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´╗┐Title: A Manual or an Easy Method of Managing Bees
Author: Weeks, John M. (John Moseley), 1788-1858
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Manual or an Easy Method of Managing Bees" ***




Of Salisbury, Vt.




Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1836.
By John M. Weeks,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Vermont.


It appears to the writer of the following pages, that a work of this
description is much needed in our country.

The cultivation of the bee (Apis Mellifica) has been too long neglected in
most parts of the United States.

This general neglect has unquestionably originated from the fact, that the
European enemy to the bees, called the moth, has found its way into this
country, and has located and naturalized itself here; and has made so much
havoc among the bees, that many districts have entirely abandoned their
cultivation. Many Apiarians, and men of the highest literary attainments,
as well as experience, have nearly exhausted their patience, in examining
the peculiar nature and habits of this insect; and have tried various
experiments to devise some means of preventing its depredations. But,
after all that has been done, the spoiler moves onward with little
molestation, and very few of our citizens are willing to engage in the
enterprize of cultivating this most useful and profitable of all insects,
the honey-bee.

The following work is comprised in a set of plain, concise rules, by
which, if strictly adhered to and practised, any person, properly
situated, may cultivate bees, and avail himself of all the benefits of
their labors.

If the Apiarian manages strictly in accordance with the following rules,
the author feels confident that no colony will ever materially suffer by
the moth, or will ever be destroyed by them.

The author is aware of the numerous treatises published on this subject;
but they appear to him, for the most part, to be the result not so much of
experience as of vague and conjectural speculation, and not sufficiently
embodying what is practical and useful.

This work is intended as an accompaniment to the Vermont hive, and will be
found to be the result of observation and experience, and it is thought
comprises all that is necessary to make a skilful Apiarian.

                                                             THE AUTHOR.



   Rule I.  On the construction of the hive,                     5

  Rule II.  On swarming and hiving,                             11

 Rule III.  On ventilating,                                     23

  Rule IV.  On preventing robberies,                            24

   Rule V.  On equalizing colonies, by doubling, trebling, &c,  26

  Rule VI.  On removing honey,                                  30

 Rule VII.  The method of compelling swarms to make extra
            Queens, and keep them for the use of their owner,   33

Rule VIII.  On supplying swarms with Queens, when necessary,    38

  Rule IX.  On multiplying colonies to any desirable extent,
            without swarming,                                   42

   Rule X.  On preventing the depredations of the moth,         43

  Rule XI.  On feeding,                                         56

 Rule XII.  On wintering,                                       60

Rule XIII.  On transferring bees from one hive to another,      60

      XIV.  General Observations,                               65




A bee-hive should be made of sound boards, free from shakes and cracks; it
should also be planed smooth, inside and out, made in a workmanlike
manner, and painted on its outside.


That a bee-hive should be made perfect, so as to exclude light and air, is
obvious from the fact, that the bees will finish what the workman has
neglected, by plastering up all such cracks and crevices, or bad joints,
as are left open by the joiner. The substance they use for this purpose is
neither honey nor wax, but a kind of glue or cement of their own
manufacturing, and is used by the bees to fill up all imperfect joints and
exclude all light and air. This cement or glue is very congenial to the
growth of the moth in the first stages of its existence.

The moth miller enters the hive, generally, in the night--makes an
incision into the glue or cement with her sting, and leaves her eggs
deposited in the glue, where it remains secure from the bees; it being
guarded by the timber on its sides. Thus, while a maggot, (larva) the moth
uses the cement for food until it arrives so far towards a state of
maturity as to be able to spin a web, which is more fully explained in
remarks on Rule 10.

The size of a hive should be in accordance with the strictest rules of
economy, and adapted to the peculiar nature and economy of the honey-bee,
in order to make them profitable to their owner.

The lower apartment of the hive, where they store their food, raise their
young bees, and perform their ordinary labors, should hold as much as a
box thirteen inches and one half or fourteen inches square in the clear.

If the hive is much larger than the one described above, with the chamber
in proportion, which should hold about two-thirds as much as the lower
apartment, the bees will not be likely to swarm during the season.

Bees in large hives never swarm; and those in hives much less than the one
already described, do but little else than raise young bees and lay up a
sufficient quantity of food to supply them through the coming winter, and
are more liable to be robbed.

All hives of bees that swarm are liable to swarm too much, and reduce
their colonies so low in numbers as to materially injure them, and is
frequently the cause of their destruction by the moth, which is more
particularly explained in remarks on Rule 2.

The changer of the hive should be made perfectly tight, so as to exclude
all light from the drawers.

Drawers should be small like No. 2, for all purposes except such as are
used for multiplying colonies and transferring, which should always be
large like No. 1.

Hives should have elects on their sides, so as to suspend them in the air
some distance from the floor of the apiary, the better to secure the bees
from destruction by mice, reptiles, and other vermin.

The back side or rear of the lower apartment of the hive should slant
forward, so as to render the same smallest at the bottom, the better to
secure the combs from falling when cracked by frost or nearly melted in
hot weather.

No timbers or boards should be placed very near the lower edge of the
hive, because it facilitates the entrance of depredators. That the back
side should slant forward, is obvious from the fact, that bees generally
rest one edge of their combs on that side, and build towards the front in
such a manner as to enter upon the same sheet where they intend to deposit
their stores, when they first enter the hive, without being compelled to
take any unnecessary steps.

The bottom of the hive should slant downward from rear to front, so as to
afford the greatest facility to the bees to clear their tenement of all
offensive substances, and let the water, which is occasioned by the breath
and vapor of the bees, run off in cold water. It also aids the bees very
much in preventing the entrance of robbers.

The bottom board should be suspended by staples and hooks near each corner
of the hive, in such a manner as to afford a free entrance and egress to
the bees on all its sides, which will better enable them to keep their
tenement clear of the moths.

There should be a button attached to the lower edge of the rear of the
hive, so as to enable the apiarian to govern the bottom board in such a
manner as to give all the air they need, or close the hive at pleasure.

The hive should have two sticks placed at equal distances, extending from
front to rear, resting on the rear, with a screw driven through the front
into the end of the stick, which holds it fast in its place, and a
ventilator hear the top of the lower apartment of the hive, to let off the
vapor which frequently causes the death of the bees in the winter by

The door to the chamber should be made to fit in the rabitings of the same
against the jambs, in such a manner as to exclude the light from the
windows of the drawers, and also to prevent the entrance of the little
ants. It should also be hung by butts, or fastened by a bar, running
vertically across the centre of the door, and confined by staples at each
end. There should be three sheet-iron slides, one of which should be
nearly as wide as the chamber, and one or two inches longer than the
length of the chamber. The other two should be the same length of the
first, and half its width only.

All hives and all their appendages should be made exactly of a size and
shape in the same apiary. The trouble of equalizing colonies is far less
than it is to accommodate hives to swarms. Much perplexity and sometimes
serious difficulties occur, where the apiarian uses different sized hives
and drawers. But this part of the subject will be more fully discussed
under its proper rule.



The apiarian, or bee-owner, should have his hives in readiness, and in
their places in the apiary, with the drawers in their chambers bottom up,
so as to prevent entrance.

