not be supplied 
with supers till they show a marked progress. After the open- 
ing of the honey crop, which is very easily noticed by the 
gi-eater activity of the bees and the whitening of the upper 
cells of their combs, a regular inspection of their progress is 
necessary-. The season is short, but the daily yield is some- 
times enormous. 

762. Mr. A. Braun stated, m the Bienenzeitung , Septem- 
ber, 1854, that he had a mammoth hive furnished with combs 
containing at least 184,230 cells, and placed on a platform 
scale, that its weight might readily be ascertained at stated 
periods. On the eighteenth of May it gained eighteen pounds 
and a half. On the eighteenth of June, a swarm weighing 
seven pounds issued from it, and the following day it gained 
over six pounds in weight. Ten days of abundant pasturage 
would enable such a colony to gather a large surplus, while 
five times the number of equally favorable opportmiities would 
be of small avail to a feeble one. 

Weights of colonies taken regularly by Swiss Apiarists show 
that twenty pomids a day of harvest is frequently gathered by 
strong colonies. A part of this amount is evaporated during 
the following night, according to the greater or less density 
of the nectar harvested (2-49, 261). 

The largest yield of extracted honey, ever harvested by 
the colonies of one apiary under our control, was 13,000 
pounds in about fifty days, the most protracted honey crop 
we ever knew. This was harvested by eighty-seven colonies, 
making a daily average of three pounds a day per colony of 
evaporated. honey. Such seasons are scarce. 

As some colonies harvest much more than others, they need 
more attention. 


763. To secure the greatest possible amount of extracted 
honey, the colony should never he left without sortie empty 

As soon as the combs of one of these supers are about three, 
fourths full, we put another super under the first, and some- 
times a third under the second. All this without waiting for 
the honey to be sealed; but we never remove the honey, to 
extract it, mitil the crop is at an end, for we want to get our 
honey entirely ripened. 

Honey is evaporated, or ripened, by the forced circulation of 
air, caused by the fanning of the bees through the hive, in 
connection with the great heat generated by them. As honey 
evaporates, it diminishes in volume, and as long as the bees 
continue their harvest, they constantly bring in unripened, or 
watery honey, which they store in the partly filled cells that 
contain honey already evaporated. It is for this reason that 
unsealed honey, after the crop is over, is as ripe as honey 
sealed during the crop, and sometimes riper. If the crop is 
abmidant, they often seal their combs too soon, and the honey 
thus sealed may afterwards ferment in the cell and burst the 

Extracted Honey. 

761. Some Apiarists extract the honey as fast as it is 
harvested by the bees, and afterwards ripen it artificially by 
exposing it to heat in open vessels. We do not like this 
method, and prefer to extract the whole crop at once. It is 
much more economical, for, with our system, one skilled man 
attends to as many as five or six apiaries during the honey 
crop, and extracts at leisure afterwards, with almost any kind 
of cheap help. Since honey now has to compete in price with 
the cheapest sweets, the question of economical production is 
not to be disregarded. 

"He who produces at maximum cost will fail. He who pro- 
duces at minimum cost will succeed."— (Jas. Heddon.) 



What proportion of water dees fresb -gathered nectar con- 
tain? A number of observers have attempted to answer this 
question and have made experiments upon it. Great have been 
the differences and in some cases, i^ersons who had made but 
one or two experiments attempted to make a positive assertion 
of a stated proportion. But no rule can be given. At times, 
the nectar is so veiy thin that it drops out of the cells like 
water if the combs are inverted or slightly inclined, when 
handled. At other times, the nectar has great consistency when 

Fig. 205. 


first gathered. Some European Apiarists hold that heather 
honey can never be extracted, because of its density almost 
immediately after it is harvested. The greater or less density 
of honey at the time it is brought in from the field depends 
on the kind of blossom from which it is taken, on the con- 
dition of the soil at that time, whether dry or wet, and on 
atmospheric conditions. The most watei-y honey is perhaps 
harvested from such source as the basswood, after rainy weath- 
er and when the atmosphere is heavily laden with electricity 
and moisture; while plants which grow in dry sandy soils, like 


some varieties of heather or the moimtain sage, will furnish, 
in dry weather, honey that is ripe almost as soon as gathered. 

765. As some colonies do not begin work in the supers 
until very late, and do not fill all the space given them, the 
surplus of other colonies can be given them in such a manner 
that all will be equally filled. This can be done without brush- 
ing the bees off (-485). 

The equalizing of empty combs in the surplus stories of 
different colonies, towards the end of the crop, will save time 
in extracting, as the supers will be found more evenly full. 
The giving of a few combs of honey to a colony that has 
not yet begun work in the supers also acts as an inducement, 
and gives the bees new energy. 


766. The extracting, to be done swiftly, requires the work 
of four persons: three men and a boy. This work is done 
at a time when the bees have ceased to harvest honey, and 
the greatest care has to be exercised not to leave any honey 
within the reach of robber bees. The work of opening the 
hives, removing the combs and brushing off the bees, must be 
done quietly, but swiftly and carefully. The receptacles for 
combs should each have a cover, and the hive should be closed 
and its entrance reduced, as promptly as possible. In this 
way, there is not the least danger of robbing; but if robbing 
is once begun, by some carelessness or forgetfulness of the 
operator, the work has to be stopped until it has subsided. 

767. The utensils needed for neat extracting on a large 
scale are: In the apiary— a good smoker (382), one or two 
brushes made of asparagus tops, or some other light fibrous 
material, a wood chisel to loosen the cases, two tin pans, 
described farther on (770), one comb bucket, and two strong 
"rohher cloths" 

768. The "robber cloths," so named by Dr. C. C. Miller, 



are used to cover the cases to keep away robbers. They ai^ 
made of very coarse cloth or gunny, about a yard square. 

* ' Take two pieces of lath, each about as long as the hive, and 
lay one upon the other, with one edge of the cloth between 
them. The cloth is longer than the lath, allowing 6 inches or 
more of the cloth to project at each end of the lath. Now nail 
the laths together with IV2 inch wire nails, clinching them. 
Serve the opposite end the same way, and the robber cloth 

Fig. 206. 


is complete. You can take hold of the lath with one hand, lift 
the cloth from a hive or super, and with a quick throw, in- 
stantly cover up again your hive or super perfectly bee tight." 
("A Year Among the Bees," 1886.) 

The operator opens a hive, removes the super, places it in 
a tin pan, and covers it with a robber cloth. He then ex- 
amines the brood chamber, from which one or two combs may 
be removed if advisable. We usually leave all the honey in 



the lower stoiy, unless the bees are crowded out of breeding 
room, which will not happen, if they had plenty of room above. 

769. The re- 
moval of the bees 
from the supers, 
may be simplified 
by the bee-escape 
(fig. 207). This iin- 
Fig. 207. plement is placed 

PORTER'S BEE-ESCAPE. ill a board V2 inch 

in thickness, and of the size of the top of the brood-chamber 
and so cleated that, when placed between the brood chamber 
and the super, there will be a full bee-space both above and 
below it. The hole for the escape should be made near the 
center of the board by bormg two IVg inch holes, 2^/^ inches 
from center to center and cutting the wood between them. 
One escape to the board is sufficient. If there is no brood, 
or queen, in the super, and the escape is put on the day 
before, the bees will practically be all out the next mornirr^, 
and sometimes within six hours after it has been placed on 
the hive. 

The only objection to the bee escapes is that they must be 
placed on the hives the day previous, and this necessitates an 
extra trip, when the bees are located in an out-apiary. Other- 
wise they are veiy useful, if not left on the hive through the 
heat of the day, when the exclusion of bees from the super 
might cause collapse of the combs, by lack of ventilation, in 
very liot weather. 

770. In the honey house, there should be an extractor, a 
capping can (fig. 208), a honey knife, a funnel with sieve, a 
pail, a barrel, and two tin pans like those used in the apiary. 
Each person may be provided with a good enamel-cloth apron, 
and all the windows furnished with wire cloth netting, to fal- 
low the bees to escape (586). The tin pans above mentioned 
are shallow, in the shape of bread pans, large enough to 
receive one of the supers freely, to keep the leaking honey 



from daubing anything, or from attracting robbers (666). 
They are supplied with strong handles. 

771. We have said that we do not usually take honey 
from the brood chamber, but in an emergency we sometimes 
extract even from combs containmg brood. Sealed brood is 
not injured by the rotation but one should abstain from taking 
combs containing- unsealed larva?. 

772. In the extracting room, a man uncaps the combs, 

Fig. 208. 


as fast as they are brought. He stands before the capping- 
can (fig. 208). The capping can is formed of a lower can B, 
24 inches wide and 14 inches high with a slanting bottom, a 
faucet and a central pivot C. On this lower can is placed 
another can A, 23 inches wide and 22 inches high, with a 
coarse wire cloth bottom restmg at the center on the pivot C. 
The upper can acts as a large sieve. On the top of it is placed 
a wooden frame D, notched, so as to fit on the edges of the 


can. It is on this frame that the combs are imcapped, and 
the cappings fall in the sieve, where the honey drains out of 
them, into the lower can. Our capping can is meant to hold 
the eappings of two days' extracting. 

Manufacturers generally call this implement "uncapping 

Fig. 209. 


(From The American Bee Journal.) 

can," because it is used when uncapping. We prefer to ca)i 
it "capping can," because it receives the eappings! 

773. The all-metal extractors, of different makes, are the 
only ones now in use. Two-frame extractors are the most 


common, but we use four-frame extractors altogether, one in 
each apiary. These extractors accommodate eight half-stoiy 

774. In regard to the honey or uncapping knife, justice 
compels us to say that, so far, to our knowledge, there is 
but one which is really practical, the Bingham honey knife. 
This knife does away with the annoyance of having the cap- 
pmgs stick to the comb again, after having been shaved off, 
because it is made with a bevel^ which causes the shaver to 
hold it in a slanting position, so that the cappings cannot 
stick to the comb again, unless purposely allowed to do so. 

A machine has been devised to perforate the cells mstead of 
uncapping them. There are numerous objections to such an 
instrument. It does not always open the cells sufficiently to 
allow the honey to drain out, it wastes the cappings which 

Fig. 210. 


would otherw^ise furnish beeswax enough to pay for the entire 
cost of extracting and it causes the little bits of wax to float 
in the honey, increasing the amount of scum that may rise to 
the top. We warn our readers against any such contrivance. 
We discarded them years ago, after trial. 

As fast as the combs are uncapped on both sides, they are 
put into the extractor, which may be turned by a boy. Care 
should be taken that the combs, that are placed opposite one 
another, be of nearly equal weight, as the unequal weight 
causes the extractor to swing right aiid left, fatiguing the 
boy and injuring the machine^. 

775. A quiet, regular motion is all that is necessaiy tc 
throw the honey out, and, in warm weather, it fairly rains 
against the sides of the can with a noise similar to that of a 
shower on a tin roof. 


776. Now is the time to invite the neighbors and their 
children to come to see the fun, and taste the golden nectar. 
Aside from the pleasure of making everybody happy, the 
present of a few pomids of honey proves an inducement to 
its use, and an advertisement for the producer. Extracting- 
day should always be miderstood to mean "free honey to all 
visitors." Let them visit the honey-room, and if the ladies 
get their dresses a little daubed while peeping in the ex- 
tractor, they will soon find out that honey does not stain like 
grease, but will icash off in warm water. 

777. After the combs are extracted on one side, they 
are turned over and extracted on the otlier. Mr. Stanley, of 

Fig. 211. 


New York, invented an extractor in which the combs are 
turned over by simply reversing the motion of the gear. 
Similar extractors were introduced into England, by Mr. 
Cowan, several years ago. 

The Cowan extractors, fig. 203, have been improved upon 
again and again, until now most of the machines are made 
so that the combs may be reversed without slacking percepti- 
bly or reversing the motion. The only fault of the reversing 
extractors is their large size, which renders them rather cum- 

778. The extractor is fastened on a high platform, so 
that the honey pail can be put under the faucet. A barrel 
is in readiness, with the large funnel and sieve over it. This 


sieve should be large enough to take a pailful of honey, so 
as to cause no delay. 

A mark is made on the barrel, with a crayon, or chalk, as 
each pailful is i^oui-ed in. In this way we know when the 
barrel is full, without having to gauge it, and we avoid having 
the honey run over and waste. 

The latest method is to have a large tank instead of a 
barrel to receive the honey. The tank is intended to ripen 
the hon(!y and is usually made of galvanized iron. The writer 
has seen tanks of this kind out in the open air, in California, 
where it never rains during the summer season. Honey that 
is allowed to remain in an open tank with only a light cloth 
over it, in a hot room, will often ripen considerably by 
evaporation. It is a good method. But as we have a number 
of out-apiaries, we find it more convenient to barrel our honey, 
especially as we always wait till the bees have ripened the 
honey before extracting it. Not only have we barreled our 
honey for years, but very extensive apiarists around us have 
done tlie samoj among whom we will cite E. J. Baxter of 
Nauvoo, Illinois, who produces a number of tons of extracted 
honey every season. The honey must be veiy ripe when har- 
vested and the barrels, if used in preference to tanks, must 
be of the proper kind and quality. (S29.) 

779. We would advise beginners, who extract for the first 
time, to go slowly and carefully. A little care, besides saving 
time, will save the waste of several pounds of honey, and make 
things more comfortable; for a jDound of honey wasted goes a 
great way towards making everything slicky and dirty. If a 
splendid crop and neat work are pleasurable, a daubed 
honey-room and cross bees in the apiary irritate both the 
Apiarist and his assistants, who soon become sick of the work. 
When things are rightly managed, the work is so delightful 
that more help cmi be found than is needed. 

780. Of all manipulations, extracting is that which re- 
quires the greatest precautions against robbing (664). Care- 
fully avoid all unnecessary exposure of comb or honey. Rob- 

ilAR\*ESTTJs'G. 471 

bers not only anncy the Apiarist, but cause the bees to 
get angrj", and to sting. 

781. All the cases, when extracted, are piled up on an 
oil-cloth carpet, till the day's work is done. The combs are 
not put back into the hive before evening, at sundown; to 
prevent too much excitement in the apiaiy. In half an hour, 
eveiy hand helping, the whole number is distributed on the 
hives; though we may have extracted as much as three thou- 
sand pounds in a day. 

There are seasons, in which a continuation of the honey 
crop, permits returning the combs, as fast as they are ex- 
tracted. In such seasons it causes no excitement, and is much 
more convenient. 

782. Within two or three days after extracting, the bees 
have cleaned the combs, and repaired them. But, to j^revent 
the moths from injuring them, we keep them on the hives 
during the whole summer; the bees take care of them, and in 
the Winter, we pile up the cases, carefully closed, in cold 
rooms where the cold of Winter destroys the eggs of the moth 

In localities, where there are two or more distinct crops 
of hone}-, each crop should be harvested separately. Thus, 
we always extract the June crop in July, and the Fall crop 
in September. 

Honey production, with the above methods, is so successful 
that the problem for practical Apiarists is no longer, how 
to produce large crops of honey, but how to sell it (839). 
Extracted honey can certainly be i^roduced, at very low cost, 
and it can be truly said, that in the last fifty years, there 
has been more progress in bee-culture, than in any other 
branch of rural econom5\ 

783. As the wax of the cappings amounts to a little 
more than one per cent, of the weight of the honey extracted, 
and as these cappings even after they are well drained, con- 
tain a large amount of honey fit to be converted into vinegar 
when separated from the cappmgs by washing, the expense of 
extracting is more than compensated. 

Diseases of Bees. 

784. Bees are subject to but few diseases that deserve 
special notice. We have said (626) that we consider diar- 
rhoea as the result of an accumulation of foeces only, but Mr. 
Cheshire has examined some of the foeces of diarrhoea, and 
found in some of them living organisms, which indicate that, 
sometimes, the distension of the abdomen is not caused by the 
overloading of the intestines alone. These organisms, when 
better imown, will probably explain some of the losses of bees, 
after AVinter, and the Spring dwindling (659), which re- 
duces so many colonies. 

785. There is, however, a disease of bees which seems 
akin to diarrhoea and at times becomes epidemic. The bees 
do not discharge any excrements but their abdomens are dis- 
tended with a fetid matter, they lose their hairs and assume 
a smooth black appearance. They are first noticed crawling 
at the top of the combs as if cold and numb, looking as if 
paralyzed in some of their limbs. This disease, w^hich is rare, 
has yet been noticed in many countries and has been variously 
named ''bee-paralysis" in this countiy, "vertigo-dizziness" in 
Europe, "Mai de Mai" in France, "Mai de Maggio" in Italy, 
"Maikrankheit" in Germany. Cheshire has described it under 
the name of Bacillus Gaytoni becaivse he obtained the first 
samples of the disease from a Miss Gayton. Other Englisk 
scientists have called it Bacillus depilis, which is much more 
appropriate, since the diseased bees generally lose their hairs 
during the progi'ess of the malady. This disease was first 
considered by us as a sort of constipation which degenerated 
into a contagious infection, as it usually begins after a hard 
winter, but the fact that it exists in warm countries such as 
Florida, California, Italy, &c., would indicate that cold 



weather is not the originatmg cause. The disease is not com- 
monly dangerous, and does not seem to propagate itself from 
one colony to another, but in seme seasons, during the month 
of May, it has caused great ravages in some apiaries. In the 
province of Ancone, Italy, during the years 1901-05, entire 
apiaries were depopulated just at the opening of the honey 
harvest by this strange malady. This is a disease of the adult 
bees and not of the brood. 

Mr. 0. 0. Poppleton of Florida recommends the jprinkling 
of the bees and combs in the diseased hives, with powdered 
sulphur. But as this seems to stop the disease mainly by 
destroying all the sick bees, and as it also destroys the un- 
sealed brood unless this be removed, we do not recommend it. 
An Italian, Mr. A. Belluci of the province of Ancone, suc- 
ceeded in entirely preventing the disease in his apiary, while 
his neighbors' bees were suffering heavily, by feeding them a 
preparation made by boiling lavender, garden ginger, rose- 
mary, savory^ and other aromatic plants and flowers in wine 
mixed with honey. Since the wine was evidently added as a 
tonic but lost all its alcohol by boiling, we judge that it did 
but little good, unless it be from the tonic properties of the 
grape. He also added a veiy small quantity of salicylic acid, 
about one per thousand, which would be ample. Until more 
positive experiments are made, we would recommend the use 
of a similar preparation, for the cure or prevention of this 
disease, which is not usually injurious. 


786. There are other unimportant diseases, which have 
not yet been studied, but all are nothing, when compared to 
the dreadful contagious malady, already known thousands of 
years ago* and commonly called foul-hrood, because it shows 

♦ As Aristotle (History of Animals, Book IX., Chap. IfO) speaks of a 
disease which is accompanied by a disgusting smell of the hive, there 
Is reason to believe that foul-brood was common more than two thou- 
sand years ago. 


its effects mainly by the dying of the brood, the contagion 
being transmitted through the food of the larvae. 

787. Dr. G. F. White, of the Bureau of Animal Industrj^ 
at Washington, has lately described two kinds of foul brood, 
which he denominates "bacillus pluton," until lately popularly 
and commonly called "black brood," and "bacillus larvae," 
the more m.alignant kind, which is not so easily produced in 
cultures by bacteriologists, since Mr. White was unable to 
produce it in the common cultures, a bouillon made of bee- 
larvae being necessary. The first he denominates "European 
foul-brood" because it was first described in Europe, the second 
"American foul-brood" because it was first described by him- 
self in America, but both Idnds evidently exist in either hemis- 
sphere. The name "bacillus" f means "a stick" and is applied 
to both diseases because the genns of the disease are imper- 
ceptible sticks which break successively into several parts, 
every one of which form.s a colony of spores, that pass through 
divers shapes before developing into new bacilli. We can 
judge of the promptness of their reproduction, and of their 
minuteness, when we read in Cheshire, that a dead larva fre- 
quently contains as many as one billion of these spores. (28.) 

788. Bacillus pluton, perhaps the "bacillus alvei" of Cheshire 
being the lesser of the two diseases ■>A-ill be described first. 
It has been quite fully mentioned by Dr. Philhps, in Circular 
No. 79 of the Bureau of Entomology, to which we refer the 
student. This disease has been quite prevalent in the United 
States since 1900. 


The brood dies a little earlier than in the American foul- 
brood, a comparatively small percentage of it being ever 
capped, the diseased larvae which are covered having sunken 
or perforated cappings. A small yellow spot near the head 
of the larva is the first sign, at death it turns yellow, then 
black. Some of the dead and dried larvae are removed by 

■fBacillus, plural bacilli, from the Latin, a stick. 


the bees, which is never the ease "with the other disease because 
of the sticky adherence of the dead matter to the cell wall. 
Decaying larvae that have died of this disease have no ropiness 
usually and cannot be stretched out in a string as with the 
other disease. There is very little odor from the dead larvae 
and when there is any, it does not resemble that of a "glue 
pot'* which is characteristic of the more dangerous foul-brood. 
The odor m^ore resembles that of soured brood. 

The methods of treatment of the two diseases differ greatly 
and -vvdll be m.entioned farther. For a m.oro complete descrip- 
tion of bacillus pluton, see "Bacteria of the Apiary," U. S. 
Bureau of Entomology, Technical Series No. 14, by G. F. 
White, Ph. D. 

789. Bacillus larvae or foul-brood proper is a more malig- 
nant disease. It may be very clearly described. 


"In most cases the larva is attacked when nearly ready to 
seal up. It turns sli::htly yellovv'-, or grayish spots appear on it. 
It then seems to soften, settles down in the bottom of the cell, 
in a shapeless mass, at first white, yellow, or grayish in color, 
soon changing to brown. At this stage it becomes glutinous 
and ropy; then, after a varying length of time, owing to the 
weather, it dries up into a dark coftee-colored mass. Usually 
the bees make no attempt to clean out the infected cells, and 
they wiU fill them with honey, covering up this dried 
foul-brood m.atter at the bottom. 

"Sometimes the larvae do not die until sealed over. We have 
been told that sixh m-ay be easily detected by a sunken cap- 
ping perforated by a 'pin-hole.' This is by no means invariably 
the case. Such larvae will often dry up entirely, without 
the cap being perforated or perceptibly sunken, although it 
usually becomes darker in color than those covering healthy 

"The most fatal misapprehension has been in regard to the 
smell of the disease. In its first stages there is no perceptible 
smell, and it is not until the disease has made a considerable 
progress that any unusual smell would be noticed by m.ost per- 
sons. In the last stages, when sometimes half or more of the 



cells in the hive are filled with rotten brood, the odor becomes 
sufficientlj^ pronounced, but the nose is not to be relied on to 
decide whether a colony has foul brood or not. Long before it 
can be detected by the sense of smell, the colony is in a condi- 
tion to communicate the disease to others. 

The eye alone can be depended on, and it must be a sharp and 

Fig. 212. 


(Courtesy of N. E. France.) 

trained eye, too, if any headway is to be made in curing the 
disease." (J. A. Green, in "Gleanings," January, 1887.) 

790. "Foul-brood can be detected in the Spring, either 
through an unusual spreading of the brood, resulting from an 
unnoticed previous infection, of an indefinite number of cells, 
which contain sick or dead larvae, or, if the disease is just be- 
ginning, by the presence among the brood, of sick or rotten 
larvae. The larvae die and rot either before or after sealing. It 
is only when the disease has lasted for some time, that the 


cappings are punctured, and that the brood has an offensive 
odor.' — (Bertrand, Re^'ue Internationale d' Apiculture.) 

Two things are important in the detection of the disease 
and on these we will insist, the ropiness and the glue-pot smell. 
The ropiness gave the idea of the French name of the disease 
'la loque" which means "rag, tatter." E\'idently the French- 
man who gave it a name noticed that the dead lar^-a, if you 
attempt to draw it out, comes in tatters, in rags, just as so 
much liquid India rubber. The glue-pot smell is also plain. 
These matters are important for there is a disease called 
"sac brood" which is far from being as dangerous as foul- 
brood and has most of the symptoms of foul-brood except 
the ropiness and smell (801). 

701. CURE. For bacillus larvae, or American, ropy foul- 
brood, several methods of cure by antiseptics were more or less 
successful, in the hands of Hilbert, Chas. F. Muth and the 
noted Swiss apiarist, Bertrand. The latter quite successfully 
coped "vx-ith the disease by the use of fumes of salicylic acid 
through a method given in our former editions. He and 
Cheshire also used, in the food of the diseased colonies, carbolic 
acid in the proportion of an ounce to 40 pounds of syrup. 
But the use of drugs, either in the food of the bees or in fumes 
requires too careful and persistent treatment to be safe in a 
general way. As an e\'idence of this, we will quote Mr. E. R. 
Root in the A B C of Bee Culture some years ago : 

"We did not get very satisfactory results by the use of 
drugs, when foul-brood visited our apiary some years ago. We 
did find, however, that they invariably held the disease in 
check; but as soon as their use was discontinued, the disease 
broke out again. While I do not advise one to place his sole 
dependence on drugs, as an auxiliary to the regular treatment, 
they might and probably would prove very efficacious. They 
would also be very useful in preventing the breaking out C-" 
the disease if all syrups fed to the bees were medicated " 


Some apiarists insist that the only ^-ay to get rid of ropy 
foul-brood is to entirely destroy the colonies suffering from it, 
hives, bees and combs, by fire. This is wanton waste and 
quite unnecessary. 

