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"The first farmer was the first man, and all historic 
nobility rests on possession and tise of land." 

— Emerson. 




KARY C. DAVIS, Ph.D. (Cornell) 




By frank C. PELLETT 


LiPPiNCOTT's Farm Manuals 

Edited by K. C. DAVIS, Ph.D., Knapp School of Country Life, Nashville. Tenn. 
Every effort is made to keep these standard texts up-to-date, and- 
new editions are published and revisions made whenever necessary. 


By GEORGE E. DAY, B.S.A. Third Edition, Revised 


By HARRY R. LEWIS, M.Agr. Fourth Edition, Revised and Enlarged 


By CARL W. GAY. D.V.M., B.S.A. Third Edition, Revised 


By FRED C. SEARS, M.S. Second Edition. Revised 


By JOHN W. LLOYD, M.S.A. Third Edition Revised 


By F. W. WOLL. Ph.D., Third Edition, Revised 


By R. A. CRAIG, D.V.M.. Third Edition, Revised 


By E. G. MONTGOMERY, M.A. Third Edition, Revised 


By FRANK C. PELLETT. Second Edition, Revised 


By R. M. WASHBURN, M.S.A. Second Edition, Revised 












By KARY C. DAVIS. Second Edition, Revised 


By KARY C. DAVIS. Second Edition. Revised 

PRODUCTIVE SOILS (Abridged Edition) 







LippiNcoTT's Farm Manuals 

EDITED BY K. C. DAVIS, Ph. D. (Cornell) 







"It vain our toil, 
We ought to blame the culture, not the soil." 

Pope — Essay on Man 




EUctrotyped and printea by 
J B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, U. S. A. 

This book is a preservation facsimile produced for 
North CaroHna State University Libraries. 

In compliance with current copyright law, Etherington 

Conservation Services produced this replacement volume 

on paper that meets ANSI Standard Z39.48-1992 and ISO 

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The author is much gratified with the interest manifested in 
Productive Bee-Keeping, which makes a new edition desirable. 
A number of changes have been incorporated in the text, mostlv 
for the purpose of presenting the subjects a little more fully. It 
has not been found necessary to rewrite any considerable por- 
tion of the book in order to keep it fully up to date. 

Frank C. Pellett. 
ATI.ANTIC, Iowa, July 1, 1918. 


The author's earliest recollections are of days with his 
grandfather among the bees. One of the proudest days of his 
whole life was the first time he was permitted to cut a limb 
from an apple tree on which a swarm had clustered. 

With a lifetime of intimate association with the bees and 
a wide acquaintance among the bee-keepers of the nation, it may 
not be regarded as surprising that he should undertake to set 
down in this book the information gleaned from so many sources. 
In no other pursuit, perhaps, do the originators' names cling 
to the articles of equipment or methods of manipulation, as in 
bee-keeping. Most of the articles of equipment, as well as 
methods in common use, bear the name of the man with whom 
they originated— the Langstroth hive. Porter bee escape, Alex- 
ander feeder. Root smoker. Miller queen cage, and so on through- 
out the entire field of apiculture. So firmly established has this 
custom become, that a writer is in danger of being accused of 
plagiarism if he describes a method without the originator's name 
in connection. While the author has followed the usual custom, 
in the main, some methods have become so generally adopted 
that it hardly seems necessary to continue the practice. It is 
not with any intention of claiming as original any of these plans 
that the originator's name has occasionally been omitted, but 
rather because it does not seem needful with matters so fully 
credited already. 

While the author believes that a few minor methods herein 
described are original with him, this book is not presented for 
the purpose of exploiting original material, but rather to de- 


scribe the accepted methods found valuable by extensive honey 
producers, under the greatest variety of conditions. The best 
has been gleaned from every possible source. 

While most of the illustrations are from the author's original 
photographs or draw^ings made especially for this book, acknowl- 
edgment should be made for a number that are reproduced by 
permission from " Gleanings in Bee Culture," " The American 
Bee Journal," and other sources. 

The author is also greatly indebted to Mr. C. P. Dadant, 
Dr. C. C. Miller, Dr. E. F. Phillips, and especially to Mrs. 
Pellett for valuable assistance. 

Frank C. Pellett. 
Atlantic, Iowa. November, 191-5. 


CHAPTER ^ ^^gj. 

1. Bee-Keeping a Fascinating Pursuit i 

II. The Business of Bee-Keeping 9 

III. Making a Start With Bees 18 

IV. Arrangement of the Apiary 36 

V. Sources of Nectar 46 

VI. The Occupants of the Hive gg 

VII. Increase 100 

VIII. Feeding 229 

IX. Production of Comb Honey 136 

X. Production of Extracted Honey 165 

XI. Wax, a By-product of the Apiary I95 

XII. Diseases and Enemies of Bees 206 

XIII. Wintering 234 

XIV. Marketing the Honey Crop 257 

XV. Laws that Concern the Bee-Keeper 283 



The Orchard Furnishes an Ideal Location for the Apiary . .Frontispiece 

1. A Bee- Keeper Who Makes Pets of His Bees 2 

2. Getting Acquainted 3 

3. The Sting is an Effective Weapon of Defence 4 

4. Just for the Joy of It 7 

5. Many Successful Apiaries Built Up from a Single Colony 10 

6. A Few Colonies May be Kept on the Roof 11 

7. House Built from One Honey Crop from Less Than 300 Hives 12 

8. A Town-Lot Apiary 14 

9. Intensive Bee-Keeping 15 

10. The Silk Tulle Veil No Obstruction to the Vision 20 

11. A Youthful Beginner and the Necessary Outfit 21 

12. Good Hive Tools 22 

13. Smokers in Common Use 23 

14. Metal Top Covered with Flaxboard 24 

15. Tin Comb Bucket 26 

16. Observatory Hive 26 

17. An Apiary Ready for Shipment 31 

18. Transferring from Hollow Tree Without Cutting the Tree 34 

19. An Apiary Without Shade 37 

20. A Well-Arranged Apiary in California 38 

21. A Hive-Stand of Cement for Two Colonies 39 

22. A Tub of Water Covered with Chipped Cork Makes a Safe Watering 

Place 40 

23. A Long Trough with Burlap Lining for Watering the Bees 42 

24. Record on Back of Hive Cover in Dadant Apiary 44 

25. Soft Maple and Pussy Willow are Sources of Early Pollen and Nectar 53 

26. Catkins of Pussy Willow 54 

27. Blossoms of Soft Maple 55 

28. Fruit Blossoms Furnish Large Quantities of Honey for Early Brood 

Rearing 56 

29. The Golden Rod is an Important Source of Fall Nectar in Some 

Localities 62 

30. The Cup-Plant or Rosin Weed 64 

31. Blossoms of the Cup-Plant 65 

32. The Yellow Crownbeard is Much Sought by the Bees 66 

33. Wild Sunflowers are Important Honey Producing Plants over I^arge 

Areas 67 




34. Blossom, Seed Pod and Leaf of Partridge Pea 68 

35. Aster Honey Makes Poor Winter Stores ... 70 

36. Boneset or White Snakeroot 71 

37. Masses of White Snakeroot in the Author's Wild Garden 72 

38. Two Species of Heartsease or Smartweed 73 

39. The Horsemints are Valuable over a Large Scope of Country 75 

40. Catnip Yields Honey Abundantly 76 

4L Figwort or Simpson's Honey Plant 76 

42. The Rocky Mountain Bee Plant is a Valuable Honey P*roducer in 

Colorado 77 

43. Blossoms of the Button Bush 78 

44. Buckwheat in Bloom 79 

45. Where Sufficiently Abundant, the Wild Cucumber is Valuable 80 

46. Queen Laying in a Newly Made Comb 89 

47. Natural-Built Queen Cells 90 

48. Worker Bees on the Comb 92 

49. Drones 95 

50. Combs Showing Queen Cells and Capped Drone and Worker Brood. 96 
5L Hiving Swarm in Straw Skep in Europe 103 

52. A Market Basket Swarm Catcher 105 

53. A Newly Hived Swarm 105 

64. Swarm Caught in a Sack, Running into the Hive 105 

55. Nuclei in Queen- Rearing Apiary 109 

56. Miller Queen Cage 114 

57. Benton Queen Cage 114 

58. Queen Cells by the Alley Plan 125 

59. Feeding with Friction, Top Pails in Empty Super 132 

60. The Miller Feeder '. 132 

61. Tin Pan Feeder in Super 133 

62. The Doolittle Division Board Feeder 134 

63. Metal Feeder After the Alexander Idea 134 

64. The Alexander Wood Feeder 135 

65. With This Entrance Feeder One Can See at a Glance How Much 

Feed Remains to be Taken 135 

66. Parts of a Comb Honey Hive 138 

67. Strong Colonies for Comb Honey Production 139 

68. Comb Honey Supers 140 

69. Comb Honey Super Dissected 140 

70. Sections for Comb Honey 141 

71. Separators for Bee- Way Sections 142 

72. Fence for Plain Sections 143 




73. Dr. L. D. Leonard Method of Putting Foundation into Split Sections 145 

74. The Pangbum Foundation Fastener and Sections Filled with 

Foundation 14q 

75. Method of Putting in Foundation with Pangburn Fastener 147 

76. The Use of Super Springs 148 

77. Ventilated Bee Escape and Queen Excluders 153 

78. The Porter Bee Escape 161 

79. The Latest in Automatic Reversing Honey Extractors 166 

80. Storage Tanks of a Large Honey Producer in Cahfornia 167 

81. A Power Driven Extractor 168 

82. Sixty Pound Cans for Extracted Honey 170 

83. The Townsend Uncapping Box 171 

84. The Peterson Capping Melter 172 

85. Bingham Uncapping Knife I73 

86. Langstroth Hive for Extracted Honey I74 

87. Langstroth Hive Dissected I74 

88. A Well-Arranged, Two-Story Honey House 176 

89. Large Honey House With All Work on Ground Floor 177 

90. The Automobile is Valuable for Outyard Work 178 

91. Upper Comb Built on Full Sheet of Foundation; Lower Without 

Foundation jgQ 

92. Usual Method of Wiring Frames 181 

93. Hoffman Frame with Full Sheet of Foundation 182 

94. Development of Combs from Foundation 182 

95. Comb Built on Wired Frame with Full Sheet of Foundation 183 

96. Strong Colony for Extracted Honey Production 184 

97. Colony that Produced Forty Dollars Worth of Extracted Honey in 

One Season jg4 

98. Wheelbarrow Load of Extracting Supers 188 

99. Utilizing Feed Cooker for Liquefying Candied Honey by Steam . . 192 

100. The Hershiser Wax Press. . . ' 909 

101. Steam Wax Press '.'..'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'..'.'.'.'.'.'.'.." 2m 

i02. Brood Comb from Colony Affected with American Foul Brood.". '. 208 

103. Work of Wax Moths in Colony Affected by American Foul Brood 209 

104. Thirteen Colonies Left of One Hundred Five as the Result of 

European Foul Brood for Eight Months 216 

105. Appearance of Larvae Affected by European Foul Brood. . 218 

106. The Natural and Preferred Food of the SkunJc is Insects.' ' The 

Honey-Bee is a Temptmg Delicacy to the Skunk Palate. . . 225 

107. The Robber Fly " ' 226 

108. The Value of a Good Natural Windbreak Behind an Apiary Can 

Hardly be Overestimated 238 



FIG. ^*™ 

109. Paper Winter Cases Are at Best Scant Protection, But Are Good 

for Cellar- Wintered Bees After They Are Placed on the Summer 
Stands 241 

110. The Dadant Method of Outdoor Wintering in Large Hives is Suited 

to LocaUties Where the Bees Have Frequent Flight During The 
Cold Months 242 

111. One Method of Packing on the Summer Stands 243 

112. Parts of a Double-Walled Hive 244 

113. Double-Walled Hive Assembled 245 

114. Packing Box with Hives Inside Ready for Leaves or Other Packing 

Material for Outdoor Wintering 248 

115. Packing Two Colonies with Dry Leaves in a Goods Box 249 

116. Snug for the Winter 250 

117. The Packing Boxes May be Utilized for Chicken Coops in Summer 252 

118. Concrete Cellar for Wintering 253 

119. Cellar for Wintering Under the Workshop 254 

120. Development of Comb Honey in Sections 259 

121. Packages for Retailing Extracted Honey 264 

122. Trade-Mark of the Colorado Honey Producers Association 265 

123-126. Honey Labels 266, 267, 268 

127. Little Stickers Widely Used for General Advertising 269 

128. Advertising Sign at the Bonney Apiary 270 

129. Iowa Bee-Keepers' Association Holiday Placard 271 

130. An Exhibit at the Fair is a Good Advertising Medium and Promotes 

the Use of Honey 272 

131. Paper Carton the Best Retail Package for Section Honey 273 

132. The Hunten Tin Package 273 

133. Dr. Bonney's Postcard Which Brings Him Many New Customers. . 279 

134. The Automobile as a Sales Agency is the Most Up-to- Date Method 281 



While this book is written for the purpose of encouraging 
honey production as a business enterprise, and, accordingly, 
deals with the subject in a very practical manner, the reader 
is asked to allow the suggestion here at the beginning, that there 
is much of poetry, as well as hard work in making a living from 
the apiary, 

Honey-Bees as Pets. — No, this is not a joke, for bees really 
do make nice pets. They are always interesting, and have this 
advantage over most other pets : they can be left to look out for 
themselves without inconvenience during their owner's absence. 
While there are comparatively few who keep bees as a sole source 
of livelihood, there are many thousands who keep a few colonies 
for a diversion, as a side line, or for the fun of the thing. Yes, 
it is safe to say that nearly every really successful bee-keeper 
comes to feel a strong affection for the busy little insects, and 
to regard his bees as pets (Fig. 1). 

To nature lovers, the pleasure of association with the bees 
outweighs the pleasures to be bought with the cash realized from 
the sale of the honey ; hence they cannot refrain from growing 
very enthusiastic about bee-keeping as a business, and some- 
times the enthusiasts are accused of painting the picture with 
too much bright color. Perhaps some such feeling is essential 
to the pursuit, and the lack of it may account for the failure of 
some, who are not lacking in industry or patience, two very 
essential requirements. 

Getting Acquainted. — If one will make pets of the bees, he 
must first proceed to get acquainted with them. They are 
notional little creatures, and one must know what to expect 



under given circumstances in order to get along well. One who 
loves and understands bees seldom has trouble on account of 
stings. The sting is a weapon of defence, seldom of offence, and 
the bee-keeper must know the liberties they will resent (Fig. 2). 

Fig. 1 . — A bee-keeper who makes pets of his bees. 

Of course there is a difference in the disposition. Some bees 
are crosser than others, and, perhaps, there are bees which one 
would hardly care to cultivate as pets. The author has at differ- 
ent times had a great many colonies of Italians, Crosses, and 
Blacks. Some have been gentler than others, but he has usually 
been on friendly terms with all. The practical bee-keeper will 


frequently handle his bees without veil or gloves, and without 
a sting. Others, who have had a few bees about for years, with- 
out really becoming acquainted with them, always arm them- 
selves with a sting-proof armament, and usually arouse the 
bees to such an extent that it is unsafe for any member of the 
family to leave the house for twenty-four hours. At such times 

FiQ. 2. — Getting acquainted. 

chickens have been known to be stung to death, and other animals 
to be badly used. 

The successful bee-keeper must take the trouble to get ac- 
quainted with the bees, and to comply with the few simple 
requirements necessary to handle them easily and successfully. 
In the first place, never place yourself in the direct line of flight 


of the workers, in going to and from the hive. People who should 
know better are often seen getting directly in front of the hive, 
even though a rod or two away, to watch their movements. An 
expert called upon to look into a hive may, by approaching from 
the rear, carefully remove the cover without causing any commo- 
tion. At the same time the novice, watching from some distance 
in front, is quite likely to receive sufficient attention to insure 
a hasty retreat (Fig. 3). 

Fia. 3.— The eting is an effective weapon of defence. 

An Orderly Community. — The work of the hive is done in 
an orderly manner. There is no hit-and-miss business there. 
Every individual bee has a duty to perform, and that duty is 
apparently done in the right manner and at the proper time. 
In order to look within the hive without causing resentment on 
the part of the bees, one must do something to break up the 
orderly system and create confusion among the inmates. Under 
normal conditions, sentinels are posted at the entrance of the 


hive to detect and ward off danger. In some manner these 
g-uards are able to recognize every member of the very numerous 
family. If a strange bee, a robber perchance, should happen to 
alight at the entrance of the hive, it is at once set upon and 
driven away or killed. Let a man or an animal pass in front 
of the hive, and the chances are that the sentinels will take 
notice, and invite the trespasser to move on. The bee-keeper, 
wishing to open the hive, approaches quietly from the rear, and 
blows a little smoke into the entrance. As a result the sentinels 
are at once thrown off guard. The cover is then carefully lifted 
and more smoke blown over the frames. This causes a suspen- 
sion of work in all parts of the hive, and general confusion 
results. The bees at once seek the open cells, and fill their honey 
sacs with honey, as though they believed the house to be on fire 
and wished to save as much of their hard-earned store as possible. 

A careful operator will be able to create such a condition of 
hopeless confusion within the hive, that the bees lose all 
thought of defence, and he can handle them at will without the 
slightest resistance. If the frames are at once removed, the 
bees may be dumped into a pan, picked up by handfuls, or dis- 
posed of in any manner, if only one be careful not to pinch or 
crush any of them. Experienced bee-keepers frequently give 
demonstrations before the gaping public in a manner to excite 
a wondering interest on the part of the uninitiated, and to lead 
to all sorts of absurd statements. Some go so far as to attempt 
to give the impression that they have unusual influence over the 
insects, calling themselves bee-wizards or other silly names. If 
the operator is skillful in controlling the bees, he can perform 
feats that seem very wonderful to those whose only information 
concerning them is that they sting and make honey. Blowing 
live bees from the mouth, pouring panfuls over the head, and 
similar " stunts " are not uncommon at these demonstrations. 

There are some gentle strains of Italians that have become 
so accustomed to being handled that they can be safely handled 
during a honey flow without smoke. The novice should be 


cautious about over-confidence until he has become familiar with 
the habits of the insects and the methods of control. 

There are some who cannot overcome a nervous fear of the 
bees, and consequently can never handle them successfully. The 
first essential in controlling bees is to be able to control one's 
self. When a bee comes buzzing about, the chances are ninety- 
nine in a hundred that she will make no trouble unless the person 
under observation starts it. How often people get stung by 
starting a fuss with a perfectly friendly bee, when if they would 
only keep quiet there would be no trouble. One can very soon 
come to recognize the difference between the hum of a friendly 
bee and the angry buzz of one on the warpath. The experiment 
has been tried of keeping perfectly still when pursued by angry 
ones. Often they alight on the operator with apparent surprise 
that he is not kicking up a fuss, and, after a moment or two of 
hesitation, fly away without drawing their daggers. This plan 
is not always successful, though there is less danger of getting 
stung when quiet than when frantically kicking and striking 
in every direction. Where a colony is on the warpath, the best 
plan is to keep away until they have become quiet, for it is very 
difficult to control bees after they have become fully aroused. 

Fifty or a hundred friendly bees crawling over a seasoned 
bee-keeper cause him not the slightest uneasiness, but on the other 
hand, he is likely rather to enjoy the sensation. One who is 
not accustomed to handling them should always take the pre- 
caution to protect himself fully with veil and gloves, until he 
becomes so familiar with them as to be able to overcome his 
nervousness when they alight on the face or hands. 

Some Causes of Trouble. — There are several things that have 
a tendency to cause trouble between the operator and his bees. 
They are much more inclined to be cross when the atmosphere 
is heavy before a storm, and sometimes after. They show a 
tendency to be more hostile toward one dressed in dark colored 
clothing than in light garments. One should take care to never 
go about the bees with the odor of the stable clinging to his gar- 


ments, as that is offensive to them. One is more likely to be 
stung when perspiring freely, and persons whose perspiration 
has an offensive odor will have more trouble with the bees. It is 
important that the bee-keeper avoid jarring the hive or any 
quick, nervous movement. Even a slight jar causes unnecessary- 
excitement in the hive. 

One who is much with the bees can, if he will, soon come to 
know and avoid the things that are distasteful to them, and to 
perform tlie operations necessary to bee-keeping with little 
danger of being stung. 

Fig. 4. — Just for the joy of it. 

The Joy of It.— The nature-lover who does not keep bees is 
missing a good thing. There is a charm about lying in the gra::3 
beside the hive and watching the stream of workers bringing in 
the harvest of honey and pollen at the height of the season, when 
the colony ig in a fever of excitement. Then to know something 
of the wonderful system of government, by which the thousands 
of insects composing a colony are able to work together har- 
moniously, with never a shirker among the bevy of toilers, is a 
most interesting study. At times the beekeeper is seized with 
a desire to see what is going on inside the hive, to visit a colony, 


remove the frames, and examine the young bees in all stages of 
development, hunt out the queen, pick up handfuls of the friendly 
little bees just to feel the tickle of their feet in his hand, and 
to put them all back again, just for the joy of it (Fig, 4). Yes, 
indeed, it is worth while to make pets of the bees. 


1. Note some of the attractions of bee-keeping. 

2. What are some of the essentials of success? 

3. Discuss the general principles of bee control. 

4. What are some of the things that are distasteful to the bees? 

Few persons think of beojkeeping as a business. The ordin- 
ary conception is that of a diversion, a side line on the farm, 
or a harmless pursuit for old men. Perhaps 90 per cent of 
those keeping bees may be included in one of these classes, of 
which a very large number will come under the head of keeping 
bees as a diversion. 

The public is just now beginning to realize the fact that bee- 
keeping is a real man's-sized job, and that an able-bodied man 
of good education can profitably occupy his time with bees. 

When considering the possibilities of any occupation as a 
lifetime pursuit, the careful person makes inquiry along several 
lines: Is the business congenial? What are the advantages? 
What are the probable returns ? 

No specialized branch of agriculture requires more skill to 
be successfully pursued as an exclusive business than honey 
production. The man who cannot or will not give close attention 
to details, promptly, should never be a bee-keeper. The whole 
business is one of details, and apparently imimportant things are 
of the utmost importance. To such an extent is this true, that 
it often happens that the scientific bee man will get a crop of 
honey in an off season, when his neighbor, with the same kind 
of equipment and apparently following the same general plan, 
gets no surplus. In most localities the honey flows are of short 
duration, and everything hinges on getting the bees in proper 
condition to store the maximum of honey when the flow is on. 
The honey producer must see to it that his dish is right side up 
when it rains nectar. 

The man or woman who is of a studious disposition, loves 
nature, and delights in out-of-door pursuits, is likely to find bee- 
keeping a congenial occupation. Most of the conspicuously suc- 
cessful bee-keepers are studious, questioning individuals, in- 


tensely interested in the honey-bee. While great progress has 
been made in the past few years, much yet remains to be learned, 
and new methods and new discoveries are constantly brought for- 
ward. The person who believes he knows all about bees is a 
back number, indeed. 

The Advantages. — Bee-keeping is one of the few pursuits 
open to persons of small capital or poor health. Many a success- 

Many a successful apiary has been built up from a single colony. 

ful apiary has been built up from a single colony of bees and an 
investment of but a few dollars (Fig. 5). In fact, some of the 
most successful bee men have begun in this way, and built up an 
extensive business that yielded a good income. 

Then again, bees may be kept in situations where it would 
be impossible to undertake any other enterprise. Of course, after 
one has enlarged his apiaries to such an extent that they will 



occupy the entire time and attention of the owner, a suitable 
situation will be necessary, but a start may be made under appar- 
ently unfavorable circumstances. A few colonies are often kept 
on top of a business building in the city, in the attic, the back 
yard, or even have been known in the bed-room, with an opening 
tlirough the sash (Fig. 6). 

One of the greatest advantages of the business lies in this 
possibility of development, without requiring that the learner 

Fiii. G.— A few colonies may be kept on the rool. 

leave his regular home or business until ho has learned much 
concerning the new venture and is able to judge whether he is 
likely to be adapted to the work. Men and women, worn out 
with professional work, and feeling the need of change and of 
work in the open air, have found health, happiness, and pros- 
perity in following this suggestion (Fig. 7). 

Women in many cases are successful honey producers, those 
who have laid aside the arduous work of the school-room to take 
it up being not uncommon. 



The fact, perhaps, that so many in poor health or otherwise 
unfortunate have taken to bee-keeping may be in part responsible 
for the general impression that, as a business, it amounts to little. 
The writer knows many men of perfect health, good business 
ability, and other qualities that contribute to success in any call- 
ing, who are devoting their time and energies to this business, 

Fig. 7. — House built from one honey crop from less than 300 liivc 

and it is from the inspiration of their success that he hopes to 
draw for whatever of merit this book may possess. 

The Returns. — A most important consideration is the finan- 
cial return, for expenses must be met, families are to be sup- 
ported, and most of us must have a care to make ends meet. 
While there are those who keep bees in a very large way, with a 


series of many outyards and much help, it is rather the one-man 
business that we will just now discuss, for many people who can 
be successful in a business whose every detail they can oversee 
are likely to fail when it comes to organizing a system and 
delegating the actual operations to hired help. 

A Minister. — As a first example there is the case of a Pres- 
byterian minister who took up bee-keeping as a business. He 
soon had 300 colonies of bees in four yards. One hundred and 
twenty colonies was the largest number he had in one yard, 
while there were but thirty colonies in his smallest yard. His 
average return was seven dollars per colony per year for a series 
of years when honey was at the extremely low price that pre- 
vailed prior to the world war. This amount was probably in 
excess of the salary he received in serving a small congregation 
in a country town. 

A carpenter gave up 'his trade to keep bees as an exclusive 
source of livelihood many years ago. When he abandoned his 
trade and took up bee-keeping he rented a house and two small 
lots in an Iowa town. At the end of two years he purchased the 
property and occupied it as a home for more than twenty-five 
years. During the early years of his experience, before he became 
well established, there was one season of failure of the honey crop, 
when he found it necessary to work at his trade temporarily for 
a few months. Aside from that, the bees furnished his entire 
support. He paid for his home and business, from the apiary, 
built a better house and added to his real estate holding. While 
his income was not large, he had a better support than his trade 
could furnish and his business was at home where he enjoyed the 
assistance and association of his family. Although he lived to 
a ripe old age, he cared for his bees until within a short time 
of his death. 

A Clerk. — One might also cite the case of a shipping clerk 
in a manufacturing establishment. Because of failing health he 
was compelled to seek the open air. The pressing necessity of 
providing for his family compelled him to find something that 
would furnish the needed support, without demanding too heavy 
toil from a weakened body. He has been remarkably successful 






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considering his circumstances, and now feels that the condition 
that compelled him to make a change has proved a blessing in 

A book-keeper in a western city has for some time been 

FiQ. 9. — Intensive bee-keeping. Corner of an apiary where 165 coloniea are kept on lot 

developing his business to the point where it will justify him in 
cutting loose from his salary and devoting all his time to honey 
production. He has grown up in the work so gradually that he 
has reached the point where he can make the change without 
feeling the cost, as the bees paid their own way, and without feel- 
ing the shock of readjustment. He lives out on a car-line, where 
he has two or three lots. He has been attending to his regular 
duties at the desk, and giving his evenings and mornings and 
occasional holidays to the bees, assisted by an enthusiastic wife 
(Fig. 9). One season he produced and sold more than fourteen 


hundred dollars' worth of honey, which quite probably was equal 
to his salary. Should he decide to devote all his time to the bees, 
he can care for double his present number. While this was an 
unusually favorable season, with double the number of colonies, 
his average production will leave little risk to run. 

A General Farmer. — One of the most successful bee-keepers 
of the Middle West is a young man who abandoned general farm- 
ing because the heavy expenses necessary to pay cash rent, hired 
help, buy expensive machinery, and replace the worn-out horses 
made it difficult to get ahead. This man does nearly all his own 
work, thus keeping down expenses. He produces from twenty- 
five thousand to forty thousand pounds of honey per year, which 
he sells to jobbers at wholesale prices. By developing a retail 
market he could increase his income materially, though it is good 
at present. 

Many Others. — It would be possible to multipy these exam- 
ples indefinitely, but these men who have turned to bee-keeping 
from so many different walks of life should be sufficient. It 
would be possible to cite also numberless examples of those, who, 
by plunging without experience, have failed, but most of the 
failures have been because the adventurer did not use good 
business judgment. 

As an Exclusive Business. — The men who are engaged in 
honey production as an exclusive business are getting results 
equal to those derived from other lines of agriculture, with less 
capital invested and with less risk. The fact that the business 
is open to men of small capital, who are unable to engage in 
general farming because of the larger outlay required, surely 
makes it desirable to encourage the development of the industry 
as far as possible. Bee-keeping^ as a business, requires high- 
grade talent, and comparatively few men succeed in making it 
profitable as an exclusive line. This is not the fault of the busi- 
ness but of the men. It looks so easy that men are not willing to 
serve an apprenticeship, or to take the necessary time to master 
the business in all its details, as they would expect to do in other 


Judging from the incomes of those who are depending upon 
bee-keeping for a livelihood, it seems safe to say that a man who 
will become thoroughly proficient and attend properly to his busi- 
ness can make from twelve hundred to three thousand dollars 
per year from the bees that he can care for personally. Some 
do better than that, many do not do as well, but so many exclusive 
bee-keepers come within this range that it is a conservative one. 
If the ambitious reader proves to be the exceptional man, he may 
hope to increase his income much beyond the higher figure by 
skilful organization and large apiaries widely scattered. 

After gathering the average results from a number of bee- 
keepers who have kept bees for many years, it seems safe to place 
the average return in the average locality at five dollars per 
colony in the hands of expert bee-keepers. So much depends upon 
a suitable locality that it is important that one who is taking up 
bee-keeping as a business should choose a locality above^the 
average if possible. 

The Outlook.— There are always a few timid souls who cry 
over-production, who feel that the honey business will shortly 
be overdone. The last census clearly shows that there are a less 
number of bee-keepers in the United States than there were ten 
years ago, although there has not been a corresponding decrease 
in the number of bees. This indicates that the bee-keepers are 
becoming specialists. When it is remembered that there has 
been a constant increase in population, one need have little fear of 
over-production of honey while the number of bee-keepers is 
decreasing, especially not until we reach the time when there 
is a marked increase in the production of honey. While at times 
there may be a temporary glut in some markets because of im- 
proper distribution, the bee-keeper in taking up the business need 
have little fear of seeing the production of honey overdone for 
many years to come. 


1. What type of person is most likely to be a successful bee-keeper? 

2. Note some of the advantages of bee-keeping as a business. 

caKl ''^^"'""^ ""^ bee-keeping to other occupations requiring equal 
4. What is the outlook for the business? 


Unless one has had rather extended experience and obser- 
vation, it is nearly always advisable to begin with only one or 
two colonies and grow into a business as extensive as inclination 
or opportunity will permit. 

Proper Equipment. — Only a small percentage of bee-keepers 
start right and select equipment that will continue satisfactory. 
Hundreds of men have started with hives or other equipment 
unsuited to their locality or the system that they have chosen 
to follow, which later caused a heavy expense to change. Kot 
long since the author visited a young man who is employed 
in a large machine shop. His spare time is taken up with his 
bees, to which he hopes before long to give his entire attention. 
He has been very fortunate in making his selection of equipment, 
for everything which he has purchased is likely to prove of per- 
manent value. His hives are of the best, his combs are straight 
and built on wired frames, and everything indicates the bee- 
keeper of long experience, instead of a beginner. 

Getting Experience. — If one is so situated that he can do so, 
it is very desirable to spend at least one season in a large apiary. 
This is not only very desirable to any one who expects to make 
honey production a business, but doubly so to one who wishes to 
start on a liberal scale and increase rapidly. One should select 
the most successful bee-keeper, of whom he can learn under simi- 
lar conditions to which he expects to work. Systems that are 
adapted to one locality may fail in another. To serve such an 
apprenticeship is not altogether essential, for many successful 
bee-keepers have developed their own systems from their own 
experience, with the help of ideas gleaned from the bee journals 
and books relating to the subject. A course in bee-culture in one 
of the agricultural colleges offering such a course is very 


A Beginner's Equipment.— Hives of the Langstroth dimen- 
SK^are now almost universally recommended, because of the 
facmat they arQ everywhere standard. Hives of other patterns 
may be equally good for practical service, but the purchase of 
supplies may be difficult, bees offered for sale in them may bring 
much less because of the fact that the buyer will want them in 
standard hives, and similar reasons. Supplies for the standard 
hives can be secured almost anywhere, and bees in such hives 
are usually saleable in localities where bees can be sold at all. 

On the other hand, there is a decided difference of opinion 
as to the size of hive. In many cases the eight-frame hive has 
been selected, only to prove too small. This small hive body 
which is largely occupied for brood-rearing, is too small to accom- 
modate a vigorous queen, and forces much of the honey into the 
supers during the honey flow, with the result that in many locali- 
ties, where the flows are short and rapid, insufficient honey re- 
mains in the brood chamber for wintering. In the hands of inex- 
perienced persons many bees are lost from lack of stores. The 
necessity of feeding at the close of the honey flow requires a lot 
of work and is not always agreeable, as the author has found 
by experience. While many persons have changed from the 
eight-frame to the ten-frame size, but few successful bee-keepers 
have changed from the ten-frame to the smaller size. In some 
localities, hives of this pattern as large as twelve-frame are in 
use. Most of the successful men prefer the ten-frame, and it 
would seem to meet the requirements of a greater number than 
any other size. In few localities does the eight-frame hive seem 
to be suited to conditions. Seldom does one find an experienced 
man working with hives of other patterns but who is free to say 
that they have been a source of annoyance, to say the least. Of 
course if one is situated where some other hive is ih almost 
universal use, the advantage of having equipment similar to that 
in general use would be an item not to be overlooked. The 
Dadant hive has some advantages over the Langstroth hive, espe- 
cially for extracted honey production. This is the standard hive 


in parts of Europe, but its use in this country is restricted to a 
few localities. The tendency of the times is more and more 
toward the large hive. Possibly from the one extreme, popular 
favor may go to the other. There is a strong indication that 
the modified Dadant hive may soon become the standard hive of 
America as it has already of much of Europe. 

Tools for the Apiary. — The beginner, even though he have 
but one hive, will need a good veil and gloves, a suitable hive tool, 
and a smoker. Cotton flannel gloves with long gauntlets are 

P'lQ. 10. — The silk tulle veil offers no obstruction to the vision. 

most satisfactory for use in the apiary. Rubber or other heavy 
material will be disappointing in results, as well as much more 

Veil. — A good veil is one of the most necessary articles of 
equipment (Fig. 10). One who is not a seasoned bee-keeper 
should not risk going much about the bees without perfect pro- 
tection. AMaen one has come to understand the peculiar habits 
of the insects, he will know when it is safe to work without pro- 


tection, and when he should stay away, but the beginner is very 
likely to be severely punished most unexpectedly. There are 
many different kinds of veils in the market. As a rule the most 
expensive give the least satisfaction. The globe veil, which is 
listed in nearly every catalogue, is a nuisance and seldom used 
by extensive honey producers. A satisfactory protection can 
easily be provided by sewing mosquito netting to the rim of a 
straw hat. This, however, catches on every twig and is easily 

Pig. 11. — A youthful beginner and the necessary outfit. 

torn. The Alexander veil is one of the best, though the one shown 
in Fig. 11 is as good as any. This is made of a strip of screen 
wire rolled into a cylinder. A cloth is sewed over the top, and an 
apron about the bottom, which is easily tucked under the coat or 

Hive TooZ.— While the man with a few colonies can get along 
with a screw-driver or chisel, a suitable hive tool is very con- 
venient and helpful. To the large honey producer it is essential, 


for the saving in time will pay for it within a few hours, in the 
busy season. There are several styles on the market, each with its 
peculiar advantages. The hive tool should be so constructed as 
to serve as a pry in loosening frames, have a sharp surface to 
scrape off burr combs, propolis, etc., and at the same time be 
small enough to handle easily and quickly (Fig. 12). 

A smoker is essential and should be procured v^ith the first 
colony of bees. A little smoke, intelligently applied, will enable 
one to control the bees so nicely that it is very unwise to do wi th- 





Fig. 12. — Good hive tools. 

out it for a day. There are two very excellent kinds on the 
market and several indifferent ones. Most beginners make the 
mistake of buying a small size, because they have only a few 
colonies of bees. The larger size costs but a few cents more, and 
is much to be preferred in every way (Fig. 13). 

Rotten wood is a very satisfactory smoker fuel, although 
excelsior, cotton rags, greasy waste, or any similar material 
will do. 

Care should be taken not to use too much smoke, a very 


common fault with beginners. If one has gentle bees, a very 
slight puff at the entrance and then another over the frames when 
the cover is removed will be sufficient. If the bees are inclined 
to be cross, a little more may be necessary. The tendency is 
rather to use too much than too little. The use of smoke is 
very disturbing to the bees, and the successful apiarist interferes 
with the normal condition of the colony as little as possible. 
Every disturbance during the honey flow must be accounted for 
in honey stored. 

Fig. 13. — Smokers in common use 

Minor Equipment.— There are many things for use about the 
apiary which, while very necessary in themselves, make no dif- 
ference in results as to which particular kind is adopted. In 
these minor items there is room for unlimited argument to no 
profit. The particular article that best suits the individual taste 
is the one to adopt. 

Covers.— K good cover is very essential, but which is the 
best will depend a great deal on who is deciding. A flat wood 
cover with a strip at each end to prevent warping is very satis- 


""sLC^fcy. The piece covers are made of such light material that 
do not, as a rule, last as long as is desirable. 
More and more are the metal top covers coming into general 
^vor. These covers are flat topped and made of a sheet of 
alvanized steel or iron on a wood frame that telescopes over the 
top of the hive. A thin inner cover is used under them. This 
makes an air space of nearly one-fourth inch betv^een the inner 
cover and the corrugated paper or board, w^ith which the cover is 
lined. The telescope feature makes the cover much less likely 
to be blown off during high winds. 

Fig. 14. — Metal top cover with fiaxboard. 

The chief objection to these covers is the fact that they get 
very hot when the hive is in direct sunlight in warm weather. 
If sufficient provision for ventilation is made, the effect will not 
be so noticeable. If painted with a light-colored paint, less heat 
will be absorbed than if painted some dark color. Dark-colored 
paints are not suitable for bee hives. Fig. 14 shows a metal top 
cover with fiaxboard used above the inner cover. 

Fiaxboard is a new absorbent and insulating material which 
has recently appeared in the market. It is composed of flax 
fiber pressed into sheets of suitable thickness. Although not yet 
extensively tested, it seems to give excellent satisfaction where 


tried. A sheet of this material one-half to three-fourths inch 
in thickness used as a lining for metal top covers not only pre- 
vents the hive from becoming overheated in summer but absorhs 
surplus moisture in winter, and also retains the heat of the 
cluster. It bids fair to come into general use. Flaxboard should 
only be used under a water-tight cover, as it will quickly absorb 
any drip, and, if the cover leaks, will soon be ruined. 

Comb Bucket. — A comb bucket is a very useful article 
in even a small apiary (Fig. 15). It is a convenient way to carry 
a few combs when making nuclei or equalizing brood. A tight- 
fitting cover is an advantage when there is a tendency for robbers 
to be prying into every opening. The one shown in the illus- 
tration is of tin, but some bee-keepers make them at home, of 
thin boards, which not being subject to rust will be more lasting. 

Observatory Hive.—Every bee-keeper should have an obser- 
vatory hive for the purpose of becoming familiar with the habits 
of the bees (Fig. 16). These hives are made with glass sides, 
so that one can see what is going on inside. Some are made full 
size, but as it will then be impossible to see the interior of the 
brood nest, they are not very satisfactory. The most suitable is 
the single frame observer, which can easily be made by anyone 
handy with tools, or can be bought of any dealer in supplies. 

After the weather has become warm, a single frame of brood 
and bees can be taken from any hive where it is desirable to 
replace the old queen. She is taken with this frame and placed 
in the observing hive, where the curious bee-keeper can see every 
move, and spend many idle hours profitably in watching his pets. 
The queen is thus easily observed while laying, the young bees 
can be seen during all stages of their development, and the field 
bees can be seen bringing in their loads of pollen and nectar and 
depositing them in the proper place. 

This little colony will carry on all the usual activities in a 
normal manner under the very eye of the bee-keeper. If desired 
the little hive can be placed in the living room with an opening 
through the sash, for the bees to go to and from the fields. 


FiQ. 15— Tin comb bucket. 
Fia. 16. — Observatory hive. 


Buying Bees.— It is usually best to buy the bees within easy 
reach of the place where they are to remain if possible. The 
expense of shipping long dist<ances with the consequent danger of 
mishap and loss are thus eliminated. 

As a rule, unless one is willing to pay a fancy price, he need 
not pay much attention to the kind of bees, providing the colony 
is a strong one. The best way to improve the stock is to buy 
a queen from some reliable breeder, and after killing the old 
queen and leaving the colony queenless two or three days, intro- 
duce the new one, following the directions that accompany her. 

In buying one should pay according to the condition of the 
colony. If the bees be common stock, in box hives, the price 
should not be high, as it will be necessary to add the further 
expense of a suitable hive and the labor of transferring, which 
is never an agreeable task. If the bees be in a good hive, on 
straight combs in good condition, the price may then be much 
higher, for they are ready for business when the honey flow 
begins. It too often happens that bees for sale in good hives have 
received no attention, with the result that the combs are built 
crosswise, making it impossible for the operator to get into the 
brood nest without disastrous results. Such colonies will also 
have to be transferred, which will add considerable to the cost. 
In order to conduct bee-keeping profitably, it is necessary to 
have every comb in every hive so that it can be easily removed 
for the purpose of examination or exchange. It frequently hap- 
pens that for one reason or another the bee-keeper must take 
combs of honey or brood from one colony to add to another, or he 
must examine the interior to ascertain the condition of the colony. 
Successful honey production is absolutely impossible unless con- 
ditions are such that the bee-keeper can reach the farthermost 
corner of the hive when necessary. 

A colony of pure Italian bees, on straight combs, wired 
frames, in good ten-frame hives without too much drone comb 
is cheaper at eight or ten dollars than a common colony in a box 
hive at a dollar. Especially is this true in the spring of the year, 


when the one is ready for the honey flow, while the other must 
be transferred and much of the season lost in building up to the 
point of storing surplus. 

A set of ten good brood combs in wired frames is worth at 
least five dollars. A new ten-frame hive, complete, will cost five 
dollars or more, and an Italian queen another dollar. This does 
not leave a great deal for one's labor in transferring, so that the 
colony ready for business is likely to store more than enough 
additional honey to make up the difference. 

However, in buying bees, unless one is prepared to ship for 
a considerable distance, he sometimes finds it necessary to take 
what happens to be offered. 

Moving Bees. — Tf one will go to the apiary on a warm day 
when the young bees are taking their first flight, he will observe 
with what care they mark the location of the hive. At first they 
fly but a few inches from the entrance and pass back and forth 
many times, always facing the hive. Each time they gradually 
lengthen the line of flight, back and forth, up and down, until 
they have received an indelible impression of the appearance of 
their home. After they have fully examined the front of the 
hive they fly a little farther, until they can get a similar view 
of the immediate surroundings at a distance of a few feet. The 
flight now takes the form of irregular circles, which are gradually 
enlarged to take in the apiary and in time the whole country 
roundabout. These preliminary flights are always taken by the 
young bees, before they take up their duties as foragers in the 

Apparently they come to depend entirely upon the sense of 
location thus developed, and afterwards fly directly to the hive 
entrance from any point of the compass, with little attention to 
anything but the location. If the hive is taken away and another 
set in its place, they will enter the new hive without a moment's 
hesitation. Once inside they discover their mistake, and hur- 
riedly tumble out and take to flight. After a moment's examina- 


tion they reassure themselves that the location is correct, and 
re-enter the hive again. 

If the hive is moved but a few feet away, they are greatly 
confused and will require some little time to accustom them- 
selves to the new location. If the day be warm and the workers 
are in the field, hundreds of them will soon be flying about the 
former location of the hive. 

Bee-keepers take advantage of this characteristic of the honey- 
bee to return to its old location regardless of changes, to make 
swarms hive themselves. The queens are clipped so as to be 
unable to accompany the swarm, and the bees, missing her, re- 
turn to the old home only to find it gone and an empty hive in its 
place, as described in Chapter VII. 

If bees are only moved a short distance many will be lost by 
returning to the old stand, unless some precaution be taken to 
insure that the new location will be carefully marked by all bees 
leaving the hive. For this reason it is best to move the bees 
three or four miles if possible. When they are moved a less 
distance it is well to place the hive in a dark cellar for several 
days ; a week if they can be kept quiet that long. After the hive 
is taken from the cellar and set in the new situation, it is well to 
turn a large box over it, and remove a board near the ground to 
make a decided difference in appearances to the bees coming 
from the hive. They will then be likely to take note of the new 
location, and return in safety to the hive. After a day or two 
the box can be removed. Its only object is to create a new appear- 
ance. Bees moved for a considerable distance find conditions 
so strange, that there is little danger of loss from failure to 
return to the hive. The shorter the distance, the greater the 
difficulty in moving them, unless it be when they are removed 
from the cellar in spring, when they can safely be placed in any 
situation. However, even then, if they are only placed a short 
distance from the old stand, some of the old bees will return to 
the place where the hive stood the fall before. If the bees are 
to be taken but a short distance, say two or three rods, it is a 


common plan to move them a foot or two each day. They 
quickly adjust themselves to such a short move. While this plan 
is tedious, nevertheless it is safe- 
Ventilation. — In hot weather great care must be taken to 
see that the bees have sufficient ventilation when confined to the 
hive. In cold weather, a wire screen over the entrance will be 
sufficient, if the bees are to be moved but a short distance. In 
summer the cover must be removed and the top covered with 
screen also (Fig. 17). Sometimes even this is not sufficient and 
strong colonies are likely to be lost. It is well to avoid moving 
bees in very hot weather if possible. When it becomes necessary 
to screen the top of the hive, a frame should be used that will 
raise the screen a little above the top, thus providing an empty 
space above the frames. If they show a tendency to crowd about 
the entrance and against the screen on top, a little water sprinkled 
over the surface will serve to quiet them. If bees are to be moved 
some distance the frames must be carefully fastened to prevent 
them from jolting about and mashing the bees. Pieces of news- 
paper crowded tightly between the ends of the frames so as to 
hold all rigid, are usually available, and serve very well for this 

To Tell Strong Colonies. — In buying bees in late fall when 
a long winter is ahead, colonies heavy with honey as well as 
strong in bees should be selected. After making allowance for 
weight of hive, bees, etc., there should be at least twenty-five 
pounds of honey in the hive, and forty is better to insure an 
abundance of stores for spring brood rearing. Some bee-keepers 
figure that fifty pounds is not too much to leave in the hives for 

If one buys bees in spring, which is the best time for one 
making a start in bee-keeping, it is well to select them during 
the period of fruit bloom. In the ordinary apiary at this season 
of the year, colonies will vary greatly in condition. Some will 
be veiry strong and some very weak. Then there are likely to be 
queenless colonies, which one would not care to buy at any price. 
The strong colonies are the ones to look for, for the weaklings 



are likely to be so slow in building up that they will be of little 
value in storing surplus, unless they receive special attention. 

By walking through the apiary on a wann day at this season, 
when the bees are active, one can readily pick out the strongest 
colonies from the appearance at the entrance of the hive. The 
colonies showing the greatest activity at the entrance, especially 
if the workers are carrying in large quantities of pollen, are the 
ones to mark for further examination. The pollen balls are very 
conspicuous on the legs of the workers, and one can thus see at 
a glance something of the condition of the colony. The pollen is 
mixed with honey, and used to feed the young bees. At this 
season large quantities of brood insures a strong working force 

Fig. 17. — An apiary ready for shipment. 

a little latea: to gather the principal honey crop. As a rule, the 
colonies bringing in the most pollen will be found to have the 
most brood. 

After deciding from external appearances which colonies are 
worthy of further examination, the hives should be opened to 
see that the combs are straight, that there is a sufficient quantity 
of honey to last until the main honey flow commences, and that 
not too much drone comb is present, as this will necessitate its 
removal to be replaced with full sheets of foundation. There 
should, ordinarily, be about ten or fifteen pounds of honey in 


the hive at this season, to insure the safety of the colony. It 
sometimes happens that a rainy season during the first days of 
the main honey flow will result in the starvation of strong colonies, 
with the hives full of brood. Five or six frames of brood consume 
a surprising quantity of food, and a short period of time during 
which nothing is coming from the field causes the bees to draw 
heavily on their stores. If no stores are present the result will 
be disastrous for the bees and for the owner as well. 

Transferring. — The old books on bee-keeping usually recom- 
mend the cutting out of the combs containing brood and honey 
and fitting them into the frames, tying them in with cotton 
strings. The bees will shortly fasten the combs and remove the 
string. While this plan is occasionally desirable, and the bee- 
keeper will now and then find a case where he can profitably 
bother with it, much cleaner and better methods are now generally 
used. By transferring in this way one finds it to be a sticky and 
very disagreeable job. The combs and bees are messed up ; the 
queen is likely to be killed, and the colony lost as a result, and 
stings are likely to be plentiful. 

It very frequently happens that the bee-keeper who wishes 
to increase his stock by purchase will find it necessary to take 
such colonies in such hives as are available, even though he would 
prefer to pay a higher price to get them in good hives. It is 
usually advisable to transfer early in the season, or at least with 
a good honey flow ahead. If it is undertaken late in the fall, 
there is danger that the bees will not be properly prepared for 
winter, and will be lost before spring. 

If the work is done at the beginning of the season, when the 
queen is active, it is an easy task to let the bees transfer them- 
selves gradually. If the colony is in a box or keg, it should be 
turned upside down with bottom removed. All combs not con- 
taining brood which can easily be removed should be taken out. 
A new hive containing drawn combs, if they be available, should 
then be placed on top of the colony. If drawn combs are not to 
be had, full sheets of foundation should be used. It is a good plan 


to remove a comb containing brood from a strong colony, shake 
off the bees, and replace the comb with a frame containing foun- 
dation. The comb taken away can then be placed in the hive 
which is to be placed over the colony to be transferred. Care 
should be taken to see that no entrance is open in the box or 
keg, but that the bees must enter by way of the new hive. The 
bees seem to have an aversion to leaving honey and brood below 
the entrance, and if conditions are right they will soon move 
upstairs. Three weeks must elapse after the queen begins laying 
above to allow time for all brood to hatch, when the box hive 
may be taken away. If honey still remains it can be extracted 
and the combs rendered into wax. 

When one transfers by the old method of cutting and fitting, 
usually a part of the combs will have to be discarded after the 
colony is successfully transferred, because of too much drone 
comb, crooked, or otherwise unsuitable combs. By this later 
method of gradual transfer, the bees are moved with little dis- 
turbance and no muss. The old combs are valuable for little but 
the wax they contain, and that is all saved. 

Another Plan.— Some bee-keepers practice the method of 
drumming the bees up from the old hive into the new one above. 
When, after a few minutes pounding on the hive with sticks, 
most of the bees, including the queen, have gone above, the new 
hive IS placed on the old stand and the old hive taken away. At 
the end of three weeks, when all brood has hatched, the young bees 
are united with the old colony and the old hive destroyed. Even 
though the old hive be left in place under the new one while the 
bees are moving upstairs, it is a good plan to drum them above 
to begin with, and then place a queen excluder under the new 
hive to prevent the queen from going down again. 

Transferring from Buildings, "^Trees, Etc.— Nearly every 
bee-keeper of experience has been called on to remove a colony 
of bees from the side of some dwelling house, where they had 
found entrance through a crevice. Instead of tearing off a lot 
of boards and possibly injuring the building, one should begin 



bj closing up all possible openings except one. Over this should 
be placed a bee-escape, either a Porter escape or a long wire con6, 
through which the bees can come out but cannot find the way 
back. A hive containing full combs or sheets of foundation 
should then be brought and placed with the entrance as near as 
possible to the escape (Fig. 18). In the hive should be placed 

FiQ. 18. — Transferring from hollow tree without cutting the tree. 

one frame of brood, care being used to insure that eggs and hatch- 
ing larviX) are both present. The bees coming out and unable to 
find their way back will enter this hive. Within a few days the 
bees will nearly all be in the hive, and the young bees emerging 
inside will shortly follow their fellows outside, to be barred from 
returning. As a result the entire colony with the exception of 
a very few bees will be in the new hive. The bees in the hive 


finding themselves without a queen will shortly raise one from 
the young larvae in the comb provided. The old queen remains 
behind and the nurse bees in the meantime have cared for the 
brood in the old home, with the result that the colony has been 
transferred with little loss. After three or four weeks, when the 
bees are nicely settled in the new hive and the young queen has 
begun to lay, the escape can be removed, thus allowing the bees 
free access to the old brood nest. They will at once proceed to 
carry the honey into the new hive so that all of value to be left 
will be the wax, which, of course, cannot be obtained without 
opening the cavity. When everything is in place in the new 
hive, the bees can be moved to the desired location and the en- 
trance to the house closed to prevent the place being occupied 
by another swarm. It will be necessary to use the usual pre- 
caution to prevent the bees from returning to the old location 
when moved. 


