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´╗┐Title: Bee Hunting - A Book of Valuable Information for Bee Hunters - Tell How - to Line Bees to Trees, Etc.
Author: Lockard, John Ready
Language: English
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BEE HUNTING

A BOOK OF VALUABLE INFORMATION
FOR BEE HUNTERS--TELL HOW TO
LINE BEES TO TREES, ETC.

BY
JOHN R. LOCKARD

Published by
A. R. HARDING, Publisher
Columbus, Ohio

Copyright 1908
By A. R. HARDING PUB. CO.



CONTENTS

  I. Bee Hunting

  II. Early Spring Hunting

  III. Bees Watering--How to Find Them

  IV. Hunting Bees from Sumac

  V. Hunting Bees from Buckwheat

  VI. Fall Hunting

  VII. Improved Method of Burning

  VIII. Facts About Line of Flight

  IX. Baits and Scents

  X. Cutting the Tree and Transferring

  XI. Customs and Ownership of Wild Bees

  XII. Benefactors and Their Inventions

  XIII. Bee Keeping for Profit



SOME MEMORIES OF BEE HUNTING

I was born in a little valley, hemmed in by mountains running north
and south on either side. It varies in width from one to three
miles from the foot of one range to the other. From my home I have
a clear view of these beautiful Mountains and, as these mountains
and lowlands teemed with game of all kind, and being heavily
timbered, made an ideal location for the home of the wild bee. From
early youth I loved to lure the wild turkey, stalk the deer and
line the bee to his home. Is it any wonder that after forty years
of undiminished passion for sports of this kind that I can
truthfully say there is scarcely a square rod of these mountains
that is not indelibly impressed on my mind in connection with some
of the above mentioned sports or pastimes? I will confine myself in
this work to the subject of Bee Hunting, believing it to be one of
the most fascinating and beneficial of pastimes.



PREFACE

In the preparation of this work, it has been my aim to instruct the
beginner in the art of bee hunting, rather than offer suggestions
to those who have served an apprenticeship at the fascinating
pastime. I do not wish to leave the impression that I think others
who have made this a study do not know enough on the subject to
give suggestions; far from it. But to be candid with each other, as
lovers of nature and her ways should be, even though we be veterans
in the business, by an exchange of ideas we can always learn
something new and of value. Many books on sports of various kinds
have been written, but outside of an occasional article in
periodicals devoted to bee literature, but little has been written
on the subject of bee hunting. Therefore, I have tried, in this
volume, Bee Hunting for Pleasure and Profit, to give a work in
compact form, the product of what I have learned along this line
during the forty years in nature's school room.

Brother, if in reading these pages you find something that will be
of value to you, something that will inculcate a desire for manly
pastime and make your life brighter, then my aim will have been
reached.

I am very truly yours,

JOHN R LOCKARD.



BEE HUNTING



CHAPTER I.

AN OLD BEE HUNTER.

The bee hunters in my early days used one of two methods in hunting
the bee. The hunter would select a clear day, generally during
buckwheat bloom, and after determining on a course, sun them to the
tree. This was done by placing the hat or hand between the eye and
sun as close to the light as the eye would permit. If the hunter
knew the difference between the flight of a loaded bee and an
unloaded one he would keep on the course until the tree was
located.

This method must undoubtedly be injurious to the eyes and I do not
follow this plan nor advise others to do so. The other method was
what was termed burning or baiting. A fire was built near where the
bee tree was supposed to be, large flat sand stones were placed on
the fire and heated. One of these was removed to some place clear
of trees and underbrush, some bee-comb, dampened with water, was
then placed on the stone, and when the fumes of the comb would go
off into the air any bees flying near were apt to be enticed to the
bait, which was sprinkled on a bunch of bushes and laid near the
stone. Many bees were found in this way, but if they went any great
distance two or more fires had to be built. This would require much
time and often the hunter, not being careful in extinguishing the
fire, the surrounding leaves would catch fire and a destructive
forest fire would result. Therefore it shall be my aim to eliminate
anything of an injurious or objectionable nature in the work I lay
before the reader.

On a calm morning in the early part of November, I went to the top
of the mountain west of my home. The day was an ideal one. The
trees had shed their leaves, making a thick carpet over the earth.
It seemed that all nature was getting ready for a long winter
sleep. All flowers except a few bunches of mountain goldenrod were
dead. The bees seemed to be aware that their labors were about
ended and were eagerly looking for anything in shape of sweets that
would add to their store of supplies and thus help to tide over the
long winter. After arriving at the top of the mountain I built a
fire, heated a large flat stone and took some bee comb and
proceeded to follow the example before mentioned. After watching
quite a long time and not seeing any bees I was on the point of
giving it up, at this place at least, when that sound so delightful
to the ear of the bee hunter, the silvery tone of the bee in
flight, came to my ear. Several times the sound was repeated but so
far I had not got a sight of it. On looking over the top of the
bushes I saw two bees flying slowly, sometimes coming near the
bait, then darting away, then returning and finally settling down
on the bait. All was anxiety! I must be sure to see these two bees
take their homeward flight. In a very short time one of them slowly
raised from the bait, circled a time or two, and then darted away
so quickly that I knew not where. Now the other one won't escape me
so easily. But when I turned to look, she, too, was gone. In a
short time they were back and lots of others close behind. In a
half hour there must have been a quart of bees on the bait. By this
time I had seen a number of bees fly due west and some due east. So
taking another hot stone and going some distance on the course
west, I put the stone down, burnt more comb, and in a few minutes
had lots of bees. They still continued westward. The next time I
stopped where a swamp extended from the top of the mountain back
some two hundred yards. There were many large gum trees growing in
this swamp. After a while I was convinced that the bees flew at
right angles from the former course. Leaving the bait I went into
the swamp and found them going into a large gum tree about twenty
feet from the ground. My spirits were high, this being the first
bee I had ever found entirely by myself. Taking out my knife and
going up to the tree to put my initials thereon, my spirits fell as
suddenly as they had risen. There in plain view were the letters I.
W. The spirit of selfishness then showed itself. What right had
anyone to take this bee from me? I had almost come to the point of
thinking I had a monopoly in the bee hunting business and that
others had no right to intrude. I trust others do not show this
spirit and am sure I have got rid of it myself. If there is any
pleasure or benefit to be derived from anything, God certainly
intends it for all. The initials would not correspond with the name
of anyone I knew, but supposed that some time I would find out who
I. W. was. Now the bee that flew east could be looked for, but what
was the use? Hadn't the best bee hunters in the country tried to
find it and failed? Beyond a certain point all trees disappeared.
This was the only Italian bee known to be in a radius of ten miles
and it was not a great while after their introduction into this
country. So taking my way to the top of the mountain near the edge
of the swamp, I was surprised to find a cabin, and from indication
it had just been built. On going up to the door my eye fell on the
occupant, a man well up in years. In one corner was a number of
steel traps. In another a rifle of the then modern type. These
signs told me that a new hunter had taken up his abode among us. He
told me to be seated and moved over on the rude bench to make room
for me. He began by asking me what I was doing out on the mountain,
and as I was so young, no doubt had an idea that I was lost.