In spite of Cheshire's assertion that no spores are to be 
found in the honey of diseased colonies, practice has sufficiently 
proven that Cheshire's assertions on that score were erroneous. 
The honey, in this disease, is the main source of transm.ission. 
Schirach, the man who discovered that a queen m.ay be reared 
from any egg that would produce a worker (109), in his 
'' Histoire Naturelle de la Reine AheilW (The Hague, 1771), 
recom.m-ends the rem.oval of all the, starving the bees for 
two days, then giving them fresh combs with a remedy composed 
of diluted honey with nutm^eg and saffron. 

7S2. Following this advice, D. A. Jones of Canada, and later, 
Wm. McEvoy, then inspector of apiaries for the Province of 
Ontario, succeeded fully in the method which we here give 
and which is now recommended by all authorities, ^-ith slight 
variations. Mr. N. E. France, for a long tim.e inspector of 
apiaries for Wisconsin and former General Manager of the 
National Beekeepers' Association, who has had a m^ost exten- 
sive experience in the matter of foul-brood, gave the method 
in the following words : 

McEvoy treatm.ent: "In the honey season, when the bees 
are gathering honey freely, rem.ove the combs in the evening 
and shake the bees into their own hives; give them frames with 
comb-foundation starters and let them build comb for four 
days. The bees will m.ake the starters into comb during the 
four days and store the diseased honey in them, which they 
took with them from the old comb. Then in the evening of the 
fourth day take out the new comb and give them comb founda- 
tion (full sheets) to work out, and then the cure will be com- 
plete. By this method of treatm.ent all the tainted honey is 
removed from the bees before the full sheets of foundation are 
worked out. All the old foul-brood com-bs must be burned or 
carefully made into wax after they are removed from the hives, 
and all the new combs made out of the starters during the four 
days must be burned or made into wax on account of the 

Plx\.te 2( 


Author of '■'■Conduite clu Rucher.'" 

Former publisher of the "Ueuue Internationale D' Apiculture."' 

This writer is" mentioned pages 114, 146, 420, 474, 476, 477, 478, 479, 
485, 486, 487, 530. 


diseased honey that may be stored in them. All the curing 
or treating of the colonies should be done in the evening, so as 
not to have any robbing, or cause any of the bees from the 
diseased colonies to mix and go with healthy colonies. By 
doing all the work in the evening it gives the bees a chance 
to settle down nicely before morning and then there is no 
confusion or trouble. 

"All the difference from the McEvoy treatment that I prac- 
tice, I dig a pit on the level ground near the diseased apiarj% 
and after getting a fire in the pit, such diseased combs, frames, 
etc., as are to be burned are burned in this pit in the evening 
and then the fresh earth from the pit returned to cover all from 

sight I also cage the queens while the bees are on the 

strips of foundation." — (N". E. France, in Bulletin No. 2, 
Wisconsin Bee-Keeping.) 

The above method is called the starvation method. That 
is to say, the bees are transferred and forced to build comb 
until they have used up all of the honey they had in their 
stomachs from the diseased hive. 

This method is based on the theory, quite well proven, that 
honey is the main transmitter of the disease, in spite of Cheshires 
conclusions. Although the spores of the bacillus may not be 
very numerous in the honey, they are there in the very best 
position to spread the disease, since out of the honey and pollen 
is made the food which goes to the larv^a and it is the larva 
which suffers from the disease, in most cases. However, 
according to the bacteriologists who have made a study of 
the matter, the bacillus may also be found in the organs of 
the bees and of the queen, and some even assert that 
bees and queens (796) have been killed by the disease. 
McEvoy asserts that it is not necessary to disinfect 
the hives that have contained the diseased colonies. In 
this he is sustained by many others, but in very virulent cases 
we believe it is advisable to do it. Although the Bertrand- 
Cowan method has been used successfully we beUeve that 
the destruction of the combs of the diseased colonies mil 
prove most effective. Such combs as contain brood should 
be burnt up, but those that contain no brood may as well 
be made into wax (858-862). Care should be taken 


when either honey or beeswax is heated to kill the germs of 
foul-brood — to keep the liquid at the boiling point for a period 
of about 15 minutes. Tests made by Dr. G. F. 'VMiite, the 
bacteriologist whose studies have caused such advance in the 
knowledge concerning bee diseases, show that from 10 to 15 
minutes of boiling is required to destroy the germs. (Bulletin 
of the United States Bureau of Entomology, Xo. 92.) 

EUROPEAN FOUL-BROOD. This was customarily treated 
like American foul-brood, by removing all the combs containing 
honey or brood. But in 1905, E. W. Alexander of New York 
State, who had much trouble Tvith this disease, found out that 
remo^dng the queen for a certain length of time, returning 
her or preferably giving the bees another of Italian stock at 
the end of 10 to 22 days, or sometimes allowing them to rear 
another from her brood, usually conquered the disease. This 
indicates that the contagion is not so serious as that of bacillus 
larvae. Indeed, the most apparent point in the ease 'w'ith 
which the cure may be performed lies in the fact that the dead 
larva does not become liquefied, but remains usually' whole and 
may be carried out by the bees, who even suck the juices of 
the very young larvae when they die, as noted by Dr. C. C. 
MiUer, who also fought this trouble in his apiary. So the bees 
clean up the cells and burnish them, if the disease is not too 
far advanced. Whenever all the diseased brood has disappeared 
the hive is judged safe for a new queen. Italian bees have the 
reputation of being much more immune to European foul- 
brood than the common blacks and it is always recommended 
to introduce a queen of this race. 

794. It must be noted that, although this disease appears 
ntuch less difficult to cure and less contagious than American 
foul-brood or bacillus larvae, yet it is much more persistent, 
coming back again and again when the disease is thought to 
have entirely disappeared. In numerous instances, entire 
apiaries have been depopulated by it. It should be closely 
watched. The number of days during which the colonies 


should be kept queenless depends upon its virulence. In mild 
cases, a period of ten days of queenlessness has proven sufficient, 
■v^'hile in very bad cases, it has been necessary to keep a colony 
queenless until every cell of brood was hatched. 

795. In the treatment of either American or European foul- 
brood, it is useless to treat ^^eak colonies, or colonies that 
have become thoroughly infected. In extreme cases several of 
the diseased colonies may be united together before or during 
treatment. Weak colonies not only neglect their brood, but 
run the risk of being robbed, which would doubtless give the 
disease to the robbing colonies. 

796. That queens may transmit the disease as stated (792) 
has been proven by ]\Iaurice Dadant who, in the treatment of 
European foul-brood, tried the experiment of gi\'ing queens from 
diseased colonies to entirely healthy hives, with the result of 
transmitting the disease in each case. But this may not be 
an invariable occurrence, as several apiarists reported ha\-ing 
used the queens of diseased colonies without transmitting the 
contagion. Cheshire stated having found baciUi within the 
ovaries of queens of diseased colonies. Possibly the condition 
of the colony and its strength have much to do with the result. 
In unfavorable conditions, queens may transmit the disease. 

797. Many inspectors and experienced apiarists assert that 
it is not necessary to disinfect the hives in either disease; that 
the removal of the combs containing honey and depriving of 
the bees of food is entirely sufficient in the treatment of American 
foul-brood. We beUeve this correct in European foul-brood. 
But in American foul-brood the disease is much more positively 
eradicated if we thoroughly disinfect e^'ery part of the hive. 
It is not a tedious job. Some advise the painting of coal oil 
upon the inside of the hives, piUng them up one upon another 
and touching a match to the pile, extinguishing the fire as 
soon as the walls have been singed. Our method is better, as 
we have had experience "w-ith this disease and have completely 
eradicated it, since the previous edition of this work was 
published. Here it is: 



798. Transfer the bees of a diseased colony to a new hive 
body as mentioned in paragraph 792, being careful that none 
of their bees go to a neighboring colony. If necessary the 
colonies on each side may be covered T\-ith a cloth during the 
operr.tion. Then, with a painter's or tinner's blow-torch, singe 
every part of that empty brood chamber and transfer the next 
diseased colony into it. 


From Farmers' Bulletin, Department of 

Agriculture, No. 442. 

By Dr. E. F. Phillips. 

In this way hives are not left exposed where robbers might 
get at a possible drop of honey and carry the infection. But 
they are treated as fast as emptied and there is no need of a 
large number of new brood chambers to transfer the bees, if 
we find it necessary to transfer a large number of colonies. 
Each hive is used for the next operation. 

799. It is no longer considered necessary to remove the 
combs containing honey from colonies suffering \Mth European 
foul-brood. We are strongly of the opinion that it is more 
injurious than beneficial, as the removal of the comb disturbs 
the colonies greatly and weakens them. We have treated 
entire apiaries, for this disease, without a recurrence of the 



Of course, the origin of these diseases is still unknown. 
What brings them may again bring them after we have cured 
the bees. The disease may exist among other bees, "v\dld bees, 
or bumble-bees, and be again transmitted from bee-trees in 
the woods. But the writer wishes to assert that he kept bees 
for over forty years without seeing a single instance of either of 
these brood diseases. He has since had thorough experience 
with them, has cured them and harvested as large crops of honey 
as ever before. So there is no need to be discouraged, if we 
find them in our apiaries. But, since they are contagious 
diseases, we must use the greatest precautions in keeping our 
hands clean when going from one hive to another after treating 
a diseased colony. We should carefully prevent all chances 
of robbing (667) and leave nothing exposed that has belonged 
to a diseased colony, for if but a few spores escape and find 
good breeding room, they will soon spread the contagion. 


From Farmers' Bulletin, Department of 

Agriculture, No. 442. 

By Dr. E. F. Phillips. 


Those who ha-ve lived through the trying days of 1918, 
when the "VTorld YZar caire to an end and an unexpected con- 
tagion called "Spanish influenza" spread upon aU civilized 
countries, taking a toll, in spite of doctors, and destrojdng 
five or six per cent of the population of some unci\dlized spots 
can have a faint idea of the danger of any contagion. 

Laws have been passed concemin;^ foul-brood, in many 
countries and in the greater number of the states of the Union, 
but these laws are of difficult enforeem.ent. Inspectors of 
apiaries have difficulty in reaching every infected spot. When 
they do find them, it is another diCculty to secure action on 
the part of every bee-keeper. One man who neglects to treat 
his bees when they are diseased causes the continuance of the 
trouble. So it behooves every lover of apiculture to help 
spread the information which vvill enable every one to eradicate 
the disease. 

The writer once i-isited apiaries in the mountains of the 
West, where disease was kno^^Ti to ex-ist, in order to become 
acquainted -wath its appearance and methods of cure. He 
called upon two bee-keepers only three miles apart, the one 
with a thri^dng apiary, the other with neglected colonies. The 
first was constantly watching for disease and treating it as soon 
as it showed itself. The other did the treating in a half-hearted 
manner and indolently stated that "when a bee-keeper has 
found foul-brood among his bees he must never expect to get 
rid of it." So this man soon went out of business, while the 
other succeeded. 

An incident mentioned by a country physician, in Europe, 
is to the point, in the necessity for thoroughly treating an 
apiary where disease is found. A laborer had come to the old 
doctor for an ointment to cure the "itch." He had caught this 
— now uncommon and ever disgraceful — contagious skin disease 
while working as a harvest hand in the country. Directions 
were given him for using the ointment, and he was told that 
his wife should anoint with this also, as a preventive. But 


the "woinaii, who did not have the disease, refused to use it. 
In two weeks afterwards, the man came back for more ointment. 
He was cured but his ^\-ife had the itch in her turn. The 
doctor gave him some and told him that he should use it too 
or he might catch the disease again; but he did not mind the 
warning, and two weeks later he had to call for more. "Well," 
said the old doctor, "I hope that these two experiments will 
convince you of the necessity of a thorough treatment for both, 
with a disease that is transmitted so readily, by contact." 

The case is exactly the same ^ith the bacillus. While we 
are treating one colony, a few spores may be transmitted to 
a neighboring hive, by the contact of a single bee, and the 
disease is spread, unknown to us, while we are congratulating 
ourselves, in the firm belief that we have eradicated it. 

The difference in the treatment between the two diseases is, 
first, because in the one case the honey has proven to transmit 
the germs of disease. Secondly, in the European foul-brood 
the assumption is that the bees are able to clean out all the 
dead brood. Should they fail to do so, or be unable to clean 
it, the treatment would fail. 

All disinfectants and antiseptics are good, as preventives 
and perhaps also as cure, but it must be borne in mind that 
they cannot very readily reach to the bottom of cells containing 
putrid or dried-up larvae. The irregularities in the reports of 
cure, some failing where others succeeded, may be ascribed 
to differences in the intensity of the disease. On this matter 
Mr. Bertrand, in his work, "La loque et son traitement," says: 

"In countries that are rich in melliferous resources, where 
bees have been kept for years, and where, in consequence, foul- 
brood must have been in existence for a long time and exists 
in an endemic state, the race has acquired a relative im^munity, 
a force of resistance which diminishes considerably the effects 
of the disease and permits of its being more easily overcome. 


Perhaps, also, in those regions, the virus of foul-brood may 
have become weakened, in time, as has been observed in the 
virus of certain diseases affecting the human race. In such 
countries, the simple transferring of a colony of foul-brood 
bees into a healthy hive, seems sufficient to cure them." 

800. Foul-brood is transmitted from one hive to another — 
Uke Asiatic cholera among men — by difTerent means. Robbing 
(664) is probably one of the main helps to contamination, 
as the robber bees may take the bacillus home, am^ong their 
hair, unawares. Working bees m.ay even gather the scourge 
from some sweet-scented blossom contaminated by pre\'ious 
visitors. The transportation, or shipping, of bees, from one 
part of the country to another, is often a means of spreading 
the disease, and some of our State legislatures have made very 
stringent laws on the subject. No contaminated combs should 
be shipped from one part of the country to another. 

Contagious diseases were once the scourge of the land. 
Who has not heard of the plague, the dread disease of the 
dark ages? According to Chambers' Encyclopedia, the plague 
of 1665 destroyed seventy thousand people, in London alone. 
EarUer still, in 1348, according to Sismondi, the plague de- 
stroyed three-fifths of the entire population of Europe, ex- 
tending even up into Iceland. It was during that terrible 
scourge that the city of Florence lost over one hundred thousand 
people. If those dreaded diseases are now but little feared, 
we owe it to scientific discoveries. The microscope has shown 
that nearly all contagious diseases, which men or animals are 
subject to, are caused by li\dng organisms, and m.edical science 
now teaches how they m^ay be avoided by inoculation, or 
other means. More discoveries are daily made, and we can 
hope that the day is not far, when the advancement of science 
will have put an end to all these ills, and the bacillus alvei will 
be a thing of the past. 

W. R. Howard of Texas, F. C. Harrison of Ontario, T. W. 




Plate 28. 


Expert on Foul-brood, holding a diseased comb. The line drawn 
shows the direction of the eye to detect the dried-up larvae. 

This writer is mentioned pages 476, 478, 479. 


Cowan of England, N. E. France of Wisconsin, Ed. Bertrand 
of Switzerland, and many others, have carefully described the 
disease in short pamphlets, but the most important and useful 
publications on the subject are the Bulletins of the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture at Washington, "The Control of European 
Foul-Brood," Bulletin 975 by Dr. E. F. Phillips; "The Bacteria 
of the Apiary," by Dr. G. F. W^hite, Technical Series No. 14; 
"The Brood Diseases of Bees," Circular No. 79, by Dr. E. F. 
Phillips, "The Cause of Am.erican Foul-Brood," Circular No. 
94, by Dr. G. F. White, etc. These works should be read bj^ 
the student. 

801. Aside from foul-brood, accidents may cause the brood 
to die, and even to rot in the cells, without special damage to the 
bees. Sudden and cold weather, in a promising Spring, when 
the bees have been spreading their brood, and are compelled 
to leave a part of it uncovered; the neglect of the apiarist, or 
his mismanagement, in placing back the brood — after an 
inspection — out of the reach of the cluster; or even the suffoca- 
tion of a colony by heat (367), or by close confinement (368), 
may cause the death of the brood. 

These accidents have none of the malignance of foul-brood, 
and nothing need be done in such occurrences besides removing 
the dead brood, and burying it carefully. 

It is usually easy to recognize when brood has been chilled, 
for it dies evenly all at one time, while deaths from disease are 
always scattering at first, here and there, in the cells. 

A disease, much resembling foul-brood, which has done 
considerable damage among bees, but not a contagious malady, 
first designated under the name of "Pickled brood" because o^ 
the sour smell of the dead brood was diagnosed by Dr. White 
under the name of "Sac-brood," United States Bureau of 
Entomology No. 431." 

This name was given because the dead larva when it dies 
remains within its skin as "v^ithin a sack, and often dries so as 
to become loose in the cell and fall out when the comb is inverted 
This never happens in either of the other diseases. 



Since we have a department of bee-keeping in the Bureau 
of Entomology in Washington, we urge every beekeeper who 
finds disease in the brood to send an enquiry, mentioning the 
fact, to this Bureau, and explicit instructions and directions 
will be sent him. 

Honey from diseased colonies is absolutely harmless to human 
beings. If it is heated to the boiling pomt of water for a few 
minutes, it Tvill be safe also to feed the bees. The beeswax 
rendered from diseased comb is also safe. 


From U. S. Bulletin, No. 431. 

By Dr. G. F. White. 


Enemies of Bees. 

802. The Bee-Moth {Tinea mcllonella) is mentioned by 
Aristotle, Virgil, Columella and other ancient authors, as 
one of the most formidable enemies of the honey-bee. Even 
in the first part of this centuiy, the bee-writers, almost with- 
out exception, regarded it as the plague of their apiaries. 

Fig. 214. 


Swammerdam speaks of two species of the bee-moth 
(called in his time the "hee-wolf"), one much larger than 
the other. Linnasus and Reaumur also describe two kinds 
— Tinea cereana and Tinea mellonella. 

Scientists do not agi'ee exactly as to these species, nor their 
names, calling them, galleria cereana, galleria alvearia, tinea 
cerella, etc. 

The smaller moth, now denominated "Achroia Grisella," is 
mentioned in the A B C of Bee-culture. Mr. E. F. Phillips 
speaks of it in Gleanings, of October 1, 1905. 

Most writers supposed the former to be the male, and the 
latter the female of the same species. The following descrip- 
tion is abridged from Dr. Harris' Report on the Insects of 
Massachusettp '. 

803. "Very few of the Tin^a exceed or even equal it in size. 


In its adult state it is a winged moth, or miller, measuring, from 
the head to the tip of the closed wings, from five-eighths to 
three-quarters of an inch in length, and its wings expand from 
one inch and one-tenth to one inch and four tenths. The fore-wings 
shut together flatly on the top of the back, slope steeply down- 
wards at the sides, and are turned up at the end somewhat like 
the tail of a fowl. The female is much larger than the male, 
and much darker-colored. There are two broods of these insects 
in the course of the year.* Some winged moths of the first 
brood begin to appear towards the end of April or early in 
May — earlier or later, according to climate and season. Those 
of the second brood are more abundant in August; but some 
may be found between these periods, and even much later." 

No writer with whom we are acquainted has given such an 
exact description of the differences between the sexes, that 
they can always be readily distinguished. The wood-cuts 
of the moths, larvae, and cocoons, which we present to our 
readers, were drawn from nature, by Mr. M. M. Tidd, of 
Boston, Mass., and engraved by Mr. D. T. Smith, of the 
same city. Mr. Tidd seems first to have 
noticed that the snout or palpus of the fe- 
male, projects so as to resemble a beak, 
FEMALE." while that of the male is vei-y short. 

While some males are larger than some females, and 
some females much lighter-colored than 
the average of males, and occasionally 
some males as dark as the darkest females, 
Fig. 215. the peculiarity of the snout of the female is 

^^^^- fjo marked, that she may always he distin- 

guished at a glance. 

804. These insects are seldom seen on the wing, unless 
started from their lurking places about the hives, until to- 
wards dark. On cloudy days, however, the female may be 

* Prof. Cook is of opinion (Guide, page 315) that there may be three 
broods in a year and we believe he is correct. We have seen tbem 
most numerous in hot October weather. 

THE P.EF,-3I0TH. 491 

noticed endeavoring, before sunset, to gain entrance into the 

"If disturbed in the daytime." says Dr. Harris, "they open 
their wings a little, and spring or glide swiftly away, so that 
it is very difl&cult to seize or hold them. ' ' 

They are surprisingly agile, both on foot and on the wing, 
the motion of a bee being very. slow, in comparison. "They 
are," says Reaumur, "the most nimble-footed creatures that 
I know." 

In the evening, they take wing, when the bees are at rest, 
and hover around the hive till, having found the door, they 
go in and lay their eggs. 

"It is curious," says Huber, "to observe how artfully tht 
moth knows how to profit by the disadvantage of the bees 
which require much light for seeing objects, and the precau 
tions taken by the latter in reconnoitering and expelling si 
dangerous an enemy. 

* ' Those that are prevented from getting within the hive, laj 
their eggs in the cracks on the outside; and the httle worm-like 
caterpillars hatched therefrom, easily creep into the hive 
through the cracks, or gnaw a passage for themselves under the 
edges of it." — Dr. Harris. 

One afternoon, about twenty-five years ago, our Senior 
saw a female bee-moth on the front of an eke hive (278), 
and noticed that she was laying in the crack, between two 
ekes, through which the propolis could be seen; the ekes be- 
ing rabbeted to received the comb-bars, their thickness there 
was reduced to about three-eighths of an inch. 

The moth laid about ten eggs, then walked about, seem- 
ing satisfied with her work, and came back to laj' about the 
same number, repeating the manoeuver several times. 

This shows that moths may lay eggs in the hive from the 
outside, and that propolis is a food for their just-hatched 
larvae. One of our objects, in presenting the strip around 



the hive to support the cap (fig. 72), and i)i incasing the 
bottom (34:2), was to hinder the moth. 

805. "As soon as hatched, the worm encloses itself in a case 
of white silk, which it spins around its body; at first it is like a 
mere thread, but gradually increases in size, and, during its 
growth, feeds upon the cells around it, for which purpose it has 
only to put forth its head, and find its wants supplied. It de- 

Fig. 216. 



vours its food with great avidity, and, consequently, increases 
so much in bulk, that its gallery soon becomes too short and 
narrow, and the creature is obliged to thrust itself forward 
and lengthen the gallery, as well to obtain more room as to 
procure an additional supply of food. Its augmented size ex- 
posing it to attacks from surrounding foes, the wary insect 
fortifies its new abode with additional strength and thickness, 
by blending with the filaments of its silken covering a mixture 
of wax and its own excrement, for the external barrier of a 
new gallery,* the interior and partitions of which are lined 
with a smooth surface of white silk, which admits the occa- 
sional movements of the insects, without injury to its delicate 

* This representation of the web, or gdllery of the worm, was copied 
from Swammerdam. 


**In performing these operations, the insect might be ex- 
pected to meet with opposition from the bees, and to be grad- 
ually rendered more assailable as it advanced in age. It never, 
however, exposes any part but its head and neck, both of 
which are covered with stout helmets, or scales, impenetrable 
to the sting of a bee, as is the composition of the galleries that 
surround it.'' — Bevan. 

Fig. 217. 


80G, The worm is here given of full size, and with all its 
peculiarities. The scaly head is shown in one of the worms; 
while the three pairs of claw-like fore legs, and the five 
pairs of hind ones, are delineated. The tail is also furnished 
with two of these leg's. The breathing- holes are seen on the 


Fig. 218. 


80*7. Wax is the chief food of these worms, but as Dr. 
Donhoft' says: "Larvae fed exclusively on pure wax will 
die, wax being a non-nitrogenous (221) substance, and not 
furnishing the aliment required for their perfect develop- 
ment"; and his statement agi-ees with the fact that their 
larvae prefer the brood-combs, which are lined with the skins 
cast away by the bee-larvae (16'S'), and which, in conse- 
quence, are more liable to be devoured than the new ones. 
In fact, they eat pollen and propolis, and while making their 



cocoons, they even seem to relish woody fibre, for they often 
eat into the wood of the frames or of the hives in which they 
are allowed to propagate, while comb-fomidation remains 
almost untouched hv them. 

Fig. 219. 


808. When obliged to steal their living among a strong 
colony of bees, they seldom fare well enough to reach the 
size which they attain when rioting at pleasure among the 


full combs of a discouraged population. In about three 
weeks, the lai'\"8e stop eating', and seek a suitable place for 
encasing themselves in their silky shroud. In hives where 
they reign unmolested, almost any place will answer their 
purpose, and they often pile their cocoons upon one another, 
or join them together in long rows. They sometimes oc- 
cupy the emptj' combs, so that their cocoons resemble the 
capping of the honey-cells. In Fig. 219, Mr. Tidd has given 
a drawing, accurate in size and foi-m, of a curious instance 
of this kind. The black spots, resembling grains of g-un- 
powder, are the excrements of the worms. 