V M^/ is it advisable to start bee-keeping on a small scale? 
.. Note the dangers to be avoided by the beginner. 

3. Discuss the different kinds and sizes of hives. 

4. What tools are essential? 

5. Describe the essentials of a good cover. 

6. Have you used an observation hive? 

7. Discuss necessary considerations in buying bees. 

8. Describe the bee's method of marking location. 

^' ^^ov^er^c'oS*'^' "^ *° ^^ '"^^ '" "''''''"" ''^^^ ''"'^ ^""^ ^^" ^^^^ be 

10. How can one tell strong colonies? 

11. What conditions should one look for within the hive? 

12. Outline the best methods of transferrint^. 


The location of the apiarj as regards shade, windbreaks, and 
convenience is very important. The questions of windbreaks and 
shelter will be considered more particularly in the chapter on 
Wintering. A suitable shelter from the prevailing winds of 
early spring is of great importance, and the reader is referred 
to Chapter XIII for a consideration of this phase of the subject. 

If one is starting from the beginning and can plan accord- 
ingly, he will be able to so place the hives as to provide both a 
suitable situation and a convenient one. To keep down expenses 
is one of the essentials of successful bee-keeping, and to do so 
every operation should be performed with a minimum of labor. 
If one will but take the time to visit several bee-keepers, he will 
find that some have the apiary so arranged as to enable them to 
do the work with little more than half the labor necessary in 
others. Neatness and a line appearance are desirable, but they 
are of secondary importance to convenience. If possible, the 
apiary should be on slightly higher ground than the honey house, 
and as near as possible. This will enable the operator to wheel 
the heavy loads of supers to the house with a minimum of effort. 

Various plans of moving the honey from the hive to the 
honey house have been recommended, but a common garden 
wheelbarrow is perhaps as good as any. It is inexpensive, and 
can be pushed over rough and uneven ground easier than a cart. 

Shade. — Bee-keepers are not fully agreed as to the value of 
shade in the apiary (Fig. 19). Something depends, perhaps, 
on the locality and the temperature during the heated season. 
While no shade is necessary in the spring and fall, or in early 
morning or late afternoon, shade during the heat of the day in 
mid-summer is very desirable. Comparisons of returns from 
colonies in the shade and in the open sun fail to show decided 



results tliat can be ascribed to shade or to the lack of it. For the 
comfort of the operator, if for no other reason, a shaded situation 
would seem to be desirable. Large trees should be avoided, if 
possible, because of the tendency of swarms to cluster so high as 
to make it very inconvenient to hive them. Many bee-keepers 
who liave apiaries in the open provide shade boards made of cheap 
lumber obtained from dry goods boxes or similar sources. About 
two by three feet is the most popular size for such a shade board. 

Fig. 19.— An apiary without ahade. 

This permits the sun to reach the bodv of the hive early and late 
in the day, while effective shade is obtained during the hottest 

The shade of fruit trees, especially cherry and apple trees, 
if not set too close together is very satisfactory. Hives should 
never be painted with dark colors, because of the tendency of 
such colors to absorb heat. In extremely warm weather, combs 
will sometimes melt down and the colony be greatly injured or 



even destroyed. This sometimes happens even in the shade, 
especially if the hive be not well ventilated. The writer recalls 
an instance where several colonies in new and nicely painted 
hives met with this misfortune, while others in old hives full 
of cracks suffered no injury even though they were in the open 
sun and the unfortunate ones in the shade. It is desirable that 
the bees be so situated that there is always free circulation of 
air among the hives in warm weather. Large entrances greatly 

Fig. 20. — A well-arranged apiary in California. 

and in very warm weather lifting the cover an inch 
and placing a block under it will also be of much help. When 
the bees begin to cluster on the outside, it is usually from lack 
of room to store or from lack of ventilation. In either case the 
need should be supplied to prevent loafing or untimely swarming. 
Spacing the Hives. — It is a common practice to set the hives 
close together in long rows. This plan is not to be commended, 
because of the danger of queens entering the wrong hive and 
being destroyed. Neither is this plan satisfactory to the attend- 


ant, for in manipulating one colony he too often disturbs others 
near at hand, with the result that angry bees become very annoy- 
ing. The preferred arrangement is to set the colonies in pairs. 
At least three feet of space should be between the pairs of hives 
(Fig. 20). The two may set within a few inches of each other. 
Some bee-keepers set them in fours, with two colonies with en- 
trances facing to the east and two to the west. 

A hive-stand of cement for two colonies. 

A south front is to be preferred, especially in cool weather 
of spring and fall. 

^ Hive Stands.— Hives placed directly on the ground do not 
give satisfaction for several reasons ; the bottom boards soon rot 
and have to be replaced, grass grows up about the entrance and 
interferes with the flight of the bees, and it is hard to keep the 
hive level. Many kinds of hive stands are in use. Some use 
short pieces of board laid flat on the ground. These last but a 
short time and must soon be replaced. Four bricks make a good 
stand, if a piece of board is leaned against the front of the hive 


bottom for incoming bees to run up on. Four round bottles are 
sometimes used, one under each corner of the hive with the neck 
pressed into the ground. In dry weather this does very well, 
but in wet weather one corner or another is likely to settle, with 
the result that the apiarist must frequently go to the trouble of 
levelling them up. 

If the apiary is placed in a permanent position, so that one 

Fig. 22. — A tub of water covered with chipped cork makes a safe watering place. 

does not need to consider the necessity of moving, concrete hive 
stands are, perhaps, the most satisfactory (Fig. 21). They are 
a little more expensive to begin with, but they are permanent, and 
once properly placed will remain in position indefinitely. They 
should be so placed as to leave the hive exactly level sidewise, 
but with the entrance slightly lower than the back to permit 
surplus moisture to run off readily. The concrete should extend 
several inches in front of the hive to prevent vegetation from 
growing too close to the entrance. If colonies are wintered out 


of doors, it is well to have these stands large enough to accom- 
modate two or four colonies, whichever is the unit used for a 
single packing case. (See Chapter XIII on Wintering.) They 
can thus be left in the same position all year. 

Bees coming in heavily laden during the honey flow often 
drop to the ground some distance from the hive and are unable 
to rise again. It is thus of considerable advantage to have the 
hive in such a position that they can crawl into it. For this 
reason high stands of any kind are not to be recommended. Any 
one who will watch the bees carefully for a few minutes during 
the height of the season will see at once that the loss of these 
heavily laden bees would be considerable in hives placed a few 
inches above the ground. For this same reason the hive stand 
18 usually made with a gradual slope in front of the hive, to make 
it as easy as possible for the bees to reach home. 

_ It is also important to keep down grass and weeds in the 
apiary. While considerable work is required to keep the grass 
closely cut during the busy season, it will pay well to do so. If 
the apiary is properly fenced, a few sheep will do the work in 
a very satisfactory manner without disturbing the bees. Ducks 
are sometimes used for the same purpose. 

Watering Places.— In early spring when brood rearing is 
at Its height, there is frequently much annoyance from bees 
about watering troughs, drinking fountains and other similar 
places. Large numbers of bees about a watering place frequently 
lead to an attempt by the town council to prohibit the keeping of 
bees within the corporate limits. It is in the small town, which 
has not yet reached the point of providing a common city water 
supply, that such diificulties most frequently develop. 

Bee-keepers should bear in mind the need of the bees for 
large quantities of water for brood rearing, and see that it is 
within easy reach. In early spring when the weather is very 
changeable, it is important to save the bees as far as possible. If 
they are compelled to go far from the hive for water, many will 
be lost from the sudden drops of temperature common to that 



season. If there be a small spring, pond, or other open water 
near at hand, the bee-keeper need give the matter no further 
thought. If, on the other hand, the only available supply is 
from his neighbor's watering troughs, he is likely to save friction 
by providing an abundant supply near at hand. This should 
be attended to very early in the spring, and the supply constantly 
replenished before the bees form the habit of seeking it else- 

foreground is a long trough with burlap lining for watering the bees. 

There are many little plans that serve very well. A common 
way is to set out two or three tubs or half barrels and fill them 
full of water (Fig. 22). A quantity of cork chips is scattered 
over the top of the water" to prevent the bees from drowning. 
Fig. 23 shows one of the best plans. In the foreground of the 
picture will be seen a long trough. This is made by nailing 
two six-inch boards together in a V shape and closing the ends, 
like an old-fashioned pig trough. The trough is lined with 
burlap to furnish a foothold for the bees. WTiile fewer bees will 


be lost from this plan than most others, it has the disadvantage of 
requiring refilling frequently, as the large surface of water ex- 
posed results in rapid evaporation. On the other hand, large 
numbers of bees can get water at one time without crowding. 

Hive Numbers and Records.— Some system of records is very 
helpful, and many specialists regard it as indispensable to best 
results. Various plans are in use, but the elaborate systems 
should be avoided. Unless one can make necessary notes while 
at work, there is danger that they will not be made at all. While 
a book record is best, it is difficult to make records of this kind 
when one's fingers are messed up with propolis, and the wind is 
blowing the pages. The principal advantage of the book record 
lies in its permanence, and the ease with which one can refer to 
previous notes. 

Hive Marks.— In a large apiary some system of marking the 
condition of the colonies is necessary. When one examines the 
bees he will find some colonies weak, some strong, some needing 
more room, some with failing queens, some preparing to swarm*^ 
some queenless, and many other conditions. Where immediate 
attention is necessary, it is likely to be given at the time, but if 
something necessitates examination again after a few days have 
elapsed, some simple mark is necessary. 

Stakes, e^c— Some bee-keepers use a quantity of stakes, and 
by setting them in different positions about the hive indicate 
the condition of the colony. F. W. Hall uses pegs or stakes for 
this purpose. A red topped peg indicates disease. Such a peg 
set at the left side of the entrance indicates disease is suspicioned, 
and in front of the left side of the entrance, that disease is known 
to be present. When the colony is treated, the peg is moved to 
the center of the entrance and if, after a later examination, no 
disease is found, the peg is moved to the right of the entrance. 
After disease is known to be eradicated, all pegs are removed. 

In the same manner pegs not painted or of another color are 
used for other purposes. Thus one peg indicates a fair laying 
queen, two pegs a good queen, and three pegs a choice one. The 


positions of the pegs in front, at the side, or the rear of the hive 
indicate other conditions which it is desired to note. The advan- 
tage of this system lies in the fact that one can see at a glance 
the condition of each colony when passing through the yard. 
Position of pegs is changed at each examination, to indicate the 
condition of the colony at the time. 

Various modifications of this peg plan are in use. Some use 
a variety of colors, each color indicating some special thing, as 

Fio. 24. — Record on back of hive cover in Dadant Apiary. (From Dadant 
System of Bee-keeping.) 

red for disease, blue for queen, green for strength of colony, etc. 
The position of the stake tells the story. This plan is not entirely 
satisfactory, for the reason that so many stakes are needed, and 
they are not always sure to remain where placed. 

Hive Markers. — ^Numerous hive markers and hive records 
have been offered from time to time only to be forgotten shortly. 
The busy bee-keeper wants something which requires a mini- 
mum of attention. Since the record is usually very temporary, 
most extensive honey producers use chalk or pencil to make notes 
on the back or inside of the cover. Fig. 24 shows how these 


records are made on the back of the hive in the Dadant apiaries. 
The author made a practise of making notes with a pencil on the 
inside of the cover. Any system that requires much time on the 
part of the bee-keeper is unworkable in actual practice and will 
shortly be abandoned, 


1. Note the things that are desirable in the arrangement of the apiary 

2. Discuss the matter of shade. 

3. How should the hives be spaced? 

4. Describe a desirable hive stand. 

5. Under what conditions should water be provided ? 

6. Discuss various kinds of hive markers and systems of records. 


In taking up bee-keeping as a business, it is a matter of the 
utmost importance to select a location where suitable plants are 
available during as long a season as possible. The greater the 
variety of honey-producing plants the better. There is no single 
plant that can be depended upon to produce nectar in sufficient 
quantities every year. The ideal location is one where there is 
an abundance of willow, maple, dandelion, and fruit bloom early 
in spring, followed by white clover and sweet clover in abund- 
ance. This in turn should be supplemented with such plants as 
heartsease, sunflowers, golden rod, and asters for late forage. 

There are many things to be considered in choosing a location, 
that will not be apparent at first glance. For instance, some 
plant may be present in quantity that is ordinarily considered 
as a profitable source of nectar, yet which for some unknown 
reason seldom yields in a particiilar locality. Alfalfa is a 
valuable plant for the apiarist under the conditions of the irri- 
gated regions of the West, yet seldom secretes sufficient nectar to 
attract the bees in the moist sections east of the Missouri River. 
Buckwheat is rated as an important honey plant in New York, 
but is of little value in most Iowa localities. When the bulletin, 
"Bee-keeping in Iowa," which was published as No. 11 of the 
extension department of Iowa State College of Agriculture, was 
in preparation, correspondence with representative bee-keepers 
in all parts of that State brought only one report of buckwheat as 
a profitable source of nectar. Bee-keepers, reading of the wonder- 
ful crops of honey stored from buckwheat in some eastern States, 
might easily be misled into expecting similar results from this 
plant wherever a sufficient acreage was present. 

Just what factors influence the secretion of nectar still remain 
to be determined. It is a well-known fact that some plants secrete 


very freely in some seasons, while in others with a large amount 
of bloom the bees will starve, or fare very poorly at best. Con- 
ditions that are favorable to the secretion of nectar with one 
plant seem to have the opposite effect on another. When white 
clover produces the heaviest flow in the Mississippi valley, alfalfa 
in adjoining fields will produce no nectar. Scientists are now 
studying the problems connected with nectar secretion, and it is 
hoped that the reasons for the great variation may shortly be 
better understood. 

It accordingly becomes necessary for the bee-keeper not only 
to know the plants that furnish the raw material for honey pro- 
duction, but to be familiar with their behavior under the par- 
ticular conditions with which he has to deal. Some years the 
honey crop will be good or bad over a large scope of country, 
while in others not more than five or six miles will be necessary 
to pass from a neighborhood where no honey is being stored to 
one where a profitable crop is gathered. The wide-awake bee- 
keeper can thus frequently, by moving his bees but a short dis- 
tance, convert failure into success, and instead of having to feed 
his bees to get them safely through the winter, market a crop 
of honey. 

One of the most successful beekeepers of the Middle West 
has a location in the hills overlooking the Missouri River. His 
location is very desirable, for he has practically all important 
honey plants of that region within reach of some of his yards. 
His home yard is within easy reach of a large linden grove which 
furnishes some honey about two years in five. White clover in 
nearby pastures furnishes something about four years in five 
and a good yield two or three seasons in five. Sweet clover which 
is one of the surest honey plants, is also present in large quantity 
and the bees also have a large area of Missouri River bottom 
land within reach. In this latter area they have access to large 
quantities of heartsease, wild sunflower, and other fall flowers. 
Ill such a location the chances of failure are reduced to the 
minimum, and seldom is there a year in which he does not <^et a 


surplus from some of these sources. In seasons when con- 
ditions are favorable for several important honey plants, he 
reaps a great harvest. 

System Adapted to Honey Flow. — Upon the flora and con- 
ditions of secretion of nectar will depend the system of honey 
production which can be carried on most profitably. If the 
flows are short and very rapid, as is the case in many localities 
in the northeastern States, comb honey production can be carried 
on with very satisfactory results, and with profit to the producer. 
If, on the other hand, the flow lasts through a long season, and 
at no time is the honey coming in rapidly, it is very difficult to 
get a nicely finished article of comb honey. Not only are the 
sections likely to be poorly finished, but they will be travel- 
stained and unattractive in appearance, A small hive, while 
hardly to be recommended anywhere except in the hands of a 
comb honey specialist, should never be used in a region where 
the flows are not rapid. Locality then is really the first and most 
important point to be considered by the prospective bee-keeper. 
'Not until he has settled upon his locality can he decide as to 
the system of management which he will follow, or the equip- 
ment which he will use. 

Clover Region. — While there is a great diversity of local 
conditions, all the region from the Missouri River to Maine and 
south to the Gulf States, can be classed as the clover region. 
White clover, perhaps, stands at the head of the list of honey- 
producing plants in all this section. Alsike and sweet clover also 
are important. Basswood or linden, raspberry, buckwheat, and 
several other plants are important in various local sections, but 
the clovers are the main source of nectar throughout this vast 
region. Fruit bloom and dandelion are of great value through- 
out these States for spring brood rearing. In many places they 
are sufficiently plentiful to offer an Important source of surplus, 
if the bees are ready for it. The bloom from these plants, 
however, comes so early in spring that the bees are usually not yet 
strong enough in numbers to make the best use of the nectar 


available. Coming so soon after the bees are first abroad after 
the long winter, the queens are stimulated to great activity and 
brood rearing begins in earnest. As a result, the hives are soon 
full of joung bees, so that the colonies should be in the very best 
condition for the clover harvest. 

Alfalfa Region.— The irrigated sections of the arid West may 
be classed as the alfalfa region. While much honey from other 
sources comes to market from west of the Missouri River, alfalfa 
is the main source of dependence. Sweet clover is rapidly ex- 
tending its range in the same territory, so that it is also a very 
important source of nectar. The alfalfa plant seems to be at its 
best in the dry atmosphere of Colorado and surrounding States. 
Given plenty of water by irrigation, the results both in hay and 
in nectar are remarkable. Alfalfa may be said to be "king" in 
the Rocky Mountain States, all the way from Canada to the 
Mexican border. 

From California we hear much of sage, orange, and beans as 
additional sources of honey production. Very little orange honey 
reaches the eastern markets, so that it can hardly be considered 
in speaking of the region as a whole. Sage, in years past, has 
been the source of large quantities of honey shipped east. Of 
late years, alfalfa, even in California as in other western States, 
is coming to be a very dependable source of supply. 

The South.— In Texas are to be found many of the plants 
common to the eastern States, as well as some that are important 
m the arid West. In the irrigated sections of Texas alfalfa is 
an important honey plant. Here are also a number whose names 
are unfamiliar elsewhere, including huajilla, meequit, and cats- 

In the southeastern section, beginning with the Carolinas, 
we still find the clovers and other plants common to the northern' 
States mentioned as important in honey production. In addition, 
there are some peculiar to the South which rank even higher in 
the production of honey. Among the most important may be 
mentioned the gallberry and sourwood. 


In Florida several other species of importance are brought 
to the bee-keeper's attention. They are not all confined to 
Florida, but may be found more or less abundantly throughout 
the Gulf States. 

The list sounds strange to the bee-keeper of the North, for 
few of the names mentioned as important are familiar to his 

Tupelo or gum extends some distance to the north of Florida, 
but it is mentioned as one of the most valuable sources of nectar 
in that State. Palmetto and saw palmetto are peculiar to Florida. 

The Florida honey flora is composed to a surprising extent 
of trees ; magnolia, mangrove, titi, orange and many others are 
either trees or shrubs. 

Honey Sources of Wide Distribution. — It is hardly within 
the scope of a work of this kind to consider in detail the resources 
of each section separately. There are, however, a large number 
of plants of wide distribution which are important yielders of 
honey or pollen, or both, over such wide areas as to merit further 

During the height of the season, pollen is usually present 
in such quantities from so many plants, that those which yield 
pollen alone are of little interest. Those plants which yield 
pollen very early in the season, however, are second in importance 
only to the best honey sources. So valuable is an abundance of 
pollen early in spring for brood rearing, that it is very important 
that the apiary be within easy reach of pollen-bearing plants at 
this season. 

Honey-dew is a secretion from small insects known as aphids. 
There has been much discussion concerning the origin of this 
product in the past, some holding that it was not only an insect 
secretion, but a plant secretion as well. The fact that drops of 
honey-dew are sometimes to be seen on the leaves of trees when 
no aphis is to be found probably gave rise to this impression. 
It is now quite generally agreed that honey-dew comes only 


from this family of insects as a secretion. Its presence where 
no insects are present is accounted for by the fact that quantities 
of the liquid are expelled by the insects from a higher point, and 
in falling it appears on the leaves on lower levels. 

Several plants exude a sweet substance which the bees some- 
times gather, but it is quite a different material from honey-dew. 
In seasons of scarcity of nectar the bees will seek any sweet 
material. At such times they are troublesome about cider mills, 
where they eagerly fill their honey sacs with the rich juice of the 
apple. They may even be found, at times, on decaying fruits 
which have been broken open. The saps from numerous plants 
when exposed by injury are freely sought. These substances 
are not honey-dew, though they are likely to be stored in the 
same manner. 

The plant lice,* or aphids, have a remarkable life history. The 
first generation of young to appear in spring is hatched from 
eggs and all are females. These in turn give birth to living 
young, but no males appear until several successive generations 
of living females have been brought forth. As the season 
advances males also appear and the cycle starts all over again. 
There are many different species much sought for by ants. 
The solicitude of the ants toward the insects gave rise to the 
old story that ants keep cows. They do, in fact, seem to care for 
the plant lice for the purpose of securing the honey-dew which 
they secrete. The ants also use the bodies of the plant lice as 
food. It will thus be seen that the comparison of the ants and 
their herds is not so far wrong, for while the liquid secretion may 
be called milk, the ants may also be said to secure meat by the 
consumption of the plant lice themselves. With some species the 
ants are even believed to go so far as to carry the eggs of the 
plant lice down into their own nests to be cared for during the 
wmter months, and to place the newly hatched aphids in position 
on their food plants in early spring. 

Ants are not alone in their fondness for honey-dew, even 
though they may be alone in caring for the plant lice. Many 


other insects, including bees and wasps, are attracted to the feast 
when the product is abundant. 

At times the plant lice become so abundant on the leaves 
of the various trees on which they feed as to prove disastrous to 
the tree. Plum trees are especially liable to injury from these 
insects. When the leaves begin to curl in early spring, it is 
usually a sign that plant lice of some kind are present. Hundreds 
of them will be found under one leaf. 

It is usually from such forest trees as elm, hickory, and oak 
that honey-dew comes in sufficient quantities to be apparent 
in the hive. It is only in an occasional season that the bees 
gather honey-dew in noticeable quantities. At times it will fairly 
drip from the trees, and on such occasions, if no honey is coming 
in, the bees will work with tremendous energy in storing the 

There seems to be considerable variation in the quality of 
the honey-dew honey, but as a rule it is not of good quality, and 
a bee-keeper should be very careful that it does not spoil his 
market for good honey. It is especially disastrous to the bees 
as winter food, and should never be left in the hive for winter 
stores, in the northern States, where the bees are confined for long 
periods without a flight. Where the bees are free to fly every few 
days during winter, the bad effect is not so apparent. (See 
Chapter XIII on Wintering.) 

Sources of Early Pollen. — While some pollen is gathered 
from the early spring flowers, the most important sources are 
the forest trees. The elm is especially valuable, as it yields pollen 
in enormous quantities. When the elm trees bloom, the 
bees fairly cover them until the humming reminds one of 
the swarming season. At about this same season the maples 
(Acer) bloom (Figs. 25 and 27). These trees furnish not only 
pollen, but nectar also, and are a valuable source of supply at this 
season. The willows (Salix) likewise furnish pollen in abund- 
ance and nectar beside (Figs. 25 and 26). At times the bees 
are able to store some honey from the two last named sources. 



The dandelion, or blowball, is widely spread over the tem- 
perate regions of North America, Europe, and Asia. It blooms 
early in spring, not far from the time of fruit bloom, and sup- 

Fia. 25 -Soft maple and pussy willow are sources of early pollen and nectar. 

plies both pollen and nectar in large quantities. While the nectar 
secretion does not seem to be constant, in an occasional season 
the bees will store surplus comb honey from this source. The 



pollen never fails when the plant blooms, and the bees fairly revel 
in it during its season of blossom. It comes just at the season 
when the need of food for brood rearing is greatest, and is conse- 
quently one of the most valuable. It is usually regarded as a 

FiQ. 26. — Catkins of pussy willow. 

weed, and is especially obnoxious on the lawns. The bright 
yellow flowers are not unattractive, and if it was as difficult to 
grow as some of the cultivated plants, it would be much in 


demand. It seems to be human nature to despise the common. 

Fruit Bloom. — The honey producer whose apiary is situated 

near large orchards is fortunate. If such tree fruits as cherries, 

plums, and apples all be present, the season of bloom will last 

Fig. 27. — Blossoms of soft maple. 

for several days, much to his advantage. A single variety will 
offer pasturage for only a very limited time, but it is abundant 
while it lasts. Most commercial orchards consist of several 
varieties, so that the season of bloom may last from one week 

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to three or four weeks, depending upon the kinds of trees avail- 
able (Fig. 28). 

The pear tree secretes nectar freely, and is one of the most 
valuable of the fruits. The peach also is of some value. 

While the fruit trees bloom in profusion, the principal value 
of this nectar lies in the stimulation of brood rearing, because 
of the season in which it comes. 

In Florida and California, the orange is of considerable 
value as a honey plant. It blooms usually in February and 
March, and lasts from twenty to thirty days. If conditions are 
favorable for nectar secretion, considerable surplus will be stored 
from this source, but it is not dependable. 

Of the wild fruits, hawthorne, wild crab, and several others 
are very similar to the cultivated fruits in nectar secretion. The 
wild cherry is a large forest tree that furnishes considerable 

Besides the tree fruits, the bush fruits are of considerable 
value. The wild raspberry of Michigan is one of the more im- 
portant sources of honey in that State. Its period of bloom is 
long and the honey of the finest quality. The plants grow on cut- 
over timber land that is very poor, so that a good raspberry 
location IS quite likely to be permanent. A large acreage of 
cultivated raspberries is equally desirable and often to be found 
in the truck-growing sections near the large cities. The black- 
berry is also a valuable plant, although probably nowhere equal 
to a similar acreage of raspberry. In portions of N'orth Georgia 
the blackberry is one of the principal sources of nectar. 

Currants and gooseberries are sought by the bees, and if pres- 
ent m sufficiently large acreage would be desirable pasturage. 

Truck Crops.—In the vicinity of market gardens, the bee- 
keeper often receives considerable benefit from the large acreage 
of cucumbers, which produces considerable honey. It is said to 
be of inferior flavor. 

Carrots, cabbage, mustard, turnips, pumpkins, squash and 
several other cultivated vegetables add to the total production 
of the hive. 


The California apiarists of some sections report valuable 
honey crops from the lima beans which are raised in large 
acreage in that State. 

The Clovers. — In the markets of the world, honey from this 
family of plants stands supreme, both in quantity and quality. 
The combs are capped white, so that the product is of fine 
appearance and the quality is of the best. Honey from either 
white, alsike, sweet or other clover, or from alfalfa, is sure of 
a market at a fair price in almost any season. When the markets 
are glutted, the clover honeys are among the first to move, so 
that the apiarist seldom need fear being unable to dispose of his 
product. While there are seasons of short secretion, the clovers 
are, perhaps, as nearly sure to yield as any plants of wide 

White Clover (Trifolium repens). — The most valuable honey 
plant in America. It ranges from Canada to the Gulf, and from 
the Atlantic west to IsTebraska and Texas. Reaches its greatest 
value as a honey producer in the northern States. Perennial, 
with somewhat creeping stems. A fine pasture plant, common 
along roadsides and in pastures everywhere. 

Alsike Clover (T. hyhridum). — Alsike, or Swedish clover, 
resembles white clover in some respects, although much larger 
and better suited for culture as a forage crop. It yields honey 
freely of about the same quality as white clover. This plant suc- 
ceeds on land where red clover will not do well, and when sown 
with a mixture of other grasses makes a very good meadow. 
When sown with timothy and red clover the resulting hay crop h 
much heavier than where timothy and red clover are sown alone. 

Red Clover (T. Pratense). — Red clover would be a magnifi- 
cent honey plant if the bees were only able to reach the nectar. 
The corolla tubes are too long for the length of the honey-bee's 
tongue. Occasionally a case is reported when a crop is supposed 
to be gathered from this source. If so, conditions must either 
serve greatly to reduce the length of the corolla tubes, or the 
nectar must be so abundant as to fill the tubes to a height within 


reach of the insects. Possibly the tubes are punctured by other 
insects. It is usually in extremely dry seasons that red clover 
honey is reported, and it may be that the unfavorable conditions 
may serve to dwarf the plant to some extent. 

Although red clover produces nectar in great abundance, it 
can hardly be regarded as a honey plant because of the inability 
of the bees to gather it. 

Mammoth, or Pea-vine clover, is another form or variety 
of red clover of a coarser or ranker growth. It is of little value 
for the same reason ascribed to the other, although bees may 
work on it slightly more than on the medium red variety. 

White Sweet Clover (Melilotus alba). — Sweet clover is one 
of the best honey plants, and is very rapidly spreading into all 
parts of the United States. It bids fair very shortly to outstrip 
white clover in its total production, because of its wider range. 
It thrives on the rich lands of Iowa and Illinois, along the irri- 
gation ditches of the arid West, on the heavy soils of the South, 
and the rocky farms of the East. It seems to thrive under a 
greater variety of conditions and to flourish under greater adver- 
sity than any other valuable forage plant. Farmers on high- 
priced lands of the com belt are beginning to grow it in prefer- 
ence to red clover, or timothy, for hay, while the farmers on 
worn soils of the South and East are finding it to be a great soil 
builder, as well as a profitable farm crop. The quantity of 
forage produced from a given area is second to no other forage 
plant, and the quality, if properly handled, is excellent. Even 
in sections where it is regarded as a weed and consequently is not 
encouraged, it is gradually taking possession of waste places along 
railroads, highways, and unoccupied lands generally. 

White sweet clover, also called Bokhara clover, is a biennial, 
seeding freely, and establishing itself readily under apparently 
unfavorable conditions. 

The honey is light in color and spicy in flavor. By itself it is 
a little strong for some palates, but when mixed with other honey 
is of very fine quality. Sweet clover will one day stand at the 


head of the list of honey plants of the world, if the present rate 
of spreading continues. Large quantities of honey from this 
source are now reaching the markets from Colorado, Idaho, and 
other western States. Sweet clover is not regarded as important 
in portions of Ontario and some of the eastern States. It yields 
more freely in the dry hot summers of the West. 

In Iowa one farmer, Frank Coverdale at Delmar, had nearly 
200 acres of this crop on his farm. Sweet clover was the princi- 
pal crop grown, and everything was planned to utilize it to the 
best advantage. Cattle, hogs and other stock were kept to con- 
sume the hay. Bees also were kept to gather as much of the 
nectar as possible. In 1913 more than a carload of fine comb 
honey was produced from the 300 colonies of bees on the farm. 

Yellow Sweet Clover (Melilotus officinalis). — The yellow 
variety of sweet clover is not nearly so widely spread as the white, 
and is not of so much value as forage. The honey yield, however, 
is good, and it is valuable as a honey-producing plant. 

Alfalfa (Medicago saliva). — Alfalfa, or lucerne, is coming 
to be widely cultivated as a forage plant. It does not thrive 
to any extent except under cultivation. It is at its best in the 
irrigated regions of the West, where it is grown in very large 
acreage for hay and for seed. Under western conditions, it is a 
very valuable forage plant, yielding large quantities of fine honey. 
It seems to be of little value for bee pasturage in moist regions 
of the eastern States. Although blooming freely, it does not seem 
to secrete nectar, except in rare instances, and seldom produces 
seed in any quantity except in seasons of extreme drouth, when 
the bees will seek it freely foi' a time, 

Basswood or Linden (Tilia americana). — The basswood, 
known as whitewood, linden, or limetree, is widely disseminated 
in eastern North America, being found from New England to 
Florida and Texas. It has also been introduced into California 
in a few localities. 

In times past basswood was a very important source of honey, 
but of late years the linden forests are being rapidly cut ofi^, and 
the land turned into farms or pastures. Wherever it is to be 


found in quantity, it is valuable for bee pasture, and in some 
seasons produces large quantities of nectar. It is not a depend- 
able source, for it does not secrete nectar freely except in occas- 
ional seasons. When conditions are favorable, it offers about 
ten days of the finest honey flow possible. Some years immense 
crops are stored from basswood, so that the bee-keeper who is 
within reach of a considerable acreage of this forest can expect 
great benefit every third or fourth year, with a splendid crop 
once in ten or twelve years. The tree is a rapid grower, and will 
begin to bloom freely after six or eight years. 

The wood is white, and much desired for making sections for 
comb honey. It is also utilized for making packing boxes of 
various kinds, some kinds of furniture, and for making paper. 

Buckwheat (Fagopyrum). — In parts of New York, Penn- 
sylvania, and the New England States where buckwheat is raised 
in large quantities, it is a very valuable honey plant. In some 
sections several hundred colonies of bees are kept in one yard, 
with buckwheat as the principal source of honey. Climatic con- 
ditions of the eastern States seem especially favorable to nectar 
secretion, and there it is very dependable, yielding some honey 
nearly every year. In the Central West it is seldom of much 
value for bee pasture, and yields only rarely. It is reported as of 
little value in Texas, except to bridge over a time when little 
else is blooming. In California there is another plant called 
wild buckwheat which is said to be of considerable value as a 
honey plant. 

Buckwheat honey is dark, of a heavy body and strong flavor. 
Those who are accustomed to it often prefer it to milder flavored 
honeys, but in western markets it moves slowly, and at a lower 
price than the white honeys. 

In the East it is the source of very large crops in some seasons, 
probably an average of fifty or more pounds per colony being 
secured from this source alone, under favorable conditions. 

Golden Rod (Solidago). — The golden rods are of wide dis- 
tribution, some species probably being found in every State in the 



Union, as well as Canada and Mexico (Fig. 29). They are 

perennial herbs, blooming in late summer and antiimn, mostly 

Fig. 29. — The golden rod is an important source of fall nectar in some localities. 

with bright yellow flowers. At least eighty recognized species are 

The golden rod is an important source of nectar in many 


sections. Reports of good honey crops from this source alone 
are frequently received from the eastern States. In the Central 
West It is less frequently mentioned as a honey plant, in some 
sections the bees seeming to pay no attention to it. It is said 
to yield considerable honey in Texas in favorable seasons, and is 
of some value, also, in parts of California. 

The honey is usually thick, and when well ripened of good 
quality. The attractive flowers are much sought for by many 
insects beside the bees. Beetles in large numbers, especially 
blister beetles, frequent the blossoms. 

^ Coming so late in summer, it is especially valuable in locali- 
ties where the secretion is sufficiently abundant. 

Wild Sunflower (Helianthv^). —The wild sunflower is an- 
other summer and fall flower of wide range. There are many 
species, some of which may be found from the Atlantic coast to 
California and from Canada to the Gulf. They are tall 
coarse weeds with bright yellow flowers (Fig. 33). Large num- 
bers of insects of many species visit the blossoms of the sunflowers 
m search of the nectar. 

Wherever these flowers are sufficiently abundant, they are 
the source of nectar. The cultivated sunflowers are of little if 
any value as honey plants, but produce seed in quantity, which 
IS valuable as poultry feed. 

The Jerusalem artichoke is a variety of sunflower, sometimes 
cultivated for the hogs. This plant grows wild in the upper 
Mississippi Valley States, and is regarded as a weed. It is 
frequently referred to as a valuable honey plant. 

Many of the sunflowers are perennials, persisting for manv 
years where once established. They are commonly to be seen 
along railroads, wagon roads, and on waste ground everywhere 
ihe honey is dark or amber in color 

Other Yellow Fall Flowers.-There are many coarse plants 
with yellow flowers that bloom in late summer and fall that add 
much to the sum total of honey stored. Coming at a season when 
m many localities, there is no general flow, they are of consider- 



able importance, even though the flow from them is never heavy. 
Such plants grow along railroads, roadsides, along streams, on 

Fia. 30. — -The cup-plant or rosin weed. 

the margins of fields, and in waste places generally. Some of 
these plants are quite valuable, where sufiiciently abundant. 



Cup-plant. — The cup-plant (Silphium perfoliatum) , also 
called rosin weed, is a common roadside plant in the Middle West. 
The illustrations showing the flowers and also the plant give a 

FiQ. 31. — Blossoms of the cup-plant. 

good idea of its appearance. By looking closely at Figs. 30 and 
31 it will be seen that the stem is square, and that the leaves 
are grown together at the base, thus making a cup around the 
stem, from which the name is derived. These plants are abund- 


ant on rich lands along streams, and sometimes on uplands in the 
Mississippi Valley and eastward. They grow from four to eight 
feet tall, with numerous yellow flowers, so that where plentiful 
they furnish considerable pasturage for the bees, which visit 
them freely. 

Crownheard. — There are several species of crownbeard, some 

Fia. 32. — The yellow crownbeard is much sought 
by the bees. 

of which have white blossoms. Fig, 32 shows the common yellow- 
flowered variety which grows in open woodlands in the IMiddle 
West. The bees seek it very eagerly and a great humming may 
be heard about this plant when the bloom is at its height. The 
range of tlie different species of crownbeard (Verbesitm), is 
from Pennsylvania to the Missouri Kiver and south to Texas. 



The list of such plants might be extended to great length, 
while no one of them is generally valuable the total bounty of all 

FiQ. 33. — Wild sunflowers are important honey producing plants over large areas. 

is considerable, and each is important in limited localities where 
it is abundant. 

Partridge Pea (Cassia). — The partridge pea is reported as 
an important source of honey in Georgia and Florida. Fig. 34 



shows the common roadside species of the Middle West (0. 
chamce crista) , with blossom, seed pod, and leaf. The flowers 
are of an attractive yellow color, of about the size shown. This 
plant is very common along the sandy roads of the Middle West, 

Fia. 34. — Blossom, seed pod and leaf of partridge pea. 

where at times it may be found in abundance for miles at a 
stretch. Although bees visit the plant freely while in bloom, the 
amount of honey stored from this source is seldom uotiQeable 
in this region. 


The plant is peculiar in that the nectar is not secreted by the 
flower proper, but by a gland at the base of the petiole. The 
season of flow lasts for several weeks in midsummer. 

As it comes for the most part after the close of the honey 
harvest, the partridge pea in the northern States serves princi- 
pally to keep the bees occupied until later flowers bloom in suffi- 
cient quantity to provide a real honey flow. 

The quality of honey stored from this source is said to be 

Aster or Starw^ort.— There are said to be about 125 species 
of asters m North America, and also many species in Europe 
Asia, and South America. These plants then must be familiar 
to the bee-keepers in all temperate regions of the world. Some 
species grow in open, shady woodlands, while others delight in 
the open sunlight of the prairies. They range in height from 
eighteen inches, or less, to eight feet. As a rule, the plants are 
many-flowered, as will be seen by Fig. 35. A plant with a small 
number of flowers was chosen in an attempt to secure greater 
detail. Sometimes hundreds of blossoms occur on one plant. 

They range in color from white to blue and dark purple 
Blue IS perhaps the most common color. They have a tendency 
m some cases to become weeds, but are easily destroyed by culti- 
vation, and are not often regarded as serious. The bloom in the 
northern Mississippi Valley States comes very late, lasting until 
killing frosts. In some years bees are found still working on 
these plants in November. 

The asters, like the golden rods, are attractive to a large 
variety of insect life, many different species seeking them in 
addition to the bees. 

The white-rayed flowers are said to be the best honey pro- 
ducers, some species, apparently, not yielding any nectar. The 
value of asters as honey plants is a little uncertain. While they 
yield considerable surplus in many localities, the honey makes 
very poor winter stores, and many reports show heavy losses 
from wintering bees on aster honey. The honey is said to be 


white with a mild flavor. In most localities it is mixed with 
dark fall honey, so that it is not often stored separately. 

It is said to be rather thin, and by itself not to thicken up 

Boneset or White Snakeroot, — There are several closely 

Fig. 35. — Aster honey makes poor winter stores. 

related species of this plant (Eupatorium) known by the names 
of boneset, thoronghwort, and white snakeroot. The common 
species ranges from New Brunswick to Dakota, and south to the 
Gulf of Mexico (Fig. 36). Boneset is frequently spoken of as 
a honey plant. It blooms in late summer, sometimes persisting 


until frost. The plant is a perennial, and if left undisturbed 
remains for many years in open woodlands that are not too 
closely pastured. 

FiQ. 30.— Boucuet or white snakeroot. 

The species most conmion in the upper Mississippi region 
is known as white snakeroot (E, urticce folium) , which is sup- 



posed to be poisonous, and is commonly reported to cause the 
disease known as trembles in animals. Although much of this 
plant grows in the author's wild garden (Fig. 37), and also about 
the grounds where it is frequently eaten by the family cow, no 
bad effect has ever been noticed. 

Milk sickness is said to be caused by the use of meat, milk, 

Fio. 37. — Masses of white snakeroot in the author's wild garden. 

butter or cheese from animals afflicted with trembles, so that 
snakeroot is popularly supposed to be the indirect cause of milk 
sickness in the human race, as well as trembles in animals. 

In his book on poisonous plants, Dr. L. H. Pammel cites a 
number of cases where the disease, trembles, had supposedly been 
produced in animals by feeding them the extract of this plant. 



Investigations that seem to contradict this conclusion are also 
eited, so that the connection of this plant to these diseases seems 

Fig. 38. — Two apeciea of heartsease or smartweed. 

The boneset of commerce is made irom E. perfoliatum, which 
also is most often spoken of as a source of honey. The drug is 
well and widely known as a remedy. 


These plants are an important source of fall honey. 

Heartsease (Polygonum). — There are several species of 
plants belonging to this family (Fig. 38) that are variously 
known as smartweed, knotweed^ heartsease, lady's thumb, w^ater 
pepper, doorweed, etc. Polygonum persicaria or lady's thumb 
is perhaps the best honey producer of them all. There are 
fifty or more species in the United States and Canada, a number 
of vi^hich produce some honey. 

This plant is particularly valuable in wet seasons, when an 
excess of moisture prevents the usual cultivation of many fields, 
or when, because of abundant water supply, these plants spring 
up in corn fields and grain fields after cultivation has ceased. 
At such times, large quantities of honey are sometimes secured 
from this source. 

While the plants range over a wide area, they are particularly 
valuable as honey producers in the States of Iowa, Illinois and 
eastern Kansas and Nebraska. 

The period of bloom lasts from August until frost and the 
honey varies greatly in color and quality. Much of it is a light 
amber, of fair quality, while some is very dark and of inferior 

Horsemint (Monarda).—lloTsemmt is most frequently re- 
ported as a valuable honey plant from Texas and nearby States. 
In this section very large yields are occasionally reported from 
this source. There are several species (Fig. 39) ranging from 
Quebec and New England, west to Dakota, and south to Georgia 
and Texas. 

The corolla tubes are very deep, and it would hardly be 
expected that the bees could reach the nectar. Three species 
are reported as yielding freely in Texas, M. clinopodoides accord- 
ing to Scholl being one of the best honey plants. M. fistulosa, 
commonly called wild bergamot, is common in many of the 
States, from New England to the Missouri River and south to 
Florida and Texas. While at times this plant does not seem 



attractive to tlie honev-bw, it is widely reported as a source of 
honey. Monarda punctata is the best of the horsemints for honey 
Milkweed (Asclepia^).— The milkweeds, also called butter- 
fly weeds and silkweeds, are widely distributed on both hemis- 
pheres. About eighty-five species are recorded. Although the 

Fig. 39.— The horsemints are valuable over a Urge scope of country. 

miWeds secrete considerable nectar and in favorable seasons 
considerable honey is the result, they are not generally favored 
by the bee-keepers because of the fact that bees sometimes become 
entangled m the pollen masses and are lost as a result. Kenoyer 
m his studies of the relation of wild bees to plant pollenation' 
found that wasps frequently had these pollen masses clinging to 
their feet. While it sometimes happens that a considerable nura 



ber of bees may be lost from this cause, it is hardly as serious, 
as it has been pictured in nuiny of the printed articles. 

The milkweed is a really good honey plant, and where suffi- 
ciently abundant contributes a liberal portion to the prosperity 




Fio. 40. — Catnip yields honey abundantly. 

Fig. 41. — Figwort or Simpson's honey plant. 

of the apiarist. In '' Gleanings in Bee Culture," for July, 1912, 
Mr. George H. Kirkpatrick, of Michigan, reports a yield of 
1320 pounds from eleven colonies in eleven days, gathered from 
milkweed. Any plant that will produce one hundred or more 
pounds of honey per colony, in such a short period of time, even 
under extraordinary conditions, is worthy of attention. 



The honey is said to be light in cohir and of good quality. 

Good Plants of Restricted Distribution. — Some of the best 
honey plants are restricted to a small area. The sages of Cali- 
fornia have produced enormous crops of honey which have been 
shipped to the eastern markets in large quantities, yet little sage 

Fia. 42. — The Rocky mountain bee plant is a valuable honey producer in Colorado. 

honey is secured elsewhere in the United States. The palmetto 
and saw palmetto of Florida are important in that State, but 
not found far removed from the southern half of that common- 
wealth. The logwood of Jamaica and the West Indies, and 
to some extent in Florida, is of little interest to the bee-keepers 
of other sections. Xearly every State has some honey plants that 
are not of general interest because of the restricted range. 


Valuable Plants That are Seldom Abundant. — There are 
a number of plants that secrete nectar freely, which would be 
exceedingly valuable if sufficiently abundant. Catnip, nepeta 
cataria, (Fig. 40) originally introduced from Europe has become 

Fig. 43. — Blossoms of the button bush. 

very widely naturalized in the United States. When in bloom 
it is eagerly sought by the bees. Figwort, or Simpson's honey 
plant, Scrophularia marilandica (Fig. 41) is another widely 
distributed plant on which the bees work freely. The button 
bush, Cephalanthus occidentalis (Fig. 43) is a bushy shrub that 
grows in wet lands. In a few localities along the Mississippi it ia 


sufficiently common to yield some surplus honey, which is light 
in color and mild in flavor. The wild cucumber, Echinocystis 
lobata (Fig. 45) is another wet land plant common everywhere 
along streams from New England to Texas but abundant enough 
to yield noticeable quantities of nectar in few places. 

Plants Principally Valuable for Pollen. — There are a large 
number of plants commonly visited by the bees for pollen, which 

Fio. 44. — Buckwheat is highly regarded in the East. (Sear's Productive Orcharding), 

produce no nectar. Others, like the willows and maples, are valu- 
able for both. Inasmuch as pollen is absolutely essential for 
brood rearing, it is important that it be within reach at all 
seasons, as nearly as possible. In a few localities it is never 
sufficiently abundant throughout the breeding season for best 
results. Fortunately, in most places, pollen is within reach 
most of the growing months. 



Among the important pollen plants may be mentioned several 
of the forest trees, including the willows, elms and maples already 
mentioned. In addition the box elder, walnut, hickory, ash, 
beech, birch, chestnut and aspens may be mentioned. 

Fia. 45.— Where suflBciently abundant, the wild cucumber is valuable. 

Corn is one of the most abundant pollen plants of its season, 
and the bees sometimes work on the tassels so freely as to give 
rise to the impression that it is a honey producer. Plant lice are 


sometimes to be found on the corn plant, and it may be thai 
honey-dew is sometimes gathered from this source. 

The list might be extended indefinitely, but it is only neces- 
sary to mention a few of the common plants, such as roses, 
sorghum, hops and ragweed. Many brightly colored flowers pro- 
duce pollen but no nectar. 

Bitter and Poisonous Honeys.— There are several plants that 
yield honey of such a disagreeable taste that it is of no value, 
except to feed back to the bees. The bitterweed, or sneezeweed of 
the Ozark region, blooms after the close of the clover harvest, and 
a good crop of white clover honey is frequently spoiled by mixing 
with the bitter honey. In such a locality, it is important that 
the bee-keeper be familiar with the time of blooming of such 
plants, and remove all good honey from the hive before the bees 
begin to store from them. The author has found this honey to be 
so bitter as to be absolutely unpalatable. Scholl says of the 
bitterweed of Texas {Helenium tenuifolium) : "Honey yield good 
in favorable seasons ; pollen ; honey golden yellow, heavy body 
but very bitter, as if 50 per cent quinine and some pepper were 
added. June to October." 

The honey from snow-on-the-mountain {Euphorbia, mwr- 
ginati) is said to be bitter and disagreeable, and possibly pois- 

Pammel, in his " Manual of Poisonous Plants," cites a num- 
ber of plants which are supposed to produce poisonous honey. 
Among them may be mentioned mountain laurel (Kalmia lati- 
folia), which is said to be common in the mountains of Virginia 
and nearby States. The honey from rhododendron is said to be 
poisonous also. 

In choosing a location it is desirable to avoid the sources 
of these undesirable honeys as much as possible, and if they are 
present in the locality where one is operating, to use care to pre- 
vent them from being stored in the same comb with honey of good 

Cases of poisoning from honey in New Jersey are described 


somewhat in detail. The honey is said to produce a pungent 
burning taste as soon as the comb has passed the lips. In fifteen 
or twenty minutes the patients are seized with nausea, abdom- 
inal pain and vomiting. This is soon followed by loss of con- 
sciousness, coldness of extremities, feebly acting heart, and com- 
plete collapse. No less than eight cases were cited from New 
Jersey in 1896 by Professor Kebler. 

The poisonous honey is said to have been, " dark honey which 
had a light brown color and a nauseating odor, pungent taste, 
caused a burning sensation in the back of the mouth similar to 
that of aconite." The source of this particular honey is not 

Overstocking. — The question of overstocking has perhaps 
been the cause of as much discussion among bee-keepers as any 
one question relating to the business of honey production. The 
number of colonies that a given locality will support profitably is 
one of the most difficult matters to determine. Some writers offer 
a general suggestion to limit the number in one apiary to 50 or 75. 
However, seasons and localities vary so widely that no safe rule 
can be laid down. In this matter, the experience of other men 
in other localities, even though they be but a few miles distant, 
is not of much value. A locality may support 200 or 300 colonies 
splendidly one season, when 50 would nearly starve the next. 

About the best advice that can be offered is to begin with a 
moderate number and gradually increase until the average pro- 
duction per colony is no longer profitable, or rather until it 
would be more profitable to divide the bees into two separate 
yards three or four miles apart. 

If one happens to have a location where fruit bloom is 
abundant for early brood rearing, followed by a large acreage 
of white and sweet clover, with a liberal supply of fall pasturage, 
he can keep a large number of colonies profitably in a single yard. 
As a general rule, the number of colonies kept in a single yard in 
the Central West is thought best not to exceed 100. However, 


Frank Coverdale, at Delmar, Iowa, had 300 colonies in one yard. 
He formerly kept his bees in several outyards, in deference to 
the general idea that the locality could be easily overstocked. He 
found a great saving in time and expense in having the bees all 
at home, where they could be under constant supervision. 

At Center Point, Iowa, S. W. Snyder, secretary of the Iowa 
Bee-Keeper's Association, kept more than 200 colonies in one 
yard. About two miles distant another bee-keeper had nearly 
250 colonies in one yard. Thus there were nearly 500 colonies 
within two miles. In the town of Maquoketa, Iowa, there were 
several apiaries, some of which had more than 150 colonies each 
Within a mile or two outside there were several more apiaries* 
thus bringing the total number of colonies much above that com- 
monly thought to be profitable. Yet in all the above-mentioned 
cases the yields were very satisfactory. 

A number of instances have been published where from 500 
to 700 colonies have been kept in one yard, in the States of New 
York, Idaho and California. 

Apparently, the number of honey-producing blossoms avail- 
able for early brood rearing, and during the season of greatest 
dearth, have an important bearing on the number of colonies that 
can be supported through the year. During a heavy flow from 
any source, it seems at times that thousands of colonies could 
find support. If an insufficient supply of honey and pollen is 
available to support the colony during long periods of compara- 
tive idleness, the available stores will be too heavily drawn upon 
for support, and the number of colonies should be reduced for 

In many localities a few colonies will make a very good show- 
ing, when a substantial increase in the number will so reduce 
the average per colony that they are no longer profitable. 

