Bees, from the earliest ages of the world, have been invested with peculiar interest, and have claimed the attention not only of the unlearned and ignorant but of the student and naturalist. The mystery which so long enveloped them and their habits added not a little to the zest with which their history was investigated.
The discoveries of the last twenty years, however, have so elucidated the laws of bee instinct, that no important point is longer a subject of controversy or mystery; and in the light now thrown upon the subject no branch of moral economy can be more definitely regulated, or conducted with such absolute certainty of success.
The management of bees can only be successful when conducted with a perfect understanding of their natural history, and in accordance with the instincts which govern them. In the words of one of the most eminent apiarians in our country, “The business may be viewed, first, as a science having for its object the attainment of a correct knowledge of all that pertains to the life, habits, and instincts of the honey bee; and, secondly, as a practical art, which regards all the attainments thus made, and to be made, as the only reliable foundation of successful management.” The laws which govern these wonderful little insects are peculiar to themselves, differing from those which govern everything else. They are simple, and one can manage them in almost any way so long as he does not go counter to their instincts; but they are fixed and immutable, and when we deviate from them in the smallest particular loss must follow. To be successful, then, in the practical art, the science on which it is founded must be thoroughly understood.
All these laws have been so fully and clearly explained in various able works on the subject that to enter on them here would be superfluous; this paper, therefore, will treat only of the practical, and aim to give direction and advice as to the management of bees, in such a way that they shall every year, whatever be the season, yield a profit to their owner.
I shall recommend nothing that I have not fully tested, and give no rules which I have not myself followed with profit. The business requires but little capital, and go little strength that it may be made an agreeable recreation for the man of toil, and a most remunerative employment for invalids. There is no part of the work required which is not suitable for women; and now, when many are looking for new avenues of female labor, I would that I could induce some to find health and pecuniary profit in this business. In almost every part of the United States honey-producing plants abound; no other country in the world is so rich in them, and yet this great source of wealth is comparatively undeveloped.
By the official report of the Department of the Interior, it appears that there was produced in 1860, in the whole United States, only 23,306,357 pounds of honey, which is about half the amount of maple sugar produced the same year. For the same year the little kingdom of Denmark produced 4,758,260 pounds of honey. The island of Corsica paid, for many years, an annual tribute of 200,000 pounds of wax——which presupposes the production of from two to three million pounds of honey. The island contains only 20,200 square miles. In the province of Attica, in Greece, containing only 45 square miles and 20,000 inhabitants, 20,000 hives were kept, and an average obtained from each of thirty pounds of honey and two pounds of wax. East Friesland, a province of Holland, containing 1,200 square miles, maintained for twenty years an average of 2,000 colonies to the square mile.
I mention these facts here to show what is done with bees in different parts of Europe. Now, if these results can be obtained there, what may not be done among our rich plants, by a system of intelligent bee culture. No part of the world is more rich in honey (excepting, perhaps, California) than Iowa, and yet here, in 1865, were found but 87,118 hives of bees, or little more than 14 to every square mile. These hives yielded only 1,117,833 pounds of honey and wax, or about 134 pounds average to each hive. In view of facts like these, how important to encourage, in every possible way, the increase of bees, and circulate facts regarding their intelligent culture.
For fifty years Yankee ingenuity was busy in the construction of hives which should secure marvellous [British, but that's the way we used to spell it, too! -ASC] yields of honey and increase of bees. The idea was to invent something which should do the work for them. All such inventions (and their name is legion) proved failures, as might have been expected, since it is a fixed fact that bees will gather and store just as much honey in an old hollow log or an old barrel, while all is right with them, as in any hive of any patent. The object, then, in having anything else for them is not to aid the bees in storing honey or raising a brood, but to assist the owner in getting the surplus honey in the best form, without injuring the bees, and also to give him the control of the interior of the hive, so that he can tell what is wrong, and apply the remedy. From the time of Huber such an invention has been thought desirable, but it was not until our day that such a one was made.
Dzierzon, of Germany, in 1838, invented a hive in which the combs were made upon bars, and which were intended to give control of the combs; but they were too imperfect in their construction for general use. In 1852 Rev. Mr. Langstroth patented a hive, in which each comb was to be made on a movable frame which could readily be lifted out at pleasure, and thus a new era in bee keeping was commenced. There is nothing in these hives which is intended to perform the labor of the bees or their keeper. They are simply aids to the work. The great advantage which they possess is the command which they give of every comb, placing it in your power to know certainly the condition of your bees.
In the common hives it is easy to tell when your bees are prosperous and all is right. It is equally easy to tell when something is wrong, but not so easy to find out what that something is. You may perceive that the bees decrease, and suspect that they have lost their queen; or notice that they work with less energy, and think possibly (as is often the case) that they have too much honey stored in combs where the young should be. But there is no way to ascertain positively, and often before you decide the matter it is decided for you by the colony becoming worthless. In the movable-comb hive it is your own fault if you do not know positively all the time that there is no trouble. If a hive is queenless it is soon ascertained by examining the combs, where the presence or absence of eggs determines the matter. In this case another queen, or the egg from which to raise one, can be at once provided. If too much honey has by some accident been stored in the centre combs, one or more can be exchanged for empty ones, which the queen will gladly fill with eggs to replenish the hives.
And here let me say that this trouble I find to be one of quite common occurrence. During a plentiful yield of honey the bees, in their eagerness to store it, often stint the queen for room in which to deposit her eggs. I have often seen this in movable-comb hives, where the remedy can be applied in a moment. This is only one proof among many that it is not always safe to trust to the instinct of bees any more than that of any other animals.
‘Another advantage of these hives is the facility with which drone comb can be removed, or its building prevented. One who has not examined the matter would be slow to believe how much honey is needlessly consumed every year in drone raising. Here, again, the bee instinct falls far short of reason. When bees live wild, in isolated situations, the rearing of many drones no doubt conduces to the safety of the young queens; yet a preponderance of drone comb is, I am convinced, partly accidental. Late in the season, if honey is very abundant, and little brood being then raised, many colonies construct drone comb to enable them to store faster than they can do in the worker combs. The next spring they do not, of course, tear it down and build others, and, being there, the queen deposits her eggs in it, and drones are thus reared. It is also well known that colonies, while queenless from any cause, build drone combs, if they build any, and in the hives of such colonies there is a surplus for the next year. Now, if a hundred hives are kept together, and drones are raised in one or two of them, it is enough for all. Therefore, it is easy to see the economy of a hive in which drone raising can be restricted at will, and the honey used in raising and afterwards in feeding them be saved. I say “restricted,” for I have never found it best to leave any hive entirely without drone comb. It is better to leave a few inches in some central comb in every hive; otherwise, at the swarming season, they will lengthen out the worker cells and raise some drones. If they have room for a few it seems to satisfy them.