When a swarm comes forth and has alighted, cut off the limb if
convenient--shake it gently, so as to disengage the bees, and let them
fall gently on to the table, board, or ground, (as the case may be,) place
the hive over them before many rise into the air, taking care at the same
time to lay one or more sticks in such a manner as to raise the hive so as
to give the bees rapid ingress and egress. If the bees act reluctantly in
taking possession of their new habitation, disturb them by brushing them
with a goose-quill or some other instrument, not harsh, and they will soon
enter. In case it is found necessary to invert the hive to receive the
bees, (which is frequent, from the manner of their alighting,) then, first
secure the drawers down to the floor by inserting a handkerchief or
something above them; now invert the hive and shake or brush the bees into
it; now turn it gently right end up on the table, or other place,
observing the rule aforesaid.


Bees swarm from nine o'clock in the morning to three o'clock in the
afternoon on a fair day, differing in the season according to the climate.
In Vermont they generally swarm from the middle of May to the fifteenth of
July; in late seasons some later. I have known them to swarm as early as
seven in the morning and as late as four in the afternoon. I have also
known them to come forth when it rained so hard as nearly to defeat them
by beating down many to the ground which were probably lost from their
colony; and I once had a swarm come forth on the sixteenth day of August.

Experience and observation have taught that the Queen leaves the old stock
first, and her colony rapidly follow. They fly about a few minutes,
apparently in the greatest confusion, until the swarm is principally out
of the hive. They then alight, generally on the limb of some tree, shrub,
or bush, or some other place convenient for them to cluster in a bunch not
far from the old stock, and make their arrangements for a journey to a new
habitation. Perhaps not one swarm in a thousand knows where they are going
until after they have left the old stock, alighted, and formed into a
compact body or cluster; and not then until they have sent off an embassy
to search out a place for their future residence. Now if the bees are
hived immediately after they have alighted, before they send off their
embassy to seek a new tenement, they will never fly away, admitting they
have sufficient room, (for it is want of room that makes them swarm in the
first place,) and their hive is clear of every thing that is offensive to

The old custom of washing hives with salt and water and other substances,
to give them a pleasant effluvia, should be speedily abolished. Nothing
but bees should ever be put into a hive.

When bees die, the hive should be cleared of its contents, and scraped out
clean, and the chamber rubbed with cloth wet in clean water; then set it
in its place in the apiary, and there let it stand until wanted for use.
An old hive, thus prepared, is as good as a new one for the reception of a
swarm. The apiarian should examine before using to see that the hive is
free from spiders and cobwebs.

When bees are not hived immediately after they have clustered in a body,
they should be removed to the apiary, or several rods from the place where
they alighted, as soon as they can be hived, to prevent their being found
on the return of the embassy. Since I have thus practised, I have never
lost a swarm by flight.

Experience has taught that it is best to remove the new swarm to the place
where it is intended to stand during the season, immediately after hiving.
Fewer bees are lost by a speedy removal, than when permitted to stand
until evening, because they are creatures of habit, and are every moment
establishing themselves in their location. It also prevents their being
found by the embassy when they return. The longer bees stand in the place
where they are hived, the greater will be the number lost when removed.
But more of this hereafter.

When bees are collected in drawers for the purpose of equalizing colonies,
by doubling, &c., they should be permitted to stand until evening before
they are united, it being a more favorable time for them to become
acquainted with each other by degrees; and the scent of the bees in the
lower apartment will enter through the apertures during the night so much
that there is a greater degree of sameness in the peculiar smell of the
two colonies, which takes off their animosity, if they chance to have

No confusion or noise which is uncommon to the bees should ever be made
during their swarming or hiving. The only effect of noise, ringing of
bells, &tc., that I could ever discover, was, to render them more hostile
and unmanageable.

When bees are treated in accordance with their true nature, they are
sometimes hostile, which originates from two causes: First, some of them
lie out of the hive before swarming and some of them, in consequence of
their confusion in swarming, are not apprised of the intention of the
Queen to leave the old stock and seek a new habitations and they sally
forth with the swarm without filling their sacks with stores, which always
makes them more irritable than when their stomachs are rilled with food.

The Vermont hive possesses advantages in this respect, as well as others,
far superior to the old box. Instead of lying out before swarming, as in
the old box, they go up into the drawers, and are constantly employed in
depositing the delicious fruits of their labors; and being in the hive,
where they can hear and observe all the movements of the Queen, they go
forth well stored with provisions suited to the peculiar exigency of the
case; which ordinarily prevents all feelings of hostility.

The second reason why bees are sometimes irritable, and are disposed to
sting when they swarm, is, the air is forbidding to them, by being cold or
otherwise, so as to impede them in their determined emigration. In all
such cases, the apiarian should be furnished with a veil, made of
millinet, or some light covering which may be worn over his hat, and let
down so low as to cover his face and bosom, and fixed in such a manner as
to prevent their stinging. He should also put on a pair of thick woolen
gloves or stockings over his hands, thus managing them without the least

A clean hive is all that is needed for a swarm of bees, with careful and
humane treatment.

A cluster of bees should never be shook or jarred any more than merely to
disengage them from the limb or place where they are collected, nor should
they fall any great distance, because their sacks are full when they
swarm, which renders them both clumsy and harmless, and harsh treatment
makes them irritable and unmanageable.

I know of no rule by which the exact day of their first swarming can be
known with certainty. The apiarian will estimate near the time by the
number of bees in and about the hive, as it will become very much

The day of second swarming, and all after that during the same season, may
be most certainly predicted as follows: Listen near the entrance of the
hive in the evening. If a swarm is coming forth the next day, the Queen
will be heard giving an alarm at short intervals. The same alarm may be
heard the next morning. The observer will generally hear two Queens at a
time in the same hive, the one much louder than the other. The one making
the least noise is yet in her cell, and in her minority. The sound emitted
by the Queens is peculiar, differing materially from that of any other
bee. It consists of a number of monotonous notes in rapid succession,
similar to those emitted by the mud-wasp when working her mortar and
joining it to her cells, to raise miss-wasps. If, after all, the weather
is unfavorable to their swarming two or three days while in this peculiar
stage, they will not be likely to swarm again the same season.

Two reasons, and two only, can be assigned why bees ever swarm. The first
is, want of room, and the second, to avoid the battle of the Queens. It is
indeed true that there are exceptions. Perhaps one in a hundred swarms may
come forth before their hive is filled with comb; but from nearly forty
years experience in their cultivation, I never saw an instance of it,
where the hive was not full of bees at their first swarming. When bees go
from the old stock to the tree without alighting, it is when they lie out
of the hive before swarming, and the embassy are sent forth before the
swarm leaves the old stock. When the first swarm comes forth, eggs, young
brood, or both, are left in the combs, but no Queen; for the old Queen
always goes forth with the swarm, and leaves the old stock entirely
destitute. Not a single Queen, in any stage of minority, is left in the
hive. The bees very soon find themselves destitute of the means of
propagating their species, (for the Queen is the only female in the hive,)
and immediately set themselves to work in constructing several royal
cells, (probably to be more sure of success,) take a grub (larva) from the
cell of a common worker, place it in the new-made royal cell, feed it on
royal jelly, and in a few days they a Queen. Now as the eggs are laid in
about three litters per week, the bees, to be still more sure of
succeeding in their enterprize, take maggots, differing in age, so that if
more than one Queen is hatched, one will be older than the others. This
fact accounts for hearing more than one Queen at the same time, because
one comes out a perfect fly, while the other is a nymph, or little
younger, and has not yet made her escape from the cell where she was
raised; and yet both answer the alarm of the other, the youngest more
feebly than the elder.