Prior Rights.— It is a common trait "of human nature to 
crowd m where some one else has found a profitable opening of 
any kind. It very frequently happens that when a bee-keeper 


has become established in a locality that produces good yields, 
others will locate within a short distance of his apiaries, and 
the number of colonies brought in will so reduce the surplus 
secured .that no one will get satisfactory returns. This is not 
only short-sighted business policy on the part of the newcomer, 
but very unjust as well. While a bee-keeper has no way to estab- 
lish a legal right to the bee pasturage, it would seem that the first 
man on the ground should have some moral rights that should be 
respected. Indeed, there has come to be an unwritten law among 
bee-keepers that does respect the rights of the man already 
located. Unfortunately this unwritten law is not always recog- 
nized, and much friction sometimes develops as a result. The 
only remedy is to move to a new locality, or be patient until the 
newcomer will realize that there is not room enough for two, and 
move on in search of richer fields. 


The value of the honey-bee in the pollenation of blossoms has 
come to be so generally recognized that commercial fruit growers 
and gardeners are anxious to secure the location of an apiary 
near their plantings. Since Darwin laid down the law that 
nature abhors self-fertilization, there has been much study of 
the problems of cross-fertilization and the agents that serve to 
accomplish nature's purpose in the distribution of pollen. While 
there are numerous butterflies, wasps, wild bees and other in- 
sects that assist in the work, the honey-bee, because of its greater 
abundance, and because it can be readily controlled, has come to 
be recognized as the most valuable agent for certain plants. 

In this connection a quotation from Dr. Burton N. Gates, of 
the Massachusetts Agricultural College, will serve to show the 
present recognition of this fact by well-known authorities.^ 

The value of the honey-bee in cranberry cultivation has but recently- 
been recognized. The cranberry industry of Massachusetts, for instance, is 

» " The Value of Bees in Horticulture," by Burton N. Gates, in 3rd 
Annual Report, State Bee Inspector of Iowa, 1914. 


worth between one million and a million and a half dollars annuallv It 

ail ' Dr t::Tr ''%' i? ^^^*^'" 3'-rs certain part« of the cranbe? y^og 
tail. Dr Franklin, at the experimental bog in Massachusetts has carrieH 

^ ^h%f^'i"/e of bogs or parts of bogs may be attributed to the 
nabihty or lack of bees to work the blossoms while the vines are in bloom 
It has been shown too, that the inability of bees to visit these bogs was 
of the br'^wr'.'"?' '''' P--1— of -"^ds or coldness fn thS pa? 
of the bog With the large number of blossoms which are produced on 
cranberry vines, it was also established that bees maintained purposely for 
their service in pollenation were an insurance to cranberry growers who 
are now maintaining apiaries in proportion to the size of tiieir^bor 

In Cucumber Growing.—The cucumber has been mentioned In"Massa- 
S 1, ".,"''"* ^'"'.h '"^"'"^^^ growing under glass ha devlped 

prof ss Ve" I7:i\ ''T'f" '}'' PJ""'^" ^^ "^"^' ^ -o^t laborfous 
process. Bees were later introduced and found to be indispensable esnp 
cially m the larger commercial houses. One grower, for "nSce has fo?tv 
acres under glass. Taking the industry in Mlssach^setts as a whok ft re 
quires between two and three thousand colonies of bees annuaUy to serve 
in the cucumber greenhouses. These colonies are largely reduced by the 
extremely unfavorable conditions of greenhouse life, so that cucumber 
freTnh<fuse"s ""''" '^"'"'^ *'^' ''' ^^^"^^^^-^ -^^ bees purposely for 
A $3800 Crop Due to Bees.~l have in mind a specific instance reported 
by one of our Agricultural Experiment Stations. In one of the Western 

?im ar lo'ca'tfon "'I ^^^^^t^- "^^'^ ''''''^'''' '' ^^^^^ equal acreage, of 
similar location and age, each in a "pocket" in the foothills of an ad 

Sard hn ",;' '^•f',^'^^'^ ^^^" drained and protected from fost. One or 

tSh Jlie tZ I ^"' ^"f ^^^ir y'^''' '" ^'^ °th«^ tl'^'-e was no crop, al 
though the trees blossom heavily each spring. In despair of financial ruin 

oliT"/''/'^ the assistance of a sWExperime^nt Station 1 pom-' 
ologist and entomologist was sent, who examined critically all the conditions 
n each of the orchards. He was about to return withou^t solv nAhe prob 

lelive witlout'fn'r ^""' ''"• ^^ *^" experiment station mL v^as 'about 
to leave without finding any apparent reason for failure lie chanced to spp 
a stream coming in one of the orchards from underneath a ni^e of swale 
S^ng-^r^— ^^^ ^tnSle-t^afifSS 
ot;e^?^thrneiTgro^nt:cTo7 "-' '^ ''^ ^^'^^"^ ^^^ 

Orchardists Realize the Value of Bees.-There has been a 
marked change in sentiment on the part of the fruit growers 
during the past few years, since they have come to realize the 
value of the bees in their orchards. Not many years ago frequent 
attempts were reported of trying to secure the removal of the 


bees from the vicinity of orchards, on the plea that the bees 
injured the fruit. Even yet cases are sometimes reported of the 
supposed injury of grapes by the bees. It has been so often 
demonstrated that the bees cannot injure sound fruit that there 
is no need to state the proof here. There are times, when the 
bees are finding no nectar, v^^hen they become very annoying 
by seeking the orchards and vineyards in search of the juice of 
fruits that have been injured by other insects or birds. At such 
times they become so troublesome that there is some ground 
for complaint, although they do no real injury to fruit. 

The misunderstanding between the bee-keepers and fruit 
growers is very happily being cleared up, so that it is only now 
and then in the case of some fellow who is behind the times that 
trouble of this kind occurs. 

On the other hand, horticulturists are loud in the praise of 
the honey-bee, and hundreds of testimonials as to her value in the 
fruit plantation could be cited. In an article " The Development 
of the Apple from the Flower," that recently appeared in " Better 
Fruit," O. M. Osborne, of the Horticultural Department of the 
State Normal School of Idaho, made the following statement : 

Without the aid of the bees but very little, if any, pollen would ever 
reach the stigma, for the pollen of the apple is a trifle sticky, and, unlike 
that of the corn tassel, ragweed, and several other familiar plants which 
are powdery, it cannot be distributed by the wind. 

Since the horticultural authorities generally have come to 
realize the true place of the honey-bee in the orchard, old preju- 
dices have quickly been broken down, with the result that progres- 
sive fruit growers, in many cases, are ready to offer some substan- 
tial inducement to the apiarist to locate near their plantations. 
Unfortunately, a few fruit men are still inclined to spray their 
trees while in bloom, greatly to the disadvantage of the bee- 
keeper. The horticultural authorities, here again, are coming to 
the rescue of the bees, and are showing wherein it is to the dis- 
advantage of the fruit grower to spray during this period, because 
of possible injury to the fruit crop, as well as to the bees. 



1. Discuss the importance of a good location. 

2. Note the difference in nectar secretion of the same plant under differ- 

ent conditions. 

3. How is the system of honey production affected by the locality' 

4. Uutline m general the clover region; the alfalfa region. " 

5. At what season are pollen-bearing plants most valuable and why' 
b. Discuss honey-dew and its origin. ^ ' 

7. What are the principal sources of early pollen' 

8. Of what value is fruit bloom to the honey producer' 

9. What class of honey is highest in quality and highest in price? 

11 fn wW . '' ^l"*'!^ f"'^ '"""^'^'^ *h^ varieties of greatest value. 
11. In what sections is buckwheat of importance? 

]o ^n""^ !°™^ ^^^^^ ^^^^ furnish honey in abundance. 
U. What fall flowers add to the bee-keeper's revenue' 
14. Discuss the plants restricted to small areas, 
lo. Mention some plants of value for pollen only. 

16. Discuss bitter and poisonous honeys. 

17. Note the problems of overstocking a locality 

18. Of what value is the honey-bee as a pollenizing agent? 


One of the most fascinating studies in all creation is the 
social insect world. Bees, ants, wasps, and termites all have 
a good deal in common. The bee, because of its practical value, 
has attracted more attention than any of the others. Well it 
may, for the social life of the community is none the less inter- 
esting because of the fact that the honey and wax produced may 
be made to support the investigator in comfort while he is pur- 
suing his studies. 

This volume is designed to be a practical book, and so it 
would hardly be the place to go into detail, except in so far as the 
knowledge may be applied to practical purposes, Maeterlinck 
has indulged his fancy in dealing with this phase of the honey- 
bee with the result that he has produced a most interesting story, 
based upon the specialized social life of the hive. There is 
much of truth as well as poetry in that wonderful book, which has 
perhaps been more widely read than any other volume ever writ- 
ten about the bee. 

The Queen. — The life of the hive centers in the queen (Fig. 
4G), the mother of the community. Apparently her only duty 
is to produce eggs in large numbers, that the colony may be per- 
petuated, and that the inmates may be sufficiently numerous to 
enable them to store enough honey to meet the needs of adverse 
seasons in summer as well as the long period of cold, dreary 
winter. She rarely leaves the hive except on her mating trip 
and to accompany a swarm. Most of her life is spent in the 
hive, quietly attending to her duties. Apparently the egg from 
which she hatches is no different from any of the thousands of 
others that produce workers. The marvelous physical change 
that takes place when an egg is taken from a worker cell and 


reared in a queen cell is one of the most striking studies in the 
result of environment. Only sixteen days are required for the 
queen to reach maturity from the time the egg is laid, while the 
worker requires twenty-one. The queen is much longer in shape 
and looks to be one-third to one-half larger than the worker. 
The queen lacks the wax-secreting organs of the worker, while 
her own sexual organs are fully developed. She lacks the pollen 

— .. •^, ,..«! 

''h«rSr"p?° ^^^"h.'? * newly made comb. The queen can be recognized by 
her greaier length (see arrow) and the circle of attendants facing her. 

baskets and brushes which are conspicuous in the worker. True 
enough she would have no possible use for any means of carrying 
pollen or secreting wax in her work of being a mother to a family 
of a few hundred thousand offspring during her lifetime. Never 
theless, as far as can be seen, the physical changes are entirely 
the result of a change of environment. The queen will remain 
in the hive, so her eyes are not nearly so well developed. She 
has no need to discover the distant fields of clover. Her life will 



be much longer as a mother than had she developed into a 
worker. The life of a queen may be from one to five years. 

Queen cells somewhat resemble peanuts in shape (Fig. 47). 
Three days pass from the time the egg is placed in the cell until 
it hatches into a tiny white larva. The little larva is provided 

Fia. 47. — Natural-built queen cells. 

with a liberal quantity of royal jelly on which it feeds. At the 
end of six days the larval growth is completed and the cell is 
sealed. Seven days are required to complete the transformations 
from a larva to a mature queen bee, and the cell is opened from 
within, and the queen appears upon the comb. Warmer or colder 
weather may slightly influence the period of development, so that 
it may be a little longer or a little shorter, but sixteen days is 


recognized as the normal period of development from the egg to 

The instincts of the newly emerged queen are very different 
from those of the newly emerged worker. The worker mingles 
freely with her fellows without the slightest hostile action. The 
newly emerged queen begins at once to search for possible rivals. 
Should there be other queen cells, she will at once destroy 
them, if unmolested by the workers. Should the colony be 
preparing to swarm, the unemerged queens will bo protected 
by a guard of workers. Ordinarily the needs of the colony are 
met by a single vigorous queen, and she promptly dispatches any 
others, either mature or in the cells. On one occasion the 
author observed three young queens to emerge almost simul- 
taneously. They immediately gave battle, and but a few 
moments elapsed until they were in a death grip. 

It sometimes happens that an old and failing queen will 
remain m the hive for a time with the daughter who will later 
supersede her. Apparently then there is no antagonism between 
them, for the mother in the very nature of things must shortly 
die Just why there is such a change in the attitude toward 
each other in cases of this kind is hard to understand. 

Usually when the queen is from five to seven days old she 
departs on her wedding flight. The mating takes place in the 
air during the warm period of the day, when the drones fly in 
greatest numbers. The organs of the male are torn violently 
away, and carried back to the hive by the newly impregnated 
queen. The entire content of the male seminal fluid is absorbed 
by the queen, who retains it in a special sac, where it continues 
to fertilize the eggs during the life of the queen mother. It is 
no longer questioned among practical bee-keepers that the queen 
mates but once, and that one impregnation is sufficient for life. 

One of the most remarkable things in the life of the bee is 
the fact that an impregnated queen may produce at will either 
male or female offspring, while the unimpregnated queen pro- 
duces male offspring. Apparently, the eggs from which drones 



are hatched are never impregnated in either case. When Dzier- 
zon first discovered tliis fact, which is called " parthenogenesis," 
his newly formulated theory of the ability of virgin mothers to 
produce male offspring was ridiculed as impossible. However, 
his observations were later confirmed by careful observers, and 
of late it is regarded as a settled fact, rather common among 

A vigorous queen will lay more than her own, weight of eggs 
daily during the height of the season. Nurse bees wait upon 

Fig. 48. — Worker beed on the comb. 

her constantly, and feed her freely with highly nutritious and 
ready digested food. 

The Worker. — Upon the worker bees (Fig. 48) devolve all 
the labor of the hive. A lifetime of toil is their normal portion. 
Building the combs, gatliering the nectar and pollen to furnish 
food for tlie commimity, secreting the wax, feeding the queen 
and drones as well, nursing the young bees, guarding the hive 
against robbers, and carrying out refuse to kee-p the home clean 
are a part of the manifold duties that they are called upon to 

By inheritance the worker is apparently in every way similar 



to the queen, but the difference in environment under which she 
develops, makes of her a very different creature. The practical 
apiarist takes advantage of this fact to utilize the eggs and larv« 
from worker cells to rear queens in large numbers when such are 
desirable. The worker is reared in the ordinary cell in which 
honey is stored. The close confinement of the narrow cell de- 
prives her of normal sexual development, and she is incapable of 
mating and of normal sex life. In addition to the larger cell 
occupied by the queen larv.T, the richer food, royal jelly, seems 
to have a great bearing on the difference in development.' 

It is now generally agreed that the newly emerged bees are 
first occupied with the duties within the hive, such as comb 
building and nursing of the young. Later they go to the fields 
to gatlier honey and pollen, and thus continue to the end of life. 
It is probable that under normal conditions the young workers 
do not go to the fields until they are from two to three weeks 
old. During the honey flow the average length of life among the 
workers is short, probably not much more than six weeks, while 
those hatched late in summer after the harvest is gathered may 
live until the following spring. 

Twenty-one days is the usual period of development, from 
the time the egg is laid until the worker leaves the cell Three 
days are required for the hatching of the egg, six days are spent 
m the larval period, and twelve days within the cocoon after the 
cell is sealed. This period varies slightly according to conditions 
of heat or cold, or possibly because of other abnormal conditions 
A newly emerged bee is easily recognized by her small size 
and velvety appearance. One is reminded of a baby just learn- 
ing to walk, by the uncertain attitude of the youngster. On 
sunny afternoons large numbers of the young bees will be seen 
m flight about the hive. These play spells are often mistaken 
lor evidence of robbing by the novice. When brood-rearing is 
at Its height, a pint or more of young bees will be emerging 
every day to replace the old bees, which are wearing out in field 
work. When they are about a week old, they take a flight to 


try their wings and to learn something of the location of the hive 
and surroundings. The first trip to the honey field will not be 
taken until later. 

Fertile Workers. — Occasionally, in a queenless colony, a 
worker will develop to the point of laying eggs. As she is incapa- 
ble of mating, her offspring will all be drones, which are of no 
value to the hive and the colony will soon perish. Fertile workers 
lay here and there over the comb with little regularity. Some- 
times several eggs will be found in the same cell, and the 
next cells will be empty. That the offspring are drones will be 
evidenced by the high arched cappings, like rifle bullets, which 
are peculiar to drone brood. 

Much has been written about methods of saving colonies 
with fertile workers, but the productive bee-keeper will have little 
time to bother with them. As a rule, the best plan is to unite 
the colony at once with another which has a good queen and 
thus save what bees are left. If fertile workers are present, 
several are usually to be found in the same hive. 

When the worker has served her purpose in life and can no 
longer render a service to the community, she will still persist 
in going to the field until she dies, or if she refuse to do so 
will be dragged from the hive in the most merciless manner by 
the busy sisters, whose only thought is for the prosperity of the 
community. With the social insects, such as the honey-bee, the 
community is everything, while the individual receives little 

Under normal conditions, a colony of bees will consist of per- 
haps 20,000 workers, a single queen, and a few dozen or possibly 
a few hundred drones. The number of drones will depend largely 
upon the kind of bee-keeper in whose apiary they reside. A very 
prolific queen with plenty of room, and otherwise favorable con- 
ditions, will produce such large numbers of eggs that possibly 
50,000 or more bees may be present at one time. Under unfavor- 
able conditions the colony may be reduced down to the point 



where but a few hundred bees remain, and yet be revived with 
careful attention. 

The Drone. — The sole purpose that the drone (Fig. 49) 
serves is the perpetuation of the species. As one mating is 
sufficient for the entire life period of the queen, except in rare 
instances when the first mating is not a complete one, not one 
drone in a hundred will ever have opportunity to serve the pur- 
pose for which nature designed him. The over-abundance of 
drones is a severe tax on the production of the hive. Nature 
provides for emergencies by producing large numbers of drones, 
to insure the presence of a male at the time and place of emer- 
gence of a virgin queen. In a 
large apiary, however, where 
many colonies are present, there 
is little danger but that this need 
will be met even though the bee- 
keeper take great care to reduce 
the production of drones to the 
minimum. Drones appear in 
the hive during the productive 
period of the summer. In 
April or May when brood rear- 
ing is active they will be seen 
and will continue about the apiary until the close of the honey 
flow in late fall, unless there is a dearth of nectar, when they will 
be summarily driven from the hive to perish. 

The drones are reared in cells of the same shape as the worker 
cells (Fig. 50). They are, however, somewhat larger in size, 
and the cappings are raised like rifle bullets. These high arched 
cappings will show at a glance the presence of drone brood in 
the hive. 

The practical bee-keeper reduces the available space for 
drone brood to the minimum by using full sheets of foundation 
in all brood frames. Where full sheets are used there will be but 
little drone comb built. A few cells here and there in the corners 

Fig. 49. — Drones. 


and along the bottom bars will provide sufficient space for the 
rearing of plenty of drones for all practical purposes. If the 
bees are allowed to build at will they are quite likely to build 
large quantities of drone comb. This is especially likely to occur 
in eoloiiios where the (jueen is old or not very productive. 

Fia. 50. — Comb3 showing queen cells and capped drone and worker brood. 

A new colony with a vigorous queen will frequently fill the 
hive with worker comb, because the queen occupies the space as 
fast as built and fills every available cell with an eg^. As soon 
as they have built sufficient for the queen's immediate needs, 
they are likely to begin to build drone comb. Apparently it is 
easier to construct and does not tax the bees quite as heavily. 


In neglected apiaries it is not uncommon to find hives with 
from one-fourth to more than one-half of the comb surface com- 
posed of drone cells. This insures that a large number of drones 
will be reared during the active season. A surplus of drones 
who are loafers and consumers instead of producers will turn 
what might have been a profitable colony into a non-producer, 
or even one that will require feed to winter successfully. 

These male bees consume quantities of stores, not only during 
the period of their development, but in the mature state as well. 
They are helpless fellows, not even able to feed themselves. 

The drone is much larger and heavier in appearance than a 
worker. He has aptly been called a corpulent fellow. He has 
no sting and flies with a loud buzz, which tends to frighten the 
novice who is unable to recognize his true character. The period 
of development is longer than that of either the queen or the 
worker. Three days is the period required for the egg to hatch 
as with the others. About seven days are spent in the larval 
period, and fourteen days elapse from the time the cells are 
sealed until the transformation is complete. 

The act of copulation is fatal to the drone. As previously 
stated, the organs of generation remain attached to the queen for 
several hours, until the entire supply of seminal fluid enters 
the sac of the queen. After this is accomplished the attendant 
workers remove the parts from her. 

The life term of the drone is very uncertain. If conditions are 
favorable he may live for several weeks, or maybe months, until 
by chance his life is terminated by meeting with a queen, or 
perhaps by accident. Otherwise he may live until the close 
of the honey harvest leads his provident sisters to accomplish 
his destruction. While the worker may sometimes sting the 
drones to death, it seems to be more often accomplished by sim- 
ply refusing to provide them with food, and by driving them 
from the hive when they soon perish. 

^ Drone traps are on the market to enable the bee-keeper to 
reduce the number of boarders in the hives. However, it is much 


better to prevent breeding them in the first place, as the food 
provided in rearing them together with the labor of the nurse 
bees is all lost. Combs composed largely of drone cells should 
either be used as extracting combs above a queen excluder or else 
rendered into wax and replaced with sheets of foundation. The 
productive bee-keeper can ill afford to divide his profits with 
useless drones. 


Italians. — While there are a considerable number of races 
of bees, those commonly known in this country are all that need 
be considered in a work of this kind. First and foremost among 
them may be mentioned the Italian, which is generally recog- 
nized as the most valuable under the conditions of this country. 
These bees have become so widely distributed in many parts 
of the country that together with their crosses, commonly spoken 
of as hybrids, they are about the only bees to be found in many 

There is considerable difference in the appearance of the 
various strains of Italians. The three banded strains are usually 
regarded as more desirable, although the goldens are highly 
regarded as well. 

Pure Italians are usually very gentle, are more resistent of 
disease, especially European foul brood, than other races, and 
also repel the wax moth much more effectively. 

These bees have been tried under so many conditions, by so 
many bee-keepers all over the country, that they may well be 
regarded as entitled to first place in popular esteem. 

Cyprians. — For a time the Cyprians were quite the rage. 
They came from the island of Cyprus. They resemble the Ital- 
ians, but are much more difficult to control. In fact they are so 
cross that most bee-keepers have discarded them, and queens of 
this race are seldom offered for sale. 

Common Black or German Bees. — This seems to have been 
the original stock first imported into America, and which became 


common everywhere before other races were introduced. Ac- 
cordingly, more or less of this stock is likely to be found in any 
locality. As above stated, the Italians have been so extensively 
cultivated in many regions that the blacks are no longer pure, 
but are only found mixed with Italians. 

They are not nearly as gentle as the Italians. ITeither do 
they resist disease or moths with much success. When the hive 
is opened, they rush here and there with such nervous haste as to 
be very disconcerting to the bee-keeper. The queens are very 
difficult to find, and taken altogether they are unsatisfactory bees 
to handle on a commercial scale. 

Carniolans.— The Camiolans somewhat resemble the blacks 
in color, although the bands are more distinct. They are gentle 
like the Italians, and are quite popular in some localities. The 
principal objection to them is the excessive swarming propensity. 
They rear large quantities of brood as the queens are very pro- 
lific. They are said to be well adapted to high altitude® where 
nighta are cold. 

Caucasians.— These bees resemble the common blacks so 
closely that the novice will find it difficult to tell the one from 
the other. They are, however, a gentle race, and have a few 
champions who assert that they are the best bees ever introduced. 
It is a pretty safe rule in the average American locality to 
depend upon the Italian, unless some other race has been suc- 
cessfully tried in the neighborhood. It is only fair to say, how- 
ever, that no other race has been tried under such widely different 
conditions as has the Italian. It is possible that with an equal 
opportunity to demonstrate their good qualities, either the Cau- 
casian or Carniolan races may rival them for popular favor. 


1. Describe the life history of the queen and note her peculiarities 

2. In what respect do the workers differ from the queen" 
<i. Discuss fertile workers. 

i' S*? Vr 'i^.l'^story of the drone and tell something of his habits 

5. Note the difference in the three kinds of cells in wh?ch queens drones 

and workers are reared. 4"««"s, orones 

6. Tell something of the different races of bees. 


One of the perplexing problems to the beginner is that of 
securing increase without loss of a honey crop. The control of 
natural swarming ig probably the most difficult problem that 
the bee-keeper has to solve in the average locality. Certain plans 
will work all right for several years, until the bee-keeper begins 
to congratulate himself on having learned the secret, when sud- 
denly they will swarm in spite of the best possible attention and 
once the swarming fever is on they are likely to keep it up until 
he is nearly beside himself. 

Natural Swarming.— There has been much written about 
why bees swarm, and the control of conditions that lead to 
swarming. It should be remembered that with bees and other 
social insects the community is the unit, rather than the indi- 
vidual. The workers are incapable of reproduction, and accord- 
ingly no matter how great an increase there may be in their 
numbers in a hive, it is but temporary, and makes no permanent 
difference in perpetuation of the species. Swarming is then the 
expression of the instinct of procreation or increase. 

Normally, the bees will swarm at about the height of the 
honey flow, when natural conditions favor the establishment of 
the new colony. As a rule, nearly enough honey will have been 
brought to the old hive to carry the colony through the winter, and 
at this season the new swarm will be able to establish itself with 
a minimum of danger. While the natural effect tends toward 
the safety of the bees, the practical effect to the bee-keeper is to 
divide his colonies at the time when greatest profit may accrue 
from large colonies, and results in increase of bees at the expense 
of the honey crop. The thing the bee-keeper should strive to 
do is to make his increase either before the honey flow begins 
or when it is nearly over, so that he will get both increase and 
a crop. 


Certain conditions favor natural swarming, as, for instance 
small hives that are soon filled with brood and honey, leaving 
the queen little room in which to lay, and the workers no place 
to store the incoming nectar. The old-time bee-keeper usually 
placed but one super on top of the hives and when that was full 
took it off and replaced it with another. As a matter of course, 
when the hive became crowded the bees began to hang out in 
large clusters for want of room, and the owner decided that they 
were preparing to swarm, which they usually did before many 
days. The practical apiarist will not tolerate this hanging 
out. He knows that, as a rule, either the bees are crowded for 
room, or there is not sufficient ventilation. 

If on examination he finds an abundance of room for storao-e 
he gives a larger entrance, or, if the weather is very hot, even 
lifts the hive off the bottom board a half inch or more and 
supports it on blocks at each corner. 

A heavy honey flow seems to act as a check on swarming, 
and in localities where the honey flow comes on with a rush and 
continues heavy during the principal period of nectar secretion, 
there will be less difficulty in controlling swarming. In such 
localities, if the bees are furnished with plenty of room in which 
to store the honey, and the brood nest is large enough to permit the 
queen to continue her activities, the bees will apparently have no 
instinct but to gather honey as rapidly as possible. If the flow 
stops suddenly, there may even be little if any swarming. On 
the other hand, in most of the northern States, where there is a 
light flow from fruit bloom and dandelion in advance of the 
clover flow, the bees are likely to be swarming full tilt at about 
the beginning of the best flow. 

Clipping the Queens.— It is a common practice among apiar- 
ists to clip the wings of the queens to prevent their escaping with 
the swarms. If the bee-keeper is constantly on hand this plan 
works very well. When the swarm issues and the air is full 
of bees, the bee-keeper goes to the hive from which they have 
issued and usually will have little trouble in finding the queen 


moving about in front of the hive. It is then an easy matter 
to place her safely in a cage, and to remove the old hive from 
which the swarm issued and put a new one ready for the swarm in 
its place. If the bees cluster in a convenient place they may be 
shaken into a basket and dumped in front of the new hive at 
once, and the queen released and allowed to run in with them. 
Usually, the bees will shortly miss the queen and return to the 
old location of their own accord, and when they begin to enter 
the hive the queen may be released. This is a very easy manner 
of hiving swarms when the owner is in the yard when they issue. 
If no one is present when the swarm comes out, even though they 
be found while still clustered, it will be difficult to find the 
place from which they came, in a large apiary, and the swarm is 
likely to return before the queen is found. Colonies that are not 
permitted to swarm naturally are likely to come out again with 
a young queen, with which they will make off to distant scenes. 

Clipping is a decided advantage where large trees are near 
the apiary, as it is a difficult and unpleasant task to capture a 
swarm that has clustered in the top of some tall tree, perhaps 
forty feet from the ground. 

There is another advantage in having clipped queens; one 
can tell the age of every queen in the yard if records are kept. 
If the queen is a clipped one and is superseded, the attendant 
will notice the fact the first time he looks in the hive, as the young 
queen will of course not be clipped. If none of the queens are 
clipped, it will frequently happen that a queen will be super- 
seded without the knowledge of the bee-keeper. 

Cutting Out Cells. — Some practice cutting out queen cells 
as a sole means of swarm prevention. At best this is an unsatis- 
factory plan. To be successful, every frame in every hive must 
be examined every eight days during the season. This entails 
so much work that it is almost entirely out of the question in a 
large apiary. An occasional cell will be overlooked and the bees 
will swarm in spite of the best attention. 

If the bees have cast a natural swarm, one can then examine 



the brood nest and cut out all queen cells but one. There will 
then be little danger of further swarming. (See Swarm Control 
under Comb Honey, Chapter IX. ) 

In small apiaries, operated as a side line, natural swarming 
will often prove to be the most desirable plan of increasing. If 
the bees are run for comb honey, the number of colonies are likely 
to double each favorable 
season, and sometimes 
there will be more than 
double the number of col- 
onies at the close of the 
season that there were in 
the beginning. The exten- 
sive honey producer who 
makes bee-keeping a busi- 
ness, however, will wish to 
look for more certain meth- 
ods of making increase. 

Hiving the Swarms. — 
Hiving the swarms is 
usually a very simple mat- 
ter. If the queens are 
clipped the hive from 
which the swarm issued 
may be removed, and the 
swarm allowed to return to 
the new hive set in its place 
as mentioned in a preced- 
ing paragraph. 

If the queens are not clipped, the swarm will be likely to 
settle on a tree or on some other object near at hand. Small 
fruit trees about the apiary furnish the best clustering places, 
as the swarms can be taken down very readily ( Figs. 51 and 52) 
If a comb contaming brood is placed in the new hive, there is 
less danger that they will come out again and leave Every 

-Hiving swarm in straw skep in Europe. 


bee-keeper of experience has lost swarms after thinking they 
were safely hived. Sometimes they will remain in the hive until 
the following day and then abscond. This is more frequently 
the case with after swarms. There is less trouble where the hive 
is placed in a cool, shady place. 

Apparently as soon as a swarm is out, scouts go in search 
of a new location. It is well to hive the bees as soon as possible 
after they have clustered, and to move the hive to the place where 
it is expected to remain as soon as they are quietly settled, to 
avoid, if possible, the upsetting of the bee-keeper's plans by the 
return of enthusiastic scouts. At times a swarm will remain 
clustered for hours, and even over night, and be content when 
hived, while at other times they will leave with little ceremony 
within a few minutes. That scouts are searching for new quar- 
ters for days in advance of the issuance of the swarm, is evidenced 
by the fact that bees will be found in large numbers about an 
empty hive, or other available place for two or three days, when 
suddenly a large swarm will come in and take possession. 

As soon as the cluster is formed, a sheet may be spread on 
the ground and the new hive set on it. The bees may be shaken 
on top of the frames or in front of the entrance (Figs. 53 and 
54). As soon as a few bees go in they set up a joyful humming 
that attracts the others, and soon they will be moving in rapidly. 
If the queen gets inside all is likely to be well, but if she gets 
lost they will come tumbling out again within a few minutes. 
If swarms cluster in the top of tall trees, there is no way but to 
climb for them. They may be let down in a large basket with a 
rope tied to the handles. 

The Alexander Plan. — The Alexander plan of making in- 
crease has come into general use in so many apiaries that no 
better plan, perhaps, can be offered. 

When the colonies are nearly strong enough to swarm natur- 
ally, remove the colony to be divided from its stand, and put 
in its place a hive containing combs or frames of foundation. 
Remove the center comb from the new hive, and exchange it for 
a frame of brood from the old hive. Find the queen and put 

pIS" «~^*'I^®V^^V«* 8warm catcher. 

*IQ. 53. — Newly hived swarm. 

Fio. 34.— Swarm caught in a sack, running into the hive. 


her on this comh of brood in the new hive. Care should be used 
to see that no queen cells are left. On top of the new hive which 
contains the queen and the empty combs, place a queen excluder 
and set the old hive on top of it. After about five days look 
over the combs carefully, and if queen cells are started above 
the excluder the old hive should then be removed to a new loca- 
tion. If no cells are started the bees may be left until all young 
larvae are capped, when they can be removed. At the end of 
twenty-four hours after removing the hive to the new location it 
should be provided with a queen or a ripe cell. Mr. Alexander 
preferred giving a laying queen, so that no time would be lost. 
He reported that with him this method entirely prevented 
swarming. His plan was to make the increase early in spring, 
as soon as the colonies were strong enough, but in many locali- 
ties the divided colonies could not build up in time for the clover 
flow, and the crop would be short as a result. In such localities 
the division should be made toward the close of the main flow. 
A Somewhat Similar Plan. — A very common practice in use 
for half a century is to take a single frame of brood from a 
strong colony and place this frame, together with the queen and 
frame of honey, in a new hive and add combs or frames of founda- 
tion to fill up the remaining space. The old hive is then removed 
to a new location, and the new hive placed on the original stand. 
The field bees will return to the queen in the new hive, on the 
old stand. This plan should only be undertaken in very warm 
weather, when there is less danger of loss of the hatching larvae. 
The only difference between this plan and the one above described 
is that in this case the division is made at once instead of leaving 
the young bees over the new hive for a few days until the larvae 
have been capped over. There is a greater loss of bees by this 
method than the former one, unless the operation is carefully 
performed, as there are not likely to be enough nurse bees left 
in the hive to care for the young larvae. Divisions without pro- 
vision for caring for all the young brood are expensive, and not 
to be recommended. If the colony is disturbed as little as pos- 


sible in the operation, and the hive only opened to find and 
remove the queen and to take out the frame of brood that is 
exchanged for an empty comb, many of the bees will remain in 
the hive and there will be little if any loss of brood. The brood 
combs should be pushed together and the empty one placed at the 
outside of the hive, rather than to divide the brood nest. A 
queen should be provided for the new colony as soon as possible 
Divisions without Queens.— It is far more profitable to pro- 
vide each new division with a queen, or at least a ripe queen cell 
as soon as possible. However, it often happens that some in- 
crease is desired when no queens or cells are available. If the 
bee-keeper will plan ahead, cells may easily be raised by the 
Miller method as described on page 122. 

If one wishes to make a division without providing a queen, 
it may be done as follows: From your best colony take a frame 
of brood, being sure that eggs and newy hatched larvge are pres- 
ent. Add empty combs or frames of foundation as in the other 
cases described, to fill up the space in a new hive. In the middle 
of the day, when bees are flying freely, remove your strongest 
colony without opening the hive or disturbing them more than 
IS necessary some distance away, and place the new hive with a 
frame of brood, but no queen, where the strong colony stood. 
The field force from the latter colony returning to their old loca- 
tion will make the best of the situation, and proceed to rear a 
queen from the young larva^, and by fall there will be a strong 
colony if conditions are favorable. The old colony which has 
been removed will lose their field force, and consequently will 
require some time to build up to normal condition again. 

Another plan is to divide the brood from a strong colony in^o 
two parts, placing half of the frames in the old hive and the 
rest m a new hive. Both hives are filled up with empty combs or 
frames of foundation. No attention is paid to the queen but 
care is used that eggs and very young larv£e are present in 'both 
hives. The two hives are then set closely together, side by side 
on the old stand, each occupying about half of the original space 


The field force will be about equally divided between the two 
hives. The one in which the old queen remains will build up 
much more rapidly than the colony that must rear a new one. 
While this plan may serve in an emergency, it is not to be recom- 
mended for general practice, as are none of the plans of increas- 
ing without additional queens, as too much time and energy is 
lost on the part of the colony in replacing the queen. If the 
honey crop is not to be considered, and increase alone is desired, 
then these plans might be permissible, but even for this purpose 
so much greater results can be obtained by rearing the queens in 
advance that it is the best practice. 

Forming Nuclei. — When it is desirable to make increase in 
quantity, the best plan, perhaps, is to break up strong colonies 
for the purpose, and make as many divisions as possible without 
hope of their gathering any surplus honey. In this way rapid 
increase may be made with fairly satisfactory results. 

To begin with, take the queen and one frame of brood from 
a strong colony, and add another frame of sealed brood from 
another colony, to give her enough bees with which to start house- 
keeping. Place her with the frames in a new hive in a new 
location, and shut the hive tight with grass to prevent her bees 
from returning to their old stand. If the weather is extremely 
hot there is danger of smothering, and in that case the bees can 
be placed in the cellar instead. At the end of two or three days 
if the bees have not gnawed out, the grass may be removed in the 
evening, after the bees have stopped flying (Fig. 55). 

After the queen is removed the old hive should not be dis- 
turbed for several days. At the end of ten days the young brood 
will all be sealed, so there is a minimum of danger of loss of 
young bees. A number of ripe queen cells will also be present 
in the hive. If there are six frames of brood, it may be divided 
into three parts, placing two frames of brood in each hive. Care 
should be used to see that each hive contains at least one good 
queen cell. Empty frames may be added and the hives placed 
in the cellar or closed up tight with grass as before for two or 



three days. The entrances should be opened at night after the 
bees have stopped flying, to prevent a large part of the bees from 
returning to the old stand. If the bees first get out late in the 
evening, they will begin to carry out dead bees, and attend to 
other housekeeping duties, and by morning will have become 
accustomed to the new conditions, so that not nearly so many 
will return to the old stand as will be the case if they are released 
from confinement in the middle of the day. In this way four 
colonies should be secured from the one. 

Fia. 55. — Nuclei in queen-rearing apiary 

It IS seldom profitable to attempt such divisions of small or 
weak colonies, even in warm weather, as the amount of increase 
secured is too small to be profitable. Rather should the colony 
be left until it becomes strong before breaking it up. Rapid in- 
crease can be made from populous colonies during a honey flow 
but when no honey is being stored it is difficult to get the nuclei 
to build up quickly, even though they be fed. One should always 
expect several weeks of some kind of honey flow after making 

In case of sudden check in nectar secretion for any reason, 


the apiarist must be exceedingly careful or lie will lose mucli of 
his newly made increase. Robbing is likely to be general when 
no honey is coming in, and for this reason all entrances should 
be contracted to about an inch in width or even less if the nuclei 
are very small. Combs of honey should be provided to all these 
weaklings to insure sufficient stores to enable them to continue 
brood rearing. Even then, if no honey is coming in the queen 
may stop laying and everything remain at a standstill until 
the flow again begins. In order to avoid this undesirable con- 
dition, it is well to feed a little sugar syrup each night after the 
bees have stopped flying. It is almost impossible to feed during 
the day when there is a dearth of nectar without starting robbing. 
If the dearth continues for a long period the apiarist may find it 
necessary to again unite his nuclei, and his labor will be for 

Supplying Empty Combs. — When making divisions by any 
of the above plans drawn combs should be supplied to fill out 
the empty space in the hives if possible. Weak colonies should 
not be taxed more than necessary in comb building. If drawn 
combs are not at hand, full sheets of foundation should always 
be used, for otherwise the comb built under such circumstances 
will be mostly composed of drone cells and of no value in the 
brood chamber. Drone comb is only valuable for storage pur- 
poses and can only be used in the extracting supers. Frames 
of drone comb in an apiary are always a nuisance, as the apiarist 
must constantly be careful lest they be slipped into a brood nest 
somewhere, or the queen going above into the extracting super 
shall make use of them. Fig. 91 shows two combs illustrating 
this point. The upper one is built on a full sheet of wired foun- 
dation anJ is composed entirely of worker cells. The lower one 
was built without foundation and is composed entirely of drone 

If, as frequently happens, the apiarist has made too many 
new colonies and they are not likely to reach the end of the season 
in good condition, he can take a frame or two of brood from each 


Strong colony toward the end of the season and use them to 
strengthen the little colonies that have been building up from 
the nuclei formed from the earlier divisions. When the season 
of honey production is nearly over, a frame of sealed brood may 
be taken from a strong colony without injuring it in the least, as 
the bees will emerge too late for the honey flow and the colony 
will already be sufficiently strong to winter well. At the same 
time emerging brood will do wonders for the weak ones if given 
a short time before the honey flow ceases, and will be valuable 
at any time. 

If a large amount of increase is made in one season it will be 
necessary to make a liberal allowance for expenses of queens, and 
foundation, and considerable feeding of honey or sugar are also 
likely to be necessary. Unless one has had considerable experi- 
ence with bees, too rapid increase is likely to lead to disaster. 
For the average person the Alexander plan is perhaps the safest 
that can be recommended. It is better to undertake to make but 
two colonies from one at most, unless it is done by experts of 
long experience. If this division is made early and the two 
colonies become strong again while there is a considerable period 
of honey flow still to come, the same operation can be repeated 
a second time, thus giving four colonies in all from one to start 
with. There are important factors in making increase that are 
not readily apparent to the novice, even though he read direc- 
tions carefully, and he should be content to go slow and advance 
surely rather than take the risk of closing the season with fewer 
colonies that he began it with. 

Making Rapid Increase.-The following account of Dr. 
Miller 8 method of increasing from nine colonies to fifty-six in 
one season will show the possibilities of making rapid increase 
in a favorable season : 

On June 12 the best queen in the apiary was taken from her 
hive and placed on a set of empty combs. Her brood was removed 
to the stand of another colony, which in turn was moved to a 
new location. There were thus three colonies instead of two 


The first had no brood, but the field bees would shortly return to 
make a brood less colony. No. 2 had no queen but would get the 
field force of No. 3, which had been moved to a new location 
and would require some time to recuperate. Seven colonies still 
remained which had not been touched. Each of these was exam- 
ined, and wherever possible to spare a frame of brood it was 
taken away and given to No. 1, which had no brood. To begin 
with, he found only four frames, but this was given to the colony 
which had been robbed of its brood, being set on the top in a new 
hive body. 

At the end of nine days a second visit was made. This time 
No. 2, which had brood but no queen, was divided into two parts, 
as by this time queen cells were present. The two nuclei were 
set in new locations and the brood and bees again taken from 
No. 1 and placed where No. 2 had been. The other seven colon- 
ies were again visited and such brood as they could spare was 
taken from them and given to No. 1. This plan was continued 
through the season, always leaving the queen at No. 1, so that 
the queen cells built on the combs in No. 2 were the offspring of 
the best queen. No. 2 did not at any time have any queen but 
was constantly building new cells and the other seven colonies 
were constantly (every nine days) drawn on for brood to replen- 
ish No. 1. In this way the colonies were at no time greatly 
weakened, excepting the nuclei made from No. 2. This is a very 
good plan of making rapid increase and at the same time a safe 
one, for if conditions suddenly become unfavorable the operator 
will not find himself with a large number of very weak colonies 
on hand, which must be united or fed. 


In making increase artificially by any plan an extra queen 
will be required to supply each new hive. If capped queen 
cells are given, the bees are likely to realize their queenless con- 
dition before the young queen emerges, so that she should be 
accepted without difficulty. This is a very common plan of pro- 


voiding nuclei with queens, but several days' valuable time will be 
lost which might be saved to advantage by the use of laying 
queens if they are to be had. 

It will be understood, of course, that the colony must be 
queenless or the introduced queen will quickly be killed. Appar- 
ently the bees recognize their queen by the odor common to all 
inhabitants of the same hive. A new queen lacking this odor 
will not be accepted. All methods of introduction depend for 
their success upon either leaving the queen with the colony 
long enough to acquire this odor before she is released, or creat- 
ing some abnormal condition that will for the time being prevent 
the bees from recognizing the hive odor. The smoke method, 
water method, and several others come under this latter plan. 

If an old queen is to be replaced, it is generally advised that 
she must be removed from the hive at least twelve hours before 
the new queen is introduced to give the bees time to miss her. 
Usually not less than twenty-four hours is allowed to elapse before 
requeening. Better results are likely to be obtained by requeen- 
ing at once. If a queen cell is used the wait is desirable. 

The novice will find it quite a task to locate the queen to be 
removed, but after a little practice it soon becomes an easy matter 
to find her. Gentle Italians usually remain quiet when the hive 
is opened and one can readily find her by looking first on one 
side and then on the other of the combs as they are removed 
from the hive. She will usually be found on a frame containing 
eggs and very young larvse. 

Black and hybrid bees that begin running from one side of 
the hive to the other as soon as it is opened, or boiling over the 
top as it is commonly expressed, will offer greater difficulties. 
It will sometimes be necessary to look the hive over from side to 
side several times before finding the queen. Professor Francis 
Jager recommends that the hive be opened very carefully and a 
little smoke driven in at the entrance. The bees will at once 
begm to boil over the tops of the frames and by looking there 
for the queen she can often be found without removing a single 



frame. This plan will not work well with Italians, for unless 
greatly disturbed they do not run about much, but simply dive 
into the cells and begin to take up a load of honey. 

The Cage Method. — By far the most common method of in- 
troduction is the cage method, and it is generally regarded as the 

iller Queen Cage. 

safest method as well. By this method the queen is confined in 
a cage (Figs. 56 and 57) which may be placed between the 
combs in the hive for two or three days before she is released. 
If she comes by mail in the ordinary mailing cage there will be 
a quantity of candy between the queen and the opening which is 
closed by a cork. If the colony has not been queenless the cork 

FiQ. 57. — Benton queen cage. This is the cage usually used for sending queens by mail 

may be removed at once unless the candy is nearly eaten through, 
in which case the cork had best be left in for a day or two. 
Usually it will require two or three days for the bees to eat away 
the candy and to release her. In the meantime she will have 
acquired the common hive odor and the bees will have become 
familiar with her, so tho+ there is little danger but that she will 
be accepted. 


Occasionally there is a colony, after being for some time 
queenless or when there is a dearth of honey and the bees are 
not in good temper, which will destroy the queen by whatever 
method she be introduced. After a failure or two, one hesitates 
to risk other valuable queens, and it seems advisable to unite 
the bees with some other colony rather than to bother further 
with them. 

For use in the apiary where the precautions necessary in send- 
ing bees by mail are not necessary, the Miller cage is commonly 
used (Fig. 56). This cage has a larger opening. After the 
queen is caught and placed in the cage she is placed in any colony, 
simply laying the cage on top of the frames. Since the bees can- 
not destroy her she will be safe, for strange to say they will 
feed her through the meshes of the wire. When wanted to 
requeen a colony or to give to a nucleus, the cage is placed in the 
colony where she is expected to remain, until such time as the 
bee-keeper thinks best to release her. The cork is then removed 
and she may be allowed to escape. It is a common plan to fill 
the opening with honey comb which will require a few minutes 
to remove, thus giving time for the bees to become quiet again 
after the hive is closed, before she comes out. 

The queen newly introduced is likely to be a victim of any 
excitement in the hive, and experienced bee-keepers usually are 
careful not to open the hives for several hours or better yet for 
a day or two after a queen has been introduced so that she may 
become fully accustomed to the new conditions before being dis- 
turbed. It is easy to ascertain whether she has been accepted bv 
examming the space in front of the hive. If she has been killed 
she will be found on the ground in front of the hive 

Miller Smoke Method.>-During the past year there has been 
much discussion of the value of this method. Some bee-keepers 
report great success and feel that it is the ideal method. Others 
report failure. Difference in conditions will account somewhat 
±or the difference in results, as any plan will work much better 


in the hands of expert b^-keepers and under favorable conditions 
than otherwise. 

Mr. Miller describes his method in " Gleanings in Bee 
Culture " as follows : 

A colony to receive a queen has the entrance reduced to about a square 
inch with whatever is convenient, as grass, weeds, rags, or wood, and then 
about three puffs of thick white smoke — because such smoke is safe — is 
blown in and the entrance closed. It should be explained that there is a 
seven-eighth-inch space, below the frames, so that the smoke blown in at the 
entrance readily spreads and penetrates to all parts of the hive, in from fif- 
teen to twenty seconds the colony will be roaring. The small space at the 
entrance is now opened; the queen is run in, followed by a gentle puff of 
smoke and the space again closed and left closed for about ten minutes, when 
it is reopened and the bees allowed to ventilate and quiet down. The full 
entrance is not given for an hour or more or even until the next day. 

The queen may be picked from a comb and put in at the entrance with 
one's fingers, or run in from a cage just taken from the mails, her attend- 
ants running along too. The result is the same. 

If directions are followed explicitly Mr. Miller claims that 
results will be as good or better than with any other plan. The 
author has given the plan a limited trial with good success, but 
it was during a honey flow when conditions were so favorable 
that there was little difficulty in introducing by any method. So 
many failures have been reported by experienced bee-keepers 
that the novice is cautioned against placing too much confidence 
in it to begin with. It will be safer for him to follow the direc- 
tions on the cage in which his queens are received until he has 
had considerable general experience. 

During a good honey flov^^ when the bees are storing heavily 
there is little trouble in introducing queens by any method. On 
one occasion the author returned home after an extended absence 
and with but a few hours time introduced seventeen queens, 
many of which were given to strong colonies to replace the queens 
already in the hives. As it was necessary to leave again shortly, 
time was an object and there was no opportunity to leave the 
colonies queenless for even a few hours. The hives were opened 
and as fast as the queens were found they were removed and the 
new queens run in between the frames and the hives closed again. 
The bees had been given a little smoke to quiet them when the 


hives were opened and the colonies were somewhat disorganized 
by the removal of the frames to find the old queens, but in every 
case the new queen was accepted without accident. A few were 
run in at the entrance after the hive had been closed again and 
were followed by a puff of smoke, but the entrances were not 
closed or even contracted, yet the results were as above stated. 
Such results could not be obtained except under the most favor- 
able conditions. The bees were simply too busy to attend to 
anything but the storing of honey and the new queens attracted 
no attention apparently. 

The value of a method can never be demonstrated until it 
has been tried under many and varying conditions and especially 
under adverse conditions. The smoke method is, as yet, not fully 
vindicated, under general conditions. 

Water Method. — The American Bee Journal for March, 
1915, contained the following method as practised by the South- 
western Bee Co. : 

The procedure is as follows : Kill the old queen ; remove all frames 
from the hive and shake into the bottom of the box with a sharp jar all the 
bees possible. Sprinkle the mass of bees on the hive floor with water until 
they are soaking wet. The secret of success is in the use of plenty of water ; 
there is no danger of overdoing this part. Wet the new queen thoroughly 
and put her on the pile of wet bees. Put back the combs into the hive and 
the job is finished. We have been using this method for several seasons 
and have found the method successful with virgins, with laying queens, and 
with queens received in cages by mail. 

When honey is coming in, any time of the day will do for the work of 
introducing, but in times of dearth it is better to wait until about an hour 
before dark. 

The chief value of this method is that there is no time whatever lost 
and the new queen is immediately accepted and ready to go to work. 

Honey Method. — Another plan based somewhat on the same 
general principle is to drop the queen into a little dish of honey, 
pushing her clear under. She will be so messed up that the bees 
will immediately begin cleaning her up when she is placed in 
the hive, apparently never dreaming that she is an alien. This 
is anything but an attractive way to treat a valuable queen but 
good reports are given by those who have tried it. It is hardly 


likely to become popular because of the fact that most bee-keepers 
will hesitate to subject a queen to such treatment. 

Flour Method. — Dropping the queens into flour has also 
been tried with success in some cases. A combination of the 
flour and smoke methods is also practised successfully at times. 
By this plan a colony is smoked in the manner described pre- 
viously, and just before running the queen into the hive she is 
dropped into a dish of flour. iN'one of these methods seems to 
give the satisfaction under all conditions that the cage method 

Sure Plan for Valuable Queens. — When one buys a queen 
of more than ordinary vahie and is willing to go to some extra 
trouble to insure her safety, there is an old plan of taking from 
strong colonies two or more combs of sealed brood and shaking 
off every live bee. There must be no unsealed brood or it will 
die from lack of nursing. These frames of sealed brood are 
placed in a hive body without a bottom board and this body is 
placed over another colony with ordinary wire screening placed 
over the top to prevent the bees from making trouble, while at 
the same time furnishing plenty of heat to the brood above the 
wire cloth. The queen is placed on top of one of the frames, 
or her cage is opened and she is permitted to run between the 
frames and the cover placed on the hive. The young bees as they 
emerge will be confined to the upper hive body with the new 
queen and she will shortly be surrounded with a nice little cluster. 
If desired, after about five days the queen, having been removed 
from the colony below, the wire cloth may be removed and two 
or three days later after the colony has become accustomed to the 
new queen the bees can all be shaken from the upper combs and 
the upper hive body removed. If desired to make a new colony, 
the upper hive body can be removed to a new stand and addi- 
tional frames of brood given to strengthen them. 

This is about the only plan that is regarded as entirely sure 
under all conditions. In this case there are no old bees in the 


hive when the queen is introduced and the emerging brood will 
make no trouble. 