If the colony is strong, the worm runs a dangerous gaunt- 
let, as it passes, in searcli of some crevice, through the ranks 
of its enranged foes. Its motions, however, are exceedingly 
quick, and it is full of cunning devices, being able to crawl 
backwards, to twist round on itself, to curl up almost imo a 
knot, and to flatten itself out like a pancake. If obliged to 
leave (he hive, it gets under some board or concealed crack, 
spins its cocoon, and patiently awaits its transformation. 

809. The time required for the larvae to break forth into 
Avinged insects, varies with the temperature to which they 
are exposed, and the season of the year when they spin their 
cocoons. We have known them to spin and hatch in ten or 
eleven days: and they often spin so late in the Fall, as not 
to emerge until the ensumg Spring. 

810. In Northern latitudes where the thermometer ranges 
for days and weeks below 10 degrees the bee-moth-worm can 
winter only in the hive near the bee-cluster. It is a fact 
worthy of notice that apiaries that are wintered in the cellar 
are more annoyed by the moth during the following Summer 
than those that are wintered out of doors, because none of 
the lai-vae of the moth perish. 

Dr. Donhoff says that the lai'\'aB become motionless at a 
temperature of 38 to 40 degrees, and entirely torpid at a 
lower temperature. A number, which he left all Winter in 
his summer-house, re^'ived in the Spring, and passed through 

496 EXEiilES OF BEES. 

their natural changes. This was in Germany, where the 
Winters are milder than in our Northern and Middle States. 

"If, when the thermometer stood at 10 degrees, I dissected a 
chrysalis, it was not frozen, but congealed immediately after- 
wards. This shows that, at so low a temperature, the vital 
force is sufficient to resist frost. In the hive, the chrysalids 
and larvae, in various stages of development, pass the Winter 
in a state of torpor, in corners and crevices, and among the 
waste on the bottom-boards. In March or April, they revive, 
and the bees of strong colonies commence operations for dis- 
lodging them. ' ' — Donhoff. 

Some larvfe which Mr. Langstroth exposed to a tempera- 
ture of 6 degrees below zero, froze solid, and never revived. 
Others, after remaining for eight hours iii a temperature of 
about 12 degTees, seemed, after revi\'ing, to remain for weeks 
in a crippled condition. 

* ' The eggs of the bee-moth are perfectly round, and very 
small, being only about one-eighth of a line in diameter. In 
the ducts of the ovarium, they are ranged together in the form 
of a rosary. They are not developed consecutively, like those 
of the queen bee, but are found in the ducts, fully and per- 
fectly formed, a few days after the female moth emerges from 
the cocoon. She deposits them, usually, in little clusters on the 
combs. If we wish to witness the discharge of the eggs, it is 
only necessary to seize a female moth, two or three days old, 
with finger and thumb, by the head — she will instantly pro- 
trude her ovipositor, and the eggs may then be distinctly seen 
passing along through the semi-transparent duct. 

''Last Summer I reared a bee-moth larva in a small box. It 
spun a cocoon, from which issued a female moth. Holding her 
by the head, I allowed her to deposit eggs on a piece of honey- 
comb. Three weeks afterwards, I examined the comb, and 
found on it some web and two larvae. The eggs were all shriv- 
eled and dried up, except a few which were perforated, and 
from which, I suppose, the larvae emerged. This appears to be 
a case of true parthenogenesis in the bee-moth." — Translated 
from Dr. Donhoff by S. Wagner. 



811. In Fig. 220, Mr. Tidd has faithfully delineated, and 
Mr. Smith skillfully engraved, the black mass of tangled 
webs, cocoons, excrements, and perforated combs, which may 

Fig. 220. 


be found in a hive where the worms have completed their 
work of destruction. 

The entrance of a moth into a hive and the ravages com- 
mitted by her progeny, forcibly illustrate the havoc which 


vice often makes when admitted to prey unchecked on the 
precious treasures of the human heart. Only some tiny eggs 
are deposited by the insidious moth, which give birth to very 
innocent-looking wonns; but let them once get the control, 
and the fragrance* of the honied dome is soon coiTupted, 
the hum of happy industiy stilled, and everj'thing useful and 
beautiful ruthlesslj' destroj-ed. 

As a feeble colony is often unable to cover all its combs, 
the outside ones may become filled with the eggs of the 
moth. The discouraged aspect of the bees soon indicates that 
there is trouble of some kind within, and the bottom-board 
will be covered with pieces of bee-bread mixed with the 
excrement of the worms. 

If a feeble colony cannot he strengthened so as to protect 
its empty combs, the careful bee-keeper will take them away 
until the bees are numerous enough to need them. 

S12. Combs having no brood, from dead colonies, or sur- 
plus combs, with or without honey, should be smoked with 
the fumes of burning sulphur, to kill the eggs or wonns ol 
the moth, when kept from the bees in the months of June, 
July, August, and September. The box, hive, or room in 
which they are kept should be tightly closed to prevent the 
gas from escapmg till it has done its work. In smoking comb- 
honey ill a room, the sulphur may be placed on hot coals in 
a dish, and care should be taken not to use too much of it, 
as the gas has the effect of turning the propolis to a greenish 
color, quite damaging to the looks of the beautiful sections. 
Enough smoke to kill the flies, in a room, will be found suf- 
ficient. Dry combs kept over Winter in a well-closed room 
without a fire, are not in danger of the moth the following 
Summer, unless they are in some manner exposed. Combs, 
in which there have been moths, should be examined occa- 
sionally, to be smoked again if any worms are found. 

Bee-keepers also use bi-sulphide of carbon, poured on a 
rag or in a saucer and enclosed within the hive or box, but 

* The odor of the moth and larvje is very offensive. 


sulphur fumes is a less expensive remedy, though a little 
more troublesome. Bi-sulphide of carbon is an evaporating 
explosive substance, which must be handled with care, but its 
evapoi'ation within a closed box is sufficient to destroy all 
living insects; a tablespoonful is enough for the combs of a 
hive. Sulphur or brimstone may be used by first making it 
into wicks; it is melted over a slow fire and strips or rags 
dipped into the liquid. These strips, when coated with brim- 
stone, may be used by cutting them into pieces of the re- 
quired size for each operation. 

A bee-keeper of Switzerland, Mr. Castellaz, keeps his combs 
in a closed box, in which he places some lumps of camphor. 
He says that bees accept these combs, even when impreg- 
nated with the odor of camphor. 

813. Italian bees, unless exceedingly weak and queenless, 
will defend a large number of combs against moths. One 
of our neighbors, who had, occasionally, helped us in the 
apiarj^, after witnessing our success in bee culture, bought 
a colony of Italian bees and divided it into three swarms, 
mthout regard to the scantiness of the crop. His swarms 
having dwindled to naught, he returned their combs to the 
impoverished colony, whose population was miable to cover 
more than two or three combs. But the returned combs had 
not been protected against moths, which hatched so numerous 
that our neighbor, surprised to see about as many moths as 
bees going out of the hive, came to us for advice. On open- 
ing the hive, we found three combs of brood crowded with 
bees, and seven others that were a perfect mass of webs, 
spotted with excrements. The bees were all on their combs 
and the moths on theirs; not one worm could be found on 
either of the three combs, protected by the Italians. Both 
populations, the one of bees, the other of moths, seemed to 
dwell liarmoniously near each other. 

814. The most fmitful cause of the ravages of the moth 
still remains to be described. If a colony becomes hopelessly 
queenless (499), it must, unless otherwise destroyed, in* 


evitdbly fall a prey to the hee-moth. By watching, in glass 
hives, tlie proceedings of colonies purposely made queenless, 
we have ascertained that they make little or no resistance to 
her entrance, and allow her to lay her eggs where she pleases. 
The worms, after hatching, appear to have their own way, 
and are even more at home than the dispirited bees. 

How worthless, then, to a hopelessly queenless colony, aro 
all the traps and other devices Avhieh, formerly, have been 
so much relied upon. Any passage which admits a bee is 
large enough for the moth, and if a single female enters 
such a hive, she may lay eggs enough to destroy it, however 
strong. Under a low estimate, she would lay, at least, two 
hundred eggs in the hive, and the second generation will count 
by thousands, while those of the third will exceed a million. 

In the Ohio Cultivator for 1849, page 185, Micajah T. 
Johnson saj^s: — "One thing is certain— if bees, from any 
cause, should lose their queen, and not have the means in 
their power of raising another, the miller and the worms 
soon take possession. I believe no hive is destroyed by worms 
ivhile an efficient queen remains in it" 

This seems to be the earliest published notice of this im- 
portant fact by any American observer. 

It is certain that a queenless hive seldom maintains a guard 
at the entrance after night, and does not fill the air with the 
pleasant voice of happy industry. Even to our dull ears, the 
difference between the hum of a prosperous hive and the un- 
happy note of a despairing one is often sufficiently obvious; 
may it not be even more so to the acute senses of the provi- 
dent mother-moth *? 

Her unerring sagacity resembles the instinct by Avhich birds 
that prey upon carrion, single ovit from the herd a diseased 
animal, hovering over its head with their dismal croakings, 
or sitting in ill-omened flocks on the surrounding trees, watch- 
ing it as its life ebbs away, and snapping their blood-thirsty 
beaks, impatient to tear out its eyes, just glazing in death, 
and banquet on its flesh, still warm with the blood of life. 


Let any fatal accident befall an animal, and bow soon will 
you see them,— ' 

"First a speck and then a Vulture, '^ 

speeding, from all quarters of the heavens, on their eager 
flight to their destined prey, when only a short time before 
not one could be perceived. 

^ATien a colony becomes hopelessly queenless, even should 
the bees retain their wonted zeal in gathering stores and de- 
fending themselves against the moth, they must as eertamly 
perish as a carcass must decay, even if it is not assailed by 
filthy ilies and ravenous worms. Occasionally, after the death 
of the bees, large stores of honey are found in their hives. 
Such instances, however, are rare, for a motherless hive is 
almost always assaulted by stronger colonies, which, seeming 
to have an instinctive knowledge of its orphanage, hasten to 
take possession of its spoils; or, if it escape the Scylla of 
these pitiless plunderers, it is dashed upon a more merciless 
Charybdis, when the miscreant moths find out its destitution. 

815. The introduction of movable-frame hives and Italian 
bees, with the new system of management, has done away 
with the fear of the moth. It is no longer common to hear 
bee-keepers speak of having "good luck" or "bad luck" with 
their bees; as bees are now managed, success or failure never 
depends on what is called "luck." 

To one acquainted with the habits of the moth, the bee- 
keeper ivho is constantly lamenting its ravages, seems almost 
as much deluded as a farmer would be, who, after searching 
diligenthj for liis cow, and finding her nearly devoured by 
carrion worms, should denounce these worthy scavengers as 
the primary cause of her untimely end. 

The bee-moth has, for thousands of years, supported itself 
on the labors of the bee, and there is no reason to suppose 
ihat it will ever become exterminated. In a state of nature, 
a queenless hive, or one whose inmates have died, being of no 


further account, the mission of the moth is to gather up its 
fragments, that nothing may be lost. 

From these remarks, the bee-keeper will see the means on 
which he must rely, to protect his hives from the moth. 
Knowing that strong colonies which have a fertile queen, can 
take care of themselves in almost any kind of hive, he should 
do all he can to keep them in this condition. They will thus 
do more to defend themselves than if he devoted the whole 
of his time to fighting the moth. Inexperienced bee-keepers, 
who imagine that a colony is nearly ruined when they find a 
few worms, should remember that almost eveiy colony 
(especially black bees) however strong or healthy, has some 
of these enemies lurking about its premises. 

It is hardly necessary, after the preceding remarks, to say 
much upon the various contrivances to which some resorted 
as a safeguard against the bee-moth. The idea that gauze- 
wire doors, to be shut at dusk and opened again at morning, 
can exclude the moth, will not weigh much with those who 
have seen them on the wmg, in dull weather, long before the 
bees have ceased their work. Even if they could be excluded 
by such a contrivance, it would require, on the part of those 
using it, a reg-ularity almost akin to that of the heavenly 

An ingenious device was invented for dispensing wdth such 
close supervision, by governing the entrances of all the hives 
by a long lever-like hen-roost, so that they might be regu- 
larly closed by the crowing and cackling tribe when they go 
to rest at night, and opened again when they fly from their 
perch to greet the merry morn. Alas! that so much skill 
should have been all in vain! Some chickens are sleepy, and 
wish to retire before the bees have completed their work, while 
others, from ill-health or laziness, have no taste for early 
rising, and sit moping on their roost, long after the cheerful 
sun has purpled the glowing East. Even if this device could 
entirely exclude the moth, it could not save a colony which 
has lost its queen. The truth is, that such contrivances are 

BIRDS. 503 

equivalent to the lock put upon the stable door after the 
horse has been stolen; or, to attempts to banish the chill of 
death by warm covering", or artificial heat. 

The prudent bee-keeper, remembering that "prevention is 
better than cure," will take pains to destroy the larvae of the 
moth as early in the season as he can, while swarming his 
bees. The destruction of a single female worm may thus be 
more effectual than the slaughter of hundreds at a later 

816. Mice. It seems almost incredible that such puny 
animals as mice should venture to invade a hive of bees; and 
they often slip in when cold compels the bees to retreat from 
the entrance. Having once gained admission, they build a 
warm nest in their comfortable abode, eat up the honey and 
such bees as are too much chilled to offer resistance,* and fill 
the premises with such a stench, that the bees, on the arrival 
of warm weather, often abandon their polluted home. The 
entrance should never be made deep enough to allow mice to 
pass (348). 

817. Birds. Very few birds are fond of bees. The 
King-bird (Tyrarmus Carolinensls) which devours them by 
scores, is said— when he can have his choice— to eat only the 
drones; but as he catches bees on the blossoms— which are 
never frequented by these fat and lazy gentlemen— the in- 
dustrious workers must often fall a prey to his fatal snap. 
There is good reason to suspect that this gourmand can dis- 
tinguish between an empty bee in search of food, and one 
which, returning laden to its fragrant home, is in excellent 
condition to glide— already sweetened— down his voracious 

818. The bee-keepers of England complam of the spar- 
rows, which they accuse of eating bees. If these birds add 
this mischief to so many others of which they are guilty, the 
bee-keepers should find some means of getting rid of them. 

* In eating bees, the mice eat the head and corselet, but not the 
abdomen, probably because of the smell of the poison sack. 


In the Vosges (France) most of the farmers suspend earthen 
pots to the walls of their bams in which the sparrows make 
their nests. These jug-shape pots are examined eveiy week 
and the young birds are killed as soon as they are ready to 
fly out, and are put into the frj^ng-pan. We have seen as 
many as five or six dozen pots on the same wall, nearly all 
filled with nests, for sparroAvs raise many broods evei-y year. 
If— as in the olden time of fables— birds could be moved 
by human language, it would be worth while to post up, in 
the \4cinity of our apiaries, the old Greek poet's address to 
the swallow: 

* ' Attic maiden, honey fed, 

Chirping warbler, bears 't away 
Thou the busy buzzing bee, 

To thy callow brood a prey? 
Warbler, thou a warbler seize? 

Winged, one with lovely wings? 
Guest thyself by Summer brought, 

Yellow guests whom Summer bringa? 
Wilt not quickly let it drop? 

'Tis not fair; indeed, 'tis wrong, 
That the ceaseless warbler should 

Die by mouth of ceaseless song." 

819. No Apiarist ought ever to encourage the destruction 
of any birds, except the too-plentiful sparrows, because of 
their fondness for bees. Unless we can check the custom of 
destroying, on any pretense, our insectivorous birds, we shall 
soon, not only be deprived of their serial melody among the 
leafy branches, but shall lament, more and more, the increase 
of insects from whose ravages nothing but these birds can 
protect us. Let those who can enjoy no music made by these 
Avinged choristers of the skies, except that of their agonizing 
screams as they fall before their well-aimed weapons, and 
flutter out their innocent lives before their heartless gaze, 
drive away, as far as they please from their cruel premises, 
all the little birds that they cannot destroy, and they will, 


eventually, reap the fruits of their folly, when the caterpillars 
weave their destroying webs over their leafless trees, and in- 
sects of all kinds riot in glee on their blasted harvests. 

820. Tame chickens eat drones, but not workers. Once 
we noticed a rooster seemingly eating bees at the entrance of 
a hive. The bees were then killing their drones (192). On 
approaching the hive, we saw him carefully pick out a drone 
from among the bees, shake off a worker-bee which had clung 
to him, and swallow the drone. Young drones can be fed to 
chickens, who soon learn to eat them greedily, but if a 
worker-bee is found among them they will shake their heads 
at her, with a knowing look of disgust. Young ducks, if in- 
sufficiently fed, w^ill eat bees, and are often killed by being 
stung while swallowing them. 

821. Other enemies. The toad is a well-known de- 
vourer of bees. Sitting, towards evening, under a hive, he 
will sweep into his mouth,' with his swiftly-darting tongue, 
many a late-returning bee, as it falls, heavily laden, to the 
ground; but as he is also a diligent consumer of various in- 
jurious insects, he can plead equal immunity with the in- 
sectivorous birds. 

It may seem amazing that birds and toads can swallow 
bees without being stung to death. They seldom, however, 
meddle with any, except those returning fully laden to their 
hives, or such as, being away from home, are indisposed to 
resent an injuiy. As they are usually swallowed without 
being crushed, they do not instinctively thrust out their 
stings, and before they can recover from their surprise, they 
are safely entombed. 

822. Bears are exceedingly fond of honey; and in coun- 
tries where they abound, great precautions are needed to 
prevent them from destroying the hives. 

In that quaint but admirably common-sense work, entitled, 
"The Feminine Monarchie, written out of Experience^ by 
Charles Butler; printed in the year 1609" we have an amus- 
ing adventure, related by a Muscovite ambassador to Rome ; 


"A neighbor of mine," saith he, "in searching in the woods 
for honey, slipped down into a great hollow tree, and there 
sunk into a lake of honey up to the breast; where — when he 
had stuck fast two days calling and crying out in vain for 
help, because nobody in the meanwhile came nigh that solitary 
place — at length, when he was out of all hope of life, he was 
strangely delivered by the means of a great bear, which, com- 
ing hither about the same business that he did, and smelling 
the honey, stirred with his striving, clambered up to the top 
of the tree, and then began to lower himself dowji, backwards, 
into it. The man bethinking himself, and knowing that the 
worst was but death, which in that place he was sure of, beclipt 
the bear fast with both hands about the loins, and, withal, 
made an outcry as long as he could. The bear being thus sud- 
denly affrighted, what with the handling and what with the 
noise, made up again with all speed possible. The man held, 
and the bear pulled, until, with main force, he had drawn him 
out of the mire; and then, being let go, away he trots, more 
afraid than hurt, leaving the smeared swain in a joyful fear.*' 

823. The hraula caeca, improperly called bee-louse, exists 
in Italy. Southern France and other mild climates. Dr. 
Dubini has seen queens so completely covered with them, that 
only their legs could be seen. These lice, whose second name, 
cocca, means blind, have beev, ^ften fomid by us on imported 
queens on their arrival. They are so large that they can 
easily be taken off the queen and killed. It appears that they 
can only propagate in warm countries, for they exist in the 
South of Europe and are unknown either in Russia, or in 
North America. 

824. Small ants often make their nests about hives, to 
have the benefit of their warmth. They are annoying to the 
Apiarist, but neither molest the bees nor are molested by 

A sheet of tarred paper in the hive cover or cap where 
they usually congregate will drive them away, as the smell 
is unpleasant to them. Salt, ashes, or powdered sulphur will 
also keep them away. 

Our limits forbid us to speak of wasps, hornets, milli- 


])edes (or wood-lice), spiders, libellulas and other enemies 
of bees. These lesser enemies are detailed at length and in 
a scientific manner, with engravings, in the work of Prof. 
Cook, "The Bee-Keeper's Guide," to which we refer the 
lovers of entomological study. If the Apiarist keeps his 
colonies strong, they will usually be their own best protectors, 
for, unless they are guarded by thousands ready to die in 
their defense, they are ever liable to fall a prey to some of 
their many enemies, who are all agreed on this one point, at 
least— that stolen honey is much sweeter than the slow ac- 
cumulations of patient industry. 

Honey Handling. 
Marketing Honey. 

825. The quality of honej' depends very little, if at all, 
upon the secretions of the bees; and hence, apple blossom, 
white driver, buckwheat, and other varieties of honey, hav? 
each their peculiar flavor, and color. The difference between 
the honey of one blossom, and that of another, is so great, 
that persons unacquainted with this diversity, when tasting 
honey different from that to which they are accustomed, 
imagine that either the one or the other is adulterated. 

The most-prized and best-flavored honey produced in this 
country, is that from white clover blossoms (701). Bass- 
wood honey, if unmixed with any other grade, is too strong 
in taste, but a slight quantity of it in clover honey makes a 
delicious dish. Both these grades, being very white, sell more 
readily than any other, in the comb, excepting perhaps al- 
falfa honey and the white honey of the California sage.* 

Smart-weed, or heartsease, honey,— which should properly 
be called knot-weed or Persicaria honej',— is of a pale j^el- 
low color and veiy fine in flavor. Asters produce honey 
nearly as white as clover. Different grades of fall-honey, 
from Spanish needles, golden-rod, iron-weed, etc., are of a 
yellow color, and strong in taste. Buckwheat honey is dark; 
boneset honey and honey dew are the ugliest and poorest 
in quality, looking almost like molasses. 

* The honey of Hymettus, which has been so celebrated from the most 
ancient times, is of a fair golden color. The lightest-colored honey Is 
by no means always the best. 



Some kinds of honey are bitter, and others very unwhole- 
some, being gathered from poisonous flowers. The noxious 
properties of honey gathered from poisonous flowers would 
seem to be mostly evaporated before it is sealed over by the 
bees. Heating, however, expels them still more effectually, 
for some persons cannot eat even the best, when raw, with 
impunity. Well ripened honey is more wholesome than that 
freshlj^ gathered by the bees. When it is taken from the bees, 
it should be put where it will be safe from all intruders. The 
little red and the large black ant are extravagantly fond of it, 
and will not only carrj- off large quantities if within their 
reach, but many of them will drown in it, spoil its appear- 
ance, and render it unfit for use. 

Fig. 221. 


.From the Colorado Honey Producers' Association. ) 

826. Comb honey ^ in sections put up in cases of 12, IG, 
24, or 40 sections, with glass on the side, sells most readily; 
and were it not for the greater cost of production, and the 
difficulty of safe transportation, this kind would be raised 
exclusively. One objection to it, by large producers, is that 
it cannot alwaj's be kept in good shape, from one year to 
another, owing to its tendency to "sweat." 



Sweating takes place in comb-honey which has been sealed 
by the bees before it was fully ripened or evaporated (744), 
during a plentiful honey harvest. The changes of tempera- 
ture in Spring and Summer cause a cei'tain amount of fer- 
mentation in it, exactly as in the housekeepers' sealed pre- 
serves, when not sufficiently heated or sweetened. The result 
is a bursting of the cappings, by the pressure of the expand- 
ing honey, which runs out and over the comb and renders it 
unsalable. The same expansion sometimes takes place in 

Fig. 222. 


granulated extracted honey, accompanied by a slight fermen- 

827. It is also held, by some leadmg Apiarists, that the 
cells, although sealed, are not moisture-proof, and that comb- 
honey gathers water from the air, till it overfills the cell and 
escapes through its pores. For this reason they keep their 
comb-honey in a warm dry room. This is a good thing to do 
in every case. Honey is hygrometric, and whenever exjDosed, 
gathers moisture rapidly, so that when kept in a damp place, 


a few unsealed or damaged cells very readily overflow, with 
watery honey, that daubs everything. Therefore, whether 
we believe that the sealed cells are air-tight or not (262), we 
should keep our honey in a dry place at all times. 

To prevent the leaking honey in sections from running out 
of a case and daubing other boxes, a sheet of strong manila 
paper should be placed at the bottom of each case, with the 
edges folded up slightly, say half an inch. 

"The cases for shipping and retailing honey should be light, 
and glazed on one or both sides. Those holding but one tier 
are best. The sections should rest on narrow strips of wood 
yi-inch. thick, tacked to the bottom of the case over a sheet 
of manila paper. This is to preserve the boxes from being 
daubed, in case the honey drips. 

"These cases should be in readiness before the honey is 
ready to be taken off." — (Oliver Foster.) 

This style of shipping case has been lately sold by manu- 
facturers under a new name, "the non-drip shipping case." 
They should be named the "Foster shipping case." 

828. "Glazed sections" — one glass on each side of each 
section — have been largely sold in the East; but this mode 
of putting up honey, being very expensive, \vall only do for 
fancy trade. The producer can best tell what his trade 

Cartons containing one pound section and nicely labeled 
sell well and are less expensive. 