Bees will never swarm but once the same season unless they make more than
one Queen, immediately after the departure of the first swarm; and not
then, if the bees permit the oldest Queen to come in contact with the cell
where the young ones are growing. Queens entertain the most deadly
animosity towards each other, and will commence an attack upon each other
the first moment opportunity offers. The old Queen will even tear all the
cradles or cells to pieces where young ones are growing, and destroy all
the chrysalis Queens in the hive.

If the weather becomes unfavorable to swarming, the next day after the
alarm of the Queen is heard, and continues so for several days, the oldest
Queen may come in contact with the others, or gain access to their cells;
in either case the life of one of them is destroyed by the other, and the
colony will not be likely to send forth another swarm the same season. If
the old Queen succeeds in taking the life of the younger, or _vice versa_,
the remaining nymphs will be likely to share the same fate of their
martyred sisters, by the hand of the reigning Queen, who considers all
others in the same hive as her competitors.

Second swarms would be as large and numerous as any others, if it was not
the fact that they come forth to avoid the battle of the Queens. Bees are
very tenacious to preserve the lives of their sovereigns, particularly
those of their own raising; and when they find they have more than one in
the hive, they will guard each so strong as to prevent, if possible, their
coming within reach of each other. They being thus strongly guarded to
prevent the fight, is unquestionably the cause of their giving the alarm,
as described in the foregoing article. The knowledge of the existence of
another Queen in the same hive inspires them with the greatest uneasiness
and rage; and when the oldest one finds herself defeated in gaining access
to her competitor, she sallies forth with as many as see fit to follow
her, and seeks a new habitation.

Bees will not swarm but once in a season, if the second one does not come
forth within seventeen days from the departure of the first, unless they
swarm for want of room, in which case no Queen will be heard before

The drawers should be turned over, so as to let the bees into them as soon
as they have built their combs nearly to the bottom of the hive. If the
swarm is so large that the lower apartment will not hold all of them, they
should be let into one or both of the drawers, at the time of hiving;
otherwise they may go off for want of room. Bees should be let into the
drawers in the spring as soon as blossoms are seen.



Graduate the bottom board and ventilator at pleasure, by means of the
button or otherwise, so as to give them more or less air, as the
circumstances may require.


Bees require more air in order to enable them to endure the heat of summer
and the severity of winter, than at any other time. If they are kept out
in the cold, they need as much air in the winter as in the heat of summer.
It is in a mild temperature only, that it is safe to keep them from the
pure air. If placed below frost in a dry sand-bank, they seem to need
scarcely more than is contained in their hive at the time they are buried,
during the whole winter. If kept in a clean, dry cellar, the mouth so
contracted as to keep out mice, gives them enough. But if they are kept in
the apiary, there should be a slow current of air constantly pressing in
at the bottom and off at the top thro' the ventilator.



At the moment it is observed, that robbers are within, or about the hive,
raise the bottom board so near the edge of the hive as to prevent the
ingress or egress of the bees, and stop the mouth or common entrance and
ventilator. At the same time take care that a small space on all sides of
the hive be left open, so as to afford them all the air they need. Open
the mouth only at evening, and close early in the morning, before the
robbers renew their attack.


Bees have a peculiar propensity to rob each other, and every precaution
necessary to prevent it, should be exercised by the cultivator. Families
in the same apiary are more likely to engage in this unlawful enterprize
than any others, probably because they are located so near each other, and
are more likely to learn their comparative strength. I never could
discover any intimacy between colonies of the same apiary, except when
they stood on the same bench; and then, all the social intercourse seems
to subsist between the nearest neighbors only.

Bees are not likely to engage in warfare and rob each other, except in the
spring and fall, and at other times in the season, when food is not easily
obtained from blossoms.

Bees do not often engage in robbery in the spring, unless it is in such
hives as have had their combs broken by frost or otherwise, so as to cause
the honey to drip down upon the bottom board. Much care should be
exercised by the apiarian to see that all such hives are properly
ventilated, and at the same time closed in such a manner as to prevent the
entrance of robbers in the day-time, until they have mended the breach, so
as to stop the honey from running.

Clear water should be given them every day, so long as they are kept in

I have known many good stocks to be lost in the spring, by being robbed;
and all for want of care. Bees rob each other when they can find but
little else to do; they will rob at any time when frost has destroyed the
flowers, or the weather is so cold as to prevent their collecting honey
from them. Cold, chilly weather prevents the flowers from yielding honey
without frost, as was the case in the summer of 1835, in many places.

Bees need but little air at any time when they rob, and yet more is
necessary for them when confined by compulsory means, than otherwise. When
deprived of their liberty, they soon become restless, and use their best
efforts to make their way out of the hive--hence the importance of leaving
a small space all around the bottom, to admit air and to prevent their
melting down.



Hive one swarm in the lower apartment of the hive; collect another swarm
in a drawer, and insert the same in the chamber of the hive containing the
first. Then, if the swarms are small, collect another small swarm in
another drawer, and insert the same in the chamber of the hive containing
the first, by the side of the second. In case all the bees from either of
the drawers, amalgamate and go below with the first swarm, and leave the
drawer empty, then it may be removed, and another small swarm added in the
same manner.


It is of prime importance to every bee cultivator, that all his colonies
be made as nearly equal in numbers and strength, as possible. Every
experienced bee-master must be aware that small swarms are of but little
profit to their owner. Generally, in a few days after they are hived, they
are gone;--no one can trace their steps: some suppose they have fled to
the woods--others, that they were robbed: but after all, no one is able to
give any satisfactory account of them. Some pieces of comb only are left,
and perhaps myriads of worms and millers finish off the whole. Then the
moth is supposed to be their destroyer, but the true history of the case
is generally this: The bees become discouraged, or disheartened, for want
of numbers to constitute their colony, abandon their tenement, and join
with their nearest neighbors, leaving their combs to the merciless
depredations of the moth. They are sometimes robbed by their adjoining
hives, and then the moths finish or destroy what is left.

Second swarms are generally about half as large as the first, and third
swarms half as large as second ones.

Now if second swarms are doubled, so as to make them equal in number with
the first, the owner avails himself of the advantage of a strong colony,
which will not be likely to become disheartened for want of numbers, nor
overcome by robbers from stronger colonies.

It is far less trouble, and less expense, for the bee-owner lo equalize
his colonies, than to prepare hives and drawers of different sizes to fit

When colonies and hives are made as near alike as possible, many evils are
avoided, and many advantages realized: every hive will fit a place in the
apiary--every drawer a hive, and every bottom board and slide may in any
case be used without mistakes.

Swarms may be doubled at any time before they become so located as to
resume their former hostility, which will not be discovered in less than
three or four days. Bees are provided with a reservoir, or sack, to carry
their provision in; and when they swarm, they go loaded with provision
suited to their emergency, which takes off all their hostility towards
each other; and until these sacks are emptied, they are not easily vexed,
and as they are compelled to build combs before they can empty them, their
contents are retained several days. I have doubled, at a fortnight's
interval in swarming, with entire success. The operation should be
performed within two or three days--at the farthest four days. The sooner
it is done, the less hazardous is the experiment.

