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Title: USDOA Farmer's Bulletin, No. 59, Bee Keeping
Author: Benton, Frank
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                   *       *       *       *       *

                   U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.

                       FARMERS' BULLETIN No. 59.

                             BEE KEEPING.


                         FRANK BENTON, M. S.,


                     =[Revised, March 1905.]=



                      GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE.


                   *       *       *       *       *

                        LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL.

                   U. S. Department of Agriculture,

                                                  Bureau of Entomology,

                                      _Washington, D. O., March 1905._

Sir: Frequent inquiries from correspondents of the Department
of Agriculture for information on matters pertaining to the culture
of bees, and particularly as to the conditions under which one may
reasonably expect to meet with success in this pursuit, led to the
preparation of this bulletin in July, 1897. Though designed by the
author primarily to answer a few of the specific questions which are
most likely to present themselves to the mind of the inquirer wholly
unfamiliar with the subject, the aim has been also to introduce in the
treatment of the various topics information which it is hoped will lead
many of longer experience into more successful methods than they have
yet practiced. The stereotype plates of the earlier editions having
become much worn, necessitating the resetting of the type of the entire
bulletin, the opportunity has been afforded of inserting several new
paragraphs and making a few slight changes in the text as heretofore


                                                          L. O. Howard,


Hon. James Wilson,

_Secretary of Agriculture,_



  Locations suited to the keeping of bees                            9
  The returns to be expected from an apiary                         11
  Anyone who desires to do so can learn to manipulate bees          13
  How to avoid stings                                               14
  What race of bees to choose                                       16
    Caucasians                                                      16
    Carniolans                                                      17
    Italians                                                        17
    Cyprians                                                        17
    Cyprio-Carniolans and Cyprio-Caucasians                         18
    Syrian and Palestine or "Holy-Land" bees                        18
    German, common black, or brown bees                             18
  What hive to adopt                                                19
  Management in swarming                                            21
    Natural swarming                                                21
    Artificial swarming                                             22
      Dividing                                                      22
      Nucleus system                                                22
      Shaken or brushed swarms                                      23
    Prevention of swarming                                          23
      Dequeening                                                    24
      Requeening                                                    24
      Space near entrances                                          25
      Selection in breeding                                         25
  Special crops for honey alone not profitable                      26
    Economic plants and trees for cultivation for honey and pollen  27
  How to obtain surplus honey and wax                               29
    Extracted honey                                                 30
    Comb honey                                                      31
      Grading and shipping comb honey                               33
    Production of wax                                               34
  The wintering of bees                                             35
    General considerations                                          37
    Indoor wintering                                                38
    Outdoor wintering                                               38
  The risk of loss through disease and enemies                      41
    Foul brood or bacillus of the hive                              41
    Bee paralysis                                                   44
    Insect and other enemies                                        45
    Robber bees                                                     46
  Legislation affecting apiarian interests                          47
  Journals treating of apiculture                                   47



  Fig.  1. The Bingham bee smoker                                   14
        2. Bee veil                                                 15
        3. The Porter spring bee escape                             16
        4. Langstroth hive with two half-depth supers for surplus
              honey                                                 19
        5. The Langstroth hive--Dadant-Quinby form--cross section
              showing construction                                  20
        6. Quinby closed-end frames                                 20
        7. The Simmins nonswarming system--single-story hive with
              supers                                                24
        8. The Simmins nonswarming system--double-story hive with
              supers                                                25
        9. Quinby uncapping knife                                   30
       10. The automatic reversible honey extractor                 31
       11. Langstroth hive--super above, holding 28 sections for
              comb honey                                            32
       12. Comb honey stored in pound section                       32
       13. Perforated zinc queen excluder                           33
       14. Shipping cases for comb honey                            34
       15. Solar wax-extractor                                      35
       16. Steam wax-extractor                                      35
       17. Double-walled hive adapted to outdoor wintering, as
              well as summer use                                    39
       18. The American straw hive (Langstroth principle) of
              Hayek Brothers                                        40
       19. Colony of bees with newspapers packed between inner and
              outer cases and brood frames on end for the winter    41

                             BEE KEEPING.


It may be safely said that any place where farming, gardening, or fruit
raising can be successfully followed is adapted to the profitable
keeping of bees--in a limited way at least, if not extensively. Many
of these localities will support extensive apiaries. In addition to
this there are, within the borders of the United States, thousands of
good locations for the apiarist--forest, prairie, swamp, and mountain
regions--where agriculture has as yet not gained a foothold, either
because of remoteness from markets or the uninviting character of soil
or climate. This pursuit may also be followed in or near towns and, to
a limited extent, in large cities. It even happens in some instances
that bees in cities or towns find more abundant pasturage than in
country locations which are considered fair.

The city of Washington is an example of this, bees located here
doing better during the spring and summer months than those in the
surrounding country, owing to the bee pasturage found in the numerous
gardens and parks and the nectar-yielding shade trees along the
streets. This is due mainly to the fact that the linden, or basswood,
which is rarely seen in the country about Washington, has been planted
extensively in the parks and for miles on both sides of many of the
streets and avenues of the city.[A] Another source in the city not
found extensively in the country adjacent is melilot, Bokhara or
sweet clover (_Melilotus alba_), which has crept into vacant lots and
neglected corners, and diffuses its agreeable perfume to the delight of
all city dwellers, whether human or insect. The writer has practiced
with profit the transportation of nearly a hundred colonies from a
country apiary 10 miles distant to Washington for the linden and sweet
clover yield. He has also seen a prosperous apiary kept on the roof
of a business house in the heart of New York City, and on several
occasions has visited another apiary of 30 to 40 colonies, which a
skillful apiarist had located on the roof of his store in the business
portion of Cincinnati, Ohio, and from which 30 to 40 pounds of honey
per colony were usually obtained each year.

[A] Several species of lindens are included in these plantings, but
none yields more than our common American linden, or basswood (_Tilia

Another apiary personally inspected was located directly on the sand
banks forming the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. These bees were, of
course, unable to forage westward from the apiary, hence had but half
"a field." The soil of the area over which the bees ranged was a light
sand, unproductive for most crops, and the region was little developed
agriculturally, most of the honey coming from forest trees and from
shrubs and wild plants growing in old burnings and windfalls, yet 25 to
30 pounds of excellent honey per colony was the usual surplus obtained.
At one time the writer had an apiary in the city of Detroit, Mich.,
where the wide river on one side cut off nearly half of the pasturage,
yet the bees did will. And again for several years he had an apiary
containing from 100 to 200 colonies of bees on a very sterile coast
of the Island of Cyprus, and another nearly as large located but a
few rods from the seashore on a rocky point of Syria. Both of these
apiaries were devoted in the main to queen rearing, yet the yield of
honey was not an unimportant item, especially in the Syrian apiary,
while in the Cyprus apiary some honey was frequently taken, and it was
rarely necessary to feed the bees for stores. In the latter case about
one-fourth of the range was out off by the sea, the bees being located
at the head of an open bay and a short distance from the shore, while
the location of the Syrian apiary prevented the bees from securing
half of the usual range, hence their greater prosperity was due to the
nature and quantity of the pasturage of their limited range.

It is evident, therefore, that no one similarly located need be
deterred from keeping bees, provided the nectar-yielding trees and
plants of the half range are of the right sort and abundant. Moreover,
regions so rough and sterile or so swampy as to give no encouragement
to the agriculturist, or even to the stock raiser, will often yield a
good income to the bee keeper, insignificant and apparently worthless
herbs and shrubs furnishing forage for the bees. The ability of the
bees to range over areas inaccessible to other farm stock and to draw
their sustenance from dense forests when the timber is of the right
kind, and the freedom which, because of their nature, must be accorded
them to pasture on whatever natural sources are within their range of 3
or 4 miles, must be taken into account in estimating the possibilities
of a locality. It will be found that very few localities exist in our
country where at least a few colonies of bees may not be kept. Whether
a large number might be profitably kept in a given locality can be
decided only by a careful examination as to the honey-producing flora
within range of the apiary (see pp. 12 and 26-29).

The danger of overstocking a given locality is very frequently
exaggerated. Each range, it is self-evident, has a limit. The writer
is, however, fully convinced, after long experience in numerous
localities and under the most varied circumstances, that three or four
times as many colonies as are commonly considered sufficient to stock
a given range may usually be kept with a relative degree of profit.
But to secure such results sufficient care and close observation have
too frequently not been given in the selection of bees adapted to the
locality and conditions. A more frequent failure has been lack of
proper attention to the individual colonies, particularly as to the
age and character of the queens in each. The space given for brood
rearing is often too small, and frequently no care is given to secure
the proper amount of brood in time to insure a population ready for
each harvest. Attention to these points would enable great numbers of
bee keepers who now regard 50 to 100 colonies as fully stocking their
range to reach several hundreds in a single apiary, with slight or no
diminution in the average yield per colony.


Although apiculture is extremely fascinating to most people who have a
taste for the study of nature, requiring, as it does, out-of-door life,
with enough exercise to be of benefit to one whose main occupation is
sedentary, the income to be derived from it when rightly followed is a
consideration which generally has some weight and is often the chief
factor in leading one to undertake the care of bees. Certainly, where
large apiaries are planned, the prime object is the material profit,
for they require much hard labor and great watchfulness, and the
performance of the work at stated times is imperative, so that in this
case there is less opportunity than where but a few colonies are kept
to make a leisurely study of the natural history and habits of these
interesting insects, because--unless the keeper is willing to forego
a considerable portion of his profits--his time must necessarily be
almost wholly taken up in attending to the most apparent wants of his

One very naturally supposes that the return from a single hive, or
several of them, in a given locality, may be taken as a fair index
of what may be expected each season. Such return, if considered
average, may serve as a basis on which to reckon, but as so many
conditions influence it, great differences in actual results-will
be found to occur in successive seasons. Apiculture, like all other
branches of agriculture, depends largely upon the natural resources
of the location, and the favorableness or unfavorableness of any
particular season, no matter how skillful the management, may make
great differences in the year's return. The knowledge, skill, industry,
and promptness of the one who undertakes the care of the apiary have
likewise much to do with the return. Furthermore, profits are of course
largely affected by the nature and proximity of the markets.