Fundamentals of Successful Introduction.— The following 
extracts from an editorial by the late W. Z. Hutchinson in the 
Bee-Keepers Review in 1891 cover the ground very fully: 

To introduce a queen to a colony of bees, two things must be well con- 
sidered—the condition of the bees and the condition of the queen The con- 
dition and behavior of the queen is very important. If the queen will only 
walk about upon the combs in a quiet and queenly manner, and go on with 
her egg laying, she is almost certain to be accepted if the other conditions 
are favorable Let her run and "squeal" (utter that sharp " zeep, zeep 
zeep ) and the bees immediately start in pursuit. Soon the queen is a 
mass of tightly clinging bees and the only course is to smoke the bees 
severely until they release the queen from their embrace, when she must be 
re-caged for another trial. 

So far as the queen is concerned, it is important that she be brought 
before tiie bees in a natural manner, in such a way and in such a place as 
they would expect to meet her. When clipping queens I have replaced them 
by dropping them upon the top bars, or at the entrance of the hive when 
the bees would immediately pounce upon them as intruders. A puff of 
smoke would cause the bees to "let up" when the queen would walk ma- 
jestically down upon the combs or into the hive, as the case might be, and 
here she would not be molested, because the bees here found her where they 
expected to find their queen. ^ 

h. J^/fj"'^^ ^^"^-^^ °f *™f ""^r^ ^^ S'''^" ^^ t° 'lo^ lo"g a queen should 
be caged before she is released. The behavior of the bees fs the best guide 

i^Hnl^^'h -^l"'."^ ^^''.^Se, clinging to it in masses, like so many 
burdocks, their behavior indicates what the queen would have to endure 
were she within the.r reach. The operator must wait until the bees are in a 
different mood; until they are walking quietly about the cage, as uncon^ 
cernedly as upon the combs of honey-perhaps the bees may be^offerlng food 
to the queen and caressing her with their antennae. This shows that the 
bees are favorably inclined toward the queen and that it is safe to release 

To be successful in introducing queens that have come from a distance 
shnnM h'^''" 1 *^f colony must be well looked after. It is better that thej 
should be hopelessli, qneenless. Let it build a batch of queen cells, and re 
move them after the larv.^ are too old to be developed into queens; then the 
bees are almost certain to accept a queen if given to them in%roper manner! 

frpoi^^^^^"".! Z ^ T'i''^ "''''"^ amiable mood when honey is coming in 
Zil;,^'''"^ ^^\T^!: *^ >"troduce queens when no honey is being gatJfred 
without feeding the bees two or three days before the queen is Released 

So much has been written about the introduction of queens 
and so many plans are in use that it is difficult to give a com- 


prehensive review of them without leaving some confusion in the 
mind of the reader. If, as is commonly believed, the hive odor 
is the means by which the bees recognize the members of a com- 
mon community, the great object to be attained by any method 
is that the new queen shall acquire this peculiar odor as quickl^y 
as possible. More than twenty years ago it was recommended 
that to assist in accomplishing this result the queen to be removed 
from the colony to be requeened should be confined for a time 
in a cage. She is then removed and the new queen placed in 
this same cage by means of which she is introduced to the colony. 
This method has been reported as very successful by bee-keepers 
for many years past. This is essentially the ordinary cage 
method with the exception that the former queen is confined 
in the same cage in which her successor is to be introduced for a 
time before she is destroyed and the new queen placed therein. 

When a queen is to be introduced by any of the direct methods 
it will be much help if she is confined by herself for at least 
thirty minutes without food. Being hungry she will at once 
solicit food when she comes in contact with the workers and will 
much more likely be accepted. 


Although commercial queen rearing is a business by itself 
that would require a volume for exhaustive treatment, the bee- 
keeper's education is not quite complete until he has learned 
to rear his own queens, even though it may not be advisable 
for him to do so to any extent. Most productive bee-keepers feel 
that they can ill aiford the time for extensive queen rearing at 
the busy time of year when they can best be reared, and prefer 
to buy them from some regular breeder. There are times, how- 
ever, when one can rear his own queens to advantage, and it is 
always well to be prepared to supply a limited number for special 
purposes or to meet emergencies. 

Some of the most successful honey producers feel that only 
by breeding from selected stock which has been tested under 


their own conditions can they secure best results, and for this 
reason alone are willing to rear their own queens. The difficulty 
of controlling the male parentage makes the breeding of bees 
much harder than the breeding of poultry or farm animals 
which are under the absolute control of the farmer. 

^ The fact that the characteristics of the male offspring of a 
queen are controlled rather by the mating of her mother than bv 
her own mating adds to the difficulties. It is a well-known fact 
that an unfertilized queen will produce drones and this leads 
to the belief, now generally accepted, that her mating does not 
directly affect the eggs from which the drones are hatched. 
Consequently they are only influenced through her female off- 
spring, and results are only apparent in the following generation. 
That progress is being made in the improvement of the honey- 
bee there can be no doubt, and by breeding only from the best 
queens something is sure to be accomplished even though the male 
parentage be uncontrolled. 

Scientific men are giving a good deal of attention to the 
problems presented in breeding bees, and it is only a question 
of time until methods suited to the conditions to be met will be 
devised and scientific bee-breeding will be an accomplished fact. 
About all that the bee-keeper can do is to see that all his 
colonies have queens of good stock, so that drones from worthless 
stock will not be present, and breed only from his best queens. 
Even then the queen may fly some distance from home on her 
mating trip and meet a black drone from some neighboring 
apiary. Some bee-keepers make it a practice to see that all small 
apiaries within two or three miles are requeened with good stock, 
even furnishing the stock when necessary and doing the work to 
save the annoyance of mismated queens. In some localities this 
would be easy of accomplishment, while in others where large 
numbers of hives are present it would be a big undertaking. 

Necessary Conditions for Rearing Good Queens.— The best 
queens are reared under the swarming impulse, or in other words 
under natural conditions. When the bee-keeper would resort 


to artificial conditions to rear queens for the purpose of increas- 
ing his stock or replacing inferior queens, he must make con- 
ditions as favorable as possible. The ideal condition is a populous 
colony with large numbers of emerging bees, plenty of honey 
and pollen in the hive and more coming from the field. 

The weather should not be cold or unfavorable when queen 
rearing is undertaken, the best queens only should be used as 
mothers, and the cells should be built in strong colonies. One 
would hardly expect to get best results unless the bees were 
storing some honey also. 

Miller Plan. — What is known as the Miller plan, or some 
modification of it, is perhaps the best method for ordinary non- 
commercial purposes. The best time for requeening is perhaps 
about ten days before the close of a honey flow. Checking the 
egg laying of the queen at this time will have no influence on the 
size of the crop, as the young bees hatched from eggs laid after 
this time would appear after the close of the harvest. The bee- 
keeper will begin to make plans for requeening then about three 
weeks before the expected close of the flow. 

From the center of the brood nest of the colony containing 
the best queen the bee-keeper removes a frame of brood and 
replaces it with a partly drawn comb or a half sheet of foundation 
or even a frame with starters. This will quickly be utilized, and 
if foundation is used the bees will draw it out and the queen will 
fill the cells with eggs. Old combs should never be used for this 
purpose, as they do not furnish suitable conditions for building 
good cells. The author prefers a partly drawn comb and, lacking 
that, uses foundation. In a few days this comb will be filled 
with eggs and hatching larvae. The next move is to remove 
the queen from some strong colony and take away a frame of 
brood from the center of the brood nest and replace it with this 
partly drawn comb filled with eggs from the best queen. The 
colony finding itself queenless will at once start queen cells 
along the edges of this new and tender comb which furnishes ideal 
conditions for cell building. At the end of ten days the cells will 
be nearly ready to hatch and should be removed to avoid the 


danger of swarming or of an emerging queen destroying the 

Queens to be replaced should have been removed the dav 
before so that the bees will have missed them and be ready 
to accept the cells. The cells should be cut from the comb, care 
being used not to cut too close and injure the young queen. They 
may be fastened to the side of a brood frame with a toothpick or 
simply dropped between two frames above the center of the brood 

If they are to be used for making increase, the colonies to be 
broken up into nuclei should be previously made ready. The 
advantage of using the ripe cells is that much less trouble is 
necessary than when mating the queens in baby nuclei and then 
later transferring them to the full colonies to be requeened. If 
used in nuclei for purposes of increase they emerge, and are 
mated from the hive in which they will remain, thus saving the 
trouble of introduction. It is much easier to get a cell accepted 
than a virgin queen or even a laying queen. 

Dr. Miller recommends the use of a colony that has started 
queen cells in preparation for swarming as cell builders when 
available, as conditions in such a colony will approximate the 
natural method of queen rearing. 

Commercial Methods.— In order to succeed commercially the 
queen breeder must be able to supply queens in considerable 
numbers with regularity throughout the season. If the honey 
flow is checked he must feed his colonies freely in order to con- 
tinue to supply his orders. While the foregoing plan is well 
suited to rearing a few dozen queens to supply the needs of one's 
own apiary, it would be entirely too slow for commercial pur- 
poses. Then the man who rears queens for sale must be pre- 
pared to get them mated safely, which requires additional equip- 
ment m the way of nuclei, etc. In making nuclei for mating 
purposes one can get a much larger number from breaking up a 
single colony of bees than would be possible where they were 
used for increase, each of which was expected to build up to a 


full sized colony. Often the bee-keeper will not use more tlian 
a dipperful of bees for a nucleus used for mating purposes only. 
It is a common practice to shake the bees from a single frame 
to use for this purpose and to unite them with full colonies again 
in the fall. 

There are two plans in common use among commercial queen 
breeders. One is known as the Alley plan and the other as the 
Doolittle plan, after the men who originated them. While in 
many cases both plans have been greatly modified since first 
made public, the general principle remains. 

The Alley Plan. — If one wishes to make use of this plan the 
first thing is to remove a brood comb containing eggs from the 
brood nest of the colony led by the best queen. ]^o bees should 
be retained on the comb, as it will be necessary to cut it in strips. 
Each strip contains just one row of cells. With a sharp knife 
cut through the row above and below, saving every other row for 
use. This cutting m^ust be done very carefully to avoid injury 
to the delicate comb and the eggs it contains. After the strips 
have been cut they are laid down and the cells on one side cut 
down to about a quarter of an inch of the foundation or center 
of the comb. With a match destroy every other egg in this side. 
These shallow cells can now be readily built into queen cells by 
the bees as shown in Tig. 58. This same picture shows how 
the strips are fastened to the bottom of a shallow comb, so that 
they will be in the center of the brood nest of the hive in which 
they are placed. If the knife is kept hot there is less danger of 
jamming the cells when doing the cutting. The strips can be 
fastened by means of melted beeswax, which will adhere to the 
wood strip on the lower side of the comb. Mr. Alley fastened 
them directly to the comb without any wood strip. The combs 
with strips are then given to queenless colonies. 

While most commercial establishments use some modification 
of the Doolittle cell cup method, the Alley plan is still used by 
some queen breeders who prefer it to the other. 

The Doolittle Method. — A great advance has been made in 



queen rearing since Doolittle hit on the plan of making artificial 
cell cups. His plan as first used was to take a small stick with 
round end about the size of the bottom of the cell and after dip- 
ping it in water dip it in melted wax. Several times it was thus 
dipped, each time not quite so deep as the time before, thus leav- 
ing the base much thicker. When it was of the required thick- 
ness it was removed and others made in similar manner. These 
were fastened in frames which would fit into the hive in place 

FiQ. 58.— Queen cells by the Alley plan. 

of a regular brood frame. A newly hatched worker larva 
together with a small amount of royal jelly, was placed in each 
cell, with the result that very good queens were reared. 

Wood cell cups and artificial wax cells are now offered for 
sale by dealers at prices that will no longer justify the bee- 
keeper to make his own cells. The cell cups are listed in 
dealers' catalogues at about $2.00 per 1000, which is cheaper 
than the average person can make them at home. The cups are 
pressed into the wood cell holders by means of a wood plunger 
and are ready for grafting, as the placing of the larva is called. 


The elaborate descriptions of this system are disconcerting 
to the novice but in reality it is quite simple. It is rather a 
delicate task to transfer the newly hatched larvae from the worker 
cell to the artificial cell in the wood cup, but a little experience 
will make it easy. By the present method there are no cells to 
dip or other complicated processes to confuse the inexperienced. 
He needs only to place as many of the wax cells in the wood cups 
as he wishes to use. He then places these in the frames in which 
they hang in the hive and transfers a baby bee and a drop of 
royal jelly to each one. 

Care of Cells. — The real problem by this method is to get 
colonies in proper condition to care for the large numbers of cells 
which the commercial queen breeder must constantly have in 
order to get a sufficient number of queens to make it profitable. 
While some queen breeders rear their queens in small nuclei, 
it is the general opinion that the best queens are reared in strong 

A colony can be made queenless and after twenty-four hours 
be given a frame of these prepared cells. They are likely to be 
accepted and cared for and a second lot can be given when these 
are taken away. However, the leading queen breeders have been 
seeking a method of safely finishing these cells in strong colonies 
with laying queens so that the queens will be reared under 
similar conditions to those reared when the bees are preparing 
to swarm. The Roots, who are extensive queen breeders, practise 
making two-story colonies with the queen in the lower story and 
an excluder between the two. The brood is raised into the upper 
story so that the queen will go on laying below but no new brood 
will appear above. The frame with prepared cells is placed in 
the center of the brood above the excluder and the bees finish 
the cells nicely. When one batch is removed another is given in 
place of it, and when all the brood is hatched above, the brood 
from below is again lifted to insure proper attention to the queen 
cells. It seems to be necessary to keep brood above to secure good 


Some queen breeders secure similar results on one side of the 
hive by using a queen-excluding division board to prevent the 
queen from reaching and destroying the cells. 


A convenient way of making increase early in the season is 
the purchase of bees in combless packages from breeders in the 
South. The combless package has the advantage of being light 
and easily handled while free from danger of spreading foul- 
brood. This is a common metliod of strengthening weak col- 
onies also. 

For the purpose of starting new colonies about two to three 
pounds of bees with queen are necessary for each hive. DraAvn 
combs should be ready in advance as it is a severe tax on these 
small clusters of bees to draw new combs early in spring. 

Bees shipped without queens are restless and worry them- 
selves far worse than is the case where the queen is present. The 
percentage of loss in shipping is far greater in the queenless 
packages. Some of the most successful shippers make a practice 
of gorging the bees with sugar syrup before starting them on 
the journey. To do this they paint the syrup over the cage in 
which the bees are confined for shipment. The bees readily suck 
it from the meshes of the screen. With their honey sacs filled 
they are much less inclined to be buzzing about the cage in an 
effort to escape. 

In some localities in the South where there is an early honey 
flow sufficient to stimulate brood rearing and a long season, the 
package business offers a more attractive opportunity than honey 
production. More capital is required for a successful business 
of this kind than is the case for either queen rearing or honey 
production. The season is short and a large number of colonies 
are necessary to draw from in order to make it profitable. Gen- 
erally this specialty is combined with queen rearing and to some 
extent with the production of honey also. The lower Rio Grande 


valley is an especially favored locality for the breeding of bees 
for sale, although the business is being developed in Alabama, 
Mississippi, Georgia and other parts of the South. 


1. When will natural swarming be most apparent? 

2. What conditions favor swarming and what conditions act as a check? 

3. Mention the advantages of clipping queens. 

4. Why is cutting out queen cells an unsatisfactory method of swarm 

control ? 

5. Describe the common method of hiving swarms. 

6. Outline the Alexander plan of swarm control. 

7. Note the differences in a similar plan long in general use. 

8. How are divisions made without queens? 

9. Discuss the formation of nuclei. 

10. Describe Miller's plan for making rapid increase. 

11. Discuss the different methods of queen introduction. 

12. What conditions are necessary for rearing good queens! 

13. Discuss the different methods of queen rearing and give the advantages 

of each. 


Probably one-third of the total annual loss of bees is the 
direct result of carelessness on the part of the owners in failing 
to provide stores at the proper time. In the spring such largo 
quantities of honey are consumed in early brood rearing that a 
few days of unfavorable weather will bring a colony with a 
small reserve supply to the verge of starvation. Thousands of 
colonies are lost from this cause alone. Then it is nearly always 
the case that some colonies will go into winter quarters with an 
insufficient food supply, unless fed, and will die for lack of stores 
before spring. 

When making increase or rearing queens a check in the honey 
flow will make it necessary to continue to feed the colonies in 
order to maintain normal conditions and get best results. 

From the above statement it will be seen that feeding at the 
proper time is a matter of the greatest importance. Perhaps 
more needless loss is caused by a lack of appreciation of this fact 
on the part of the average bee-keeper than any other. 

Good Honey the Best Feed. — As mentioned incidentally 
elsewhere, the author regards good combs of sealed honey as the 
best feed for all times excepting when it is desired to feed slowly 
to stimulate brood rearing. The far-sighted bee-keeper will 
retain a supply of extracting combs filled with sealed honey for 
this purpose. They are always ready and can be placed where 
needed with but a moment's time. 

There are localities where the bees gather honey-dew and 
honey of low grade that gives unsatisfactory results in wintering, 
where it is sometimes considered advisable to extract the honey 
and feed sugar syrup. Such places, fortunately, are not many. 
The storing of syrup is quite a tax on the bees and cannot but 
result in a decrease in the number present by wearing them out 

9 129 


Preparing the Syrup. — When honey is not to be had syrup 
made from granulated sugar is the best substitute. Molasses or 
other cheap syrup should never be used, as such substitutes con- 
tain wastes that are bad for the bees and in the end are no 
cheaper. Practical bee-keepers are now agreed that if a substi- 
tute for honey must be used, granulated sugar is not only the 
best and cheapest thing but about the only safe feed commonly 

If the feeding is done for the purpose of providing a reserve 
food supply, as in winter preparations, it is considered best to use 
a thick syrup composed of about equal parts sugar and water. 
Some use a syrup as thick as two parts sugar to one part water. 

According to C. E. Bartholomew, a syrup made of 85 parts 
sugar by weight to 50 parts water will neither granulate nor 
ferment by standing. If it is desired to make a large quantity 
in advance to keep on hand for use as needed, this proportion 
should be used. 

The syrup can be prepared by dissolving the sugar in hot water 
in the proportions desired and hastening the process by boiling, 
or cold water can be used, stirring the syrup from time to time 
until the sugar is completely dissolved. If a thicker syrup than 
equal parts of sugar and water is desired, it is best to use hot 
water, as it is difficult to dissolve larger quantities of sugar in 
cold water. 

Care should be used that the sugar is not allowed to bum, as 
burned sugar is injurious if not fatal to the bees. 

For feeding colonies that are rearing queens, or building up 
nuclei when a food supply is present in the hive but stimulation 
is desired, a thin syrup is usually used. It should not be thicker 
than one part water to one of sugar, and even thinner syrup is 
often used for this purpose. 

Feeding for Reserve Supply. — When it is desired to feed 
colonies that are short of stores either for wintering or for spring 
brood rearing, it is desirable to feed as fast as they are able to 
take care of the syrup. The quicker the job is finished the less 


the colony will be disturbed and excited as a result. Tor this 

purpose some of the feeders holding a large quantity are best. 

For outdoor wintering in the north it is usually estimated that at 

least twenty-five pounds of honey will be required, and from 

fifteen to twenty in the cellar. It is much safer to have from 

thirty-five to forty pounds of stores for outdoor wintering and 

at least twenty-five for the cellar. In the South where the bees 

are active all winter, even larger quantities will be consumed. 

The bees should not be provided with such a quantity of 

stores that there is no clustering space under the food supply 

in the center of the hive. The winter nest, as these vacant cells 

are called, permits the bees to conserve the heat by close contact. 

If they are compelled to cluster between full combs of honey the 

heat will not be sufiicient to warm the cold mass between the small 

bunches of bees on opposite sides of the combs. However, if 

feeding is done early the bees will arrange matters nicely and 

remove sufficient honey from the center of the hive to form a 

clustering place. 

Feeding to Stimulate Brood Rearing.— Some bee-keepers 
advocate the feeding of colonies with a plentiful food supply 
early in spring to start brood rearing. This is likely to be a 
mistake. If there is an abundance of feed in the hive a good 
queen will usually begin laying as fast as weather conditions^will 
permit. In case a colony is too slow to begin operations, the hive 
may be opened and the cappings cut from part of one comb. The 
bees will feed the queen more liberally from this uncapped honey 
and she will lay more eggs as a result. 

When the honey flow is checked after nuclei have been 
formed, it is desirable to keep the queens laying as fast as possible 
m order to insure that the colony will be strong enough to winter. 
The same thing applies when queen cells are being built— the 
bees must continue normal activities. For this purpose some 
form of feeder that will supply a small quantity continuously is 
best. With a small amount of syrup coming in the bees will 
continue as though honey was being brought to the hive. 



Great care must be used in feeding weak colonies or nuclei 
during a dearth of nectar, as robbing is started very easily at 
that time and the little colonies may be easily lost as a result. 

Fig. 59. — Feeding with friction top pails in empty super. 

At times robbers are so persistent in sneaking about every crack 
that it is unsafe to open the hives excepting just at nightfall. 
Consequently the feeders should be filled at that time. 


Miller Feeder. — For feeding large quantities of honey for 
reserve supply there is a feeder on the market, known as the 
Miller feeder, which will hold as much 
at a single feeding as is likely to be 
fed to one colony. This feeder is 
placed in the super on top of the hive 
and after the syrup is poured in, the 
cover is replaced. Fig. 60 shows the 
construction of the Miller feeder. 
There are two compartments on either 
side, each holding ten pounds or more 
of s)rrup. In the center is a passage- 
way for the bees to reach the syrup going directly above the 
cluster. In this way the air rising above the brood nest makes 

Fig. 60.— The Miller feeder is 

Bet m a super on top of the hive. 
This is one of the best feeders. 



it possible for them to reach the food when the weather is quite 
cool. Twenty or more pounds can be fed at one filling if desired. 

Utilizing Tin Pails.—The beekeeper who cultivates his 
local market will sell a considerable portion of his honey in 
five- and ten-pound 
pails. Accordingly he 
will always have a sup- 
ply of these pails at 
hand. By punching a 
few small holes in the 
friction tops, ideal 
feeders are easily and 
quickly provided. By 
placing an empty super 
on the hive, several of 
these pails can be 
turned upside down 
over the cluster as 
shown at Fig. 59. 

In this way it is 
easy to provide a suf- 
ficient quantity for any 
emergency at one feed- 
ing and very little extra ^^°- 61.— Tin pan feeder in super. 

investment is necessary. The purchase of a number of extra 
covers for the pails is all the expense required for providing 
a quantity of feeders of this kind. The covers will be spoiled 
for other use, but the pail will be as good as before. Fig. 59 
shows several of these pails in place in a super. 

While various types of feeders are shown in this chapter, 
the author recommends first the use of combs of sealed honey, 
and if these be not available, the use of the friction top pail 
except in queen rearing yards, where some slow method of 
feeding is desirable. 



Tin Pan Feeder. — One of the most common ways of feeding 
small quantities of syrup is to use a tin pan in an empty super. 
If the weather is warm the super can be placed on top of the hive 
and if cold underneath. Over the pan of syrup is spread a thin 

cotton cloth with ec 

hanging down all around 
to make it easy for the bees 
to get into it. They suck 
the syrup through the cloth 
without danger of drown- 
ing (Fig. 61). 

Doolittle Division 
Board Feeder. — ^This is 
quite a popular feeder for 
colonies that are to receive but a small supply. As shown by Fig. 
62, it takes the place of a brood frame in the hive. After it is 
filled the cover can be replaced and the colony left in the same 
snug shape as though no feeding was being done. It is nothing 

Fio. 62. — With the addition of a float to prevent 
drowning of the bees the Doolittle divlsioa board 
feeder is fine where small quantities of feed are to 
be given. 




Fia. 63. — Metal feeder after the Alexander idea. 

more nor less than a tight box of the size and shape of a brood frame. 
A float should be used to prevent drowning the bees. 

Alexander Feeder. — The Alexander (Fig. 63) is fine for 
feeding nuclei in large numbers. Fig. 64 shows how it is fastened 
to the hive by pushing the bottom board forward and putting it 
on immediately behind it. In this way the feed is away at the 
back of the hive safe from robbers and as the feeder opens on 



the outside it can be filled without opening the hive. With a 
large pail of syrup and a dipper, or a tea kettle, each of these 
feeders can be supplied in a moment's tima The one shown in 
the figure attached to the hive is made of metal. The tops are 
wider than the bottoms so that they may be nested together for 
convenience when not in use. The other illustration shows the 
same feeder made of wood, which is most commonly used. 

Entrance Feeder.— This feeder, commonly called the Board- 
man feeder, utilizes a common fruit jar as a container for the 
liquid (Fig. 65). Small holes in the screw top permit the feed 

tr.. =F'°' p4.— The Alexander wood feeder is good 
for stimulative feeding for rearing queens or mak- 
ing increase. 

Fig. 65.— With this 
entrance feederone can 
see at a glance how 
much feed rem ains to be 
taken. There is greater 
danger of robbing in 
using entrance feeders 
than the others. 

, . i-uau tne oiners. 

to drip out slowly. The wood projection slips into the entrance 
so that the bees can reach the feeder from the inside of the hive 
while guarding the entrance from robbers. Glass fruit jars are 
common utensils in every household, so that all that is necessary 
to buy IS the wood block and the special cap to fit the jar. One 
can see at a glance just how much feed still remains and by 
plugging up part of the holes It can be made to feed as slowly as 
desired. This is a popular feeder for making increase. 


1. When is it necessary to feed? 

2. What is the best feed for bees ? 

.3. How is syrup prepared for feeding? 

t Sfa^l^thfdS^rp'iJtl^'d^ of feeding for reserve supply and stimulation. 
CK uiaeusa the ditferent feeders in common use. 


The successful production of comb honey requires more skill, 
perhaps, than any other branch of agricultural pursuit. Under 
certain favorable conditions it is a very easy matter and anyone 
who will supply sufficient supers will get a good crop. Such 
conditions, however, are of rare occurrence and the average season 
in the average locality gives abundant opportunity to develop the 
resources of the producer to the utmost. 

The man who specializes in comb honey will usually produce 
small quantities of extracted honey also, while the extracted 
honey producer will have no occasion to produce sections, unless 
he especially wishes to have some of both. 

As to whether one should specialize in comb or extracted 
honey will depend upon many things. The skill of the operator 
is an important consideration, as extracted honey does not require 
as careful attention to details as the production of comb honey. 
The amount of the crop, source from which it comes, and the 
market which is available, all should be taken into consideration. 
Comb honey as a rule commands a more ready sale and does not 
require the expensive machinery necessary to satisfactory pro- 
duction of the extracted product. 

One of the most important factors is the nature of the honey 
flow. If one lives in a region where the flows are long and very 
light, it is difficult to get well-finished sections, and extracted 
honey will nearly always prove more profitable. If, on the other 
hand, the flows are short and very rapid, so that honey is piled 
up so fast as to make the bees fairly dizzy with the excitement of 
it, sections will be nicely finished and a large part of the crop 
can be made to grade fancy or number one. Under circumstances 
of this kind sufficient wax is secreted to build the combs with little 
noticeable tax on the production, and comb honey will probably 
be more profitable. 


Rapid flows like those that sometimes come from basswood, 
when a single strong colony will store from ten to twenty pounds 
daily for a week or two, are the delight of the heart of the comb 
honey producer. 

Market Demands.— Most markets favor light colored 
honeys, usually called white, which are of a mild flavor. As a 
rule dark and strong honey will sell more readily to buyers of 
extracted honey than in the comb. Where the market demand is 
for dark honey, as in some buckwheat sections, this will make 
little difl^erence. 

It is a common thing to find an established bee-keeper chang- 
ing from the production of one to the other to supply a ready 
market. If all these questions are carefully studied in the begin- 
ning, much unnecessary expense will be saved. 

If but a few colonies are to be kept to supply the family table, 
comb honey is to be preferred under almost any ordinary circum.- 
stances. Section honey is more attractive to most people, and 
less expensive equipment will be required. The fact that the 
sections are not always well finished will be of little matter for 
home use, although very vital in marketing. 


The question of a hive is touched upon incidentally in the 
chapter on starting with bees. There is something to be said 
m favor of using the particular kind of hive in general use in the 
locality in which one lives. With hives of a pattern uniform 
with those in general use bees can be sold for better prices and 
one can make use of bees which he may chance to buy to much 
better advantage. However, one can ill afford to use a poor hive 
simply because it is in general use, as the best equipment makes 
possible easier manipulation and better crops. 
^ For a time there was quite a tendency to adopt a hive of small 
size for the production of comb honey. The eight-frame Lang- 
stroth and the Danzenbaker hives were very popular and many 
bee-keepers adopted them only to discard them later. The prin- 



cipal argument in their favor is to the effect that the queen will 
require most of the available space in the brood nest and that 
the bees will quickly be forced to begin storing in the supers. 
Thousands of colonies of bees have died as a result of the adoption 
of this hive by persons who were not fully prepared to give proper 
attention to their bees. Nearly every year a part of the colonies 
in any apiary will not leave a sufficient amount of honey in the 
brood chamber of these small hives to winter on, and unless fed 

will die as a matter of course 
from lack of food. 

The tendency to swarm is 
TLUch greater in these small 
hives than in larger ones, and 
swarm control is important to 
the comb honey producer. 
Most authorities now agree 
that the ten-frame Langstroth 
hive is better for all purposes 
than a smaller one. The 
reason the Langstroth is 
recommended in preference 
to others of the same size is 
because its use is so much 
more general than any other 
hive (Fig. 66). 
If the small hive is used two hive bodies instead of one should 
usually be used for wintering, when packed outside. 

It may be said in passing, however, that C. C. Miller, who 
has produced larger average yields of comb honey than any others 
on record, used the eight-frame Langstroth hive. It is doubtful 
whether he would have adopted such a small hive later in his life. 
While the hive is important, the management after all is the 
determining factor in measuring the profit of an apiary, next to 
the available supply of nectar in the field. 

Sections. — Next to the kind of hive the question of the kind 

Fig. 66. — Parts of a comb honey hive. 



of supers and sections to adopt must be considered. This is a 
matter that mu^t be determined by individual preference, for 
there is no one particular best section. The bee-way section is 
perhaps more widely used than any other, although the plain 
section would be a close second. 

The bee-way sections are made in- four styles. The kind in 
most general use is cut with bee-ways in two of the four sides 

Fig. 67.— Strong coloniea for comb honey production. 

(Figs. 68 and G9). This gives the bees access to the sections 
from below and permits them to pass through to the super above 
A few with only one be^way are used. These permit the bees to 
reach the super but no passage-way is provided for them to 
go above past each section. The four bee-way sections permit 
the bees to pass from one section to another in the same super 
without going above or below. 



Via. 68. — Comb honey supers 

Fia. 69. — Comb honey super dissected. 



In general the two bee-waj section 4:}i inches square and 
1^ inches wide is to be recommended to those wishing to adopt 
the bee-way section. This is the section usually sent out by a 
factory receiving an order when there is no stipulation as to the 
kind wanted. This indicates their general popularity. 

The 4X5 plain section of 1^-inch width seems to be the 





FiQ. 70.— Sections for comb honey. 

favorite in plain sections (Fig. 70). Honey in plain sections 
18 a little more attractive when ready for the market than in the 
bee-way sections, as they can be scraped cleaner. The 4 X 5 
plain section looks larger than the square section, although the 
weight may be the same. 

Separators—It is hardly within the scope of this book to 



describe the many different plans of utilizing sections for the pur- 
pose of obtaining comb honey in the small size quantities that 
the market demands. There are still several kinds of supers in 
use that are being displaced by more practical ones. Formerly 
a large size frame holding two rows, or eight sections in all, 
which could be placed in an ordinary hive body was quite gener- 

71. — Separatora for bee-way sections. 

ally used. They have almost gone out of use and the super that 
holds a single tier of sections has been almost universally adopted. 
These can be handled to better advantage and the space added 
only as the bees are prepared to occupy it. 

When the single tier super first came into use the sections 
were supported by strips of tin running across the under side. 
!N^o provision was made for separating the sections, and as a 
result some would be very thick and some thin. Inasmuch as it 



is almost impossible to get sections filled of uniform weight this 

too, has become almost obsolete. 

It has been found necessary to make use of some kind of 

separator between the sections in order to get uniform results. 

Fig. 71 illustrates some different kinds of separators used. In 

the bee-way sections the passageway for the bees is cut directly in 
the section, while with the plain sections strips on the separators 
keep the sections a sufficient distance apart to permit the passage 
of the bees (Fig. 72). 

Fig. 68 shows supers filled with the bee-way sections, while 
Fig. 69 shows a super for bee-way sections taken apart to show 
the separate pieces. At the top of the picture is a section holder 

Fio. 72. — Fence for plain sections 

With four sections and on top of them an unfolded section lying 
agamst a folded one. Leaning against the super is a two bee-way 
section as they come from the factory in the flat. The other 
figures show the different types of separators for the two kinds 
of sections (Fig. 71). The separators commonly used for plain 
sections are composed of narrow strips that admit of the easy 
passage of the bees and are called fences. The bees can pass 
from section to section and from super to super much easier where 
the plain sections and fences are used than where the bee-way 
sections and solid separators are in use. The finished sections 
have smaller holes in the corners, which adds to the appearance 
of the finished article. The sections seem to be better filled also, 
as a rule in the plain sections separated by fences. When the 


slatted separators are used better results in the way of filling seem 
to be secured in the bee-way sections. Dr. Miller discarded 
the plain sections in favor of the bee-way. This furnishes an 
argument hard to overcome since he was regarded as the most 
successful comb honey specialist of his lifetime. 

Use of Split Sections. — For some reason the split sections 
do not prove popular although they have some advantages. The 
split section is cut through the center of three sides, thus per- 
mitting the use of full sheets of foundation which is attached by 
inserting a strip after a row of the sections is placed in the 
holder. The principal objection urged against them is the fact 
that the consumer, not being familiar with the methods of bee- 
keeping, may be suspicious of the wax that will show in this 
narrow crack around three sides of the finished section and con- 
clude that the honey is manufactured. So many misstatements 
concerning honey production have been published that many 
persons are very suspicious and the split in the section with a 
showing of wax is not calculated to allay the suspicions of the 
skeptical person. Probably this fact has done more to prevent 
the adoption of the split section than all other reasons put to- 
gether. If one sells largely in home markets where his product is 
well known and where he comes in close contact with his custo- 
mers, this danger will not need to be feared, as in the case of 
honey sent to distant markets where no explanations can be made. 

By the use of split sections much time can be saved in pre- 
paring the supers and putting in foundation. Four sections are 
filled at one time as shown in Fig. 73, which illustrates Dr. 
Leonard's method of preparing these sections for use. As will 
readily be seen by referring to the picture, four sections are 
placed in the holder, the opening slightly widened by the use of 
a metal form, and a sheet of foundation long enough to fill all 
four sections is slipped in. The foundation must be long enough 
to be caught at the ends to hold it firmly in place. The section 
holder is then removed from the form and the sections slipped in 
even with the outer edges of the holder and it is ready for the 



By using split sections a nice appearing article is the result 
when finished, as there are no holes in the corners and if con- 
ditions are favorable the sections will be well filled. 

Use of Foundation in Sections.— Comb foundation is pure 
beeswax rolled thin and by running between rollers printed with 
tlie size and shape of the bottoms of the cells. The use of foun- 
dation saves the bees much time at a season when every possible 






Fig. 73.— Dr. L. D. Leonard method of putting foundation into spUt sections. 

assistance counts in additional honey stored. For use in sections 
only the thin or extra thin foundation should be used, as the 
thicker grades will be noticeable in the honey when taken into 
the mouth to eat. As only pure wax is used it is not an adultera- 
tion but if a thicker wax is used than the bees would build it 
will serve to make the product less desirable to the consumer. 

While it is common practice among amateur bee-keepers to 
use but a small starter in the section, the extensive honev pro- 
ducer can ill afford to do with less than full sheets When the 



honey flow comes it is iinportant to make it possible for all bees 
to work and also important to save every unnecessary tax on their 
energy. In too many apiaries a single super with small starters 
will be placed on the hive and half the working force will be 
loafing for lack of storage room, Not more than a dozen bees 
are required to cover the bits of starter used by some. 

The small compartments in which the bees are forced to 

FiQ. 74. — The Pangburn foundation fastener and sections filled with foundation. 

work when storing in sections are unnatural, and considerable 
skill is sometimes necessary to get them started to work there at 
all. The small spaces make it impossible for the bees to cluster 
in large bunches as they do naturally when comb building. A 
dozen or two of bees will find it hard to reproduce a natural con- 
dition, but a full sheet offers much better opportunity. The 
wax which they need is already prepared to a large extent and a 
sufficient number can work together to assist in warming the 
wax and to encourage each other. 

The method generally practised among large producers is to 


use both top and bottom starters. The top starter is the full 
width of the section and lacks about half an inch of coming to 
the bottom. The bottom starter is about one-fourth inch in width. 
A wide starter at the bottom would fall over, while a small 
starter insures a well-finished section and that the comb will be 
attached at the bottom as well as at the top and sides. A small 

Fio, 75, — Method of putting in foundation with Pangburn fastener. 

space is left between the two, but this will be readily closed by 
the bees. 

Putting in the Starters. — Various devices have been offered 
for fastening the foundation in the sections. If split sections 
are used, four sections will be filled as mentioned previously, 
and no special device for fastening will be needed as the sections 
will hold it firmly. With the ordinary sections some plan must 
be used for slightly melting the edge of the starter that comes 
in contact with the wood so that it will stick. Any supply 
dealer's catalogue will describe several of these devices. A metal 



plate about four inches wide and supported with a handle is prob- 
ably as satisfactory and as rapid as any plan ever described. The 
metal is kept hot by an oil lamp and the edges of the foundation 
starters are touched with the hot metal as they are put in place 
in the sections. Fig. 74 shows a new plan for utilizing such a 
plate. This is known as the Pangburn fastener. (See also Fig. 
75). A form is provided which makes it possible to place four 
sections in the holder and set them on the form. The four sec- 
tions are filled at one time, thus making quite a saving in time. 
If small starters are used a hot putty knife will serve very 

Fig. 76. — The use cf super springs. 

well. Although there are many devices offered by supply dealers 
nearly all operate on the same general principle. Which is best 
is to a large extent a matter of personal preference. 

Super Springs. — When the sections are filled with starters 
and placed in the holders, and all are placed in the supers with 
separators between each row, there remains to fasten all together 
so tight as to make little daubing of sections necessary. For this 
purpose a follower board is used on one side of the super. For- 
merly this was fastened by means of a wedge which held all as 
tight as though made in one piece. However, when the sections 
are full of honey and the super is removed from the hive, it is 
not an easy matter to get them out without breakage. Super 


springs to replace the wedge have come into very common use 
(Fig. 76). One of these springs is placed at each end behind the 
board and answers all purposes nicely. The springs are very 
easily removed from the filled super and the follower board can 
then be pried loose and the operator has plenty of room to get the 
sections out. It is surprising to the novice how tightly the bees 
will seal every crack and crevice about the hive. In cool weather 
these fastenings hold as though they were glued, and provision 
needs to be made in advance to meet this condition. Super 
springs are regarded as a necessity by most comb honey pro- 

THE season's management 

We come now to the most important part of the bee-keeper's 
business : the system of management. His hives may be of the 
best, all equipment may be the finest on the market, his bees 
may be of the best strain, and nectar may be present in abun- 
dance, yet if his system of management is not good his crop may 
be small. 

At this point every bee-keeper must begin to be a law unto 
himself and to develop the system that best fits his locality and 
conditions. The most that an author can do is to make general 
suggestions as no system will suit all men and apply to all con- 
ditions. In a country like this of such vast distances, the flora 
will vary widely, the climatic difl'erences are so great and other 
factors are so frequent that too many things need consideration 
to permit detailed directions. The best possible advice is to visit 
the nearest successful bee-keeper and learn as much as possible 
of his methods. Even a few miles often makes great difference 
in conditions that the bee-keeper must meet, so one must look 
for those things that are different in order to know how far the 
system will apply to his own conditions. 

The bee-keeper needs to study general principles and to try to 
discover how they are affected by different conditions. Dr. 
Miller's great yield of nearly forty dollars per colony on an aver- 


age was only secured after nearly half a century of study of the 
principles of bee-keeping as applied to a particular locality. 
True, conditions were exceptionally favorable and such an oppor- 
tunity would only come once in years, but few bee-keepers would 
be so well prepared when it did come, or fully understand how to 
make the most of the favorable condition. 

Prepare in Advance. — One great secret of success is in having 
everything in readiness when the flow begins — to have one's dish 
right side up when it raiys honey. The winter months can be 
utilized to prepare a sufficient number of supers to care for any 
crop. The failure to provide supers in advance is common and 
one that costs the bee-keepers of the country thousands of tons 
of honey every good season. Tlie bigger the harvest and the more 
urgent the need of extra room the less time there will be to pre- 
pare supers. Dr. Miller's advice is to have enough supers ahead 
to hold the biggest crop ever harvested in the locality and one 
extra super for each hive. After his big yield in 1913 he has 
not been heard to say how many that would take in his locality 
but prior to that time he estimated that at least seven supers 
for each hive should be ready to be safe (Fig: 67). 

The fact that such a large number of supers will be left over 
from year to year leads most bee-keepers to neglect this precau- 
tion. If properly cared for they will not be injured even though 
not used for several years, and when the big yield does come 
they will be worth many times the cost. 

Putting on the Supers. — Supers should not be put on every 
colony in a hit-and-miss manner whether they need room or not. 
Weak colonies that are not ready for storage room for surplus 
will be needlessly taxed to warm this extra space on cool nights 
and be further delayed in building up. Extra strong colonies 
will be ready for extra space before the average colonies, and 
the average colonies in turn will be ready some time in advance 
of the weak ones. There is no advantage in putting on supers 
when no honey is coming in, even though the colonies be strong. 
In most well-regulated apiaries one colony is kept on scales in 


order to ascertain when honej really is being stored and to tell 
something of the rapidity of the flow. This is a most excellent 
practice, as the apiarist can tell at once what really is being done. 

•A common question from beginners is how to tell when to 
place the supers on the hive. It is sometimes advised to put 
them on when the first white clover blossoms appear. This is per- 
haps as good advice as can be given if a definite time is to be set. 
However, so much depends upon the condition of the bees as well 
as weather and other conditions that no definite time can be set. 
The bee-keeper must come to know when his colonies have filled 
the brood chamber with brood and bees to the extent that they are 
ready to occupy the super and also to tell when they are getting 
something to put in it. 1^0 harm will be done in putting supers 
on strong colonies a few days before they are ready for them. 
It sometimes happens that some comb honey will be stored in 
supers by strong colonies from fruit bloom and dandelion, 
although this is not generally the case. If no supers had been 
supplied in a case like this there would be nothing left for the 
bees to do but to swarm. 

Getting the Bees into the Super.— It is vitally important 
to get the bees to working in the supers as soon as possible to 
prevent the crowding of the brood chamber. They often hesitate 
to begin storing in the sections and sometimes will not do so at 
all without some extra inducement. One of the most common 
plans is to save all unfinished sections from the previous year to 
use as bait sections. Only the first super to be placed on the 
hive will need bait sections, as after the bees are at work in the 
supers they will occupy others as fast as needed. 

If a sufificient number of these bait sections are at hand it is 
well to place one in each corner and one in the middle of the 
super. One in a corner at each end and one in the center will 
do very well. If the supply is short one in the center of the super 
will start them nicely. 

For the purpose of starting the bees in sections it is also a 
common practice to use a shallow extracting frame at each side 


of the super. They will readily begin work in shallow extracting 
frames above the brood chamber, and once they have occupied 
these they will more readily occupy the section adjoining, 

C. L. Pinney, who has secured splendid yields of comb honey, 
insists that by his method of combining the production of a 
small amount of extracted honey with comb honey he can get as 
many pounds of both as would be possible to get of extracted 
honey alone. Since his method has some features not generally 
practised, it may be of interest to describe it here. He has 
shallow extracting supers which he places on his hives when the 
comb honey is removed in the fall. These remain to catch any 
light fall flow and are left in place all winter, thus giving the 
bees a story and a half of comb surface on which to winter. In 
spring the bees will begin storing above the brood nest, of course, 
and as soon as the flow starts they will be at work in these shallow 
extracting supers. When he is ready to put on the comb honey 
supers he removes a partially filled frame and places it at each 
side of the comb super. There will then be two frames of comb 
with some honey in each comb honey super. The two frames are 
replaced with others that are empty and the extracting super 
raised up and the comb honey super placed underneath. The bees 
will, of course, go right on working on the unfinished extracting 
combs, and as soon as they are filled will fill the sections. When 
the comb honey super is well started it is raised up and another 
placed under it. The extracting super on the top may now be 
removed if desired, as it has served its purpose. The remaining 
honey may now be extracted and the frames put in a safe place 
until they are wanted to set on top of the hive when the comb 
honey is removed later in the season. If there is brood in the 
shallow frames it is his plan to use it for making increase. 
Several of the shallow frames of brood may be set in a super, 
and the super placed on the bottom board makes a shallow hive. 
By giving a queen, the little colony will build up nicely and 
when the frames are getting crowded may be placed over a full 
sized hive full of comb or frames of foundation. 



When using this plan care must be taken to see that the 
queen is in the lower story when raising this shallow extracting 
super to place the comb honey super under it. It will usually 
be advisable to use a queen excluder (Fig. 77) under the supers 
to prevent the queen going above until the shallow combs are 

Essentials of Success. — The one big factor in getting a yield 
of honey, next to plenty of nectar in the fields, is to have big 
colonies of bees with the hive fairly running over with the honey 

Fig. 77. — Ventilated bee escape and queen excluders. 

gathering force. One strong colony at the beginning of the 
harvest is likely to store as much surpkis as three or four of 
moderate strength and as much as a dozen that are weak when 
the harvest opens. From the time the honey is removed in the 
fall until the supers are placed on the hive for the next crop every 
move of the bee-keeper is made with a view of bringing the 
colonies to the next harvest with multitudes of bees. 

Plenty of first quality stores and a large cluster of young 
bees insures good wintering, with proper care. The colony that 
comes through the winter with bees enough to cover four or more 
frames is the one that will build up quickly in the spring. Weak 
colonies are very slow in building up and the apiarist who does 


not fully master his business will have a large part of his colonies 
building up so late that the harvest v^^ill be half over before they 
are really ready for storing. Suitable spring protection, as dis- 
cussed in the chapter on wintering, will have an important bear- 
ing on the condition of the colonies at the opening of the harvest. 

Care of Weak Colonies. — Some bee-keepers take frames of 
brood from their best colonies in spring to give to the weak ones, 
thinking thereby to equalize the colonies and bring all to the 
opening of the flow in strong condition. Unless the stronger 
colony has seven or eight frames of brood this is not good practice. 
A better plan will be to take all very weak colonies and set them 
on top of the strong colonies, first removing the cover from the 
hive containing the strong colony and placing a queen excluder 
and a sheet of newspaper in its place. The queen excluder will 
keep the queens each in her own apartm^ent and the paper will 
prevent the bees from fighting until they have become accus- 
tomed to the new condition and acquired a common odor or 
whatever it is that is characteristic of a colony and by means of 
which they recognize the numerous members of the same family. 
In a few days the bees will have made openings through the 
paper and the workers will mingle freely. Both queens will go 
on laying and the heat from the strong colony below will be of 
great help to the weak one above. In a few weeks they will 
have also become strong and may be again set back on their 
original stand. Two stronger colonies will result from a strong 
one and a weak one or even two weak ones, in this manner than 
by equalizing the brood and leaving them separate. 

If a colony is sufficiently strong that the hive is getting 
crowded before time to put on the supers, it may then very 
readily spare a frame or two of brood to assist those which are 
not so far advanced. 

Dr. Miller's Plan. — Since Dr. Miller perhaps holds the 
world's record of average production per colony, his system has 
attracted wide notice among the bee-keepers of the world at 
large. As before mentioned he uses the eight-frame Langstroth 



hive. As soon as any colonies are strong enough to fill the eight 
frames he adds another story — a full sized hive body full of 
empty brood combs. Instead of putting this empty story on top 
he raises the hive and places it underneath. In this manner the 
heat of the colony is fully conserved. At the same time the bees 
will work down as fast as they need the room. White clover is 
the chief source of his surplus, and he endeavors to keep the bees 
occupied with breeding until the beginning of the clover flow. 
When conditions are right for putting on the supers he again 
reduces the colony to eight frames. If there is less than eight 
frames of brood he places it all in a single hive body and places 
the super on top to provide the room formerly given by the extra 
hive body. If there are more than eight frames of brood the 
extra frames are given to colonies with less than eight frames. 
If, as sometimes happens, he has some frames of brood left after 
all colonies are provided with eight frames in single hive bodies, 
the rest is used to make increase, or to form nuclei or is even 
placed in hive bodies which are piled one on top of another to 
permit the brood to hatch, and latter be used where needed. If 
there is no other use for it a queen is given or else one is raised 
from young larva in the hive and a strong colony is the result. 
Concerning additional super room Dr. Miller says: 

During the early part of the harvest, so long as there is a reasonable 
expectation that each additional super will be "needed, the empty super 
IS put under the others, next to the brood chamber. Work will commence 
m It more promptly than when an empty super is placed on top, and that 
^eater promptness in occupying the new super may be the straw to turn 
the scale on the side of keeping down the desire fo/ swarming. But when 

W^S'/%P"^ """ ^^r'? *^' '^"'^ "^ *^^ ^^^«°"' "«*^ because it seems really 
heeded but as a sort of safety-valve in case it might be needed I do not 
wish to do anything to coax the bees into it, so it is put on top and ?he 

sSrir IZ ''T P'fr^ f^"' ^"*^^>"^ ''■ '' '' *-- that 7;n empt; 
!w.! fi ^l^"^ ""'''''" *''^ °*''^'' ^t ^ ^'"^^ ^^en the harvest is nearing its 

and ke'en'S 111^' fu " '"'"^ I" ''' '".* ™^^^'>^ ^« "P ^"^ down th^Jugh 
It and keep to work in the super above. But it is not so well to have them 
working so far from the brood nest with empty space benrath. ^ 

even when L pl^nf '" ^"*° *^^ ^^^'^ °^ ^'^'"^ ^" ^"^P^^ ^^Per on top, 
even when an empty super is put under. The empty super on top gives 

No mat[e7h:l f^^M "^ '"^"y. ^^'P " '''''' ^^^^^ preve'nting swa'r^ ^g 
PNo matter how full or empty the lower super may be, this top super serves 


as a sort of safety-valve, in case any need for more room should arise. 
The next time there is need to give a super below, this top super is moved 
down and another empty super put in its place. Wlien tiie top super is put 
down, I think the bees start work on it just a bit sooner than if it had not 
been above. 

The ability to provide the bees with sufficient room to make 
the most of the harvest and jet keep them sufficiently crowded to 
get the sections well finished is the great test of the scientific 
bee-keeper. If, when the honey is coming in with a rush, too 
many supers are put on, the bees will scatter their forces to such 
an extent that when the flow stops there will be a lot of unfinished 
sections which cannot be marketed. On the other hand, if 
insufficient room is provided there will be a loss of honey for 
lack of storage room. 

Nothing can take the place of experience in determining this 
matter. With the beginner it will be almost altogether guess- 
work and as Dr. Miller says the guess-work will never be alto- 
gether eliminated, for no man can tell ahead how long a honey 
flow will last. 


The man who will find the secret of swarm control will 
confer a great blessing on the fraternity and his name will not 
be forgotten. Many and various are the plans recommended 
to prevent swarming. While the extracted honey producer is 
able to reduce this trouble to the minimum and in ordinary 
seasons have little difficulty, the comb honey producer who does 
not find it his greatest problem has not been heard from. A 
strong colony may swarm and take enough bees to found a new 
colony and store a profitable crop, while at the same time leaving 
enough force on the old stand to store some surplus. It will 
sometimes happen that about as much honey will be stored by 
the two divisions as would have been the case had the colony 
not swarmed. 

In localities where the flow is sufficiently rapid to make comb 
honey production profitable, it is likely to be short and the 


colonies which do not swarm are usually the ones to store the big 
crops. At any rate the bee-keeper prefers to make increase at 
his convenience and not to be watching for swarms all summer. 
In a large apiary where there is no control of swarming there is 
little time for anything else than watching for swarms and ^ettinff 
them hived. ^ 

Breeding to Produce a Non-Swarming Strain.— In spite of 
the fact that several writers, notably Dr. Bonney, take the posi- 
tion that the honey-bee cannot be improved because of the diffi- 
culty of controlling male parentage, much is to be hoped for 
along this line. Even now some progress is being made and a 
few leaders among the enthusiasts who are persistently following 
up the method of selecting the best honey producers' among the 
non-swarming colonies and rearing queens only from them are 
getting results. It is true that progress is slow and that dis- 
couragements sometimes are to be met, but some claim a notice- 
able decrease in the number of swarms as a result of such 
breeding for a series of years. 