Again, the prosperity of a colony depends much on the age of the queen. All must have perceived the difference in prosperity of swarms side by side, in the same kind of hives and in the same location; one will vigorously increase and store up honey, while the other barely lives. In many cases this is caused by the difference in the age of the queen, as any one will ascertain who takes the trouble to mark the hives containing young queens. After the second year the queen is far less prolific, and then much is gained by removing her, which is easily done in these hives. It is objected by some that this is “unnatural;” but I would ask, is it any more so than to kill a hen after she is too old to yield many eggs, or to shear a sheep, or break a colt? Why may we not, use bees contrary to their nature as well as domestic animals?
The strengthening of weak swarms is also facilitated by these hives. Such colonies will always be found where many bees are kept, and by the aid of these frames they may be built up into strong and vigorous ones; honey, bee-bread, and young bees being taken from a stand well able to spare it, and given to those perishing from the want of it. In this way many worthless swarms have been converted into excellent colonies. In the fall all such. weak swarms may be united with strong ones, which are improved by the addition. In the spring the same thing can be done, and your hives kept always equalized and strong. Old or soiled comb can also be taken away when you please. But the pruning of old comb, which is practiced by many every year, is in most cases unnecessary, So long as it is free from mould, it is good to store honey or to rear brood in. I invariably find, all other things being equal, that bees winter better in old comb than in new. Bees have been kept in the same comb twelve years in succession, doing as well the last year as the first. "When the cost of honey in building new combs is considered, the advantage of hives in which you can save all good pieces is very apparent.
It is not necessary to have these frames in a complicated hive; nor in commending them do I mean to indorse the hundred and one traps for the ignorant, which in many hives are added to them. You need no slides, nor hinges, nor moth traps, nor patent ventilators, nor non-swarmers. These are not only useless, but most of them injurious to the bees. Neither would I ever keep bees in a hive where the bottom board was fastened to it. On this point I am aware that I am at issue with many successful bee keepers. But for my use I want a hive which can be raised at any time, and the bottom cleanly swept. A plain tight box, well made of seasoned boards, in which the frames can be hung, is all that is really necessary. Any amount of extra outside finish may be added, and it always pays to have hives well painted.
SIZE AND SHAPE OF HIVES.
There is much difference of opinion among bee keepers on these points; and this arises, I think, from the different ways in which bees are wintered. About 2,000 square inches inside is, by exact. computation, as much as can be filled by a queen with brood, and allow room for bee-bread and honey for present use. In the fall, as the brood hatches, the empty comb is filled with honey, and this size also admits of room for sufficient winter stores in any season. I once. thought that much less than this would winter a colony; but one season, when we had an early frost succeeded by a late spring, and my bees gathered no honey for eight months, I am sure that the size of my hives alone saved many colonies, as they had not a pound to spare in May.
A little too much is no disadvantage, for the more they have on hand in the spring the earlier and faster do they rear young bees. The form of the hive is more a subject at issue than the size. I use one eighteen inches in length by fourteen inches in width, and ten inches deep. It is constructed with an entrance at each end, and as the honey boxes project over these entrances, I have room for eight boxes on the top, capable of containing six pounds of honey each. These boxes can be raised in the height of the storing season, and eight more be put under them; and all being near the main apartment, and easy of access, I often have colonies filling sixteen boxes at the same time. This room for boxes on top I consider an important feature in any hive, for bees often remain idle simply from want of room to labor in. I do not think there is any other form so good as this, where bees are wintered in a house, or in a cellar, or when they are buried; but if bee keepers will leave their bees on their summer stands all winter, I think a taller shape of hive will be found preferable.
Bees naturally cluster below their stores, and the heat of the hive then ascends where the honey is, and it is free from frost when the bees go up to get it. In the shallow form, they are compelled to cluster at the sides of the hive, and then, in severe weather, the honey is always cold. I have seen whole colonies die in these hives, leaving an abundance of honey. They simply could not get it without freezing. In the instances of this kind which have come under my notice, too much draught had been allowed in the hive, by having the entrance open below and the holes open on the top. To winter safely out of doors in the shallow hive, the entrance should be closed so as to admit of the passage of only one bee at a time, and the cap should be filled with straw or corncobs to absorb all moisture, and but one hole be left open. Winter passages, as they are called, should be made. These are holes an inch in diameter, two or three inches from the top, made in each comb. Through these the bees can pass without being obliged to go over and under the frosty combs, to reach their stores. With all precaution, however, I cannot recommend the shallow hive as suitable for unprotected wintering. The taller hive, with frames to correspond, will be found much less convenient where combs are to be lifted out and examined. In proportion to the depth, the danger of breaking down and the difficulty of lifting out increases; still, if obliged to winter bees out of doors, I should adopt it. I have found little trouble in making bees build straight combs. I may say I have had none, for since the first season I have had no crooked combs. The triangular guides regulate them usually, but if straight-worked comb can be obtained and pieces fastened in a few frames of each hive, it will aid them. After one has a few hives filled with straight comb, so that one frame can be given to each new colony, there will be no further trouble, if pains be taken. There will be uneven places, or pieces of comb made thick; these should be cut down and regulated as soon as perceived—using a knife dipped in hot water for that purpose. It must be borne in mind that it is not enough to have the combs so straight that they can be taken with care out of their own hive and replaced there; to reap the full advantage of the movable combs, every one must be straight enough to fit in any place in any hive. For this reason also, whatever form of movable comb is used, they should all be alike; every frame should fit every hive. One who has never tried it cannot imagine the trouble connected with the management of fifty or one hundred hives of different sizes and forms.
The matter of size, shape, and model should be decided with due care, and after bees are put into some of them no changes should be made, even if they seem to be for the better. I would not be understood as advising any one to make or use any form of movable-comb hive without buying a “patent right.” “The laborer is worthy of his hire;” and when a lifetime has been spent in bringing to perfection so valuable an invention as this, all the better for its simplicity, the inventor has a right to his reward.
No one should attempt to make a hive without a model, unless he has had sufficient experience in bee keeping to enable him to know just what he wants. In every case they should be well made. The first dozen movable-comb hives which I used I came near discarding, simply, as I now know, because they were so badly made, of unseasoned lumber, that no part fitted as it should.