As a general rule, second swarms only should be doubled. Third and fourth
swarms should always have their Queen taken from them, and the bees
returned to the parent stock, according to Rule 10.



Insert a slide under the drawer, so far as to cut off all communication
between the lower apartment and the drawer. Insert another slide between
the first slide and the drawer. Now draw out the box containing the honey,
with the slide that is next to it. Set the drawer on its window end, a
little distance from the apiary, and remove the slide. Now supply the
place of the drawer, thus removed, with an empty one, and draw the first
inserted slide.


Care must be exercised in performing this operation. The apertures through
the floor into the chamber must be kept closed by the slides during the
process, so as to keep the bees from rushing up into the chamber when the
box is drawn out. The operator must likewise see that the entrances into
the drawer are kept covered with the slide, in such a manner as to prevent
the escape of any of the bees, unless he is willing to be stung by them.

If the bees are permitted to enter the chamber in very warm weather, they
will be likely to hold the occupancy of it, and build comb there, which
will change the hive into one no better than an old-fashioned box.

I have succeeded best in removing honey by the following method, to
wit:--Shut the window-blinds so as to darken one of the rooms in the
dwelling-house--raise up one casement of a window--then carry the drawer
and place the same on a table, or stand, by the window, on its light or
glass end, with the apertures towards the light. Now remove the slide, and
step immediately back into the dark part of the room. The bees will soon
learn their true condition, and will gradually leave the drawer, and
return home to the parent stock; thus leaving the drawer and its contents
for their owner; not however until they have sucked every drop of running
honey, if there should chance to be any, which is not often the case, if
their work is finished.

There are two cases in which the bees manifest some reluctance in leaving
the drawer. The first is, when the combs are in an unfinished state--some
of the cells not sealed over. The bees manifest a great desire to remain
there, probably to make their stores more secure from robbers, by affixing
caps to the uncovered cells, to prevent the effluvia of running honey,
which is always the greatest temptation to robbers.

Bees manifest the greatest reluctance in leaving the drawer, when young
brood are removed in it, which never occurs, except in such drawers as
have been used for feeding in the winter or early in the spring. When the
Queen has deposited eggs in all the empty cells below, she sometimes
enters the drawers; and if empty cells are found, she deposits eggs there
also. In either case, it is better to return the drawer, which will be
made perfect by them in a few days.

Special care is necessary in storing drawers of honey, when removed from
the care and protection of the bees, in order to preserve the honey from
insects, which are great lovers of it, particularly the ant. A chest, made
perfectly tight, is a good store-house.

If the honey in the drawers is to be preserved for winter use, it should
be kept in a room so warm as not to freeze. Frost cracks the combs, and
the honey will drip as soon as warm weather commences. Drawers should be
packed with their apertures up, for keeping or carrying to market. All
apiarians who would make the most profit from their bees, should remove
the honey as soon as the drawers are rilled, and supply their places with
empty ones. The bees will commence their labors in an empty box that has
been filled, sooner than any others.



Take a drawer containing bees and brood comb, and place the same in the
chamber of an empty hive; taking care to stop the entrance of the hive,
and give them clean water, daily, three or four days. Then unstop the
mouth of the hive, and give them liberty. The operator must observe Rule 6
in using the slides.


The prosperity of every colony depends entirely on the condition of the
Queen, when the season is favorable to them.

Every bee-master should understand their nature in this respect, so as to
enable him to be in readiness to supply them with another Queen when they
chance to become destitute.

The discovery of the fact, that bees have power to change the nature of
the grub (larva) of a worker to that of a Queen, is attributed to Bonner.
But neither Bonner nor the indefatigable Huber, nor any other writer, to
my knowledge, has gone so far in the illustration of this discovery as to
render it practicable and easy for common people to avail themselves of
its benefits.

The Vermont hive is the only one, to my knowledge, in which bees can be
compelled to make and keep extra Queens for the use of their owner,
without extreme difficulty, as well as danger, by stings, in attempting
the experiment.

The idea of raising her royal highness, and elevating and establishing her
upon the throne of a colony, may, by some, be deemed altogether visionary
and futile; but I will assure the reader, that it is easier done than can
be described. I have both raised them, and supplied destitute swarms

When the drawer containing bees and brood comb is removed, the bees soon
find themselves destitute of a female, and immediately set themselves to
work in constructing one or more royal cells. When completed, which is
commonly within forty-eight hours, they remove a grub (larva) from the
worker's cell, place the same in the new-made Queen's cell, feed it on
that kind of food which is designed only for Queens, and in from eight to
sixteen days they have a perfect Queen.

As soon as the bees have safely deposited the grub in the new-made royal
cell, the bees may have their liberty. Their attachment to their young
brood, and their fidelity to their Queen, in any stage of its minority, is
such, that they will never leave nor forsake them, and will continue all
their ordinary labors, with as much regularity as if they had a perfect

In making Queens in small boxes or drawers, the owner will not be troubled
by their swarming the same season they are made. There are so few bees in
the drawer, they are unable to guard the nymph Queens, if there are any,
from being destroyed by the oldest, or the one which escapes from her cell

In examining the drawer, in which I raised an extra Queen, I found not
only the Queen, but two royal cells, one of which was in perfect shape;
the other was mutilated, probably by the Queen which came out first. Now
when there are so few bees to guard the nymphs, it would not be very
difficult for the oldest Queen to gain access to the cells, and destroy
all the minor Queens in the drawer.

When a drawer is removed to an empty hive, for the purpose of obtaining an
extra Queen, it should be placed some distance from the apiary, the better
to prevent its being robbed by other swarms. When it is some distance from
other colonies, they are not so likely to learn its comparative strength.
There is but little danger however, of its being robbed, until after the
bees are out of danger of losing their Queen, which generally occurs in
the swarming season.

The Queen is sometimes lost, in consequence of the young brood being too
far advanced at the time of the departure of the old Queen with her swarm.
If the grubs had advanced very near the dormant or chrysalis state, before
the bees learnt their necessity for a Queen, and the old Queen neglected
to leave eggs, which is sometimes the case, then it would be impossible
for the bees to change their nature, and the colony would be lost, unless
supplied with another.



Take the drawer from the hive, which was placed there according to Rule 7,
and insert the same into the chamber of the hive to be supplied; observing
Rule 6 in the use of the slides.


Colonies destitute of a Queen may be supplied with another the moment it
is found they have none; which is known only by their actions.

Bees, when deprived of their female sovereign, cease their labors; no
pollen or beebread is seen on their legs; no ambition seems to actuate
their movements; no dead bees are drawn out; no deformed bees, in the
various stages of their minority, are extracted, and dragged out of their
cells, and dropped down about the hive, as is usual among all healthy and
prosperous colonies.

Colonies that have lost their Queen, when standing on the bench by the
side of other swarms, will run into the adjoining hive without the least
resistance. They will commence their emigration by running in confused
platoons of hundreds, from their habitation to the next adjoining hive.
They immediately wheel about and run home again, and thus continue,
sometimes for several days, in the greatest confusion, constantly
replenishing their neighbor's hive, by enlarging her colony, and, at the
same time, reducing their own, until there is not a single occupant left;
and remarkable as it is, they leave every particle of their stores for
their owner or the depredations of the moth.