I told him that I was bee hunting and had found one but some one
had found it before I had, and that the initials I. W. were cut on
the tree. Turning to me he said, "You don't know who that stands
for? Well, young man, I kin tell you. I. W. stands for Ike Ward,
and that's me. The little fellers come sippin' around my cabin and
I give 'em a little sweet water and found 'em in a jiffy." I then
told him of the Italian bee. He asked me why I didn't find it. The
reply was that the very best bee hunters in the country had tried
it and failed and I supposed it would be of no use for me to try
it. "Well, they must be great bee hunters; why, young man, I would
rather undertake to find a bee than ketch a rabbit in a good
trackin' snow. The rabbit might jump up and run away, but after I
get my bee started, he's mine." It was getting well along in the
afternoon and I told him I must go home. "Well, your folks might
think something has happened to you and I won't ask ye to stay any
longer; but come up again and we will find that yaller bee." I
thanked him and asked when it would suit him to go. "You kin come
any time you keer to, but ye'd better come early when you do come,
fer I might be out scoutin' round and not be home." That proposed
bee hunt was the only thing thought of on my way home, the only
thought that went with me to my bed, and in my dreams I saw the
most beautiful yellow bees in the world on combs of snowy
whiteness, some of them as large as a door.

Early the next morning, before the sun had shown himself to the
people down in the valley, I was far on my way up the mountain on
my way to the hunter's cabin. Great drops of sweat were standing
all over my face, but I never slackened my pace until I heard the
cheering "Good morning" from the old hunter at the cabin. "Jist
come and rest yerself. It's a little too early fer bees to fly
yit." I replied that I wasn't tired. "When I was your age I didn't
get tired either, but if you get to be as old as me you won't walk
so fast up hill; you're all a lather of sweat."

About an hour later we went out to where I had first baited the
bees. I began to gather wood to start a fire and burn for them
again. "What are ye goin' to do with that wood?" was his inquiry.
On being informed that this was the way I got them to bait, he
chuckled to himself and said he would show me a better and easier
way. He then took a handkerchief from his pocket, then a small
bottle containing something that was of a fluid form, and sprinkled
the handkerchief with it. He then got a pole eight or ten feet long
and put the cloth on one end, raised it as high in the air as he
could, moving it back and forth in the breeze. Very soon hundred of
bees were darting through the air. The pole was slowly lowered
until the handkerchief rested on the ground, sweetened water was
sprinkled on some bushes, and in a few minutes the yellow bees were
flying east and the black ones found previously flying west.

This was a very simple, but a new departure from the mode followed
in those days. He explained to me that the little vial contained
water, with a few drops of the oil of anisseed added, and there
were other scents perhaps better, but this being the only kind he
had at that time was the reason for using it. We went directly east
on the course four or five hundred yards. This brought us to the
top of the mountain and to a large rock that was fully one hundred
feet from the ground at the base to the top. From this rock we had
a clear view of the valley below. The eastern side of the mountain
was very hilly, and covered with a dense growth of trees, and
farther down, this forest never hearing the sound of the woodman's
ax, became so dense that the sun could scarcely find an opening to
the earth. The cloth was sprinkled with more of the scent, waved a
few times in the air, and laid beside the bait, which was composed
of sugar and water, on the rock. Bees came in abundance. Very soon
we could see some bees, heavily loaded, circle around and dart off
down, down, until lost to our sight. Others would fly both north
and south along the top, making three distinct courses. The old
hunter watched these different flights for a considerable time,
then going some distance along the top, and after a short time came
back saying, "Just as I expected. These fly out there, make a turn,
and come back to join the course that flies straight down. Now come
with me out the other way and we will see if the others don't do
the same." Sure enough! Taking our station some fifty yards from
the bait we could see them coming heavily loaded, bend down and
back toward the main course.

"I have found many bees in my time, young man, an' never saw one
act this way unless the tree was close. They act like they don't
want to leave that rock; but we will go down and look at some of
that timber." As all the timber far below had been looked at many
times in the past I thought it useless but did not say so. After
looking at the nearest trees below, those farther down were
examined. The morning had been cloudy but now the sun was bright
and clear. The hunter placed his hand before his eyes and gazing up
at the sun said he "never saw sich actin'; they seem to come right
toward the ground. I have found 'em in queer places but never in
the ground." Just then a bee lit on some leaves in front of me. I
called his attention to it. "Now ain't it a beauty? Poor little
fellow; got too heavy a load an' has to rest. Now watch sharp; when
he goes he will likely fly straight." In a short time he slowly
raised, made a half circle, darted down the mountain, and was lost
to me. Not so with my companion. Stooped low, his arm thrust
forward as though guiding the bee in its flight, he slowly turned
his arm, still following, until he was pointing straight up the
hill. "As sure as my name is Ike Ward that bee flew up the hill,
and just as sure its home is there, too."

Up the hill he went, looking more carefully at every tree, until
the last tree below the rock had been reached. I was on the upper
side of this tree and was almost sure that it must be in this one.
The old hunter was on the lower side, gazing intently up the hill
toward the rock. For some time he stood thus, then said, "You had
better look behind you if you want to find the yaller bee." On
turning round I saw a steady stream of bees going in and coming out
from the very base of the rock. The mystery was a mystery no
longer. They had baffled all the bee hunters in the community for
three years, but at last they gave up the secret of their hidden
home to Ike Ward.

Taking a piece of paper and writing thereon these words: "This bee
was found by Ike Ward and pard; if any person find it please don't
mislest it." He laid the paper above the entrance of the bees, and,
laying a stone on it to keep it in place, we ended this our first
bee-hunt together. This was only one of the many delightful trips
which I took with the hunter, only one of the many valuable lessons
received from him on this fascinating pastime. He has long since
passed away, but the book of nature was open to him at all times
and with a spirit that had no taint of selfishness in it, was
always ready to impart knowledge to others.



CHAPTER II.

EARLY SPRING HUNTING.

Bees are very fond of salt in the early spring, and, in fact, in
all parts of the season when brood rearing is in progress. Now we
will start out some fine spring morning, take a hatchet or an ax
and a polk of salt, and we will go up on the side of the mountain
and chop out a little trough large enough to hold a quart or more,
then sprinkle a little water, scented with oil of anise or
bergamont, on the outside of this trough, then put a few corncobs
and a handful of salt in the trough and place the trough in the
fork of a small tree out of the way of any stock that may be
pasturing in the woods. Our work is now done at this place. We can
go on and put out several of these baits along the mountain. The
first rain that comes will fill the trough, dissolve the salt,
which will soak into the corncobs, and the scent which we placed on
the outside of the trough will entice any bees that may be flying.
After this we go home and a day or so after the first good rain
that comes, we will go back and the chances are that we will have
several good courses. Now we will cover the trough over with a
bunch of leaves--green boughs--and sprinkle these freely with
sweetened water. Take a pint bottle, fill it one-fourth full of
granulated sugar and fill up with water. This is better than more
sugar, for when the syrup is too thick it requires more time for
the bees to load up and if too thick, in a short time the bushes
become sticky.