Experiments looking toward the artificial mating of queens 
have been made from time to time with uncertain results. Once 
let a satisfactory method of accomplishing this be found and the 
great problem of breeding good bees is solved. As long as the 
queen must mate in the air according to the natural provision 
she may mate with any one of a thousand drones that chance to be 
flying at the time she takes her marriage flight. If a method 
of safe artificial fertilization can be devised this uncertainty 
IS removed and drones from the best colonies can be selected. 
It will then be an easy matter to breed from stock showing any 
particularly desired trait and as good results can be expected 
as have resulted from similar efforts to improve live stock and 
poultry. The non-sitting breeds of fowls are pretty good evi- 
dence that it is possible to breed out even the strong natural 
instincts. In a state of nature the sitting of the hen was essential 
to the perpetuation of the race. The invention of the incubator 
removed the necessity for sitting and the poultrymen proceeded 


to remove the tendency to sit on the part of the hen, by natural 
selection. In a state of nature only a few eggs were laid but 
now behold the two hundred-egg hen, the result of the effort of 
the breeder. 

Natural Helps. — Mr. Dadant {" Dadant System of Bee- 
keeping ") suggests the following as desirable in swarm preven- 
tion: (1) Ample brood chamber; (2) combs built on full sheets 
of foundation in super as well as brood chamber; (3) ample 
ventilation; (4) partial shade; (5) young queens; (6) few 
drones. With these conditions met there is little necessity for 
manipulation of the hive to keep down swarming. Although 
the Dadants are extracted honey producers, the principles of 
swarm control outlined above will apply to comb honey. 

Cutting Queen Cells to Prevent Swarming. — Perhaps the 
cutting of the queen cells was the first method devised looking 
toward swarm control. It is probably the method most com- 
monly practised. Yet it is not entirely dependable. In some 
instances if the cells are removed as soon as the larva? first appear 
in them, no more will be built and there will be no swarm for that 
year. If, however, cells are once sealed and the bees have the 
swarming fever, they will build one batch after another until the 
bee-keeper will find it cheaper to let them swarm and be done 
with it, than to examine every comb and remove royal cells every 
ten days all summer. Occasionally one will be missed and then 
out comes your swarm whether or no. 

De-queening During the Honey Flow. — A few bee-keepers 
go through all their colonies during the honey flow when it is 
expected that eggs laid will not mature in time to be of assistance 
during the harvest and kill all the queens. At this time queen 
cells will be built in many colonies in preparation for swarming. 
All cells will be cut out at the same time. Weak colonies or 
others not likely to swarm are passed, as are also any favorites 


from which it is desired to get cells for making increase or similar 
purposes. The colony being queenless will at once build Sev- 
eral cells in order to provide another. Some system of marking 
is used to note the condition of the colony. Nine or ten days 
later a second trip is made through the yard, to cut out all queen 
cells but one in each hive. At this second visit all cells found 
in the colonies marked as A. No. 1, will be saved. Only one will 
be left to insure a queen and the others will be placed in the 
hives which have markings showing that they are not up to the 
standard. All poorer or surplus cells are destroyed. 

An accident to a cell or to the new queen on her mating trip 
would leave the colony hopelessly queenless, as there will no 
longer be eggs or young larva3 in the hives. To provide against 
such contingencies a number of nuclei are started and provided 
with cells to insure a sufficient number of extra queens to supply 
the colonies whose queens are not successfully mated. A third 
examination will be necessary after the elapse of a similar period 
to ascertain whether queens are present and to supply those 
colonies where failure has resulted. 

It will sometimes be necessary to cut cells from a part of the 
colonies in advance of the time of this wholesale de-queening, 
or as only a small number of swarms will ipsue they may be hived 
in the usual manner. This method, while somewhat drastic, 
has the desired effect and perhaps comes as near controlling 
swarming as any other. In the discussion that followed the 
presentation of the plan by F. W. Hall at the Iowa Bee-keeper's 
Convention there was serious objection to it on the part of some 
very successful apiarists. It is contended with good reason that 
many valuable queens will thus be destroyed and that one year 
is not long enough to give a queen an opportunity to show her 
good points. Those who follow the method, it will be noticed, 
make exceptions of those queens which are especially promising 
and retain them as breeders. While there are some extensive 
bee-keepers who will find the method suited to their require- 


ments, it is not generally recommended under all conditions. 

Dr. Miller practiced a de-queening treatment along diiferent 
lines. He removed the queen and placed her in a cage where 
she was cared for by her own bees, or she was introduced to a 
nucleus where she continued to be busy. Of course all cells 
were destroyed or removed when the queen was taken away. At 
the end of ten days the cells were again removed and the old 
queen returned to them or another given in her stead. This is 
the same treatment in effect, excepting that he retained his 
queens as long as they gave satisfactory results, whether for one 
year or for three or more. 

With the exercise of the utmost care there will be plenty of 
swarms some seasons while other years the matter can be con- 
trolled without great difficulty. The swarming tendency can, 
however, be so far checked as to greatly increase the returns from 
the apiary. 

Space Under the Brood Nest. — An empty space under the 
brood frames seems to serve to some extent the purpose of swarm 
prevention. A deep bottom is better than a shallow one. In 
Europe the Sini^^iins plan of placing the comb honey supers with 
empty sections under the hive, to begin with, seems to be prac- 
tised to some extent, although the author does not know of its 
use in this country. According to this plan empty supers are 
kept in place under the hive all through the honey flow. The 
bees prefer to store their honey above the brood nest and will do 
so if possible. AVhen they are getting too crowded above they 
will begin to build combs in these comb honey supers below in 
preparation to working down. It is now time to remove them 
and place them on top of the hive and put another empty one 
in place underneath. This empty space below serves as addi- 
tional clustering space and also facilitates ventilation. 

A somewhat similar purpose is served by the usual practice of 
blocking the hive up at the corners during the honey flow if the 
weather be hot. The hive being open on all sides there is free 
ventilation, which is a material factor in swarm control. 



As soon as possible after most sections in a super are nicely 
capped the honey should be removed from the hive to prevent 
travel stain. If the bees are forced to pass over the sections in 
going to and from the supers above for any considerable length 
of time, the white cappings will become discolored and the 
market value be reduced. True, the bee-keeper tries as far as 
possible to have the sections finished in the top super so that 
there will remain no necessity for much travel over it when 
capped. It is not always possible to arrange the supers in the 
ideal manner and even if capped in the upper super some trave] 
stain will result if the honey is allowed to remain too long 
Comb honey in sections is usually sufficiently ripened by the 
time all but the comer sections are capped. 

Fia. 78.— The Porter bee escape. 

Bee Escapes.— The invention of the be© escape was a great 
boon to the comb honey producer. The Porter escape is the one 
in most common us© (Fig. Y8) . A board the size ©f the hive has 
the escape fitted to a small opening in the center. The con- 
struction is such that the bees can go down through it but cannot 
return. By putting on the escapes in the evening it is usually 
possible to remove the supers of honey, free from bees, the follow- 

ing morning. 

Some bee-keepers depend "upon driving the bees from the 
supers with smoke, but this often results in injury to the honey, 
as the bees will uncap the cells in order to reach the honey. Un- 
less some care is used the combs may be somewhat discolored also. 
The escapes are inexpensive and the small outlay is more than 
repaid in the saving of time alone. 

The LaEeese or ventilated escape has some advantages over 


the other (Fig. 77). This is made with about one-third of its 
surface covered with a double screen. Double wire cones make it 
possible for the bees to go down easily but difficult to find their 
way back. The principal advantage of this excluder over the 
other is the ventilation, which prevents the melting down of the 
combs in extremely hot weather. While this happens rather 
infrequently, conditions occasionally are such that honey will 
melt badly in unventilated supers. Over these ventilated escapes 
the air will be kept moving by fanning bees below, even if none 
are left in the super, and the bad effects of the heat will be 

If it is desirable to remove the super before the outside rows 
of sections are finished they may be set aside and replaced in 
other supers. 

Closing the Season. — Unless there are unfinished sections 
which may be left on the hive in the hope of finishing during 
the fall flow, it is usually advisable to remove the comb honey 
supers at the close of the main harvest and to replace with ex- 
tracting combs to catch any light fall flow. In localities where 
the fall flow is such that comb honey can be produced profitably 
this will not apply. In many localities the fall flow is so light 
that the sections will not be well finished and if marketable at all 
few of them will grade better than number two. Unless one can 
produce comb honey of the best quality it is better to have it 
stored in the extracting combs. 

When one comes to remove honey in wholesale quantities 
after the close of the flow it will be necessary to proceed carefully 
or there will be much annoyance from robber bees dodging into 
the sections and flying home with a load. Let a few bees get away 
successfully in this manner and shortly the air will be full of 
bees intent on finding the source of supply. At such times it 
becomes very difficult for the operator to work and there is 
greatly increased danger from stings. Everything should be 
kept closed as carefully as possible and when the supers are 
removed they should be covered at once. 



For convenience at such times most bee-keepers have strips of 
canvas or muslin, large enough to cover a pile of supers, which 
are called robber cloths. It is well to remove the supers at once 
to the honey house where they will be safe from visiting bees. 
The honey house should, of course, be so tight that no bee can jfind 
its way in, but with escapes at the tops of the windows to make 
it easy for any chance bees to get out. In bringing in honey 
from the apiary it will frequently happen that a good many bees 
will still remain in the supers. If the house is properly con- 
structed they will make but little trouble as they will fly to the 
windows and escape. (See Honey House in next chapter. ) 

Removing Sections from Supers— The super springs already 
described make it easy to loosen the follower board which will 
give room to work. Each section holder may now be crowded 
over into the vacant space and removed with its sections. A 
better way is to push the whole lot out at one time. There are 
two ways of doing this. Either have a form the size of the inside 
of the super and set the super on it; with a mallet or other 
object drive the super down outside of it, leaving the section 
holders and their contents on the form ; or have an empty super 
on which to set the filled one upside down. Then by carefully 
jarring the section holders they may be pushed down into the 
empty super. As soon as loosened fully from the propolis and 
wax they may be lifted out. A little' experience will greatly 
facilitate matters in thus removing the sections. As a rule the 
novice will break a number of sections before he learns how to 
proceed without injuring the honey. 

After the sections are taken from the supers they should be 
sorted and all unfinished sections replaced in the supers to be 
replaced on the hives to be finished if the season is not too far 
advanced, or set aside to serve as bait sections next season. 

Fumigation.— Unless the season is so far advanced that freez- 
ing weather is at hand, some precaution will be necessary to 
insure that none of the crop is spoiled by wax moths in storage. 
At any rate comb honey should not be long subjected to freezing 


temperatures because of the danger of granulating. If the honey 
is to be sold at once no harm will be done by fumigating, as one 
would not wish the buyer to wake up to the fact that wax moths 
were destroying his honey a few weeks later. 

Eggs may be present even though there is no appearance of 
moths when the honey is taken from the hive. An occasional 
examination will reveal their presence when they may be de- 
stroyed by the usual methods of fumigation. 


1. Under what conditions is the production of comb honey satisfactory? 

2. Discuss hives for comb honey production. 

3. Describe the different sections used for comb honey. 

4. Note the advantages of split sections. 

5. Discuss the use of foundation in sections. 

6. What advance preparation should be made for the season's work? 

7. When is a colony ready for supers? 

8. What methods are used to get the bees into the supers? 

9. What are some of the essentials to success in comb honey production? 

10. How may weak colonies best be built up? 

11. Outline Miller's method of comb honey production. 

12. Discuss swarm control. 

13. When should comb honey be removed from the hive! 

14. Of what advantage is a bee escape? 


With proper equipment, extracted honey production is a 
pleasant and profitable pursuit. Without it, it is dirty, mussy 
and disagreeable. Less skill and labor may perhaps be required 
in specializing in extracted honey. If the market is properly 
developed, it may be as profitable or more so than comb honey. 
As generally handled, much more extracted honey will be pro- 
duced than comb honey, but skillful apiarists who know how to 
make the most of the opportunity will get very nearly as many 
pounds of comb honey as extracted where honey flows are very 
rapid. If one wishes to do business on a large scale, and to run 
a series of out apiaries, there are less difficulties to be overcome 
in the production of extracted honey. 

Proper Equipment.— The kind of equipment that will be 
needed will depend much on the extent to which one wishes to 
develop the business, and whether one plans a central extracting 
house, where all honey is brought to be cared for, or whether one 
uses a portable outfit with a small honey house at each apiary. 
Which is the better plan, the author is not prepared to say, for 
there are extensive honey producers some of which prefer one and 
some the other. 

In any case the extractor is an important article. Larger 
extractors can be used in the central plant than are practicable 
to carry from place to place. For portable outfits, the four-frame 
reversible extractor is usually used. For a small home apiary, 
a two-frame extractor will do very well, but if there is any idea 
of extending the business, nothing short of the four-frame capac- 
ity should be bought. 

Extractors. — Until the invention of the extractor in 1865, 
the nearest approach to extracted honey was strained honey. 
This was a common method until but a few years past. Surplus 
honey was removed from the hive by cutting out the combs and 


Fia. 79. — The latest in automatic reversing honey extractors. These machines can be 

reversctl without stopping and without injury to the combs. 

A. Lewie-Markle extractor with can removed to show how baskets are supported. 

B. Root-Buckeye extractor showing reversing mechanism. 



mashing them up in a cotton cloth which was hung up in a warm 
place to drain. Masses of brood, pollen, and honey were often 
broken up together, so that the quality was anything but attrac- 
tive. Many people who have not kept pace with the progress of 
bee culture, seeing extracted honey in the market, refer to it as 
strained honey. 

The frames full of sealed honey are now taken from the hive, 

Fig. 80.— Storage tanks of a large honey producer in California. 

and by means of a warm knife the cappings are skilfully cut from 
the comb. The frames are then placed in the basket of the 
extractor (Fig. 79), and the machine started. The centrifugal 
motion throws the honey from the side of the comb next to the side 
of the can. The machine is then reversed, throwing the honey 
from the other side in the same manner. The honey is drawn off 
in tanks, or in smaller containers, according to circumstances 
(Fig. 80). 

Since the first extractors appeared in the market, many im- 
provements have been made. The first extractor revolved alto- 



gether, tank and all. Then came an extractor in which two 
comb baskets revolved inside the can, but requiring that the combs 
be lifted out and turned around, after one side had been emptied. 
The latest machines are reversed by the simple pulling of a lever 
without stopping the machine. The larger sized ones have a 

Fio. 81. -^A power driven extractor. 

capacity of eight frames, so chat something like forty pounds 
of honey is extracted from a set of full combs at each operation. 
Power. — For extensive apiaries, the power driven extractor 
(Fig. 81) is a great economy, for while the operator is uncapping 
one set of combs, the machine will empty another. A small 
gasoline engine costing from thirty-five to fifty dollars is suflfi- 
cient to furnish the necessary power, and, during the extracting 


season, will nearly take the place of one man, and at much less 
cost. The labor item is the heaviest expense with most lines of 
productive enterprise, and any machine that will reduce this 
expense will add materially to the net profit at the end of the 

The same power can be made to serve for many other pur- 
poses, such as pumping water, running the washing machine, 
cream separator or other small machinery. The gasoline engine 
is generally regarded as a necessity in the apiary, unless it be 
within reach of electric power. 

Honey Pump. — The honey pump is a comparatively new 
invention and has not, as yet, come into general use. Whether 
its use will be advisable will depend a good deal upon the con- 
struction of the honey house. (See Honey House.) If the 
storage tanks are on a level with the extractor or above it, the 
honey pump will be a time saver in the large plant. In the past 
these new machines, like most new inventions, gave more or less 
trouble in their operation. The machines are now perfected to 
the point where they are run with good results. The pump is 
attached directly to the extractor, and run by a belt attached 
to the reel of that machine. The same power runs both and the 
honey is pumped into the storage tank as fast as extracted. This 
not only saves the labor of handling the pails of honey as drawn 
from the extractor but relieves the care of watching for fear the 
pail will be neglected a moment too long, and the honey run over 
and be wasted. The extractor can also be fastened directly to the 
floor, instead of upon a platform, as is necessary where pro- 
vision must be made for a container under the honey gate of the 

Storage Tanks. — Tanks of sufficient capacity to hold the 
season's crop should be provided, for it is not always advisable, 
even if there is time, to get a part of the honey to market during 
the season. Many bee-keepers provide a sufficient tank capacity 
to hold the output of three or four days' extracting, and have 
on hand a large number of sixty-pound cans in which to store 


the bulk of the honey. It is drawn into the cans as soon as it has 
settled a few hours, and is then ready to ship to a wholesale 
market, or with the caiis tightly closed is safe from dust or 
spilling, if the honey is later to be sold in small containers 
(Fig. 82). 

Galvanized iron tanks are quite commonly used for storage, 
though some use wood tanks for this purpose. In some localities 
barrels are used, but this is no longer common in many localities 
in the United States. Honey should not be left long in open 

Fig. 82. — Sixty pound cans for extracted Loney. 

tanks for reasons of cleanliness. It is thought also that honey 
exposed long to the air loses some of the delicate aroma peculiar 
to the finer grades. 

Uncapping Boxes. — Several different kinds of uncapping 
cans or boxes are in the market, and many more are in use in the 
apiaries. The accumulation of cappings during a week's extract- 
ing will be surprising. It is not only necessary to save these cap- 
pings for the wax they contain, but much honey will be carried 
with them which, also, is to be cared for. 

A good uncapping can provides for the draining of the cap- 
pings, so that the honey will separate from them as rapidly as 
possible. Some of the boxes made for this purpose have slatted 



bottoms, through which the honey is drained into a tub or pail 
set for the purpose (Fig. 83). The cans are provided with coarse 
screen, which catches the cappings but permits the honey to run 
through in the same manner. Some of the best of these are made 
at the apiary where they are to be used, thus fitting the available 
space in the honey house, and meeting the individual require- 
ments of the bee-keeper. The uncapping box or can should be 
of a convenient height and have a suitable rest for the comb when 
the cappings are being removed. 

Fig. 83. — The Townsend uncapping box. 

If the box is made rather long, and the width is the same as 
the length of the extracting frames, they may be left hanging 
m the box as fast as uncapped until removed to the extractor. 
In this way the box will catch the drip from the uncapped combs. 
Something similar to the Townsend uncapping box shown in the 
illustration (Fig. 83) is probably most commonly used. 

Capping Melters.— The capping melter is somewhat similar 
to the uncapping box, but has a sloping metal bottom. Under this 
is placed a small oil stove, or some other device for heating the 
metal bottom (Fig. 84). The idea is that as fast as the cappings 



drop on the hot metal, they will be melted and run at once into 
a receptacle at the lower end. The bottom is usually double, 
and the metal extends up several inches on each side of the tarik, 
the space between the two sheets of metal composing the bottom 
and sides being filled with water. The water distributes the heat 
more evenly, thus preventing the space immediately over the 
flame from becoming too hot. 

The honey and melted wax are both caught in the same con- 
tainer, but the wax comes to the top and may be lifted off in 
cakes when cool. 

The Peterson capping melter. 

There is quite an advantage in disposing of the cappinga as 
fast as cut from the combs, especially in a large apiary. How- 
ever, these melters do not always give satisfaction, as the honey 
is often over-heated and the quality injured. Most large pro- 
ducers of the author's acquaintance prefer the uncapping box 
without artificial heat. 


Uncapping Knives. — To remove the cappings a knife with 
long blade is used. Straight knives were formerly in general use, 
but of late the Bingham knife has largely replaced all others. 
Fig. 85 shows this knife. For use it is kept hot by dipping in 
hot water. 

A somewhat similar knife heated by steam is used to some 
extent in large apiaries. The steam knife is hollow, and is 
attached by rubber tubing to a small vessel of water which is set 
over the burner of a small oil stove or lamp. A small hole at 
the end of the knife permits the escape of the steam. As the 
temperature of the knife is evener, it is more satisfactory. The 
cappings do not stick to the knife, or the operator does not have 
to stop frequently because it has become cold. 

Fig. 85. — Bingham uncapping knife. 

Hives for Extracted Honey. — While there is a difference of 
opinion regarding the size of hive most profitable for the pro- 
duction of comb honey, the bee-keepers are nearly all agreed that 
the large hive is the thing for extracted honey. The ten-frame 
Langstroth is more generally used for this purpose than any 
other (Fig. 86). Some extensive producers use a twelve-frame 
hive with the same size frames (Fig. 87). 

The Dadant hive is very satisfactory for this purpose, and 
were it not for the fact that the Langstroth frame is in more 
general use, it would find favor with the producer. The brood 
frames of the Dadant hive are too large, however, for extracting 
frames, thus requiring two sizes of frames. It is a decided 
advantage to have all frames in the apiary of the same size and 

Shallow extracting frames are good for use in connection 
with the comb honey apiary, but are not to be recommended for 
the production of extracted honey. N'early as much time will be 



required to imcap a small frame as a large one, and extra time 
will be required in the manipulations, which is decidedly to their 

Not only should everything about the apiary be planned to 
avoid the loss of time, but the accumulation of unnecessary equip- 
ment should also be avoided. If extracting frames and brood 
frames ai-e of the same size, extra frames may be used for either 
purpose for which they are needed, instead of having to supply 
more when one or the other runs low. It might easily happen 

Fio. x6 — Langstroth hive for extracted honey. 
Fig. 87. — Langstroth hive dissected. 

when there are two sizes that there will be a surplus of one at 
hand and a lack of the other. 

Kind of Frame to Adopt.— As to the kind of frame which 
best serves the purpose, there is a decided disagreement. While 
the author personally prefers the Hoffman self-spacing frame, 
most of the large producers seem to be decidedl}^ of the opinion 
that a loose-hanging frame is better. 

The Hoffman frames (Fig. 93) require little attention to see 
that they are properly spaced when placed in the hive. On 
the other hand the loose-hanging frames must always be spaced 
after setting in place, or the combs will be unequal in thickness. 

There are several devices for spacing the frames. Staples are 
used in some cases. The metal spacers are very popular also. 


These are so placed near the top of the frames that they will be 
the proper distance apart when placed in the hive. 

While there may be a difference of opinion regarding the 
best, from the standpoint of the extensive extracted honey pro- 
ducer, the novice will find the self-spacing frames much better, 
as there is less danger of getting the brood nest too crowded or 
the combs too far apart. 

Some contend that the use of metal spaced frames tends to 
dull the uncapping knife by constantly knocking against it. This 
argument carries little weight, for a good operator will seldom 
strike the edge of his knife against the metal. 


A good honey house is a necessity in extensive honey produc- 
tion. The small honey producer can get along with a large room 
in the dwelling house if necessary, but the nature of the work of 
extracting is such that a separate building is very desirable. It 
need not be expensive, but must be tight enough so that no bee 
can enter when doors and windows are closed. If the bees once 
find their way in when a lot of honey is exposed, they soon come 
by thousands and make work impossible. During a good honey 
flow they are so busy bringing in nectar from the field, that they 
pay little attention to anything else. At such times extracting 
can often be done out of doors without annoyance. A check in 
the honey flow brings a decided change in their attitude, and 
they will soon be seeking every possible opening to a building 
where honey is stored. 

If portable outfits are used and the honey extracted at the 
various apiaries, small buildings will serve very well, because 
the honey will be taken away as fast as extracted. It is a common 
practice among bee-keepers following this plan to visit a yard in 
the morning and spend the day extracting, and take the honey 
home at night. 

Even though the portable outfits are used, a good-sized build- 



ing will be needed at the home yard where the honey is prepared 
for market and the various appliances prepared for use. 

The illustrations show two good kinds of honey houses. Fig. 
88 shows a honey house two stories high. This house has some 
decided advantages, and, although it was built at a cost of about 

Fig. 88. — A well-arranged, two-story honey house. 

one thousand dollars, the extensive honey producer will find it 
well worth the cost. By looking at the picture it will be seen 
that the lay of the land is such that the ground is on a level with 
the floor of the upper story at one side. At the other side the 
ground is on a level with the lower story. A side hill location 
is not always available, and otherwise this two-story arrangemcDt 
would not be very satisfactory, as too much energy would be 



necessarily expended in getting the honey upstairs. In a case 
like this, however, the honey can be unloaded on the upper floor 
without extra effort. 

On the upper floor is the power driven extractor. From it 
there is a pipe leading directly to a large settling tank on the 
floor below. The honey will thus never be handled from the time 
the uncapped frames are placed in the extractor until it is drawn 

Fia. 89. — Large honey house with all work on ground floor. 

into the sixty-pound cans to ship to market. This particular 
honey house is arranged with the idea of eliminating every pos- 
sible unnecessary item of labor. One man has produced, ex- 
tracted, and prepared for market something like forty thousand 
pounds of honey from five yards, with help only a few days 
during the busiest season. 

On the upper floor is the work shop, where hives and frames 
are assembled, and where extracting combs are stored, in addi- 
tion to the extracting room. On the lower floor is the big settling 
tank, the bottling room and storage room for honey. A better 



arranged or more satisfactory honey house could scarcely be 
planned. The honey room must always be kept dry to avoid 
injury to the honey. 

Fig. 89 shows another kind of honey house. Here every- 
thing is on the lower floor, excepting storage for unused equip- 
ment. The building is composed of three large rooms. At one 
end is the general storage room. In the center is the extracting 

Fig. 90. — The automobile i3 valuable for outyard trork. 

room, also used for preparing equipment, wiring frames, etc. 
At the other end the automobile is driven in with the load. The 
automobile is a very useful, and now almost necessary adjunct 
to a large apiary, where outyards are widely scattered, as the 
time saved in travelling to and from the yards is an important 
consideration (Fig. 90). 

As will be seen from the two pictures, the extensive produc- 
tion of honey necessitates a large building for comfortable work. 
The tendency is always to build too small, and crowding does 



not tend to economy of time or labor. If the beginner who 
expects his business to grow will plan his honey house so that 
additions are easily built on, he will be wise. 

Floor. — A cement floor is very desirable, as it is much easier 
to make the building proof against rats and mice. Neither 
should be tolerated in the honey house, as they are the source of 
gi-eat annoyance and damage. Mice will destroy many dollars 
worth of extracting combs, unless they are stored beyond the 
reach of the rodents. A cement floor also makes a better foun- 
dation for fast-running machinery. 

Doors and Windows.— The windows should be tightly 
screened to keep out flies and bees, but the doors are better 
without screens. If the doors are screened, they will be left 
open when the extracting is going on, and large numbers of bees 
are likely to collect on the screens in an effort to get in. Every 
time the screen is opened a few of them will dodge in, with the 
result that a constantly increasing number are flying about, which 
is annoying to the bee-keeper and bad for the bees. If only the 
windows are screened, the doors will be kept closed excepting 
when necessary to pass in or out, and the bees collecting on the 
outside will gather at the windows where they will be unable to 

Escapes.— Bees that are carried into the honey house will 
naturally fly to the windows in an effort to escape. At the top 
of every window should be provided an escape which will permit 
them to get out, but which will turn those on the outside which 
may try to get in. 

A good method is to place strips of lath under the wire screen, 
thus holding them out a quarter of an inch from the building.' 
If these strips extend about six or eight inches above the top of 
the window, and the screen extends as far, the space under the 
screen may be left open at the top. The bees on the inside will 
walk up and out, while those outside will not go much above the 
window opening and will not find their way in. 

Another method is to leave several wrinkles in the screen 


along the top. Each of these places will leave an opening large 
enough to permit the bees to find their way out. To prevent 
those from the outside from coming in, wire cones are placed over 
the openings. 

Still another common plan is to place ordinary bee escapes, 

Fia. 91.— Comb at right built on full sheet of foundation; at left, without foundation. 

such as are to be purchased from any dealer in supplies, in the 
comers of each window. This plan does not work well in 
practice. Any method that will permit bees to go out without 
letting outsiders in, will be satisfactory. 


The importance of having combs built on full sheets of foun- 
dation to prevent the building of drone comb is mentioned else- 



where. Drone combs are not especially objectionable in extract- 
ing supers, as long as the queen does not have access to them. 
The productive bee-keeper, hovrever, should avoid having them 
built in the first place, as they should never be permitted in the 
brood chamber, and, unless excluders are used, the queen will 
sometimes be laying in the extracting supers. It is highly desir- 
able that every comb be so perfect that it can be used in any 
part of the hive for any purpose needed. 

Aside from the necessity of avoiding the drone comb it is 

possible to get so much better combs by the use of foundation, and 
to have them built so much more rapidly, that it is economy to 
use full sheets anyway. It is very annoying to have crooked 
combs to deal with, and perfect combs cannot always be secured 
without the use of foundation (Fig. 91). 

For extracting purposes, it is important, also, that the combs 
be built in wired frames (Fig. 92). It makes little difference 
to the comb honey producer whether his combs are wired or not 
after they are once built, because they are not subject to much 
strain. In the extractor, unwired combs are likely to be badly 
broken or ruined altogether. Fig. 93 shows a full sheet of 
foundation ready for the bees. Four horizontal wires are used 



Fig. 93. — Hoffman frame with full sheet of foundation. 
FiQ. 94. — Development of combs from foundation. 

in this frame. Fig. 94 shows how the bees make use of this 
foundation. The left hand frame contains a new sheet of foun- 
dation. The central figure shows the appearance when the bees 


are beginning to draw it out and the right hand figure shows a 
comb nearly drawn. Fig. 95 shows a good brood comb built 
from a full sheet of foundation on four wires. 

The novice can seldom be made to see the importance of full 
sheets of foundation and wired frames. To save the extra ex- 
pense of foundation, he will usually insist on using a narrow 
strip, with the result that his combs are not well built and are 

FiQ. 95. — Comb b'uilt on wired frame with full sheet of foundation. 

largely composed of drone cells. To avoid the trouble of wiring 
the frames, he will trust to the bees to build the combs strong 
enough, with the result that most of them will be broken the 
first time they are placed in the extractor. Experience is a good 
teacher, but here as elsewhere the tuition comes high. The use 
of proper precautions in the beginning would save much loss. 

Strong Colonies Important. — What has been said elsewhere 
about the importance of having strong colonies at the beginning 
of the honey flow will also apply here. While medium colonies 



may store some surplus of extracted honey when they would not 
store in sections, it is only the strong colonies that pile up the 
profitable crops. Xo matter in what form one expects to market 
his crop, he must bend every energy to bring his colonies to the 
beginning of the honey flow in prime condition. 

Putting on Supers. — As soon as colonies are crowding the 
brood chamber, it is time to give more room (Figs. 96 and 97). 
As the frames are the same as those occupied for the brood nest, 

Fig. 96. — Strong colony for extracted honey production. 
Fio. 97. — Colony that produced forty dollars worth of extracted honey in one season. 

no difficulty will be found in getting the bees to occupy them, as 
encountered by the comb honey specialist. It is well to lift the 
hive up and place the extracting super underneath. By this 
means the bees will not be required to warm unoccupied space 
above the brood nest, and as fast as the honey comes in it will 
crowd the queen down, so that soon the upper hive will be full of 
honey and the queen and brood will be below. The objection to 
this plan is the accumulation of surplus pollen in extracting 
combs. If the empty super is placed on top without an excluder 
beneath there is a tendency for the queen to occupy the empty 
combs for egg laying, with the result that she will keep on going 


up as new supers are added, and more or less trouble will be 
necessary to separate the frames containing brood from those 
with honey only, at time of first extracting. 

If empty supers are placed underneath, no harm will result, 
even though they be given some time in advance of when they 
are needed, and the extra room tends to keep down swarming. 

Swarm Control. — It often happens that the extracted honey 
producer with his large hives has little difficulty from swarming, 
and need give the matter little special attention. The method of 
handling this matter most generally in use is known as the 
Demaree method. As soon as the brood nest is getting sufficiently 
crowded to require the addition of more room, the queen is 
hunted out and a frame of brood, preferably the one on which 
she is found, is lifted from the hive. An empty comb from the 
hive body used as a super is exchanged for it. The queen will 
then be on a frame of brood in a hive body of empty combs. A 
queen excluder is then placed on top of this new body and the 
old one already full of brood and honey is set on top of it in the 
usual place. The queen is now provided with an abundance of 
empty comb in which to lay. In fact her surroundings are simi- 
lar to what they would be, had she recently come into possession 
of a new hive in company with a swarm. The colony will build 
up wonderfully in a short time, and not only will the desire to 
swarm be eliminated, but a tremendous working force will be 
present in the hive at the beginning of the honey flow. If addi- 
tional room is provided as needed, further use of the excluder will 
hardly be necessary and it can be removed after two or three 

In addition to the above advantages, the brood will be in the 
bottom of the hive, and the honey can be removed as fast as 
ripened and taken to the extracting room. While other methods 
of swarm control are practised to some extent in connection with 
extracted honey production, this plan is most generally used. 
It is also the simplest and surest in its results of any with which 
the author is familiar. 


Use of Excluders. — There is a decided difference of opinion 
among bee-keepers as to the value of excluders. Aside from the 
above use, which is general at the beginning of the season to 
start the queen to laying in the lower story, many bee-keepers are 
of the opinion that there is little value in their use. Many are 
decided in the '^.onviction that the use of excluders through the 
season results in a loss of honey. The author is of the opinion 
that they should not be used more than is necessary, although 
whether they actually result in smaller amount of honey being 
stored above them is apparently incapable of proof. 

In comb honey production there is seldom if ever any occas- 
ion that justifies the use of a queen excluder. Occasionally some 
one will complain that the queen lays in the sections. This sel- 
dom happens anyway, and is of very rare occurrence, where full 
sheets of starter are used in the sections. The occurrence is so 
infrequent that it will neither justify the expense of excluders 
nor the inconvenience to the bees that their presence causes. 

Ventilation. — In cool weather the entrance will furnish suffi- 
cient ventilation, but when the weather grows hot in midsummer 
more must be provided for best results. It is an easy matter to 
temporarily slip one hive body forward a half inch, the one above 
back a half inch, thus providing ventilation in every story from 
the bottom to the top of the hive. jSTo rule can be laid down as 
to how much should be given. It will depend upon the weather 
and upon the honey flow. If plenty of honey is coming in so 
that there is no danger from robbers, much ventilation will be 
helpful in extremely hot weather. If no honey is coming in care 
must be used that the openings are not larger than the bees can 
guard safely. 

Entrances the full width of the hive and at least an inch in 
depth are regarded as none too large for hot weather during the 
honey flow. Some lift the hive up an inch from the bottom board, 
and support it with blocks at the comers as described under 
comb honey. 

The entrances should gradually be reduced as the season ad- 


varices, the honey flow ceases, and the weather becomes cool in 
fall. A three-eighths-inch entrance is large enough for winter 
and even that is restricted to from four to six inches in width. 

Ripening the Honey. — The practical bee-keeper will always 
provide a sufficient number of extracting combs, so that no honey 
need be extracted until it is fully ripened, A shortage of combs 
brings a temptation to extract too soon. Green or unripened 
honey should never be extracted. Some extensive honey pro- 
ducers are sometimes guilty of this practice. Not long since, the 
author visited an establishment where large quantities of honey 
are handled. A short time before a carload of extracted honey 
had been received from the West that had not been properly 
ripened. About one-third of this green honey was souring and 
working in the cans. Some of the cans had burst, and the whole 
thing was in such a condition as to demoralize any market where 
it happened to land. A few days longer on the hives, giving the 
bees time to evaporate it and ripen it fully, would have made a 
fine article which would have pleased the buyer, instead of caus- 
ing him to curse the whole honey business. As a matter of course 
it was nearly a total loss to the producer. Why men will be so 
short sighted is hard to understand. The fact that they can 
sometimes sell the honey and leave the buyer to stand the loss 
leads them to risk it again. 

Honey is seldom ready for extracting until the cells are 
nearly all sealed. Well-ripened honey can be kept for years 
without injury if properly cared for. 

Removing Honey from the Hive. — Escapes are used to 
some extent in taking off extracted honey, as described under 
comb honey. It is a difficult matter to reach the bees in the 
sections and to get them out of the comb honey supers without 
escapes. Most bee men in taking off extracted honey open the 
hive and lift out a frame at a time and brush or shake the bees 
in front of the hive. The comb is then set in an empty hive body 
brought for the purpose.' Full supers of frames are then set 
aside and covered until a load is ready to be taken to the 



extracting house. If there is an extracting room near at hand 
they are wheeled in, in a cart or wheelbarrow (Fig. 98), or if 
they must be taken some distance to the central plant, they are 
set in a wagon or automobile in which they are hauled home. 
If escapes are used they must be put in place the day before 

Fig. 98. — Wheelbarrow load of extracting eupera. 

the honey is to be taken off, which is often inconvenient, espe- 
cially at outyards. 

Extracting at Once. — The honey can never be extracted as 
easily as when first taken from the hives in warm weather. It 
sometimes becomes necessary to leave a part of the work to be 
done after the close of the season. If the weather is cool, a warm 
room will be necessary and even then honey that has stood in the 
honey house for several weeks will be thrown out with more or 
less difficulty. With a power-driven extractor it is possible to get 
the combs much cleaner than with the hand machine. 


Most bee-keepers make a practice of extracting several times 
during the season, tlius requiring less equipment and keeping 
honey from the different sources separate. 

If one sells in a wholesale market, it is important to keep 
the light honey from clover and basswood separate from the dark, 
fall honey, such as buckwheat, golden rod, etc. It is better to 
extract after every flow as far as can be done, so as to keep the 
different kinds as nearly separate as possible. 

If, on the other hand, the bee-keeper has a retail trade of his 
own and blends his product anyway, there is no special impor- 
tance in keeping the honey separate, unless something might be 
brought in so poor in quality as to injure his crop. In many 
localities in the Southern States, there is a bitter weed that 
blooms in midsummer which secretes nectar from which honey 
that is too bitter to be eaten is stored. Where any plant of this 
kind is to be dealt with, it is important to remove all surplus 
from the hive as soon as it begins to bloom, to avoid having good 
honey mixed with it. A very little of this honey will spoil a 
whole crop, so that it cannot be sold to advantage. 

Straining the Honey.— With the greatest care there will be 
bits of wax and other refuse thrown off in the extractor, which 
must be removed from the honey before it is ready for market. 
If deep settling tanks are used, this surplus matter will soon rise 
to the top, where it can be skimmed off, or the honey can be 
drawn from the bottom of the can where it is clear. By this plan 
there always remains a quantity of honey at the last that is not 
ready for market until it is strained. 

Various contrivances are in use for the purpose of straining 
the honey as it goes into the settling tank. Thin cotton cloth is 
most often used as a strainer. A large, surface is necessary to 
prevent the cloth from clogging, when it must be cleaned or a new 
one used in place of it. If the cloth alone is used, the weight 
of the honey will often result in pulling it loose at one side, when 
the whole of the contents will run hi to the receptacle below. A 
coarse screen of about one-fourth inch mesh is good to furnish 


a support for the cloth. If a large basket, which may be hung 
in the tank, is made of this coarse screen and lined with cheese- 
cloth it makes a fairly satisfactory strainer. There is always 
more or less bother with clogged strainers, unless the basket is 
deep enough so that much of the refuse will come to the top 
rather than fall directly on the strainer. 

Alexander Strainer.— The Alexander strainer is made of 
fine wire screen, and is about the size and shape of a large bucket 
with bail. This pail is hung in the tank or other receptacle, in 
which the honey is stored and the honey run into it as extracted. 
The bottom and all side surface permitting the passage of honey, 
it does not clog readily and it is strong enough to sustain the 
weight of a full pail of honey. All sediment is caught and held. 
The strainer is easily cleaned with hot water after the refuse is 
dumped out. 

Second-Hand Containers Not Desirable. — So much honey 
goes to market in the square sixty-pound cans that there is always 
an accumulation of them in all the large centers. These are 
offered for sale at a very low price. So little is to be saved by 
the use of these second-hand containers that the bee-keeper can 
hardly afford to buy them. If they are rusted inside, the quality 
of the honey will be injured, and if otherwise perfect there is 
some danger of spreading disease by their use. 

As mentioned elsewhere the principal bee diseases are spread 
from hive to hive in the honey. Second-hand containers brought 
to the apiary are more or less daubed with the honey with which 
they have previously been filled. This honey attracts the 
workers, and if it came from a diseased colony there is great 
danger in bringing it into the apiary. Disease is thus spread 
to considerable extent. The author has had his attention offi- 
cially called to this source of disease so many times that he is 
inclined to favor restrictions on the use of containers for honey 
a second time, unless it be in the same apiary where filled at first. 

If the honey is put up in bright new cans a better impression 
is made on the buyer than if received in cans that are rusty and 


Stained. Occasionally a buyer makes serious complaint if honey 
is received in such cans. 

Liquefying Candied Honey.— After extracted honey has 
stood for a time, it will usually candy. If it goes to market in 
the sixty-pound cans in which it is stored, the producer will have 
no occasion to liquefy it, as it will stand the journey with less 
risk in this condition. If through any accident a can should be 
damaged, there will be no leakage, as would be the case if the 
honey was shipped in a liquid condition. 

If the honey is to be placed in small packages for the retail 
trade, it will be necessary to heat the honey sufficiently to restore 
the liquid form. Great care is necessary not to overheat the 
honey, as to do so will greatly injure the flavor and consequently 
the value of the product. 

Various plans of accomplishing this result have been devised. 
In large establishments a system of hot water pipes is sometimes 
used. The caps are removed from the cans, and they are set 
up-side-down on pipes. As fast as the honey melts, it runs out 
into a container below. 

Large tanks are also used which are filled with hot water 
around the honey cans. This water is kept at a temperature of 
about 150° for a sufficient time to liquefy the honey in all the 

A simple and very satisfactory plan is illustrated by Fig. 99. 
This plan utilizes an ordinary cheap feed cooker such as can be 
purchased in the market for about twelve dollars. There is just 
room for eight sixty-pound cans in the square tank. Instead of 
using hot water, a crate of wood is made to hold the cans about 
two inches off the bottom and water is allowed to como just to 
the bottom of the cans. A lid shuts down, as will be seen in the 
picture, and a very light fire is started in the fire box underneath. 
As the water is heated steam is generated, and the cans are 
warmed by steam instead of having the hot water in contact 
with them. A small hole in the top of the lid provides a place 
for a thermometer, which indicates the temperature. One great 


advantage in this heater is that if, by chance, it becomes too hot 
the lifting of the lid permits the escape of the steam and cooling 
of the interior instantly. If the water system gets too hot, it 
is difficult to cool it quick enough to avoid injury to the honey. 
Several hours wi]! be required to liquefy the contents of the 

FlQ. 99. — Utilizing feed cooKer for liquefying candied honey by steam. 

cans by this system, but the amount of fuel required is so small 
as to be a very incignificant matter. 

Bottling. — If the honey is sold through retail stores a portion 
of it is likely to stand on the shelves for some time after it reaches 
the store. In this case the contents of many of the bottles will 
candy again in time. Sometimes a trade is developed that comes 
to demand a certain amount of this candied honey or will take a 


jar of candied honey and liquefy it by setting in a pan of warm 
water. However, in most localities, the bee-keeper will be 
required to take back honey that has candied and replace it with 
honey in the liquid state. It is an easy matter to restore the 
honey in jars in a few minutes by setting them in a shallow tank 
of hot water that just comes up around the necks of the bottles. 

If the honey is kept at a temperature of about 120° for 
several hours before bottling, and then sealed while still warm, 
several weeks and sometimes months will often elapse before it 
will candy again. 

Some bee-keepers make a practice of restoring honey that has 
candied in small glass jars by placing them in solar wax extrac- 
tors, where they are exposed directly to the heat of the sun. 
This plan seems to be very satisfactory for small quantities, as 
the sun's rays supply about the right conditions for best results. 

Retailing Candied Honey. — Some honeys have a much 
greater tendency to candy than others. Western alfalfa honey 
candies very quickly and becomes quite hard. Some honey will 
only candy far enough to become waxy and sticky. Unless it 
becomes hard enough so that it is no longer sticky, there is little 
opportunity to develop a special trade for candied honey in small 
packages. Several kinds of pasteboard or paper packages hold- 
ing small quantities of this honey are in use. The paper bucket 
commonly used for retailing oysters is perhaps the most com- 
monly used. When the honey shows signs of granulation, but 
will still run, it is drawn into these packages and set in 
a cold place. Frequent changes of temperature hasten granu- 
lation and a room where it is first warm, and then freezing, will 
be the best for honey which it is desired to granulate. When the 
honey is sufficiently hard, it is placed on the market. Unless 
subjected to quite a warm temperature it will remain in the 
granulated condition for an indefinite period. 

As yet there is no general market for granulated honey in 
these small packages. Every bee-keeper who wishes to handle 
honey in this way must develop his own trade. It would seem 


that a nice trade might be gradually developed for small cubes 
of this candy to sell at a nickel through the retail candy trade. 
Once people came to know the product they would buy it freely, 
if it were available in a five-cent package. 

Once the public is educated to understand that only honey 
of the best quality can be marketed in this form, the bee-keeper 
will find a ready market for candied honey. 


In many localities in the Southern States there is a demand 
for bulk or chunk honey. The general principles of producing 
extracted honey will also apply to bulk honey. The foundation 
in the supers need not always be of full sheets, nor should they 
be wired. An empty comb or two in each super will be helpful 
in getting the bees into the new super promptly. When the combs 
are finished they are cut from the frames and new foundation 
is put in for future use. Bulk honey can be produced cheaper 
than section honey, but not as cheaply as extracted honey, as 
the combs must be built new each time the crop is removed. With 
extracted honey the combs can be used again and again, which 
makes larger production possible under ordinary conditions, 


1. Note the difference between strained honey and extracted honey. 

2. Discuss extractors and other equipment for the production of extracted 


3. What kind of frame is most satisfactory? 

4. What things are essential in a honey house? 

5. Describe different kinds of honey houses with advantages of each. 

6. How should doors and windows be screened and why? 

7. Why are full sheets of foundation in wired frames desirable? 

8. How and when should supers be added? 

9. Describe the Demaree method of swarm control. 

10. Discuss queen excluders. 

11. How much ventilation is desirable and what size entrances should be 


12. When should the honey be taken from the hive? 

13. Discuss extracting and straining of honey. 

14. How should honey be stored? 

15. Discuss candied honey. 


Although honey is the principal product, considerable wax 
is produced in every well-regulated apiary. Although bringing 
the highest price of anything the bee-keeper has to sell, the possi- 
bilities of this special output are too often overlooked because 
much of it is gathered in small quantity in scraping sections, 
cleaning burr combs from the tops of frames and scraps of combs 
that accumulate about the bee yard and honey house. If the 
bee-keeper who has not carefully saved these odd bits of comb 
will provide a bucket or other receptacle which is always kept 
at hand in which to place all scrapings and bits of wax he will 
be surprised to see what a quantity will accumulate during the 
season. In addition the apiary and equipment will be much 
cleaner as a result. It is very annoying to the housewife to have 
someone coming into the house with bits of wax clinging to his 
heels to be left on the rugs or carpet, as will frequently be the 
case where such refuse is dropped on the ground about the bee- 

Old combs that are to be discarded and cappings which are 
present in quantity are usually saved, as they should be, but 
unless some care is used they are likely to be destroyed by the 
wax moths during the warm weather. It is a good plan, no 
matter what method of wax rendering may be adopted, to throw 
all such material into a solar extractor at once. In this way it 
will be melted so thoroughly that there is little trouble with 
moths, even though it is not separated sufficiently to avoid the 
necessity of rendering. 

Production of Wax.— When the bees are feeding heavily, 
as during a good honey flow, wax is secreted as a direct result 
of the quantities of food consumed. After a colony has swarmed 
in warm weather large numbers of bees will cluster together 



apparently for the purpose of secreting wax and with it building 
the new combs which will be necessary to store the food supply 
and rear the brood of the colony. The wax pockets are eight in 
number for each worker-bee. They are located on the under side 
of the abdomen, four on each side. By watching the bees at 
times such as above mentioned, the little wax scales can be seen 
protruding between the segments of the abdomen. The author 
is not sufficiently gifted to describe the wonderful manner in 
which they utilize these minute scales and the way they manipu 
late them to form the perfect combs which are so essential to the 
welfare of the colony. No description will satisfy the enthusias- 
tic bee-keeper who must see it all for himself. By providing 
an observation hive at the proper season many interesting opera- 
tions may be seen. The worker may be seen to take the wax 
scale in her jaws and to knead it, apparently, after which it is 
added to the partially built comb which her predecessors have 
started. But a moment is thus occupied when she moves away 
and her place is taken by another who also adds her portion. 
The work is done very much as though men in building a wall 
each brought a single brick and put it in place and went away. 
Yet in spite of the apparent hit and miss method of building, 
there is no more wonderful or more perfect structure than the 
combs of the honey-bee. 

Wax melts at a low temperature, as many a bee-keeper has 
learned to his cost when brood combs have been left exposed to 
the hot sun on a summer day. At times the heat is sufficient to 
melt the combs within the hives, especially when they are sur- 
rounded by high board fences, dense undergrowth, or other ob- 
struction that prevents a breeze from reaching them, or if the 
hives are not well ventilated. 

The young bees do most of the work of comb building, as 
the ability to secrete wax declines with advancing age. In case of 
necessity old bees will build combs, although apparently they 
secrete wax less readily and in smaller quantities than the 
younger ones. 


Color. — There is a great variation in the color of wax, depend- 
ing upon the source of the food supply of the bees at the time 
of comb building. As a rule newly built comb is light in color, 
gradually growing darker with use. The brood combs shortly 
become quite dark, and in time almost black, due to the stains of 
constant travel as well as refuse from the growing larvas and 
the cocoons which are left behind when they emerge from the 
cells. When old combs are melted, so many of these cocoons 
often remain that they will retain the exact shape of the original 

Size and Shape. — The difference in size and shape between 
the cells prepared for various purposes, as for the rearing of 
queens, is so striking as to attract instant attention on looking 
within the hive. Much has been written in admiration of the 
mathematical precision with which the bees are able to occupy 
all the available space by building a six-sided cell, the bottom 
of each of which was opposite the bottom of one-third of each 
of three others. By building in this way the maximum of both 
capacity and strength is secured with no lost space. 

If the bees build according to their own plans the combs are 
usually about an inch in thickness with cells of equal depth on 
each side. If built within frames in a hive they may be thicker 
or thinner, depending upon the spacing of the combs. Extracted 
honey producers often space their frames so as to secure thicker 
combs to make the work of uncapping easy. The distance be- 
tween the combs is from three-eighths of an inch to seven- 
sixteenths of an inch, depending upon circumstances. The bees 
require about three-eighths of an inch at least in order to move 
about easily. Combs are usually placed about an inch and a 
half from center to center. 

The worker cells are the smallest and we resort to the use of 
foundation to insure that the cells will mostly be built of this 
size, as mentioned elsewhere. According to most writers each 
worker cell is about one-fifth of an inch in diameter, and the 
drone cells are somewhat larger. The queen cells are built espe- 


cially for the particular purpose of rearing queens and are built 
only as needed and frequently torn down when no longer of 
immediate use. The regular comb built permanently is all of 
the six-sided shape and of the two sizes. The larger cells such 
as are used for rearing drones serve equally well for honey 

Uses of Wax. — For many centuries beeswax has been known 
as a commercial commodity. So valuable was it in ancient times 
that taxes were at times paid in wax and a tribute of wax was 
levied by victorious kings on the unfortunate inhabitants of the 
country which they had overrun. Many references to this prod 
uct are to be found in ancient writings both sacred and secular. 
Kents and other obligations were paid in beeswax to such an 
extent as to indicate the demand must have greatly exceeded the 
supply. Before the invention of paper, wax tablets were used 
for the purpose of making temporary records, for correspondence, 

Wax candles have long been used for various ceremonial pur- 
poses in the churches, and this custom has survived the centuries 
and still offers a market for quantities of wax, for some churches 
still use candles made of beeswax for this purpose. 

Many delicate objects are moulded of wax, as fruits and 
flowers, that are so natural in appearance as to perfectly deceive 
the casual observer. Figures and models of various kinds are 
also made of this material, as it is very plastic and responds to 
the most delicate touch of the artist. 

Tailors make use of pure beeswax in many cases for sewing 
wax, shoemakers and harnessmakers also make use of it, either 
pure or mixed with other materials for waxing their threads. 