Colonies lose their Queens more frequently during the swarming season than
any other.

In the summer of 1830, I lost three good stocks of bees in consequence of
their losing their Queens, one of which was lost soon after the first
swarming--the two others not many days after the second swarming--all of
which manifested similar actions, and ended in the same results, which
will be more particularly explained in remarks on Rule 10.

The Queen is sometimes lost, when she goes forth with a swarm, in
consequence of being too feeble to fly with her young colony; in which
case the bees return to their parent stock in a few minutes. In fact all
occurrences of this kind originate in the inability of the Queen. If she
returns to the old stock, the swarm will come out again the next day, if
the weather is favorable. If the Queen is too feeble to return, and the
apiarian neglects to look her up, and restore her to her colony again,
(which he ought to do,) the bees will not swarm again until they have made
another, or are supplied, which may be done immediately by giving them any
spare Queen, I have done it with entire success, and never failed in the

The Queen, when lost in swarming, is easily found, unless the wind is so
strong as to have blown her a considerable distance. A few bees are always
found with her, which probably serve as her aids, and greatly assist the
apiarian in spying her out. She is frequently found near the ground, on a
spire of grass, the fence, or any place most convenient for her to alight,
when her strength fails her. I once had quite a search for her majesty,
without much apparent success. At the same time there were flying about me
a dozen or more common workers. At last her royal highness was discovered,
concealed from my observation in a fold of my shirt sleeve. I then
returned her to her colony, which had already found their way home to the
parent stock.

The Queen may be taken in the hand without danger, for she never stings by
design, except when conflicting with another Queen; and yet she has a
stinger at least one third longer, but more feeble than a worker.

The Queen is known by her peculiar shape, size, and movements. She differs
but little in color from a worker, and has the same number of legs and
wings. She is much larger than any of the bees. Her abdomen is very large
and perfectly round, and is shaped more like the sugar-loaf, which makes
her known to the observer the moment she is seen. Her wings and proboscis
are short. Her movements are stately and majestic. She is much less in
size after the season for breeding is over. She is easily selected from
among a swarm, at any season of the year, by any one who has often seen



This large drawer, No. 1, should always be used for this purpose. Insert
slides, as in Rule 6, and remove the drawer containing bees and
brood-comb; place the same in the chamber of an empty hive; stop the
entrances of both the new and old hives, taking care to give them air, as
in Rule 4. Give clean water daily, three or four days. Now let the bees,
in both hives, have their liberty.


This operation is both practicable and easy, and is of prime importance to
all cultivators, who wish to avoid the necessity of hiving them when they
swarm; and yet it will not prevent swarming, except in that part of the
divided colony which contains the Queen at the time of their separation.
The other part being compelled to make another Queen, (and they generally
make two or more) will be likely to swarm to avoid their battle, as
explained in remarks on Rule 2. The hive containing the old Queen may
swarm for want of room; but, at any rate, in performing the operation, it
has saved the trouble of hiving one swarm, and prevented all danger of
their flight to the woods.

Multiplying colonies by this rule is a perfectly safe method of managing
them, admitting they are not allowed to swarm themselves so low as to
leave unoccupied combs, which will be explained in remarks on Rule 10.



All such stocks as are infested with the moth, will manifest it as soon as
warm weather commences in the spring, by dropping some of the worms upon
the bottom board. Let the apiarian clean off the bottom board every other
morning; at the same time strew on a spoonful or two of fresh, pulverized

Immediately after a second swarm has come forth from a hive, the same
season, the old stock should be examined; and if swarming has reduced
their numbers so low as to leave unoccupied combs, the apiarian should
take the Queen from the swarm, and let them return to the old stock. In
case they remain in a cluster, hive them in a drawer, and return them

Third and fourth swarms should always have their Queens taken from them
and the bees returned to the parent stock.


"This insect (the moth) is a native of Europe; but has found its way into
this country, and naturalized itself here."--THATCHER.

This unwelcome visitor has interested the attention and called forth all
the energies of the most experienced apiarians of our country, and of many
of the greatest naturalists in the world. Their movements have been
observed and scrutinized by the most learned--their nature has been
studied; various experiments have been tried to prevent their
depredations; but after all, the monster in gaudy hue marches onward,
committing the greatest havoc and devastation, with but little
molestation. I have lost my whole stock at least four times since 1808, as
I supposed by the moth. I tried all the experiments recommended in this
and other countries, that came to my knowledge; but after all, I could not
prevent their ravages.

In 1830, I constructed a hive (which has since been patented) which I
supposed would afford all the facilities for managing bees in every manner
that their nature would admit of, and at the same time render their
cultivation most profitable to their owner. By constructing windows of
glass, on every side of the hive, nearly the size of its sides, and
darkening them by closing doors on the outside of the windows, which may
be opened at pleasure, I have been able to discover many important facts,
both in relation to the nature and economy of the bee, and its enemy the
moth; but, probably, much yet remains to be learned concerning both.

The moth, when first discovered by the common observer, is a white worm or
maggot, with a reddish crusted head, and varies in size according to its
living. Those which have full and unmolested access to the contents of a
hive, will frequently grow as large as a turkey-quill, and an inch and a
half in length. Others are scarcely an inch in length when full grown.
They have sixteen short legs, and taper each way from the centre of their
bodies to their head and exterior or abdomen.

The worms, like the silk-worm, wind themselves into a cocoon, and pass the
dormant (chrysalis) state of their existence, and in a few days come out
of their silken cases perfect winged insects or millers, and are soon
ready to deposit their eggs, from which another crop will be raised.

The miller, or perfect moth, is of a grayish color, from three-fourths of
an inch to an inch in length. They usually lie perfectly still in the day
time, with their head downwards, lurking in and about the apiary. They
enter the hive in the night, and deposit their eggs in such places as are
uncovered, of course unguarded by the bees. These eggs hatch in a short
time, varying according to circumstances, probably from two or three days
to four or five months. At an early stage of their existence, while yet a
small worm, they spin a web, and construct a silken shroud, or fortress,
in which they envelope themselves, and form a sort of path, or gallery, as
they pass onward in their march; at the same time being perfectly secure
from the bees, in their silken case, which they widen as they grow larger,
with an opening in their front only, near their head, they commit the
greatest havoc and devastation on the eggs, young bees and all, that come
in their way as they pass.

When the moth has arrived to his full state of maturity, he makes
preparation to change to a miller, by winding into a cocoon, as has been
already explained. The miller is surprisingly quick in all its movements,
exceeding by far the agility of the quickest bee, either in flight or on
its legs. Hence the enemy becomes so formidable that the bees are easily
overcome and soon fall a sure prey to him.

Now, in order to remedy the evils of the moths, and prevent their ravages,
and at the same time aid the bees in their prosperity, and make them
profitable to their owner, I found it necessary to use a hive differing
materially from the old box, and commenced operations in the one already
referred to, (called the Vermont hive,) in a course of experiments which
have produced results perfectly satisfactory. From six years experience in
its use, I have not the least doubt that bees may be managed to the best
advantage, and without ever being materially injured by the moths.