A moderate estimate for a fairly good locality would be 35 to 40
pounds of extracted honey or 25 pounds of comb honey per colony. This
presupposes good wintering and an average season. When two or more of
the important honey-yielding plants are present in abundance and are
fairly supplemented by minor miscellaneous honey plants the locality
may be considered excellent, and an expectation of realizing more than
the yield mentioned above may be entertained. With extracted honey of
good quality at its present wholesale price of 6 to 8 cents per pound
and comb honey at 12 to 14 cents, each hive should under favorable
circumstances give a gross annual return of $2.50 to $3. From this
about one-third is to be deducted to cover expenses other than the
item of labor. These will include the purchase of comb foundation and
sections, repairs, eventual replacing of hives and implements, and
the interest on the capital invested. By locating in some section
particularly favorable to apiculture--that is, near large linden
forests, with clover fields within range, supplemented by buckwheat;
or in a section where alfalfa is raised for seed; where mesquite,
California sages, and wild buckwheat abound; where mangrove, palmettos,
and titi, or where sourwood, tulip tree, and asters are plentiful--the
net profits here indicated may frequently be doubled or trebled.

But these favored locations, like all others, are also subject to
reverses--the result of droughts, great wet, freezes which kill back
the bee pasturage, etc., and though some years the profits are so much
larger than those named above as to lend a very roseate hue to the
outlook for the accumulation of wealth on the part of anyone who can
possess himself of a hundred or two colonies of bees, the beginner will
do well to proceed cautiously, bearing in mind that much experience
is necessary to enable him to turn to the best account seasons below
the average, while during poor seasons it will take considerable under
standing of the subject, energetic action, and some sacrifice to tide
over, without disaster, or at least without such great discouragement
as to cause neglect and loss of faith in the business. On the whole,
there should be expected from the raising of bees for any purpose
whatever only fair pay for one's time, good interest on the money
invested, and a sufficient margin to cover contingencies. With no
greater expectations from it than this, and where intelligence directs
the work, apiculture will be found, in the long run, to rank among the
best and safest of rural industries.

The value of bees in the pollination of various fruit and seed crops
is often sufficient reason to warrant the keeping of a small apiary,
even if circumstances do not favor its management in such a manner
as to secure the largest possible crops of honey or to insure the
saving of all swarms. The quality and quantity of many varieties of
apples, pears, plums, and small fruits depend absolutely upon complete
cross-pollination. The most active agents in this work are honey bees.


Any person with fairly steady nerves and some patience and courage
can easily learn to control and manipulate bees. There are, it is
true, a few exceptional individuals whose systems are particularly
susceptible to the poison injected by the bee, so much so that serious
effects follow a single sting. Such cases are, however, very rare. In
most instances where care is not taken to avoid all stings the system
eventually becomes accustomed to the poison, so that beyond momentary
pain a sting causes no inconvenience.

To a certain extent the belief exists that bees have, without apparent
cause, a violent dislike for some people, while others, without
any effort, are received into their favor. The latter part of this
proposition has a better foundation than the first part, for it is the
actions, rather than any peculiarity of the individual himself, that
anger the bees.

Bees prefer, of course, not to be disturbed; hence they usually keep
guards on the lookout for intruders. When visitors approach the hives
these guards are very apt to fly toward them as if to inquire whether
harm is intended or not, and should the visitor not inspire them
with fear by using smoke or some similar means, but should himself
show fear and nervousness, he will be very likely to arouse their
suspicions still further, or even to anger them should he strike at
them or endeavor to dodge their approach. Indeed, one not accustomed
to the notes of bees is very likely, unconsciously, to dodge his head
about when a worker buzzes uncomfortably close to his face. It may be
a movement of but an inch or two, but perhaps a quick jerk, and being
noticed by the suspicious guard is resented; a sting follows, and yet
the recipient declares that he did nothing to cause the attack, but
that bees merely hate him and always sting him when he approaches them.
On the other hand, an equally unprotected person who moves about with
deliberation may generally, under the same circumstances, be let off
without receiving a sting. It is in this case not so much what he does
as what he does not do.

It is not to be understood that bees will always refrain from stinging
if one remains somewhat passive in the vicinity of their hives, for the
fact is that at some seasons common black bees and crosses having blood
of this race fly some distance to attack passers-by, or even, without
just provocation and with but slight warning, to plant a sting in the
face of one who is standing near the apiary. But as the avoidance of
such unpleasant occurrences depends largely upon the kind of bees kept,
and, to a certain extent, upon an acquaintance with a few facts with
which anyone of intelligence may easily familiarize himself, and the
observance of certain precautions which are quite simple and after a
little practice will become easy, and as the opening and manipulation
of hives in securing honey, etc., is equally simple and attended with
no greater risks, it is safe to say that almost anyone can, with
perseverance and the exercise of due caution, learn to manipulate bees
with perfect freedom and without serious risk of being stung.


Stings can be avoided, first, by having gentle bees. If no other
point of superiority over the common brown or black bee than that of
gentleness could be fairly claimed for some of the races introduced and
some of the strains developed in recent years, it would still be worth
while to get them on this account alone. When the fact of superiority
in several other important points is considered also, there should
be no further question as to the advisability of procuring them in
preference to the common variety. The beginner is advised never to
think of doing otherwise. No one likes stings, and even the veteran
who affects insensibility to the wrath of his charges will find his
interest and pleasure in them much increased by replacing blacks and
their crosses with better varieties. Nor is this merely to gratify a
fancy or for convenience alone. If, by reason of the stinging qualities
of the bees kept, an examination for the purpose of ascertaining the
condition of a colony of bees becomes a disagreeable task to the one
who cares for the apiary, little things necessary to the welfare of the
colonies will be postponed or omitted altogether and the apiary will
soon present a neglected appearance, and the actual profits will be

[Illustration: Fig. 1.--The Bingham bee smoker.]

Of the races already in general cultivation, Carniolans are the
gentlest, although Caucasians, more recently introduced from
south-eastern Russia and only now being put on sale, are by far the
least inclined to sting of any bees, and may be handled at all times
without resorting to the protection of a bee veil, and generally
without smoke, or at most a very slight application of smoke. Some
strains of Italians equal in gentleness average Carniolans, but in
general the race native to Italy is by no means as gentle as that found
in Carniola, Austria, and the Caucasians are much to be preferred for
the beginner. In case these gentler races are not easily procurable
he need not hesitate, however, to undertake, after adopting due
precautions, the manipulation of pure Italians.

In crossing well-established breeds the males of a gentle race should
be used, otherwise the workers of the cross may vary greatly in temper,
especially in the first few generations. Only careful selection
continued for some time will so fix the desirable traits as to result
in their reproduction with a fair degree of certainty in the offspring.
Bees having the blood of blacks and Italians are nearly always quite
vicious in the case of the first cross, and are even harder to subdue
with smoke than are pure blacks. Other races need not be considered
here, as they are adapted to special purposes; and the skill of the
bee-master, the conditions of climate, flora, etc., and the particular
line of production to be followed, should decide whether their
introduction is advisable or not.[B]

[B] For a fuller discussion of this subject, see "The Honey Bee: A
Manual of Instruction in Apiculture," by Frank Benton, M. S., Bulletin
No. 1, new series, Bureau of Entomology, U. S. Dept. of Agriculture,
third edition, 1899, Chap. I, pp. 11-18.

The second essential to enable one to avoid stings is to have a good
smoker at hand whenever the bees are to be handled. Any way of getting
smoke of any kind into the hive and about it may answer the purpose,
but for ease and effectiveness in keeping bees under control nothing
will take the place of the modern bellows smoker (fig. 1). A good one
lasts years, and its cost is so slight ($1 to $1.25 for the medium
sizes) that the expenditure may be considered one of the wisest that
can be made in fitting up an apiary.

[Illustration: Fig. 2.--Bee veil.]

A veil (fig. 2), made of black bobinet or Brussels net, to draw over
the hat, and a pair of gloves, preferably of rubber, may be used at
first. But whoever has fairly peaceable bees and learns even a little
about their ways will soon discard the gloves, unless, indeed, he
be exceedingly timid, or one of those to whom a bee sting would be
a dreadful affliction. The veil can be safely dispensed with if the
gentlest bees are kept.

Simple and convenient hives, employing the Langstroth principle, and
with stories and frames interchangeable and so constructed as to reduce
propolization to a minimum and to insure straight combs, will much
facilitate the avoidance of stings.

The use of the bee escape (fig. 3) in removing surplus honey greatly
reduces the risk of being stung during this operation, for it saves
much manipulation of combs and shaking and brushing of bees. This
useful device is fitted into a slot made in a board the same size as
the top of the hive, and the whole, when slipped in between the brood
apartment and an upper story or super, will permit all of the workers
above to go down into the lower story but not to return to the top
above to go down into the lower story, but not to return to the top
one, so that in one night it is possible to free entirely a set of
combs from bees without any manipulation of the combs, and without
smoking, shaking, or brushing the bees.

[Illustration: Fig. 3.--The Porter spring bee escape.]