Bees are natives of warm climates and their instincts are given them for their protection there. When kept where the winters are severe, or where they are variable with periods of extreme cold, they should be protected in some way. Bees cluster compactly together in winter, and thus maintain their proper temperature. It requires numbers to do this—a small cluster cannot keep up the requisite heat for safety, they therefore freeze. If a thermometer be thrust into the centre of a colony of bees of a proper size, on the coldest day of winter, the mercury will rise to summer heat. The bees are constantly changing, those in the centre moving outwards and the others taking their places. If a bee, in a cold day, gets away from the cluster it is chilled and cannot return. In the coldest weather they remain in a semi-torpid state, and use but little honey. If a swarm is large enough, it cannot perish from cold, but many starve with a plenty of honey in the hive, if it is located where they cannot reach it. Many more are destroyed every season by the moisture of the hive which accumulates in the warm days, and which, by a sudden change of weather, is turned to ice in the entrances, thus shutting out the air.
I consider the requisites to successful wintering in the open air to be, abundant stores, with winter passages through the combs, a large colony of bees, and upward ventilation secured without a draught of cold air passing through the hive.
Under any circumstances it has been proved that bees consume much less honey when protected in winter. A hive weighing 60 pounds in the fall of 1863, wintered out of doors, weighed only 15 pounds the 1st of April, while twenty kept in the cellar the same three months lost on an average only five pounds each. Again, six hives wintered out of doors lost an average of 29½ pounds each in three months, while twenty in the cellar the same length of time lost an average of only 5¾ pounds. Figures like these show clearly that it pays to protect bees in winter.
The time of year when bees consume the most honey is in the spring months, while raising brood fast. The more honey they have on hand in March and April, the faster they will rear young bees, and the more workers will be ready to gather the harvest from fruit blossoms. The bee keeper who leaves his bees only what honey they can consume, being satisfied if they barely “live” through the winter, is as foolish as the farmer who allows the team on which he depends for a summer’s work to be poor in the spring and short of feed. To do a season’s work in good shape, a colony should have plenty of old honey on hand until swarming time. To secure this end, leave from thirty to fifty pounds in each hive in the fall, and then protect them in some way.
I have wintered mine very successfully for six winters in a dry and moderately warm cellar, where the thermometer usually is about 30° above the freezing point. Here they are perfectly quiet, not a sound comes from them; they seem to remain torpid. I try not to keep them there over three months, but the want of a proper day in which to put them out has obliged me twice to keep them in four months, and no bad results followed. Where many hives are kept, the honey saved in one winter will pay the expense of a house to keep them in, if no good cellar is at hand. Such a house should be dark and tight, and the bees placed on shelves one above another.
A warm still day should be selected in which to put them out again in spring. Some are very careful to place them just where they stood before, but this is not important. When leaving the hive for their first flight every bee marks its location, and if they do remember, as some assert, the old spot, they wisely prefer the new place.
The best substitute for honey that I have ever found in feeding bees is sugar candy. The sugar should be mixed with water and boiled until it strings, and then cooled in thin cakes. The bees take no more of this than is necessary to sustain life, yet will never starve while they have it. I have tried feeding bees to induce them to rear drones early, and to stimulate them to swarm early, but with no satisfactory results. When I had few colonies, I have fed weak ones to save them; but find it poor economy to keep any stand of bees, under any circumstances, which require feeding—far better to unite all the weak with the strong ones.
In some ‘sections of the country it is a great help to bees to feed them with rye meal before the first pollen-yielding flowers come. Where I live there is generally found a great deficiency of bee-bread in the majority of hives in the spring, and here the advantage of rye meal feeding can hardly be overestimated. As soon as the bees fly freely in spring, put the meal in shallow boxes or troughs a rod or two from the apiary, and attract the bees to them by pieces of empty comb laid near it. They soon learn the way to it and take it eagerly until flowers come, when it will be left untouched. I have had one hundred and fourteen pounds of meal carried away in one day. I have the rye ground and not bolted. Wheat flour will be taken by them, but not as readily. Meal-fed bees will send out larger and earlier swarms than others, because the abundance of bee-bread encourages the rearing of brood.
It is no longer a matter of doubt that the natural swarming of bees can be prevented entirely, and yet such an increase secured as may be desired by artificial means. Some bee keepers still depend on natural swarming, but my experience teaches me that the only sure way to keep bees with a certainty of regular profit is to take the matter into one’s own hands and secure a moderate yearly increase, and, at the same time, more or less surplus honey, according to the season.
All admit that early swarms are the most profitable ones. How it may be in other sections of the country I cannot say, but in Iowa bees prepare to swarm every year by the latter part of May. At that season I find in every strong hive partly finished green cells and young drones; yet not one year in ten do we have more than an occasional natural swarm at that season. The reason, I think, is this » Near the last of May we have almost every year a few cold days, and these cause the bees to destroy their green cells and to cease preparations for swarming. When it is again warm some colonies prepare anew and then throw off late swarms, while others make no further attempt that season. For the last four years I have made all swarms the last week in May or first of June, and my new colonies fill the hives in many cases before my neighbors’ bees swarm naturally. The two or three weeks thus saved at the right time are of the utmost importance. Natural swarming has other disadvantages besides being late. The watching for their motions involves a great expense of time and anxiety where many hives are kept. Every year, too, many natural swarms go to the woods in spite of all care, while an artificial swarm, properly made, never does. Some colonies will refuse to swarm at all, and others will swarm until the parent hive is worthless.
It is not difficult to make swarms in the common hive, but with movable combs it is less trouble to make an artificial swarm than to hive a natural one.
The danger is that one just commencing to use these hives is apt to overdo the matter. It is so hard to convince any one without experience that he is not growing rich in proportion as his colonies increase in number. If movable frames are not to do the person using them more harm than good, a thorough acquaintance with the internal economy of the beehive is necessary. This is precisely what beginners cannot acquire at once, and yet they are often. unconscious of their ignorance. Iu this, as in everything else, the more one learns the more he feels his deficiencies. I have usually found that bee keepers venture less. the second year of their experience than the first. I advise all who commence with the movable comb hives to be contented with a very moderate rate of increase until they have experience to aid them. In this matter, truly, “He that hasteth to be rich shall fall into a snare.”