After several bees have loaded up and gone home, we will take a
cloth and saturate it with the same scent used on the trough, then
take the bait--bunch of bushes--with us on the course, hunt a place
as free from timber as possible and lay out bait on the top of a
bush, the cloth beside it, and in a short time we should have
plenty of bees. After determining on the course the same tactics
are pursued until we arrive at the tree, or, if we have good reason
to believe the bee stands in any certain group of trees and we fail
to find the tree, to make sure that our ideas are correct we will
move our bait off to one side of the original course and thus get a
cross course, and at the junction of the first line of flight and
this second line, the bees must certainly have their home. We must
look at every tree with the utmost care, for it is a very easy
matter to overlook a bee tree, even experienced bee hunters have
done this. But if we take time to examine a tree from all sides we
should always be able to locate them.



CHAPTER III.

BEES WATERING. HOW TO FIND THEM.

As soon as the bees begin to stir in the spring they go searching
around for water, for this is one essential element in
brood-rearing. Early in the season the ground is generally so full
of water that bees are not confined to any certain place in order
to get the amount needed. But later in the season, when the ground
has dried off and wet weather springs have dried up, if we go into
the woods along the mountain and visit the never-failing springs
sure to be found in the hollows and low flat places, we will be
pretty sure to find bees at some of these places.

It is not often that bees are numerous enough at these springs to
make what would be termed a strong course, but by following the
plan which I here give, you can, in a short space of time, have all
the bees necessary, with no danger of having bees from other trees
or from our neighbors' stands, which would make a mix-up, and make
it much harder for us to follow the bee that is watering. When we
go on a trip of this kind first we will provide ourselves with a
small glass tumbler; a cover, made of some dark heavy material,
long enough so that when slipped over the glass it will come within
one-fourth of an inch of the open end. Then we will take a few
drops of honey in a small vial, the scent, cloth, and bait of sugar
and water mentioned previously. When we find the bees watering we
take the glass, without cover, and place it over the bee, which
will immediately try to fly and finding himself a prisoner, will
crawl around the upper part of the glass. Previous to this a few
drops of the honey were placed on a piece of cardboard or large
leaf. Then we lift the glass and place the hand under to prevent
the bee escaping and place it on the cardboard or leaf. Now place
the black hood over it and watch the result. There is but one place
for light to enter and this is the narrow opening at lower end of
cover. In a moment the bee can be seen crawling around the bottom,
sometimes reaching down to the cardboard. Now he has found a drop
of the honey and seemingly forgets his sad plight of a moment ago
and proceeds to take a meal. The glass is lifted gently off, the
dark thick cover preventing him from seeing our hand. As soon as he
is loaded he starts and circles many times and then goes home, and
in some manner that we can't explain, tells others of what
delicious sweets he has found. No more water for that bee; he is
bound to come back and search for more honey.

We can go and catch as many bees as we think it necessary, but
generally five or six would be ample. Then the scented cloth is
placed on the ground, a bunch of green bushes laid on the spot
where the cardboard had been sprinkled freely with sweetened water,
and we are soon ready to start on the course, following the
instructions given in previous chapter.



CHAPTER IV.

HUNTING BEES FROM SUMAC.

Sumac begins to bloom about the first of July and continues through
the month. It is unquestionably the greatest source of honey in the
country in which I live. From the time the dew is off until dusk
the bee is busy on it. Every old worn-out field is plentifully
supplied with it and a different variety is found growing in small
patches all over the mountains. I have found more bee trees by the
plan now given than perhaps any other.

We will visit some of these places and select a spot where there
are a few bunches near together, if no more than a half dozen
bunches the better. Now having our bottle containing bait prepared,
let us select two or three bunches standing close together and
sprinkle them freely with the bait, then break off all others
standing near. At first the bees will fly around as if they don't
like to light on the wet bushes but the ones that were used to
getting honey from these flowers may visit other flowers and fly
away, but they are sure to come back, and, after taking a sip,
finding it a quicker method of getting a load of sweets, settle
down to business and in a short space of time adapt themselves to
the new order of things and are soon on their way home, never
failing to return, bringing others along. Keeping the bushes well
supplied with bait, we will soon discover a course and perhaps two
or more. Then take the scented cloth, lay it near the bait, and
after ten or fifteen minutes break these bushes off a foot or more
below the flowers and we are ready to start on the course. After
going two or three hundred yards, select a place clear of trees so
that they can fly on their course without being compelled to fly
around timber, lay the scent cloth near by, and in five or ten
minutes you will have plenty of bees, or, we may be going on the
line of flight and find the bees suddenly cease to come to bait.
This is an unfailing sign that we have passed the tree or are very
close to it.



CHAPTER V.

HUNTING BEES FROM BUCKWHEAT.

During buckwheat bloom, which occurs in the month of August and
early part of September, many bees are found. Some hunters line
them to the tree by sunning. This method requires a very clear day
and unless the hunter thoroughly understands this art, knows an
unloaded bee from a loaded one, he is not apt to be very
successful. Besides this fact I have known many hunters to so
injure their eyesight as to become, in old age, partially blind and
perhaps altogether so. I, myself, have found many bees in this way
and feel certain that my eyesight has been injured, but am very
thankful that I discarded this method many years ago.

Bees do their work on buckwheat from the time the dew is leaving
until near noon; and on a hot, clear day but few bees, if any, will
be found working on it after 12 M. One of the greatest elements of
success in hunting bees by the baiting method is to use a scent
that is the same as the flower the bee is working on. Therefore,
gather some of the flowers of the buckwheat and have them
distilled, or, if this is out of the question, put some of the
flowers in a quart jar, say half full, well packed down, then just
cover with diluted alcohol and let it stand a few days and you have
an ideal scent to use at this particular time. After getting a
course from a field of buckwheat, about ten or half-past ten go on
the course, and when you come to a place clear of underbrush and no
large trees to bother the flight of bees, sprinkle some of the
scent mentioned above on some leaves and near the scent place a
bunch of bushes sprinkled with bait made by filling a pint bottle
one-fourth full of honey, one-fourth of granulated sugar and
one-half water. Many bees, at this time of day, are going to and
fro from the field. Some of them find nectar harder to get than it
was an hour before and some fly on the homeward journey lightly
loaded. They are beginning to lose faith in the buckwheat field and
these are the very ones that detect the scent first. Others are
becoming dissatisfied as these first ones did--one rubs against
another, and in bee language tells that he has found something
mighty good down in the bushes, and by the time the bait is licked
up we should have a direct course from this location and be ready
to repeat the operation farther on the course. The next time the
bait is put down we should have plenty of bees in not more than ten
minutes, and if they are tardy about coming, providing we had a
fair amount at the first location, we have either passed the tree,
are nearly under it, or have gone far off the course.