Lastly, reasonable care in manipulation and a suitable system of
management, which, of course, implies the doing of work in proper
season, will, with the observance of the foregoing points, make the
risk of stings exceedingly slight. Indeed, intelligent attention to the
most important of the points mentioned above, with extra gentleness and
moderation in manipulation, will enable anyone who so desires to avoid
all stings.


Reference has already been made to the relative gentleness of the
various races, and since the gentler types are themselves excellent
honey gatherers, and the particular advantages to be derived from
some of the more energetic races which do not happen to be so mild
in temperament are not likely to be secured by the beginner who is
unfamiliar with the most approved methods of manipulation of such
bees, it is strongly recommended that only the gentle ones be at first
adopted--either Caucasians, Carniolans, or Italians. Should full
colonies of these not be obtainable near home, colonies of ordinary
bees may be changed by replacing their queens with queens of the
desired race, the latter having been procured in small boxes by mail.
If possible the introduction had better be made by an expert, although
in general, by following the instructions which accompany the new
queen, success will also be attained by the beginner.

A brief summary of the leading traits of the various races now in this
country will be of use in guiding the purchaser, as well as instructive
to him for reference.

=Caucasians= are natives of that portion of Russia lying between
the Black and Caspian seas, are exceedingly gentle, good workers, good
defenders of their hives, prolific, build many queen cells, and swarm
often if confined to small hives. The workers are dark leaden gray in
their general color, and present quite a ringed appearance because
of the alternation of this dark color with the lighter fuzz which
edges the segments of the abdomen. They also show frequently one to
two yellow or leather-colored bands, are somewhat smaller bodied than
Italians or Carniolans, have good wing-expanse, and hence are nimble
flyers. The drones are rather small and quite dark in color; queens not
large, and vary in color from a coppery-yellow to a dark bronze.

=Carniolans= are much larger bodied and somewhat lighter gray in
color than the Caucasians, but show likewise in many instances one
or two rusty or dark-red bands. Their great hardiness and excellent
wing-power enable them to fly freely in much cooler weather than some
other races stand, and to regain their hive entrances under adverse
conditions. They are prolific, active, and good honey gatherers,
producing combs of snowy whiteness. As in the case of the Caucasians,
their prolificness causes them to fill small hives to overflowing with
bees, and this naturally results in numerous swarms. It is therefore
advisable to use hives containing ten to twelve frames in the brood
chamber. The nature of the Carniolans is essentially a quiet one, so
that upon the approach of cold weather they settle down in a very
compact and extremely quiet cluster, a condition which contributes in
no small degree to their excellent wintering qualities. The drones are
the largest of all drones of this species, and are covered with a thick
coat of gray fuzz. The queens vary from a light color to a very dark
leather color, the typical queen being, however, dark bronze, large,
well rounded, strong, and active.

=Italians=, the first of the foreign races to be introduced into
this country, are much more widely known, and have with reason found
great favor, since they are industrious, good defenders of their hives,
and excellent honey gatherers, as well as handsome in appearance, being
usually evenly marked with three yellow bands across the anterior
portion of the abdomen. The blood has become so disseminated through
the apiaries of the country that many hybrid bees having but one to
two yellow bands are counted as Italians, and their cross disposition,
derived through the males of the common race, is charged to the
Italians. Strains of Italians pure in blood have been bred by selection
in this country until the three yellow bands have become so wide as
to be nearly or quite joined, and in some instances nearly the whole
abdomen is yellow. In general, however, as regards gathering powers it
does not seem that any improvement has been made by this selection, the
dark or leather-colored Italians proving, all in all, more vigorous,
gentle, and better honey gatherers, while as regards wintering they are
also superior. It must be acknowledged, however, that the Italian race
is slightly inferior in wintering qualities to all of the others which
have been generally introduced into America.

=Cyprians=, from the island of Cyprus, may be taken as a general
type with which to compare other eastern races. They are small bodied,
more slender, in fact, than any of the European races of bees. The
abdomen is more pointed and shows, when the bees are purely bred, three
light-colored bands on the upper surface, and considerable yellow on
the under side. Between the wing attachments on the thorax is a little
prominence, shaped like a half moon, which is usually quite plainly
yellow in color. The queens are small bodied, yellow in color, with
more or less black at the tip of the abdomen. The drones have a heavy
coat of fuzz on the thorax, and the abdomen presents a mottled yellow
appearance, being often highly yellow. Cyprians possess longer tongues
and greater wing-power than other races. This, combined with great
prolificness and most remarkable activity, renders them the best of
honey gatherers. In temper, however, they may be regarded as rather
aggressive, rendering their management by any who are not experts
extremely difficult. This feature may, however, be largely overcome
by crossing the queens of this race with the drones of very gentle
types. In this manner bees are produced that are readily amenable to
smoke and ordinary methods in manipulation, combined with the excellent
honey-gathering powers and prolificness of the eastern races.

=Cyprio-Carniolans and Cyprio-Caucasians.=--The author conceived
the idea in the early eighties that by crossing the Cyprian and
Carniolan races a type might be developed which would combine the
excellent traits of both of these. The first matings of Cyprians and
Carniolans were made by him in 1883 in Carniola itself, thus insuring
positively the fecundation of the Cyprian queens by Carniolan drones.
Bees combining the blood of the two races in various proportions have
since been tested for years in comparison with all other known races,
with the result that the cross mentioned above has been found to exceed
all of the pure races in honey-gathering powers, owing undoubtedly
to the combination of great energy, hardiness, prolificness, and
wing-power, as well as greater length of tongue--a fact established by
actual measurements. Similar results, with even greater gentleness,
may be expected from the cross obtained between Cyprian queens and
Caucasian drones.

=Syrian and Palestine or "Holy-Land" bees.=--What has been
said of Cyprians may be taken to apply in a general sense to Syrian
and Palestine bees, except that in these the good qualities are
slightly less prominent, while some of the bad ones of the Cyprians
are accentuated. No separate description of these is, therefore,
particularly necessary in this place.

=German, Common Black, or Brown bees.=--The bees commonly found
wild, and cultivated to a greater or less extent, in this country,
and known under the above name, are probably derived from early
introductions from the Old World. In comparison with the races above
enumerated, they may be said to be inferior, since they possess the
least energy in honey collecting, are less prolific, and not as good
defenders of their hives. Under favorable conditions, however, as
regards pasturage they may be relied upon for excellent results. They
are, however, spiteful under manipulation, and have the disagreeable
habit of running from the combs and dropping in bunches on the ground,
likewise of flying from the hive entrance and attacking passers-by.
They are more easily discouraged than other bees during slack times as
regards honey production, and this is doubtless the main reason for
their generally inferior economic value.


The suspended Langstroth frame is used more than any other frame among
English-speaking bee keepers. It is safe to say that in the United
States 500 hives are made and used which are essentially Langstroth in
principle to one frame hive of any other kind whatever. In the British
Islands, Australia, and New Zealand the proportion of frames on the
Langstroth principle in use is probably even greater, scarcely any
other frame hives being employed.

The success of American bee culture in the last twenty years was first
attributed by European bee keepers to the honey-producing power of
the country; but the most intelligent apiarists who have tried the
American methods with the Langstroth hive now recognize that success is
principally due to the manipulations that it permits. ("The Hive and
Honey Bee," revised, 1888, page 145.)

We can predict, and without any fear of mistake, that the principles on
which the Langstroth hive is based will be admitted sooner or later by
the most progressive bee keepers of the world. ("Revue Internationale
d'Apiculture" (Switzerland), September, 1885, edited by Edouard

[Illustration: Fig. 4.--Langstroth hive with two half-depth
supers for surplus honey.]

There being no patent on the Langstroth hive, and accurately made hives
being obtainable at moderate prices from hive factories in various
parts of the country, it is taken for granted that the enterprising
beginner will adopt a simple form embodying this principle--the
loose-fitting, suspended comb frame--as its main feature. The hive
should not only be substantially built, but should have accurate
bee-spaces and a close-fitting, rain-proof cover or roof. Factory-made
hives, as a rule, best meet these requirements, as both lock joints
and halved corners can only be made to advantage by machinery, and the
expert hive builder understands, of course, the absolute necessity of
great accuracy in bee-spaces, as well as the great desirability of good
material and workmanship (figs. 4, 5, and 11). Provision should also
be made for winter protection. (See pages 39-41.)

[Illustration: Fig. 5.--The Langstroth hive--Dadant-Quinby
form--cross section showing construction.]

For comb honey, hives permitting the insertion in the brood apartment
of any number of frames up to eight, or frequently up to ten, are most
in use. In securing extracted honey, those with ten to twelve frames in
each story are preferable, and as many stories, one above the other,
are employed as the strength of the colony and a given harvest may
require. A construction, therefore, which readily admits of expansion
and of contraction, as occasion demands, is desirable.

Mention should be made of a hive of quite different construction, a
prominent feature of which is this ease of contraction and expansion.
It is the last hive which the late M. Quinby gave to the public--the
Quinby closed-end frame hive (fig. 6). This hive is used with great
success by certain American bee keepers of long experience and whose
apiaries are among the largest in the world.

[Illustration: Fig. 6.--Quinby closed-end frames.]



When a swarm is seen issuing or in the air, the best thing to do is, in
general, simply to wait a bit. The weather is usually rather warm then,
and rushing about to get tin pans, dinner gongs, spraying outfits,
etc., aside from its disagreeableness, may get one so excited and into
such a perspiration as to unfit him to do with the bees that which is
likely to be necessary a few minutes later. The bees will probably
gather in a clump on a tree or bush near the apiary, and however
formidable getting them into the hive may at first seem, nothing will
be simpler than shaking them into their new hive, or into a basket or
box, from which they may be poured in front of the hive, just as one
would pour out a measure of wheat or beans. If any stick to the basket
or box, invert it and give a sharp thump with one edge against the
ground. If the hive has been standing in the shade so that the boards
composing it are not heated, and if it be now well shaded and plenty of
ventilation be given above and below, the bees are almost certain to
take possession at once and begin work actively.