When shipping comb-honey to the large cities, Mr. Hutchin- 
son, who was a large producer, "WTapped each case separately 
in paper, to protect it against dirt, dust, or coal-smoke, along 
the way. By this method his cases arrived on the market, as 
fresh and neat-looking on the outside, as when first put up. 

As the careful handling of comb-honey during shipment is 
very important, it is best to mark each case with a large label 
or a stencil, bearing the words: 


HONEY IN GLASS. Handle with Care. 

Yerj^ small lots ought never to be sent by rail, at least until 
we get better railroad regulations, concerning the handling of 
goods in transit, than we have at present. 

Comb-honey in large lots should be shipped in large crates, 
with handles at each end, each crate containing about one 
hundred pounds of honey, or about eight cases, of twenty-four 
sections each. 

829. The barrels that we use for extracted honey are oak 
barrels, which have contained alcohol. They are gunnned hi- 
side, with some composition, to prevent the alcohol from soak- 
ing through the wood, and this gum, or glue, prevents the 
leakage of honey. Whisky barrels are often unfit to contain 
honey, for they are usually charred on the inside, and motes 
of charcoal fall into the honey and spoil its appearance. We 
keep our empty barrels in a diy place. As soon as filled, they 
are bunged and rolled into a cool and dry cellar, where they 
remain until the honey selling season, which begins in Sep- 
tember, or October. Any dry room will do, when a dry cellar 
is not at hand^ but a cellar has a more even temperature 
when cold weather comes. 

If the barrels are damp, when the honey is put in, and are 
removed to a dry place afterwards, they will soon leak; for 
honey does not keep the wood from drying and shrinking. 
Honey barrels, then, should not be treated in the same way as 
wine or cider barrels; and swelling them, with steam, or hot 
water, pre\ious to filling them Avith honey, will not be of any 
benefit, unless they are kept damp afterwards. This is not to 
be thought of, for honey must be kept dry, on account of its 
hygrometric properties. It will absorb the moisture out of the 
staves of the barrel that contains it and will become thin and 
watery, and at the same time, the staves, in giving up their 
juoisture, will shrink and the honey will leak out. Thus it is 
easy to see that none but the best dry barrels will do. 



M 1 

.■1-3. -44 

Fig. 223. 


The Colorado grading. No. 1 and No. 2. 


In this connection the reader will permit us to illustrate to 
him the hygrometric qualities of honey by narrating a little 
incident. We had received an order for a barrel of honey, ' 
to be in the liquid state. As this was midwinter, all our honey 
being granulated, a barrel was opened, the head taken out 
and the honey melted au bain-marie (834). It was imme- 
diately replaced in the barrel, while hot, and prepared for 
shipment. But it happened that this barrel had been kept, for 
some time after granulation of the honey, in a damp place, 
and the wood was somewhat damp. This hot honey absorbed 
the moisture from the staves durmg the night to such an ex- 
tent that the next mommg, the barrel was leakmg from ever>' 
joint. We have since that time allowed honey to cool off 
when treated in this way, before returning it to the barrel. 
But usually when honey is melted, it is at once put up into 
retail packages. 

Cheap barrels cannot be opened to remove the honey by 
taking out the head without damaging them, while good iron- 
bound oak barrels will last for years, and will never leak, ii 
managed properly. To take the head out, it should be marked, 
with a chisel, so as to replace it aftei-wards exactly in the 
same position. A strong gimlet is screwed into the middle 
of it, for a handle. After the hoops have been chased off, the 
head can be pulled out readily, and it is replaced in the same 
manner, when the barrel is empty. 

If care and judgment were used in these matters there would 
be but little complaint on the part of dealers, about leaking 
honey shipped from the apiarist. 

One of the most popular packages for putting up extracted 
honey and disposing of it in a wholesale manner is the sixty- 
pound can, either round or square. The square cans are 
boxed, one or two in a case and are easily piled in wagons 
or cars, but the round can with a wooden jacket has been 
much recommended of late by a man of great experience in 
the production of extracted honey, Mr. N. E. France. The 
smaller packages for retail trade are discussed further (841), 


The honey, when put into large tanl^s to ripen, had better be 
changed to the retail package at the next handling. But the 
apiarist who extracts, as we do, at the out-apiaries, will find 
good barrels the handiest package to bring a crop of well 
ripened honej^ home immediately. 

830. In October, the honej- of the July crop is all granu- 
lated, and that of the September crop is beginning to granu- 

Fig. 224. 

late. There are many different opinions in regard to the 
causes of granulation. Some think that it is effected by the 
action of light, but this is certainl}^ a mistake, for our honey 
only sees the light when extracted, and is then kept in the 
dark until sold. We are more inclined to think that it is the 
action of cold air Avhich causes granulation; for sealed comb- 
honey generally remains liquid. The extracted honey, which 
we harvest, always gi'anulates. We have handled liquid honey, 
however, several times, but we have always found it to be un- 


ripe; and have laid it down as a rule for ourselves, that good 
honey should be granulated after November. We speak of 
honey harvested in the Mississippi valley ; such as clover, bass- 
wood, knot-weed, golden rod, buckwheat, Spanish-needle, etc. 

831. Of California honey, we can say nothing, having 
never handled it. But we have handled Louisiana honey, 
which, we were told, would not granulate before a year, and 
we had scarcely had it three weeks in our cold climate, before 
it began to granulate. The onlj^ ripe honey which did not 
granulate, was a lot of Spanish-needle honey, which had been 
extracted late in November. It remained liquid until sold, a 
month or two later, and we ascribed its not granulating to the 
late harvesting of it. 

We have, however, seen a few instances of slowly ripened 
honey that did not granulate, although very thick and rich. 
These are exceptions. If honey is melted when granulated 
and allowed to evaporate a little, it will be veiy slow to granu- 
late again. 

832. Every bee-keeper has noticed that, at times, honey 
hardens in veiy coarse and irregular granules, that look like 
lumps of sugar, and have no adherence with one another, 
w4th a small amount of liquid honey interposed between 
them; and that at other times, the candying is compact, and 
can be compared to the hardening of lard. 

The first kmd of granulation is always produced in honey 
harvested, like clover or basswood, during the warm months of 
the year ; while the soft candying is prevalent in the honey ex- 
tracted in the Fall. In France, coarsely granulated honey 
is held as less valuable than the fine grained honey, and 
there is a good reason for this preference, for the coarsely 
granulated honey cannot be kept as well as the fine grained. 
It is evidently less evenly ripened. 

In this countiy also, coarsely granulated honey sells with 
less facility— especially because many ignorant persons ima- 
gine that it has been adulterated with sugar, and that the 
coarse grains are lumps of sugar. 


In such honey, the liquid parts come to the surface, and 
absorbing moisture from the air, are very apt to become acid 
by fermenting. But, even after granulation, it can easily be 
brought to a fine grain by melting it and exposing it to the 
cold of our Northern Winters. Basswood honey would even 
be benefited by this, as it would lose a little of its too strong 

Basswood and clover honey are more apt to ferment than 
aiiy other class of honey, even when thoroughly granulated, 
if they remain exposed to the heat of the following Summer, 
and it is advisable to keep these two kinds in a cool, diy 
place during the hot weather. A damp cellar would be ob- 
jectionable, since honey readily absorbs moisture from the air. 

833. Those bee-keepers who will follow our methods, of 
extracting (763) after the honey crop, will have but little 
trouble with honey fermenting, even if they have to keep it 
through the following Summer. If any honey should fer- 
ment, however, let them not think that it is spoiled, unless 
it was really unripe and has turned sour. A slight amount ol 
alcoholic ferment can be evaporated readily by melting the 
honey over water, when the ferment escapes in the shape of 
foam. As this fermentation is caused by the presence cf un- 
ripe honey, some of our friends succeed in entirely preventing 
it by melting all their honey immediateJy after gra).ulation. 
The melting evaporates all excess of moisture contained in it. 

Mr. C. F. Muth, whose large experience in handling honey 
made him a high authority, ripened all his honey by keeping 
it in open vessels in a diy and ventilated room, for a moiith 
or two after extracting. Many noted Apiarists are now fol- 
lowing that method. 

834. Melting Honey. Honey should never be placed 
directly over a fire to melt it. The least over-heating will 
evaporate its essential oils, and give it the burnt taste of dark 
molasses instead. It should be put m a tin or copper vessel, 
and this in another large vessel containing water. This heat- 
ing au hain-marie, as the French call it, is resorted to by 


cooks, confectioners and others, whenever there is any danger 
of scorching the substance heated. 

In the case of honey, the water should not even be allowed 
to boil. 

835. The increase of honey production has been so great, 
in a few years, that the consumption has barely kept pace 
with it. But it will soon take its rank among necessities, like 
butter or syrups; and change from a luxuiy to a staple. 

836. Our first crops of extracted honey, w^ere sold readily 
at wholesale, and at good prices; for it was then that the 
wholesale dealers and manufacturers w^ere making the largest 
profits, by mixing the honey, which they bought from bee- 
keepers, with cheap substances, like glucose, which kept the 
honey from granulating, and by putting it up in tumblers, 
with a small piece of comb honey in the center. This honey, 
or rather mixture of honey, was sold by them usually at lower 
prices than they had paid for the pure honey. But ready 
sales in this way did not last long; for, after a year or two, 
the markets were crowded with this drug. 

Should our readers ever come across suspicious-looking 
honey, they will find the following a cheap recipe to recognize 
adulteration : 

"Put in a small vial about one ounce of the honey to be 
tested, fill the vial with pure cistern water, shake thoroughly 
to dissolve the honey; then add to the mixture about a thimble- 
ful of pure alcohol. If the honey is pure the solution will re- 
main unchanged, but if adulterated with glucose, it will be 
turbid and whitish, 

"This is the means used by the honey dealers of Paris, to 
detect adulterated honey." — (Annales de la Societe d 'Apicul- 
ture de I'Aube.) 

837. We have now United States laws concerning the 
adulteration of food and it is to be hoped that no honey will 
ever again be sold that contains a proportion of corn syrup or 
commercial glucose. This cheap syrup should be sold under 
its own name. It is of verv mferior value when compared 


to honey as it contains only about twenty-five to thirty per 
cent of saccharine matter. 

False assertions have been made at different times concerning 
the possibility of manufacturing comb honey, filling it and 
sealing it over by machinery. It is hardly necessary to say 
that this is entirely impossible and if it ever became possible, 
it would be readily detected, as human hands could never 
make the variety of shapes that are achieved by the bees. No 
two combs are alike, when built by the bees, even if they 
have been built on comb foundation. 

**So widespread was this falsehood, that in our journal of 
November 1, 1885, page 738, I offered $1,000 to anybody who 
would tell me where such spurious comb-honey was made. No 
one has ever given the information, neither has one ounce of 
manufactured comb-honey ever been forthcoming. It is a me- 
chanical impossibility, and will, in my opinion, always remain 
so. * * * I hardly need add, that the above slanderous re- 
port in regard to bogus comb-honey was very damaging to the 
bee-keeping industry. It probably obtained wider credence 
because one Prof. Wiley, some years ago, started it by what he 
termed a 'scientific pleasantry.' " — A. I. Eoot. 

838. The granulation of honey was objected to by many 
consumers, at first, from the prejudiced idea that granulated 
honey had been mixed with sugar. It has ceased to be an 
objection, for, in our neighborhood, nearly all honey consu- 
mers now know that good ripe honey generally granulates in 
cold weather. But, now and then, a person is found who 
wants liquid honey, or comb honey, thinking that no other is 

We were told that the judges at an agricultural exposition 
refused to give a premium to a bee-keeper for his honey, be- 
cause it was spoiled by granulating. These competent judges 
probably think that water is spoiled by freezing, for granu- 
lated hcaiey if carefully melted (834), is as good as before 

839. We have always found an easy sale for extracted 


honey among foreigners— especially German or French; as 
they Iiave been used to granulated strained honey, which has 
been produced for centuries in almost all parts of Europe. 
Some of them are so well acquainted with it, that they prefer 
it to the finest comb-honey, saying that comb is not made to 
be eaten. 

Once, having received a favor from a French farmer, living 
a short distance from us, we selected a beautiful large comb 
of nicely sealed clover honey, while extracting, and sent it to 
this family after having carefully laid it on a dish. Much to 
our astonishment, we learnt, a few days after, that the good 
French housewife had put our nice comb in a clean towel, care- 
fully pressed the honey out, and melted tlie wax; and besides, 
tliat she was veiy much astonished at our having sent comb 
honey to her, when we had such nice extracted honey on 
hand. The reader may readily imagine that henceforth we 
never sent to them anything but extracted honey, nmch to 
their satisfaction and ours. 

Every bee-keeper who understands his busmess, should try 
to sell his honey when granulated, explaining to his customers 
that adulterated honey does not granulate, and that granu- 
lation is the best proof of purity. We have these words 
printed on all our labels. 

840. To improve the present prices of honey, which are 
in some cases lower than the prices of second class sweets, 
it is necessary that the masses should be induced to buy it. 
Thus far it is an article which few persons will buy regularly. 
Consumers will go to the grocery for tea, coffee, sugar, flour, 
meal, butter, etc., but very few make it a custom to buy honey 
—not that they dislike it, for "what is sweeter than honey?" 
but because they are not used to it. 

All children, even in the heart of our manufacturing centers, 
have heard of "honey," but how many have never tasted it! 
Why? Fifty years ago honey was thirty cents per jDound. 
Thirty years ago the very cheapest grades retailed higher than 
the best sugars. To-day, in many places, honey is still re- 



tailed at from fifteen to twenty cents, wiiile sixteen pounds of 
the best sugar are sold for a dollar. Yet the Apiarists crowd 
it to the markets at prices ranging as low as three cents. 
What is lacking? Proper distribution. Instead of shipping 
our honey to the cities, whence it will be partly shipped back 
to our village retailers after having passed through the hands 
of commission men, and wholesale merchants, we must culti- 
vate home consumption. We must show our neighbors, our 
farmers, our mechanics, at home, that our progressive meth- 
ods enable us to furnish to them the sweetest of all sweets, at 
nearly as low a price as syrups. The occasional depression of 
the honey market is but temporary and its termination is only 
a question of time. 

841. It is important, in offering honey, whether to gro- 
cers or to consumers, to have it put up in neat and at- 
tractive shape. Comb-honey in 
sections weighing only a pound 
sells best, because it is, and always 
will be, a fancy article. 

But in putting up extracted 
honey, a one-pound package is 
now too small. We must encour- 
age a consumption in which the 
expense of packing will not ma- 
terially advance the cost, and we 
find that, owing to this advance 
of cost, the one or one and-a- 
quarter-pound package is less in 
demand than it was a few years 

842. Tin is the cheapest pack- 
age for honey, in small quantities. 
Our favorite sizes are two and-a- 
half -pound, five-pound, and ten- 
pound pails. The two and-a-half- 
pound pail is in great demand, and in the Winter of 1886-7, 

Fig. 225. 




the bulk of our crop of that year, about 24,000 lbs., was sold 
in this package, at twenty-three cents per pail, or about nine 
cents per pound. 

Some of our readers will ask why we do not put up our 
honey in these pails from the first, instead of putting it up 
in barrels. We never do so, because we do not know what pro- 
portion of each size will be required by the trade; because 
honey in small cans occupies too much room, and is not so 

Fig. 226. 


easily moved out of the way; and especially because we keep 
honey from the best seasons for the years of poorer crop, and 
it keeps best in barrels. We have kept honey in pails for two 
years or more, but the pail often rusts on the outside, and 
becomes unsalable. The objections above given are very 
weighty, in extensive production, when tens of thousands of 
pounds have to be cared for, but the small producer 


may, if he chooses, put up his honej', at once, in retail pack- 

843. To stop the accidental leakage of honey in pails — 
for, owing to its weight, it will leak through seams that are 
water-tight— we simply rub over the leaky spot a little tallow- 
wax, prepared by melting beeswax with tallow or lard, in 
varied quantities. 

A friction-top pail is now manufactured by the Tin Trust 
which is sufficiently honey-tight to fulfill e\ery purpose. These 
pails are in many instances taking the place of the pail origi- 
nated by us and which is for that reason called the "Dadant 
pail." All kinds of packages are sold by dealers, and papers 
or paper sacks are recommended for granulated honey. There 
is no doubt that these paper sacks are the veiy cheapest 
package for retailing honey to the masses, but the amount 
put up m these must be limited to the actual winter con- 
sumption, owing to their probable leakage when warm weather 
comes. The sacks are generally coated with paraffine. 

A great deal of honey is sold in glass jars, but our objection 
to them is that granulated honey does not look well in them, 
and they are more costly than tin. Hone}^, in tin, can be put 
up gross weight and although no one objects to the weight 
of the pail, this weight helps to pay for its cost. Those who 
use glass as a honey package, melt the honey before bottling it. 

For shipping honey in small packages, Mr. Aug. Christie, 
a large producer of Iowa, puts it up in soldered cans. But 
the honey must be vers' ripe, or else must be previously heated, 
for the least fermentation would burst the can. 

844. In every case when honej^ is sold, it should be neatly 
labeled with the name and address of the producer, which is, 
in itself, a guarantee of its qualit5\ 

When you go into a strange grocery, where you are un- 
known, the immediate answer of the grocer, to your mention 
of honey is: "I don't want any honey; I have no sale for it, 
and I don't like to handle it." Should you then take your 
leave and go, there would be but little hope of increasing yout 


sales. You have to study, and learn to imitate the cunning 
and perseverance of tlie traveling agent, and quietly talk it 
out. You first have to assure the grocer that you only wish 
to show him your goods and your prices at his leisure, and 
that he can then refuse to buy, if he chooses. You must 
show him why he has no sale for honey. You tell him that 
pure honey is one of the best sweets in the world, to which 
he readily agrees. You then explain that honey, not being a 
staple, his customers never come on purpose to buy it, but 
that when they see it, they are tempted to buy ; that, for this 
reason, it should be put up with large and showy labels, and 
l)laced in a conspicuous position, so that it will readily catch 
the eye. 

845. White honey in nice sections will generally sell at 
sight, unless the grocer has had some leakj- packages, which 
dripped honey on the counter, left a sticky reminiscence of 
their presence, and attracted flies and bees. But if your honey 
is put up carefully, accorduig to directions given, the first sale 
alone will be difficult. In selling extracted honey it may be 
necessaiy for you to explain the facility with which granu- 
lated honey may be liquefied. 

With grocers that were miacquainted with us, we usually 
began by supplying them with yellow honey, such as buck- 
Avheat, or heartsease, or golden rod. This honey, strong in 
flavor, sells better to the inexperienced, who are afraid of 
getting sugar, or glucose. It is only after one or two years 
that we venture to offer to such grocers our whitest clover 
and bass-wood, which, though of superior flavor, are objected 
to, on account of their veiy beauty and quality. In eveiy 
case we tiy to furnish S(»me good reference to the grocer, 
and we give him a full guarantee of satisfaction, with an 
agreement to take the honey back, if it does not prove alto- 
gether as we represent it. When a dealer is well satisfied 
that the merchandise which he sells is pure, his customers are 
quite likely to have confidence in it themselves; but, on the 
other hand, if he is in doubt as to the quality and purity of 


it, he will have but little chance of selling it, unless he 'kes 
not care for the satisfaction of his patrons. 

846. We must therefore spare no pains to fully convince 
our grocers of the quality of our goods. 

After the first sales ha^"e been made, the demand always be- 
comes larger and easier. Of course, occasional objections are 
made, by persons who are unacquainted with the properties 
and qualities of good honey; but these are easily overcome, 
when you have once gained the confidence of the dealers. 

Extracted honey is usually sold at betw^een half and two- 
thirds of the price of comb-honey. It ships better, leaks less, 
and keeps more easily than comb-honey; and its lower cost 
of production will sooner or later make it the lioney for the 

Uses of Honey. 

847. The traditions of the remotest antiquity show that 
honey has always been considered a pleasant and healthy food. 
For several thousand years, it was the only sweet known. 

Now that the sap of the cane, or the beet, converted into 
sugar, or the cheaper corn syrup, made by boiling com starch 
with sulphuric acid, have become a necessity in eveiy family, 
let us see what place honey may occupy in our diet, not only 
as a condiment like sugar, but as food, drink, and medicme. 

As Food. 

Honey as food is very healthy. It is admitted that those 
who use honey freely at meal time, find in it health and long 

"It is Nature 's offering to man — ready for use, distilled drop 
by drop in myriads of flowers, by a more delicate process than 
any human laboratory even produced." — (T. Gr. Newman, 
"Honey as Food and Medicine.") 

The following extract from the work of Sir J. More, Lon- 



doHj 1707, will show the estimate which the old writers set 
upon bee-products: 

"Natural wax is altered by distillation into an oyl of mar- 
vellous vertue; it is rather a Divine medicine than humane, 
because, in wounds or inward diseases, it worketh miracles. 
The bee helpeth to cure all your diseases, and is the best little 
friend a man has in the world. . . .Honey is of subtil parts, and 
therefore doth pierce as oyl, and easily passeth the parts of 
the body; it openeth obstructions, and cleareth the heart and 
lights of those humors which fall from the head; it purgeth 
the foulness of the body, cureth phlegmatick matter, and sharp- 
eneth the stomach; it purgeth those things which hurt the 
clearness of the eyes, breedeth good blood, stirreth up natural 
heat, and prolongeth life; it keepeth all things uncorrupt which 
are put into it, and is a sovereign medicament, both for out- 
ward and inward maladies; it helpeth the grief of the jaws, 
the kernels growing within the mouth, and the squinancy; it is 
drank against the biting of a serpent or a mad dog; it is good 
for such as have eaten mushrooms, for the falling sickness, and 
against the surfeit. Being boiled, it is lighter of digestion, and 
more nourishing." 

848. When Augustus-Julius-Cassar, dining with Pollio- 
Rumilius on his hundredth birthday, inquired of him how he 
had preserved both vigor of body and mind, Pollio replied: 
^'Interius melle, exterius oleo/'— Internally by honey, ex- 
ternally by oil. 

^ Honey is in daily use on our table, and we find that children 
prefer it to sugar. The only cause of its not being in gen- 
eral use in place of "vile syrups" is the high price at which it 
was formerly sold. 

Mr. Newman in his little pamphlet above quoted, says:— 

*'It is a common expression that honey is a luxury, having 
nothing to do with the life-giving principle. This is an error — 
honey is food in one of its most concentrated forms. True, it 
does not add so much to the growth of the muscles as does beef- 
steak, but it does impart other properties no less necessary to 
health aiid vigorous physical and intellectual action! It gives 


warmth to the system, arouses nervous energy, and gives vigor 
to all the vital functions. To the laborer it gives strength — ■ 
to the business man, mental force. Its effects are not like or- 
dinary stimulants, such as spirits, &c., but it produces a healthy 
action, the results of which are pleasing and permanent — a 
sweet disposition and a bright intellect." 

849. As a condiment it can be used in many ways. In 
candies it may finally replace the unhealthful glucose of com- 
merce. The confectioners who now use it, increase their trade 
every year. 

In France, ''pain-d'epice/' "ginger bread," is sold in im- 
mense quantities at the fairs. The best makes are sold at 
the most important fairs through the countiy. It keeps an 
indefinite length of time, and farmers' wives are wont to buy 
enough to last for months. The following is the recipe: 

850. ''Dissolve 4 ounces of soda, in a glass of warm skimmed 
milk. Take 4 pounds of flour and pour in the milk and enough 
warm honey to make a thick dough, flavor with anise and corian" 
der seeds, cloves, and cinnamon, all powdered fine. Knead 
carefully, as you would bread. Let it rise two hours in a 
warm place, spread in pans and bake in a moderately warm 
oven. Ten or twelve minutes will do, if the cakes are thin. As 
soon as the cake resists to the touch of the finger it is done. 
Before baking, it may be decorated with almonds, preserved 
lemon peel, etc. Wheat flour makes good 'pain-d'epice,' but some 
prefer rye flour. Fall honey is preferable for it, on account of 
its stronger taste." — L 'Apiculteur. 

The spices may be varied according to taste. Some add 
powdered ginger, or grated lemon or orange peel. 

851. Crisp ginger bread can be made by mixing in it a 
quantity of broken almonds, blanched by dipping in boiling 
water, hazel-nuts, English walnuts, etc. The same dough, in 
skilled hands, with different seasonings, will make a variety 
of dainties, all with honey. 

Instead of lard or butter^ artistic cooks use olive oil to 
grease the pans; in America, cotton seed oil takes its place, 
and is good. The Italians sometimes use beeswax. 

528 rsES OF honey. 

852. Alsatian Ginger Bread: "Take, yellow honey 1 pound, 
ilour 1 pound, baking soda Ih ounce. Dissolve the soda in a ta- 
blespoonful of brandy, heat the honey and put in the flour and 
the soda. Knead the whole carefully, and cut in lumps before 
putting in the oven. 