In the early days of my bee keeping I reasoned thus: Since the queen is the only one that lays eggs, the more queens I have by the 1st of June the faster my bees are increasing; for certainly two queens can multiply bees faster than one. I therefore aimed to have as many as possible early. I now see the matter in a very different light; for while it is true that two queens can lay more eggs than one, it is not certain that they will. On the contrary, I find, invariably, that the increase of brood is in proportion to the strength of the colony. If a queen in a weak colony should lay many eggs, they could not be reared when hatched, for want of honey and nurses. If many eggs are laid in such hives, they are destroyed, some say eaten, by the workers. The queens seem to have the power of increasing or decreasing their laying at will. If a queen be taken from a small colony and placed with a larger and more populous one, she soon increases in size and lays freely.
Examine a weak hive, poor in store, in the spring and you will find but few cells of brood, while a strong one in the same apiary, and under the same circumstances of season and weather, will have sheets of comb filled with it in all stages. Exchange the queens in these two colonies, and one will increase and the other decrease her laying. If this fact is borne in mind, it will be understood why one strong colony will raise more brood than several weak ones, and that it is more profitable, especially in the spring, to have many bees in one hive than to divide their strength as is frequently done. Under no circumstances is there either pleasure or profit in weak colonies. The more of them a man has the less he will like bee keeping.
One plain rule should be borne in mind in artificial swarming: “Never cripple the strength of the colony where the queen is to remain,” As soon as you do this her laying diminishes. If she is driven from the hive with the new swarm, have the largest part of the bees with her in the new hive. If she is left in the old hive, leave abundant stores and young hatching bees with her, and she will be stimulated to increase her laying to replace the bees taken. It is wonderful how many bees, eggs and brood can be taken from one queen in a single season, if she is left in a strong hive well provisioned.
Instead of dividing hives, as some do, in artificial swarming, I now prefer to take brood and bees at different intervals from hives, as they can spare them, and with these build up new colonies, For instance, you have six swarms in movable comb hives. No. 1 you will not touch, but from the remaining five you take in succession two frames, each from near the centre of the: hive, placing empty frames in their stead. Shake the bees off the frames, being careful that you take no queen on them.
Place the ten frames thus obtained in a new hive; then remove No. 1 to a new place, a rod or even more away, and set the hive containing the frames in the place where that stood. This operation should be performed at a time of day when many bees are in the fields, and these, as they return, will crowd into the new made colony and labor in it as well as in their own. The colony having no queen they will proceed to raise one, as they will find plenty of brood for the purpose. If, when just made, a young queen can be given them, raised in a small, hive, you have a safe, sure way of increase. The hives from which the frames of brood are taken will not be crippled by it, but, in many cases, will be actually the better for it.
This operation can be performed again in two weeks if desired. The hive which you remove will not lose as many bees as if it had swarmed, but will soon be as populous as ever, and, usually, will have no inclination to swarm that season.
Two things are to be avoided in making new colonies. One is, never to leave many bees in a hive which is queenless, and raising a queen. If there are too many bees in a hive which has no queen they store honey in the combs where brood should be, and after the new queen is ready to deposit eggs she is driven to the outer combs for, empty cells, and her brood cannot be as well cared for. I have seen many hives suffering from this cause. Again, never leave a queenless colony large enough to build new comb, as all the comb they build until they have a queen will be, invariably, drone comb.
Many ways of making new colonies without disturbing the queen or diminishing her laying will suggest themselves as one becomes familiar with the business. If care be taken never to weaken colonies containing queens, and if the young queens are reared for the new swarms in small hives, the number of colonies can be increased four-fold more safely than they can be doubled in natural swarming.
Whichever way you practice, do all of it early. Better far to leave the bees where they are than to make a swarm late in the season.
SWARMING versus NON-SWARMING
There has always been a class of bee keepers who have not cared to increase their bees, but have simply wished to keep a few colonies in the best way to obtain honey for their own use, and who haye neither the time nor disposition necessary to an extended business. To meet their wants, numerous bee palaces and non-swarming hives have been invented, which have all proved failures. Great yields of honey have often been obtained in these hives for one or two years, and then the bees usually died out. The reason is obvious; for if swarming is prevented, some way must be provided to renew the queens every two or more years, for swarming is the method by which nature arranges this.
The high price of lumber for hives, and the great demand for honey in 1864, made it a good time to try what could be done in the way of restricting swarming, or preventing it altogether. I had tried the non-swarming blocks in the Langstroth hive, but found it impossible to make them of practical use. If kept close enough to prevent swarming they interfered much with the flight of the workers; besides, they did not, in any case, prevent the preparations for swarming which consume much time and honey.
Early in the spring I made some colonies very strong in numbers, and rich in stores, having them as strong as they usually are in June, hoping in this way to secure early box honey. I failed in this; for though the bees commenced working in boxes they stored slowly, and not a box was filled before June; but they all reared quantities of brood, and were ready for very early swarming.
Ten of these doubly strong colonies I treated in this way: I took from the centre of each hive, every week in June, a frame of brood and honey, supplying its place with an empty frame. Two of these swarmed in spite of this, and as the frames taken out were used in forming new colonies; it would not have been called a “prevention of swarming” if none had swarmed. Those that did swarm were, at the time, storing in sixteen boxes each, proving that bees do not migrate always for want of room.
From twenty of these strong colonies I took, in June, their queens, replacing them. with young ones just commencing to lay, or with queen cells ready to hatch. Not one whose queen I changed in this way swarmed, but all worked on seemingly with new energy through the season, care being taken to give them ample room in the main hive for brood, and to change full boxes for empty ones as often as necessary. The quantity of honey obtained from each of these hives varied much. he least obtained from any one was fifty pounds; the greatest yield from one was ninety-six pounds, the average to each being sixty-two pounds. The colonies which swarmed that year all made some honey in boxes, the average being fifteen pounds. The swarms from these also stored honey, the average being thirty pounds. Thus we have an average of forty-five pounds (fifteen from the parent hive, and thirty-four from the swarm) from the swarming, against sixty-two pounds from the non-swarming hives. From the former a good colony was obtained to offset the seventeen pounds more honey averaged from the latter. These experiments were all made with the common bees.
I had previously made an ingenious calculation of this sort: The bees consume twenty pounds of honey in forming one pound of wax. The empty comb, in a hive the size I use, (2,000 square inches,) weighs three pounds. Thus, sixty pounds of honey are consumed in making the empty comb alone to furnish the new hive. At least sixty pounds more will be used in storing the comb and raising the brood to populate it, and thirty more to furnish it with winter store. This gives one hundred and fifty pounds of honey spent on the new colony. Supposing the bees to have remained in the old hive, this one hundred and fifty pounds might have been stored in boxes. Now, this calculation is all true, but the fact remains that the bees will not put as much honey into boxes as they will gather to stock and store a new hive. The empty home stimulates them; their necessities drive them; and they “work with a will” under such circumstances, as all know who have noticed the untiring energy of a new, swarm.