A bee-hive should be made in a perfect workmanlike manner, so as to have
no open joints; the boards should be free from shakes and cracks, because
the bees will make their tenement perfectly tight, so as to exclude light
and air, by plastering up all such places as are left open by the workman,
with a kind of mortar, or glue, of their own make, which is neither honey
nor wax, but is very congenial to the growth of worms in the first stages
of their larva state, and being secured from the bees by the timber, in a
short time they are able to defend themselves by a silken shroud.

Now the miller enters the hive and makes an incision into the bee-glue, or
cement, with her sting, and leaves her eggs. These eggs hatch there, and
the brood subsist on the glue until they have arrived so far toward
maturity as to enable them to encase themselves in a silken shroud; and
then they move onward.

Now unless the bees chance to catch him by the collar, or nape of his
neck, while feeding, and drag him out of his place of concealment, they
will be compelled to cut away the combs all around his silken path, or
gallery, and drag out the worm and his fortress all together. At the same
time, the bees are compelled to cut away the combs so far as to destroy
many of their young brood in making room to remove the annoyance. I have
known them to cut away their combs from four to eight or ten inches to re
move this silken shroud, and have known them to cut and drag out their
only remaining Queen before she was transformed to the perfect fly, which
occasioned the entire loss of the whole colony.

Repeated experiments have demonstrated the fact, that placing bees on the
ground, or high in the air, is no security against the moths. I have lost
some of my best stocks by placing them on the ground, when those on the
bench were not injured by them. I have made a groove in the bottom board,
much wider than the thickness of the boards to the hive, and filled the
same with loam: I then placed the hive on the same, in such a manner as to
prevent any crack or vacancy for the worms; and yet in raising the hive
four weeks afterwards, I found them apparently full grown all around the
hive in the dirt. I have found them very plenty in a tree ninety feet from
the ground.

The best method, in common practice, to prevent the depredations of the
moth, is, to suspend the bottom board so far below the lower edge of the
hive as to give the bees free entrance and egress all around the same
during the moth season, or to raise the common hive, by placing under it
little blocks at each corner, which produces nearly the same effect. But I
know of but one rule, which is an infallible one, to prevent their
depredations, and that is this: keep the combs well guarded by bees. See
Rule 10.

Large hives, that never swarm, are never destroyed by the moth, unless
they lose their Queen, melt down, or meet with some casualty, out of the
ordinary course of managing them. They are not often in the least annoyed
by them, unless there are bad joints, cracks, or shakes, so as to afford
some lurking places for the worms. The reason for their prosperous
condition is obvious. The stock of bees are so numerous that their combs
are all kept well guarded during the moth season, so that no miller can
enter and deposit her eggs.

Hives made so small as to swarm, are liable to reduce their colonies so
small as to leave combs unguarded, especially when they swarm three or
four times the same season. All swarms, after the first, sally forth to
avoid the battle of the Queens; constantly making a greater draft, in
proportion to the number left, until the combs are partly exposed, which
gives the miller free access to their edges.--The seeds of rapine and
plunder are thus quickly sown, and soon vegetate, and fortify themselves
by their silken fortress, before the bees are aware that their frontiers
are invaded. While the moths are thus engaged in establishing their posts
on the frontiers of the bees, the latter are constantly and indefatigably
engaged in providing themselves with another Queen, to supply the place of
the old one, which has departed with a swarm, and raising young bees to
replenish their reduced colony. Now as the moths have got possession of
the ground on their frontiers, it requires a tremendous effort on the part
of the bees to save their little colony from a complete overthrow.

If late, or second and third swarms are always returned immediately,
according to the rule, the combs are kept so guarded that the moths are
compelled to keep their distance, or be stung to death before they can
accomplish their purposes.

Hives made so large as not to swarm may lose their Queen, and then they
will abandon their habitation and emigrate into the adjoining hive,
leaving all their stores to their owner, which, unless immediately taken
care of, the moths will not fail to destroy.

The moths are often complained of when they are not guilty. Hives are
frequently abandoned by their occupants, in consequence of the loss of
their Queen, unnoticed by any observer, and before any thing is known of
their fate, the hive is destitute of bees, and filled with moths.

In the summer of 1834, one of my neighbors had a very large hive that
never swarmed, which lost their Queen; and in the course of a few days the
bees entirely vacated their tenement, and emigrated into an adjoining
hive, leaving the whole of their stores, which amounted to 215 lbs. of
honey in the comb.

No young bees or moths were discovered in the hive. Instances of this kind
frequently occur, and the true cause is unknown, from inattention.

The Queen may be superannuated, or may become diseased in the breeding
season, so as to render her unfruitful; or she may die of old age. In
either case, the colony will be lost, unless supplied with another Queen,
as explained in remarks on Rule 8; for when the Queen becomes unfruitful
by either of the foregoing causes, the bees are not apprized of the loss
which will in future be sustained by them, until after the means of
repairing the same are gone beyond their reach. All the grubs may have
passed the various stages of their transformation, or at least advanced so
far towards the perfect insect, that their nature cannot be changed to a

The Queen is much more tenacious of life than any other bee, and may live
to a great age. But one Queen exists in the same hive any great length of
time. When there are more than one, the peculiar sound of each, as
explained in remarks on Rule 2, is heard by the other, which always
results in a battle between them, or the issue of a swarm in the course of
a day or two.

Bees, when placed in a dark room in the upper part of the house, or some
out-house, are easily cultivated a short time with little trouble, and are
sometimes made profitable to their owner; but as they are liable to some
of the same casualties as those kept in swarming hives, they cannot be as

Large colonies never increase their stock in proportion to the swarming
colonies. There is but one female in a large colony, and they can do but
little more in raising young bees than to keep their stock good by
replenishing them as fast as they die off or are destroyed by the birds,
reptiles and insects, which are great admirers of them, and sometimes
swallow them by dozens. Now if it requires five swarming colonies to be
equal in number to the one first described, it is not difficult to imagine
that five times as many bees may be raised by the swarming colonies: for
one Queen will probably lay as many eggs as another.

The swarming hives are no more liable to be destroyed by the moth during
the swarming season, than others, if the hives are kept well replenished
with bees according to Rule 10.



If it is found that a swarm need feeding, hitch on the feeder, well stored
with good honey, while the weather is warm in October.

The apiarian should use the same precaution in feeding, as directed in
Rule 4, to prevent robberies.


The best time to feed is in the fall, before cold weather commences. All
hives should be weighed, and the weight marked on the hive before bees are
hived in them. Then, by weighing a stock as soon as frost has killed the
blossoms in the fall, the apiarian will be able to form a just estimate of
their necessities.

When bees are fed in the fall, they will carry up and deposit their food
in such a manner as will be convenient for them in the winter. If feeding
is neglected until cold weather the bees must be removed to a warm room,
or dry cellar, and then they will carry up their food, generally, no
faster than they consume it.

A feeder should be made like a box with five sides closed, leaving a part
of the sixth side open, to admit the bees from their common entrance with
its floor level, when hitched on the front of the hive. It should be of
sufficient depth to lay in broad comb, filled with honey. If strained
honey without combs is used for feeding, a float, perforated with many
holes, should be laid over the whole of the honey in the box, or feeder,
so as to prevent any of the bees from drowning; and at the same time, this
float should be so thin as to enable them to reach the honey. It should be
made so small that it will settle down as fast as the honey is removed by
the bees. As soon as warm weather commences in the spring, the feeder may
be used. Small drawers cannot be depended on as feeders, except in the
spring and summer, unless they are kept so warm that the vapor of the bees
will not freeze in them. It would be extremely hazardous for the bees to
enter a frosty drawer. They will sooner starve than attempt the
experiment. Drawers may be used without danger from robbers, but when the
feeder is used, robbers must be guarded against as directed in Rule 4.