"This mixture can be kept in the cellar for months and can 
be used to make the 

"Leckerli: Add to the dough, chopped almonds V^; lb., pre- 
served orange peel 2 drams, ditto lemon 1 dram, cinnamon Vi 
dram, and 20 cloves, all finely powdered. Mix well and bake. ' ' 
(Dennler, "Honey and Its Uses.") 

853. Honey Cake: Warm half a glass of milk with Vi pound 
of sugar in a stew pan. Put in % of a pound of honey and boil 
slowly. Then add 1 pound of flour, ^o dram of soda, and 
knead, spread on a pan and bake for an hour." 

854. Italian "Croccante Di Mandorle": "Blanch two pounds 
of almonds, by dipping in boiling water. Slice them with a 
knife. Add the yellow peel of a lemon cut fine, some powdered 
vanilla, and a few lumps of sugar flavored by rubbing them on 
orange peel. Boil 2 pounds of good honey with an ounce of 
olive oil or good unsalted butter, till it is reduced to thick 
syrup. Then add the almonds, lemon, etc., a little at a time, 
mix well, pour in a buttered tin pan and press the mixture 
against the sides with a lemon peel. It should not be more than 
half an inch thick. AVhen cool take the crisp cake out of the 
vessel by warming it a little." (Sartori & Eauschenfels. 
L'Apicoltura in Italia.) 

855. Muth's Honey Cake: 4 quarts of hot honey and 10 
pounds of flour, with ground anise seed, cloves and cinnamon 
to suit the taste. This is made into a dough and left to rest 
for a week or two, when it is rolled out in cakes and baked. 
The longer the rest, the better the cokes. 

Fruit jellies with honey: Take the juice of currants or other 
fruits, and after adding a like quantity of honey, boil to a 
jelly. Put in small tumblers, well sealed, in a dry room. 

856. HoNEY-viXEGAR is Superior in quality ta all other 
Mnds, wine vinegar included. 

It takes from one to one and a half pounds of honey to 
make one gallon of vinegar. Two good authorities on honey 


vinegar, Messrs. Muth and Bingham, advise the use of only 
one pound of honey with enough water to make each gallon 
of vinegar. We prefer to use a little more honey, as it makes 
stronger vinegar, but the weaker grade is more quickly made. 
If the honey water was too sweet, the fermentation would be 
much slower, and with difficulty change from the alcoholic, 
which is the first stage, into the acetic. This change of fer- 
mentation may be hurried by the addition of a little \'inegar, 
or of w^hat is commonly called vinegar mother. 

If honey water, from cappings, is used, a good test of its 
strength is to put an egg in it. The egg should float, coming 
up to the surface at once. If it does not rise easily, there 
is too little honey. As vinegar is made by the combined 
action of air and warmth, the barrel in which it is contained 
must be only partly filled, and should be kept as warm as 
convenient. It is best to make a hole . in each head of the 
barrel, about four or five inches below the upper stave, to 
secure a current of air above the liquid. These, as well as the 
bung hole, should be covered with veiy fine wire screen, or 
with cloth, to stop insects. 

A very prompt method consists in allowing the liquid to 
drip slowly from one barrel into another, as often as pos- 
sible during warm weather. 

As we make vinegar not only for oui' own use, but also to 
sell to our neighbors, we keep two barrels, one of vinegar 
already made, the other fermenting. "When we draw a gal- 
lon of vinegar, we replace it with a gallon fi-om the other 
barrel. This keeps up the supply. 

Vinegar should not be kept in the same cellar with wines, 
as its ferment would spoil the Avines sooner or later. 

Honey as Medicine. 

857. In Denmark and Hanover, the treatment of Chlor- 
osis, by honey, is popular. The pale girls of the cities are sent 
to the country, to take exercise and eat honey. The good 

530 t'SES OF HONEY. 

results of this treatment have suggested to Lehman the theory 
that the insufficiency of hepathic sugar is the cause of Chlor- 
osis, which thus explains the curing effect of honey. (Jaccoud, 
as quoted by the Bevue Internationale d^ Apiculture.) 

Honey, mixed with flour, is used to cover boils, bruises, 
bums, etc. ; it keeps them from contact with the air, and helps 
the healing. Beverages, sweetened with honey, will cure sore 
throat, coughs, and will stop the development of diphtheria, 
especially if taken on an empty stomach, at bed time. A glass 
of wine or cider, strongly sweetened with honey, is ad\'ised in 
VApiculteur, as a cure for colds. (1886.) 

Suckling babies are cured of constipation, by a mixture of 
bread and honej- given them, tied in a "sugar teat.'' 

A constant use of honey, at meal time, cures some of the 
worst cases of piles. 

"According to Mr, Woiblet, washing the hands with sweet- 
ened water will kill warts. Having heard of the healing he 
put honey plasters on the hands of a child who had a large 
wart in the palm of the hand, and after a few days of treat- 
ment the wart disappeared." — Bertrand, (Revue Internationale 
d 'Apiculture.) 


Beeswax^ and its Uses. 
Melt in r; Wax. 

858. We will now describe the different processes used by 
bee-keepers to render the combs into wax. To melt every 
comb, or piece of comb, as it is taken from the hive, would 
increase the work, and, as it is preferable to choose our time 
for this operation, we have to preserve them from the ravages 
of the moths (802) by some of the methods that we have 
given (812). 

859. The cappings (772) after extracting, are allowed to 
drain in a warm place for several weeks; very nice honey 
being obtained from them. They are then washed in hot water, 
and the sweet water obtained can be used for cider, or wine, 
or vinegar (856). These cappings, as well as the broken 
pieces of white comb in which brood was never raised, should 
be melted apart from the darker combs, for, not only are 
they easier to melt, but the wax obtained being very bright 
in color, is unsurpassed for making comb-foundation (674) 
for surplus boxes. 

860. When the combs are blackened by the dejections of 
the worker bees (784), or of the drones (40), and by the 
skins and cocoons of the larvse (167), it is so difficult to 
render the wax, that many bee-keepers think it is not worth 
the trouble. We advise washing these combs and keeping 
them under water for about twenty-four hours. Then the co- 
coons and other refuse being thoroughly wet and partly dis- 
solved, will not adhere to the wax. This will be lighter col- 
ored, if the combs are melted with clear water and not with 
the water already darkened by the washing. 




But as this method always leaves some wax in the residues, 
for some of it goes into the cells during the melting, and it 
is impossible to dislodge it, a better result is obtained by 
crushing the combs before washing them. But this pulver- 
izing can be done only in Winter, when the wax is brittle. 

861. The combs should be melted with soft or rain water, 

Fig. 227. 


a— Removable crank, b— Level of the water, c— Screen for straining: the 
liquid wax. d— Level of the combs, e— Wings of the wheel, f— Shoulders 
for supporting kettle on stove. 

the boiler kept about two-thirds full, and heated slowly, to 
prevent boiling over. If the floor, around the stove, is kept 
wet, any wax that may drop will be easily peeled off. 

During the melting carefully stir till all is well dissolved. 



Then lower into the boiler a sieve made of a piece of wire 
cloth, bent in the shape of a box, from which the wax can be 
dipped as it strains into it. If the whole is thoroughly stirred 
for some time, verj' little wax will be left in the residues. 
This is the cheapest and best method of rendering wax, with- 
out the help of a specially made wax-extractor. 

862. To obtain as much wax as possible from the combs, 

Fig. 228. 


(From the A B C of Bee Culture.) 

the large wax manufacturers of Europe empty the contents 
of the boiler into a bag, made of hoi^se-hair or strong twine, 
and place the bag under a press while boiling hot. All the 
implements used, as well as tlie bag, are previously wetted, 
to prevent their sticking. 

Several implements have lately been devised for rendering 



beeswax. A French wax-bleacher devised a ket%, Fig. 227, 
described in the American Bee Journal, which permits of 
stirring the combs while they are held under water. In this 
way the wax is permitted to escape. To make it still more 
easy for the wax to come to the surface they use salt water, 
which is heavier than ordinary rain water and its greater 
density causes the wax to float more readily. 

But the ultimate method for getting all the v:ax out of the 
"slum-gum" or residues is the use of a press. The German 

Fig. 229. 


press, Fig. 228, does good work, if not too great a quantity of 
residue is rendered at one time. Mr. Hershiser of Buffalo has 
devised a press. Fig. 229, in which he uses screens between 
several layers of comb wrapped in burlap. These screens 
allow the wax to escape from the center of the mass, much on 
the same plan as the large cider presses of Illinois, in which the 
apple cheese is separated by cloth in a dozen different layers. 
The different presses must be used over steam or water, so as to 
keep the mass hot all the time. 


863. Cappings from the extracting and small pieces gath- 
ered from time to time, may be rendered during the summer, 
by the use of a sun-extractor, wherever the sun is sufficiently 
powerful. At this latitude, the 42°, sun-extractors can be 
efficiently used during the months of May, June, July, and 
August. The sun-extractcr requires no labor from the Apia- 
rist, other than filling it with combs and removing the melted 

864. The dealers in France buy, from the bee-keepers, 
for little or nothing, the residues of their melted combs. They 
dissolve them in turpentine, press the pulp dry, and distill 
the liquid, to separate the turpentine. As the wax is not 
volatile, it remains in the still. It is said that, when wax 
was dearer than it is now, large profits were realized by this 

865. To cleanse beeswax from its impurities, we melt it 
carefully with cistern water and pour it into flaring cans 
(wider at the top than at the bottom) containing a little boil- 
ing water. This wax is kept in the liquid state, at a high 
temperature, for twenty-four hours. During this time, the 
impurities drop to the bottom and can be scraped from the 
cake when cold. Some wax can be obtained from this refuse, 
but some of it is always left in the dregs, as is proven by 
the impossibility of dissolving them by exposure. Nothing 
can destroy beeswax, except fire, or the ravages of the bee- 
moth. Exposure to the weather does not affect it, but only 
bleaches it. 

To prevent the cakes of wax from cracking, it should be 
poured into the molds or cans when only 165° Fahr. and 
should be kept in a warm place to cool slowly. 

Sulphuric acid is used by bleachers and foundation manu- 
facturers in rendering beeswax out of the dark residues. Some 
writers have recommended this method to the bee-keeper. We 
\vish to warn them against it. No acid is necessaiy in sep- 
arating the wax from the impurities of the combs and if it 
is used, the beeswax loses its fine honey and bee flavor and 


smell. There would be but little harm, if the acid (oil of 
vitriol) was used sparingly, but beginners often use enough 
in rendering a hundred pounds, to serve for a thousand pounds 
or more. The only utility of it is in rendering residues of 
the worst quality in large establishments. 

866. The utmost care is necessaiy not to spoil wax in 
melting it. If heated too fast, the steam may disaggregate it. 
Then its color is lighter, but veiy dim; the wax having lost 
its transparency, resembles a cake of corn meal. When it is 
in this condition, water will run out of it if a small lump 
is pressed between the fingers. The best way to restore it is 
to melt it slowlj' in a solar wax extractor (fig. 229). We 
have succeeded also by melting it with water, and keeping 
the water boiling slowly till all the water eontamed between 
the particles of wax had evaporated. But this work is te- 
dious and cannot be accomplished without the greatest care 
and a skillful hand. Whatever the means used, you may rely 
on more or less waste.* 

Wax-bleachers draw wax into small ribbons which are 
exposed to the rays of the sun for several weeks, or melted 
with chemical acids ; but wax-bleaching is beyond the purpose 
of this book. 

Usea of TFax. 

8615'. Before the invention of parchment, prepared as a 
material for writing, from the skins of goats, sheep, calves, 
etc., tablets covered with a light coat of wax were used. A 
style— an instrument sharp at one end to engrave characters 
in the wax, and broad and smooth at the other end to erase 
them— was used in place of a pen. The Latin poet Horatius, 
})orn sixty-five years before Christ, probably used these tab- 
lets, for, in his admonition to poets, he writes : ''Saepe stylum 

* Whenever beeswax it: melted in water, even with the utmost care, 
some small portions of it are water-damaged and settle to the bottom 
of the cake with the dregs. This water-damaged bet?wax has oiten 
been mistaken for pollen residues. 

L^ES OF WAX. 537 

verf as.' '—"turn often your style;" thereby meaning: "Care- 
fully correct your writings." 

Several nations of old, having noticed that beeswax does 
not rot. used it to embalm their dead. Alexander the Great 
\ras embalmed with wax and honey. 

868. Beeswax is largely used by the Catholic chm-ches, for 
lights, during the ceremonies, for it is prescribed to priests 
to use exclusively wax produced by bees. 

869. In several countries of Europe the floors and stairs, 
instead of being covered with carpets, are rubbed with wax 
and carefully scrubbed with a diy brush every day till they 
shine. In Paris, floor scrubbing is a business which supports 
i.iany working families. 

Beeswax is used also by the sculptors and painters to 
Aarnish their work, to model wax flgures; by dentists to take 
imprints of jaw-bones. It is retailed in small lumps and 
used to give smoothness and stiffness to thread for sewing. 

The easting of bronze statues and works of art a cire 
perdue, has been largely practiced in France since the Renais- 
sance. This process is mentioned in Harpers' Monthly for 
September, 1886. 

870. Beeswax forms part of a great many medicines, and 
pomades for the toilet. Here are a few recipes selected among 
liundreds of others: 

J. Salve or Cerate for Inflamed Wounds. 

Beeswax 1 part 

Sweet almond oil 4 parts 

Dissolve the wax in the oil and stir well till cold. Sv/eet 
almond oil can be replaced by olive, or cotton seed, or linseed 
oil, or. oven by fresh unsalted butter. 

This cerate, may be used as a vehicle by the endermic 
method— -we mean by frictions on the thin parts of the skin 
—to introduce into the blood several substances, such as 
quinine, against fever; surphur, for itches; camphor, henbane, 
opium, as sedatives; iodine, as depurative; and so on, the 
only care being to have the drugs carefully mixed. 


2d. Turpentine Balm for Atonic Wounds, (without in- 
flammation) : 

Yellow Beeswax 


Essence of Turpentine 

Equal parts. 
Melt the wax, add the turpentine, then the essence. 

3d, Salve for the Lips: 

Wax one part 

Sweet Almond Oil two parts 

Add a small quantity of Carmine to color it, strain and add, 
when melted again and half cold, some volatile Oil of Rose. 

4th. Adhesive Plaster for Cuts (sweet-scented) : 

Colophony 40 parts 

Wax 45 " 

Elemi rosin 25 " 

Melt and add : 

Oil of Bergamot 5 parts 

Oil of Cloves 2 " 

Oil of Lemon 2 " 

5th. Green Wax for Corns: 

Yellow wax 4 parts 

White pitch 2 " 

Venice Turpentine 1 " 

Sub-acetate Copper (finely powd.) . 1 " 

Melt the wax and the white pitch, add the acetate of copper 
well mixed with the turpentine, and stir till cold. If too 
hard to be spread on small pieces of cloth, add a little olive, 
or cotton seed, oil. 


6th. Balm of Lausanne, for Ulcerated Chilhlains and 
Chaps of the Mammae or Teats: 

Olive or Cotton seed oil 500 

Rosin of Swiss Turpentine 100 

Yellow Wax 133 

Powdered Root of Alkanet 25 

Keep it melted au bain-marie (834) for half an hour and 

Balsamum Peruvianum 16 

Gum Camphor 1 

7th. Mixture to Remove the Cracks in Horses' Hoofs: 
Melt equal parts of wax and honey on a slow tire, and mix 

Clean carefully the hoof with tepid water and nib the 
mixture in it with a brush. The cracks will disappear after 
several applications and the hoof will be softened. 

8th. To Keep the Luster of Polished Steel Tools: 

Oil of Turpentine S 

Wax 1 

Boiled Linseed Oil Yz 


Bees axd Fruits axd Flowers. 

871. AVe have shown, in the chapter on Physiology (43), 
that bees cannot injure sound fruits, and in the chapter on 
Food (268), that they help the fecundation of flowers; but 
this accusation of bees mjuring- fruits has become of so 
much importance in the past years, especially in the best fruit 
and bee countiy of the world, California, that we deem it 
necessary to give it a whole chapter. 

While the honey-bee is regarded by the best informed hor- 
ticulturists as a friend, a strong prejudice has been excited 
against it by many fruit-growers; and in some communities, 
a man who keeps bees, is considered as bad a neighbor, as 
one who allows his poultry to despoil the gardens of others. 
Even some warm friends of the "busy bee," may be heard 
lamenting its propensity to banquet on their beautiful peaches 
and pears, and choicest grapes and plums. 

That bees do gather the sweet juice of fruits when nothing 
else is to be found, is certain; but it is also evident that their 
jaws being adapted chiefly to the manipulation of wax, are 
too feeble to enable them to puncture the skin of the most 
delicate grapes. 

H7^Z. We made experiments in our apiary on bees and 
grapes, during the season of 1879— one of the worst seasons 
we ever knew for bees. The Summer having been exceedingly 
dry, the grape crojD was large and the honey crop small. In 
everv^ vineyard a number of ripe grapes were eaten by bees, 
and the grape-growers in our vicinity were so positively certain 
that the bees were guilty, that they held a meeting, to petition 
the State Legislature, for a law preventing any one from 
owning more than ten hives of bees. 



This serious charge called our attention to the matter, and 
we decided to make a thorough investigation, in our own 
vineyard. But although many bees were seen banqueting on 
grapes, not one was doing any mischief to the sound fruit. 
Grapes which were bruised on the vines, or lying on the 
ground, and the moist stems, from which gi-apes had recently 
been plucked, were covered with bees; while other bees were 
observed to alight upon bunches, which, when fomid by care- 
ful inspection to be somid, they left with evident disappomt- 

Wasps and hornets, which secrete no wax, bemg furnished 
with strong, saw-like jaws, for cutting the woody fibre with 
which ibey build their combs, can easily penetrate the skin of 
the toughest fruits. While the bees, therefore, appeared to 
be comparatively innocent, multitudes of these depredators 
were seen helping themselves to the best of the grapes. Oc- 
casionally, a bee would presume to alight on a bunch where 
one of these pests was operating for his own benefit, when 
the latter would turn and "show fight," much after the fash- 
ion of a snarlmg dog, molested by another of his species, while 
daintily discussing his own private bone. 

During grape picking, the barrels in which our grapes were 
hauled to the wine cellar, were covered with a cloud of bees 
feeding on the damaged clusters, and thej^ followed the wagon, 
to the cellar. After removing the barrels to a jDlace of safety, 
we left one bunch of sound g rapes ^ on the wagon, puncturing 
one of the grapes with a pin. This bunch, being the only one 
remaining exposed, was at once covered with such a swarm 
of bees that it was entirely hidden from sight. It was three 
o'clock in the afternoon. At sunset the bees were all gone, 
except three, who were too exhausted to fly off. The bunch 
had lost its bloom, the grapes were shiny, but entirely somid. 
The one punctured grape had a slight depression at the pin 
hole, showing that the bees had sucked all the juice they 
could reach, but they had not even enlarged the hole. 

We also placed bunches of sound grapes inside of some four 


or five hives of bees, directly over the frames, and three weeks 
after we found that the bees had glued them fast to the combs 
as they glue up anything they cannot get rid of, but the 
grapes were perfectly intact. This test may be made by 
every Apiarist. 

Mr. McLain, at one time U. S. Apiarian expert, was instructed 
to test this matter thoroughly by shutting up bees with sound 
fruit, and the results were the same as in our case. (See the 
Agricultural Reports for 1885.) 

873. The main damage to grapes is done by birds. Hence, 
the borders of a large \'ineyard are first to suffer, especially 
when in proximity to hedges, orchards or timber. 

Even in small cities, the number of birds that feed on fruit 
is extraordinary, and one can have no idea of their depredations 
until he has watched for them at daybreak, which is the time 
best suited to their pilfering. 

After the mischief has been begun by them or by insects, 
or whenever a crack, or a spot of decay is seen, the honey-bee 
hastens to help itself, on the principle of "gathering up the 
fragments, that nothing may be lost." In this way, they 
undoubtedly do some mischief, but they are, on the whole, 
far more useful than injurious. 

875. Among thousands of testimonials, we translate the 
following from UApicoltore, of Milan, Italy, May, 1874, page 

"Being a lover of good wine, I manufacture mine from wdlted 
grapes; my crop amounts annually to from thirty to forty 
hectolitres* of wine, worth on average, one franc, seventy-five 
centimes per litre, t When my grapes are gathered, I spread 
them on mats of reed or straw in a sunny place in front of my 
apiary, where they remain about two weeks. For the first two 
or three days the mats are covered with bees, but I pay no 
attention to this, for I have ascertained that they gather only 
the juice of the berries that are damaged. As soon as the 

* One hectolitre is twenty-five gallons. 

t This is about one dollar and forty cents per gallon, a high price for Italy. 


injured berries are sucked dry, the bees cease visiting the mats, 
for they cannot open sound berries. Instead of doing me any 
damage, they help me greatly, as they take away from my 
grapes the otherwise souring juices, which would give a bad 
taste to my wine. — Gaetano Taxini, Coriano, Italy, February, 

876. Those who handle grapes, apples, etc., in times of 
honey-dearth, should avoid attracting the bees, bj' unneces- 
sarily exposing the crushed fruit, in waiin weather, as the 
presence of bees in press-houses and sheds, where fruit is 
either made into wine, or otherwise prepared for use, is the 
greatest annoyance that they can cause the horticulturist. 

With a little care, a wine-grower may escape all trouble, 
even if his press-house is in reach of a large apiary. But 
let him not imitate the grocer who had an open box of 
comb-honey at his door "for show," and tried to "shoo" the 
bees off, when they, in turn, deputized a few of their number 
to "shoo" him off, with great success. 

H77. In these depredations, the wine-growers who do not 
own bees are often vei*y much incensed, because they believe 
that the Apiarist is making a profit out of their loss. But 
such is not the case. The Apiarist loses more than the wine- 
grower, for many of the bees are destroj^ed, and the juice 
Avhich the others brhig home is worse than useless, as it is bad 
Winter food (627). 

It is tlierefore, to the interest of the Apiarist, as well as of 
the fruit-grower, to prevent the bees, in all possible ways, 
from getting a taste of the forbidden juices, in seasons— 
luckily scarce— Avhen there is a dearth of honey during wine- 
making time. 

878. Some ignorant people have also contended that the 
numerous visits of bees to flowers, injure the latter and cause 
them to abort. This is the greatest of all delusions. White- 
clover, knot-weed, and Spanish-needles, which are among the 
plants most visited by bees, are also the most abundant, and 
if they were damaged, by being deprived of the honey which 


they yield, they would sooner or later disappear. All the 
observ'ations that have been made, whether scientific or prac- 
tical, show that the contraiy is the truth. 


Bee-Keeper's Calexdar. 

This chapter gives to the inexperienced bee-keeper brief 
directions for each month in the year,* and, by means of the 
full alphabetical index, all that is said on any topic can 
easily be referred to. 

879. January. — In cold climates, bees are now usually 
in a state of repose. If the colonies have had proper atten- 
tion in the Fall, nothing will ordinarily need to be done that 
will excite them to an injurious activity. 

In January there are occasionally, even in veiy cold lati- 
tudes, days so pleasant that bees can fly out to discharge 
their faeces; do not confine them, even if some are lost in the 

It is advisable to arouse them early so as to cause them to 
fly (689) if the day is sufficiently warm. Othenvise, disturb 
them as little as possible. In very cold climates, where cellar 
wintering (646) is resorted to, all that is required is to keep 
the temperature as even and as near 42^ to 45^ as possible 
(648), with quietude and darkness (650). The Winter 
months are those, in which the bee-keeper should prepare his 
hives, sections, foundation, &c., for the coming busy season. 

880. February. — This month is sometimes colder than 
January, and then the directions given for the previous month 
must be followed. In mild seasons, however, and in warm 
regions, bees begin to fly quite lively in Februai-y, and in some 
locations they gather pollen (263). The bottom-board should 
be cleaned of the dead bees and other rubbish (663) that 
sometimes obstruct the entrance, and prevent the bees from 

* Palladius, who wrote on bees nearly 2,000 years ago, arranges his 
remarks in the form of a monthly calendar. 


o4(i bEE-KEEPl-.R^S CALENDAft. 

flying out; as their worry in finding themselves imprisoned 
does them much harm. If any hives are suspiciously light, 
food (607) should be given them; this only in mild climates. 
Strong colonies will now begin to breed slightly, but nothing 
should be done to excite them to premature activity. 

881. March.— In our Northern States, the inhospitable 
reign of Winter still continues, and the directions given for 
the two i^revious months are applicable to this. If there 
should be a pleasant day, ^vhen the bees are able to fly briskly, 
seize the opportunity to remove the covers (636) ; carefully 
clean out the hives (663), and learn the exact condition of 
every colony. See that your bees have water (271), and are 
well supplied with rye-flour (265). In this month, w^eak 
colonies commonly begin to breed, Avhile strong ones increase 
quite rapidly. 