Tn the summer of 1865 I tried this plan again on a larger scale, giving to each of thirty-seven hives, in May and June, a young queen in place of an old one. Only one of these swarmed, and, in that instance, I was quite sure that they destroyed the queen given them and raised others, and this caused them to swarm.
Writers in Germany assert it as an established fact “that changing an old queen in any hive for a young one of the current year, before preparations for swarming have been made, will prevent it for that year.” I am not prepared as yet to say that this will always be effectual, nor can I assign any reason satisfactory to my own mind why it should prevent swarming, I have given the results of my experiments, and they certainly go far to prove the fact. I would recommend all who are Italianizing their bees to try this plan, and see if like results follow from their change of queens. If swarming can be prevented in this way no better method need be sought, as it secures young and healthy queens in all hives. The rearing of queens and exchanging them is a very simple matter, and if there is a demand for queens, those taken away can be sold instead of being destroyed.
The price of honey and the demand for bees in different places must decide which is most profitable to raise, bees or honey. In most places I think beekeepers will find it pay best to secure a moderate increase every year by making one swarm, very early, from four or five old ones. In this way, quite as much, if not more, surplus honey will be obtained as when there is no increase, and the value of the new swarms (whatever that is in your locality) is just so much extra profit.
To the class of bee keepers who prefer the non-swarming method, a statement from the German Bienenzeitung (or Bee Journal) of February 15, 1864, made by M. B. G. Klein, will, be interesting. He lives near Gotha, limits his apiary to eighty hives, restricts swarming as much as possible, and unites such swarms as do come with the colonies found to be weakest in the fall; carefully preserves the combs made by them for use the next spring, and winters them in the shallow, movable-comb hives; but does not say whether in doors or out.
From eighty hives he obtained a profit in 1861 (a very favorable year) of $601.82
1862 (an exceedingly poor year): $76.87
1863 (a good year): $246.96
The average price of honey there is only about eight cents per pound of our currency. Though this may seem a satisfactory profit, it is small compared with what has been obtained from bees when allowed to multiply in this country. I cannot give statistics of the amount of profit from bees in other States, but some results in Iowa far exceed this.
E. G. McNiel, of Tipton, Iowa says: I shifted 6 colonies of bees out of logs into the Langstroth hive for a gentleman, in May, 1859; that year he increased to 24 and took off 500 pounds of honey. The next spring he began with 18 weak colonies and increased to 46. This year (1860) he took off 1,000 pounds of honey. In 1861 he increased to 60 colonies, and took off 2,200 pounds of honey. In 1862 he increased to 104 stands, but, it being a poor season, he obtained only 1,500 pounds. In 1863 he increased to 160, and took off 3,000 pounds of honey. Thus he obtained 8,200 pounds of honey and 154 colonies in five working seasons.
I am not prepared to give an accurate statement of each year’s gains, either in honey or stock, since I commenced bee keeping; but in the spring of 1859 I purchased four hives for $20, two of which died before flowers came. In the autumn of 1865 I was offered $1,500 for my stock of bees, but declined selling, as they are worth much more than that to me. Thus we have, in six seasons, an increase from $10 to $1,500 in the capital alone, with no account of honey sold each season, or of bees sold repeatedly.
During the summer of 1864 I sold from twenty-two hives $409 20 worth of honey. Two of these seasons are called the poorest ever known in Iowa. What branch of agriculture or horticulture pays better than this?
In the fall, in every apiary, some weak stands will be found. Some will have too few bees, others too little honey. In the old-fashioned bee keeping such colonies were destroyed by fumes of burning brimstone, and the honey and wax appropriated. This is a very expensive way, and, with the movable comb-hives, not a bee need be lost and all comb may be saved for the use of the bees in the future. All can see that it is poor economy to let bees live until they consume all the honey, and then die of starvation; better the old way than this. But if one containing enough honey but too few bees be united with one that has numbers and but little honey, they make one valuable stand. So two weak ones united make one good one; for a large colony does not consume nearly as much honey, proportionally, as a small one. In the spring, too, in spite of all care, some will be weak; and these are much more profitable if united with strong ones than if nursed until flowers abound.
Bees can be easily united, and will work as one colony. Some sprinkle both with sugar-water scented with peppermint, or other strong odor, to give both the same scent, and then put both in one hive. I find it easy to do it without this, and never have any difficulty in the operation.
I alarm the bees of both hives which I wish to unite, then leave them a few moments to fill themselves with honey. I then put one of them over an empty hive, (my hives have movable bottoms,) take each frame out, and shake or brush the bees into the hive below. When all are out, set the other in its place and proceed in the same way. The bees all brushed together thus into an empty hive are too much frightened to quarrel. I then arrange all my frames containing honey in one hive, and set it over the one in which the bees are. They all go up rapidly and take possession of the frames like one colony. One of the queens will, of course, be killed; so if you have any choice between them, find out the one you care least for and destroy her.
Every empty comb should be saved; indeed, no piece of good worker comb should ever be melted for wax—it is worth $5 a pound in honey boxes or fastened into the frames for the use of the bees. I once tried an experiment which convinced me of the great saving in providing bees with empty comb when it is possible. I had two large natural swarms come on the same day. One of them I put into an empty hive, and the other into one well filled with comb. The one in the empty hive filled it up for winter, but stored no surplus honey. The other not only filled the combs, but stored fifty-two pounds of honey in boxes. There was no apparent difference in the size or circumstances of the two swarms. The value of the comb, melted for wax, would not have exceeded a dollar at that time; while the honey sold, at 15 cents per pound, for $7.80. Straight worker combs, in movable frames, are better than cash capital to a bee keeper, and should be most carefully saved. Combs must be kept until wanted for use in a cool dry place, to guard against mould. Mice are very destructive to them. I hang mine on a rack where mice cannot get at them, and where they have abundant air. Two or three frames filled with worker comb, given to a swarm when it is first made or hived, are a great help, and cause them to build all their combs straight.
Every bee keeper should know the honey resources of his range. They differ much in different localities. My apiary is near a river bottom, where the bees have a large forest range, and here there are few days from April to October in which they do not find honey. In many localities much may be done to increase the yield of surplus honey by keeping buckwheat in blossom most of the summer. Germans estimate the yield of honey from one acre to be from 320 to 350 pounds. This crop, however, yields much more honey some seasons than others. Bees do not like buckwheat when they have anything else; and several seasons when I have had acres of it sowed for them, I have obtained no pure buckwheat honey, while another year the buckwheat sown for them the last of July has added many pounds to my surplus boxes.