It is a common ingredient of varnish and furniture polish, 
lithographic inks, various cements, waterproofing materials, and 
in many remedies and other commodities handled by the drug 

Comb Foundation. — The bee-keeper has of late years come to 
be his own best customer. Since the invention of the mills that 



make comb foundation possible, extensive use has been made of 
it among the bee-men themselves. 

Next to the movable frame hive, comb foundation has per- 
haps made possible the greatest advance in bee culture. Without 
the use of foundation it is a very difficult matter to get straight 
combs or to prevent the bees from building crosswise or otherwise 
than according to the bee-keeper's wishes. With the use of foun- 
dation the possibilities of honey production are multiplied and 
no practical honey producer would think of doing without it. 

Only pure beeswax should be used in foundation as otherwise 
the sale of honey in conibs built on it would be a violation of 
the pure food laws. Fortunately little if any adulteration of 
comb foundation is practised, the manufacturers being very care- 
ful to test all wax used for the purpose and the bee-keeper can 
buy from any of the well-known manufacturers with confidence. 
The wax is melted in the factory and wound in long sheets 
which are run through mills bearing the impression of the size 
and shape of the worker cells. As the foundation is printed it 
is cut in strips of convenient length and these are wrapped in 
thin paper to prevent sticking together when warm. The papered 
strips are then packed in paper boxes in such quantities as the 
needs of the market demand. Use of foundation is considered 
in the chapters relating to comb and extracted honey. 

Substitutes for Beeswax.— Various mineral and vegetable 
waxes have taken the place of beeswax in various commercial 
uses. These waxes can be produced much cheaper and answer 
fully as well for many purposes. ParafHn, ceresin and several 
others are well-known commercial products. iSubstitutes for 
wax made into foundation will not be accepted by the bees. 

Adulteration of Wax.—Dealers who buy beeswax must exer- 
cise constant vigilance to avoid being imposed upon by an adul- 
terated product. As the adulterations can be purchased at prices 
much below that of beeswax, dishonest men see possibilities of 
great profit if they can sell their dishonest product. Various 
tests have been discovered for detecting the adulterations until 


it is now very difficult indeed to get adulterated wax to market 
without detection. 

Paraffin, ceresin and sometimes tallow are common adulter- 
ants of wax. Wax is so commonly adulterated that when it 
reaches the market it will be subject to very careful examination 
and any fraud is likely to be discovered. 


Commercial establishments which deal in wax are so well 
prepared to render the wax at a low price that many bee-keepers 
ship all combs and refuse containing wax to some of these estab- 
lishments at the end of the season. Either the bee-keeper pays 
cash for rendering the wax and has it worked into comb foun- 
dation for future use, or he sells the wax for cash and is charged 
a small fee for rendering. Where the bee-keeper has but a small 
amount of material this is frequently the most satisfactory way 
of disposing of it, as he avoids a very mussy job at best and his 
time may often be otherwise employed more profitably. 

The Solar Extractor. — The solar wax extractor is made by 
placing a glass a few inches above a sheet of metal which is tilted 
enough to allow the melted wax to run off and depending upon 
the heat of the sun to melt the combs. New and tender combs or 
cappings will be pretty well rendered in this manner but old 
combs will not be well separated. In any case a solar extractor 
is a valuable item of equipment in an apiary for bits of comb can 
be thrown into it as collected and thus be saved. Old combs may 
be melted to prevent damage by moths. Considerable quantities 
of wax will accumulate in the wax box at the bottom and this will 
save handling again later. The whitest and best wax will be 
secured in this way. It will nearly always pay to render the 
refuse from a solar extractor in a wax press as otherwise much 
of the wax is wasted. 

Boiling in a Clothes Boiler. — There are a number of crude 
methods by which bee-keepers with but a small amount of wax 
have long extracted it. One of these is to boil the combs in a 


wash boiler and to skim the wax from the surface of the water. 
Sometimes the combs are placed in a burlap bag and thrown in 
the boiling water. Sticks are used to punch the bag and to stir 
it about in the hot water. While a certain amount of wax will 
be secured in this manner it is very wasteful and from one-fourth 
to one-half of the wax will be lost unless the refuse is rendered 
again by some plan. 

Small bits of comb are often placed in a pan in the oven. 
The pan is partly filled with water and the hot wax dipped off or 
the combs are laid on a screen through which the wax will run 
while the waste will remain on the screen. The wax is some- 
times left to harden in the pan and the cake lifted out when cool. 
While rendering by some of these crude methods is better 
than wasting the wax the amount wasted will shortly pay for a 
good press. 

The Wax Press.— N"o satisfactory way to get all the wax has 
been found without the use of some kind of press. Some may 
think that they are getting all the wax because the slumgum or 
refuse is apparently free from it, but the chances are that when 
rendered with a good outfit this slumgum would produce from 
fifteen to twenty-five per cent more wax. 

A man who understands mechanics and is handy with tools 
can readily construct a wax press, though there are good ones to 
be had in the market. The principal requirements are great 
pressure applied when the mass is hot, and that there be plenty of 
water mixed with the melted combs to insure that the wax will 
run freely. Many of the outfits in use have some provision for 
the use of steam to keep the whole thing hot when the pressure 
is applied. It has been found of late that the press need not 
be heated if the work is done when the weather is warm or in a 
warm room, providing that the material is boiling hot when 
dipped into press, but more wax will be secured with a hot press. 
Many different plans for making presses for this purpose have 
been described in the bee journals but the essential requirements 
are the same. Some are round and some square but with pressure 



properly applied and the material of the right temperature almost 
any of them will get the wax. 

The Hershiser Press. — The most effective press now on the 
market is the Hershiser. It combines all the principles neces- 
sary to secure the maximum amount of wax. It may be said, 
however, that no press so far invented gets all the wax. Much of 
the wax is lost by any method so far available. The advantages 
of this press are, that it exerts a heavy pressure ; that this pres- 

FiQ. 100. — The Hershiser wax press. 

sure is exerted under the surface of boiling water, which is the 
condition most favorable for securing the greatest quantity of 
wax; and the combs are in thin layers to enable the hot water 
and wax to run out easily. 

Rendering the Wax. — To render the wax the wooden frame 
is placed on the floor and a sheet of burlap laid across. The 
cheesebox is then filled heaping full of combs. These are tamped 
down until a solid cheese results. When the cheesebox is tamped 
level full the burlap is folded over and pinned with safety pins. 
A wire cloth covered wood and metal grate is placed in the bottom 
of the extractor and a cheese laid on top of it. Another grate is 
added and another cheese until three cheeses are put in. The f ol- 


lower is then put in place and the screw handle made ready as 
shown in Fig. 100. 

The extractor is then placed on the stove and filled with 
water which is brought to a boil. The contents should be boiled 
for some time in order that the cheeses be thoroughly heated. 
From time to time the screw should be turned down to exert 
the maximum of pressure. The pressure forces out the boiling 
water and melted wax. The wax rises to the top and runs off 
through a special spout provided for that purpose. 

The pressure is released from time to time and the cheeses 
taken out and replaced again in somewhat different position. 
Some additional wax will be recovered by making several appli- 
cations of the pressure. 

In the commercial comb rendering plants these presses are 
connected with steam pipes and are kept boiling for several hours 
for each batch in order to secure the maximum quantity of wax. 

By breaking up old cheeses and repeating the process one can 
usually secure enough more wax to justify the extra labor. The 
second, or sometimes even the third rendering, will yield a 
surprising amount of wax. This is especially true where insuffi- 
cient heat and pressure have been used at the first trial. 

For a time the Massachusetts Agricultural College operated 
a wax rendering station for the bee-keepers. They were in- 
structed to use a barrel for storage purposes and as combs were 
thrown in, to tamp them down tight, and when the barrel was 
filled to ship to the station for rendering. Smaller containers 
were used for small quantities. The station was very popular 
with the bee-keepers and large quantities of wax were shipped 
there to be rendered. It has since been discontinued. 

The Steam Press. — At one time steam wax presses were in 
common use but they are generally being replaced by the method 
previously described. The steam press is heated by steam gener- 
ated from water in the bottom of the can. It will be necessary 
to set the press on a hot stove or to make some provision for 
heating the water. Above the water is a basket to hold the 



combs on which pressure is applied by means of a screw. The 
melting wax falls into the water below and runs out the over- 
flow spout (Fig. 101). 

Boiler Press. — There are different kinds of hot water presses 
in use but in general they may be said to consist of a strong can 
in which is contained a heavily bound basket. A bar across the 
center supports the screw by means of which the pressure is 

applied. In this kind of extractor 
the water comes up around the 
melted combs which are under 
pressure and the boiling and 
pressing are carried on at the 
same time. When the wax is all 
out sufficient water is supplied to 
carry it off through the tube near 
the top, while the small amount 
of refuse straining through the 
cloth settles to the bottom of the 
can. This plan gives good results 
if carefully done but there is 
some difficulty in getting all the 
wax out of the can. 

There is no trouble about the 
mass cooling while under pressure 
and the operation can be repeated 
as often as desired by simply loosening the screw and saturating 
the cheese with water again. 

Bleaching Wax. — Every time the wax is melted the tendency 
is to a lighter color and the exposure to the sun in the solar 
extractor also tends to whiten it. Although sulfuric acid is 
sometimes used for clarifying, there is seldom any occasion 
for the bee-keeper to bother about bleaching further than to 
re-melt any cakes of wax that are very dark and to remove as 
much impurity as possible. The difference in price that will be 
received will hardly pay for the extra trouble, however. 

Fig. 101. — Steam was press. 


Cooling the Wax.—Utensils into which the hot wax is poured 
for cooling should first be dipped into cold water or greased 
to prevent the wax from sticking. Then care should be used to 
prevent the wax from cooling too rapidly or the cakes will crack. 


1. How is wax produced? 

2. Of what use is it to the bee-keeper? 

3. Discuss the various commercial uses of beeswax. 

4. How is comb foundation made? 

5. Why is beeswax often adulterated? 

6. Discuss the different methods of rendering beeswas. 


As a country grows older new vicissitudes beset almost any 
line of business, and bee-keeping is no exception. In many sec- 
tions of the United States brood diseases have not as yet appeared, 
and in many others the bee-keepers are having their first experi- 
ence in combating them. However, it is only a matter of time 
until bee-keepers can expect to be compelled to deal with foul 
brood no matter where they live. It accordingly will pay the 
business bee-keeper to inform himself as fully as possible con- 
cerning bee diseases, even though there be none at present in 
his vicinity. 

Expert bee-keepers are frequently all but ruined by the 
appearance of foul brood in their apiaries. With a thorough 
knowledge of the accepted methods of dealing with disease the 
experience need not be so costly, for by prompt action the danger 
can be largely avoided. 

The census of 1901 showed a decrease of 16.1 per cent of 
the total number of colonies of bees in the United States as a 
whole. The wide-spread presence of disease is no doubt largely 
responsible for this condition. With an increasing population 
and a decreasing number of bee-keepers, it would look as if the 
business of honey production should offer a good field of opera- 
tions. While the small bee-keepers with a few colonies on the 
farms are rapidly being removed, specialists are increasing in 
number. This is as it should be, for to-day is the great age of 
specialists and the business which is not worthy of development 
as a specialty offers little inducement to the active man. 

WThile there are still many puzzling things that manifest 
themselves in connection with foul brood, the essentials neces- 
sary to the control of either form are pretty well understood and 
practical men who are on their guard find it possible to withstand 


the onslaught without great losses. It usually happens, however, 
that disease has gained considerable headway in the apiary be- 
fore its owner is aware of the nature of the difficulty. Especially 
is this true when disease puts in an appearance for the first time 
in a locality that has been free from it. The journals frequently 
recount the experience of some unfortunate who has suffered 
heavy losses in this manner. The writer, in the capacity of 
State inspector of apiaries, saw such cases very frequently. 
Instances have come to his attention where the losses amounted 
to many thousands of dollars, whereas had the owner realized 
the nature of the trouble on its first appearance it could have 
been checked without difiiculty. 


Much confusion has resulted in the similarity of names of 
the two common diseases. It is unfortunate that some entirely 
different name was not applied to one or the other. While Euro- 
pean foul brood has long been known, in some localities, under 
the name of " black brood," the name was not appropriate and 
it has given way to the accepted title of European foul brood. 
There is a decided difference in the appearance and in the action 
of the two forms, so much so that there need be little difficulty 
in recognizing the difference in advanced stages. In early stages 
it is sometimes a little difficult to determine which form one may 
have to deal with, and in that case it is well to cut out a piece of 
comb containing the dead larva? and, wrapping it securely, send 
it to the Bureau of Entomology of the United States Department 
of Agriculture. By means of a microscopic examination they 
can readily determine the nature of the difficulty. 

American foul brood has long been present in this country 
and when we hear the term " foul brood " we naturally infer that 
American foul brood is meant (Figs. 102 and 103). It is also 
called " ropy foul brood " because of the peculiar ropy charac- 
teristic of the dead tissue at a certain stage. The larv^ are 
usually attacked at about the time the cells are capped and most 



of the cells containing dead larvae are capped. When the larva 
dies it turns a chocolate or brown color and in advanced stages 
of decay becomes darker. The cappings become sunken, and 
frequently the cappings are perforated by small holes. The most 
common test for this disease is to insert a toothpick or timothy 
straw into the dead tissue and slowly withdraw it. The decaying 
matter stretches out like thick molasses, sometimes for an inch 
or two before breaking. After the dead larva has become fully 
dried it forms a dried scale on the lower side of the cell. This 
scale adheres tightly to the cell and can be readily observed by 
holding the comb in front of the eyes at such an angle that the 
light falls into the bottom of the cell and illuminates the lower 
side wall. 

There is also a very characteristic odor clinging to the combs 
containing a badly infected case of foul brood of the American 
form. It is commonly spoken of as a glue-pot odor but that 
hardly describes it. It is, however, a characteristic of the dis- 
ease that can readily be recognized. Queen and drone larvse are 
seldom affected by American foul brood, while the other form 
attacks both queen and drone larvae at the same stage as worker 
larvae are affected. Cases are reported where there is a decided 
odor with European foul brood, but the writer does not remem- 
ber ever having seen a case in all the hundreds of apiaries visited. 
The ropy condition of the dead matter together with the odor is 
usually considered as positive evidence of American foul brood. 

When this disease is present the death of a portion of the 
brood gradually decimates the colony until it becomes so weak 
that it can no longer defend its stores and it is likely to be robbed 
out and the honey carried to other colonies. The disease is thus 
spread far and wide. The writer has seen cases where after the 
death of the colony from foul brood the hive was turned over 
and exposed to the bees by the owner, who was ignorant of the 
real cause of the trouble. The disease was thus needlessly carried 
into every colony of large apiaries. 

The disease is caused by a bacillus technically known as 


Bacillus larvae. These microorganisms are so extremely minute 
as to require a high power microscope to enable' on© to find them. 
The germs or their spores seem to be carried from hive to hive 
only in the honey. In treating American foul brood, it accord- 
ingly becomes exceedingly important to rid the colony of every 
vestige of the diseased honey. While the honey may carry the 
germs of foul brood vs^hich are fatal to young bees, it is not in 
the least injured thereby for human consumption. 

It is important that this point be fully understood or other- 
wise any method of treatment is likely to be unavailing. On one 
occasion an inspector was called to examine the bees in a neigh- 
borhood where foul brood was known to be present. At one farm- 
house he was told by the housewife that they no longer had any 
bees but some empty hives. On investigation he found that the 
bees had died during the winter from American foul brood. It 
was still early spring and the honey had not yet been found by 
the bees of the neighborhood. He explained carefully to the 
owner the method of treatment and thought that he fully under- 
stood it. The next day a man was sent back to ascertain whether 
instructions had been properly followed, only to find that he 
had carefully disinfected the hive by burning it out, but had 
left the honey lying on the ground where it was even more likely 
to be found by visiting bees than had it been left in the hive. 
In this case a large apiary near at hand was saved from infection 
by the fortunate visit of the inspector. 

Bees weakened by disease are very likely to die in winter. 
In such cases the old combs should in no case be used again, but 
the wax should be rendered and the hive carefully disinfected 
before being put in service. Colonies thus weakened are also 
very likely to fall an easy prey to the wax moth, and it fre- 
quently happens that colonies which are charged to the ravages 
of the moth are really victims of foul brood. It is frequently 
recommended that honey from diseased colonies be boiled and 
fed back again to the bees. While this may be safe if carefully 
done, it is much safer to feed sugar syrup if it becomes necessary 


to feed anything. It is regarded as unsafe to feed the honey from 
hives infected with this disease, as high temperature for con- 
siderable length of time is necessar)'- to insure death of all spores. 
In the hands of a novice it frequently happens that the boiling is 
not sufficiently thorough and healthy bees are thus infected. 

Treatment of American Foul Brood. — This disease is rather 
slow in its progress, but very sure, and once a colony becomes 
infected its final death is certain, unless the bees are removed 
to a clean hive and the infected brood destroyed. In the hands of 
the average bee-keeper the shaking treatment, commonly called 
the McEvoy treatment, is best. McEvoy, who was for a time 
inspector for Ontario, was very successful in treating foul brood 
and he it was who probably first brought successful methods of 
treatment prominently before the public. However, the essen- 
tials of this method wero described in Europe many years before 
the birth of McEvoy, and Quinby had also long made use of shak- 
ing for the cure of foul brood in this country. 

The first essential is to remove the bees entirely from the 
source of the disease, and they should accordingly be placed in 
a clean hive on the old stand and the old combs, brood, and honey 
all removed. McEvoy allowed them to build new combs for 
four days, thus insuring that all honey carried with them would 
be used, and then again shook them into another clean hive and 
destroyed the combs that they had built in the meantime. The 
second shaking is not always necessary. By using good judg- 
ment the bee-keeper can usually tell when conditions are such 
that a second shaking will be necessary. 

The instructions given from the office of the Iowa Inspector 
are as follows : 

In the evening after the bees have stopped flying, brush or shake all 
the bees into a clean hive containing foundation starters. Bury or burn 
the old combs at once, not the next day. Take great care that no honey, 
not even the smallest drop, be exposed to the bees, or the disease may be 
carried back or exposed to healthy colonies. 

This is essentially the instruction given for years past by 
various State officials charged with enforcement of foul brood 


laws. It is repeated here simply to show that the essentials 
can be stated in a few words. 

Modification of Method. — If the bee-keeper does not give the 
second shaking at the end of four days he should watch very 
carefully to see that the disease does not again appear. There are 
a number of modifications of this method of treatment, each of 
which has advantages apparent to those who follow it. Thomas 
Chantry inserts a dry extracting comb in the center of the hive 
on which the bees are shaken and about twenty-four hours later 
very carefully removes this comb. In the meantime the bees will 
have used the empty comb to deposit the honey that they may 
have carried with them. This is much to be preferred to the 
second shaking as it saves a heavy loss in wax secretion and conse- 
quent tax on the bees which are badly used at best. Edward G. 
Brown, of Iowa, who is a large honey producer, has used this 
method successfully for a number of years and recommends it 
as very satisfactory if carefully done. 

D. E. Lhommedieu, another Iowa bee-keeper of long experi- 
ence, shakes the bees into a clean hive and leaves them for four 
days or until he is sure that all old honey carried with them has 
been consumed. He then takes combs of brood and honey from 
healthy colonies and places them in a clean hive and puts this 
on the stand where the diseased colony has been. Feeling that 
the bees have rid themselves of the infection, he proceeds to shake 
the bees into the new hive containing the brood and they are thus 
saved the heavy tax of building up from the beginning. 

The object is to rid the bees of every trace of the diseased 
honey before the new brood appears in the hive and any method 
that will accomplish this result is likely to succeed. 

When a number of colonies are to be shaken, it is well to 
replace the frames of brood in the old hives and to pile one above 
another on top of some diseased colony which may be reserved 
for treatment for a few days, until the healthy brood is hatched, 
and thus save what healthy brood there is in all the hives. This 
plan has been carried out very successfully in some apiaries. 


One of the best methods of treatment is to remove the queen 
very carefully, disturbing the bees as little as possible. The hive 
should then be tightly closed with the exception of a bee escape, 
which will permit the bees to go out but give none a chance to 
return. Take a frame of healthy brood from some other colony 
and place in a clean hive. Fill the remainder of the hive with 
full sheets of foundation or empty combs and place it where the 
colony has stood. The queen may then be placed on the frame of 
brood and the new hive left with the entrance somewhat smaller 
than usual. Turn the hive containing the diseased colony around 
so that the escape will be near the entrance of the new hive. The 
bees leaving the hive go to the fields with their honey sacs empty 
and returning enter the clean hive. As fast as the brood hatches 
in the old hive the bees will leave only to find no way of return 
and enter the clean hive in which the old queen is at work as 
usual. This method has the advantage of saving the colony 
without loss of brood or checking the laying of the queen. If 
properly done this is perhaps the best method of dealing with 
American foul brood. Some bee-keepers advocate setting the 
diseased colony on top of the clean hive with the bee-escape board 
underneath and the old queen left in the brood chamber. By 
this method the bees will rear a young queen from the brood in 
the frame given them in the clean hive while the old queen con- 
tinues to lay in the diseased chamber above until she is finally 
deserted by the workers. 

Late-Season Cases. — When a case of foul brood is found 
in fall after the honey flow is over, it is seldom advisable to 
attempt to winter the colony. In general it may be said that 
treatment is not likely to be successful, excepting when there is 
some honey coming from the fields or will be later in the season. 
If cases are treated ahead of the honey flow, the lack of a flow 
can be met by heavy feeding to stimulate the building of combs. 
If the bees get well started in this way they will recover nicely 
during the honey flow that follows later on. After the flow is 
over in the fall it would cost more than they are worth to feed 


a sufficient amount of stores to build them up ready for winter. 
To winter a colony with the idea of treating in the spring will 
require in the neighborhood of twenty-five pounds of honey, and 
there is always the danger that they may die during the winter 
or early spring. In this case there is not only the total loss of 
the bees and the honey that they have consumed, but the added 
danger that bees from other colonies may get at the stores and 
rob them out on some warm day before the hives have been 
looked after, and the disease be further spread. If the colony 
is strong enough to have a fair chance of wintering it is possible 
to save honey and wax to the value of from two to four dollars, 
and this is more than a diseased colony is worth at this season of 
the year. The hive may be saved and prepared for use again by 
proper disinfection. 

Late in the evening after the bees have stopped flying, the 
entrance should be tightly closed to prevent the escape of any 
bees. The hive should then be removed to- some tight building or 
cellar and the bees killed with sulphur. All honey fit for use 
can be removed, but care should be taken that not a drop ever 
gets back to live bees. The combs can be melted up and the 
wax saved. Honey not fit for the table can be made into vinegar. 
The hive, including both top and bottom, should be thoroughly 
cleaned before using again, and if the frames are to be used 
again they should be boiled. Any honey that is fed to bees 
should be diluted with water and boiled for half an hour or until 
the scum is thoroughly cooked.' 

Disinfecting. — For disinfecting hive parts a painter's torch 
is very good. Some paint the inside of the hives with kerosene 
and then pile one above another and set fire to them and smother 
the fire as soon as the interior is scorched. Fire is the only sure 
method since drugs are generally regarded as useless for this 


The cause of European foul brood is supposed to be Bacillus 
pluton, a microorganism similar to those responsible for such 
diseases as diphtheria, typhoid fever, etc., in human beings 



Authorities are not agreed as to the method of spread of this 
disease. That it is not spread altogether in the honey as is 
American foul brood is evidenced bv the fact that strong colonies 
with vigorous young Italian queens frequently clean out the 
infection and that it docs not reappear in the hive. In the case 
of a colony affected with American foul bro(id the final death of 
the colony seems assured unless the last trace of the diseased 
brood and honey is removed. While some authorities for a time 
insisted on shaking in treating for European foul brood the same 

Fio. 104. — Thirteen colonies left of one hundred five aa the result of European foul 
brood for eight months. 

as for American, shaking is no longer advised in tlie treat- 
ment of this disease. It is now well known that the destruc- 
tion of combs and honey is not necessary in dealing with 
European foul brood. 

One striking peculiarity of this disease soon becomes appar- 
ent to an inspector ; when it appears in a malignant form it is 
usually to be found in every colony in a yard within a short 
period of time. While American foul brood may be present 
in a yard for months without spreading, European foul brood 
frequently, though not always, spreads very rapidly and appears 
in all colonies very quickly. Cases have come under the writer's 
observation, where no disease had been present in a locality, 
European foul brood suddenly appeared in nearly every colony 


of several large apiaries situated near together. At times it 
seems very mild and will even disappear of itself. At other 
times large numbers of bees will die in a very short period of 
time. The illustration (Fig. 104) shows a case where but thir- 
teen colonies remained of one hundred and five in eight months. 
The disease was not known to be present until two weeks after 
the bees were taken from the cellar in spring, only about six 
weeks before the picture was taken. As the winter loss was 
unusually heavy it is presumed that the disease was present when 
the bees went into winter quarters. 

American and European foul brood, it would seem, can be 
compared to smallpox and typhoid fever in the human race. 
American foul brood, like typhoid fever, requires a common 
source of infection, in the case of the bee disease the honey, 
in the case of the human ailment milk, water, etc. European 
foul brood seems to spread among bees as readily as malignant 
smallpox among the human race, actual contact apparently not 
being necessary to the spread of either. However, until recently 
little was known about European foul brood and it is entirely 
probable that later discoveries will add much to our knowledge of 
the disease. 

Appearance of Affected Larvae,— European foul brood 
attacks the larvae at a much earlier stage than does American 
foul brood and but a small part of the diseased brood is ever 
capped (Fig. 105). In bad cases large numbers of the larva? 
will be found to be dead and misshapen while still white as 
shown in the plate. Later they turn yellow and finally quite 
dark in color. There is seldom any apparent ropiness in the 
dead tissue as in the case of the other form of foul brood. Sel- 
dom is there a noticeable odor such as is so apparent in advanced 
stages of the American type of the disease. Queen and drone 
larvae are usually attacked early. This is one of the common 
tests in early stages for determining which disease be present. 
The disease is usually more destructive in spring and early 




Detection by Odor.— In some localities European foul brood 
is said to be attended with a decided odor, although unlike that 
of American foul brood, being more like that of decayed fish, 
according to Morley Petit, of Ontario. 

Resistant Bees. — For some reason Italian bees seem to be 
much more resistant of this disease than the hybrids or blacks, 
and the best insurance against this malady is to re-queen all 
colonies with vigorous Italians. Some strains seem much more 
immune than others, so that it is desirable to secuia a strain 
thai;, has demonstrated its disease resistance. 

Treatment. — There is much confusion on the part of the 
inexperienced bee-keeper between the two diseases, and since the 
treatment advised for one is entirely unsuited for the other it 
is important to make sure which disease is present. What is 
known as the Alexander plan is now generally regarded as the 
only dependable treatment for European foulbrood. The essen- 
tial element of this plan is the saving of the combs instead of 
melting them up as is the case of the other disease. There are 
many modifications of the plan as proposed by the originator. 

Alexander's Plan.— To begin with, the queen is removed 
from the diseased colony in order to check brood rearing. The 
bees being relieved of nursing young brood, turn their attention 
to cleaning out infected matter from the hive with the result 
that given a new queen a few days later they often remain free 
from the disease. Mr. Alexander believed it to be necessary 
for twenty-one days to elapse from the time the old queen was 
removed before the new queen began to lay. Of late many bee- 
keepers have found that under favorable conditions a much 
shorter time is sufficient. In order to be successful with this 
method several things must be borne in mind. First the new 
queen must be a vigorous young Italian. Then the colony must 
be very strong and the treatment must be given in early stages 
of the disease. If the combs are fairly rotten with decaying 
larva? it is too much to expect that the bees will clean them up 
again. Hybrids or black bees are seldom, if ever, able to rid 


themselves of the disease in this manner. Dr. C. C. Miller, one 
of the best known authorities, is quoted as follows : 

I know there are those for whom I have great respect who have bitterly 
denounced the practice of trying to save the combs in treating European 
foul brood. In my first dealing with the disease I melted hundreds of 
brood combs. If I am forgiven I will never do it again. Please be sure to 
note that I am talking about European, not American, foul brood. The 
loss of the combs is not all there is of it. Indeed, I think that is the 
smallest part. The greater loss is from the set-back in the work of brood 
rearing. It seems to knock things endwise for weeks, if not for the season. 
Far less is the interference when egg laying is suspended for eight or ten 

I think I hear someone say, " But your treatment does not seem 
effective for you keep on having the disease, while with the orthodox method 
and the combs destroyed there's the end of it." Pardon me, that may be 
true with regard to American but not with European foul brood. I treated 
the disease after the most orthodox fashion, destroying, as I have said, 
hundreds of combs, and so far as I could see, the disease was just as willing 
to return as with the drastic treatment. I think I'd rather keep brood 
and combs. 

With reference to the Alexander plan of treating this disease 
as practised by Dr. Miller and others, it is well to repeat what 
has already been said, that no method has ever been found for 
eliminating American foul brood without destroying the combs. 
This method applies only to European foul brood and sacbrood, 
a mild disease described later on. 

European foul brood was long known as black brood and first 
appeared in the East It was known in New York for a number 
of years before it made an appearance in the Central West. 
While there are still many localities where it is not present it 
has spread into practically all parts of the country. 

Sources of Infection. — The spread of American foul brood 
in the neighborhood of the diseased colonies is usually by means 
of robber bees which visit those which, because of their weak- 
ened condition, are no longer able to defend their stores, and 
disease is thus rapidly spread. Every bee-keeper should guard 
against the robbing of weak colonies. In case a colony dies from 
disease the hive should be at once removed, the contents 
destroyed, and the hive and fixtures thoroughly disinfected. 


Another source of the disease is the use of secovd-hand honey 
containers. A large part of the western honey goes to market 
in sixty-pound cans. These cans when empty are sold at a very 
low price and many bee-keepers are tempted to make use of 
them. Honey placed in these containers is sometimes later fed 
to the bees, or while being refilled they have often been visited by 
the bees, with the result that foul brood has been carried to the 
apiary, often in a minute drop of honey. 

Bee-keepers have sometimes brought the disease home by 
the me of purchased honey for feeding in time of short supply 
of stores. The writer has been surprised at the extent of the 
complaint of the spread of disease from these two causes. There 
is so little to be saved by the use of a second-hand container that 
bee-keepers can hardly afford to take the risk. In case it becomes 
necessary to feed the bees, good sugar syrup should always be 
used unless the honey is known to be from apiaries that are free 
from disease. 

The use of hives, frames, etc., in which bees have died is not 
safe unless they have been disinfected. While disease sometimes 
appears from some unaccountable source, the bee-keeper should 
take every possible precaution to avoid its spread. 

The presence of foul brood in an apiary is a serious matter 
to the owner and cannot but result in serious loss. Frequent 
reports come to the writer of the loss of entire apiaries, some- 
times of many colonies, from foul brood. 


Sacbrood has long been known by the name of pickled brood. 
The name sacbrood is, however, much more appropriate because 
the dead larva do not melt down as they do in foul brood, but 
rather retain the full size, the body wall retaining the contents 
in the form of a sac. This disease is seldom serious in nature 
although it is mildly infectious and may be spread from one 
colony to another. As a rule no attention need be paid to it, 
as it usually disappears with the coming of a good honey flow. 


If the queen at the head of the diseased colony be old or failing 
it is well to re-queen with vigorous young stock. Some recom- 
mend treatment for this disease as with foul brood, but that is 
seldom, if ever, necessary. In bad cases where the colony is 
weak the queen should be replaced and the colony strengthened 
by the addition of frames of emerging brood. 

Symptoms of Sacbrood. — This disease somewhat resembles 
European foul brood and is frequently confused with that dis- 
ease. Inspectors have in several instances been called long dis- 
tances to deal with European foul brood, only to find after a 
few days' delay that the disease was sacbrood and had nearly 
disappeared of itself. The dead larvie are found to be extended 
the full length in the cell with the sharp pointed end slightly 
turned upward. The dead tissue soon assumes a dark color and 
there is little or no odor to the combs. 

Chilled or Starved Brood. — The young bees die from several 
other causes than any of the three diseases mentioned. It fre- 
quently happens in early spring that the brood nest expands rap- 
idly during the first warm days, with the result that a sudden 
drop in the temperature makes it impossible for the bees to 
warm all the brood and a portion becomes chilled. The supply 
of honey or pollen is also at times exhausted when unfavorable 
weather conditions make it impossible for the bees to gather 
stores for a considerable period and much brood is lost from 

When bees are being moved without sufficient ventilation 
the brood is sometimes lost from overheating. All of these causes 
are occasionally responsible for the supposition that foul brood 
is present when, in fact, it is not. 

Poisoning. — The growth of the commercial fruit industry 
has developed a new difficulty, — poisoning the bees. It fre- 
quently happens that some overzealous fruit grower, blind to his 
own best interest, sprays his fruit trees while in full bloom. 
This not only injures the chances of getting a full crop of 


fruit, by washing off the pollen at a critical period, but results 
in the destruction of the honey-bees whose presence just at this 
time is very essential to his success. So serious had this con- 
dition become in some localities that laws have been passed to 
prevent the spraying of fruit trees during the period of full 
bloom. It would seem that any man who is sufficiently progres- 
sive to spray his trees would realize the fact that he can get 
better results in spraying immediately after the petals fall. 

Dysentery is usually caused by too long confinement or poor 
stores. Under normal conditions the worker-bee voids her excre- 
ment only when on the wing. ^Vhen long periods of time elapse 
during which they are unable to fly and thus relieve themselves 
of the accumulated waste in the intestines, they are sometimes 
compelled to discharge within the hive. When this condition is 
reached they soon die, unless a change in the weather permits 
them to get out and to clean up. Under such circumstances the 
combs are badly soiled and the bees die amidst the filth. 

Honey-dew or other poor stores is quite likely to cause this 
trouble. It is an important matter to see that the hives are 
supplied with honey of the best quality for wintering, especially 
in the North where the bees are confined for weoks or months 
without flight. (See Chapter XIII.) 

Weak colonies are more susceptible to dysentery than strong 
colonies, for the reason that a greater amount of food will neces- 
sarily be consumed in order to keep up the heat, and the waste 
is consequently greater. 

Prevention. — From the above it will be seen that dysentery 
is generally a winter disorder and that proper wintering insures 
freedom from the trouble. While strong colonies, with good 
stores and proper protection, seldom are seriously troubled, still 
even they may have trouble under unfavorable conditions, or 
during very long confinement. " 

Remedy. — About the only remedy is a good flight on a warm 
day. If the bees are beginning to show signs of this trouble in 
the cellar in winter, and a warm day comes which will permit 


a safe flight, it will pay the bee-keeper to set them out and to put 
them back again at night after they have returned to the hive. 

Mice. — The mice sometimes enter the hives in winter, either 
in cellars or out-door wintered colonies. The author once saw 
a hive where the little rodents had gnawed through an old 
bottom board and really had destroyed the colony by eating the 
combs and disturbing the bees during their winter rest. Both 
the white-footed wood mice and the common house mice are 
likely to cause such mischief. Mice and rats are also very 
destructive in the honey house by destroying surplus combs, 
sections, etc., and it is well, if possible, to make the honey house 
mouse proof. 

Skunks. — The normal and preferred food of the skunk is 
insects and mice. It is then to be expected that bees will suffer 
where skunks are common. They sometimes learn to scratch 
at the entrance of the hive and to catch the bees as they rush out. 
Skunks are also fond of honey, as the writer has found by 
feeding it to these animals in confinement. However, they are 
unable to get at the honey in the hive and the only injury from 
these animals is to the bees. 

Skunks are of considerable value in keeping down the num- 
ber of rodents and such insect pests as grasshoppers and crickets, 
and where they are not too abundant should be encouraged. It 
is frequently wiser to protect the bees and poultry from the 
animals and leave them free to war on rats and mice than to 
destroy the skunks and have to fight the other pests. It is less 
trouble to guard against the skunks. In localities where they 
become over-abundant, it may sometimes be advisable to destroy 
them (Fig. 106). 

Dragon flies, mosquito hawks, snake feeders, or devil's darn- 
ing needles, all of which are common names for the same insects, 
are sometimes mentioned as enemies of bees. The trouble seems 
to be limited to restricted localities, and while there are sometimes 
instances where individual bee-keepers suffer considerable annoy- 
ance from these insects, especially from the loss of young queens 


which are caught on their mating flights, the insects cannot be 
said to be generally injurius. 

The robber fly is a large insect that flies with a loud buzz. 
It is a rapacious fellow, seeking those it may devour. Butter- 
flies, bees, grasshoppers, and even wasps and beetles fall victims 
to its voracious appetite. It is seldom sufficiently abundant to 
cause appreciable injury in the bee yard and may be regarded, 
on the wholp. as a useful insect (Fig. 107). 

FiQ. 106.— The natural and preferred food of the skunk is insects. The honey-bee is a 
tempting delicacy to the skunk palate. 

Spiders also sometimes weave their webs in situations where 
the heavily laden bees fall into them and are lost. Large webs 
in the immediate vicinity of the hive should not be tolerated, 
but aside from that little is to be feared from spiders. 


The larger wax moth (Galleria melonella) is very widely 

distributed and among indifferent bee-keepers is a serious pest. 

It is present in nearly all portions of Europe and North America 

where bees are kept, excepting the high altitudes of Colorado 



and other western States. In the vicinity of Denver it has 
several times been introduced, only to disappear vt^ithin a short 
time, apparently being unable to live in the high and dry 
atmosphere of that region. It is more destructive in the warmer 
parts of the country than in the northern sections where the 
season is not so long. 

The adult is an inconspicuous little moth of grayish color, 
quick to take flight on the opening of the hive (Fig. 102). They 
remain secluded during the day unless disturbed, but are appar- 
ently very active after 
nightfall. The eggs are 
laid in crevices in or 
about the hive where the 
larvae can readily find 
their way to the combs. 
The insect is very pro- 
lific and once a weak 
colony becomes infested 
the total destruction of 
the combs may be com- 
pleted in but a short 

Fia. 107. — The robber fly. (After Washburn.) DCriod of time 

Concerning the laying, Paddock ^ says : 

In the cages where empty comb was supplied, the eggs were always 
laid in cavities and if possible in such cavities as were well protected. Only 
one egg is deposited at a time, though in working over a small piece of 
comb the eggs may be placed close together, apparently in masses. The 
eggs are always securely glued to their resting place; usually the shell 
will break before the egg is loosened. The number of eggs deposited by 
one female has not been ascertained but moths which had not deposited 
eggs were killed and the eggs in their ovaries counted. The average num- 
ber of eggs counted was 1014. The time consumed in laying the full quota 
ol eggs varies with the generation, averaging nine days in the first and 
seven days in the second. 

When first hatched the larvae are white and very small. They 

burrow into the combs at once. The larval period is spent in 

• Observations on the Bee Moth, Journal of Economic Entomology, vol. 
vii. No. 2. 



tunnelling through the combs along the midrib. The pollen 
stored in the cells, as well as the wax of which the combs are 
constructed, seems to furnish them with food. The tunnels are 
lined with silk similar to that of which the cocoons are composed. 
It is not long until the combs are but a mass of webs and refuse 
( Fig. 103). Thet length of this stage varies from thirty-five days 
in the second brood to forty-five days with the first brood accord- 
ing to the author above quoted. 

The cocoons are spun in masses under the cover, behind the 
ends of the frames or in any other situation seeming to offer 
protection, but usually within the hive where the larval period 
has been spent. About two weeks are required to complete this 
stage, after which the adult moths will appear. 

In the extreme South it is probable that breeding continues 
throughout the year with little interruption. In the ;N'orth only 
such individuals as are fortunate enough to select a place free 
from extreme cold will survive. Those remaining in hives in 
the open air in which the bees have perished will likewise die 
before spring, as they cannot endure severe freezing. There are 
always a few tucked away snugly in the hives near the clusters 
of bees, which are kept sufficiently warm to insure their safety. 
These will shortly populate a large area with their offspring 
when warm weather comes. They are also able to pass the winter 
in empty hives that are carried into the cellar or other place 
where the temperature does not drop much below freezing. 

The Remedy. — The wax moth may be regarded as a symp- 
tom that something is wrong, for a normal colony of bees will 
usually defend themselves against this pest without difficulty. 
Italians, however, are better able to contend with it than the 
common strains. The blacks are especially liable to succumb 
to an attack of moths. Usually it is the weak and queenless 
colonies that fall victims to its ravages. 

Three adult moths may be seen on the comb in Fig. 102. 
The larvaj are repulsive caterpillars and reach an inch or more 
in length. Fig. 103 shows the work of these insects in a little 


more advanced stage. If left undisturbed such a comb would 
very shortly be entirely destroyed. 

Amateur bee-keepers frequently complain that the moth is 
destroying their bees and inquire what to do for it. The answer 
is : Keep your colonies strong and replace old and failing queens 
with vigorous young Italians. Colonies that have become weak- 
ened by disease fall an easy prey to the moths. 

Experienced bee-keepers are seldom heard to complain of 
this trouble, for they have long ago learned that constant vigi- 
lance is the price of success, in the apiary as elsewhere. The 
bee-keeper who does not examine the brood nest of his colonies 
occasionally has no means of knowing the condition of his bees. 
Frequent examination will enable him to detect and avoid the 
conditions that provide favorable surroundings for the moths. 

Care of Empty Combs. — The moths are a source of annoy- 
ance to the bee-keeper who has large numbers of empty combs 
during a part of the year. During the warm months there is no 
better place to store empty combs than over a strong colony of 
Italian bees. After the season is over and cold nights come they 
may be placed in any cold place safely, for freezing will effec- 
tively check the work of these insects. It is well to have a tight 
compartment where no adult moths can get in so that they will 
be safe after warm weather comes again. There is always danger 
in putting away empty combs in warm weather, that eggs may be 
present and that the combs may be destroyed before the presence 
of the insects is discovered. 

"When combs either empty or containing honey are found to 
be infested with moths they should be cared for without delay 
as the insects develop very rapidly. 

If only a few combs be injured they may be placed in strong 
colonies and the bees will clean them up quickly and effectively, 
throwing the dead larvae at the entrance of the hive within a few 
hours. If there is a large number of combs it is well to place 
them in a tight room and fumigate them. This may be done 
by putting a quantity of sulfur in a dish, first pouring alcohol 


over it so that it will burn readily, and setting it on fire. Care 
should be taken to place the receptacle containing the burning 
sulphur in a safe place on a large stone or metal, or in a larger 
tub or pan containing water. The building should be closed 
very tight to prevent the escape of the fumes. The combs should 
be separated to insure the fumes reaching all parts. Sometimes 
a second or even a third fumigation will be necessary to insure 
the destruction of all of the caterpillars in bad cases. 

Bisulfide of carbon may be used to accomplish a similar 
result, but great care is necessary as it is highly explosive and 
dangerous. In the use of this drug the combs are placed in a 
tight closet or box and a quantity of the liquid placed in an open 
dish above them. It evaporates rapidly and the heavy fumes 
settle over the combs, thus effectively killing the moths. N'o 
fire or light should be allowed about when this liquid is being 


There is a very small moth whose larva sometimes becomes 
troublesome in comb honey. It is not nearly so destructive as the 
larger species and its work is seldom noticed excepting in the 
comb honey. It frequently appears in honey that has been a 
considerable time in the market and greatly injures the appear- 
ance by spreading its webs over the cappings and making its 
small burrows into the wax, thus causing leakage, waste, and 
a bad appearance. The remedy is fumigation. 


More than half of the States and several Canadian provinces 
now have inspectors with police powers for the purpose of con- 
trolling bee diseases. But a few years will elapse until every 
State and province where bee-keeping is an important industry 
will make such provision. Where the work is thoroughly done 
a number of men are required to cover the field, so that the 
inspection work is growing in importance and in opportunity. 


With the appearance of bee disease it was very natural for 
the bee-keepers to look for assistance from the State. Alone the 
bee-keeper is helpless against inteciion from uncared for apiar- 
ies. He may be ever so careful and efficient, but vs^ithout pro- 
tection from unnecessary contagion he must carry on the fight 
against disease for a long period of time, move his apiary, or go 
out of business. Since bee-keeping is being developed as a 
specialty on which many have come to depend for a livelihood, 
it is imperative that legal protection be extended. 

The sole thought in the beginning was to provide for the 
examination of all bees and to compel proper treatment or de- 
struction of those found to be diseased. The inspector was given 
no choice but to examine all the bees in the localities to which 
he was called. At the same time funds sufficient to examine but 
a small part of the bees in any State were provided. 

Of late the tendency has been to depend more and more upon 
proper instruction. Until much larger appropriations are avail- 
able it will not be possible to reach a large percentage of the 
bees in any State. If the bee-keeper is an intelligent man, an 
hour or two of the inspector's time is all that he will require. 
If upon examination one or more colonies are found to be dis- 
eased, the inspector will be able to point out the characteristics 
of the particular disorder and to give proper instructions for its 
treatment. The bee-keeper will then be able to recognize the 
trouble when he finds it in other colonies and to deal with it 
promptly. It would hardly seem to be the province of the State 
to examine every colony and give the necessary treatment. If 
such a plan is followed a week will often be necessary to deal 
with a single large apiary. 

Where the owner is careless or indifferent it will become 
necessary for the inspector to be very thorough in his examina- 
tion and to insist on proper attention to diseased colonies. Police 
power is necessary because of the fact that many persons who 
keep bees are so ignorant of their care in either health or disease 
that they cannot be convinced of the necessity or value of proper 


attention. In such cases the bees will be left to menace the 
surrounding apiaries until such time as they shall finally suc- 
cumb to the disease. 

Requirements for Successful Inspectors. — No man should 
be intrusted with police powers who does not have proper regard 
for the rights and feelings of those with whom he is required to 
deal. He should be able to meet a trying situation and to 
reason with those who are disposed to resent his visit. For- 
tunately most bee-keepers are coming to be very anxious to learn 
of the presence of disease on its first appearance in their apiaries 
and will communicate with the inspector at the first suspicious 
sign. In such cases the inspector will be welcomed and infor- 
mation will be gratefully received. However, when disease is 
found it becomes necessary to examine other nearby apiaries 
to ascertain to what extent the disease has been spread. Many 
of the bees will be found in boxes, kegs, or hives where the combs 
are built crosswise for lack of foundation. The conditions are 
such as try the patience of a mild-tempered man, and to ascer- 
tain the condition of the colony and leave the owner in good 
temper requires the exercise of much skill and diplomacy. 

If the inspector is able to give the owner of such bees en- 
couragement and advice about proper care of bees without 
offence, his visit has been of value aside from the possible check 
of the spread of disease. The time bids fair to come very 
shortly when the inspector's field shall be broadened until his 
duty will be to instruct in the general management of the apiary 
as much as to find disease. The great difficulty with present laws 
lies in the fact that no man who is not a well-informed bee- 
keeper is competent to deal with disease. The inspector's in- 
structions regarding disease will be imperfectly understood by 
the box hive bee-keeper, nine times out of ten, and if he under- 
takes to treat his colonies himself he will destroy them or scatter 
the disease instead of checking it. It thus becomes necessary 
for the inspector to personally supervise the treatment or destroy 
the diseased colony. A diseased colony in anything but a modem 


equipped hive is worthless, as it will cost more to transfer the 
bees, as a rule, than a diseased colony is worth. 

The man who is fully informed concerning up-to-date 
methods of bee-keeping will be able to handle disease in his 
own apiary if he can be protected from further infection. The 
problem then becomes one of making every man who keeps bees 
an up-to-date bee-man. In localities where disease gets well 
established it will be impossible to eradicate it entirely until 
every bee-keeper becomes expert. Disease has the effect of 
making expert bee-keepers anyway, for those who do not become 
proficient are likely to lose all their bees within a short time. 

The bee inspector is usually regarded as the official repre- 
sentative of the industry and should be able to represent it 
creditably under any circumstances. It is not enough to be 
informed concerning detection and treatment of disease, but 
he must be able to deal with problems relating to any branch 
of bee-keeping. Bee-keepers whom he visits will give him their 
hardest problems to solve and people in other walks of life will 
turn to him with any question relating to the business. He will 
be called upon to give expert testimony in case of litigation in- 
volving bee-keepers and to settle various disputes between per- 
sons where the rights of one or the other are in question, 

■Opportunity. — The various State agricultural colleges are 
rapidly taking up bee culture, and it bids fair to take its legiti- 
mate place in the college curriculum. Within a few years the 
inspection work, instead of being under direction of a separate 
State department, as now in many States, will be organized in 
connection with extension work in bee-keeping. As the business 
of bee-keeping is taking on new life the demand for properly 
equipped men will probably exceed the supply for several years 
to come. That this condition has not developed sooner is because 
the bee-keepers have been slow to recognize the great advantage 
that would come to the industry as a result and to demand the 
same recognition given other lines of agricultural activity. A 
few who have not caught the spirit of the times are loud in their 


complaints that for the agricultural colleges to take up bee- 
keeping will make too many bee-keepers and that there will be 
no market for the product of the hives. Fortunately they are 
now in the minority and progressive bee-men are in the lead. 

It would seem that all that is necessary to meet such com- 
plaints is to point to the increased profit that has come to the 
dairy and other farm industries by such development. With 
better methods and larger production has come better markets 
and higher prices. The same condition will apply to bee-keeping, 
which is just beginning to come into its own. 


1. What conditions indicate the presence of American foul brood? 

2. Describe the method of treatment. 

3. How does European foul brood differ from the American tvpe? 

4. Discuss methods of treating this disease. 

5. How is foul brood spread? 

6. What is sacbrood? 

7. Are dragon flies and robber flies serious enemies of the honey-bee » 

8. What other enemies must the bee-keeper combat? 

9. Discuss the cause and prevention of dysentery. 

10. How can the wax moth be controlled? 

11. Describe the necessary care of empty combs. 
1?. Why is a bee inspector a necessary officer? 
13. Discuss his duties and opportunities. 


With the rank and file of bee-keepers in the I^orthern States, 
the wintering problem is the most serious one they have to face. 
In some localities brood diseases may be a serious menace for a 
time and cause great losses, but the wintering problem must 
be met in all sections of the North and must be faced every 
winter. While many professional bee-keepers have learned to 
prepare their bees for winter so carefully as to meet with little 
loss, the average small bee-keeper suffers seriously from this 
cause and in severe winters occasionally loses a large part of 
his stock. 

In the Southern States the problem is a somewhat different 
one. In some parts of the South instead of being a question of 
suitable protection from cold, it becomes a question of checking 
brood rearing during the period when no honey is to be gathered 
and providing sufficient stores to bring the colony to the next 
honey flow in good condition. When stores are short the colony 
will delay brood rearing beyond the time when large numbers 
of young bees should be hatching in the hive, with the result 
that the first period of profitable honey flow is passed before the 
colony becomes strong enough to make the most of the oppor- 

In the high altitudes of Colorado and the West it is a com- 
mon practice to winter the colonies in the open air without extra 
protection. While in these high altitudes with the prevalence 
of sunny weather the bees can fly so frequently as to insure a 
large portion of the colonies coming through the winter alive, 
it would seem that there must be an unnecessarily heavy mor- 
tality among the bees and that with suitable protection there 
might be considerable saving in both bees and stores. 

Essentials of Successful Wintering. — It is common to speak 


of wintering as though proper protection from cold were all of 
the problem. In fact at least two other things are of more 
importance: first, of course, a supply of suitable food large 
enough to last until the flowers bloom again ; next a vigorous 
young queen. After these, suitable protection should be con- 

When the bees are unable to fly for long periods of time, 
as in winter, proper food is of great importance. Normally the 
bee voids its excrement only while on the wing. The wastes 
that accumulate in its body during the long weeks of inactivity 
are a severe tax at best and with low-grade food stores, the 
quantity becomes so great as to swell the abdomen to the point 
of causing death. In mild winters when there is frequent oppor- 
tunity for cleansing flight, bees wintered out of doors will go 
through safely on almost any kind of stores if the quantity is 
sufficient. There will be, however, a much greater mortality 
among the bees on poor stores than on those of good quality. 
Bees wintered in cellars, or outside in severe winters, cannot be 
expected to come through in good condition on poor stores, even 
though they survive at all. 

White Honey the Best Winter Feed.— The whiter the honey, 
as a rule, the less waste it contains and there is no better winter 
feed than white clover honey. The color is not always a safe 
guide, however, for some aster honey is said to be light in color 
and aster honey seldom gives good results as a winter feed. 