CHAPTER VI.

FALL HUNTING.

The main sources of the honey supply are now over, and if the
methods given in the preceding chapters are followed it is
necessary for us to get out on the mountains or fields far distant
from home apiaries and look for the few flowers that have escaped
killing frosts. A few bunches of mountain goldenrod are found here
and there scattered over the mountain-side. A white flower, growing
on a stem about two feet in height, is also found in many
locations. I am unable to give the botanical name of this latter
flower, but every bee hunter who has had much experience has seen
many bees on it when other flowers have ceased to exist or have
been rendered useless by frosts, as a source of honey.

If but a few of these flowers are found growing together and a few
bees are seen on them, sprinkle freely with bait before described,
and in a short time you will find ten bees to where there was one
at first. Now if you start them from goldenrod, scent of almost
anything used in bee hunting will serve to draw them on the course;
but essence of goldenrod is far superior at this season of the
year. As I have before stated, a scent should be used to conform as
nearly as possible to the scent of the flower the bee is working on
at any particular time. It would be a superfluity to explain any
farther, as the same tactics must be followed as described earlier
in this work.



CHAPTER VII.

THE LATEST IMPROVED METHOD OF BURNING.

We now come to the time of the year when all flowers, by the laws
of nature, cease to bloom. Indian summer is here with its nice
balmy days. Just right--not too warm not yet too cool. The very
time when even those of us who are getting up in years begin to
feel young again. How sad it would be to the one who loves nature
and her ways to be obliged to lay aside all thought of sport until
nature unfurled her robes again! Some of the happiest moments of my
life have come during this part of the year, and I hope to be able
to convince my readers that we should always say "welcome" to the
aged year. Well do I remember when I used to go along with the old
hunter in search of the bee. A fire would be made, some large fiat
stones heated and carried to a convenient place, then bee comb
moistened with water, placed on them and soon bees would be seen
darting through the air. Some might settle on the bait, but if not
enough to satisfy the hunter, another hot stone was brought, and
the process repeated until there were enough bees working on the
bait to give a strong course. Then taking another hot stone and
going a long ways on the course we would proceed to burn again.
Perhaps the stone had cooled off by this time and the bee failed to
come quickly or in sufficient numbers. Then we had to either go
back, replenish the fire, heat more stones, or build another fire
at the new location. Carrying the hot stones from place to place
was the work generally assigned to me. Sometimes stones of a slaty
nature would be heated and when becoming quite hot would burst with
a loud report and fly in all directions. At that time I would just
about as soon approach a loaded cannon. After twisting a stick
around the stone it was carried at arm's length to the new location
and with sweat streaming down my face I was glad when the time came
to lay it down. This was undoubtedly laborious, but the excitement
connected with the sport was at such a pitch that the thought of
labor being in any way connected with bee hunting never entered my
mind.

But as time wore on I got to thinking that there might be other
plans much easier and quicker than the one described, and I feel
sure that those who love the sport will agree that the plan laid
before the readers is in every way superior to the old method.

First get a small tin pail, holding about a half gallon. Cut out,
from the bottom upwards, a hole four or five inches up and down and
two inches wide. Have a pan made so that it will fit down inside
the pail just deep enough to come down to upper edge of the hole
cut out of pail. There should be a rim on top part of the pan to
prevent it working lower down than the hole in the pail. Now get a
miner's lamp, which will not cost more than from fifteen to
twenty-five cents. Coal oil can be used but lard oil is much
better, and better than either of these is alcohol. A small lamp
suitable for burning this can be purchased at a small cost.

Now you are ready to start out. Take some refuse honey and your
bottle of bait, get far out on the mountains, so there will be
little danger of drawing bees from apiaries that may be situated in
the valleys. When a suitable place is found, clear of underbrush
and no large trees to bother the bees when starting for home, set
pail down, put some of the honey in the upper part of the pail (or
pan), strike a match, touch it to the wick of the lamp. The spout
of the lamp should come within about two inches of the bottom of
the pan. The honey begins to boil immediately and sends its scent
out over the mountains. A few drops of the oil of anise and
bergamont mixed can be dropped into the pan, and a bunch of bushes
held over the fumes until it is scented. This is then laid on the
top of a bush or stump close by and sprinkled with bait. By this
time bees may be heard darting through the air or seen hunting
slowly through the bushes in search of something to eat. It is a
very good plan to blow the lamp out when the first bees are flying
around. The scent is strong all around and when the lamp is blown
out the scent soon dies out except near the bait and the bees find
the bait much sooner than if the lamp was kept burning. There may
be plenty of bees to start with from the first burning and if not,
all we have to do is to light the lamp again.

If you have your course and are about to start, it only requires a
second of time to pick up the burning apparatus and the bunch of
bushes and start on the course. But for fear you may be only a
beginner and make a mistake which might discourage you, I want to
have a little talk with you before starting from the first
location.

In reading articles relating to bee hunting, some of the writers
tell how, after loading up, the bees would circle round and round
before starting on the homeward journey. I believe I have seen a
few bees make a complete circle. I have seen hundreds of thousands
that did not. As a rule when a bee raises from the bait it will act
as though it intends to circle, but watch closely and you find
before coming around to the place of starting it will quickly turn
in the opposite direction, repeating this several times--always
widening out. It will seem to fall far back with a downward motion,
then gather up and come slowly back, often passing to the opposite
side of the bait and making a sudden motion, is lost to sight. This
fact might make you think the bee really went in this direction. I
want to stake my reputation as a bee hunter of years of experience,
that when a bee is seen to make these half circles on one side of
the bait and seem to fall off in any direction, bearing down toward
the earth, that this is the general direction in which the tree
stands, and if I can see a bee make a few of these half circles
(though it may be the first one on the bait), it settles the matter
in my mind as to the general direction of the tree. But even if our
minds are made up in regard to this line of flight, it is wise to
take more time and watch closely, for there is no good reason why
we should not get two or possibly more courses from this first
location. Then go on the strongest course until we find the tree
and then come back and start on the others.

In going on the course don't fail to look well at every tree, for
sometimes they are found in very small trees when there are lots of
large ones standing all around.