White clover yields much honey for several weeks, and where it abounds bees are sure to do well. The Alsike or Swedish clover, where it has been introduced, is of great benefit. Black or common bees cannot reach the honey in red clover; the Italians can and do, under some circumstances. In the latter part of July, 1864, my common bees were idle and losing weight daily; but my Italians steadily stored honey in boxes. I took off twenty six-pound boxes from the Italian colonies, while the others did nothing. It was evident that they were obtaining it from some source not accessible to the common bee. On visiting fields of clover at various times I found it always swarming with “yellow jackets.” On account of the drought the blossoms were smaller that year than usual. Late in September and early in October in the same year I had several boxes filled by the Italians after the common bees had done storing; and this honey, I doubt not, was obtained from the second crop of red clover. In some sections, rape and mustard, if sown for the purpose, would come in and fill up in time of scarcity.
It is recommended by some to cultivate borage for bees. It undoubtedly has honey in it, and is a favorite with them. But there are few regions of our country where it will pay to sow it. It is an annual, and is easily grown. It is better than weeds that have no honey, if that can be called praise. If any one watches his bees closely one year he will discover at what date they are idle, and easily arrange for another season to have some honey producing plants in blossom just when they are needed. By this way one may add many pounds to his surplus honey.
In Europe it is customary to move bees from place to place, as different crops come in bloom, and much attention is paid to raising crops which, in addition to other value, yield honey. In few parts of our country will this ever prove necessary. Wherever I am acquainted with the resources, it seems to me more necessary to have strong colonies at the right time if we would secure large honey crops.
The vicinity of bees to water is a matter of more consequence than would be supposed by one who is not acquainted with their habits. It is asserted that a colony of wild bees is never found elsewhere than near a stream, lake, or river. Bees use much water, both in preparing winter food for their young, and when they themselves are secreting wax. If no water is near the apiary, shallow troughs, with floats in them, should be kept constantly filled with water for their use, and in this way much time and labor be saved them.
THE BEE MOTH.
The injury done by the miller and its progeny of worms has been overestimated. Undoubtedly, before its advent, it was comparatively easy to care for bees. Then weak swarms could be saved and nursed into good stocks, while now they are quite sure to be destroyed by moths. In all my experience with bees I have never yet seen a good or valuable stand injured by worms. I often find them in such hives, but the bees gnaw them out and they do no real harm. But if a hive becomes queenless, or reduced in numbers, it is soon overrun. In every stock that I ever examined something was wrong before it became a prey of worms.
Much time and trouble may be saved to the bees by looking out and destroying every worm, especially in the spring. As they have four generations in one season, every one destroyed then sensibly diminishes the number. Many, of them hide in “patent moth traps,” and it is a good plan to catch them; but I have seen so many allowed to hatch there before they were caught that I cannot recommend them. To careless bee keepers, they are worse than useless; and painstaking ones do not need them. I often hear it charged that the miller is much worse in movable-comb hives, and has “much increased where those hives have been introduced.” This may be, and probably is true, though not from any fault in the hives. The principle they involve is a perfect protection against the moth, but they have made the multiplication of colonies so easy that, with 470 AGRICULTURAL ‘REPORT. young beginners, many more weak colonies abound. Where a hive contains more combs than the bees can cover, the millers have a fine chance; and where a large hive has but a small colony in it, the other half is a fine shelter for them. For those, and those only, who have learned by experience that the only safe way is to keep bees strong in numbers, under all circumstances, the miller has no terrors. Patent hive vendors, who know nothing of the natural history of the bee, and care less about it, so that by some plausible story they dispose of a right, are the worst enemies of the bee that I have ever known,
Hundreds of valuable stocks have been ruined, within my own knowledge, by being transferred from one hive to another in a wrong way, or at a wrong season, or by being divided without regard to the principles which should govern the matter to make it successful. When we can enlighten people on the science of bee keeping, and awaken an intelligent interest in the subject, commensurate with its importance, we shall develop one of our great natural sources of wealth to an extent we have never yet approached.
THE ITALIAN BEE
Has now been so generally introduced info all parts of our country, and is received with so much favor, that it may seem superfluous to touch upon it here; but as I still see various queries as to its value compared with the common bee, I may be allowed to give some statistics. It is quite common to see accounts of the great yield of honey from a single stand of bees; but isolated eases of this kind prove nothing. The only fair way to decide the matter is to take these bees side by side with the others, under the same circumstances of season, pasturage, age of queen, and management. This has often been done, and always with results overwhelmingly in favor of the Italians.
In the summer of 1863 I had but two stands of Italian bees, and those not pure. One of these stored 110 pounds of honey, besides giving three swarms. "The other gave two swarms and stored 96 pounds of honey. All the swarms filled their hives, and some of them stored honey in boxes. I had, the same season, 56 hives of common bees; but not one of these stored a pound of surplus honey, though a part of them were divided, That was the poorest honey season ever known in this section.
In the summer of 1865 I averaged, from nine Italian colonies, 119 pounds each. The best of these shows ae following record in my journal: One full swarm taken from it the 20th of May; 156 pounds of honey taken in boxes; stored by the swarm, 80 pounds; from the swarm there came a swarm, August 15, which filled its hive and partly filled two boxes. Thus we have 236 pounds honey, besides two large swarms, from a single hive! The same summer I had 30 stands of common bees, which I prevented from swarming, yet with no increase from them. I obtained only 1,655 pounds of honey, or am average of about 56 pounds to each. The largest yield from either was 96 pounds.
In 1865 I had an average of 93 pounds from six Italian colonies, all of which were divided once, and much disturbed by taking brood from them to rear queens. During the same time I did not take a pound of honey from any colony of common bees, though I divided them all, and gave each an Italian queen.
I claim that facts like these are conclusive. All my bees were wintered alike and all in the same kind of hives, were made as equal in strength in the spring as possible, and enjoyed the same range. I might quote pages of testimony to the same effect from others; proofs abound wherever the bees have been tried in the same way. If I am asked the reasons for so decided a difference, I can hardly give such as are satisfactory. The bees do not differ much in size, but the Italians are more industrious; they work earlier in the morning and in colder weather. I am not prepared to say that they are more hardy. If they winter better, as some assert, I think it is because the queens lay later in the fall, and thus keep the colony strong in numbers until cold weather. They have access to flowers which are useless to the common bee. That their bill is longer, any one can prove to his satisfaction in this way: Fill a tumbler with diluted honey or sugar sirup, cover it with wire cloth or perforated tin; have it so full that the contents touch the cover, and set it near bees of both kinds. After the black bees have taken it as long as they can reach it through the wire, the Italians will be found still upon it, filling their sacs and evidently lowering it.