If the Winter has beeii very severe, this month is the most 
destructive to unhealthy bees. The hives of dead colonies 
should be thoroughly cleaned, and closed tightly to keep r(>b- 
bers (664) out, or they would carry off what honey may 
remain in them. Spring dwindling (659) should be guarded 
against by shutting off all upward ventilation (352), and 
reducing the space in the brood-chamber (349) to the num- 
ber of combs actually occupied by the bees. The entrance of 
the hives, especially of the weak colonies, should also be nar- 
rowed (348).. 

If the weather is favorable, colonies which have been kept 
in a special Winter depositoiy, may now be put upon their 
proper stands. 

The time of removal from cellars (646) must depend 
altogether on the locality. Dr. C. C. Miller removes his 
bees when the first maple tree hlooms. In Canada, they are 
sometimes left in the cellar till May. As a rule^ bees are 
not, and should not be, wintered in cellars, south of the 39th 
degree of latitude. 

882. April.— Bees will ordmarily begin to gather much 
pollen (263), in this month, and sometimes considerable 

bee-keeper's calendar, 547 

honey. As brood is now veiy rapidly maturing, there is a 
lai'gely increased demand for honey, and great care should 
be taken to prevent the bees from suffering for want of food 
(607). If the supplies are at all deficient, breeding will 
be checked^ even if much of the brood does not perish, or 
the whole colony die of starvation. If the weather is pro- 
pitious, and the bees do not have a liberal supply of stores 
on hand, feeding to promote a more rapid increase of young 
may now be commenced (606). Feeble colonies must now 
be reinforced (-ISO), and should the weather continue cold 
for several days at a time, the bees ought to be supplied 
with water (271) in their hives. 

This point is much neglected, by ourselves, as well as by 
others, in practice, but we are convmced that much of our 
April loss is due to the bees going in search of water in 
inclement weather (662). At this time, if not before, the 
larvae of the bee-moth will begin to make their appearance, 
and should be carefully destroyed, not that they are very 
damaging to bees in a carefully-conducted apiary, but only 
that they give annoyance by their presence on the combs or 
comb-honey, removed from the bees, in the latter part of the 
season (812). "One stitch in time saves nine." One moth 
killed in April, prevents several thousand in October. 

It is at this time^ that the hives should be inspected, to 
remove all drone comb that can be found, as well as crooked 
combs and broken pieces,— to be replaced by straight worker 
comb (676), or strips of fomidation (674). At this time, 
also, the hives that are intended for drone raising (511), 
should be supplied with sufficient drone como for the purpose. 
Queenless colonies should be given young queens, purchased 
from queen-breeders in the South. This may be deferred 
until May, if the weather is cool. Weak queenless colonies 
should be united to others, as a rule, it does not pay to give 
brood to a queenless colony for raising young queens, unless 
it is quite strong, in bees. 

883. May.— As the weather becomes more genial, the in- 


crease of bees in the colonies is exceedingly rapid, and drones, 
if they have not previously made their appearance, begin to 
issue f roni the hives that have been allowed to retain a notable 
amount of drone comb, and this is the time to raise queens 
for increase, or for improvement (4S9). 

The breeding space of weak colonies, which has been 
previously reduced, should again be enlarged as their needs 
may demand (3-19). If their combs are judiciously in- 
creased, with a proper amount of stimulative food (606), 
and a little help from the stronger colonies (480), they 
may become as strong as any for the June harvest. In some 
localities, the strongest colonies may already gather much 
honey, and it will often be advisable to give them the supers 
(724) ; but in some seasons and localities, either from long 
and cold storms, or a deficiency of forage, hives not well sup- 
plied with honey will exhaust their stores, and perish, unless 
they are fed. In favorable seasons, swarms (406) may be 
expected in this months even in the Northern States. These 
May swarms often issue near the close of the blossoming of 
fruit-trees, and just before the later supplies of forage, and 
if the weather becomes suddenly unfavorable, may starve, 
unless they are fed, even Avhen there is an abundant supply 
of blossoms in the field. 

884. June. — This is the great swarmmg month in all our 
Northern and IMiddle States. As bees keep up a high tem- 
perature in their hives, they are by no means so dependent 
upon tlie w^eather for forwardness, as plants, and as most 
other insects necessarily are. We have had as early swarms 
in Northern Massachusetts, as in the vicinity of Philadelphia. 

If the surplus cases (724) have been put on before the 
honey crop, there will be a less number of swarms, especially 
if the boxes have been furnished with combs, as baits, and 
the entrance enlarged to help ventilation (344). 

If the apiaiy is not carefully watched the bee-keeper, 
after a short absence, should examine the neighboring bushes 
and trees, on some of which he will often find a swann 


clustered, preparatoiy to their departure for a new home 
(419). ' 

"As it may often be important to know from which hive the 
swarm has issued, after it has been hived and removed to its 
new stand, let a cup-full of bees be taken from it and thrown 
into the air, near the apiary, after having sprinkled them with 
flour; they will soon return to the parent colony, and may 
easily be recognized, by standing at the entrance, fanning, like 
ventilating bees." — Dzierzon. 

This is the quickest method to discover the home of a 

As fast as the surplus honey receptacles are filled, more 
room should be given {735, 763). Careless bee-keepers 
often lose much, by negiecting to do this in season, thereby 
condemning their colonies to a very unwilling idleness. The 
Apiarist will bear in mind, that all after-swarms which come 
off late in this month, should be either aided, doubled, or 
returned to the mother-colony. Tlie issue of such swarms may 
be prevented, by removing, in season, the supernumerary 
queen-cells. During all the swarming season, and, indeed, 
at all other times when young queens are being bred, the 
bee-keeper must ascertain seasonably, that the hives which 
contain them, succeed in securing a fertile mother (152). 

8S5. July. — In some seasons and districts, this is the 
great swarming month; while in others, bees issuing so late, 
are of small account. In Northern Massachusetts, we have 
known swarms coining after the Fourth of July, to fill their 
hives, and make large quantities of surplus honey besides. 
In this month, or as soon as the first crop is over, all the 
spare honey should be removed from the hives, before the 
delicate whiteness of the combs becomes soiled by the travel 
of the bees, or the quality of the honey is impaired by an 
inferior article gathered later in the season (782). For the 
same reason, the honey extracted after this crop should not be 
mixed with that harvested later. In all the localities where 

550 bee-keeper's calendar. 

a second crop is expected, the bees should again be incited to 
breed (606) to be ready for this second crop. 

The bees should have a liberal allowance of air during all 
extremely hot weather, especially if they are in unpainted 
hives, or stand in the sun (344). 

The larger the amount of honey they contain, the greater 
the danger of combs breaking down from the intense heat 
(369). The end of the honey crop can be told by the 
presence of a few robbers who immediately begin lurking 
about the hives (664). 

886. August.— In most regions, there is but little forage 
for bees during the latter part of July, and the first of August, 
and they being, on this account, tempted to rob each other, 
the greatest precautions should be used in opening hives 
(666). In districts where buckwheat is extensively culti- 
vated, on flat prairies, or in the low land surrounding- o.u' 
rivers, in which Fall-blossoms gi'ow, the main harvest is some- 
times gathered during this month and the next, and swarm- 
ing (406) may be resumed. In 1856, we had a buckwheat 
swarm as late as the 16th of September ! 

The bee-keeper who has queenless hives (499) on hand 
as late as August, must expect, as the result of his ignorance 
or neglect, either to have them robbed (664) by other colo- 
nies, or destroyed by the moth (802). 

887. September.— This is often a very busy month with 
bees. The Fall flowers are in full blossom, and in some 
seasons, colonies which have hitherto amassed but little honey, 
become hea\7'^, and even yield a surplus to their owner. Bees 
are quite reluctant to build comb so late in the season, even 
if supplies are veiy abundant; but if empty combs are pro- 
vided, they will fill them with astonishing celerity (763). 

As S'jon as the first frost takes place, or whenever the crop 
is at end, the entire surplus must be removed, whether it be 
comb or extracted honey. If our method of extracting 
(781) is resorted to, the supers that have been returned to 
the bees, for cleaning, after the honey is extracted, may be 

bee-keeper's calendar. 5511 

left on the hives till October, as they are safer from the moths, 
when in care of the bees. 

If no Fall supplies abound, and any colonies are too light 
to whiter with safety, then, in the Northern States, the latter 
part of this month is the proper time for feeding (608) 
them. We have already stated, that it is impossible to tell 
how much food a colony will require (623), to cany it 
safely through the Winter; it will be found, however, veiy 
unsafe to trust to a bare supply, for, even if there is food 
enough, it may not always be readily accessible (631) to 
the bees. Great caution will still be necessary to gTiard 
against robbing; but if there are no feeble, queenless or 
impoverished colonies, the bees, unless tempted by improper 
management, will not rob each other (664). 

888. October.— Forage is now almost entirely exhausted 
in most localities, and colonies which are too light should 
either be fed, or have surplus honey from other hives given 
to them, early this month. 

The extracting cases (781) should be removed previous to 
cold weather, as some bees may cluster in them and starve. 
These cases must be piled up carefully in the coldest room 
(810) of the honey house, safe from mice (816). The 
exact condition of every hive should be known now, at the 
latest, and, if any are queenless, they should be broken up. 
Small colonies ought tc be promptly united. 

The honey-selling season is now at hand, and from this 
time till the end of the holidays, the producer must look 
for a honey market. He should not only rely on sale in large 
cities, for they are always crowded, but a home market must 
be cultivated (840). 

889. November. — The hives should now be put in Win- 
ter quarters, the quilt removed, and absorbents placed in the 
upper stoiy (636). 

All possible shelter should be given (635). For cellar- 
wintering (646), the time of removing the bees should be 
at the opening of cold weather. The later in the season that 

552 BEE- keeper's calj:ndar. 

the bees are able to fly out and discharge their faeces, the 
better. The bee-keeper must regulate the time oi housing his 
bees by the season and climate, being careful neither to take 
them in until cold weather appears to be fairly established, 
nor to leave them out too late. A cold day, immediately after 
a warm spell is the best time (647). 

890. December.— In regions where it is advisable to house 
bees, the dreary reign of Winter is now fairly established, 
and the directions given for January are for the most part 
equally applicable to this month. It may be well, in hives 
out of doors, to remove the dead bees and other refuse from 
the bottom boards if the weather is warm enough for them 
to fly; but, neither in this month nor at any other time should 
this be attempted with those removed to a dark and protected 
place. Such colonies must not, except under the pressure 
of some urgent necessity, be disturbed in the very least. 

We I'ecommend to the inexperienced bee-keeper to read this 
synojDsis of monthly management, again and again, and to be 
sure that he fully understands, and punctually discharges, 
the appropriate duties of each month, neglecting nothing, 
and procrastinating nothing to a mure convenient season ; 
for, while bees do not reguire a large amount of attention, 
in proportion to the profits yielded by them, they must have 
it at the proper time and in the right way. Those who com- 
plain of their unprofitableness, are often as much to blame 
as a farmer who neglects to take care of his stock, or to 
gather his crojDs, and then denounces his employment as yield- 
ing onlj' a scanty return on a large investment of capital and 

In Short. 

891. Spring.— Keep hives warm, give plenty of food, 
help weak colonies, look out for robbers, remove drone-comb, 
prepare for queen-breeding, and for the honey crop. 

892. Summer.— Watch for swarms; and make divisions, 


if increase is wanted. Give sufficient storage-room. Give 
additional ventilation if needed. Whenever the crop is over, 
remove the surplus. 

893. Fall,— Look out for robbers, and for moths on 
unoccupied combs. See that all hives have suffcient stores 
for Winter, and unite worthless colonies to others. 

894, Winter.— For out of doors, pack absorbents in 
upper story, removing- air-tight quilts. Shelter as much as 
possible from Avinds. Leave the bees quiet in cold weather, 
and see that they have a flight in warm weather. Do not 
be confident of safe wintering till March is over. Then pro- 
portionate the room to the strength of the colony. For cellar 
wintering, take the bees in, after a warm day, leave them 
quiet, in the dark, with an even temperature; take them out 
on a warm day, and decrease the brood-chamber to suit the 
strengtli of the colonies. 

Mistakes that Beginners Are Liable to Make. 

895. i. — They are apt to thmk themselves posted after 
they liave read the theory, and before they get the practice. 

5.— Hence they are apt to invent or adopt new hives, that 
are lacking in the most important features (358). 

.5. — They are apt to think that bees are harvesting honey, 
at times when they are starving. They should remember that 
each honey crop lasts only a few days,— a few weeks at most. 

4. — They are apt to mistake young bees on their first trip 
for robbers and vice versa. Young bees fly out in the after- 
noon only, and do not hunt around corners. Robbers are 
gorged with honey w^ien coming out of the plundered hive, 
and a number of them are slick, hairless and shiny. Bees that 
have been fed in the hive or whose combs have been damaged, 
or extracted, and returned to the hive, act like robbers, and 
incite robbing (664). 

5. — They are apt to overdo artificial swarming (481). 


6'. — They are apt to extract too niiK-h honey from the brood- 
eombs (771). 

r. — Tliey underestimate the vahie of good worker comb 

5. — They do not pay sufficient attention to the removal of 
the excess of drone-comb (675). 

9.— They become easily discouraged by Winter losses and 
Spring dwindling. Some of our most successful Apiarists 
periodically lose a large portion of their colonies, and 
promptly recruit again, by the help of their empty worker- 
combs (676). 

i(?,— When they find bee-keeping successful, they are liable 
to rush into it on too large a scale before being sufficiently 
acquainted with it. "If there is any business in this world 
that demands industry-, skill and tact, to insure succes.s, it is 
this of ours."— (Heddon.) 

ii. — They are apt to try two or three different styles of 
hives, before they find out that it is important to have all 
the hives, frames, caps, crates, etc., in an apiaiy, alike, and 
interchangeable, except for purposes of experiment. 

i^. — They are liable to attempt to winter their bees in a 
cold room, or in some repositoiy in which the temperature 
goes below the freezing point (648). Manj- a colony has 
been thus innocently murdered, by misguided solicitude. 

iJ. — They are prone, to establish niles of action from ex- 
periments made on one or two colonies and thus make a rule 
out of an exception. Experiments have little value if they 
have not been conducted on a large scale. 

Bee-Keepers^ Axioms. 

896. There are a few first principles in boe-kecping 
which ought to be as familiar to the Apiarist as Iho 'otters 
of his alphabet : 

1st. Bees gorged with honey never volunteer an attack. 


Thus, bees that come back loaded from the field, or bees that 
have gorged themselves for swarming, are not dangerous. 

2d. The bees that are to be feared are those that have 
joined a swarm without fully gorgmg themselves. In the 
hive, the guardians, and the old bees that are i-eady to depart 
for the field, are the most dangerous. 

3d. During a good liDney harvest, the bees are nearly all 
filled with honey and there is but little danger from stinging. 

4tli. Those races of bees that cannot be compelled, by 
smoke, to fill themselves with honey, are the most dangerous, 
to handle. 

5th. Bees dislike any quick movements about their hives, 
especially any motion that jars their combs. 

6th. The bee-keeper will ordinarily derive all his profits 
from colonies, strong and healthy in early Spring, 

7th. In districts where forage is abundant only for a short 
period, the largest yield of hone}- will be secured bj- a very 
moderate increase of colonies. 

8th. A moderate increase of colonies in any one season, 
will, in the long run, prove to be the easiest, safest, and 
cheapest mode of managing bees. 

9th. Queenless colonies, unless supplied with a queen, will 
inevitably dwindle away, or be destroyed by the bee-moth, or 
by robber-bees. 

10th. It must he obvious, to every intelligent hee-keeper, 
that the perfect control of the combs of the hive is the soul of 
a system of practical management, which may be modified to 
suit the wants of all who cultivate bees. 

11th. A man, who knows ''all about bees/' and does not 
believe that anything more can be gained by reading Bee- 
Journals, new bee-books, etc., will soon be far behind the 
age. Yet, as what is written in the journals and books, ours 
included, is not always perfectly correct, eveiy bee-keeper 
should try to sift the grain from the chaff. 

12th. The formation of new colonies should ordinarily be 
confined to the season when bees are accumulating honey j 


and if this, or any other operation must be performed when 
forage is scarce, the greatest precautions should be used to 
prevent robbing. 

The essence of all profitable bee-keeping is contained in 
Oettl's Golden Rule: keep your colonies strong. If you 
cannot succeed in doing this, the more money you invest 
in bees, the heavier will be your losses; while, if your colo- 
nies are strong you will show that you are a hee-master, as 
well as a bee-keeper, and may safely calculate on generous 
i-eturns from your industrious subjects. 


Plate Page 

1, 2, L. L. Langstroth I, II 

3,4, Charles Dadant V, VI 

o Queen, drone, worker 2 

6 F. Huber 8 

7 Gaetano Barbo 20 

8 Legs of worker-bees 21 

9 F. R. Cheshire 33 

10 Ovaries of the queen 56 

11 Dzierzon 60 

12 A. J. Cook 96 

13 Gaston Bonnier 122 

14 M. Quinby 140 

15 A. I. Root 178 

Plate j 'age 

16 E. R. Root._ 178 

17 Amary in California 216 

18 W. Z. Hutchinson 242 

19 Cell-cups and queen-cells 278 

20 G. M. Doolittle. 282 

21 T. W. Cowan 356 

22 J. Mehring . .334 

23 Foundation moulding table 390 

24 E. F. Phillips._„ 400 

25 C. C. Miller.__ 438 

26 F. Di Hruschka 454 

27 Ed. Bertrand.__ 478 

28 N. E. France 486 







Eye of worker bee 4 

Small eyes of drone 5 

Section of drone antenna. . 7 

Surface of antenna 10 

Section of flagellum 12 

Salivary glands 16 

Section through head of 

worker 17 

Head of honey hornet .... 19 

Head of honey bee 19 

Mandible of hornet 10 

Mandible of bee 19 

Tongue 21 

Bee's feet 23 

Wings of bee 26 

Digesting apparatus 27 

Nervous system 30 

Tracheal bag 31 

Sting of worker-bee 36 

Queen 40 

Head of Queen 43 

Queen cells in progress ... 45 
Queen cells built by Cy- 
prian bees 46 

Sting of queen 48 

Abdomen of queen 64 I 

Worker-bee 67 j 

Head of worker-bee 70 ' 

Egg in the cell 71 I 

Eggs and larva 72 

Coiled in the cell 73 

Stretched in the cell 73 

Spinning cocoon 74 

Nymph 75 

Ovaries of worker-bees ... 78 
Brood from drone-laying 

worker 79 

Combs of brood 81 

Drone 83 

Head of drone 85 

Sexual organs of drone ... 86 
Penis and spermatozoids . . . 87 

Drone-trap 89 

Comb built upwards ..... 93 

Wax scales ! . . 94 

Secretion of wax scales. ... 94 
Wax producing organ .... 95 
Comb builders 97 

Slope of cells 102 

Worker and drone-comb . . 103 

Combs of honey 117 

Scrophularia 127 

Water supply bottle 129 

Earthen hive 132 

Box hive 133 

Birthplace of Chas. Dadantl34 
Eke hive 135 

























Radouan hive 135 

Eke of Soria 136 

Dividing hive 136 

Huber leaf-hive 141 

Original Langstroth hive... 143 

Berlepsch hive 144 

Langstioth hive early im- 
provements 145 

Gravenhorst hive 147 

Old Standard L frame 147 

Wisconsin hive 148 

Hoffman frames 150 

Danzenbaker frames .. ..151 

Diagrams of hives 152 

Movable frame 158 

Frame with groove 159 

Van Deuzen clamp 160 

Hive with two supers 161 

Diagram of Dadant hive ..164 

Dadant hive, open 165 

Dadant hive, flat on bottoml66 
Shoulder supporting frame. 167 

Metal spacers 168 

One and a half story hive. .168 

Spacing wire fixed 169 

Tool for spacing wire ....170 
Removing spacing wire ...170 

Division board 171 

Frame for making straw 

mats 173 

Dovetailed hive 174 

Tri-state hive 175 

Jumbo hive 176 

How boards warp 179 

Observing hive 186 

Observing hive in a win- 
dow 187 

Opening hives 190 

Bingham smokers 191 

Champion smoker 192 

Cornell smoker 193 

Bee-veil 196 

Comb-bucket 203 

Gathering a swarm 212 

Swarm-sack 223 

Entrance guard 240 

Non-swarmer block 241 

Apiary of E. J. Baxter . . . .245 

Queen-cell removed 269 

Cutting out queen cells . . .269 

Cluster of queen-cells 270 

Queen cells 271 

Divisible frame 272 

Divisible frame 272 

Benton divisible frame . . .273 
Eeg in every other cell ..276 
Alley's method 277 





109 Row of queen-cells 278 

110 Dipping-stick 280 

111 Miller queen cage 283 

112 Apiary in California 290 

113 Abdomen of Italian bee. . . .295 

114 Apiary in Bulgaria 302 

115 Apiary of Mendleson 304 

116 House apiary of Jecker. . . .305 

117 Shed apiary 307 

118 House apiary of Blatt. . . . 311 

119 Apiary in the Alps 314 

120 Window screen 318 

121 Benton cage 325 

122 Benton cage 325 

123 Can feeder 332 

124 Hill feeder 332 

125 Doolittle feeder 333 

126 Miller feeder 333 

127 Hill device 346 

128 Hives sheltered with straw. 347 
128bi.s Winter packing 350 

129 Cloister hive 353 

130 Double-wall hive 354 

131 Double-wall hive, inside 

view 355 

132 Double-wall Cowan hive. . . .356 

133 Chaff hive 357 

134 Cheshire hive 358 

135 Outer covering 359 

136 Cellar blind 363 

137 Cellar blind 364 

138 Bee-clamp 367 

139 How to pile the hives 367 

140 Ground plan of clamp 367 

141 In the snow 373 

142 Original foundation mill... 383 

143 Latest foundation mill.... 384 

144 Vandervort mill 386 

145 Thin base foundation 388 

146 Foundation in sections 389 

147 Parker fastener 391 

148 Rauchfuss section folder... 391 

149 Hambaugh roller 392 

150 Foundation wired in frame. 393 

151 Vandervort spur 394 

152 Miller splints 395 

153 Locust blossoms 399 

154 White clover 400 

155 Implement for ascertaining 

length of tongue 400 

156 Alfalfa 401 

157 Red clover . .402 

158 Linden 403 

159 Alsike clover 404 

160 Borage ' '405 

161 Sweet clover 406 

162 Yellow melilot .'. "407 

163 Persicaria 408 

164 Golden rod 409 

165 Aster roseus , , .409 

166 Aster tradescanti . . !409 ' 

167 Echinops ritro 410 ' 

168 Helenium tenuifolium !!!!41o| 

169 Judas tree 410 

170 Cleome pungens ! 411 [ 

171 Knot-weed 411 1 


172 Buckwheat 412 

173 Sage 413 

174 Asclepias tuberosa 414 

175 Asclepias syriaca 414 

176 Pollen of milkweed 414 

177 Epilobium spicatum 415 

178 Valerian 415 

179 Enothera grandiflora 415 

180 Hyacinth 416 

181 Lily of the valley 416 

182 Solomon's, seal 416 

183 Mignonette 417 

184 Crimson clover 418 

185 Sainfoin 419 

186 One piece sections 431 

187 Folded sections 432 

188 Super with pattern slats... 433 

189 Full depth section frame. . .434 

190 Slope of cells when in- 

verted 435 

191 Heddon reversible hive.... 436 

192 Section super with wood 

separators 439 

193 Section super with fences.. 440 

194 Wood-bound zinc 441 

195 Unbound zinc 441 

196 Slatted wood-zinc honey- 

bnard 441 

197 Unfinished sections 445 

198 Top and bottom starters. . .446 

199 Wide frame, half filled.... 447 

200 Super with springs 448 

201 Miller T super 449 

202 Open sections . . . .450 

203 Cowan honey extractor .... 453 

204 Half-story supers 457 

205 Novice honey extractor. . . .462 

206 Super with robber cloths. .464 

207 Porter bee-escape 465 

208 Dadant- capping-can 466 

209 Uncapping and extracting. .467 

210 Bingham honey-knife 468 

211 Large funnel and sieve.... 469 

212 Appearance of foul-brood. .476 

213 Bertrand fumigator 479 

214 Bee-moth 439 

215 Moth [[ 1 490 

216 Larva and moth 492 

217 Gallery of moth .'493 

218 The worms 493 

219 Cocoons spun by larva of 

moth 494 

220 Webs and remnants of 

combs destroyed by 
moths 497 

221 Colorado shipping cases. . 509 

222 Non-drip Foster case 510 

223 Grading honey 513 

224 The sixty-pound honey can! 515 

225 Dadant honey-pails 521 

226 Friction-top honey-pail 52'' 

227 Kuhn wax-kettle '.[ 1532 

228 German wax-press 533 

229 Doolittle solar extractor. . .534 


Page. ■ 

Abbott metal spacer 170 ] Aristotle, on drones, 

Absconding swarms 233 

Adobe for hives 177 

Adulteration, of beeswax 387 

of honey 518 

Afterswarming 230 

Afterswarms, prevention of. 2-41, 212 
superiority of.... 233 

objections to 233 

Age of the queen when fecun- 
dated 53 

Age sign of old, in bees 80-82 

Air, see Ventilation 179 

Alexander, on overstocking 423 

Alley, drone trap 80 

mailing queens 32-1 

method of queen-rearing | 
276, 277 

on impregnation 54 

Alighting-board, see Apron 16G | 

Alsike clover 403 

American frames 153 

Ammonia for stings 208 

Anger of bees 189, 205 

Antennae 7 

bees cannot live without 14 

cutting of the 14-15 

" as organs of hearing. . . . 10 
as organs for smelling. . 11 
" experiments of Huber on 

the.. 9 
Ants about the hive 50.6 


on eggs 60 

on foul-brood 473 

on fruit 19 

on Italian bees 292 

on moth 489 

on pollen 125 

on robber-bees 375 

on scent of the queen.. 288 

on strong odors 206 

on water 370 

Artificial swarming 243 

advices on. .253 
caution about 

255, 256 
" by dividing. 244 

" by driving 

bees. 247 
by removing 

the hive. 246 
improved . .249 
" nucleus * 

method. 251 
with queens 
already reared. 250, 252 
with queen- 
cells. 251 

too fast. 256 

Association of bee-keepers 543 

Australian bees 299 

Austria, yield of honey 424 

fondness for honey 509 Automatic extractor 469 

their fecundity 41 Axioms, bee-keepers' 553 

Aphides, Parthenogehesis of the 61 
causes of honey dew 

119, 120 Bacillus alvei, see Foul-brood 

Bait, in sections 437 

Baldenstein, on Italian bees. . . .297 

Balled queens 227, 284 

Bar-hives 135, 136. 140. 244 

Apiaries, covered 


out of doors. . . . 