The securing of swarms can be made, however, even simpler than this
by having the colonies placed several feet apart on a smooth lawn or
dooryard and clipping one wing of each laying queen so as to prevent
her flying. The prime or first swarm from each hive is accompanied by
the old queen, and if she be clipped she will of course fall from the
alighting board to the ground and may be secured in a cage. The bees
will circle about a few times and return. Meanwhile the only thing for
the attendant to do is to replace the parent colony by an empty hive.
The returning bees will enter the latter and the queen may be allowed
to go in with them, the cage being placed with its open end directly
against the entrance to insure this. The swarm is thus made to hive

The parent colony removed to a new stand a rod or more away will rarely
give a second swarm. But to make certain all queen cells except one may
be cut out four or five days after the issuance of the first swarm.
At the same time one-third to one-half of the remaining bee's of the
removed colony may be shaken at the entrance of the hive containing the
swarm. This reduces the population of the parent colony greatly, but
the loss is soon made good by the young workers emerging daily, and
the new queen which will issue from the single queen cell, spared when
cutting out cells, will soon restock the hive with brood. The shaking
out of additional bees, coupled with the removal of all queen cells
but one, will prevent for the time all further swarming from the given
hive, and in most instances end it for the season. The bees thus added
to the newly hived swarm, even though too young to enter the field at
once as honey gatherers, will nevertheless release from inside work an
equal number of older bees, enabling the latter to go out as field bees.

Each after-swarm (second, third, etc.), it should be borne in mind, is
accompanied by one or more unimpregnated queens, and these must not be
clipped until they have flown out and mated. The regular deposition of
eggs in worker cells may nearly always be regarded as a safe sign that
mating has taken place. Eggs will usually be found in such cells within
the first ten days of the queen's life. After-swarms may remain in the
air, circling about for some time, and they frequently cluster high--a
good reason, in addition to the more important fact that their issuance
is not consistent with the production of the most surplus honey, for
the prevention of all after-swarming.


Where an increase of colonies is desired, and in case no one can
be near the apiary to care for natural swarms with clipped queens,
some one of the artificial methods of forming new colonies may be
advantageously employed. Natural swarming is, however, to be preferred
to a poor system of artificial increase. And no matter which of the
artificial methods be adopted, it should be cautiously followed, lest,
should unfavorable weather appear suddenly, considerable labor and
expense be incurred to prevent disastrous results. It is also of prime
importance not to weaken materially the gathering powers of strong
colonies just at the opening of the harvest or during its progress;
hence, whatever division takes place then must leave the field
force--the gatherers--in one mass and in normal condition for work,
that is, not discouraged by being queenless, and not overburdened by
having brood without a sufficient number of nurse bees to care for it.

=Dividing.=--A plan which fulfills these conditions is the
following: From a populous colony a comb or two with adhering bees and
the queen may be taken and placed in a new hive, which, when other
frames with starters have been added, is then to be put on the stand of
the populous colony from which the combs were taken. The removed colony
is to be taken a rod or more from its old stand, so that the flight
bees returning from the field will enter the newly established colony.
The old colony may be given a laying queen or a mature queen cell a day
or two later This finishes the work in a short time.

=Nucleus system.=--A better plan, though not so quickly completed,
is to take from the populous colony only enough bees and combs to make
a fair nucleus on a new stand. A queen is easily and safely introduced
into this nucleus, or a queen cell is readily accepted a day or two
later. As soon as the young queen has begun egg laying, combs of
emerging brood may be added from time to time. These may be obtained
from any populous colonies whose tendency to swarm it is desirable to
check, the bees adhering to them when they are removed being in all
instances brushed back into their own hive. With fair pasturage the
nucleus will soon be able to build combs and may be given frames of
comb foundation, or, if the queen be of the current year's raising,
frames with narrow strips of foundation as guides may be inserted,
since all combs constructed by the nucleus will be composed of worker

=Shaken or brushed swarms.=--The practice of shaking or brushing
bees from the combs of populous colonies into new hives to form
artificial or forced swarms has been practiced for many years, to a
limited extent in this country and more largely abroad. As early,
at least, as 1872 the late C. J. H. Gravenhorst, the editor of Die
Illustrierte Bienenzeitung, author of Der Praktische Imker, and
inventor of the Bogenstuelper hive, made artificial swarms in this
manner. His articles led the author to experiment in this line and
finally to settle upon the plan of placing colonies designed for honey
production in pairs in the apiary and, after having brought them up to
a suitable strength, shaking or brushing most of the bees of the two
into a third hive at the approach of the main honey flow, one queen
being allowed to enter the new hive with the shaken swarm. The latter
is to be placed on the old stand midway in position between the spots
previously occupied by the parent colonies, these having been removed
some distance, to be managed thereafter as colonies that have swarmed.
The newly shaken swarm is to receive comb foundation starters in the
frames and within a day or two surplus receptacles for honey. In case,
however, drawn combs be used in the super, there had better be one or
two frames in the brood apartment partly filled with completed comb
to hold the first pollen collected. The shaking or brushing should
be done toward the latter part of the day and during a time when new
honey is coming in, or in the absence of the latter liberal feeding
should precede the shaking and be kept up until the start of the honey
flow. The shaken swarm is thus brought into quite the same condition
as usually obtains in the case of a natural swarm. It is able to send
out a strong gathering force at once and will store honey rapidly. The
increase of 50 per cent is as large as is consistent with the securing
of the best honey yield.


Under the conditions most frequently occurring, however--that is, where
it is not practicable to be present at all times during the swarming
season, or where the desired number of colonies has been attained--a
system of management is advisable which in general contemplates the
prevention, in so far as possible, of the issuance of swarms without at
the same time interfering with honey storing. The paragraphs following
on this subject are taken from the Department publication "The Honey
Bee," cited on page 15, footnote:

  The most commonly practiced and easily applied preventive measure
  is that of giving abundant room for storage of honey. This to be
  effective should be given early in the season, before the bees get
  fairly into the swarming notion, and the honey should be removed
  frequently, unless additional empty combs can be given in the case
  of colonies managed for extracted honey, while those storing in
  sections should be given additional supers before those already on
  are completed. With colonies run for comb honey it is not so easy
  to keep down swarming as in those run for extracted honey and kept
  supplied with empty comb. Free ventilation and shading of the hives as
  soon as warm days come will also tend toward prevention. Opening the
  hives once or twice weekly and destroying all queen cells that have
  been commenced will check swarming for a time in many instances, and
  is a plan which seems very thorough and the most plausible of any to
  beginners. But sometimes swarms issue without waiting to form cells;
  it is also very difficult to find all cells without shaking the bees
  from each comb in succession, an operation which, besides consuming
  much time, is very laborious when supers have to be removed, and
  greatly disturbs the labors of the bees. If but one cell is overlooked
  the colony will still swarm. The plan therefore leaves at best much to
  be desired, and is in general not worth the effort it costs and can
  not be depended on.

[Illustration: Fig. 7.--The Simmins nonswarming
system--single-story hive with supers: _bc_, brood chamber; _sc_,
supers; _st_, starters of foundation; _e_, entrance.]

  =Dequeening.=--The removal of a queen at the opening of a
  swarming season interferes, of course, with the plans of the bees,
  and they will then delay swarming until they get a young queen. Then,
  if the bee keeper destroys all queen cells before the tenth day,
  swarming will again be checked. But to prevent swarming by keeping
  colonies queenless longer than a few days at most is to attain a
  certain desired result at a disproportionate cost, for the bees will
  not store diligently when first made queenless, and the whole yield
  of honey, especially if the flow is extended over some time, or other
  yields come later in the season, is likely or even nearly sure to
  be less from such colonies, while the interruption to brood roaring
  may decimate the colony and prove very disastrous to it. The plan is
  therefore not to be commended.

  =Requeening.=--Quite the opposite of this, and more efficacious
  in the prevention of swarming, is the practice of replacing the old
  queen early in the season with a young one of the same season's
  raising, produced, perhaps, in the South before it is possible to
  rear queens in the North. Such queens are not likely to swarm during
  the first season, and, as they are vigorous layers, the hive will
  be well populated at all times and thus ready for any harvest. This
  is important, inasmuch as a flow of honey may come unexpectedly
  from some plant ordinarily not counted upon; and also, since the
  conditions essential to the development of the various honey-yielding
  plants differ greatly, their time and succession of honey yield
  will also differ with the season the same as the quantity may vary.
  Young queens are also safest to head the colonies for the winter.
  The plan is conducive to the highest prosperity of the colonies,
  and is consistent with the securing of the largest average yield of
  honey, since, besides giving them vigorous layers, it generally keeps
  the population together in powerful colonies. It is therefore to be
  commended on all accounts as being in line with the most progressive
  management, without at the same time interfering with the application
  of other preventive measures.