I will give my experience in finding a bee that has taught me to
look at every thing on the course, not even discarded stumps, logs
and bushes, for I have found bees in the two former and hanging on
the latter. In early November I had a strong course from bait. They
flew directly up on the side of the mountain. The course flew over
a large barren thicket and after looking at the timber on the lower
edge of the barrens, the bait was moved across the thicket. There
were a few chestnut trees standing between the upper edge and the
place I selected to bait them again. Soon they came and flew back
down. I was sure they must be in one of the trees mentioned, for
there was nothing growing in the thicket large enough for a bee to
go in. After looking at the few trees spoken of and not finding
them, I went back down to the lower edge and could see them fly
nearly half way across the thicket. I was puzzled, and proceeded to
look at the few logs that were laying down and still failed to
locate them. My next move was to hang my burning bucket on a limb
and burn. In no time there were bees by the quart on the bait,
flying in all directions. Singling out some of the steady flying
ones, they seemed to fly a short distance, and drop into the brush.
On investigating, I found them hanging on a little bush, working
away as though they had the best place in the world to store their
honey. They had evidently been there for a long time as they had
several good sized combs fastened to the bush. I knew they were
bound to perish, for cold weather was coming on, so I told a friend
where to find it, and gave it to him with the understanding that he
was to hive it, putting the combs and brood in the hive.

The above is mentioned to prove that bees are sometimes found in
places out of the ordinary, and in closing this part of my work I
want to impress you with the fact that it always pays to go slow
and look well while on the course.

* * *

NOTE--If not convenient and a vessel of the kind described (for
burning) cannot be had, any small tin pail will do without cutting
out the hole for lamp. A couple of stones laid on the ground a few
inches apart will make a place for the lamp and the bucket placed
over it on the stones, although the first mentioned will be found
more convenient.



CHAPTER VIII.

SOME FACTS ABOUT LINE OF FLIGHT.

You have all heard the term "bee line" used, and naturally infer
that it means a straight line. This was what I believed it to be in
my earlier days, but from numerous observations I am led to believe
that the terms "bee line" and "straight line" are in some cases
incompatible. If the line of flight is over ground unbroken by
hills and hollows, a bee will fly as straight home after loading up
as anything having wings can. But in following a course through a
wooded country, along the side of hills or mountains containing
ridges and deep hollows, the line of flight deviates far from a
straight line.

To illustrate and prove the above assertion, I will here give an
incident in connection with bee hunting that occurred not many
years ago, and which goes to prove that bees do not always fly in a
perfectly straight line. East of my home about one mile there is a
mountain extending north and south. Along the foot of this
mountain, a stream, known as Sideling Hill creek, runs the entire
length of the valley. The mountain extending up from this creek is
made up of ridges and hollows. A friend of mine, one day in July,
found bees watering along the creek and nearly east of my home. The
bees flew south with the creek along the foot of the mountain.
After trying to find them, (consuming two days' time in the
attempt), he came for me to help him out, telling me that he had
looked at every tree near the course for a distance of a mile. It
was a very finely marked Italian bee, and being anxious to find and
hive it, offered to pay me for my time whether we found the bee or
not. I asked him if he had baited them at the water. He said he had
tried but not a bee could be induced to take bait. My time being
limited just then, I told him I would get them to bait for him and
after this he certainly could find it himself. "Oh, yes, that's all
I ask," he replied. Going with him, I used the method described in
an early chapter entitled "Hunting the Bee from Water." In a short
space of time I had lots of them loading up and flying south along
the creek. About a half mile on the course an old clearing ran up
some distance on a ridge, and the course seemed to go about midway
through it. My instructions were to put the bait on this place, as
it was clear of all bushes that might bother him from getting a
direct course, and after giving all necessary instruction I went
home and awaited results. The next evening he told me he had gone
into the old field and, as the bees were a little slow in coming to
the bait, he built a fire and proceeded to burn and got bees in
abundance, still flying on the same course; then moving the bait
much farther on the course to another old field, found that they
continued on the same line of flight; and from this last location
followed them in sight of a house, the owner having thirty stands
of bees, thus convincing him that the bees all had come from this
apiary.

But I was convinced he had overlooked the bees started with, for
these reasons: This apiary was two miles from where the bees
watered; the same stream flowed near by the apiary--there were many
springs near and water in abundance all along the course. Then the
clearing first mentioned had lots of sumac growing in it; many bees
from the apiary were working on this and other flowers, and by
burning, these bees were enticed to the bait in such numbers that
the few that may have been on bait from the tree were not noticed
by an inexperienced hunter. After telling him of my suspicions, he
was the more anxious that I should go along with him again and see
for myself that there was no wild bee on the course.

I was equally anxious to prove to him that there was. So the
following morning found us in the old field where he had first
placed the bait. Taking my bottle containing bait. I sprinkled some
on a bunch of bushes left there the day previous. This was all that
was required and the bees that had been having a feast at this
location the day before soon found it out and eagerly settled down
for another feast. It seemed that the whole apiary had swarmed out
and come to the bait--hundreds were soon flying towards this
apiary. Here my friend ventured to ask if I was not convinced that
they went to the apiary. I had been watching very close and knew
very well that the majority of the bees did go there, but I had
also seen a few bees fly a short distance on the course and bear
off to the left. I said nothing about this at the time, thinking it
best to be positive before giving a final opinion. There was a deep
hollow running up from the opposite side of the clearing and
getting in a more favorable position I could see many bees bear off
from the main course and go up to the hollow. Now I was ready to
tell him he had been outwitted by the bees.

Calling him to me, I showed him the bees flying up the hollow. We
then moved the bait about one hundred yards farther up and found
that they still went on up. We left the bait and proceeded to look
at the timber. Finally one hundred yards above this last place
there was a large white pine standing on the left side of the
hollow and not over ten feet from the ground they were pouring in,
in a steady stream, pure golden Italians. Was he convinced this was
the bee we had started with from the watering place? No, not at
all. It was too far from the course. I told him we would cut it and
take it home, and if bees still continued to water at the same
location I would give in. The bee was cut next day and taken home
and all watering ceased at that place. This was evidence enough for
him and proved to him, as it must to every one, that under certain
conditions bees will vary very much from a straight line of flight.



CHAPTER IX.

BAITS AND SCENTS.

In rambling through the woods and over the mountains I have seen
bee hunters using bait with the oil of anise in it, or perhaps a
bait containing several different scents. They did not seem to
know, nor care, that bait containing these oils was injurious to
bees; but the fact is well known that they are injurious--not to
our neighbor's bees alone, but to the ones we are trying to find.
Therefore, never combine baits with scents of any kind. The former
is intended to furnish feed for the bee, and when loaded will
always start for the home. The latter is used as a means of getting
them to come to bait.

There are many different scents used for enticing the bee to bait.
Some hunters prefer oil of anise, others use bergamont; then some
combine these or other scents. But bear in mind that what should be
used ought to conform as nearly as possible in scent to the main
source of nectar at any particular season of the year.