The dark fall honey, especially when mixed with pollen, is 
much less desirable, and honey-dew is disastrous. It is a com- 
mon plan among practical apiarists to extract all late honey, 
which has not had time to be thoroughly ripened, from the combs 
at the close of the honey flow and to replace with sealed white 
clover honey, or to feed sugar syrup. The best grade of granu- 
lated sugar should always be used for this purpose as it makes 
a very good substitute for honey for wintering. Equal parts 
of sugar and water are frequently used, although best authorities 
recommend less water ; three parts sugar to two parts water, or 


two parts sugar to one of water being regarded as better. When 
it becomes necessary to feed from lack of sufficient stores or to 
replace unsuitable stores, it should be attended to immediately 
after the close of the honey flow to give the bees time to get 
things in readiness for winter before the first cold snap. (See 
Chapter VIII, Feeds and Feeding.) 

Failing Queens and Old Bees. — The old. bees that have 
gathered the year's honey crop will all die before the opening 
of the next season's harvest. It is very important, therefore, 
that the coming of winter shall find large numbers of newly 
hatched bees to replace them. It is the late hatched bees that 
are not exhausted by honey gathering that survive the winter 
and begin the work of the following season. The bee-keeper 
should see to it that conditions favor brood rearing in the fall 
to insure this condition. 

It often happens that a colony which has been strong all 
summer and perhaps has stored a large surplus will die during 
the winter or early spring from the failure of the old queen.. It 
is important that the bee-keeper see that all colonies have vigor- 
ous queens at the time of preparing for winter. All colonies that 
cast swarms during the season will have young queens, if they 
have any at all, as the old queen always leaves the hive to go 
with the swarm. For this reason it often happens that one will 
get a new swarm only to find it dead or worthless the following 
spring. The bees usually replace a failing queen, but they cannot 
always be depended upon to do so. When the queen begins to 
fail in late fall or winter, conditions are not favorable for rear- 
ing another and if a virgin is raised at this season she has no 
opportunity for mating, so is worthless. 

Influence of the Queen. — It should be understood that the 
queen herself does not have a direct influence on the wintering 
of the colony. In fact she might be removed entirely and if 
other conditions are right the colony will come through safely. 
The importance of having a vigorous young queen lies in insur- 
ing plenty of young bees at the beginning of winter and that 


brood-rearing will commence in due season in spring. Colonies 
with failing queens are likely to be so badly weakened before 
their true condition is discovered in spring that they will be 
worthless or nearly so. 

Practical bee-keepers look very carefully after the queens 
in making winter preparation. Some apiarists re-queen all 
colonies every year to insure only young queens. This method 
results in the destruction of many valuable queens, however. 
It is a common practice to re-queen every other year, thus keep- 
ing the queens for two years, while others keep a record of every 
colony and only replace the queens when they show signs of fail- 
ing. If bees are on straight combs in movable frame hives, as 
they must be for profitable care, it is an easy matter to remove 
the old queen. She must always be removed before a new queen 
is given. Otherwise the bees will destroy the newcomer. Queens 
are for sale by numerous queen breeders who will supply them 
from April to October. Directions for introducing: them come 
with the little cage in which they are mailed. This subject is 
further considered in Chapter VII. 

Protection from Wind.— Not all of wintering lies in getting 
the colonies through the winter. It is equally important that 
they come through in such condition as to build up early, in order 
that every colony be very populous at the beginning of the honey 
flow. The changeable weather of early spring must be consid- 
ered and some protection be provided against the chilling winds 
of this season. As soon as warm days come, the queens will 
begin to lay in earnest. Within three days from the time the 
eggs are laid the larvae hatch and require a very warm and even 
temperature. Baby bees are even more sensitive to unfavorable 
conditions than baby chicks. It often happens that a few warm 
days will result in the appearance of considerable quantities of 
brood in the hive. A sudden drop in the temperature makes it 
difficult for the bees to keep the brood nest sufficiently warm, with 
the result that a part of the brood is likely to be chilled and 


consequently lost. Every possible means should be used to 
save the energy of the colony at this season. 

Too much value can hardly be placed upon a good wind- 
break. Evergreens so planted as to break the wind from the 
north and west are very good. The author's apiary is sheltered 
by a blackberry thicket immediately behind the hives and back 

-The value of a good natural windbreak behind an apiary can hardly be over- 

of that is a grove of native trees (Fig. 108). The apiary was 
formerly in the grove where the wind swept under the trees. 
The difference in the condition of the colonies in spring, since 
moving to the new location, is surprising indeed. 

When brood rearing commences the bees require quantities 
of water and this accounts for their frequenting the watering 
troughs so freely in early spring. Water should be placed near at 
hand to save long flights in search of it. A tub, trough, or other 


receptacle partly filled with shavings, chips or the like to enable 
the bees to get the water without danger of drowning should be 
provided. (See Chapter IV.) 

Protection in Spring. — Many bee-keepers complain that after 
they bring their bees through the winter in the cellar they lose 
a large part of them through the spring, the stock dwindling 
after being placed on the summer stands. Several things might 
be the cause of this condition. Too many old bees, or colonies 
that went into the cellar weak, or lack of suitable protection 
might be responsible. It is important not only to place the bees 
in a carefully sheltered position after they are removed from 
the cellar, but in addition to provide some protection in the way 
of packing. 

Strong Colonies Also Essential.— To the above general prin- 
ciples we must add another — strong colonies. While it is some- 
times possible to winter a weak colony or even a nucleus, it is 
seldom worth while. If a colony is weak at the beginning of 
tvinter by the time spring arrives there is not likely to be enough 
bees left to build up without the addition of brood or bees from a 
stronger colony. It would be wiser to unite several weak colo- 
nies to make one vigorous one than to bother with the weaklings. 
Over large areas the principal flow is from white clover, 
which is of comparatively short duration. It is only the colonies 
that are strong in bees at the beginning of the flow that will 
return substantial profits to their owners. 

A strong colony of bees will require less honey to winter 
successfully than a small one. The source of heat is the food con- 
sumed and the larger the cluster the more animal heat will be 


In considering the various methods of wintering here pre- 
sented the reader will bear in mind that some methods suited 
to the latitude of St. Louis would not be safe for northern lati- 
tudes. Chaff hives, paper cases, and similar methods which are 
entirely satisfactory for Southern Missouri and southward are 


not to be recommended for Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ontario and 
similar sections. Outdoor wintering, however, may be safely 
practised as far north as Canada if proper precautions are taken 
in the winter preparations. The success or failure of outdoor 
wintering in any latitude will depend to some extent on the sur- 
rounding conditions, such as windbreaks, as well as the actual 
protection of the hives. What has been said about the desira- 
bility of spring protection for cellar wintered colonies will apply 
with equal force to colanies wintered outside. 

Paper Cases. — One of the common plans for outdoor winter- 
ing in the southern part of the region where winter protection is 
necessary and one that brings fairly satisfactory results in ordin- 
ary winters is the paper case. Tar paper or other black paper 
should never be used because of its tendency to absorb heat. The 
hive under a black protection case will suffer from such extremes 
of heat and cold as to render it worse off than though it had 
remained without protection. Light colored building paper, 
however, will answer very well. 

To make such a case two or three corn cobs are laid over the 
top of the frames and a cotton cloth or burlap spread over them. 
The purpose of the cobs is to permit the bees to move freely from 
place to place to reach their stores. An empty super is then 
placed on the hive and filled with dry leaves or chaff. The cover 
is then placed on the super and the whole covered with several 
layers of newspapers. A large sheet of heavy building paper 
or other waterproof paper is then placed over all and folded 
around the hive and fastened as shown in Fig. 109. The hives 
shown in the illustration are without the super of leaves. There 
is a disagreement among bee-keepers as to the value of this porous 
packing material over the frames. The purpose is to absorb 
the moisture during cold weather. Some argue that the bees are 
safer without it, but the author is a believer in absorbent cush- 
ions. Building paper cases are at best a scant protection. 

The winter of 1911-12 caused such heavy losses among out- 



of-door wintered colonies as to discourage many advocates of 
outside wintering. This was an extraordinary winter with un- 
usually low temperatures and long periods between days warm 
enough for a flight. Investigation shows that a large per cent 
of the loss in this unusual season was due to poor stores and 
careless preparation for winter. The two preceding winters 
had been so favorable that many bee-keepers were inclined to 

FiQ. 109. — Paper winter cases are at best scant protection, but are good for cellar-wintered 
bees after they are placed on the summer stands. 

take the risk rather than go to the trouble of careful preparation. 
The losses have not been without compensation, for the result 
will not be soon forgotten, and the bees will receive better atten- 
tion at the proper time for years to come. 

Outdoor wintering is very successful in the hands of some 

of the most successful and extensive honey producers. In fact 

a few have practised no other method for many years and get 

uniformly good results. With outdoor wintering it is very 




essential that great care be used to see that stores are of suffi- 
cient quantity and of good quality. 

One of the principal arguments in favor of cellar wintering 
is the saving in stores, which is considerable. In general it is 
estimated that from one-third to one-half more honey will be 
consumed when wintered outside. This is offset by earlier brood 

FiQ. 110. — The Dadant method of outdoor wintering in large hives ia suited to localities 
where the bees have frequent flights during the cold months. 

rearing and a generally stronger condition when properly win- 
tered out-of-doors. 

The Dadant Method. — The Dadants are extensively engaged 
in honey production in Hamilton, Illinois, directly across the 
river from Keokuk. They use a large hive and cover the brood 
frames with a straw mat and fill the cover with leaves. Woven 
wire is tacked to one corner of the front of the hive and then 


made to encircle it on both sides and the back. The space thus 
provided is filled with leaves. The front is provided with no pro- 
tection. Fig. 110 shows the method employed by C. P. Dadant, 
one of the best known American bee-keepers, of wintering in the 
Dadant hive which he has used for many years. The results seem 
to be satisfactory when proper stores are supplied. This way, 
while suited to the conditions of Keokuk and southward, would 

Fio. in.-OnemethodofpackinKonthesunimerstands: (a) roof of composition materia 
(b) board over entrance. 

hardly be safe much farther north, judging from the reports of 
outdoor wintering from northern sections. This plan is not 
suited to small hives, such ^ the eight-frame Langstroth so 
commonly used. 

Pitting or Burying.— On sandy or other very porous soils 
a few bee-keepers practise pitting or burying. A trench is dug 
about eighteen inches deep and 2 X 4's placed in the bottom 
to keep the hives off the ground. After its bottom has been 
removed the hive is placed on the scantling and the cover slightly 



raised to provide for upward ventilation. About eighteen inches 
of straw is placed over the hives and this in turn is covered with 
a layer of loose earth. Not over two layers of hives should be 
placed in such a trench. There are only a comparatively few 

locations where this 
method is suited to the 
conditions, as a well- 
drained situation and 
porous soil are essen- 
tial. Bees pitted in 
this manner are liable 
to be disturbed by 
skunks or other burrow- 
ing animals and seri- 
ous loss to result. 
There is danger of loss 
also if they be buried 
either too deep or not 
deep enough. ^Vhile 
the method may do 
as a makeshift under 
|,- v:- ^ temporary' conditions it 

flM^K,^,^^^ JjmijJMt is not to be generally 

^^^HB[Lj^^^**'***<*i*.. ' ^^^^HH^H recommended. 
^^^^^^HK' r^^k Packing 

^^^^^^^H ^^1 Summer Stands. — 

l^mmP Another method suit- 

able for southerly 
latitudes where only 
slight winter protection is needed is packing on the summer 
stands. The illustration (Fig. Ill) shows an apiary in southern 
Iowa. In this case a tight board fence about thirty inches high is 
used as a windbreak to the north of the bees. The hives set in a 
long row about six inches from this fence. Leaves are packed be- 
tween and behind the hives and a waterproof roofing is placed 

Fig. 112. — Parts of a double- walled hive. 



over all to shed the rain. In this plan the same method of packing 
empty supers with leaves over the brood nest is used as described 
under paper cases. Various modifications of this plan are in use 
throughout this latitude from Kansas and Missouri eastward. 
Chaff or Double Walled Hives.— Too many bees are left 
without attention in single walled hives and for the average 
small apiarist double walled hives similar to that shown in Fig. 

^'*^fi.M?~.?°"u'''« "'*"'''*. ^'^^ assembled. The double- wallci hive with the space between 
hlled with chaff or cork is suited to the conditions of localities where winters are mild. 

112 would be far better. The space between the two walls is 
packed with chaff and over the brood nest is placed a tray also 
filled with chaff and a large cover telescopes over all. Fig. 11,3 
shows the hive as it appears in use. During winter the entrance 
is contracted to a four inch width. There are several hives on 
the market built on this plan. 

The chaff hive like the foregoing methods is not well adapted 
to the far northern regions and much of the complaint against 


this method of wintering is perhaps from regions where it should 
not be used. For intermediate latitudes, with good stores and 
proper attention, this hive should be expected to give satisfactory 
results. Extensive bee-keepers who have used a similar hive in 
Michigan for many years report that the average loss has not 
exceeded ten per cent. The practical bee-keeper should not be 
content to follow any plan by which he could not reduce the 
winter losses below this figure. A ten per cent loss is sufficient 
to condemn any system. However, a large part of winter losses 
by any method is always to be charged to failing queens and im- 
proper stores, two things which can hardly be charged to the 
method of protection. 

There has been much discussion as to whether with the use 
of double walled hives there should be a sealed wood cover under 
the tray of chaff. The best authorities take directly opposite 
views on this subject, some holding that there should be no 
upward ventilation and the other side holding that upward venti- 
lation is essential to absorb the surplus moisture in extremely 
cold weather. The author, as already stated, holds to the latter 
view, and in practice uses it as well as recommends it. 

The double walled hive is a most excellent hive for early 
spring use, as the bees are not subject to such sudden changes 
of temperature as is the case in single walled hives. 

The large size and extra weight are against the double walled 
hive for use in extensive apiaries where every part should be 
interchangeable. For the use of comb honey producers, how- 
ever, who have less occasion to manipulate the hive bodies, there 
is not so much objection to be made. There can be no ques- 
tion but that there will be a greater saving in stores for early 
spring brood rearing in a double walled hive than in the ordinary 
single walled one. More honey will also be stored from fruit 
bloom and other early sources as a smaller number of bees will 
be required to maintain the required heat for brood rearing in 
the hive. Taken altogether, there are many advantages from its 
use to offset the greater weight and bulk. 


One of the greatest advantages is in leaving the hives in one 
position the entire year. Winter preparations require but a few 
moment's time with each hive. All that is necessary is to con- 
tract the entrance, put the inner cover in place, place the tray 
of chaff in position over the frames, and place the telescope cover 
over all and the job is done. The busy man who has but a few 
bees for diversion and who wishes to be relieved of unnecessary 
manipulations in caring for them will find the double walled 
hive to be ideal for his use. In fact the author feels that it is 
the best possible hive for amateurs generally, who do not keep 
more than twenty-five to fifty colonies. As to whether it will 
pay the large producer to use this type of hive is not quite so 
evident. Some find them satisfactory on an extensive scale, 
while others feel that they are not suited to the use of the exten- 
sive honey producer. 

Packing Cases.— Various kinds of packing cases have been 
in use for many years, so the idea is not new. However, the 
tendency of the time is to abandon cellar wintering in favor of 
packing cases. With proper preparation bees will be safer in 
winter cases than in a cellar and will reach the season of honey 
flow in better condition than by any other method of wintering. 

Bees are successfully wintered in packing cases as far north 
as Canada, and some of the most extensive honey producers have 
abandoned expensive cellars for their use. The most common 
plan is to pack four colonies in one box with entrances facing 
two to the east and two to the west, or two to the south and one 
each to the east and west. Less labor is required to prepare the 
boxes with only two openings. North openings are not to be 

Where four colonies are packed in a case, two sides of each 
hive have the additional protection of other hives warm with 
the clusters of bees. The colonies will thus be much warmer 
than when packed singly. 

Several years of observation indicate to the author that bees 
winter better in larger hives than in smaller ones. Unless the 


hive is at least as large as the ten-frame Langstroth, packed 
colonies should be wintered in double stories, or with a deep 
bottom or empty super underneath. The Minnesota combination 
bottom and feeder is used to some extent for this purpose and is 
highly recommended by those who have tried it. 

It is unfortunate that the eight-frame hive is in such com- 

Fia. 114. — Packing box with hives inside ready for leaves or other packing material for 
outdoor wintering. 

mon use. While the eight-frame hive is good in the hands of 
expert comb honey men, the larger hive is much better for 
(wdinary use. For wintering in eight-frame hives considerable 
difficulty is sometimes encountered to get enough honey into a 
single hive-body to insure sufficient stores. Good results have 
been secured by placing two hive-bodies one above the other and 
leaving about ten or fifteen pounds more honey than seemed 
necessary. Two double-story hives are then placed side by side. 


close together, in a drygoods box of one inch lumber, or four in 
a packing case. The drygoods and clothing merchants get a 
number of boxes every fall just about the right size to pack two 
colonies together. A box can sometimes be secured large enough 
to pack three colonies side by side (Figs. 114, 115 and 116), but 

FxQ. 115. — ^Packing two colonies with dry leaves in a goods bos. The entrances are left 
open to give the bees opportunity to fly on warm days. 

these do not give as good satisfaction, for the bees from the hive 
in the middle seem to enter the hives on either side, until the 
colony which is most favored as far as warmth is concerned 
comes through the winter weak from loss of deserting bees. 

The advantage of using the drygoods box lies in the lower 
cost and less labor necessary to get it ready for a packing case. 
Sufficient lumber to make such a case would in most localities 
cost several times as much as is paid for the boxes. They need 



so little alteration that but a few minutes is necessary to make 
one over. As will be seen by Fig, 116, a six-inch strip is removed 
in front of the entrance and turned inside the box to prevent the 
packing from dropping down in front. On warm days the bees 
are free to fly. Dry leaves are used for packing and about four 
to six inches of space is filled all round the hives and usually 

Fia. 116. — Snug for the winter. 

from ten to twelve inches over the top, the more the better. As 
the hives are two stories high the bees have an abundance of rooiji 
for spring brood rearing. 

As before stated there should be an abundance of honey. 
With a surplus available in the hive in spring and the hives 
protected from the cold winds by the packing, they need not be 
opened until the beginning of the honey flow. Colonies thus 
packed, and opened for the first time about the first of May, 
have been found to be full of brood and honey from fruit bloom. 


Sometimes queen cells will be started very early in preparation 
for swarming. At the same time colonies without protection 
were making slow progress toward building up. 

It is very apparent that such colonies as described on May 
first are worth much more as honey gatherers during the clover 
flow. When colonies reach this stage sufficientl/ early it is some- 
times possible though seldom advisable to make increase ahead 
of the clover flow. Where the main flow is later in the season, 
this extra early brood rearing is not so important, though the 
colonies should be strong. Over large areas of the Northern 
States the bees need careful attention to build them up early 
enough, as a rule. In these packing cases the bees will some- 
times store surplus from fruit bloom and dandelion. 

Reports of success from wintering in these or similar cases 
are uniformly good where the work has been properly done, over 
nearly all the States and Canada. 

For large apiaries a case which holds four colonies, two 
facing east and two west, is perhaps more desirable. The worst 
objection to packing cases is the large amount of labor in pre- 
paring for winter and the bother of storing the cases in summer. 
As one bee-keeper expressed it, the results were good but it 
required acres of space to store his packing cases in summer. 
Instead of nailing the cases into permanent form it is a common 
practice to fasten at the corners with hooks, so that the parts can 
be piled up compactly during the summer months. In large 
apiaries the use of drygoods boxes is hardly practical because 
of the difficulty of disposing of so much bulk when not in use. 
Where only a few are in use they can readily be turned to account 
as chicken coops in summer (Fig. 117). 

The packing case is perhaps the safest and most generally 
successful of any method of wintering, taking the country as a 
whole. It is adapted to any section, north or south, and permits 
the bees to fly wherever the weather is sufficiently warm. There 
is much trouble from outdoor wintered colonies losing large num- 
bers of bees which fly out on bright days when it is too cold for 



successful flight, dying upon the snow. In the packing cases 
this trouble is avoided as the bees do not feel the heat of the sun 
until the air is sufficiently warm to permit a safe return. Of 
course there will always be some old bees which will die outside 
after every day warm enough for a flight. 

Cellar Wintering. — Cellar wintering is the most generally 

FiQ. 117. — The packing boxes may be utilized for chicken coops in summer. 

practised plan by extensive honey producers of the northeastern 
States. Over large areas there are long periods that the bees 
are unable to fly from early December until the last of February 
or even March. It is the usual practice to put the bees into the 
cellar in this climate. The saving in stores will be considerable. 
In general it is estimated that not more than twelve to fifteen 
pounds of honey will be consumed by a colony in the cellar, 
though as much more should be present in the hive to insure a 



plentiful supply for spring brood rearing after the colony is 
placed upon the summer stands, as it is rather difficult to practise 
feeding satisfactorily at this season of the year. 

Where cellar wintering is practised the bees should be taken 
in as soon as possible after the weather becomes so cold that there 
is little chance of further flight. It is well, also, to leave them 

FiQ. 118. — Concrete cellar for wintering. 

in the cellar in spring until warm days are the rule. Many bee- 
keepers take them out when the maples bloom. If conditions 
are favorable they will get honey and pollen at once and will, 
perhaps, be self-supporting from the time they are taken out. 
However, it so frequently happens that they will be unable to 
get anything from the field for weeks at a time in early spring 
that the wise bee-man should always see that they have enough 
old stores for emergencies. As previously mentioned, stores 
of good quality are essential to successful wintering in the cellar. 



Essentials of a Good Cellar. — The greatest importance is 
attached to even temperature in cellar wintering. If the tem- 
perature cannot be controlled effectively, the bees are better off 
outside. Disastrous results are the rule in cellars where the tem- 
perature is up with ev^ry warm day and down when the outside 
temperature becomes cold. There is much to be learned, as yet, 
concerning conditions of wintering in general and especially 

Fio. 119. — Cellar for wintering under the workshop. 

cellar wintering. It is hoped and expected that the extensive 
experiments now being carried on by Dr. Phillips in the govern- 
ment laboratory at Washington will shortly solve some of these 
perplexing questions. 

The majority of writers give a temperature of 45° F., as 
the ideal cellar temperature. No good reason has as yet been 
given as to just why this particular temperature is better than 
a higher or lower one. It is generally agreed that the tempera- 
ture should not drop below 40°, especially if the cellar is damp, 


as a combination of dampness and a cold cellar result fatally 
for the bees; 50° is probably better than either. 

Ventilation also seems to be essential, especially to rid the 
cellar of the surplus moisture. Good results are frequently re- 
ported from cellars closed up tight if the walls are porous and 
permit the escape of moisture readily. In general an even tem- 
perature and a dry cellar are supposed to be best. It is quite 
possible that it will eventually be demonstrated that a tempera- 
ture somewhat above the regulation 45° is better if other con- 
ditions are satisfactory. At present without a basis on which to 
state positively we can accept the conditions generally agreed 
upon as best. (See Figs. 118 and 119.) 

In this connection we can do no better than to describe a 
cellar which gives uniformly good results and in which the 
owner has never lost a colony that went into winter quarters 
in normal condition. The cellar is that used by Mr. Snyder, 
of the Iowa Bee-keeper's Association, who describes it as 
follows : 

The cellar was constructed especially for the purpose and is under the 
shop and honey house and large enough to accommodate 200 colonies as 
he stores them. 

First a stone wall about sixteen inches through was built. This wall 
was lined with hollow tile on which a coat of common plaster was applied. 
The cellar is ventilated by a chimney built from the ground and with an 
opening at the bottom and also at the ceiling. The chimney extends 
through the ceiling to the usual height above the roof. In addition to the 
chimney ventilator which is in the center of one end of the cellar, there 
are two three-inch ventilators in the corners at the opposite end. This 
supplies sufficient ventilation for cold weather. In mild weather the door 
of the bee cellar is left open. This opens into another cellar room used for 
storage purposes, all being kept in total darkness. 

The bottom of the cellar is tile drained, the tile having outlet in the 
creek about a quarter of a mile distant. However, there is no direct outlet 
from the cellar, the tile being laid about three inches below the surface. 

The ceiling is constructed of eight-inch joist covered with tar building 
paper and overlaid with patent metal lath on which a coat of plaster is 
applied. Overhead of course there is the floor of the workshop. 

Most bee-keepers favor brick walls as they are dryer than 
cement or stone as a rule. If too many colonies are placed in 
a cellar for the size of the space available, there is a tendency 


for the temperature to rise in spring, from the heat generated 
in the hives. Crowding in the cellar should be avoided, but when 
such a condition becomes apparent it can sometimes be relieved 
by placing a piece of ice over the cluster on each hive. Some 
bee-keepers use a sprinkling can and sprinkle the fronts of the 
hives, permitting the water to run into the hive. While some- 
thing of this kind may be necessary to quiet the bees, it is much 
better, if possible, to avoid the conditions that cause them to 
become restless. 

Removing Covers or Bottoms. — It is a common practice to 
remove either the cover or bottom board from the hives as they 
are placed in the cellar. Some bee-keepers remove one, some 
remove the other, while others leave both in place with entranceo 
wide open. It can hardly be said that there is any definite evi- 
dence as to which plan is best. A common plan is to remove' 
the bottoms and leave the covers in place, then alternate the 
hives, placing one on top of the two below with a space between, 
thus providing ample ventilation to the cluster. 

In general it would seem that where other conditions are 
right it makes little difference, as the bees seem to come through 
in good condition anyway. Where other conditions are bad the 
bees come through in bad shape, no matter whether top or bot- 
tom, or both, or neither be removed. 

Summary. — Generally speaking, it may be said that the 
extensive honey producers are agreed on the following as essen- 
tial to successful wintering by any plan : vigorous young queens 
with a large cluster of young bees, sufficient stores of good 
quality, and a dry situation. If the bees are wintered in cellar, 
an even temperature in addition is desired. 


1. Why are the losses of bees in winter so heavy? 

2. Discuss the essentials of successful wintering. 

3. What stores bring best results and why? 

4. What relation does the queen sustain to the wintering of the colony? 

5. Under what conditions are paper cases suitable for winter protection? 

6. Discuss the advantages of packing bees on their summer stands? 

7. What are the advantages of double walled hives? 

8. Describe the essential points of a good cellar for wintering purposes. 


The first essential to the successful marketing of any com- 
modity is to have a good article put up in attractive shape. One 
of the worst drags on the honey market is the quantity of honey 
that goes to the store in propolized and unscraped sections, with 
travel stain, dirt, and leaking honey. It would require a custo- 
mer who had a confirmed honey taste to even think of honey after 
looking at the article too often offered for sale. It is a for- 
tunate thing for the business that honey production is rapidly 
passing into the hands of specialists who know how to prepare 
their product for market in attractive condition and that the 
small farm apiaries are rapidly passing away in most places. 
There is no good reason why honey in small quantities might 
not be as well cared for as large quantities. Too many who have 
but a few colonies of bees regard whatever honey is secured as 
that much velvet, and are satisfied to take it to the store in the 
easiest way possible and to accept such a credit on the grocery 
bill as the merchant is willing to give. 


Grading. — The bee-keeper who wishes to establish a per- 
manent market cannot place too much importance on carefully 
grading his product so that every package will be uniform with 
others of the same grade. 

There is more carelessness, as yet, in the preparation of the 
honey crop for market than any other staple food product. For 
some reason the bee-keeper has not kept pace with other enter- 
prises in the marketing of his crop, and to this he owes, to a 
great extent, the fact that honey does not bring as good prices 
as some other commodities. 

Some confusion has resulted in the different grading rules 
17 aw 


adopted by the bee-keepers of different sections. It is highly 
desirable that the same rules be made to apply to all sections, 
so that the merchant buying honey from any locality will know 
what to expect. 

Official Grades. — The ISTational Bee-keeper's Association at 
the convention in Cincinnati in 1913 adopted the following as 
official for the association: 

Sections of comb honey are to be graded: first, as to finish; second, 
as to color of honey; and third, as to weight. The sections of honey in any 
given case are to be so nearly alike in these respects that any section shall 
be representative of the contents of the case. 

1. Finish. — (1) Extra Fancy: Sections to be evenly filled, comb firmly 
attached to the four sides, the sections to be free from propolis or other 
pronounced stain, combs and cappings white, and not more than six unsealed 
cells on either side. 

(2) Fancy: Sections to be evenly filled, comb firmly attached to the 
four sides, the sections free from propolis or other pronounced stain, comb 
and cappings white, and not more than six unsealed cells on each side, 
exclusive of the outside row. 

(3) No. 1: Sections to be evenly filled, comb firmly attached to the 
four sides, the sections free from propolis or other pronounced stain, comb 
and cappings white to slightly off" color, and not more than forty unsealed 
cells, exclusive of the outside row. 

(4) No. 2: Comb not projecting beyond the box, attached to the sides 
not less than two-thirds of the way around, and not more than sixty un- 
sealed cells, exclusive of the row next to the wood. 

2. Color. — On the basis of color of the honey, comb honey is to be 
classified as: first, white; second, light amber; third, amber; and fourth,, 

3. Weight. — (1) Heavy: No section designated as heavy to weigh less 
than fourteen ounces. 

(2) Medium: No section designated as medium to weigh less than 
twelve ounces. 

(3) Light: No section designated as light to weigh less than ten 

In describing honey under these rules, three words or symbols are to 
be used, the first descriptive of the finish, second the color, and third the 
weight. For example, fancy, wliite, heavy (F = W = H). No. 1, amber, 
medium (No. 1=A = M). In this way all the combinations of color, 
weight, and finish can be briefly described. 

Cull Honey. — Cull honey shall consist of the following: Honey packed 
in soiled second-hand cases or in badly stained or propolized sections; 
sections containing pollen, honey-dew honey, honey showing signs of granu- 
lation, poorly ripened, sour or "weeping" honey; sections with comb 
projecting beyond the box, or well attached to the section less than two- 
thirds the distance around the inner surface; sections with more than 
sixty unsealed cells exclusive of the row adjacent to the wood; leaking, 
injured, or patched up sections. See Fig. 120. 



Fio. 120.— Development of comb honey in sections: 1, full sheets of foundation; 2, cells drawn 
and partly filled ; 3, cells 6lled and partly capped; 4, fancy comb honey ready for the table 


From the above rules it will be seen that it is a very short- 
sighted policy to mix inferior sections with the good ones in 
the hope of getting a better price for all. The result is to bring 
the price of the lot down to the level of the poorest grade. 

The more carefully and conscientiously grading is done the 
better price will be obtained and the easier to find a ready sale. 
Good quality comb honey carefully graded will nearly always 
sell readily, although like other commodities the price varies 
with seasons. 

Commission Houses. — There has been much complaint from 
disappointed bee-keepers who have not been satisfied with results 
from sales through commission houses. Sometimes the fault is 
with the producer and sometimes with the commission man. 
The bee-keeper should exercise ordinary business methods and 
not consign goods to a commission firm without some knowledge 
of the standing of the firm. While large quantities of honey 
are sold through commission firms to the regular trade, it often 
happens that so much honey is sent to the larger centers as to 
greatly depress the market, while the markets in the smaller 
places may be short. The problem of proper distribution of 
the honey crop is a serious one and demands careful attention 
on the part of the producer who would realize the most from his 

There are commission firms which specialize in the sale of 
honey and which handle large quantities to the satisfaction of 
their clients. There are other concerns that buy outright in 
carload lots at an agreed price. As a rule, a cash sale with no 
chances, even at a slightly lower price, is to be preferred. 

Home Markets. — As a rule the bee-keepers living east of the 
Rocky Mountain region will find it greatly to their advantage 
to develop home or nearby markets. The western honey pro- 
ducers are at a disadvantage in this respect, for bee-keeping is 
more highly specialized in the West and the honey produced is 
greatly in excess of what home markets can absorb. It thus be- 
comes necessary to seek distant markets. In such localities 


eo-operation is a great advantage in reaching a profitable market. 
In the eastern States there are few localities where a profit- 
able market for large quantities of honey cannot be developed 
within fifty to one hundred miles. Methods of developing local 
markets will be considered more in detail under " Advertising 

Shipping Cases. — Comb honey is a perishable product and 
considerable care is necessary to see that it is packed in such 
shape that it will stand the rough handling necessary to ship- 
ment and reach its destination in presentable condition. If 
the average bee-keeper could spend a day in some large ware- 
house where large amounts of honey are being received and take 
note of the number of cases that arrive in broken and leaking 
condition he would not be surprised at many of the poor returns 
from shipments. A single broken section may spoil the appear- 
ance of a whole case by dripping over the remainder which may 
be in otherwise good condition. So much irritation arises m 
making settlements for honey that arrives in bad condition that 
many responsible firms refuse to handle it at all. Then again 
dishonest firms take advantage of the fact that honey is so com- 
monly damaged in shipment to report as damaged goods that 
really arrive in good condition. 

Wood shipping cases holding twenty-four sections are the 
most common as yet. The corrugated paper in bottom of case 
offers the advantage of apparently greater safety to the honey 
and does not add greatly to the cost. The paper will absorb 
much of the shock of rough handling as well as part of the leak- 
age of broken sections. 

It is very desirable that comb honey sent to market should 
be enclosed in paper cartons. This offers several advantages. 
The section is kept clean and free from dust and also retains 
all its own leakage, thus saving the loss resulting from soiling 
other sections. 

Corrugated paper shipping cases have also been tried to 
some extent but as yet have not been widely used. Their value 


remains as yet to be demonstrated. Fear is expressed that they 
will not protect the fragile contents as well as the wooden case 
with paper lining. 

The use of the best possible protection to the honey shipped 
to market is cheap insurance and the risk of resulting loss will 
be sufficiently reduced to overbalance the greater expense. 

Care of Comb Honey. — Comb honey should be fully finished 
and ripened before taking from the hive, but should not be left 
until the appearance is spoiled by travel stain. 

As soon as it is removed it should be stored in a warm room. 
Care should be used that it does not freeze, as low temperatures 
hasten granulation and granulated comb honey is likely to be 
a " drug " on the market. While candied extracted honey can 
readily be liquefied, it is difficult to do anything with granulated 
comb honey. In this case " an ounce of prevention is worth 
a pound of cure." Fortunately comb honey does not usually 
granulate quickly and there is usually ample time to dispose 
of it before it will begin to candy in the comb. 

The novice is likely to store his honey in the cellar, the worst 
possible place for it, thinking to keep it cool. The author some- 
times receives letters from bee-keepers who have spoiled a nice 
lot of honey by storing it in a cold, damp place, wishing to know 
what can be done to restore it. If it is merely candied the situa- 
tion is not so bad, but honey stored in a cold, damp cellar gets 
weepy and sour so that it is of little use for any purpose with 
which the author is familiar, unless it be for making vinegar. 

A warm and dry place is the best storeroom for honey. It 
should by all means be dry. Well ripened honeys are much 
less likely to granulate and for this reason the honey gathered 
early in the season gives much less trouble than that gathered 
late in summer. The source from which the nectar is gathered 
makes some difference also, as some honeys are much more likely 
to candy than others subjected to the same conditions. 

Early Sales. — As a rule the early market is best and the man 
who depends on the general market instead of establishing a 


market of his own which he supplies through the year, will do 
well to sell as early as possible after the crop is removed from 
the hive. Most years there is a period following the holiday 
season when honey moves slowly and new shipments do not re- 
ceive prompt returns. As a rule, it is easier to sell early and the 
prices average as good or better than later. The fellow with a 
market established is independent of the fluctuations of the 
general market and the increased returns from retail sales pay 
well for the additional time required, in most cases. 


Packages for Extracted Honey.— There is less risk of loss 
of extracted honey in shipping than of comb honey. Of course, 
an occasional can will leak and an occasional package of glass 
be broken but the total breakage of comb honey is several times 
greater than that of extracted. The producer draws his honey 
from the extractor into large settling tanks where it can remain 
safely until he is ready to place it in the packages in which 
it goes to market. If ho depends largely on the general market 
the honey will mostly be shipped in square cans holding sixty 
pounds each. Two of these cans are shipped in one case, making 
a package of 120 pounds weight. 

If he develops a special or retail market he will use such 
a package as his market demands. Usually the bee-keeper deter- 
mines the kind of package in which he prefers to sell his product 
and educates his customers accordingly. It takes several years 
to develop an extensive retail trade but it is a very satisfactory 
way to dispose of one's crop and is not difficult to do (Fig. 121). 

The friction top pail holding five pounds is a popular package 
for retail trade. Five pounds is not too much for the average 
family to buy at one time, although many buy in smaller pack- 
ages. For the grocery trade jars of eighteen ounces, one and 
one-half pounds and three pounds capacity are perhaps the three 
most popular sizes. For the grocery trade glass containers are 
much to be preferred to tin, as the contents can be seen which 
adds much to the total sales. 



A one-quart fruit jar of white clear glass makes a very satis- 
factory package for retail trade. It holds about three pounds 
net. A tin cover with oiled paper lining should be used instead 
of the usual top and rubber used for canning fruit. 

Controlling Prices.-— One of the most satisfactory kinds of 
trade to develop is a fancy retail trade through regular grocery 
stores. If the bee-keeper will guarantee to make good any 
losses from any cause and to take back goods that are unsatis- 

FiQ. 121. — Packages for retailing extracted honey. 

factory for any reason without quibbling, he can frequently 
put in his line in the best groceries and set the retail prices, 
allowing the grocer about twenty per cent of the selling price. 
If care is used to offer only a high grade and uniform product 
a select trade can be established which will demand a certain 
brand and which in a few years' time will be a good asset to 
the bee-keeper's business. 

There are so many different grades of honey from different 
sources that the average consumer becomes confused when differ- 
ent purchases are of such decidedly different quality and comes 
to fear adulteration. It is very important that a certain trade 
be supplied with a uniform quality, as this is one of the best 
ways to hold trade. 



Blending. — If the bee-keeper has honey from several sources 
so that his product varies greatly in quality and flavor he should 
either blend the different kinds together as a whole so as always 
to have his brand uniform, or he should use only his best honey 
under his brand and dispose of the other stock on the general 
market. Blended honey gives very good satisfaction, usually, 
if the blend is always alike. This plan permits the bee-keeper 
to dispose of all his product in his own trade and it brings better 

If one has poor quality honey of any kind he should not 
take chances of spoiling his market 
by using it unless it is his principal 
source, in which event he can develop 
a market which will come to demand 
that particular product. 

Co-operative Marketing. — Where 
the business of honey production is 
highly developed, as in some sections 
of the West, the co-operative plan 
offers decided advantages. Many of 
the bee-keepers are engaged in produc- 
tion on such an extensive scale that 
they find little time or inclination to bother with the selling 
end of the business. If the cooperative association is in the 
hands of competent managers the honey goes to the best markets 
and the large volume of business transacted cuts the cost of 
handling down to the lowest possible figure. 

The Colorado Honey Producers' Association is one of the 
most successful of these cooperative associations. The individ- 
ual member packs and marks his honey according to the associa- 
tion rules and ships it to the Denver headquarters. If he has 
a sufficient quantity to ship it out in carlots the manager of the 
association or someone for him inspects the honey to see that 
it is properly graded and it is shipped to market directly from 
the apiary. The bee-keeper gets the full amount of cash resulting 

Fig. 122.— Trade-mark of the 
Colorado Honey Producera Associ- 

Warranted Pure 

9 Honey 


NOTICE: :ir/;7rr 


Fia. 123. — Honey label. 




i Guaranteed by WESTERN HONEY PRODUCERS, Sioux Cily, Iowa, under 
T* the food and drug act of June 30. 1906. Registered under Serial No. 37384. 

Principally from CLOVER 

2V2 Pounds Net Weight 

The contents of this package may candy or granulate. To restore it to 

its liquid form, set the package in warm water. Do not let 

It boil or the flavor of the flower will be lost. 



^ THOMAS CHANTRY. President 

W. P. SOUTHWORTH, Manager 

EDWARD G. BROWN, Secretary 



j^ W. p. SOUTHWORTM, Manager 4^ 

Fia. 124. — Honey label. 



from the sale, less commission and expenses, in a few days, so 
that as far as he is individually concerned it is a cash transac- 
tion. Where the producer must seek distant markets this plan 
offers the maximum of return possible with a minimum of 
trouble. It is the association, instead of the individual, that 
looks after such details as correspondence, collections, ship- 
ments, etc. 

Under this plan great care is used to have all grades of both 





FiQ. 125.— Honey label. 

comb and extracted honey of uniform quality and the associa- 
tion brand soon comes to be known in the markets. Figure 122 
shows the trade mark or brand adopted by the Colorado Honey 
Producers' Association. Figure 123 shows their label for large 
packages. (See also Figs. 121 and 125.) 


In the development of special or retail markets suitable 
advertising is of the greatest value. This subject can well be 
considered from two angles, that of general advertising which 
has for its object to increase the consumption of honey, and 



advertising the product of a particular apiary for the purpose 
of establishing a direct-to-consumer trade. 

Methods of General Advertising.— There is not a great deal 
that the individual bee-keeper can do in the way of general 
advertising, because the expense is prohibitive. Dr. Bonney's 
little red stickers (Fig. 127) are as good as anything yet 
proposed. These little stickers are printed and offered for sale 
by several enterprising firms at thirty-five cents per thousand 

and their use has become 
general among the bee- 
keepers almost in a day. 
Thousands of them are 
pasted on envelopes con- 
taining outgoing mail, 
and in all kinds of places 
where they are likely to 
attract the attention of 
the public. One of these 
little stickers attached to 
a letter will attract the 
notice of several carriers 
and clerks in the postal 
service before finally 
being delivered to the 
person to whom it is 
addressed. Dr. Bonney has found some new customers among 
the mail clerks who have been attracted to the return card of 
" Bonney Honey, Buck Grove, Iowa," on the envelopes he uses 
in his correspondence. He also uses a sign at his apiary as 
shown in Fig. 128. 

The Iowa Bee-keeper's Association has adopted rather a 
novel plan of general advertising at the holiday season. A large 
placard is printed in two colors, with the words, " Eat Honey 
with Your Christmas Dinner" (Fig. 129), and the Greetings 
of the Iowa Bee-keeper's Association. The association has fur- 





Des Moines, 

Fio. 126.— Honey label. 



nished to each of its members as many of these cards as he wished 
to place in the stores where his honey was on sale. At this season 
of the year when luxuries are in special demand it is quite pos- 
sible to make many new customers for honey who have regarded 
it as a luxury not for general use. These cards attract instant 
attention to the honey on sale at the precise moment when the 
purchaser is prepared to buy something for his table, and if the 
packages are attractively displayed increased sales will be the 

If the bee-keeper has a bent for advertising it would be quite 
possible to adapt this idea to his individual use and by preparing 
a series of such cards suit- 





Fig. 127. — Little stickers widely used for 
general advertising. 

able for every season of the 
year and keeping each kind 
on display but a few days at 
a time he can add consider- 
ably to the demand for 
honey in the stores where 
it is on sale. 

Exhibits at Fairs. — A 
good exhibit at either State 
or county fair is not only good general advertising but also likely 
to be of great help to the individual bee-keeper who makes the 
exhibit (Fig. 130). Multitudes of people pass by such an exhibit 
daily and if there be a well-informed attendant he can do much 
to create a demand for his product on the part of the visitors. 

One year the prize winning exhibit at the Iowa State fair 
carried off about two hundred dollars in premiums and in addi- 
tion the owner took orders for about five thousand pounds of 
honey at retail prices. He was thus amply repaid for all the 
time and labor necessary to make a creditable showing for the 
industry in general and for his apiary in particular. 

It is quite probable that half of the honey sold as a result 
of this exhibit was to customers who would not have gone to 
the store to leave an order for it. 



The author once put up a small exhibit for a store where his 
honey was on sale, to be used at a county fair. Extracted honey 
in jars of the various sizes in which it was regularly offered 
for sale was the principal part of the exhibit. It was arranged 
as attractively as possible about an observation hive containing 
a frame of brood and live bees. Above the exhibit was placed 

Fig. 128. — Advertising sign at the Bonney apiary. 

a large sign painted in two colors and worded substantially 

Gathered by Cass County Bees 

From Cass County Flowers 

Expressly for Stier Grocery Co., 



There was no attendant in charge of the exhibit, but accord- 
ing to the man in charge of the general department in which it 
was placed, there was more interest in it than in any other in 
the department. The live bees were of course the principal 
object of interest. Had there been an attendant in charge to 
answer questions and take orders the results might have been 

jlXHIbits at fairs 


even greater, but with no word concerning its origin excepting 
the sign the results were a great surprise both to the grocer 
and the bee-keeper. Orders for honey began coming in im- 
mediately and by the close of the fair the supply available at 
the store was all sold and the delivery wagon sent to the fair 
grounds to take down the exhibit to supply pressing orders. A 





Iowa Bee-Keepers Assoclkilon 

Fia. 129.— Iowa Bee-keepera Association holiday placard. 

hurry-up call was sent to the apiary for more honey, which was 
supplied at once. As a result of this single little exhibit and 
sign at a county fair, which did not require much more than a 
half day's time to prepare and put in place, the sales of honey 
from this store were more than doubled and many of the custo- 
mers who first bought as a result of it, remained as permanent 
customers of this particular store and particular brand of honey 
as long as it remained on the market. 

As a rule the bee-keeper who seeks the shortest and most 



direct way to reach his customers, after once trying the plan of 
exhibiting, remains as a permanent exhibitor as long as he cares 
to develop this kind of market. One will find it difficult to show 
his product and explain his methods to as many people in any 
other way. The premiums offered are usually sufficient to pay 
the expenses incurred by the exhibitor. 

Fancy Packages.— One of the very best advertisements for 
the honey producer is an attractive package decidedly different 
from those for sale in the general market. The use of paper 

FiQ. 132. 

Fig. 131.— Paper carton the beat retail package for section honey 
FiQ. 132. — The Hunten tin package. 

cartons for comb honey offers good opportunities for creating a 
demand for a particular brand. Instead of making use of the 
regular stock carton with the simple addition of the producer's 
name it is much better to have a special design with a particular 
brand and have the design copyrighted (Fig. 131). 

One of the most attractive packages for comb honey ever 
placed on the market was put out by Paul Hunten, of Colorado. 
Mr. Hunten had a section made of tin instead of the usual wood. 
When this was filled he had a top and bottom to slip on like the 
lid to a tin can and a paper band to go clear around the four 
sides and make the package dust proof. The transparent center 


of the one side gives a view of the contents (Fig. 132). This 
package would be suited only to the highest class of trade be- 
cause of the extra expense to produce it, but there is a trade 
that would gladly pay a few cents extra for each section in 
order to secure a fancy package that is dust and drip proof. 

The paper carton serves the same general purpose and is 
much cheaper. Extracted honey also sells much better in 
attractive packages, as any bee-keeper of experience has learned 
by experience. The experiment has been tried of putting honey 
in an ordinary Mason fruit jar with ordinary top and rubber 
beside containers holding the same quantity and quality of honey 
but of a clear white glass and nice fitting top and attractive label. 
From six to ten times as many jars of the more attractive appear- 
ing lot were sold as of the other, thus proving how far the 
appeal to the eye will assist in making a sale. 

Retail Prices. — Many bee-keepers prefer to dump the whole 
crop on the general market to sell for what it will bring rather 
than to go to the trouble of developing the retail market. As a 
rule extracted honey of good quality will not sell readily at 
more than 7j^ to 8 cents per pound in large quantities at whole- 
sale prices. At the same time extracted honey of similar quality 
will bring from ten to fifteen cents per pound net at retail vsdth 
an average of about twelve cents per pound perhaps. Unless 
the producer has a very large business that occupies his time 
fully he can well afford to spend considerable time in marketing 
his product for the extra fifty per cent. Prices have been mate- 
rially higher since the war period. 

The small apiary that produces from $1000 to $1200 per 
year can thus be made to pay from $1500 to $1800 annually. 
While to make the most of such a market will require that honey 
be kept in stock to supply the trade throughout the entire year, 
most of the additional work will be required during the months 
when least is required in the apiary. There is the further 
advantage that every man who develops his own market relieves 
the general market to that extent and thus serves to steady prices 
or even to advance them. 


Newspaper Advertising, — Direct advertising offers a very 
good field if the copy is well arranged and the best medium 
selected. Too many producers confine their advertising to the 
bee journals. These are read principally by other producers 
and the only buyers are bee-keepers who have a larger market 
than they can supply, but they buy only at wholesale prices or 
little above. 

The buyers which can be reached profitably are the real con- 
sumers and especially those who buy in considerable quantity. 
Western farmers and ranchmen are good customers, especially 
in sections that are a long distance from the railroad and where 
supplies must be purchased long in advance. Some of these 
ranches will buy as much as half a ton of extracted honey at a 
single order. The farm and ranch journals that circulate in the 
arid regions where ranching is still carried on extensively fur- 
nish good advertising mediums for the sale of honey. The 
farm journals which circulate in the Mississippi valley are also 
good mediums, as the farmers of the Middle West are prosper- 
ous and less honey is produced by the general farmer every year. 

Local newspapers can usually be used to advantage. In 
making use of the local paper the producer can offer to deliver 
his product on telephone order. Much depends upon the word- 
ing of the advertisement, no matter what medium is used. The 
mere mention of honey for sale at a stated price will bring orders 
from customers who are already consumers of this product, but 
will seldom attract the attention of others. An advertisement 
with some novel suggestion will attract the attention of the 
casual reader and often bring an order. 


Our new honey is now ready for delivery. The bees have been 
unusually busy this summer and the product is of the finest quality. 
Flowers are nature's supreme effort and honey is the essence of 
the flowers. A sample of our clover blend will convince you that 
a finer food product has never been produced. Only twenty-five 
cents per pound in ten pound lots. 



In " Advanced Bee Culture " W. Z. Hutchinson gives an 
account of an advertising experience by which he sold ten thou- 
sand pounds of honey from a single advertisement in Saturday 
Evening Post at a cost of $25. The magazines of national cir- 
culation offer a field of their own which the ordinary bee-keeper 
is hardly prepared to cultivate. The circulation is so widely 
scattered and the cost is such that there is little hope that 
advertising in this way will prove profitable unless the bee- 
keeper has attractive printed matter which he is prepared to 
send in answer to every inquiry together with a sample of the 

A large producer who is prepared to follow up inquiries and 
who has well prepared printed matter giving some information 
as to the production of honey and its preparation for market 
may find advertising in these high class journals profitable. 
As a rule, the novice should begin with his local papers, then 
gradually increase his advertising appropriation as he learns 
how to make the most of it. 

The local market can always be most profitably developed 
and in most localities east of the Missouri River the bee-keeper 
need not seek the distant market. 

Booklets. — j^o matter what method one may take to find his 
customers a cheap booklet giving the uses to which honey can 
be put will be of great value. This should be printed on good 
paper with some attractive pictures of apiary scenes and honey 
packages. There should be information concerning the care of 
honey. Too many people will take home a section or two of 
honey and spoil it by putting it in the refrigerator. The man- 
ner of liquefying granulated honey should always be given. 

This should be followed with some brief descriptions of the 
methods of honey production and preparation for market, and 
a number of receipts for the use of honey in cooking or other 
household uses should be included. There are several booklets 
of this kind offered and something new appears frequently. 


" Facts About Honej," by C. P. Dadajit, published at Hamilton, 
111., by Dadant & Sons, contains 16 pages of interesting informa- 
tion about honey and its uses. '' Use of Honey in Cooking," pub- 
lished by the Root Co., is somewhat similar in its scope. 

Farmer's Bulletin 653, " Honey and its Uses in the Home," 
issued by the U. S. Department of Agriculture for free distri- 
bution, is excellent. Sometimes the bee-keeper finds its desirable 
to compile and print something which is distinctly his own. 

Shortcake. — Three cups flour, two teaspoonfuls baking powder, a tea- 
spoonful of salt, V2 cup shortening, U/2 cups sweet milk. Roll quickly and 
bake in hot oven. When done, split the cake and spread the lower half 
thinly with butter and the upper half with a half pound of the best 
flavored honey. (Candied honey is preferred. If too hard to spread well 
it should be slightly warmed or creamed with a knife.) Let it stand a 
few minutes and the honey will melt gradually and the flavor will permeate 
all through the cake. To be eaten with milk. 

Soft Cake.— One cup butter, 2 cups honey, 2 eggs, one cup sour milk, 
2 teaspoonfuls soda, a teaspoonful each of ginger and cinnamon, four cups' 

Eggless Cake. — One cupful sugar, J^ eup honey, one cupful sour milk 
2 tablespoonfuls butter, one cupful chopped raisins, one cup chopped dates, 

1 teaspoonful soda, 21/2 cups flour, spice to taste. 