  =Space near entrances.=--Arranging frames with starters, or combs
  merely begun, between the brood nest and the flight hole of the hive,
  while the bees are given storing space above or back of the brood nest
  (figs. 7 and 8), is a plan strongly recommended by Mr. Samuel Simmins,
  of England, and which has come to be known as "the Simmins nonswarming
  method," some features of it and the combination into a well-defined
  method having been original with him. It is an excellent preventive
  measure, though not invariably successful, even when the distinctive
  features brought forward prominently by Mr. Simmins--empty space
  between the brood combs and entrance, together with the employment of
  drawn combs in the supers--are supplemented by other measures already
  mentioned; but when, in addition to the space between the brood and
  the flight hole, the precaution be taken to get supers on in time, to
  ventilate the hive well, and to keep queens not over two years old,
  swarming will be very limited. If to these precautions be added that
  of substituting for the old queens young ones of the current season's
  raising, before swarming has begun, practical immunity from swarming
  is generally insured.

  =Selection in breeding.=--Some races of bees show greater
  inclination than others toward swarming, and the same difference can
  be noted between individual colonies of a given race; therefore,
  whatever methods be adopted to prevent or limit increase, no doubt
  the constant selection of those queens to breed from whose workers
  show the least tendency toward swarming would in time greatly reduce
  this disposition. Indeed, it is perfectly consistent to believe that
  persistent effort, coupled with rigid and intelligent selection, will
  eventually result in a strain of bees quite as much entitled to be
  termed nonswarming as certain breeds of fowls which have been produced
  by artificial selection are to be called nonsitters. These terms are
  of course only relative, being merely indicative of the possession
  of a certain disposition in a less degree than that shown by others
  of the same species. It might never be possible to change the nature
  of our honeybees so completely that they would never swarm under any
  circumstances, and even if possible it would take a long period, so
  strongly implanted seems this instinct. But to modify it is within
  the reach of any intelligent breeder who will persistently make the
  effort. Such work should be undertaken in experimental apiaries where
  its continuance when a single point has been gained will not be
  affected by the changes of individual fortunes.

[Illustration: Fig. 8.--The Simmins nonswarming
system--double-story hive with supers: _bc_, brood chamber; _sc_,
supers; _st_, chamber with starters of comb foundation; _e_, entrance.]


With a small apiary, planting for honey alone certainly can not be made
profitable. Small plats of honey-producing plants are valuable mainly
because they afford an opportunity of observing when and under what
circumstances the bees work on certain blossoms, and for the purpose
of determining what might be depended upon to fill a gap in the honey
resources of a given locality whenever the size of the apiary might
make this a consideration of some importance. Even with a large apiary
probably no case exists in which, in the present condition of the
subject, planting for honey alone would prove profitable. But when
selecting crops for cultivation for other purposes, or shrubs and trees
for planting, the bee keeper should of course choose such as will also
furnish honey at a time when pasturage for his bees would otherwise be

As complete a list as possible should be made of the plants and
trees visited by honeybees, and notes should be added as to period
of blossoming, importance of yield, whether honey or pollen or both
of these are collected, quality of the product, etc. If gaps occur
during which no natural forage abounds for the bees, some crop can
usually be selected which will fill the interval, and, while supplying
a continuous succession of honey-yielding blossoms for the bees, will
give in addition a yield of fruit, grain, or forage from the same
land. The novice is warned, however, not to expect too much from a
small area. He must remember that as the bees commonly go 2-1/2 to 3
miles in all directions from the apiary, they thus range over an area
of 12,000 to 18,000 acres, and if but 1 square foot in 100 produces a
honey-yielding plant they still have 120 to 180 acres of pasturage, and
quite likely the equivalent of 30 to 40 acres may be in bloom at one
time within range of the bees. A few acres more or less at such a time
will therefore not make a great deal of difference.

But if coming between the principal crops--especially if the bees, as
is often the case, would otherwise have no pasturage at all--the area
provided for them may be of greater relative importance than the larger
area of natural pasturage; for it frequently occurs that the smaller
part only of the honey produced by the field over which the bees of an
apiary range can be collected by them before it is washed out by rains,
or the liquid portion is evaporated and the blossoms withered, while
a smaller area may be more assiduously visited, and, the nectar being
gathered as fast as secreted, a greater yield per acre may result.

It is further of some importance to fill in such a gap with something
to keep the bees busy, instead of letting them spend their time trying
to rob one another; and, what is probably even more important, the
pasturage thus furnished will keep up brood rearing and comb building
and assist materially in preparing the colonies for the succeeding
honey flow.

There are many plants and trees of economic value, in addition to their
production of honey, which may be utilized in one portion or another of
the United States in the manner indicated. Adaptability to climate and
soil, the periods of honey dearth to be filled in, markets for the crop
produced, etc., must all come in to influence the choice. The following
list includes the more important plants of economic value in this
country which are good honey and pollen yielders. Most of those named
are adapted to a considerable portion of the Union. Except in the case
of plants restricted to the South, the dates given are applicable, in
the main, to middle latitudes.


=Filbert bushes=, useful for wind-breaks and for their nuts, yield
pollen in February and March.

=Rape= can be grown successfully in the North for pasturage, for
green manuring, or for seed, and when permitted to blossom yields
considerable pollen and honey. Winter varieties are sown late in the
summer or early in the autumn, and blossom in April or May following.
This early yield forms an excellent stimulus to brood rearing. Summer
or bird rape, grown chiefly for its seed, blossoms about a month after
sowing. It does best during the cooler months of the growing season.

=Russian or hairy vetch= is a hardy leguminous plant of great
value for forage and use in green manuring. The blossoms appear early
in the season, and, where there is any lack in early pollen, especially
in northern and cool regions, this vetch will be found of great value
to the bees.

=Fruit blossoms=--apricot, peach, pear, plum, cherry, apple,
currant, and gooseberry--yield pollen and honey in abundance during
April or May; strawberry and blackberry are sometimes visited freely by
bees, but are generally far less important than the others mentioned.
Colonies that have wintered well often gather during apple bloom 12 to
15 pounds of surplus honey of fine quality. The raspberry secretes a
large amount of nectar of superb quality, and coming in May or June,
thus later than the other fruit blossoms and when the colonies are
stronger and the weather is more settled, full advantage can nearly
always be taken of this yield. Grape and persimmon blossom also in
June; the latter is an excellent source. In subtropical portions of the
country orange and lemon trees yield fine honey in March and April, and
the cultivation of the banana has added a profuse honey yielder which
puts forth successive blossoms all through the summer months.

=Locust=, =tulip tree= ("poplar," or whitewood), and
=horse-chestnut=, useful for shade, ornament, and timber, are all
fine honey producers in May. The locust yields light-colored, clear
honey of fine quality, the others amber-colored honey of good body and
fair flavor.

=Clovers.=--Crimson, blossoming in April or May, yields fine,
light-colored honey; white, alsike, and mammoth or medium, blossoming
in May, June, and July, give honey of excellent quality and rich yellow

=Mustard= grown for seed flowers from June to August. The honey is
somewhat acrid and crystallizes soon, yet the plant, where abundant, is
of much importance to the bees and the bee keeper in case other forage
is scant at the time.

=Asparagus= blossoms are much visited by bees in June and July.

=Esparcet=, or =sainfoin=, yields in May and June fine honey,
almost as clear as spring water. It is a perennial leguminous plant,
rather hardy, an excellent forage crop, and particularly valuable for
milch cows. It succeeds best on a limestone soil or when lime is used
as a fertilizer, and is itself an excellent green manure for soils
deficient in nitrogen and phosphoric acid.

=Sulla, or sulla clover=, a perennial plant, closely related to
esparcet or sainfoin, succeeds, like the latter, best upon limestone
soil or when fertilized with lime. It yields a splendid quality of
honey from beautiful pink blossoms, which continue during May and
June. The plant is an excellent soil fertilizer and of great value in
connection with the feeding of stock, particularly dairy animals. It
is, however, much less hardy than esparcet, and success with it can
therefore hardly be looked for above the latitude of North Carolina
and Arkansas. When the qualities and requirements of this plant
were brought by the writer to the notice of a prominent scientific
agriculturist of the South, this gentleman suggested as very probable
that the black belt of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas would
be well adapted to it, the lands of this region being exceedingly
strong in lime. In portions of southern Europe sulla clover is a most
important forage crop for farm stock as well as for honey bees.

=Serradella= is an annual leguminous plant which will grow on
sandy land, and which yields, besides good forage, clear honey of good
quality in June and July.

=Chestnut=, valuable for timber, ornament, shade, and nuts, yields
honey and pollen in June or July.

=Linden=, =sourwood=, and =catalpa=, fine shade,
ornamental, and timber trees, yield great quantities of first quality
honey in June and July.

=Cotton.=--In the South cotton blossoms, appearing as they do in
succession during the whole summer, often yield considerable honey. It
would appear, however, that when the plants are very rank in growth the
blossoms--being correspondingly large--are too deep for the bees to
reach the nectar.

=Chicory=, raised for salad and for its roots, is, whenever
permitted to blossom, eagerly visited for honey in July and August.

=Sweet, medicinal, and pot herbs=, such as marjoram, savory,
lavender, catnip, balm, sage, thyme, etc., when allowed to blossom,
nearly all yield honey in June, July, or August. Where fields of them
are grown for the seed the honey yield may be considerable from this

=Alfalfa= furnishes in the West a large amount of very fine honey
during June and July. Its importance there as a forage crop is well
known, but how far eastward its cultivation may be profitably extended
is still a question, and even should it prove of value in the East as
a forage plant, its honey-producing qualities there would be still

=Parsnips=, when left for seed, blossom freely from June to
August, inclusive, and are much frequented by honey bees.

=Peppermint=, raised for its foliage, from which oil is distilled,
is most frequently cut before the bees derive much benefit from it, but
whenever allowed to blossom it is eagerly sought after by them, and
yields honey freely during July and August.