Not only do they store more honey, but their queens are much more prolific than the black queens. It is wonderful how much brood may be taken from one of these queens. From one hive the last season I took thirty-two frames of brood and eggs at different times from which to rear queens, and from another thirty-six frames, yet both hives are as strong this fall as any of the common ones from which only one swarm had been taken. As ten frames fill one of my hives, it will be seen that this was equal to three full swarms from one, and more than three and a half from the other.
CHANGING FROM COMMON TO ITALIAN BEES.
The ease with which this is accomplished brings Italian bees within the reach of all, in every part of our land. Pure queens are raised by reliable persons and sent, as ordered, anywhere with perfect safety. If it was necessary to purchase and transport full colonies, the work of introducing the new variety would be much more difficult and expensive. Now, any one who is convinced that the Italians are better and more profitable can order one or more Italian queens, and from them raise others to supply all his hives. Many and fall directions have been given how to Italianize, but still the plain, simple way seems to be little understood. Having been engaged in the work for three seasons, I shall try to give some hints which may be valuable to those commencing in it.
The queen being the mother of the whole colony, it follows that if a pure Italian queen be given them instead of their own all the bees reared after the change are Italians; and as the bees already there die off they are replaced by the others, and the stock, in a short time, is fully Italianized. By a pure queen, I mean one of pure stock, and which has been fertilized by an Italian drone. There has been much stock reared in this country which is hybrid. By this I mean the progeny of a pure Italian queen fertilized by a common drone. This, in the first generation, is hard to be distinguished from the pure; but it soon degenerates. As the drones are invariably like their mother, those reared from such hybrid queens are always pure. This fact should be borne in mind, as it makes it comparatively easy to keep the stock right.
The queen with which you commence should be pure beyond doubt. Purchase of some one who will warrant her, and whose guarantee you can trust—remembering that in the beginning you will be no judge of their purity. The fall is the best time to purchase your queen, because she will then be ready for early operations the next season. Introduce her into the best and strongest colony you have, for safe-keeping through the winter. If you have but few colonies, the work for the next spring is very simple. About the middle of May, if you examine the hive containing your Italian queen, you will find drones in all stages. Then take the queen out and confine her in a cage made by rolling a piece of wire cloth, four inches square, into a tube, tying it firmly, and putting a wooden stopper in each end. Next remove from another hive its queen, and having killed her, insert the queen cage between the two frames, and keep her there forty-eight hours. Then release her, and that hive has an Italian queen. The one from which you took her will preserve its pure drones with care, and immediately proceed to rear queens. In ten days you will find from six to twelve queen cells nearly ready to hatch. Then take from as many hives as you have queen cells their queens, and leave them queenless about ten or twelve hours. Then from one of the hives take a centre frame containing brood, cut a hole two inches in diameter; cut out one of the queen cells from the hive containing them, with a little comb each side of it, being very careful not to press or injure it in any way; dip the edges of it in a little melted wax and insert it in the frame, and put it back in the hive. In nine cases out of ten this cell will be gladly received by the bees, and hatch in a few days. This process can be repeated with as many hives as you have cells, and if done by the last of May or first of June you may be quite sure that these young queens will be fertilized by Italian drones, because you will have no others in your apiary so early in the season. One or more cells must be left in the hive where they are reared, that it may be sure of a queen; and all your hives should be examined from time to time, to see that the cell in each hatches, and then to be sure that the young queens all lay at the proper time. I usually find them depositing eggs between the third and twelfth days after they hatch. If any colony fails to secure a fertile queen in this way, insert into it, from the hive which now contains your Italian queen, a frame containing eggs, and from that they will rear others. Before doing this, look over all the frames carefully to see that they have not commenced cells from their own eggs.
After you have a fertile queen in each hive, watch the young worker bees as they hatch, and if all, or nearly so, are slender in form and have three distinct golden rings, you may hope they are pure. If there is a doubt about any one, you can exchange it for another at your leisure. Bear in mind that the main thing the first season is to get a young queen in every hive, reared from the one you purchased. That accomplished, all your drones will afterwards be pure, and young queens reared from that time “forth will be quite sure to meet pure drones. The following spring your hives will have drones in them two weeks in advance of all black bees in the neighborhood; and if yours are strong, and you make early swarms, the chances are much in favor of your queens being purely fertilized.
The second season of your operations all doubtful queens should be replaced; and if pains be taken you can easily have none but pure queens in your hives while the original queen which you purchased lives. I find the temper and disposition of the bees a better test of purity than their markings. The Italians are more easily managed, and less easily provoked to anger. If you open a hive of them and lift out a frame, instead of flying about in all directions and getting in a rage, (as do the black bees,) hardly a bee leaves the comb—all cling to it quietly until it is replaced. Where you find them thus clinging to the comb you have one good mark of purity.
The only certain test that I rely upon is the color and markings of a queen’s royal children, or the gueens reared from her. The female bee is invariably like the father, and the queens are the only perfect female bee. If you rear queens from a queen, and they are well marked and colored, you may be sure she is purely impregnated.
I had a number of fine queens last season whose worker progeny was so well marked that I had little doubt of their purity. Yet on rearing queens from their eggs they are not like their mother, and ¢heir eggs, when tested, produced queens hard to be distinguished from common ones. This fact will explain why the Italians, in careless hands, so soon degenerate. There is no need of this if the queen you purchase is pure, and you take pains the first season to put a queen reared from her into every hive you have; and, in the second season, to replace all which show impure marks.
The most difficult part of this process, as I have described it, (and it is more easily done than described,) consists in finding the old queen. At swarming time (the best season to do it) the hives are or ought to be populous; and to the beginner it seems a formidable operation to look the frames over, and find one bee among so many. Place an empty hive by the side of the one you wish to examine; after opening the latter very gently, sprinkle it well with sweetened water. It is better not to alarm them by the use of smoke when you wish to find the queen. Begin near the centre, and take out a frame, and look carefully on each side of it. If she is not on it, put it in the empty hive, and take out another, proceeding in the same way. If the queen is found on neither of them, spread a sheet before the hive which now contains the frames, and empty upon it the bees that remain clinging to the hive. If she is among them you will see her as she passes into the hive. If you do not find her, return the frames to the other hive, examining them with care.’ I have often found the queen on the first frame I took out; and then, again, have taken them all out three times before seeing her. There is little difficulty in finding Italian queens; they are not disposed to hide, and their bright colors make them very conspicuous.