Care should be exercised, in fall-feeding, to supply them with good honey,
otherwise the colony may be lost before spring by disease. Poor honey may
be given them in the spring, at the time when they can obtain and provide
themselves with medicine, which they only best understand.

Sugar dissolved, or molasses, may be used in the spring to some advantage,
but ought not to be substituted for honey, when it can be obtained.

Bees sometimes die of starvation, with plenty of honey in the hive at the
same time. In cold weather they crowd together in a small compass in order
to keep warm; and then their breath and vapor collect in frost, in all
parts of the hive, except in the region they occupy. Now, unless the
weather moderates, so as to thaw the ice, the bees will be compelled to
remain where they are located until their stores are all consumed that are
within their reach. One winter we had cold weather ninety-four days in
succession, during which time the bees could not move from one part of the
hive to another. I examined all my hives on the eighty-third day, and on
the ninetieth day I found four swarms dead. I immediately examined for the
cause, which was as already stated. I then carried all my hives into a
warm room and thawed them, so that the bees could move. Some hives that I
supposed were dead, revived; some few swarms I found nearly destitute of
stores, which I carried into the cellar, turned them bottom up, cut out a
few of the combs, so as to make room to lay in combs filled with honey,
which served as good feeders.



On the near approach of winter, as soon as the bees have receded from the
drawers and gone below, insert a slide, take out the drawers, and supply
their places with empty ones, bottom up. Suspend the bottom board at least
one eighth of an inch below the lower edge of the hive, and open the
ventilator.--Clean off the bottom board as often as the weather changes
from cold to warm. Close no doors upon them, unless they are kept in a
spacious room, and in such a place that the breath and steam of the bees
will not freeze.


Various methods have been practised by different individuals. Some have
buried them in the ground, others kept them in the cellar, chamber, &c.
One course only will be observed in this place.



This operation should never be effected by compulsion.

FIRST METHOD. Insert drawer No. 1 into the chamber of the hive, to be
transferred as early as the first of May. If the bees fill the drawer,
they will recede from the lower apartment and winter in the drawer. As
early in the spring as the bees carry in bread plentifully on their legs,
remove the drawer, which will contain the principal part of the bees, to
an empty hive. Now remove the old hive a few feet in front, and place the
new one containing the drawer where the old one stood. Now turn the old
hive bottom up. If there are any bees left in the old hive, they will soon
return and take possession of their new habitation.

SECOND METHOD. Take drawer No. 1, well filled by any hive the same season,
insert the same into the chamber of the hive, to be transferred in
September, (August would be better.) If the bees need transferring, they
will repair to the drawer and make the same their winter quarters. Then
proceed in the spring as directed in the first method.


This management should excite a deep interest in every cultivator, both in
a temporal and moral point of view. Temporal, because the lives of all the
bees are preserved; moral, because we are accountable to God for all our
acts. We are not to be justified in taking the lives of animals or
insects, which are but lent blessings, unless some benefit to the owner
can be derived from their death, which will outweigh the evils resulting
from such a sacrifice. Duty compels me to protest in the strongest terms
and feelings, against the inhuman practice of taking the lives of the most
industrious and comforting insects to the wants of the human family by
fire and brimstone.

When bees have occupied one tenement for several years, the combs become
thick and filthy, by being filled up with old bread and cocoons, made by
the young bees when transformed from a larva to the perfect fly.

Bees always wind themselves in their cells, in a silken cocoon, or shroud,
to pass their torpid and defenceless (chrysalis) state.--These cocoons are
very thin, and are never removed by the bees. They are always cleaned
immediately after the escape of the young bees, and others are raised in
the same cells. Thus a number of bees are raised, which leaves an
additional cocoon as often as the transformation of one succeeds that of
another, which often occurs in the course of the season. Now in the course
of a few years the cells become so contracted, in consequence of being
thus filled up, that the bees come forth but mere dwarfs and sometimes
cease to swarm. Combs are rendered useless by being filled up with old
bread, which is never used except for feeding young bees. A greater
quantity of this bread is stored up yearly than is used by them, and in a
few years they have but little room to perform their ordinary
labors.--Hence the necessity of transferring them, or the inhuman sentence
of death must be passed upon them, not by being hung by the neck until
they are dead, but by being tortured to death by fire and brimstone.

It is obvious to every cultivator that old stocks should be transferred. I
have repeatedly transferred them in the most approved manner, by means of
an apparatus constructed for that purpose; but the operation always
resulted in the loss of the colony afterwards, or a swarm which would have
come from them. When it is necessary to transfer a swarm, insert drawer
No. 1 into their chamber in the spring, say the first of May. If they till
the drawer, let it remain there; if they need to be changed to a new hive,
they will recede from the lower apartment and make the drawer their winter
quarters, which should remain until warm weather has so far advanced as to
afford them bread. Then they may be removed to an empty hive, as directed
in the Rule. Now the drawer contains no bread, and should remain in the
old stock until the bees can provide themselves with a sufficient quantity
of that article to feed their young bees with; for bread is not collected
early enough and in sufficient quantities to feed their young as much as
nature requires. If the bees fail in filling the drawer, one should be
used that is filled by another swarm.


The reader might have expected many things demonstrated in this work,
which are omitted by design.

The structure of the worker is too well understood by every owner of bees
to need a particular description. So also of the drone; and the Queen has
already been sufficiently described to enable any one to select her out
from among her subjects. If any further description is desired, the
observer can easily satisfy himself by the use of a microscope.--Every
swarm of bees is composed of three classes or sorts, to wit: one Queen or
female, drones or males, and neuters or workers. The Queen is the only
female in the hive, and lays all the eggs from which all the young bees
are raised to replenish their colony. She possesses no authority over
them, other than that of influence, which is derived from the fact that
she is the mother of all the bees; and they, being endowed with knowledge
of the fact that they are wholly dependent on her to propagate their
species, treat her with the greatest kindness, tenderness and reverence,
and manifest at all times the most sincere attachment to her by feeding
and guarding her from all danger.

The government of a hive is nearer republican than any other, because it
is administered in exact accordance with their nature. It is their
peculiar natural instinct, which prompts them in all their actions. The
Queen has no more to do with the government of the hive than the other
bees, unless influence may be called government. If she finds empty cells
in the hive, during the breeding season, she will deposit eggs there,
because it is her nature to do so; and the nature of the workers prompts
them so take care and nurse all the young larvae, labor and collect food
for their sustenance, guard and protect their habitations, and do and
perform all things, in due obedience, not to the commands of the Queen,
but to their own peculiar instinct.

The drone is probably the male bee, notwithstanding the sexual union has
never been witnessed by any man; yet so many experiments have been tried,
and observations made, that but little doubt can be entertained of its
truth. That the sexual intercourse takes place high in the air, is highly
probable from the fact, that other insects of the fly tribe do copulate in
the air, when on the wing, as I have repeatedly seen. That the drone is
the male bee, is probable from the fact that the drones are not all killed
at once; but at least one in each hive is permitted to live several months
after the general massacre.