sheds for 




slow motions around the . . 1 99 Barbo IX 

Apifuge 19.5 

Apis dorsata 300 

Apis fasciata 298 

Barrels for honey 

469, 470, 512, 514 

Basswood, see Linden 

Apis ligustica 293 Bears and bees 505 

Apis mellifica 292 Beaunier on the production of 

Apron, or alighting-board 166 i wax 99 




Bee-bread, see Pollen 

Bee-dress 197 

Bee escape 465 

Bee-hat 197 

Bee-keepers' calendar 545 

Bee-louse 506 

Bee-moth 489 

description of ...489, 490 

food of 493 

galleries of 492,493 

how they act.... 490, 491 
how to destroy. . .498, 499 
in queenless colonies 

498, 499 

Italian bees and 499 

killed by cold. . . .495, 496 
lays eggs in propolis., Ill 

not to be feared 501 

" preserving comb, 

against. 498 
temperature required 

for their growth. 495 

worm of the 492, 493 

their disgusting work. 497 
Bees, and flowers. ... 127, 128, 543 

and fruits 19, 540 

angered 202 

by bad odors 206 

by the odor of their 

poi.son.207 j 
by the jarring of 

the hive. 202 , 

as means of defense 210 

bewildered by light 201 

" building combs 93 I 

" building few- store cells... 107 | 
" building third store cells. .109 
building store cells here 

and there. 109 ( 

" Carniolan 292 , 

Caucasian 299 

" climbing on polished sur- 
faces. 22 

" clustering in winter 340 

" clustering outside ...162, 182 ^ 

Cyprian 298 ; 

deprived of their antennae. 15 | 

" deserting 211, 365, 372 

discharge in flight 33 ' 

do not make honey.. 116, 336 

" dwindling in spring 368 | 

" eating to keep warm 341 

" eyes of 3, 4 

feeding the queen 9, 17 

filled with honey 191 1 

first introduced in this I 

country 292 ' 
" first noticed in Florida. .. 289 
" for honey production in 

the North. 327 

" going Westward 291 

" handling 189 j 

" hatching 75 

" hearing organs of 10 | 

" Holy Land and Syrian. . . .299 . 

Bees how far they fly 421 

how many in a pound. . . .326 
" in California ...423, 424, 425 

in Germany 424 

" injured by fruit juice. 344, 542 
" Italian, see Italian 

" killing their drones 90 

" memory of 14 

mouth of 19 

" noticing their new location 

308, 328 
" not indigenous to America. 289 

" on boats 321, 322 

" peaceable when filled with 

honey. 191 

peaceable when swarming. 191 

" preparing to swarm ....211 

" procuring 309 

propolizing small holes... Ill 

" quiet at mid-day 198 

races of 293 

rebuilding store cells 108 

" removing from the cellar 

365, 366 
" return to their location 

274, 328, 366 

" sending scouts 216 

" smelling organs of 11 

" smelling honey 13 

" starving in Spring 317 

suffocated 181 

swarming 211 

swarming with introduced 

queen. 287 

" transferring 309 

unable to take wing 32 

understand each other. ... 80 

" varieties 292 

" ventilating 179 

Bee-smokers, see Smokers. 

Beeswax (see also Wax) 531 

adulteration of 387 

for comb-foundation ...387 

melting 531 

pressing 533, 534 

residues 534,535 

spoiled 536 

uses of 536 

Bee-veil 196, 197 

Beginners' mistakes 553 

Beginning on a small scale.... 301 

Benton, apis dorsata 300 

" Caucasian bees 299 

divisible frame 273 

mailing queens 324 

trip to Cyprus 298 

trip around the world. . .297 
Berlepsch, on comb building. . . .105 
on drone-laying 

queens. 60 

on Italian bees 296 

on refrigerating 

queens. 64 
on water in Winter 

129, 370, 371 



Berlepsch, hive 144 

" defects of 146 

Bernard, on the brain of birds. 15 
Bertrand, description of foul- 

biood.476, 477. 485 
on Hilbert's cure... 479 
honey as cure 

for warts. 530 
" " honey plants ...420 

Langstroth hive. 146 
queens dying of 

bacillus alvei.474 

Bevau, cure for bee stings 20S 

on bee-moths ....492, 493 

honey-dew 120 

" larvae 71, 73, 74 

" propolis 110, 112 

" salt 131 

quotations of Huber....291 
Reaumur. 185 
Bickford, first use of the oil- 
cloth 172 

Bingham, knife 468 

on honey vinegar .... 529 

smoker 191, 194 

Birds and bees 503 

should not be killed 504 

" injuring fruit 541 

Bi-sulphide of carbon 498 

Bledsoe, on the sting 38 

Blocks for the entrance 166 

Blood of bees 29 

Boerhaave on Swammerdam. . . . 40 

Bohemia honey production 424 

Boiling honey against foul brood 

479, 480, 484 

wax 532, 533 

Boissier, on honey-dew 118 

Bonnier, on Darwin 6 

" honey-dew 121 

" nectaries ....118, 121 

Bottom-boards 160-164-107 

Bottom-boards, encased 165 

Box-hives 133, 134 

Brace-combs, see Bridges. 

Brain of bees 15 

Braula coeca 506 

Breathing upon bees 200 

Breeding in and in 91 

Bridges 159, 203, 204 

Bridal trip 54 

Brimstoning bees 133, 428 

honey comb to keep 

out the moth. 498 

Brood accidentally killed 487 

" casting the skin 73 

" chamber in two stories 

objectionable . 152 
duration of development. . 92 

" how fed 71 

" pure air for 181 

sealed by bees 73 

" transformation of the. ... 74 
Buckwheat honey ...406, 423, 508 
Buera, on water for brood 

rearing. 371 

Burmeister, names the stomach- 
mouth. 28 
discovers different sounds 
in the humming of bees 34 

Burnens as an observer 77 

helped Huber 8, 9 

Butler anecdote from 505 

on drones 89 

on drone traps 89 

]' on handling bees.. 198, 199 

on the bee-sting 207 

on sectional hives.... 135 

" on sense of smell 206 

saw the queen deposit 
eggs 40 

Cages, introducing 283 

" shipping 325 

Cakes 5i>8 

California, crop of '. 425 

first bees 291 

Candied honey 515 

" how bees dissolve. 129 

" melting 517 

Candy, for feeding 334, 335 

" for shipping 324 

" making 334 

Scholz 335 

" shops, killing bees 338 

Cans, for honey 521 

Cap of the hive 174 

Capping can 466 

Cappings 467, 531 

Cappings of honey cells, air- 
tight? 122 

Carbolic acid for foul-brood. ... 481 

Carbolized sheet 195, 378 

Carniolan bees 292 

Cary, on uniting colonies 349 

" witnes.sed the mating of 

a queen 55 

Castellaz, on preserving combs 

from the moth 499 

Catalogue of bee plants 408 

Catching the queen of a swarm. 225 
queens for shipment or 

introduction 28 4 

Causes of swarming 211,236 

Cellar blinds 363, 36 \ 

" damp 362,365 

" dark 365 

" dry 360 

" removing bees from 366 

" temperature 363 

" ventilation 365 

" wintering bees in 360 

Cells, accommodation 103, 104 

" bottom of 100 

" diameter of 103 

" drone 103,107 

" natural explanation of the 

shape of lOl 

" not horizontal 102 

" opposed preference of queen 

and worker 107 



Oells, queen 45, 46, 2fi8-271, 


" size of 102 

" solution of a problem. ... 100 

thickness of 104 

" worker 103 

Chaff hives 357 

Cheshire, criticism of 12 

his criticism of an en- 
graving 104 

hive 358 

winter packing of.. .352 

mistake of 145 

on air-tight cappings. . 122 

on breathing 32 

jn cure of foul-brood... 

481, 483 

on diarrhea 472 

on foul-brood 474 

on how to suspend foun- 
dation in frames. .. .395 
on the antennae.. .. 7, 8, 10, 


" blood 30 

eyes 4 

•' feet 23 

" glands 16-17 

" heart 30 

" larvae 73 

" legs 23,24,25 

name of worker-eggs 61 
" pollen baskets. .. .24-25 
skeleton of the bee. 2 
survival of the fit- 
test 8 1 

" tongue 20-21 

" on wax 94 

Chickens close hives in the even- 
ing 502 

" eat drones 91, 505 

Chin of the bee 18 

Chitine 2 

Chloroform 286 

Chyle 28 

Clamps for wintering 368 

Van Deusen's 160 

Claws and pulvilli ' 23 

Cleaning propolis from the 

hands 112 

propolis from the sec- 
sections 443 

Cleansing beeswax 531 

Clipping the wings of queens. . . 


Cloister hive 353 

Cloth, oil or enameled. , 172 

Clover, alsike 403 

Clover, melilot or sweet 405 

red 22,121,128,400 

white 398 

Clover honey 508 

Clypeus 19 

Cocoons of bees 74 

of bee-moth 497 

Cold climate for wintering 340 

" water for stings 208 

Collin, can bees hear? 10 

invention of perfoiated zinc 89 
''' on duration of cransforma- 

tions 75 

on how many bees in a 

pound 326 

Colonies, artificial increase of. .243 

killed by heat 181 

natural increase of 211 

number of, in an apiary 


" queenless 

42, 262, 265, 379, 499 

removing 327 

shipping 320 

" strong, best for honey.. 429 

309, 313, 314, 315 
" weak, easily robbed. .. .379 

yield from 427 

i Colorado, Italian bees in 293 

Colors as guide for bees.. 6, 7, 306 

I Columella, his writings 177 

' " mentions the bee-moth. .489 

i " on artificial swarming. . 243 

on feeding bees. . . .329, 332 

on handling bees 199 

on Italian bees 294 

on spring examination of 

colonies 373 

on transporting bees. . . .322 

on weak colonies 266 

Colvin, importation of Italian 

bees. .298 

invention of separators. . .439 

" on bees transferring eggs. 47 

Combat of queens 52 

Comb bucket 203 

" building 93, 107 

" built upwards 93 

" foundation, advantages of. 382 

a success 396 

" dipping 389 

" fastener 392 

" for brood-combs.388,393 
" for comb honey.... 388 
" for swarms. .. .395, 396 

" how to cut 394 

" how to fasten. 392, 393 

" results of 385 

" first manufacturer.. 


" in sections. ...388, 389 

" inventor of 384 

" mills, Root . .384, 385 
Vandervort . .386 

" moulding 389 

" plaster moulds for. 385 

" " press 385 

" right position 395 

" strips for guides... 158 

" wax for 387 

" Weed process 386 

" weight of diiferent 

grades. .391 
" " wiring 393 



Comb guides for frames. 157,158,221 

Comb honey, best selling 430 

capping of 122 

care in shipping511,512 
difficult to produce. 431 

leaking 510,511 

moths in 498 

production 430 

by reversing. 435 
" Improve- 
ments in. 431, 432 
" " in wide 

frames. .448 
" " in large 

frames. .431 
" " in lower 

story. .433 
" in sections. . .431 
" " in shallow up- 

per stories. .433 
" " in supers. 448, 449 

" " remarks 

on. .450, 451 
" with fences.. .439 
" with separa- 
tors. .439 
" with swarm- 
ing. .442 

sealed 443, 444 

sweating 510 

unsalable 44fj 

without propolis442,443 

Combs 93 

" age of 74, 229 

" breaking down 182 

" brimstoning to keep out 

moths 408 

built upwards 93 

care in returning after in- 
spection 204 

" care of in Winter 471 

" economy of bees in build- 
ing 104 

" empty, furnishing to bees. 461 
" " given to prevent 

swarming 238 

" extracting from 463 

*' guides for straight 

157, 158, 382 

" made of wax 93 

" melting 532 

" moths in 497 

" pruning 133 

" returned to the bees after 

extracting 471 

" straight 157.383,385 

" surface occupied by brood. 155 

" transferring 313 

" washing dark 531 

Comparative table of transfor- 
mations 92 

Comparison of the eyes of 

nupens, drones, and workers 4 
Confrctioners annoyed by bees.. 338 

Confining b^es unsafe 181 

Confining colonies 320, 353 

Confining aueens 323 

Confinement, fertilization in.... 55 

Confinement, in cellar 3G0 

out of doors 353 

Constipation 369, 472 

Consumption of honey 520 

by bees in 
Winter. .341, 342 

" of pollen 125 

Contagious diseases 472-487 

Contraction of brood cham- 
ber 369,370,437 

Cook, his praise of the Langs- 
troth hive. . . .142 

" Lubbock's experiment 6 

" on enemies of bees 507 

" on Neighbour's opinion.... 54 
" on the broodo of the moth. 490 

" on the ears of bees 11 

" on production of wax 

scales in old bees. . 96 

" quotation of Doolittle 260 

Cowan, apifuge 195 

automatic extractors ....469 

" hive 356 

" in Italy 146 

" microscopical studies .... 12 

on foul-brood . 479 

" on the prevention of 

swarming. .239 
" on the treatment of foul- 
brood. .479, 487 
Cracks, closed with propolis by 

bees. .111 
" how to close when bees rob380 
Crates, see Section-crates 
Cutting, H. D., on the introduc- 
tion of virgin queens... 280 

Cyprian bees 293, 298, 299 

" difficult to subdue.. 198 
" " rearing queen-cells. 46 

Debeauvoys 142 

Decoy hives 310 

Deep frames 153 

De Gelieu hive 136 

on weight of bees. . . .326 
De Layens counted the eggs 

dropped by queens. . 66 
" experiments on cost of 

wax. .106 
" " the use of 

water. .130 

" on feeding bees 335 

" report of weight of a 

swarm. .239 

Delia Rocca comb-guide 157 

" on age of colonies. . . 81 

" on attracting swarms. 220 

" on bees as means of 

defense. .210 
" on floating apiaries. . 321 

De Planta, experiments on food 

of larvqp. .2^d 
on honey. .397 

Desertion 211, 369. 372 

Diarrhoea 343, 472 

Dieesting apparatus 26 

Digestion, process of 28, 29 



Diseases 472 

" bacillus alvel 474 

Gaytoni .472, 473 

black-brood 474,485 

" diarrticea 472 

foul-brood 473 

mal de Maggio. .472, 473 

paralysis 472,473 

pickled-brood 487 

" vertigo 472 

Disturbing bees in cold weatber.355 

Dividing 244 

hive 136 

" unreliable 24G 

Divisible frame 272 

Division boards 171 

" removing 202 

" . space under 172 

Donhoff, description of moths.. 496 
" experiments on young 

bees. .68-69 
" on development of moths4 96 

on food of moths 493 

on thickness of honey 

cells. .104 

Doolittle, feeder 333 

" method of fastening. . . . 

foundation 392 

" method of queen-rear- 

ing. .278 

on propolis 442 

" the Gallup frame. 151 

" tin roofs 175 

Dovetailed hives 175, 176, 178 

Driving bees 247, 311 

Drone brood in worker cells. .64, 91 
Drone cells. See Cells. 

Drone comb, bee'^ building 107 

rebuilt 109 

removed 63 

replaced by comb 

foundation 382 

" scattered 109 

larvae, bees trying to raise 

queen from 59, 80 

" laying queens ..57,58,59, 64 

" -laying workers 77 

" traps 89, 240 

" description and office.... 8.3 
Drones, difficulty to raise early. 64 

expelled by bees 90 

expelled by the bee- 
keeper 90 

" kept in queenless hives. 266 

" mating in the air 83 

" number in a hive 85 

" number in a pound.... 326 

" perish in mating 84 

raised in worker cells. 63.91 

selection of 267 

" time of appearance of . . 83 
why mating outside. . . 91 

" why so many 85 

Drory experiment on laying. ... 63 

Drumming b^es 311 

Dubini on cleansing the an- 
tennae 24 

Dubini on commercial uses of 

propolis 114 

on food of larvae 72 

on the braula coeca 506 

on the Caucasian bee.. 299 
on the scales of wax. . . 94 

Dummies 171, 172 

Dzierzon, discovery of partheno- 
genesis 58, 60 

" hive 140 

" on cellar wintering 

360, 366 
" on development of lar- 
vae 75 

" on drones 84 

" on fertility of queens. 66 
" on issue of swarms. .549 
" on pollen and substi- 
tute 124,125,397 

" on refrigerating queens 64 

" on robbers 375 

" on the Italian bee. . 

294, 297, 298 

" " sex of eggs. ... 62 

" " spermatheca ... 56 

•• " wedding flight. . 54 

Earthen hives 132 

Eggs, are they laid in queen 

cells? 47 

drone and worker in dif- 
ferent cells 62 

from laying workers. ... 77 

" how fecundated 56 

impregnation of 60 

" not better than larvae to 

rear queens 259 

" of the bee-moth 491 

number of, laid by queens.- 41 
shallow frames hindering 
the laying of .. 151, 152, 153 

" .shape of 71 

T^ke hives 135 

Eliot, John 2S9 

Empty combs to prevent swarm- 
ing. .238 
removed for Winter. 345 

Enamel cloth 172 

Enemies of bees 489 

Entrance 171 

blocks 163,166 

" contracted against 

robbing 377, 379 

" enlarged to hive 

swarms 222 

enlarged in Summer 162 

guard 240 

left open in Winter.. 352 
open in the cellar. . .362 

^ther 286 

Evans, Quotations from.. 81, 82, 
83. 100, 111, 112, 120, 211, 

329 397 

Excessive swarming 234 



Excluders 440, 441 

Excrements, see Fceces. 

Extracted honey ^451 

barrels for. .469, 512 
granulation of... 515 
sale of. 518, 519, 52S 

Extracting 463 

advantages of .. . . 454, 455 

conclusions on. ....... 471 

from brood combs.. ..466 

half stories for 458 

how to proceed 463 

implements for.. 463, 465 

lessens the work 457 

prevents swarming. . .457 

Extractor 453, 454, 469 

reversible 409 | 

Eyes of bees 3, 4 j 

comparison of 

Facets of the eye 4 

why so many 5 

Famine, desertion by 212, 372 

Fear of stings 200 

Fecundation delayed, its re- 
sults 60, 61 

of flowers by bees 

126, 127 

of the queen 53 

Feeble colonies, feeding 330 

uniting 348 

unprofitable .429,430 

Fecundity of the queen 41 

Feeders 332, 333 

Feeding bees 329 

larvae compared with 
mammal feeding. ... 28 

in the Fall 331 

in Spring 330 

" loaf sugar 335 

not to be encouraged .336 

" Scholz candy 335 

stimulative 330 

sugar candy 334 

syrup 335 

swarms 229 

Fences 439 

Fermentation of honey 517 

Fertility of the queen, see 

Fecundity 41 

Fertilization, see Impregnation. 

Field. Eugene 114 

Fighting of queens 52 

Flammarion 13 

Flight during Winter 356, 366 

Flight of bees, range of 421 

speed of 26 

Floating apiaries 322 

Flour given to bees 126 

Flowers, bees not injurious to 

127-128, 543 

list of honey 408 

FcEces of bees, discharge of the. 29 
" discharged in the hive.... 343 

" unhealthy 472 

" of the queen 18 

-*• of young bees 71 

Food, bees' 116 

" for wintering 343, 344 

how much for Winter. . . .342 
its effect on queen larvae. . 47 

on worker larvae 77 

best to ship queens 323 

Forcing box 310 


open side sections. . . .450, 451 
shipping directions. . .510, 511 

Foul-brood 473 

care and perseverance 

needed 484 

detected in Spring... 476 

" description of 475 

" Dupont experiments.. 475 

" from infected queens. 485 

" fumigating . . .• 479 

" method of Alexander .485 

method of Bertrand. .479 

" of Cheshire. . . .481 

" of McEvoy 482 

" of Muth 477 

Foundation, see Comb foundation. 
Frame of the bodies of insects. . 3 
Frames.142, 147, 150, 151, 158, 164 
" comparison of divers sizes 

150, 151, 153 

distance between 157 

Danzenbaker 151 

" divisible 272,273 

first attempts at movable. 142 
groove for foundation. ... 159 

•' Hoffman 149, 151 

•' Langstroth 149 

number per hive 154 

perpendicular to the en- 
trance 160 

• Quinby 151, 158 

dimensions of .... 164 
" regularity of the outside 

measure of 158, 159 

removing from the hives. 202 

space around 142 

spacing wire for 170 

" success with every kind of 

155, 156 
" top and bottom bars of. . .159 

triangular edge 157 

" wide 448 

•' width of the too bar 159 

France, N. E., on foul-brood 

482, 483 
on legal rights. 544 

Fruits and bees 19, 510 

blooms benefited b:' bees 

126, 127 

" damaged by birds 542 

juices of, injurious to bees 

344, 543 

Fumigations against foul-brood .479 

moths 498. 499 

to tame bees. 193. 194 

Gelieu vertical, divisible hive. . .136 
German hive, inferiority of . . . . 
145, 149, 152 



Gingerbread 527, 528 

Girard on honey 116 

" on the breathing organs. 33 

glands 16 

" " nervous system. . 29 

" smell organs ... 13 

sounds produced 

by bees. 33-34 

sting 35 

Giraud, queen-rearing 279 

Glands of bees 15, 16, IS 

Gloves 197 

Goldsmith, quotation from 188 

Gouttefangeas, on confinement .. 354 

Grading honey 513 

Granulation of honey. 515, 518, 519 

Grapes and bees 540 

Gravenhorst hive 147 

Green on foul-brood 475, 476 

Grimshaw's apifuge 195 

Gubler on cure for bee-stings. . 209 
Gundelach on the necessity of 
pollen 12 i 

Hairless bees 375, 472 

Hairs of bees 3 

as organs of touch 8 
their uses on the 

legs. .23. 24 

Hambaugh on out-apiaries 316 

roller 392 

Hamet, his description of the 

movable frame hive. .136 
on several swarms clus- 
tered together. .226, 227 

Handling bees 189 

with the hands. . . 32 

Harbison, first bees in Cal 291 

Harris on moths 489, 491 

Harvesting honey 463 

Hearing of bees 10, 11 

" organs, where located. . 11 

Heart of bees 29 

Heartsease, (persicaria) 406 

Heat breaking the combs 182 

Heddon hive 436 

method of transferring. 31 5 

color of veils 197 

" comb honey 437 

" economical pro- 

duction. .461 
" prevention of after- 

swarms. .241 
" the use of smoke.. 201 

wintering safely . . 348 

Hilbert on foul-brood 478, 479 

Fill device 346 

Hill feeder 332 

Hives, African 132 

American 153 

Berlepsch 3 44 

bodies 168- 

'• box 133 

bottom-board of ...165, 167 
cap of 174 

Hives, chaff 357, 358 

Cheshire 358 

Cowan 356 

diagram of our 164 ' 

" division-board of 171 

double-back 168 

double wall 357 

" 'dovetailed ....175, 176, 178 

Dzierzon 140 

earthen 132 

eke 135 

enamel cloth for 172 

entrance of 171 

Gelieu 136 

Gallup 152, 155 

" German 145 

Gravenhorst 147, 149 

hanging frame 149 

Huber 141 

Jumbo 175 

Langstroth 143, 145 

large may be reduced. .. 156 
to improve the 

races. .155 

manufacture of 178 

material for 177 

metal spacer 170 

movable comb 140 

frame 142 

numbering 176 

observing 184- 

outer covering of 359 

painting 175, 176 

patent 177 

preferred by us 163 

protection for 350 

Quinby closed end frame. 141 
suspended frame. 151 

rabbet for frames 170 

Radouan 135 

ready for swarms 220 

requisites of a complete. 137 

roof of 239 

slanting forward 160 

small, cause excessive 

swarming. .156 
limit the laying.. 155 

Soria 136 

spacing wire of 169-170 

straw 135 

straw mat for 173 

strip on, to widen the 

projection. .172 

upper story of 174 

ventilation of 162, 179 

Winter cover of 359 

packing of. 351, 352 

shelter of 349 

Wif^consin 148 

Hiving swarms . . . ; 218, 219 

Hoffman frames 150 

Holtermann, on moving bees... 323 

Holy Land bees 299 

Honey, adulteration of 518 

" as food 525 

for bees . . .116, 343 

as medicine 529 

" board discarded 160 



Honey cakes 528 

•• cells, are they air tight?. 122 
*' comb, see Combs. 

crop in California 425 

Germany 424 

this country ....420 

" our largest 460 

•• dew 118, 119, 120, 121 

as seen by Knight... 120 
" from aphides.119, 120, 121 

" its looks 120 

" " origin of 119 

*• different grades of 508 

" evaporating 122 

extracted 451 

" extractor 434 

fermenting 510, 517 

" from clover 398-400 

divers flowers 398 

" hollow trees 453 

" " linden 402 

granulating 515 

*' handling 508 

" harvesting 463 

" house 318 

" implements ....463,465 

" in sections 432 

" marketing 508 

" melting 517 

poisonous 509 

production 428 

*' sack 26, 27 

" shipping cases 509 

" storing and evaporating. . 122 

" strained 452 

" uses of 525 

" vinegar 528, 529 

Hornets damaging fruit.... 19, 128 

Horse killed by bees 206 

Hour of the fecundation of 

queens. . 54 

" of swarming 214 

House apiary 306 

Hruschka 454 

Huber, apiary 301 

experiments on comb 

building. .104, 105 
pollen ... .123, 124 

" " propolis 110 

" " the antennae 

8, 9. 10, 14 
" " the memory of 

bees. . 14 
" " the sense of 

smell. .206 
" " ventilation ....180 

" " virgin queens 

50, 51 

" hive 141 

" imported Melipones 300 

" on artificial swarming. ... 244 
" bees transporting eggs. 47 

" drone reared in queen 

cell. . 59 

" fertile workers 77 

" how bees build their 

combs 394 
" location 301 

Huber, on the impregnation of 

queens. .55, 57, 84 
the introduction of 

queens. .282 
the talents of Buruens 

74, 77 

" tribute to 8, 9 

was blind 8 

" wife of 9 

Humming 26, 33 

Hutchinson, on comb building. . 97 
" comb honey pro- 

duction. .442, 451 
" packing comb 

honey. .511 
" prevention of 

after-swarms. .242 
" queen rearing 

279, 280, 282 
shipping honey. 511 
use of comb. . .221 
use of founda- 
tion. .396 
Hymenoptera 1 

Implements, see Tools. 