=Bokhara=, or =sweet clover=, is in some sections of the
country considered a valuable forage crop. Animals can be taught to
like it, and it is very valuable as a restorer of exhausted lime soils,
while in regions lacking in bee pasturage during the summer months it
is a very important addition. It withstands drought remarkably well and
yields a large quantity of fine honey.

=Cucumber=, =squash=, =pumpkin=, and =melon=
blossoms furnish honey and some pollen to the bees in July and August.

=Eucalypti=, valuable for their timber and as ornaments to lawn
and roadside, are quick-growing trees adapted to the southern portions
of the United States. They yield much honey between July and October.

The =carob tree=, whose cultivation has been commenced in the
Southwest, is an excellent honey yielder in late summer. It is an
ornamental tree and gives, in addition to honey, another valuable
product--the carob bean of commerce.

=Sacaline=, a forage and ornamental plant of recent introduction,
is a great favorite with bees. It blossoms profusely during August,
is a hardy perennial, and thrives in wet and also fairly in dry
situations, withstanding the ordinary summer drought of the Eastern
States because of its deeply penetrating roots.

=Buckwheat= is an important honey and pollen producer. Its
blossoms appear about four weeks after the seed is sown, hence it may
be made to fill in a summer dearth of honey plants.


Good wintering, followed by careful conservation of the natural warmth
of the colony, the presence of a prolific queen--preferably a young
one--with abundant stores for brood rearing, are, together with the
prevention, in so far as possible, of swarming, the prime conditions
necessary to bring a colony of bees to the chief honey flow in shape
to enable it to take full advantage of the harvest. In addition it is
only necessary to adjust the surplus honey receptacles in time, making
the space given proportionate to the strength of the colony, and, while
continuing to prevent as far as possible the issuance of swarms, to
remove the accumulated honey fast enough to give abundant storage room.


To secure extracted honey, the requisite number of combs may be in
one long hive, or in stories one above another. Preference is most
generally given to the latter plan. The brood apartment is made in
this case to hold eight to twelve Langstroth frames, and a second, and
sometimes a third or even a fourth story, may be added temporarily.
These added stories may be for full-depth frames, or, for convenience
in handling and in order to be able to control more closely the
amount of space given, they may be half the usual depth, and but one
of the half-depth stories added at a time. If numerous sets of combs
are at hand, or if it is desirable to have others built, additional
stories are put on as fast as the combs already occupied by the bees
are filled. Before removing the filled combs time should be allowed
the bees to ripen and cap the honey; hence enough combs are necessary
to give the bees storage room while they are capping others, the
honey in combs that are quite or nearly sealed over may be considered
sufficiently ripened to be removed from the hive.

[Illustration: Fig. 9.--Quinby uncapping knife.]

It should also be taken promptly, in order to keep the various grades
or kinds separate. However, when the combs of a given super are
completely filled and sealed it may be marked and left on the hive if
more convenient to be extracted later.

The cells are uncapped by means of a sharp knife, made especially for
this purpose (fig. 9), and the combs are then made to revolve rapidly
in the honey extractor (fig. 10). The centrifugal force exerted on the
honey throws it out, leaving the comb cells uninjured, or so slightly
injured that they are wholly repaired within an hour or so after the
return of the comb to the hive. The chief advantages of this method
of harvesting over that of crushing the combs are at once apparent
when it is known that each pound of comb saved represents several
pounds of honey (consumed in its construction), and may, with care be
used over almost indefinitely in securing surplus honey. Furthermore,
extracted honey is of much finer quality than that obtained by crushing
the combs and straining out the liquid part, since it is free from
crushed bees, larvæ, pollen or "bee bread," etc., which not only render
strained honey dark and strong in flavor, but also make it liable to
fermentation and souring.

The extracted honey is run into open buckets or tanks and left,
covered with cheese cloth, to stand a week or so in a dry, warm room
not frequented by ants. It should be skimmed each day until perfectly
clear, and is then ready to be put into cans or barrels for marketing,
or to be stored in a dry place. Square tin cans, each made to hold 60
pounds of extracted honey, are sold by dealers in apiarian supplies.
This style of package is a convenient one to transport, and is also
acceptable to dealers. Wooden shipping cases are usually constructed so
as to hold two of these cans. Barrels and kegs may be used, especially
for the cheaper grades of honey used chiefly in the manufacture of
other articles. They should be dry, made of well-seasoned, sound wood,
and the hoops driven tight and secured, as well-ripened honey readily
absorbs moisture from wood, causing shrinkage and leakage. They should
also be coated inside with bees-wax or paraffin. This is easily done by
warming the barrels and then pouring in a gallon or two of hot wax or
paraffin, and, after having driven in the bungs tightly, rolling the
barrels about a few times and turning them on end. The work should be
done quickly and the liquid not adhering to the inner surfaces poured
out at once, in order to leave but a thin coating inside.

The surplus combs are to be removed at the close of the season and
hung an inch or so apart on racks placed in a dry, airy room, where
no artificial heat is felt. Mice, if permitted to reach them, will do
considerable damage by gnawing away the cells containing pollen or
those in which bees have been bred, and which therefore contain larval
and pupal skins. Moth larvæ are not likely to trouble them until the
following spring, but upon the appearance of milder weather their
ravages will begin, and if the combs can not be placed under the care
of the bees at once they must be fumigated with burning sulphur or with
bisulphide of carbon.


The main difference to be observed in preparing colonies for the
production of comb honey, instead of extracted, is in the adjustment of
the brood apartment at the time the supers are added. After the colony
has been bred up to the greatest possible strength, the brood apartment
should be so regulated in size, when the honey flow begins and the
supers are added, as to crowd many of the bees out and into the supers
placed above.

[Illustration: Fig. 10.--Automatic reversible honey

On each hive a super is placed (fig. 11) holding 24 to 48 sections,
each section supplied with a strip or a full sheet of very thin
foundation. It is best not to give too much space at once, as
considerable warmth is necessary to enable the bees to draw out
foundation or to build comb. A single set of sections is usually
sufficient at a time. When the honey is designed for home use or for a
local market, half-depth frames are sometimes used, the same as those
often used above the brood nests when colonies are run for extracted
honey, but for the general market pound sections (fig. 12) are better

It is the practice of many to have nice white comb partially drawn out
before the main honey flow begins, or even the season before, feeding
the colonies, if necessary, to secure this; and, when the honey yield
begins, to supply sets of sections with these combs having cells
deep enough for the bees to begin storing in as soon as any honey is
collected. Earlier work in the sections is thus secured, and this, as
is well known, is an important point in the prevention of swarming.
Mr. Samuel Simmins, of England, has long contended for this use of
partially drawn combs, and though it forms a feature of his system
for the prevention of swarming it has been too often overlooked. Comb
foundation is now manufactured with extra thin septum or base and with
the beginnings of the cells marked out by somewhat thicker walls which
the bees immediately thin down, using the extra wax in deepening the
cells. This is not artificial comb, but a thin sheet of wax having
the bases of the cells outlined on it. Complete artificial combs have
never been used in a commercial way, although there exists a widespread
belief to this effect, which is founded on extravagant claims that have
appeared from time to time in newspaper articles.

[Illustration: Fig. 11.--Langstroth hive--super above holding
28 sections for comb honey.]

[Illustration: Fig. 12.--Comb honey stored in pound
section--size 4-1/4 by 4-1/4 inches.]

If the brood apartment has been much contracted when the supers were
added, the queen may go into the sections and deposit eggs unless
prevented by the insertion of a queen excluder (fig. 13). This, merely
a sheet of zinc with perforations which permit workers, but not the
queen, to pass, is placed between the brood apartment and the supers.
The great inconvenience of having brood in some of the sections is
thereby prevented. When the honey in the sections has been nearly
capped over, the super may be lifted up and another added between it
and the brood apartment. Or, should the strength of the colony not be
sufficient, or the harvest not abundant enough to warrant the giving
of so much space, the sections which are completely finished may
be removed and the partly finished ones used as "bait sections" to
encourage work in another set of sections on this hive or in new supers
elsewhere. The objections to the removal of sections one by one, and
brushing the bees from them, are (1) the time it takes, and (2) the
danger that the bees when disturbed, and especially if smoked, will
bite open the capping and begin the removal of the honey, thus injuring
the appearance of the completed sections.

A recent valuable invention, the bee escape (fig. 3), the use of which
is explained on pages 15 and 16, when placed between the super and the
brood nest, permits the bees then above the escape to go down into
the brood apartment, but does not permit their reentering the super.
If inserted twelve to twenty-four hours before the sections are to
be removed, the latter will be found free from bees at the time of
removal, provided all brood has been kept out of the supers.

=Grading and shipping comb honey.=--Before marketing the honey it
should be carefully graded, and all propolis ("bee-glue"), if there
be any, scraped from the edges of the sections. In grading for the
city markets the following rules are, in the main, observed. They
were adopted by the North American Bee-Keepers' Association at its
twenty-third annual convention, held in Washington, D. C, in December,
1892, and are copied from the official report of that meeting:

  =Fancy.=--All sections to be well filled; combs straight, of even
  thickness, and firmly attached to all four sides; both wood and comb
  unsoiled by travel stain or otherwise; all cells sealed except the row
  of cells next to the wood.

  =No. 1.=--All sections well filled, but with combs crooked or
  uneven, detached at the bottom, or with but few cells unsealed; both
  wood and comb unsoiled by travel stain or otherwise.

  In addition to the above, honey is to be classified, according to
  color, into light, amber, and dark. For instance, there will be "fancy
  light," "fancy amber," and "fancy dark," "No. 1 light," "No. 1 amber,"
  and "No. 1 dark."

[Illustration: Fig. 13.--Perforated zinc queen excluder.]