In preparing these scents, take an ounce of the oil you may prefer,
put it into a pint bottle and fill bottle one-fourth full of
alcohol; let it stand a few days and then fill up with water. This
would make sufficient scent to last any one for several years. A
small vial can be filled and taken along--even an ounce vial will
last several trips; or a few drops of the oil can be put into a
bottle and water added, but as water will not cut the oil, it
remains insoluble and when the bottle is turned in order that the
mixture will run out, it often happens that our scent (after using
a time or two) is no good, the oil having disappeared. But by
cutting the scent with alcohol, the last drop will be just as
strongly scented as the first.

I have used about all the different scents known to bee hunters and
oil of anise was my standby for many years. I found bergamont to be
good. Horse mint, goldenrod, and many other oils and scents were
used at some particular time of the year, but the most powerful and
lasting scent I ever used was oil of sweet clover. Having run out
of the oil and not knowing where to get it without sending to some
drug house, I bought a toilet preparation labled "essence of sweet
clover," and found it filled the bill. A few drops were spilled on
my sleeve and in going on a course this was all that was needed. If
I stopped but a moment, my arm was covered with bees.

I don't advocate the use of the hunting-box for bee hunting. I
tried them long ago and found the method slow and uncertain. In
carrying my box from one location to another and releasing the
imprisoned bees I would always see them circle around and light on
a leaf and consume from five minutes to a half hour in cleaning
themselves up and when they did depart, there was no assurance that
they would come back. However, some hunters must meet with better
success than I have had in hunting by the box method, and to those
I would say, if bringing the bees to your box is what you want,
just rub a few drops of the oil of sweet clover on the side of your
box and that part of finding the bee is done.

It is hardly necessary to say more about baits. My views have been
given in the earlier chapters on bee hunting. A few drops of pure
honey is perhaps the best that can be used in starting the bees on
bait, but as soon as several have loaded with the honey, sprinkle
your bunch of bushes which you intend to carry on the course with a
bait made by filling a bottle one-fourth full of pure granulated
sugar, then a little honey and filling the bottle up with water.
This will make the bait sweet enough and it will not become so
sticky as if more sugar or honey were used.



CHAPTER X.

CUTTING THE TREE AND TRANSFERRING.

I hope those who read this book may find something in its pages
that will be beneficial. In your excursions through the forests you
are unconsciously getting the benefit of the greatest source in the
world of physical perfection--God's pure air--and, at the same time
there are no reasons why one with reasonable tact cannot be
benefited financially.

When should a bee tree be cut and transferred to the hive? There is
a difference of opinion in regard to the time of the year and also
to the manner in which it should be done. I respect the opinions of
those who have expressed themselves on the subject, but after
trying nearly all the methods described I found nothing in them
that came up to my ideal of a perfect plan of transferring the bee
from the tree to the hive.

My first plan was to cut the tree and, if not too large, saw it off
both above and below the bees, keep them in with smoke, and tack
screen over the place of entrance. Then hire someone to help carry
it home. It was set up on end and left to take care of itself and
if a swarm would issue from it and we were successful in hiving it
in the old box hive (the kind mostly in use in my boyhood days), we
thought the last chapter of bee-keeping had been learned. Then,
after the movable frame hive came into use the tree would be cut,
the bees drove into a box, the honey taken from the tree and with a
few pieces of brood all was taken home. The small bits of comb were
tied in the central frames for the bees to cluster on and the bees
shaken from the box in front of the hive. This plan was certainly
superior to the first mentioned but had one serious drawback--the
brood that was in the tree was left to perish.

After seeing the serious defects in the described methods, my next
move was to take a hive with me on going to cut the tree. All comb
containing brood was placed in the frames, the bees run into the
hive, which was left at the tree for a week or more in order that
the bees might have all the combs joined to the frames, and then
brought home. This was another advance in the method of
transferring, for the thousands of young bees about to emerge from
their cells were saved, and the colony having its brood and
strength undiminished should be able to fill at least one super of
honey besides all stores needed for themselves. Taking it for
granted that we cut the bee in the early part of the summer, one
super would be a low estimate, but even this would pay all expenses
connected with the cutting, buying a hive and fixtures, and as the
bee is now in an ideal hive we can hopefully look forward to the
next year when our profits are coming in.

There could be other plans given, some of them having virtue, but I
will now lay a plan before the reader which if followed will prove
more remunerative, and with less expense, than the former methods.
To carry a hive and tools necessary to cut a bee tree will require
the service of an assistant and when, after a week or so, we return
to bring the bee home, more help is needed. A man is worthy of his
hire and of course is paid. Carrying a hive over rough and uneven
ground is hard work. So by the time we have the bee home and sum
the matter up, the financial part of bee hunting don't impress us
very strongly.

I have been in the habit of hunting bees during the fall months,
but if I need a day's outing, no month from early spring, until
late fall fails to find me on my tramps through the forest in
search of a bee tree. No difference what time of the year I find my
bee nor how many may be found in any particular season, they are
always left stand over winter and cut the following spring, but not
before May, for I want the bee to be strong in bee with abundance
of brood. About this time of year I take a box eight inches square
at the end and two feet in length. Over the one end some wire
screen is nailed and a lid, the center being cut out and replaced
with wire screen, serves as a covering for the other end.

With bucket, ax, and this box we will go to the tree, cut it, being
careful to fell it as easy as possible. When it falls the bees
should be smoked at once to prevent them rising in the air. For
good reasons I prefer to cut the tree about nine or ten o'clock in
the forenoon. After blowing a little smoke in at the entrance,
proceed to chop a hole in the tree low down on the side, then
another hole farther up or down the tree, depending on whether the
bee works up or down from the place of entrance. After this is
done, split the piece out, blow more smoke on the bees and take the
combs out. Brush the bees off, lay them on the log some distance
from the bees, place the forcing box over the main body of the bees
and by brushing and smoking drive them into it. The box should be
in an elevated position, say forty-five degrees or more, as bees
will go on the upper end much more readily when the box is in this
position. Be sure the queen is in, which can generally be
determined by the manner in which the bees enter the box. If they
are inclined to run back out after being forced in, it is a pretty
sure sign the queen is not with them. When you are sure the queen
is with them, and there is a sufficient number of bees with her,
lift the box gently off, turn it upside down and place the lid on
and fasten with a couple of tacks taken along. Now place the brood
combs back in the tree. First a comb then a couple of small sticks
crosswise to form a bee space. Continue this until all the combs
are back in the tree, and as the top part of the log was not split
off, the piece split from the side can be fit in, bark and flat
stones can be used to form a covering that will keep the rain from
getting in. By cutting the tree at this time of day thousands of
bees are out in search of nectar and when they come home and find
their home gone, will fly around in the air until becoming
exhausted, and will then settle on the leaves and bushes in bunches
and knots by the hundreds. If there was any nice white honey we
have it in the bucket and picking up the box start on the homeward
journey. Presuming we have a movable frame hive at home with an
inch of starter in the frames or, what would be better, a hive
filled with comb from the year previous, we place the hive on its
permanent stand and take the lid from the box and shake the bees
down at the entrance. For fear the queen has been left in the tree
it would be well to have an entrance guard placed on the hive, as
this would exclude the queen and as soon as the queen is seen the
guard can be removed. In a short time we can tell whether they take
kindly to their new home. The queen is a laying one and some pollen
should be taken in the following day. I always made sure I had the
queen and never had a bee so treated to swarm out after being
hived.