Importing bees.. 297, 298, 323, 324 

Impregnation of the queen 53 

in confinement. . . . 55 
in the open air. . . 5?. 

Increasing too fast 487 

Inhabitants of a hive 2 

Insects and bees 506 

Introducing queens 282 

"^rving, quotation from. . . .289, 290 

Italian bees 59. 293 

color 295 

description of . . . .295 
destroy moths . . . .499 
first importa- 
tion in America. .297 
qualities of. .293, 2P4 
vary even in Italy. 296 
Italian cakes 528 

Jarring combs, anger bees 202 

.Taws of bees 19 

Jefferson, quotation of 289 

Jelly fed to larvee 71 

Johnson, J. E., on feeding bees. 330 

Jones, cure of foul brood 44 9 

importer of bees 298 

•' on number of queen cells. 46 

Kirby and Spence 119 

Knives for uncapping. ... 465, 468 

Labial palpi and maxilla 20 

Labrum 19 

Landois on the humming. ... 26, 34 
Language of bees 34 



Larvae casting the skin 73 

" duration of development.. 74 
" fed from the glands of 

workers 28 

" how fed 73 

" of queens copiously fed. 47, 48 

Laying of eggs 65 

hindered by shallow 

frames 152 

" of two queens in the same 

hive 52 

" -workers 77 

" " how to get rid of . . 80 
Leakage of honey ... .510, 512, 523 

Legs of bees 22 

" covered with hairs... 23 
" notches of the first pair.. 24 
" pollen baskets of the 

posterior. . 24 

second pair 24 

Leidy, dissections of queens.. 56, 59 

Levi on mating 54, 55 

Life of colonies, length of 81 

Life of queens, length of 67 

Life of worker, length of 80 

Light in the cellar 363 

" on bees 201 

Linden 403 

Longfellow, quotation from 289 

Loosening the frames 202 

Loss of bees by heat 182 

" the queen 262 

" " sting 37 

Love of the workers for the 

queen. .42, 324 
Lungs of bees 31 

MacCord on hive covers 175 

McEvoy, treatment of foul- 
brood. .482, 483, 487 

McLain statistics from 425 

Magnetizing bees lOG 

Mahan, experiments on drones. . 88 
" refrigerating 
queens. ... 64 
imported Italian bees.. 298 

Mailing queens 324 

Malpighian tubes 29 

Mandibles of bees 19 

Manum on the control of 

swarming 458 

Marketing, see Honey marketing. 

Mats 173 

Material for hives 177 

Mating of the queen 54 

MaxilL-e 20 

Mehring, inventor of comb 

foundation 384 

stamp for securing 

straight combs. .157 

Melipones 293, 300 

Melting honey 514, 517 

" wax 532 

Memory of bees 14, 366 

Mentum 20 

Metatarsus of bees 24 

Mice In bee hives 503 

Miller, C. C, adding supers. .. .444 

baits in sections 437 

bottom boards 167 

cellar wintering . . . .362 
clipping queens' wings . 226 

excluders 442 

fastening foundation . 393 

feeder 333 

feeding out doors.... 381 
foundation starters... 

445, 446 
introduction of queenrs.287 
number of colonies in 

one location. .426 
prevention of swarm- 
ing. .241 

queen cage 283 

queen cells 46 

removing comb honey. 445 

robber cloths 463 

scraping propolis from 

sections. .443 

section supers 449 

smoking bees . . .194, 195 
success with small 

hives. . 156 

super 449 

time of removal of 
bees from cellar.. 546 

uses tin tops 175 

Mills on painting hives different 

colors. .306 

Mismanagement of bees 205 

Mistakes of beginners 553 

Mixing bees from different hives 

254, 463 

More on honey 525 

Moth, see Bee-Moth. 

Mouth of bees 15-19 

Movable comb hives 140 

frame hives, see Hives, 
frame, see Frames. 

Moving bees 306,320,327 

Munn hive 112 

Muth honey cake .528 

" honey vinegar 529 

" location 301 

foul-brood method. . .477, 478 
" on ripening honey... 517 

Natural swarming 211 

" uncertainty of. . . 243 

Nectar, best condition to pro- 

duce. .118 

changed to honey 116 

contains more or less 

water. .116 
exists in different parts 

of the plant. .118 

extrafloral 118 

in deep corollas. 121.122,400 
reabsorbed by plants.. 118 
storing and evaporating.122 
yields of, vary greatly. 

117. 397, 420 
Nervous system in bees 29 



Newman on uses of honey. .525, 526 
Norton on outdoor wintering. . .360 
Notch of the pair of legs. . 24 

Nucleus 269,271 

for artificial swarming.. 251 

how made 271, 273 

" prepared in advance. . .275 

small 281 

" strong 275 

Numbering the hives 176 

Nursing glands of workers. . .15, 16 
Nurses 68, 69 

Observing hives 184 

for pleasure and 

instruction. . 185 
in apartments. . .187 

Ocelli of bees 5 

Odor of bees 254, 255 

" of drones 53 

" of foul-brood 476,477 

" of the moth 498 

" of the poison of bees 38 

" of the queen 283, 288 

Oettl, golden rule 556 

" on honey yield 422,423 

" on the language of bees. . 34 

" on statistics 424 

straw hive 136 

Oil cloth 172 

Old age, signs of, in bees 82 

Old and young queens living to- 
gether 52 

Old bee-keepers venom-proof .. 209 

Olfactory organs 11 

" Girard experi- 

ments on . . 13 
" lead bees to 

flowers. . 13 

Opening hives 202 

Orphan bees raising queens.... 47 

Otis saw impregnation 55 

Out-apiaries, why 316 

conditions required 

for.. 316 

" how many? 317 

" our terms for 317 

Outer-boxes for wintering 359 

Out of doors wintering 34G 

Ovaries of a drone-laying queen 59 

" of the queen 57 

" of workers 77 

Overbeck, discovery of origin of 

wax. . 99 

Overstocking 420 

opinions on 426 

Packard on the breathing organs 32 
" instinct of bees 39 

Pain d'epices 527 

Painting hives 176 

" different colors. .306 

Paley on the sting 36 

Palteau hive 135 

Palpi and maxillae 20 

Parafline, melting point of.... 387 

Parsons importation 298 

Parthenogenesis 58, 50 

proven by Ital- 
ian bees. . 59 
Pasteur on breeding bacilli ... .475 

on inoculation 209 

Pasturage for bees 397 

Patents 177 

Perforated zinc 89, 240, 441 

Phillips, on the bee-moth 489 

on queen-rearing ....282 

Physiology 1 

Piping of the queen 51,232 

Poison of the sting 38,207 

" sack 35 

Pollen 123 

" baskets 24, 25 

fresh preferred 124 

gathering, useful to plants 

126, 127 

indispensable to bees 123 

" substitutes 125,126 

used when bees make 

combs. . 105 

Portico 163, 353, 360 

Pound, how many bees in one.. 326 

Press, wax 534 

Prevention of afterswarms 241 

moths in combs. 

498, 502 

" robbing 377 

swarming 23 4 

Pridgen, queen-rearing 280 

Production of honey 428 

Propolis 110 

hard in Winter Ill 

how to clean from the 

hands. .112 

from other things 112 

on sections 443 

soils the comb Ill 

uses for bees 111,112 

in commerce 114 

Pulvilli 22, 23 

Queen, age at fecundation 54 

" balled 227,284 

beginning to lay 65 

best conditions to raise. . . 

261, 281 

" cages 283,284,325 

" clipping wings of . . . . 225, 226 
contents of spermatheca of 50 
" dejections, licked by work- 
ers. . 18 

description of 42, 48 

" destitute of nursing glands 16 
difference in prolificness of 66 

does not govern 41 

duration of development of 

48, 50 
" " transforma- 

tions of . . 92 



Queen entering the wrong hive. 

262, 263 
" fecundity of . . .17, 41. 42, 155 

" fed by the workers 17 

" fighting of 52 

" growtn of, delayed 260 

how she lays 65 

" to find a 287 

" to cage 284 

" importation 323,324 

impregnation of eggs... 55, 60 
" the queen 53 
" impregnation of the queen 

delayed. .60, 61 
" impregnation of the queen 

for life. . 53 
" impregnation of the queen 

in confinement. . 55 
" introduction of impreg- 
nated. .282 
" " " virgin . . . 

286. 287 
" knowing the sex of her 

eggs . . 62 

" last to die 324 

" laying drones in worker- 
cells. .58, 62, 64 

" in queen-cells 47 

" worker eggs in drone-cells 63 

lays more in Spring 42 

longevity of 67 

" loss of the 43, 262 

" lost in her wedding trip.. 262 

love of bees for the 42 

" mailing 324 

" mating 53 

" missing 214, 264 

" odor of the 288 

" old 67 

" ovaries of 56 

" " a drone-laying. .57, 58 

" parthenogenesis of the. . . 58 
" preference for worker cells 

63, 108 

" prisoner in the hive 284 

" reared from eggs 47,268 

" " old larvae. . . 

49, 50, 260 

" in the South 326 

" rearing 44, 45, 259 

" Alley method 276 

" Doolittle method ..278 

" refrigerated 64 

" size of 49 

" shipping 323 

by mail 324 

" sting of 48 

" traps 240 

" unable to fly 214, 262 

" virgin 50 

" why not impregnated in the 

hive. . 91 
" young, confined by Huber 57 

Queen-cell cups 280 

Queen-cells, artificial ....279, 280 

" destroyed 50, 51 

" for artificial swarm- 

ing. .251 

Queen-cells, how reared 15 

" to transfer . . .268 

inserting 269 

large number of.46, 268 

preparing for 268 

Queenless colonies destroyed by 

moths. .499 
" " do not kill 

their drones. 266 

how detected.. 265 

Queens, several in a swarm.... 232 

two in a hive 52 

" in a swarm. .. .226, 227 

Quinby closed end hive 141 

frames, size of 

151, 154, 155, 158, 164 
number of .... 155 
superiority of. ..154 
on distances between 

frames. .157 

" robbing 378 

" shape of frames. 151, 153 
smoker 193 

Rabbet 167, 170 

enlargement of top edge.172 

Races of bees 289 

Racine on old combs 229 

" swarming 235 

Radouan hive 136 

Rapping ; 311 

Rauchfuss, foundation fastener. .302 
selling honey ...'..448 

Rauschenfels IX , 96 

Raynor, carbolized sheet 195 

Rearing queens 44, 45, 259 

from eggs . . . .268 
" " " improved 

races. .267 
" in moderate col- 
onies. .268 

Reaumur on impregnation 53 

Reid on the shape of the cells. Ill 

Remedies for foul-brood 477 

for stings 207 

Removing frames 202 

Reversible hives 436 

Reversing 435 

Ringing bells to stop swarms.. 215 
Ripening honey artificially. 461, 517 

Robber bees 374, 375 

acting like young 

bees . . 76 

Robber cloth 464 

Robbing, danger of, after cellar 

wintering. .366 

difficult to detect 374 

how to detect 376 

to stop 377,378 

prevention of 379 

promoted by the bee- 
keeper. .376 

secret 378 

" stopped by a carbolized 

sheet. .378 
" by exchanging hives, . . .378 



Roof apiary 301 

Root. A. I. (Novice) chaft-hive. . 357 
on adultera- 
tion. .510 
■' candy- 

malcing. .334 
" comb- 
building. . 

96, 97, 98 
" " '■ extracting 

" " " feeding 

bees. .334 
" " " foundation 

machines .385 
" " " hive- 

malting. 178, 179 
" " Italian 

bees. 295. 298 
" " " long and 

frames. 153 
on drone 
production 63 
" " on shipping 

bees by the 
pound.. . . . .325 

Root, E. R., on foul-brood. .481, 482 

on frames 150 

on Danzenbaker 

frames. .151 
on weight of bees. . . .326 
Root, L. C, author of Quinby's 

New Bee-keeping. .141 
" . uses closed-end frames 


Royal jelly 17, 47, 259 

Russia, wintering in 340,361 

Sack for hiving swarms 223 

Salivary glands 15, 16, 21 

Salt for bees 130, 131 

Saltpeter-rags 194 

Sartorl & Rauschenfels, honev- 

cake. .528 
on comb- 
building. . 96 

Sashes for windows 318 

Saunier experiment on brood. . 75 

Savage observing hive 186 

Scales of wax 94 

Schiemenz describes the stomach 

mouth. . 28 
Schirach discovery of the origin 

of the queen. . 49 

Scholz candy 324, 335 

" material for hives 177 

Schonfeld on the chyle 28 

Scouts 216 

" returning 219 

Screen 318 

Scudamore on swarm 227, 243 

Sealed honey for extracting. .. .461 
in sections. .443, 444 

Sealed queen cells 45, 269 

Sealing of comb 122 

Sectional hives 135 

Sections 431, 432 

brood frames for.. 433, 448 

case 433 

" Miller 449 

propolizing 442 

removing 444 

securing straight combs 

in. .439 
Selection in bees. .235, 236, 261, 207 

Selling honey 518 

bees 327 

Separators 439 

Shade 239 

Shakespeare 336 

Shaking the bees like seeds. 32, 228 

Sheds 306 

Shipping bees 320 

to better pasture. 322 

honey 511, 512 

queens 323 

by mail 324 

food for 323 

from Italy ... .32 1 

Shook-swarming 250 

Siebold, his opinion of the "Ber- 

lepsch" hive. .144 
on parthenogenesis. . .56, 60 

Sieve 469 

Simmins' method of introducing 

queens . . 28.' 
" non-swarming system. 236 

Size of frames 149, 153, 154 

" of our hive 164 

Skeleton of insect 2 

Slanting apron-board 166, 167 

Smelling organs 11 

" " direct bees to 

flowers. .13, 14 
Girard experi- 
ments on. . 13 
" " very acute . . . 

13, 206, 288 

Smoke for handling bees. 193 

helping robbers 201 

Smokers 191, 192 

fuel for 194 

Smoking bee>s 193 

" not always necessary. 198 

Snails propolized 112 

Snow 350, 353 

Soria space hive 136 

Sounds produced in flight 34 

I Sour honey 517 

I Space around the frames. . 142, 164 

I " under division board 172 

j Spaces between brood stories. ..152 

I Spacing wire 170 

Sparrows and bees 503 

I Spermatheca 56 

Spine of the second pair of legs 24 
Spinola on the Italian bees. 293, 294 
Spiracles of the lungs of bees. . 32 

Spring dwindling 368 

feeding 330 

Sproule on foul-brood 481 

Square frames 153 



Stahala on the language of bees 3-4 

Stanley extractor 469 

Standard Langstroth frame.... 147 

Starvation 329, 331 

Statistics 424, 425 

Sting 34, 37 

" bees living without 37 

" can wound after removal. 38 
" effects of the. .. .38, 207, 208 

" fear of the 200 

" left in the wound 37 

" of queen 49 

" not easily withdrawn by 

the bee. . 37 
" remedies for the wounds 

of the.. 207 

Stomach 28 

mouth 28 

Stone on safe wintering 348 

Store cells 107 

" bees building few. 

107, 108 
Stories, defects of full upper. . 

448. A5S 
half, for extracting. .. .458 
surplus equalizing in 

upper . . 463 

Straight combs 157, 221,229, 385 

Strained honey 453, 454 

Straw hives 132, 177 

" for protection 350,352 

" mat 173,352 

" frame for making. . . . -.173 

Stupefying bees 286 

Sturtevant 351 

Suffocation 181, 182 

Sugar candy 334 

for wintering 344 

" loaf 335 

syrup 334 

Sulphur for moths 498, 499 

Supers 174 

for comb honey. . . .448, 449 
" for extracted honey .... 458 

Superstition 113 

Swammerdam 40, 185 

" on the moth .... 

489, 492 
" " ovaries. . 57 

" tribute to 15 

Swarming, artificial, see Artificial. 

fever 237 

" natural 211 

causes of . . . .236 
" " excessive .. . .235 

" " preparations 

for. .214 
" " out of season. 211 

" '* prevention of.23i 

" " stimulated 

236, 237 
small hives, 

156, 457 
" " when raising 

comb honey. 

240. 241. 442 

Swarming, with a virgin queen. 

230, 232 

without a queen 214 

with several queens.. 232 

Swarms absconding 233 

catching the queen of.. 225 

comb guides for 221 

easily handled 191 

feeding 229 

first 213 

hived on worker comb. 

220, 221 
"on comb-foundation 


hiving 219 

" mixing 226 

on a trunk 224 

primary 213 

with a young 

queen. .230 

sack for 223 

secondary 230 

selecting an alighting 

place.. 218 
several hived together. . 
I 226, 227 

third 233 

transporting 328 

waiting for scouts 216 

I " weight of 239 

with several queens. ... 232 

" " two queens 227 

I Syrian bees 46, 293, 299 

I Syrup 331, 336 

T Super 449 

Taming bees 191 

Tanging ■ 215 

Tarsus 22 

Telling the bees 114, 115 

Thickness of cells 101 

Thomson, quotations from. . 403, 429 

Thorax 22 

Thorley on stupefying bees. . . .286 

Tidd on the moth 490,495,497 

I Tin cans for feeding 332 

! Tin vessels for honey 521 

t " roofs „ . .175 

Toads 505 

Tongue 20, 21 

• " length of 22, 400 

Tools to extract honey... 463, 465 

to handle bees 

193, 197, 202, 203, 318 

" to transfer bees 313 

Top and bottom bars of frames. .159 
Townley on mailing queens. . . .324 

Trachea 31, 32 

Traps 89, 2-10 

for moths 502 

Transferring colonies 309 

Hcddon method 

of 315 

queen cells 269 

Transporting bees 306, 327 ^1 

"■"■ '• "'^ 



Tulip trees 7, 398 

Uncapping 467 

knives 468 

Uniting colonies ...254, 255, 318 
Upper stories, see Supers. 

Vandervort mill 386 

spur 393, 394 

Van Deusen clamp 160 

Veil 196, 197 

Ventilation 162, 179 

in cellar 365 

in winter 181, 350 

to prevent swarming. 239 

when shipping 320 

Viallon experiments on comb- 
building. .106 

" on laying workers 77 

Virgil description of the Italian 

bee. .292, 293 
" mentions the bee-moth. .. 489 
" on clipping wings of 

queens. . . .225 
on material for hives.... 177 

Virgin queens 50 

introducing 286 

rivalry of 50 

voice of 51 

"Wagner incident of swarming. . 217 

on age of comb 229 

on egg laying 47, 62 

on robbing 377 

on success 140 

on the Italian bee. 296, 297 
" patent on comb-founda- 
tion. .384 

" on sex of eggs 62 

" on translation of 

Berlepsch. .371 
" Donhoff 

71, 496 
Warm ab.sorbents for Winter.. 351 

Warping boards 179 

Water for bees 129, 370 

as a remedy for stings. .208 

needed in Spring 370 

injurious in shipping 

bees. . . .130 

Wax 93 

" adulteration of 387 

" bleaching 536 

" candles 537 

" chemical composition of.. 105 

" cleaning 535 

" extractors 533-534 

" from cappings ..471, 531, 535 

" how produced 94 

" many pounds of honey 

to produce. . . .106 

" made by young bees 94 

" melting point of 387 

" not made of pollen 104 

" old bees can make 95, 96 

" pollen necessary to make 

If^A, 105 

Wax produced by eating 94, 95 

■ resiuues of 535 

" scales 94 

who discovered the. ... 99 
" " on the bottom-board. . . 99 

" uses of 536 

Weigel recommends candy 334 

Weight of bees 326 

" drones 326 

swarms 239 

Weiss, first manufacturer of 

foundation in America. .384 

Wide frames for sections 448 

Wide top bars for brood frames. 159 
Wildman on comb-building. ... 99 

" feeding 329 

" the scent of the 

queen. . . .288 

" uniting 255 

Wil.sou. Miss 301, 447, 448 

Window screens 318 

Winds protection from 350 

Wings 25, 26 

" used in ventilation 180 

" of queens 42 

of queens, clipping. 225, 226 

Winter flight 355, 356, 367 

passages 345, 346 

protection 349 

Wintering bees 340 

best conditions for. 360 

cellar for 361 

chaff hives for. . .357 

clamps for 368 

cold repositories 

for. . .368 
experiment on . . .342 

food for 344 

in-doors 360 

mis'akes in 342 

narrowing the 

spfice for. . . . 345 
on full combs. . . .341 
outer boxes for 

359, 360 

Workers 67 

agitated when the queen 

is removed. . 265 

balling queens 284 

building 94, 96 

cells, see Cells. 

crippled 82 

discharges of 29 

Donhoff experiment on. 68 
duration of transforma- 
tion of . . 92 

duties of 68 

. " eat eggs 6(> 

eggs in drone cells.... 63 
I " " to raise queens. 47, 259 

( " feeding the young 15 

' •' " " queen 18 

fertile 77 

how discovered... 79 

" use of 77 

first flight of 68, 76 

functions of 67 



Workers, larvae of 71 1 Workers trying to raise queens 

life 80 with drone eggs . . 59, 80 

losing their queen ' " understand each other.. 80 

42, 43, 262 " ventilating 179 

love of for their queen " young, build combs . 69, 94 

42, 265, 324 " " feed the brood.. 67 

newly hatched 76 Worms, see Moth. 

number of in a hive... 67 

old, work in the fields.. 68 ,,. ,^ , ,^^ 

" sexual organs not de- ^ i^ld, large 460 

veloped. . 77 
signs of old age 82 Zoubareff, uses of propolis . 114, 115 

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53^x8 Inches. Attractive Cloth Binding. 
105 Pages. 40 Illustrations. 

MR. PELLETT has travelled extensively throughout the 
United States, spending much of his time in the largest queen- 
rearing yards. He gives in his book many different methods of 
queen rearing as used by the older breeders, such as Doolittle, 
Pratt, Dines, Alley and others, with the variations as practiced 
by the present large queen breeders. The text is written clearly, 
making it easy for any beekeeper to raise his own queens from his 
best colonies. 

Price, postpaid, $1.00, or with the American Bee Journal 
one year, $1.75. 

American Bee Journal, Hamilton, Illinois.