The sections, after grading and scraping, are to be placed in clean
shipping cases having glass in one or both ends (fig. 14). Several of
these may be placed in a single crate for shipment. To prevent breaking
down of the combs it is best to put straw in the bottom of the crate
for the shipping cases to rest on, and the crates should be so placed
as to keep the combs in a perpendicular position. The crates are also
likely to be kept right side up if convenient handles are attached
to the sides--preferably strips with the ends projecting beyond the
corners. Care in handling will generally be given if the glass in the
shipping cases shows.

[Illustration: Fig. 14.--Shipping cases for comb honey.]

Owing to the appearance of statements of a sensational character to
the effect that complete honey combs are manufactured by machinery and
filled with sweets lower in price than honey (glucose, cane sugar, or
mixtures of these), then sealed over and sold in the market as genuine
honey, a strong suspicion exists regarding the comb honey commonly
offered for sale. Wide circulation has been given to these wild stories
by sensational newspaper writers, and even monthly periodicals, usually
far more discriminating and accurate, have repeated them. Some writers
have even tried to locate the "comb honey factories" in given cities,
but investigation has always shown that the locations were mythical.
The forfeit of $1,000 which a reputable firm has had standing for
fifteen years past for a pound of manufactured comb honey of a nature
to deceive the buyer still remains unclaimed.

The National Bee-Keepers' Association, at its annual convention held
in St. Louis in 1904, offered also a like forfeit of $1,000 for
satisfactory proof of the existence of such a thing as manufactured
comb honey. But no claimant has come forward, notwithstanding the
$2,000 which awaits his proof. The fact is, there is no truth in the
"yarn," and no one has thus far shown the thing possible. The comb
honey in the markets is pure and wholesome--a healthful and nourishing
sweet, easier to digest than cane sugar or any of the sirups so
commonly sold. It is worth a place on the tables of all who can afford
to use it.


No method has yet been brought forward which will enable one, at the
present relative prices of honey and wax, to turn the whole working
force of the bees, or even the greater part of it, into the production
of wax instead of honey; in fact, the small amount of wax produced
incidentally in apiaries managed for extracted or for section honey
is usually turned into honey the following season; that is, it is
made into comb foundation, which is then employed in the same hives
to increase their yield of marketable honey. It is even the case that
in most apiaries managed on approved modern methods more pounds of
foundation are employed than wax produced; hence less progressive
bee keepers--those who adhere to the use of box hives and who can
not therefore utilize comb foundation--are called upon for their wax
product. As each pound of wax represents several pounds of honey, all
cappings removed when preparing combs for the extractor, all scrapings
and trimmings and bits of drone comb, are to be saved and rendered
into wax. This is best done in the solar wax-extractor (fig. 15), the
essential parts of which are a metal tank with wire-cloth strainer and
a glass cover, the latter generally made double. The bottom of the
metal tank is strewn with pieces of comb, the glass cover adjusted, and
the whole exposed to the direct rays of the sun. A superior quality of
wax filters through the strainer.

[Illustration: Fig. 15.--Solar wax-extractor.]

[Illustration: Fig. 16.--Steam wax-extractor.]

Another method is to inclose the cappings or combs to be rendered in
a coarse sack and weight this down in a tin boiler partly filled with
rain water or soft spring water and boil slowly until little or no more
wax can be pressed out of the material in the sack. Melting in an iron
receptacle makes the wax dark colored. A special utensil made of tin,
for use as a wax-extractor (fig. 16) over boiling water, can also be
had. The bits of comb are placed in this, in an inside can having fine
perforations, through which the steam from below enters and melts out
the wax, which drips from a spout into another receptacle partly filled
with water, from the surface of which the cake of wax may be removed
when cold.


How to bring bees successfully through the winter in the colder
portions of the United States is a problem which gives anxiety to all
who are about to attempt it for the first time in those sections, and
even many who have kept bees for years still find it their greatest
difficulty. It may happen occasionally that a queen, apparently young
and vigorous in the autumn, will die during the winter, when a young
one can not be reared, and as a result the colony will dwindle away.
Such losses are, however, rare, and, aside from the possible results
of fire, flood, or violent storms, are about the only ones which can
not be avoided by careful attention to right methods in wintering.
Insufficient or poor winter stores, hives faulty in construction,
lack of protection from cold and dampness, too much or too little
ventilation, too great a proportion of old bees or too great a
proportion of young ones, overmanipulation late in the season, etc.,
are the most important and most easily detected causes of loss in
wintering bees. In some instances colonies supposed to have been placed
in the same condition under which others have wintered well become
diseased and die or dwindle away without prominent signs of disease.
It is evident, however, that some condition existed in one case which
was not present in the other, or that, in spite of some unfavorable
condition, the favorable ones combined, in the first instance, to
render the wintering successful.

In the South wintering in the open air on the summer stands is the
only method followed, while in the colder portions of the country,
although with proper precautions bees may be wintered successfully in
the open air, many prefer to house them in special repositories built
with double walls, or to place them in darkened cellars, or in clamps.
Indoor wintering should be confined to regions where there are several
weeks, at least, of continued severe weather. When all conditions are
right, consumption of honey will be less indoors and loss of bee life
less than with the methods usually practiced in outdoor wintering.
Under proper conditions, however, especially when abundant protection
has been given, colonies out of doors will consume no more food nor
meet with greater losses in numbers than those wintered under favorable
conditions indoors. In wintering indoors certain essential conditions
are, in a measure, beyond the control of the bee keeper, hence must be
left to chance, and certain other conditions and emergencies liable to
arise, though easily understood and met by the man of experience in
this direction, are yet very likely to be overlooked by the novice or
to be puzzling and disastrous to him. For these reasons it is safer
for him to keep closer to the natural method at first and try outdoor

In wintering out of doors the conditions within the control of the
bee keeper are more readily perceived and easier to meet, and though
the original work of preparation for good wintering out of doors is
greater per colony, yet the work during the winter itself and the
following spring is likely to be less; moreover, the feeling of greater
security, as well as the greater certainty of finding the colonies in
good condition to begin gathering in the spring, are points well worthy
of consideration. In other words, indoor wintering should be left to
such experienced bee keepers as may prefer it and are located in cold
climates, while novices, wherever located, should first endeavor to
meet the requirements of successful outdoor wintering; that is, to
prepare the colonies so that Nature, whatever her mood as regards the
weather, will bring her tiny charges safely through the perils and
vicissitudes of the winter months.


Whatever method be followed in wintering, certain conditions regarding
the colony itself are plainly essential: First, it should have a good
queen; second, a fair-sized cluster of healthy bees, neither too old
nor too young; third, a plentiful supply of good food. The first of
these conditions may be counted as fulfilled if the queen at the head
of the colony is not more than two years old, is still active, and
has always kept her colony populous; yet a younger queen--even one
of the current season's rearing, and thus but a few weeks or months
old--is if raised under favorable conditions, much to be preferred.
The second point is met if brood rearing has been continued without
serious interruption during the latter part of the summer and the
cluster of bees occupies, on a cool day in autumn, six to eight or more
spaces between the combs, or forms a compact cluster 8 or 10 inches
in diameter. Young bees, if not weir protected by older ones, succumb
readily to the cold, while quite old bees die early in the spring,
and others, which emerged late in the summer or autumn preceding, are
needed to replace them. The third essential--good food--is secured if
the hive is liberally supplied with well-ripened honey from any source
whatever, or with fairly thick sirup, made from white cane sugar,
which was fed early enough to enable the bees to seal it over before
they ceased flying. The sirup is prepared by dissolving 3 pounds of
granulated sugar in 1 quart of boiling water and adding to this 1 pound
of pure extracted honey. Twenty to 26 pounds for outdoor wintering
in the South, up to 30 or 40 pounds in the North, when wintered
outside with but slight protection--or, if wintered indoors, about
20 pounds--may be considered a fair supply of winter food. A smaller
amount should not be trusted except in case much greater protection be
furnished against the effects of severe weather than is usually given.
A greater amount of stores will do no harm if properly arranged over
and about the center of the cluster, or, in case the combs are narrow,
wholly above the cluster. In many instances it will be a benefit by
equalizing in a measure the temperature in the hive, as well as by
giving to the bees greater confidence in extending the brood nest in
early spring.


A dry, dark cellar or special repository built in a sidehill or with
double, filled walls, like those of an ice house, may be utilized for
wintering bees in extremely cold climates. It should be so built that a
temperature of 42° to 45° F. (the air being fairly dry in the cellar)
can be maintained during the greater part of the winter. To this end
it should be well drained, furnished with adjustable ventilators, and
covered all over with earth, except the entrance, where close-fitting
doors, preferably three of them, should open in succession, so as to
separate the main room from the outside by a double entry way. The
colonies, supplied with good queens, plenty of bees, 20 to 25 pounds
of stores each, and with chaff cushions placed over the frames, are
carried in shortly before snow and severe freezing weather come.

Any repository which is damp or one whose temperature falls below
freezing or remains long below 38° F. is not a suitable place in which
to winter bees. When in repositories, the bees have no opportunity for
a cleansing flight, nor do they, when the temperature rises outside,
always warm up sufficiently to enable the cluster to move from combs
from which the stores have been exhausted to full ones; hence in a cold
repository they may possibly starve with plenty of food in the hive.
As a rule, colonies would be better off out of doors on their summer
stands than in such places.