I examined four swarms, whose colonies were strong and numerous, three
months after the general massacre of the drones, and in three hives I
found one drone each; the other was probably overlooked, as the bees were
thrown into the fire as fast as they were examined. But there are many
mysterious things concerning them, and much might be written to little
purpose; and as it is designed to go no further in illustrations than is
necessary to aid the apiarian in good management, many little speculations
have been entirely omitted in the work, and the reader is referred to the
writings of Thatcher, Bonner, and Huber, who are the most voluminous and
extensive writers on bees within my knowledge.

Bees are creatures of habit, and the exercise of caution in managing them
is required. A stock of bees should be placed where they are to stand
through the season before they form habits of location, which will take
place soon after they commence their labors in the spring. They learn
their home by the objects surrounding them in the immediate vicinity of
the hive. Moving them, (unless they are carried beyond their knowledge,)
is often fatal to them. The old bees forget their new location, and on
their return, when collecting stores, they haze about where they formerly
stood, sad perish. I have known some fine stocks ruined by moving them six
feet and from that to a mile and a half. It is better to move them before
swarming than afterwards. The old bees only will be lost. As the young
ones are constantly hatching, their habits will be formed at the new
stand, and the combs will not be as likely to become vacated, so as to
afford opportunity to the moths to occupy any part of their ground.

Swarms, when first hived, may be moved at pleasure without loss of bees,
admitting they are all in the hive; their habits will be formed in exact
proportion to their labors.--The first bee that empties his sack and goes
forth in search of food, is the one whose habits are first established. I
have observed many bees to cluster near the place where the hive stood,
but a few hours after hiving, and perish. Now if the swarm had been placed
in the apiary, immediately after they were hived, the number of bees found
there would have been less.

Bees may be moved at pleasure at any season of the year, if they are
carried several miles, so as to be beyond their knowledge of country. They
may be carried long journeys by travelling nights only, and affording them
opportunity to labor and collect food in the day time.

The importance of this part of bee-management is the only apology I can
make for dwelling so long on this point. I have known many to suffer
serious losses in consequence of moving their bees after they were well
settled in their labors.

Bees should never be irritated, under any pretence whatever. They should
be treated with attention and kindness. They should be kept undisturbed by
cattle and all other annoyances, so that they may be approached at any
time with safety.

An apiary should be so situated, that swarming may be observed, and at the
same time where the bees can obtain food easily, and in the greatest

It has been a general practice to front bee-houses either to the east or
south. This doctrine should be exploded with all other whims. Apiaries
should be so situated as to be convenient to their owner, as much as any
other buildings.

I have them front towards all the cardinal points, but can distinguish no
difference in their prosperity.

Young swarms should be scattered as much as convenient during the summer
season, at least eight feet apart. They should be set in a frame and so
covered as to exclude the sun and weather from the hive.

It is not surprising that this branch of rural economy, in consequence of
the depredations of the moth, is so much neglected.--Notwithstanding, in
some parts of our country, the business of managing bees has been entirely
abandoned for years, I am confident they may be cultivated in such a
manner as to render them more profitable to their owners, than any branch
of agriculture, in proportion to the capital necessary to be invested in
their stock. They are not taxable property, neither does it require a
large land investment, nor fences; neither does it require the owner to
labor through the summer to support them through the winter.--Care is,
indeed, necessary, but a child, or a superannuated person can perform most
of the duties of an apiarian. The cobwebs must be kept away from the
immediate vicinity of the hive, and all other annoyances removed.

The management of bees is a delightful employment, and may be pursued with
the best success in cities and villages, as well as towns and country. It
is a source of great amusement, as well as comfort and profit. They
collect honey and bread from most kinds of forest trees, as well as garden
flowers, orchards, forests, and fields; all contribute to their wants, and
their owner is gratified with a taste of the whole. Sweet mignonette
cannot be too highly recommended.--This plant is easily cultivated by
drills in the garden, and is one of the finest and richest flowers in the
world from which the honey-bee can extract its food.

The Vermont hive is the only one I can use to much advantage or profit,
and yet there are some other improvements, which are far superior to the
old box. In the summer of 1834, I received in swarms and extra honey from
my best stock, thirty dollars; and from my poorest, fifteen dollars. My
early swarms afforded extra honey which was sold, amounting to from five
to ten dollars each hive; and all ray late swarms which were doubled,
stored a sufficient quantity of food to supply them through the following

The rules in the foregoing work, perhaps, may be deemed, in some
instances, too particular; yet, in all cases, they will be found to be
safe and unfailing in their application, though liable to exceptions, such
as are incident to all specific rules.


ON RULE FIRST.--The underside of the chamber floor should be planed
smooth; then scratched with a sharp scratch, so as to enable the bees to
hold fast; otherwise they may fall suddenly upon the bottom board, which
may induce them to leave the hive and flee to the woods. That the inside
of the hive should be made smooth, is evident from the fact, that comb
adheres much more firmly to a smooth board than it doss to the small
fibres or splinters which are left by the saw, and is less likely to drop.
These remarks were omitted in the work by mistake.

RULE SECOND--ON SWARMING AND HIVING,--The Drawers should be turned, so as
to let the bees into them at the time of hiving; unless the swarm is so
small that they can locate in a drawer.

REMARKS.--Bees commence making comb, where the whole colony have room to
work. Now if the bees can all get into the drawer, they will begin there;
of course they will raise young bees and deposit bread in the drawer. If
the swarm is so large as to be unable to work in the drawer, there is no
danger of letting them in. At the same time there may be danger if they
are prevented from entering, because they sometimes go off for want of
room in the lower apartment. I therefore, recommend letting the bees into
the drawers at the time of hiving them, in all cases, except when the
swarms are small, then the rule should be strictly adhered to.
Notwithstanding I have hived hundreds of swarms in eight years last past,
and have not lost a single swarm by flight to the woods, yet I frequently
hear of losses of this kind, which appears to render these remarks
necessary. My practice in hiving, is to get the bees into the hive as quick
as possible, hang on the bottom board, fasten the same forward by means of
the button so as to prevent the escape of any of the bees, except through
the mouth of the hive; place the hive immediately where I intend it shall
stand through the season. Let the bottom board down 3/8ths of an inch, on
the third day after swarming.

REMARKS ON RULE 10.--Small swarms should have the Queens taken from them
and the bees returned to the parent stock, so as to keep the old hive well
replenished with bees during the moth season; likewise to avoid the loss
of the old stock by freezing in the winter. Too much swarming frequently
occasions the loss of the old stock the winter following, because their
numbers are so reduced that the necessary animal heat cannot be kept up to
prevent them from perishing by cold. There may be more than one queen in
all swarms after the first[1], as in all cases when bees make one queen
they make a plurality of them, and if more than one is hatched at the time
of swarming, in the confusion which takes place in the hive, during
swarming, all the queens which are hatched will sally forth with the
swarm; hence, in taking away queens, the bee master should look for them
until the bees begin to return to the parent stock. Cut off a limb and
shake the bees on a table to find the queens.


  [1] Large colonies sometimes loose their queen and have been
      known to make more, in which case, in order to avoid the
      conflict of the queens, they have been known to swarm out
      several bushels of Bees.

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