Now what about the bee in the tree? When we left it there were
thousands flying around and settling on the leaves and bushes,
other thousands in all stages of development in the combs. The ones
that are hanging on the bushes begin to make further investigation
and finding their brood soon cover it and with the bees hatching
out every hour soon make the colony almost as populous as it was
before the tree was cut. In taking the combs out we may have seen
some queen cells started. If so, so much the better. If not, there
certainly were eggs in some of the combs and in sixteen days at the
most they can rear a queen from these eggs. When this time has
elapsed, take your box and smoker. Take the combs out as before;
drive the bees into the box, and as the brood is nearly all hatched
out by this time you will have nearly as many bees as you got the
first time. These are brought home and treated as the first swarm
and the combs can be placed in the log again for the few remaining
bees that may have been left, to cluster on and these can be
brought home later and joined to the second swarm. By this method
you get two strong colonies from one tree. There is no help needed;
no heavy lifting and carrying of hives to and from the tree. By
following this plan you can soon have quite an apiary and be on
your way to enjoy the profits as well as the pleasures of bee
hunting. This plan is original with me and I believe it to be the
very best plan given so far, and I expect to follow it until
someone gives us something superior.

The profits of bee hunting will depend on the ability of the man to
manipulate the bees after taking them from the tree. You must agree
with me that in cutting the tree, there is nearly always some of
the combs containing honey broken up and covered with dirt, and
this honey can never be classed as salable. Therefore, if we hunt
bees merely for what honey may be in the tree and leave the bees to
perish from starvation and cold, it were far better, from a moral
and financial point of view, to let the tree stand.



CHAPTER XI.

CUSTOMS AND OWNERSHIP OF WILD BEES.

There are customs in vogue among sportsmen that have been handed
down from generation to generation, that have almost become laws.
Indeed, we have heard it said that custom becomes law.

A hunter may wound a deer, follow it for a distance and find that
another hunter has shot and killed it. The question might arise as
to whom the deer belonged. A bee hunter may find a bee tree and
mark it and some other hunter might find it afterwards and cut it.
The same question might arise as to whom it legally belonged. If
sportsmen were to settle the disputes they would refer back to
custom and say the deer belonged to the one first wounding it,
providing the wound was of such nature that the one first wounding
it would have been pretty sure of getting it, by following on, and
they would also decide that the bee belonged to the one who first
found and marked it.

A custom that may seem to be founded on justice is pretty apt to be
followed by laws that may coincide with the custom. But we must
remember there are statute laws relating to the ownership of wild
animals and bees, and though we all band together as sportsmen, we
cannot abrogate nor set aside these laws already formed.

In my boyhood days, when I would find a bee, I was very slow to
tell any one just where it was for fear they might cut it. Was this
true sportsmanship? I think not. Some other bee hunter might hunt
for that bee a day or more and finding it would have reason to say
that I had deceived him and he could hardly be blamed if he cut it.
I have been used just this very way more than once, and felt like
retaliating by cutting a bee that was found prior by another party.
But am glad to say that I never did. Since I became more mature in
years I have had more confidence in my fellow sportsmen and now
after finding a bee tree the first time I see any one who is likely
to look for the bee, he is told its exact location, thus probably
saving him much valuable time in not looking for a bee that is
found.

As a fitting close to this work it might be well to quote the
statute laws relating to the ownership of wild bees.

"Bees while unreclaimed, are by nature wild animals. Those which
take up their abode in a tree belong to the owner of the soil, if
unreclaimed, but if reclaimed and identified, they belong to the
former owner. If a swarm leave a hive they belong to the owner as
long as they are in sight and are easily taken; otherwise they
become the property of the first occupant. Merely finding a bee on
the land of another and marking the tree does not vest the property
of the bees in the finder. _They do not become private property
until they are in a hive."_

This is a statute law. But true sportsmen do not think of going to
law for adjustment of these matters, but rather depend on that
fraternal spirit by which all questions relating to ownership are
settled amicably.



CHAPTER XII.

SOME OF OUR BENEFACTORS AND THEIR INVENTIONS.

Bee keeping as a source of revenue dates far back in ancient
history. With the advent of the movable frame hive and the
increased demand for honey all over the world as a source of food
supply, it received a new impetus and there are many bee keepers in
this and other countries who are not only making an honest living
in the pursuit, but have become wealthy as well.

Over half a century ago, Rev. L. L. Langstroth invented the movable
frame hive and became the benefactor of the bee-keeping fraternity.
Prior to this time there was no way of telling the condition of a
bee except what could be learned from an external diagnosis. If
from their actions we were led to believe the colony was diseased,
or that the bee moth was holding sway, there was no way by which we
could remedy the evil. But this invention gives us access at all
times to the brood chamber and we are able to see just what is
wrong and apply the proper remedy. Perhaps it is fair to add that
all bee keepers do not agree that the movable frame was invented by
Father Langstroth. This honor is conceded by many to belong to
Huber or Dzierzon, German bee keepers. Be this as it may, the
movable frame hive of today, used throughout America and many
foreign countries, is the product of the inventive genius of this
great benefactor of the bee-keeping fraternity.

The invention of many accessories since the death of Father
Langstroth, many years ago, would almost make us believe that there
is nothing further to be desired, that perfection has been reached.
But well we know that perfection cannot be reached on this earth,
and so we will look forward, knowing as time goes on that other
great minds will add to the store of knowledge now possessed by the
bee keeper, and bee keeping of the future will be as far in advance
of the present as the present is of the past.

With the help of appliances and the instruction given by able
writers in many magazines and bee papers anyone with a fair amount
of ability should be able to make a success at this vocation. There
are many men who, while they have proved to be benefactors to us,
have at the same time become wealthy. There are many instances of
this, but I will mention The A. I. Root Co., of Medina, O. A. I.
Root, the senior member of this firm, was an apiarist of note while
I was still a little boy. After a while he began the manufacture of
hives and appliances. He invented the pound section box, the
extractor and many other accessories that could not be dispensed
with at the present day. Many of his inventions were never
patented, thus saving that cost to those whom he wished to
befriend, and by honest dealing, selling the best of everything
needed by the apiarist at the lowest possible cost consistent
with superior workmanship, he has today, the most extensive
manufacturing establishment in America, and possibly the world. In
connection, the firm publishes, "Gleanings in Bee Culture," a
monthly magazine, devoted to the interest of bee keeping. The
ablest writers, men who have made this their life work, contribute
regularly and give us advice which, if followed will lead to
success.