Gingerbread.— One egg, one cup honey, one cup sour milk, 2 teaspoon- 
fuls butter, 1/2 teaspoonful soda, one teaspoonful ginger. Flour to make 
rather stiff batter. 

Honey Jumbles.— Tv/o quarts flour, 3 tablespoonfuls melted lard, one 
pint honey, 14 pint molasses, 11/2 level teaspoonfuls soda, a level teaspoon- 
ful salt, 14 pint water, J/g teaspoonful vanilla. 

Ginger Cookies.— One cup each of hon?y, sugar, buttermilk and lard; 
one teaspoonful each of salt, cinnamon, and ginger; one teaspoonful soda- 
one teaspoonful lemon extract. Stir stiff- with flour, for gingerbread; mix 
stiff and roll and cut and bake in a quick oven. Also good with caraway 
seeds instead of spices. 

Oatmeal Cookies.— Cre&m together one cup sugar, y^ cup honey %, 
cup lard or butter, 6 tablespoonfuls milk, 1/2 cup raisins, 2 cups rolled oats 

2 eggs. Sift together 2 or more cups flour, y^ teaspoonful salt, 2 teaspoon- 
fuls cream tartar, one teaspoonful each of soda and cinnamon. Mix to- 
gether and roll quite thick. 

German Christmas Cookies.— One quart honey. Let it come to a boil 
then set away to cool. Add one pound brown sugar, 4 eggs, juice and rind 
of two lemons, 1/4 pound citron chopped fine, 2 teaspoonfuls soda, one table- 
epoonful each of cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg. Flour to stiften 
Make dough as stiflf as you can. Chopped nut meats may be added if 

Brown Bread.— One cup corn meal, one cup rye meal, one cup sour milk 
1/2 cup or less of honey, teaspoonful salt and teaspoonful of soda. Steam 
four hours and then dry in oven fifteen minutes. 


Graham Bread. — Take 11/2 cups sour milk, i/^ cup shortening, % cup 
honey, one egg, teaspoonful soda, 3 cups graham flour. 

Bran Gems. — Two cups bran, one scant cup wheat flour, one pinch salt, 
11/2 cups buttermilk, level teaspoonful soda, 3 tablespoonfuls extracted 
honey. Mix the bran and flour and salt thoroughly; add buttermilk in 
which soda has been dissolved; lastly add honey. Bake until thorouglily 
done, in greased gem-pan in hot oven. 

Sandioiches. — For an afternoon tea or lunch cut thin slices of bread 
and spread with honey quite thick. Use brown or whole wheat bread, or 
use one kind of bread for top layer and another kind for bottom. For a 
richer sandwich sprinkle with nut meats or sugar. 

Honey Cereal Coffee. — One egg, one cup honey (preferably dark), 2 
quarts wheat bran. Beat the egg, add honey and lastly the bran, and 
stir until well blended. Put in oven and brown to dark brown, stirring 
frequently, being careful that the oven is not too hot. To prepare the 
cotlee, allow one heaping tablespoonful of the brown mixture to a cup of hot 
water, and boil for at least ten minutes. If properly prepared this is equal 
or superior to any cereal drink on the market. 

Apple Butter. — One gallon good cooking apples, one quart honey, one 
quart honey vinegar, one heaping teaspoonful ground cinnamon. Cook 
several hours, stirring often to prevent burning. If the vinegar is very 
strong use part water. 

Peach Preserves. — Pare and halve nice large peaches the night before. 
Pour one pound of honey to every one and a half pounds of fruit. 

Money Crab Apple Jelly. — Boil fruit with as little water as possible; 
squeeze through jelly bag. Add one-half cup honey and one-half cup of 
sugar to each cup of juice, then boil twenty minutes or until it begins to 
jell. Pour into glasses to cool but do not cover until fully cooled. 

Baked Apples. — Split some sour apples, cut out the cores and fill pan. 
Bake until they begin to soften, then fill cavities with honey and lemon 
juice. Set back in the stove to finish baking. 

Honey Candy. — Take 2^/2 cups sugar, i/^ cup honey, I/2 cup water and 
boil to thick syrup. Pour one cup of syrup on beaten whites of two eggs, 
stirring meanwhile. Boil remainder of syrup until it hardens when dropped 
in water; then pour in the syrup and eggs, stirring briskly. Add a cupful 
of peanuts and stir until it begins to harden, then spread in a pan and 
cut in squares. Flavor to taste. If properly made it will be soft and 

Honey Pop-corn. — Take a tea cupful of white honey, a teacupful of 
white sugar, li/o tablespoonfuls butter, a tablespoonful water and boil 
until brittle when dropped in cold water. Have ready two quarts nicely 
popped corn and pour the candy over it until evenly distributed, stirring 
briskly until nearly cool. 

Candy. — One cup granulated sugar, one tablespoonful extracted honey, 
butter the size of a walnut, and sweet cream enough to dissolve the mixture. 
It needs but little cooking. When taken from the tire beat until smooth. 

Candy. — One cup sugar, 2 tablespoonfuls honey, 2 tablespoonfuls water 
and walnut meats. Cook and test like molasses candy. 

Taffy.— T&ke three cups sugar, % cup extracted honey, % cup of hot 
water. Boil all together until it spins a thread when dropped from a spoon, 
or hardens when dropped into cold water. Pour into a greased pan to cool, 
when it should be pulled until white. 



Flo. 133. — Dr. Bonney's postcard which brings him many new customers. 


The Use of Post Cards.— One of the most effective means 
of advertising in a small way is the use of post cards. Dr. A. F. 
Bonney, of Iowa, has used this method quite extensively. The 
post cards mention honey only incidentally hut are usually 
somewhat comic in makeup. Fig. 133 shows one of the cards 
which he has used to a considerable extent. His plan is to send 
them to postmasters, public officers, and prominent and pros- 
perous people generally whose names he can secure within one 
hundred miles of his home. It would be well to use two or three 
lines at the bottom of such a card as that here shown to quote 
prices of honey delivered in packages of popular size. 

The idea of these cards is to catch the interest of the recipient 
who will laugh at the comic picture and then have his attention 
called to the honey which is unobtrusively done. One 
of Dr. Bonney's cards pictures the occupants of an automobile 
in all sorts of impossible situations as the result of an accident. 
ISTailed to a tree in the background is a sign board with these 
words : " If anything happens in the vicinity of Buck Grove, 
Iowa, stop and get some Bonney Honey." 

When put to the test of practical results they have proved 
to be good business getters. After sending out a batch of these 
cards, even though they go to entire strangers with whom he has 
had no previous correspondence, he always gets a bunch of orders 
as a result. 

Canvassing and Peddling. — This method is distasteful to 
many bee-keepers yet it has decided advantages over other plans. 
If one is adapted to canvassing he can take a can of honey for 
samples and by making a house to house canvas make many 
permanent customers. By offering a sample of his product the 
buyer is given a chance to decide whether the flavor appeals 
to his particular taste. Then the producer can give some infor- 
mation concerning the production of honey and correct any false 
impressions concerning the product of the hive. A good can- 
vasser will make good wages over and above wholesale prices 
even if the value of future orders is not considered. A largo 
producer can well afford to hire students during the vacation 



period and put them to work in building up a trade. Of course 
it will be necessary to sift the possible applicants somewhat to 
find those who are adapted to canvassing and also who know 
enough about the bee-keeper's business to answer questions 

A more common method is for the producer or his agent to 
take a spring wagon or auto with a load of honey and deliver 
hia orders as he goes (Fig. 134). A good salesman will sell 

Pio. 134.— The automobile as a sales agency 10 the most up-to-date method. 

several hundred pounds daily from a wagon. One of the most 
successful honey producers of the Middle West takes his load 
of honey and visits the public sales that are held within reach 
of his home. At the public sale a considerable crowd is always 
gathered and he has a good opportunity to dispose of his wares 
to advantage. In this way he sells a good many thousand pounds 
during the winter months when sales are in progress. By driv- 
ing ten or twelve miles in every direction he is thus able to cover 
a large territory and present the merits of his product to many 


hundreds of men. He carries packages both large and small 
and is prepared to supply any desired amount from a five pound 
pail to a sixty pound can on the spot. In this manner he sells 
at times more than a ton of honey within a week. If he gets 
but two cents per pound more than it would bring at wholesale 
he is making good wages for his time while establishing a trade 
that will soon come to depend upon his apiary as a source of 
supply. ^ 

Cutting Prices. — One of the worst drawbacks to the honey 
business is the tendency on the part of some to cut prices. John 
Smith will make enquiry of some concern dealing in honey as 
to the price they are paying. They will of course quote a price 
at which they can handle his goods at a profit. Mr. Smith think- 
ing to accommodate his neighbors sells his honey at home at the 
wholesale price. When the supply is exhausted there is bitter 
complaint against paying at retail more than the wholesale price. 
The dealer of course must feel that he paid too much for the 
crop and accordingly he starts in the following year to buy at a 
lower figure. The retailer's profit is as legitimate as the pro- 
ducer's profit. Unless a man will sell at a fair retail price he 
should in justice to other bee-keepers if not to his own future 
prosperity sell it to some dealer at wholesale. Cutting prices can 
have but one result: the tendency to depress prices below the 
point of profitable production. Until the bee-keepers of a com- 
munity come to practice good business methods in handling their 
crops the business of honey production will not be a profitable 
one nor will the public regard it as a desirable occupation. 


1. Why is it fortunate tliat bee-keeping is becoming a specialized business? 

2. Discuss the grading of comb honey. 

3. How can the crop be marketed to the best advantage? 

4. What precautions are necessary in caring for honey? 

5. Note the best packages both for shipping and for retailing. 

6. What plans can be used to develop local markets? 

7. Under what circumstances is cooperative marketing desirable? 

8. Outline some practical plans of advertising the product of the apiary. 

9. What is to be expected from a general exhibit as an advertising medium ? 

10. Discuss the value of an attractive package. 

11. To what extent can newspapers and booklets be profitably used? 

12. When is personal canvassing profitable? 



Because of the nature of the honey-bee and the fact that 
the insects cannot be restrained like cattle or poultry, the laws 
concerning the bee-keeper are somewhat different from those 
that affect the owners of other live stock. In the first place bees 
are recognized as being wild by nature and once a swarm gets 
beyond its owner's control and passes to the premises of another 
he loses all property right in them unless he follows them and 
keeps them in sight. 

Bees found in a tree or other natural cavity become the prop- 
erty of the first person who reclaims them. This fact, however, 
does not give any right to trespass on the property of another. 
During the days of early settlement of this country there was 
an unwritten law that wild bees became the property of the man 
who found them and marked the tree. While this right was 
generally recognized there was no law that would confer 
any right to the bees unless the finder proceeded to take posses- 
sion of them. As soon as wild bees are taken into possession 
they become the property of the man who reclaims them. This 
right will be recognized and protected as long as they are under 
his care. Should he injure the tree in which the bees are found 
in removing them, he will be liable to the land owner for trespass. 

The time has gone by, in most localities, when serious ques- 
tions regarding the ownership of wild bees are likely to arise. 
Bee-keeping is now a recognized industry in itself and the owner 
of bees enjoys the same rights and privileges as holders of other 
property. The relation of the bee-keeper to his neighbors, how- 
ever, especially where there is a large apiary in closeproximity 
to the home of other persons, frequently presents some problems 
that are decidedly different from those of any other calling. 

The keeping of bees in cities and towns is so generally prac- 



tised and has been the source of so much litigation of one kind 
and another that an extended account of the rights of both the 
bee-keeper and his neighbor can very properly be taken up. 
While the courts have held that bee-keeping is a legitimate pur- 
suit and as such cannot be prevented by general legislation that 
declares the bees to be a nuisance whether they are so in fact 
or not there is a general principle that will provide relief from 
undue annoyance. 

Causes of Trouble. — Before taking up the consideration of 
the law in this special relationship it may be well to consider 
the causes that lead to friction between the bee-keeper and his 
neighbors. So many instances of trouble of this kind arise that 
small towns and cities are frequently urged to pass ordinances 
to prohibit the keeping of bees within the incorporated limits. 

Spotting Clothes. — ^When the bees are brought from the 
cellar in spring or when they are able to take their first flight 
after long confinement the abdomens are distended with retained 
fseces. As soon 'ns they can fly this is voided in large drops of 
offensive refuse. If it happens that the bees fly for the first time 
when the wash is on the line the white clothes are badly soiled as 
a result. 

The bee-keeper should avoid if possible setting cellar win- 
tered bees out when the neighbors are washing. Bees seldom 
fly far on the first flight and clothes are not likely to be soiled 
far from the bee hives. As a rule it is the near neighbors who 
will be the sufferers. If the bees are likely to fly on wash day 
the situation should be explained and some provision made to 
avoid having the clothes exposed. After two or three nice days 
there will be little further trouble, as this spotting is only notice- 
able after long confinement without opportunity to void the 

Watering Places. — With bee-keepers as with others "An 
ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," and if the bee- 
keeper is diplomatic he can usually avoid annoying his neigh- 


bors seriously. No fair minded man will wish to annoy others, 
whether or not he is living within his legal rights. 

Watering places where the bees congregate in large numbers 
are frequently sources of great annoyance, as animals that come 
to drink are likely to be stung as well as persons whose duties 
take them there. After the bees come to frequent such a place 
it is a little difficult to check their coming unless the water can 
be covered in such a way that they cannot reach it. 

The wise bee-keeper will provide watering places for his bees 
as described in Chapter IV, early in spring to prevent, as far as 
possible, their going to other places for water. 

After the bees have formed the habit of getting water at 
places where their presence is annoying the bee-keeper should 
assist in every possible way to cover the water supply until they 
find water elsewhere. 

Flying about Streets or Highways.— If the hives are situ- 
ated near the street or highway in such a way that the entrance 
of the hive faces the thoroughfare there is danger of passing 
teams or pedestrians being stung. The bee-keeper should see 
that his hives are so placed that the bees do not fly directly into 
any public highway. The entrances should face in the opposite 
direction and if necessary a high board fence or other obstruction 
should compel them to rise high in the air before crossing. This 
will carry them safely over the heads of passers-by. Where per- 
sons or animals are injured by bees under circumstances such as 
these the owner has been held liable for damages. 

In Quebec there is a legal regulation that requires that 
where apiaries are within thirty feet of a house or public road a 
board fence at least eight feet high must be erected and the fence 
must extend at least fifteen feet beyond the limits of the apiary. 
According to the editor of the American Bee Journal the bee- 
keepers feel that this regulation is a protection of their interests 
since they may keep bees anywhere by complying with the law. 
At Candy Stores, Etc.— It frequently happens that bees will 
be troublesome where candy is exposed for sale or where the 


housewife is canning fruit or making jelly or anything else 
where sugar is used in making syrup. Where the doors of 
grocery stores are left open the bees are also likely to find some 

Such annoyances as the above described are usual only during 
warm weather where there is no natural source of supply. After 
the honey flow is checked the bees are very persistent in hunting 
for everything sweet. Seldom is the bee-keeper to be blamed 
in cases like these. If the premises are properly screened against 
flies the bees will be unable to enter. 

In Adjoining Fields. — It frequently happens that the bee- 
keeper will have his bees near the fence and that they will annoy 
the owner who cultivates the adjoining field. It devolves upon 
the bee-keeper to do what he can to relieve the situation by 
erecting a suitable fence, moving the bees, or whatever remedy 
may be reasonable. 

While the bee-keeper has the same right to conduct his busi- 
ness as any other man enjoys, he must recognize the right of 
the public to be kept free from undue annoyance. With the fore- 
going causes of trouble in mind the reader will appreciate the 
following able discussion by J. D. Gustin, an attorney of Kansas 
City, Missouri, whose statements may be regarded as authori- 


Increasing population, greater dissemination of knowledge, and the 
development and specialization of industries, pursuits, and occupations 
combine to add constantly to the complexity of the relations of individuals, 
and to call from time to time, for the readjustment of the affairs of men 
to meet changed and changing conditions. In no other branch of the law is 
the ingenuity of the courts more heavily taxed in this manner than in the 
Subject of nuisances, where, from the very nature of the subject, first 
principles, rather than specific legislative enactment, must always exert a 
controlling influence. The lawmaking power may, as occasion seems to 
require, declare that particular objects, actions, omissions, etc., shall be 
nuisances, either with or without regard to attending conditions or circum- 
stances, but the application of such statutes is necessarily so limited that 
the general law of the subject is not aftected. 

^Bees as a Nuisance, Third Annual Report of the State Inspector of 
Bees, Iowa, 1914. 


It therefore follows that courts still deal with nuisances largely from 
the principles of the common law and it is a matter of serious doubt 
whether, in any instance, specific legislative action can be proven to have 
any substantial value as an addition to the law of the subject. A nuisance 
at common law is that class of wrongs that arise from unreasonable, un- 
warrantable, or unlawful use by a person of his own property, real or 
personal, or from his own improper, indecent or unlawful personal conduct 
working an obstruction of or injury to a right of another, or of the public, 
and producing such material annoyance, inconvenience, discomfort, or hurt 
that the law will presume a consequent damage. 

Text writers and legislative enactments state many variations of the 
foregoing comprehensive definition from Mr. Wood's treatise on nuisances, 
but there is no substantial disagreement as to what constitutes a nuisance. 
Another definition stated broadly as a general proposition, is that every 
enjoyment by one of his own property which violates in an essential degree 
the rights of another is a nuisance; and this substantial violation of a 
right is the true test of a nuisance, for it is not every use of his property 
by one which works injury to the property of another that constitutes 
a nuisance. Injury and damage are essential elements of a nuisance, but 
they may both exist as a result of an act or thing which is not a nuisance, 
because no right is violated. On the other hand, the pecuniary injury may 
be insignificant and the act or thing causing them be such an invasion 
of the rights of another, or of the public, as to constitute a nuisance for 
which an action for damages or for abatement will lie. 

Nuisances are classified by the law as public and private, and there is 
authority for a third class called " mixed " nuisances. A nuisance is 
public where it aflfects the rights of individuals as a part of the public, 
or the common rights of all the community alike; a private nuisance is 
one affecting a single individual, or individuals of a particular class, group, 
or locality in a private right; the third class, referred to as mixed nui- 
sances, are public in their nature, but at the same time specially injurious 
or detrimental to one or more individuals in particular who suffer a different 
or greater hurt than the community in general. 

Nuisances are further divided into nuisances per se, or such as are 
declared so by the common law or by some statute, without regard to 
locality, surroundings, or circumstances, and nuisances per accidens, or 
those owing their hurtful consequences to some particular attendant cir- 
cumstances, surrounding, location, or condition, without which they would 
not be unlawful. There are other less important and rather technical 
distinctions not necessary to be noticed here. The foregoing preliminary 
and very elementary observations of the general law of nuisances are neces- 
sary to a consideration of any subject with reference to its existence as 
a nuisance or otherwise. 

It is also a frequent statement of the law, and may be accepted as 
authoritative, that no lawful occupation or business is a nuisance per se, 
except it be declared so by some special enactment prohibiting certain 
things as objectionable to particular localities. S'o also the reasonable- 
ness of the use of one's property may depend upon its situation, for what 
might be lawful in one locality would prove intolerable in another. The 
use of a building in the midst of a city densely populated for a storage 
house for ha/dware would not be objectionable in the slightest degree, while 


the use of the same building for the storage of gunpowder or other high 
explosives could not be permitted. 

The common law, proceeding from fixed principles of universal appli- 
cation, and developing from tlie growth of civilization, has, in each suc- 
ceeding period, found ready adjustment to new subjects resulting from the 
widening dominion of mankind over the creatures and forces of nature, 
furnishing a ready remedy for every wrongful encroachment of one upon 
the rights of another. In the times of the early law writers bees were most 
generally known as they existed in their original state. Hence they were 
called ferae naturoe and classed as wild animals. A property right, or 
at least a qualified property right, in them could be acquired by capture 
which, in accord with the general rule concerning wild animals, existed 
so long as the captor could hold them in possession. A distinction seems 
always to have been made between the possession of animals ferocious and 
those of gentler dispositions, and it was indictable as a nuisance to per- 
mit an animal of known mischievous disposition to go at large. Bees, 
however, seem never to have been regarded as ferocious or as likely to do 
injury to persons or property, and in the far greater number of instances 
in which they have been the subject of judicial consideration tlie questions 
at issue have concerned the property interests in them. It is doubtful now. 
however, if any court would denominate them as wild animals, in view of 
the present general state of development of the industry of honey produc- 
tion and the numerous instances of State legislation designed to promote 
and protect the breeding and rearing of bees for that purpose. In the one 
or two cases decided in American jurisdictions in which the question has 
been presented, it has been determined, in accordance with the rule above 
referred to, that the keeping of bees, even in large numbers and in towns 
and villages, is not a nuisance per se. 

But greater interest, perhaps, centers in the question of whether or 
not bees may be so kept as to constitute a private nuisance, and also 
whether municipal corporations, as cities and towns, may restrain or 
prohibit their presence within the corporate limits. In answering the first 
proposition, it must be borne in mind that persons who dwell in urban 
communities must of necessity submit to such restrictions upon their abso- 
lute liberties that the dwelling of other persons therein shall be tolerable. 
As it is the unreasonable or unwarrantable use of one's premises or prop- 
erty, otherwise lawful, that contributes an essential element of a nuisance, 
a first inquiry in any case would be directed to this point of reasonableness 
of the use or occupation, and in determining this all of the surrounding 
facts and circumstances would enter into the consideration. The presence 
of one colony at a given point might be perfectly consistent with the due 
observance of the rights of the owner of the next lot, while a colony stationed 
at another point within the same distance would be obnoxious to the law. 
Again, one colony at a given place might pass unnoticed, while a number 
of colonies at the same place would be a nuisance. The habits of the bees, 
the line of flight, their temper, and disposition of the colonies, either 
separately or when collected together in numbers, might all furnish matter 
of more or less weight in reaching a conclusion. So also the character 
of the annoyance or injury done to the complainant must be a substantial 
element. In the only reported case involving this question it was charged, 
and the court found there was proof, " that during the spring and summer 
months the bees so kept "—140 colonies on an adjoining city lot and within 


100 feet of plaintiff's dwelling—" by defendants greatly interfered with 
the quiet and proper enjoyment and possession of plaintiff's premises, 
driving him, his servants and guests from his garden and grounds, and 
stinging them, interfered with the enjoyment of his home, and with his 
family while engaged in the performance of their domestic duties, soiling 
articles of clothing when exposed on his premises, and made his dwelling 
and premises unfit for habitation." These facts were held to constitute a 
nuisance, against which the plaintiff was entitled to injunction and nominal 
damages. These facts just recited, however, probably present an extreme 
case, the immediate proximity of so many colonies being, no doubt, per- 
suasive evidence that the annoyance suffered by the plaintiff was due to 
the defendant's use of his premises. Greater difficulty would be experienced 
in reaching such a conclusion if there were no colonies stationed in the 
immediate vicinity, a thing entirely possible under the common belief that 
the insects go considerable distances for their stores. 

So it may be said of bees, as of other property, that no hard and fast 
rule can be laid down by which to determine in advance whether the 
presence of bees in any given numbers or at any given point will amount 
to a nuisance. But, not being a nuisance of themselves, as a matter of law, 
and absent also any general State enactment declaring them to be such, 
bees will not, under any circumstances be presumed to be a nuisance, but 
the matter will rest in the proof adduced, with the burden upon the party 
alleging the affirmative. But they may, upon proof of particular facts 
showing all the elements necessary to the existence of a nuisance, he 
condemned as such, either of a private or public character, as the nature 
of the injury might decide. 

Predicated upon the theory advanced in the beginning that courts 
would now, if the matter were called in question, decide that bees are 
domestic animals, and it having already become a matter of legislative 
recognition that they are subject to communicable diseases, a question arises 
as to the liability of the keeper of diseased bees. At common law it was 
an indictable offense, which has been reenacted by statute in mos.!; of the 
States, to take a domestic animal suffering from a communicable disease 
into a public place or to turn it into the highway so that the disease might 
be communicated to the animals of other persons. It could hardly be 
said to be less culpable to knowingly keep diseased bees, which, by their 
nature may not be restrained or confined, to spread disease to the apiaries 
of other owners. If to turn a horse with glanders or a sheep with footrot 
into the highway is a public nuisance, on the same reasoning to turn bees 
at large to carry communicable diseases peculiar to them to other bees 
ought to be an offense of the same grade. 

The power of a municipal corporation, as a town or village, to restrain 
or prohibit within its limits the keeping of bees, or to denounce them 
as a nuisance, is commonly reported as a fruitful source of vexation to 
keepers of bees, but one case only is reported as involving a judicial de- 
termination of that particular point. And here, too, a few preliminary 
observations will be necessary to proper understanding of this phase of, 
the nuisance laws. Cities, towns, and villages, as municipal corporations 
or public bodies, receive their powers by express grant from the legislative 
authority of the State, and with the exception of some unenumerated 
powers without which the corporate body could not exercise its essential 


rtinctions as such, their powers are limited to those expressly named in the 
grant. This grant of power is usually contained in the general laws of 
the State governing cities, towns, and villages, and is called the charter 
power, the law or statute itself being usually known as the charter. Keep- 
ing these facts in mind will aid the unprofessional man in understanding 
the terms to be encountered in an examination of local laws in regard 
to the power of a municipal corporation to legislate upon this subject. 

Every State has its own peculiar policy toward these municipal cor- 
porations, and no two are exactly the same. They all, however, follow the 
same general plan, with variations influenced by local conditions. As the 
power of the State legislature is so limited that its acts must be consistent 
with the constitution, so the power of a municipal corporation to makf 
by-laws, as its ordinances or enactments are commonly known, must be 
in harmony with its charter, with this further distinction, that while the 
legislature of the State may exercise unlimited discretion in all matters 
not prohibited by the constitution, a municipal corporation is restricted 
in legislative action to those matters in which it is expressly authorzed 
by its charter. 

It is the general rule that cities, towns, and Villages have conferred 
upon their common councils power to declare, abate, and remove nuisances. 
In the case of nuisances per se, whether at common law or by statute, or 
by ordinance in those cases in which the council may declare such nuis- 
ances, the power to abate by summary action is either expressly given or 
exists by necessary implication. Summary abatement means arbitrary 
removal or destruction without judicial process. Nearly, if not quite, all 
city charters contain grants of power to license, regulate, and restrict all 
businesses, pursuits, and avocations, and also a section known commonly 
as a " general welfare clause," by which the corporate body is empowered 
generally to enact such ordinances, rules, and regulations as may be neces- 
sary to preserve the peace, safety, and health of its inhabitants and 
promote their general welfare. To undertake to set out the specific pro- 
visions of tile charters of the municipal corporations of tlie various States 
would extend this article far beyond its intended scope. 

It is a cardinal rule of the courts that all ordinances must be reason- 
able, and tiiat while a city may define, classify, and enact wiiat things or 
classes of things siiall be nuisances, and under what conditions and circum- 
stances such things shall be deemed nuisances, this power is subject to 
the limitation that it is for the courts to determine whether, in a given 
case, tiie thing so defined and denounced is a nuisance in fact, and that 
if the court shall resolve this point in the negative the ordinance is invalid. 
Under this rule, in an Arkansas case, it was held that the municipal 
corporation could not prohibit the keeping and rearing of bees within its 
limits as a nuisance regardless of whether they were so in fact or not. 
And this case seems to have been received as announcing the correct rule in 
recent text works, though the point has not been raised elsewhere in contro- 

Under the rule just stated, the power of summary abatement would 
not exist, even though the presence of bees in a particular part of the 
city should be declared objectionable, but the point would rest, as has 
been heretofore observed, upon the proof adduced, the burden being upon the 
party declaring the affirmative of the issue. 



As has already been stated, the bee-keeper is as fully pro- 
tected in the property rights in bees as in any other domestic 
animals. Should anyone steal a colony of bees he could be prose- 
cuted for larceny in probably any State. 

Spraying While Trees are in Bloom.— There is a greater 
danger to the bees, however, than ordinary theft. It is a com- 
mon practice to spray fruit trees with poisonous liquids to con- 
trol insect pests. The fruit growers are not always sufficiently 
careful as to the time when these sprays are applied and the 
wholesale destruction of bees sometimes results from the appli- 
cation of sprays while the trees are in bloom. A number of 
States have passed laws prohibiting the spraying of fruit trees 
while in bloom, for the sole purpose of protecting the bee-keeper. 

The law on this subject enacted by the State of New York 
is representative of the laws in force in the various States. It 
is worded as follows: 

Any person who shall spray with, or apply in any way, poison or any 
poisonous substance, to fruit trees while the same are in blossom, is guilty 
of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not less than ten dollars nor 
more than fifty dollars; provided, however, that nothing in this section 
shall prevent the directors of the experiment stations at Ithaca and Geneva 
from conducting experiments in the application of poison and spravinff 
mixtures to fruit trees while in blossom. f j e, 

A somewhat similar law is in force in Canada. In States 
where such laws have not been passed there is bitter complaint 
on the part of the bee-keepers that their bees are destroyed or 
they are compelled to move their apiaries. 

Poisoning Bees.— It sometimes happens that malicious per- 
sons will put out poisoned honey or syrup for the purpose of 
destroying the bees. It hardly need be said that such an act 
does not differ materially from a legal standpoint from poisoning 
any other domestic animals. A few States have passed specific 
statutes providing fine and imprisonment for the malicious 
poisoning of bees. 



Although other animal diseases have been subject to regula- 
tion by law for many years, laws relating to bee diseases are of 
comparatively recent date. Wisconsin was the first State to pass 
foul brood laws giving one inspector state-wide authority. In 
the year 1897 a law was passed providing for the inspection of 
bees and prohibiting the sale of infected colonies or appliances. 
!N. E. France was appointed inspector and has served for 
eighteen years. Prior to this time California adopted the 
county system. At present more than half of the States have 
laws regulating bee diseases and providing for inspection. New 
States are added to the list every biennial period at the meeting 
of the various Legislatures, and apparently but a few years will 
elapse until every State has made some such provision. The 
tendency is to enact cumbersome statutes in the beginning which 
set out in detail the method of procedure under every condition. 
After being put to the test of actual service there is a tendency to 
modify the laws and leave something to the judgment of the in- 
spector. To begin with, most laws require that the inspector be 
notified by three persons of the supposed existence of foul brood 
in a locality before he is compelled to investigate. Under such 
conditions disease may become exceedingly prevalent before three 
persons will notify the inspector. If a single notice is sufficient 
a neighborhood may be cleaned up when the disease first makes 
its appearance and many bees, as well as much expense, be saved. 

It should be borne in mind that elaborately drawn laws 
rather tend to restrict the work of the inspector than to enlarge 
his opportunities for dealing with a serious condition. If the 
law is greatly extended to outline the various conditions which 
he is supposed to meet he will be restricted to such powers and 
duties as are expressly granted in the statute. On the other 
hand, if his office and duties are created and defined in a short 
general statute he will be free to meet such situations as arise. 

The New York law has been on the statute books since 1902 
and a somewhat similar law several years previous to that time. 

Bee inspection in that State is carried on under direction of 



the commissioner of agriculture and the inspection service has 
the reputation of being very effectively handled. The law is as 
follows : 

The Prevention of Disease among Bees. — No person shall keep in his 
apiary any colony of bees aliected with the contagious malady known as 
foul brood or black brood; and every bee-keeper when he becomes aware 
of the existence of either of such diseases among his bees, shall immediately 
notify the commissioner of agriculture of the existence of such disease. 

Duties of the Commissioner. — The commissioner of agriculture shall 
immediately upon receiving notice of the existence of foul brood or black 
brood among the bees in any locality, send some competent person or per- 
sons to examine the apiary or apiaries reported to him as being affected, 
and all other apiaries in the immediate locality of the apiary or apiaries' 
so reported; if foul brood or black brood is found to exist in them, the 
person or persons so sent by the commissioner of agriculture shall give the 
owners or caretakers of the diseased apiary or apiaries full instructions 
how to treat said cases. The commissioner of agriculture sliall cause said 
apiary or apiaries to be visited from time to time as he may deem best 
and if, after proper treatment, the bees shall not be cured of the diseases 
known as foul brood or black brood then he may cause the same to be 
destroyed in such manner as may be necessary to prevent the spread of 
said diseases. For the purpose of enforcing this article, the commissioner 
of agriculture, his agents, employees, appointees or counsel, shall have 
access, ingress, and egress to all places where bees or honey or appliances 
used in apiaries may be, which it is believed are in any way afiected with the 
said disease of foul brood or black brood or where it is believed any com- 
modity is offered or exposed for sale in violation of the provisions of this 
article. No owner or caretaker of a diseased apiary, honey, or appliances 
shall sell, barter, or give away any bees, honey, or appliances from said 
diseased apiary, which shall expose other bees to the danger of said 
diseases, nor refuse to allow the said commissioner of agriculture or the 
person or persons appointed by him, to inspect said apiary, honey or 
appliances, or to do such things as the said commissioner of agriculture 
ur the person or persons appointed by him shall deem necessary for the 
eradication of said diseases. Any person who disregards or violates any 
of the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be 
punished by a fine of not less than thirty dollars or more than one hun- 
dred dollars, or by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than one 
month or more than two months, or by both fine and imprisonment. 

The law above quoted confers abundant authority upon the 
inspectors without unnecessary restrictions upon their move- 
ments. ^ If in their judgment a second visit or even a third or 
fourth is necessary they are free to make it. Most laws require 
a second visit of the inspector whether or not it seems necessary. 

Separate Departments.— Some States have a separate de- 
partment for bee inspection. The officer is designated a State 


official and is usually appointed by the governor. The office thus 
becomes a political appointment and is subject to the dangers 
of such a system. If a competent man is placed in charge the 
results are likely to be satisfactory but he is never so free in the 
discharge of his duties as officers whose appointment depends 
solely upon efficiency. It frequently happens that men who 
know little about bees and less about foul brood will have dis- 
ease in the apiary and will refuse to be convinced of its real 
nature. The enmity of such men is likely to be a heavy liability 
when the official asks for reappointment. If, perchance, the 
governor is a man who is more interested in his own political 
future than in the welfare of the State he will be slow to reap- 
point men who have antagonized any considerable element. 

If an inspector is reasonable and diplomatic he can disarm 
much of the antagonism but it is impossible for any man in this 
work to please everybody and do his full duty. 

Under State Entomologist. — In several States the State 
entomologist is given supervision of bee inspection. This should 
give better results than a political appointment, especially in 
those States where the entomologist is an official of the agricul- 
tural experiment station. 

Department of Agricultural College. — The various States 
are rapidly adding bee culture to the departments of the agri- 
cultural colleges. The best results are likely to result from 
placing the bee inspection under direction of the head of the 
department of bee-keeping. His position is such that an ineffi- 
cient man will not be placed in charge and the work can be 
organized in connection with the school in a very satisfactory 

County Inspectors. — Several States have adopted the county 
system of inspection. In these States the county board may 
appoint a county bee inspector on petition of a certain prescribed 
number of bee-keepers. The official is thus accountable to the 
local officials and receives his pay from county funds. Cali- 
fornia adopted this plan many years ago and still retains it. 


While good results often come through this system local in- 
fluences often result in inferior service. Serious charges have 
been made in some cases of inspectors using the authority of the 
office to remove other bee-keepers from coveted territory and 
the destruction of healthy bees through jealousy. While the 
county system is better than none at all it is a general rule that 
police regulations are better enforced through a State or national 
administration than through a local one. 

Colorado Plan. — In Colorado the State and county plans are 
combined. There is a State appropriation administered by an 
inspector appointed by the State entomologist. The county 
boards also have authority to appoint local inspectors as in Cali- 
fornia. In this State the combined forces work together with 
good results. The general supervision of the State inspector 
has a tendency to check abuses that might arise through a purely 
local administration of the office, while the county official has 
the advantage of being near at hand and able to give prompt 
attention to reported cases. 

Restrictions of Shipment.— Several States have laws that 
prohibit the shipment or bringing of bees into the State without 
a certificate of health signed by some duly authorized inspector. 
The difficulty with such provisions lies in the fact that men often 
come from other States who are unfamiliar with the law, and 
bees are brought in without the knowledge of the State officials. 

Burden on Common Carrier.—ln Iowa the burden was 
placed on the common carrier by the following enactment, which 
was later repealed as unworkable : 

Section 1. Diseased Bees.~lt shall be unlawful for any person 
firm, or corporation to bring into, or cause to be brought into the State 
of Iowa, any apiary or honey bees infected with foul brood or other infec- 
tious disease, or bee destroying insects. 
of hi''i^' ^%*'f^'''\^{ Health.-^o Common carrier shall accept colonies 

t \oJZ f'"7l ^uJ""^'^ P.°\"*' ""^^'^ ^^^ '^''^ b^^« be accompanied 
by a certificate of health signed by some duly authorized State or govern- 
ment inspector. *= 

fl,;. ^o^; ^i; ..^^■«^«*;«V^«r/*^-~^"y P"*""^" convicted of a violation of 
one^undrtd doLs.^^' "°' '^" '"^^ ^"^^^^'^^^ ^«"-« -^ -- than 


Such laws are very important but it is difficult to enforce them 
fully as the inspector has no means of knowing when and where 
bees are to be moved. Disease is frequently brought into locali- 
ties that have been previously free from it, by shipment of bees 
in emigrant cars along with other personal effects. Railroads 
and express • companies issue instructions to their agents fre- 
quently and every agent is notified of a provision of law of the 
kind adopted in Iowa, with the result that some shipments at 
least will be checked until properly inspected. 

Shipment of Queens. — By far the largest interstate business 
in bees is the shipment of queens. Thousands of queens are 
shipped through the mail and by express. Disease has often 
been carried with the cages in which the queens are sent through 
the mails. Usually cases of this kind are traceable to the use 
of honey from diseased colonies for making the candy on which 
the queens feed enroute. Postal regulations now require that 
queens shall be accompanied by a certificate of health from some 
duly authorized inspector or by an affidavit that the candy on 
which they are fed was boiled for thirty minutes. 

The safest plan is for the bee-keeper to place the queen in a 
new cage without candy, or with candy which is known to be 
free from disease germs, before introducing into the apiary. 


The pure food laws are a great boon to the honey producer. 
For many years all kinds of adulterations of honey were in the 
market. The bee-keeper found it very hard to compete with 
these adulterations which could be sold at a very low price. 
Adulteration was so common that the public came to believe that 
all liquid honey was adulterated and extracted honey fell in 
price to such a point that it was no longer profitable to produce it. 

Fortunately it has never been found possible to imitate the 
natural product in the comb and the comb honey prodiicer never 
suffered as seriously. 

Stories to the effect that comb honey was manufactured at 


one time were given wide circulation in the newspapers. This 
resulted in distrust of comb honey also. The National Bee- 
keeper's Association and those interested in the manufacture of 
bee-keeper's supplies, offered large rewards for proof that comb 
honey had been successfully imitated, which helped to offset the 
bad effects to some extent. 

Since the pure food laws have been so generally enforced 
there is a returning confidence on the part of the public that 
extracted honey may be pure and the price has advanced with 
the increased demand until it is now as profitable as comb honey 
production. Several years time will be required to overcome 
the bad effects of the unfortunate conditions of other days. 

While the general laws of the nation and of the various States 
that apply to weights and labels of food products include honey, 
some States have passed specific laws prohibiting the adulteration 
or misbranding of honey. 

New York Law.— The statute of New York is worded as 
follows : 

^^ Defining Honey.— The terms " honey," " liquid or extracted honey," 
strained honey" or "pure honey," as used in this article shall mean 
the nectar of flowers that has been transformed by, and is the natural 
product of the honey-bee, taken from the honeycomb and marketed in a 
liquid, candied or granulated condition. 

Relating to Selling a Commodity in Imitation or Semblance of Honey — 
No person or persons shall sell, keep for sale, expose or offer for sale any 
article or product in imitation or semblance of honey branded as " honey " 
liquid or extracted honey," "strained honey," or "'pure honey" which is 
not pure honey. No person or persons, firm, association, company or cor- 
poration, shall manufacture, sell, expose, or offer for sale any compound 
or mixture branded or labeled as and for honey which shall be made up 
of honey mixed with any other substance or ingredient. Thpre may be 
printed on the package containing such compound or mixture statement 
giving the ingredients of which it is made; if honey is one of such in- 
gredients it shall be so stated in the same size type as are the other in- 
gredients, but it shall not be sold, exposed for sale, or offered for sale as 
honey; nor shall such compound or mixture be branded or labeled M'ith the 
word honey in any form other than as herein provided; nor shall any 
product in semblance of honey, whether a mixture or not. be sold, exposed 
or offered for sale as honey, or branded or labeled with the word " hrnev " 
unless such article is pure honey. 

The value of such a law in safeguarding the bee-keeper's 
market and protecting the consumer against fraud can scarcely 


be estimated. Imitations are still to be had in the market but 
they sell for just what they are and the consumer who cares to 
use them buys them at a lower price than he would have to pay 
if they were permitted to be sold as honey. 

Net Weight Labels. — The provision of the law which re- 
quires every package to have the net weight measure or numerical 
count plainly marked on the label necessitates stamping every 
section of comb honey as well as every jar holding extracted 
honey with the amount of honey it contains. This provision led 
to much complaint among small producers at first. After a few 
months trial it is being demonstrated that it is really an advan- 
tage to the comb honey producer who is up to date and has much 
honey to market. This requirement applies to all interstate 
shipments which come under national jurisdiction. The para- 
graph reads as follows : 

A food product will be deemed to be misbranded: If in package form, 
the quantity of the contents be not plainly and conspicuously marked on 
the outside of the package in terms of weight, measure, or numerical count; 
provided, however, that reasonable variations shall be permitted, and 
tolerances and also exemptions as to small packages shall be established 
by rules and regulations made in accordance with the provisions of section 
three of this act. 

A similar requirement is made by some State laws so that the 
net weight must be marked on packages sold to the local trade 
as well as those shipped to distant markets. 

The effect of this provision is to keep much ungraded honey 
out of competition with a first-class product. The large pro- 
ducer finds it an easy matter to provide cartons on which are 
printed the weights of the various grades and as each section is 
graded it is placed in a carton of the proper kind. 


1. Note the peculiar conditions that surround the bee-keeper in his relation 

to the public. 

2. Discuss the usual causes of trouble between bee-keepers and neighbors. 

3. When will bees be regarded as a public nuisance? 

4. Discuss the spraying of fruit trees while in bloom. 

5. Discuss the laws for control of bee diseases. 

0. What is the effect of the laws relating to the adulteration of honey? 
7. Summarize briefly the various laws relating to beekeeping. 


Adulteration of honey, 29G 

of wax, 199 
Advertising, exhibits for, 269 

general, 268 

methods of, 267 
Alexander feeder, 134 

plan of making increase, 104 

strainer, 190 
Alfalfa, 60 

region, 49 
Alley plan of queen rearing, 124 
Apiary, arrangement of, 36-41 
Apprenticeship, value of, 18 
Artichoke, 63 
Ash, source of pollen, 80 
Aster, 69 

Basswood, 60 
Beech, 80 
Bee-escapes, ' 161 
Bee-keepers, studious, 9 
Bee-keeping, advantages of, 10 
Bees as pets, 1 

in combless packages, 127 
Beeswax, adulteration of, 199 

color of, 197 

melts at low temperature, 196 

production of, 195 

substitutes for, 199 

uses of, 198 

see also Wax 
Birch, source of pollen, 80 
Bitter honey, 81 
Bitterweed, 81 
Black bees, 98 
Bleaching wax, 204 
Blending honey, 265 
Boiler press for wax, 204 
Bonney advertising stickers, 268 

hive markers, 44 

postcard, 280 
Book-keeper, successful bee-keeper, 15 
Booklets for advertising. 276 
Box-elder, source of pollen, 80 
Breeding to produce non-swarming 
bees, 157 

Brood rearing, feeding for, 131 

Buckwheat, 61 

Bulk honey, 194 

Business, bee-keeping as exclusive, 

Button bush, 78 
Buying bees, 27 

Cage method of introducing queens. 

Candied honey, liquefying, 191 

retailing, 193 
Candy stores, bees at, 285 
Canvassing, to sell honey, 280 
Carniolans, 99 
Carpenter, a bee-keeper, 13 
Catnip, 78 
Caucasian bees, 99 
Cellar, essentials of good, 254 

for wintering, 252 
Cells, care of queen, 126 
Chaff hives, 234 
Chestnut, source of pollen, 80 
Chilled brood, 222 
Chunk honey, 194 
Clerk, successful bee-keeper, 13 
Clipping queens, 101 
Closing the season, 162 
Clover region, 48 
Colonies, to tell strong, 30 
Colorado plan of inspection, 295 
Comb bucket, 25 

honey, care of, 262 
production, 136 
Combs, care of empty, 228 
Commercial queen rearing, 123 
Commission houses, selling through, 

Containers for honey, 190 
Control of bee diseases, 292 

essentials of, 5 
Corn, source of pollen, 80 
Cover, for hive, 23 
Cranberry, bee as pollenizing agent, 

Crownbeard, 66 




Cucumber, bee as pollenizing agent, 

Cup-plant, 65 
Cutting out queen cells, 102, 158 

prices of honey, 282 
Cyprian bees, 98 

Dadant method of wintering, 242 

hive for extracted honey, 173 
Dandelion, 48, 53 
Demaree method of swarm control, 

Demonstrations, with bees, 5 
De-queening during honey flow, 158 
Devil's darning needles, 224 
Diseases, 206 

American foul brood, 207 

dysentery, 223 

European foul brood, 215 

laws for controlling, 292-29G 

sacbrood, 221 

treatment of, 212, 219, 223 
Disinfecting, for foul brood, 215 
Division board feeder 134 
Doolittle feeder, 134 

method of queen rearing, 124 
Doorweed, 74 
Double-walled hives, 245 
Dragon flies, 224 
Drone, 95 
Dysentery, 223 

Elm, source of pollen, 80 

Empty combs, care of, 206 

Enemies of bees, 206 

Entrance feeder, 135 

Entrance, width of, 186 

Equipment, for beginner, 18, 19 

for comb honey production, 137 
minor, 23 

Excluders, 186 

Exhibits, at fairs, 269 

Experience, getting, 18 

Extracted honey, packages for, 263 
power for, 168 
production of, 165 
storage tanks for, 169 

Extracting, 188 

Extractors, 165 

Failures, from lack of experience, 

Fairs, exhibits at, 269 
Fall flowers, 63 
Farmer, bee-keeper, 16 
Feeding bees, 129 

for reserve supply, 130 
preparation for, 130 
to stimulate brood rearing, 
Feeders, Alexander, 134 

division board, 134 

entrance, 135 

Miller, 133 

Minnesota, 132 

tin-pan, 134 
Fertile workers, 94 
Figwort, 78 
Flaxboard, 24 

Florida, honey plants of, 50 
Foul brood, 206 

American, 207 

European, 215 
Foundation, full sheets of, 180 

in sections, 145-198 
Frames, 174 
Fruit bloom, 55, 85 
Fumigation for wax moths, 163 

German bees, 98 
Getting acquainted with bees, 1 
Gloves, need of, 20 
Goldenrod, 01 

Grading, extracted honey, 265 
honey comb, 257 

official rules for 258 

Hershiser press, 202 

Heartsease, 74 

Hive, for extracted honey, 17«3 

kind to adopt, 19 

markers, Bonney, 45 

marks, 43 

observatory, 25 

spacing, 38 

stands, 39 

to open, 5 

tool, 21 
Hiving swarm, 103 
Hoffman frame, 174 
Home markets, 260 
Honey flow, of short duration, 9 

house, 175 

method of introducing queens, 



Honey producers, women successful, 
pump, 169 
ripening of, 187 
straining, 189 
Honey-dew, 50 

unsatisfactory for wintering, 

Increase, 100 

Inspectors, business of, 229 

requirements for successful, 231 
Italian bees, 27, 98 

Joys of bee-keeping, 7 

Kno tweed, 74 

Labels, honey, 266, 269 

net weight, 298 
Lady's thumb, 74 
Laws, against poisoning bees, 291 

for control of bee diseases, 292 

net weight. 298 

relating to adulteration of 
honey, 296 

restricting shipment of bees. 

spraying, 291 

Maple, 52, 80 

Market, comb honey, 137 

home, 260 
Marketing, by mail, 27G 

by canvassing, 280 

co-operative, 265 
Mice, injury from, 224 
Milkweed, 75 

Miller, A. C, smoke method of in- 
troducing queens, 115 
Miller, Dr. C. C, dequeening meth- 
od, 160 

feeder, 133 

method of making increase, 111 

method of queen rearing, 122 

plan of producing comb honey, 

Smoke method of requeening, 

Minnesota feeder, 131 
Mosquito hawk 224 
Mountain laurel, 81 
Moving bees, 28 

Natural helps, 158 
Nectar, sources of, 46 
Net weight labels, 298 
New York, law for controlling bee 
diseases, 292 
law for sale of honey, 297 
Nuisance, bees as, 286 
Number of bees in a colony, 94 

Observatory hive, 25 
Occupants of the hive, 88 
Odor of stable offensive to bees, 6 
Orchards, bees as poUenizing agents, 

Outlook for beekeeping, 17 
Overstocking, 82 

Packages, fancy, 273 
for comb honey, 261 
for extracted honey, 263 

Packing cases for wintering, 247 

Packing for winter and summer 
stands, 244 

Palmetto, 77 

Paper cases for wintering, 240 

Partridge pea, 67 

Peddling honey, 280 

Pitting bees for winter, 243 

Poisoning bees, 291 

Poisonous honey, 81 

Pollen, sources of early, 52, 79, 80 

PoUenizing agents, 84 

Portable outfits for extracting, 175 

Porter bee escape, 161 

Postcards, for advertising, 175 

Preparation, advance, 150 

Prices, control of, 264 
retail, 274 

Prior rights, 83 

Protection, of hives in spring, 239 

Queen, 88, 92 

cells, cutting, 102, 158 
clipping the, 101 
excluders, 186 
influence of, 236 
introducing, 112, 220 
rearing, 121 
replacing, 27 

Races of bees, 98 

Receipts for cooking with honey, 


Retail markets, 274 
Returns from beekeeping, 12 
Rhododendron, 81 
Robber fly, 225 
Rosin weed, 65 

Sacbrood, 221 
Sage, 77 

Sale of honey, laws concerning, 290 
Saw palmetto, 77 
Seasons management, 149 
Sections, for comb honey, 138 
removing from super, 163 
Sentinels at entrance, 4 
Separators, 141 
Shade, value of, 36 
Shipment, of queens, 296 

restrictions of, 295 
Shipping cases, for comb honey, 261 

for extracted honey, 263 
Signs, 270, 271 
Simpson's honey plant, 78 
Situations for keeping bees, 11 
Skunks, 224 
Smartweed, 74 
Smoke, use of, 5 
Smoker, 22, 23 
Smoker fuel, 22 
Snakefeeders, 224 
Sneezeweed, 81 
Snow-on-the-Mountain, 81 
Solar wax extractors, 200 
South, honey plants of, 49 
Space under brood nest as swarm 

prevention, 160 
Spacing hives, 38 
Spiders, 225 
Split sections, 144 
Spotting clothes, 284 
Spraying when in full bloom, 291 
Starters, putting in, 147 
Starved brood, 222 
Starwort, 69 
Steam press, 203 
Sting, 2 

Strong colonies, important, 83 
Sunflowers, 63 
Super springs, 148 

Supers, enticing b€es into, 151 

putting on, 184 
S'upplyinig empty combs, 110 
Swarm control, 156 

Demaree method of, 185 
Swarming, 100 
Tools for apiary, 20 
Transferring, 32, 33, 34 
Trembles, caused by boneset, 72 
Trouble, causes of, 284 
Truck crops, 57 

Uncapping boxes, 170 
knives, 173 

Veil, 20, 21 

Ventilation, of hives, 30, 186 

Walnut, source of pollen, 80 
Watering devices, 41, 42 

places, bees at, 284 
Water, method of introducing queens 

need of, 41, 238 
Wax, adulteration of, 199 

bleaching, 204 

cooling, 205 

moths, 225 

fumigation for, 163 

press, 203 

production of, 195 

rendering, 202 

substitutes for, 190 

uses of, 198 
Weak colonies, care of, 154 
White snakeroot, 70 
Whitewood, 60 
Wild bergamot, 74 
Wild cucumoer, 79 
Willow, 52, 74 

Wintering, avoid failing queens in 

best feed for, 235 

essentials of successful, 234 

influence of the queen in, 236 

methods of, 239-256 

protection from winds, 237 
Wiring frames, 181 
Worker bees, 92