Those who are Italianizing large apiaries, or rearing queens for sale, need no advice in the matter, yet may be interested in some items of my experience. I have succeeded better in rearing queens in moderately large hives than in the small ones generally used for the purpose. I now have my nucleus hives, containing three frames, the size of my large hives. A hive containing twelve frames, which can be divided into four parts at will, is very convenient, the entrance into two of the parts being at the ends, and in the others at the sides. Such a hive is warmer than a single nucleus, which is important in the early part of the year.
If such a hive contains a pure Italian queen, and she be taken from it in May, there will be eggs in each of the four parts when the dividers are put in, and from thirty to forty queen cells will be started at once. In ten days as many of these as you please can be cut out and given to other hives, but four or more should be left in it. The young queens hatched in these hives are very sure to mark their place when they go out for their excursions, as the size and entrance make it peculiar in appearance.
Much complaint is made that the whole colony is apt to go out from a nucleus hive when the queen leaves for impregnation and does not return; thus queen and all are lost. There is a sure remedy for this: Bees never desert a hive, large or small, while there is brood in it. If, then, a frame containing eggs and, larv&ligae; be given to the small colony from another hive, about the time the queen will hatch, the bees will not desert it. Some have trouble in making the bees build more than one or two cells in these little hives. That is because they do not have a large proportion of young bees in them. The young bees of the current year are the ones that work the wax and build queen cells. They may be seen before they are twenty-four hours old at work on them. Keep plenty of bee bread and honey in the small hive, and supply it with water and young and hatching bees, and you will have numerous cells.
Be always sure that, in the hives where you are rearing queens, there are no eggs except from a queen of undoubted purity, It has been declared impossible for bees to remove their eggs from one cell to another, but I now know that they do so. Last year I put into nucleus hives, each, a frame containing eggs, while the other combs, full of honey and bee-bread, were those preserved from hives from which the bees had been taken, and which had been all winter in a cold room. By no probability could an egg have been in these, yet repeatedly were green cells built in them, and perfect queens hatched from them. I do not pretend to say how the bees remove so delicate a thing as one of those little eggs without injury; but is it really any more wonderful than some of their other operations?
I have reared queens every week from the 1st of April to the last of October, and could perceive no difference in size or coloring at the different seasons; but out of eighteen reared in April last only two became fertile; and of twenty-two reared in October, all but four were lost, while nearly all those reared in May, June, and July were impregnated.
I do not find the pure Italian queens larger in size than the common ones; but queens reared from a pure Italian mother, fertilized by a common drone, are often very large and handsome. The colonies of such queens are, in every respect, equal to the pure. All such queens may be safely preserved, as their drones are pure. But no queens should be raised from them, and if swarms issue from their hives the queens should be taken. from them and pure ones given them, for nothing pure comes from a queen reared from such queens. No one should be contented to stop short of giving a queen which will produce pure drones the first season to every hive he has, whether it be one or one hundred. This accomplished, your work is more than half done. The importance of this is manifest, for you will then have no common drones in your apiary the second season. When this is the case you can keep your own colonies strong, "swarm" them early, and have little to fear from outsiders.
So long as you have common drones a large proportion of your queens will meet them. I raised one hundred and forty-three queens the first season, which became fertile, and though I had many Italian drones in a dozen hives, and suppressed the common drones as much as possible, only twenty-six of my young queens were fertilized by Italians.
It is said, and I doubt not with truth, that in all Italian stock brought to this country there is a taint of impurity. This is of little consequence if we keep our stock pure. By exercising proper care, we can not only keep them as good as the original, but also do much to improve them. I have several young queens even more beautiful than those I bought, and queens reared from them are as fine as any I have ever seen. Every one which does not produce pure drones should be replaced as soon as this is discovered, and those which are only hybrid may be changed before swarms are taken from them. All this requires care and patience, but it pays well to take this care.
In no way can the yield of honey be so sensibly increased as by introducing the Italian bee into different localities. As it replaces the old variety a great change will be observed.
I cahnot think it wise for those rearing queens to sell to send out any but those tested and proved pure. The practice of selling hybrid queens, or of sending those not tested, to those who are commencing in the business, promising to replace them if not pure, is a bad one. The beginner (who, perhaps, has never seen an Italian bee) cannot himself be a judge of purity, and in nine cases out of ten will be satisfied with what he gets, and rear from it. Though he will find any mixture of the Italian blood an improvement on his old stock, yet, in the second generation, he will have nothing pure, and be disappointed and discouraged. One had better pay a large price for a queen warranted pure by one whose reputation is at stake in the matter than to get a hybrid cheap, and find, in a year or two, that he has had all his trouble for little or nothing. I would advise every one purchasing a queen to clip her wings before putting her in a new home. It not only prevents her leaving the hive with a swarm at any time, but you are always sure that she is the one you bought, for bees often destroy a queen for no apparent reason.
SUBDUING BEES, BEE-DRESS, ETC.
I find a great difference between the Italian and common bees in their irascibility. The former are much more easily managed. Still the timid will do well always to use some precautions. Sprinkling with sugar water is the best means of subduing them when you wish to open the hive. If you wish to find a queen readily do not use smoke, it induces her to hide; but for any other examination of the hive it answers well. A wire hat with a deep curtain to it, and a pair of rubber gloves with gauntlets, make a perfect protection against stings. The gloves are very expensive, as they soon wear out from contact with the bee glue or propolis. I find a pair of woollen mittens, with thumb and finger, as knit for soldiers use, quite as good protection. They should be dipped in cold water before using. From these glue can be easily removed. A quiet, fearless manner when among bees does much to prevent their anger. No stand should ever be made angry; they do not soon forget it, and after they are once enraged they are difficult to subdue.
ADAPTATION OF THE BUSINESS TO WOMEN.
Health is to be derived from it. The ancients called the honey bee “Deborah, or she that speaketh.” Would that its gentle hum might now speak to many women in our land, and awaken an interest in a pursuit so interesting, and, at the same time, so profitable. The quick observation and gentle handling, so requisite in the business, belong peculiarly to women, and there is no part of it which is laborious, or that may not be appropriately performed by them.
It has proved to me of great benefit. I came west twelve years ago, under sentence of speedy death from one of New England’s best physicians, yet now rejoice in perfect health restored. More than to all other causes I attribute the change to the interesting occupation which has kept me so much of the time in the open air, and paid me for being there. I most heartily recommend it to others, who are seeking either health or a pleasant and profitable employment.