Therefore, when the bee history is completed, and the names of many
who have been our benefactors are recorded, the names of L. L.
Langstroth and A. I. Root will shine with lustre.



CHAPTER XIII.

BEEKEEPING FOR PROFIT.

It is not generally known that beekeeping is quite an industry in
the United States and that this country maintains a lead over all
other lands both as to the quantity and quality of the honey it
produces. This is the case, however, and America is recognized by
other countries as the honey-land par excellence, where beekeepers
turn out honey by the carload and this is so, for California, in
one lone year, produced 800 carloads, and of this 500 were shipped
out of the state. Texas is also a heavy producer and year in and
year out will actually outrank California.

Although produced in such vast quantities it must not be inferred
that quality is neglected; on the contrary we cannot be excelled
when merit is considered. Our apiarists are scientific to a very
high degree and possibly no branch of American farming has been
worked up to so great a pitch of excellence, only dairying and
horsebreeding can be compared with it, but American apiculturists
lead the world, whereas, our horsemen or dairymen do not.

This proud position is owing to the splendid discoveries and
inventions of the Rev. L. L. Langstroth of Oxford, Ohio, who has
been dead for some years, but whose spirit still lives. Previous to
his time beekeeping was only an amusement or pastime, or more
accurately speaking, a hobby.

Now, the industry is founded on a sound scientific basis and bids
fair to grow at a lively rate in the years that are to come. At
present, the amount of money invested in bees and bee appliances is
not less than one hundred million dollars. The annual income from
this source cannot be much less than $20,000,000, and in a good
year all over the country, it would approximate $50,000,000 though
it is very seldom that there is a good season for bees all over
this vast country. Beekeeping is a branch of agriculture and like
other pursuits belonging to that science there are fat years and
lean years. It is not an uncommon event for a beekeeper to clean up
a sum of money for his crop which will more than equal the value of
his bees and all the appliances he uses. Other years may be total
failures, but year in and year out no industry pays larger returns
on the labor and money expended. The wise beekeeper is not deterred
by a bad season but simply bides his chance. He knows that in
course of time the bees will make good all losses and give in
addition a handsome profit to the owner for his kind attention and
thoughtful consideration.

There are still many opportunities for bee-keepers in this country.
This is particularly true of West Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky,
where the conditions for beekeeping are almost ideal and where, as
a usual thing, the market for honey is good. All through the South
there are openings for beekeepers and it will be a long time yet
before all openings are filled. Southwest Texas is a sort of
beekeeper's paradise and only a part of it has been occupied as
yet. Arkansas is a particularly good state for bees, but it has
only been partially developed by up-to-date beekeepers. Parts of
Pennsylvania are open to good beekeepers and so are portions of
Michigan, one of the leading states of the Union. Ontario and
Quebec are excellent for bees--none better. Nearly all the western
states are good for bees and some of them rank high as honey
producers. This is true of Colorado and Utah. Idaho, Montana,
Nevada, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Washington and Oregon offer
excellent openings for first-class beekeepers. In the West,
beekeepers, usually select an irrigated region where alfalfa and
sweet clover are common, so that during the long dry summers the
bees are kept busy storing honey of a very high quality.

Successful beekeepers are found in every state, and it would be
hazardous for anyone to say just what state is best for bees. Ohio,
Indiana and Illinois produce large quantities of fine honey, but
this is nearly all consumed within their own borders at fair prices
so that beekeepers do fairly well.

What hinders beekeeping more than any other fault is the neglect of
the beekeepers in not providing adequate shelter for the bees
during cold weather, and also from the heat of summer. In the
Northern and Central states good protection must be provided
against zero weather. Our bees originally came from the tropics,
and for that reason they require ample protection. The ordinary
hives must have an outer case placed around them and then leaves,
straw or sawdust well packed around them. Fixed in this way they
will withstand the rigors of an arctic winter. Lack of adequate
winter protection is the weakest point in American bee culture, and
yet is easily provided. This accounts for the saying of many who
have tried it, "Beekeeping doesn't pay." Perhaps at no time is
protection more necessary than in early spring when the hives are
full of young and tender brood. The hives may also be covered with
layers of thick paper or asbestos board. A small hole will allow
all of the fresh air necessary for bees in a state of sleep. These
points are first mentioned because neglect of them accounts for
most of the failures we often hear of.

No success can be anticipated unless one uses the best hives made
on the Langstroth principle. We have no space here in which to give
a complete account of the hives now made on that plan. The better
way would be for anyone interested to write for a sample of
"Gleanings in Bee Culture" Medina, Ohio, or to American Bee
Journal, Hamilton, Illinois, so as to get in touch with the
publishers, who issue books adapted to the wants of beginners.
These magazines also issue supply catalogues and in other ways are
quite helpful. Splendid books can be purchased at a low price
giving complete information with regard to the bee industry. Many
persons have learned the whole art of beekeeping by a careful study
of a good book on bee culture supplemented of course by
observation.

Nothing very important, however, can be learned about bees unless
one possesses a colony of bees in a movable comb hive. In fact it
is useless to attempt to obtain a knowledge of bees without a hive
to work with. I, therefore, earnestly recommend any beginner to
obtain a colony at the earliest opportunity. Very often an ordinary
box hive can be secured for a "song." This will do to begin with.
Next send for two complete standard Langstroth hives, a smoker, a
veil and a bee book; also a swarm-catcher.

If the box hive is of a medium size it will probably east two
swarms in spring about fruit-bloom time or a little later. When the
swarms emerge they may be quickly taken down by means of the
swarm-catcher, if they happen to lodge in a branch of a tree, as
they usually do. If the hives are in readiness it is no great feat
to safely place the swarms in their new homes and all will go well.
The parent colony may be disposed of in a week or ten days (not
later) after the second swarm issues, by drumming the bees out of
the box into the hive which holds the second swarm. This is done by
giving them smoke from the smoker and then battering on the hive
with a stick, which so alarms the inmates that they rush over the
side of the upturned hive into the new one. What is left is simply
a lot of dirty combs fit only for the melting pot. This is
probably, the neatest, cleanest and cheapest method of making a
start in beekeeping. It is well within the ability of most men and
the cost is comparatively small. If the bees are native blacks,
later on they may be changed to Italians simply by purchasing young
pure bred queens for about a dollar each. The old queens are killed
and new ones introduced in a cage till the bees make her
acquaintance, when she is automatically released. In two months'
time very few of the original bees will be found, all having died
from hard work and old age, and their places taken by rich golden
yellow Italian bees. It may be well to add this caution, "Do not
experiment with any other race of bees."





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