Cold and dampness are the great winter enemies of bee life. A single
bee can withstand very little cold, but a good cluster, if all other
conditions are favorable, can defy the most rigorous winters of our
coldest States. But if not thoroughly dry, even a moderate degree of
cold is always injurious, if not absolutely fatal. Dampness in winter
is therefore the most dangerous element with which the bee keeper has
to contend. The matter would, of course, be quite simple if only that
dampness which might come from the outside were to be considered, but
when the air of the hive, somewhat warmed by the bees and more or
less charged with the moisture of respiration, comes in contact with
hive walls or comb surfaces made cold by outside air, condensation
takes place, and the moisture trickles over the cold surfaces and
cluster of bees, saturating the air about them or even drenching them,
unless by forming a very compact cluster they are able to prevent it
from penetrating, or by greater activity to raise the temperature
sufficiently to evaporate the surplus moisture, or at least that
portion near them. But this greater activity is, of course, at the
expense of muscular power and requires the consumption of nitrogenous
as well as carbonaceous food. Increased cold or its long continuance
greatly aggravates conditions.

Nature has provided that the accumulation of waste products in the body
of the bee during its winter confinement should be small under normal
conditions, but unusual consumption of food, especially of a highly
nitrogenous nature like pollen, necessitates a cleansing flight, or
diarrheal difficulties ensue, combs and hives are soiled, the air of
the hive becomes polluted, and at last the individual bees become too
weak to generate proper warmth or drive off the surplus moisture which
then invades the cluster and brings death to the colony; or, what is
more frequently the case, a cold snap destroys the last remnant of the
colony, which has been reduced by constant loss of bees impelled by
disease to leave the cluster or even to venture out for a cleansing
flight when snows and great cold prevail.

The problem then is: _To retain the warmth generated by the bees, which
is necessary to their well-being, and at the same time to prevent
the accumulation of moisture in the hive._ A simple opening at the
top of the hive would permit much of the moisture to pass off, but
of course heat would escape with it and a draft would be produced.
Absorbent material about the cluster creates, without free ventilation,
damp surroundings, and again the temperature is lowered. It is only
necessary, however, to surround the bees with sufficient material to
protect them fully against the greatest cold likely to occur, and
to take care also that this enveloping material is of such a nature
and so disposed as to permit the free passage of the moisture which
would otherwise collect in the interior of the hive, and to permit the
escape into the surrounding atmosphere of such moisture as enters this
material from within. This packing should also be fully protected from
outside moisture.

[Illustration: Fig. 17.--Double-walled hive adapted to outdoor
wintering as well as summer use below 40° north latitude in the United
States. Thickness of each wall, 3/8 inch, space between walls, 2
inches, packed with dry chaff or ground cork.]

South of Virginia, Kentucky, and Kansas single-walled hives may be
employed in most localities with good success in outdoor wintering.
On the approach of the cool or the rainy season a close-fitting quilt
should be laid over the frames and several folded newspapers pressed
down on this, or a cushion filled with dry chaff or some other soft
material may be used instead of paper. The cover or roof should be
absolutely rain-proof, yet between this cover and the cushion or
papers should be several inches of space with free circulation of air.
In order to permit this ventilation above the top packing, the cover
should not rest upon the cap or upper story all of the way around, or
if it does, an auger hole in each end, protected by wire-cloth against
the entrance of mice, should give free passage to the air. In the more
northern portion of the section referred to some further protection is
advisable (fig. 17), and is really necessary in the mountainous parts
of the same territory if the best results are to be obtained. Farther
north, and especially in the cold Northwest, much greater protection
becomes an absolute necessity. Quilts with newspapers or thin packing
above do not alone suffice. The side walls of the hive may be made of
pressed straw (fig. 18). These, with top packing, if kept dry outside,
are excellent for outdoor wintering, even in climates so cold that
ordinary wooden hives do not afford sufficient protection.

In the severest climates, however, still greater protection on all
sides of the colony is needed, and packing with chaff or other soft
material is decidedly the best plan. The thickness of this surrounding
packing should be from 2 inches to 8 or 10 inches for single colonies,
according to the severity of the climate, but if four or more colonies
are grouped for the winter, so as to make the natural warmth generated
mutually advantageous, somewhat less packing will be sufficient. A most
important point is to have the soft warmth-retaining packing come in
close contact with the edges of the combs, and above all _not to have a
hive wall, either thick or thin, between this material and the bees_. A
good plan is to construct an open framework or skeleton hive of laths,
cover it with sacking, or, preferably, some less fuzzy cloth which the
bees will not gnaw, and after placing it in an outer wooden case large
enough every way to admit of the necessary packing about the colony,
to fill in on all sides with some dry, porous material (fig. 19). If
the frames are shallow, like the Langstroth, it is better to construct
the inner case so as to place them on end, and thus give a deeper comb
for the winter. Layers of newspapers may come next outside the cloth
covering of the framework. Wheat chaff answers well to complete the
packing. Wool is to be preferred, but is of course too expensive unless
a waste product. Ground cork, waste flax, hemp, sawdust, etc., in fact,
any fine porous material, if thoroughly dry, may be used.

[Illustration: Fig. 18.--The American straw hive (Langstroth
principle) of Hayek Brothers.]

A board passageway 3 or 4 inches wide and three-eighths of an inch high
should connect this inner apartment and the flight hole of the outer
case, thus affording an exit for the bees whenever the weather may
permit them to fly. When these preparations have been completed, the
hive is ready for the combs, which, with adhering bees, are taken from
the summer hive and inserted in the winter hive. A quilt is then laid
on the frames and the top packing put on. This, for convenience, may
be held in a cloth-bottomed tray. It is quite important, as already
mentioned, that air be allowed to circulate freely above the packing.
The outside case must be quite rain-proof or else wholly protected from
the rain by a roof.

All other necessary conditions having been complied with shortly after
the gathering season closed, the combs may be lifted from the summer
hives and placed in these specially arranged winter cases before cold
weather wholly stops the bees from flying out. Thus prepared for the
winter the colonies will need but slight attention from October until
March, or, in the North, even later, and the losses will be limited to
the small percentage of cases due to failure of apparently good queens.

[Illustration: Fig. 19.--Colony of bees with newspapers packed
between inner and outer cases and brood frames on end for the winter.]


Winter losses through disease superinduced by unfavorable surroundings
which it is within the power of the bee keeper to avoid have already
been considered. But one other very serious disease has been widespread.


This is a highly contagious affection which, as it mainly affects the
developing brood in the cells, is commonly known as "foul brood." It is
due to a microbe (_Bacillus alvei_) whose spores are easily transported
from hive to hive by the bees themselves, by the operator, in honey,
or in combs changed from one hive to another. Once established in an
apiary, it usually spreads, unless speedily and energetically checked,
until all of the colonies in the neighborhood are ruined and even
exterminated. The most apparent symptoms are the turning black of
larvæ in open cells, many sealed cells with sunken caps, frequently
broken in and containing dead larvæ or pupæ in a putrid condition,
brown or coffee-colored, jelly-like or ropy in consistency, and giving
off an offensive odor. The disease, though known to exist in nearly
all countries, can hardly be said to be common. The writer, in an
experience of over thirty years in bee keeping in several States of
the Union, as well as in a number of foreign countries, has met the
disease but rarely, and has had but one experience with it in his own
apiary, it having been in this instance brought in by a neighbor who
purchased bees at a distance. It was easily cured, without great loss.
Thus the beginner's risks of disaster in this direction are, if he be
forewarned, comparatively small. He may, furthermore, gain assurance
from the fact that, should the disease invade his apiary, prompt and
intelligent action will prevent serious loss.

The following is the treatment for a colony which still has sufficient
strength of numbers to be worth saving: The bees are to be shaken from
their combs just at nightfall into an empty box, which is to be removed
at once to a cool, dark place. They are to be confined to the box, but
it must be well ventilated through openings covered with wire cloth.
During the first forty-eight hours no food should be given to them, and
during the second forty-eight hours only a small amount of medicated
sirup--a half pint daily for a small colony to a pint for a strong
one. This food is prepared by adding one part of pure carbolic acid or
phenol to 600 or 700 parts of sugar sirup or honey. At the end of the
fourth day the bees are to be shaken into a clean hive supplied with
starters of comb foundation. This hive is to be placed outside on a
stand some distance from all other colonies, and moderate feeding with
medicated sirup or honey should be continued for a few days thereafter.

The combs of diseased colonies which contain brood may be assembled
over a single one of these colonies, or, if the amount of brood be too
great for one colony to care for, over several such diseased colonies,
until the young bees have emerged. All of the honey is then to be
extracted. While it is wholesome as food, it should not be offered
for sale, lest some of it be used in feeding bees or be inadvertently
exposed where foraging bees might find it and carry to their hives the
germs of this disease, harmless to other creatures but so fatal to bee
life. A good use for this honey is to employ it in making vinegar. One
and one-third pounds added to each gallon of rain water or soft spring
water and allowed to ferment for three months in a warm place makes a
quality of vinegar quite equal to the best cider vinegar. Provision for
the free circulation of air through the cask should be made. This is
easily secured by placing the cask, not completely filled, on its side
and boring an auger hole in each end near the upper side, the holes to
be covered with cheese cloth or fine gauze, to keep out insects.

If the honey containing the germs is to be used for feeding bees, it is
to be diluted with half its own quantity, by measure, of water and kept
at the boiling point for three hours in a water bath--a vessel within
another containing water.

The combs from which the honey has been extracted, as well as all of
the pieces built by the bees during their four days' confinement, may
be melted into wax, by thorough boiling in soft water. This wax should
be kept liquid for 48 hours or longer, to allow all impurities to
settle. These will include the foul brood spores, which may then be
removed with, the impure wax by scraping or cutting away the bottom of
the cake. These scrapings should be burned. The same disposition had
better be made of the frames from which the combs containing germs were

In all of this work the utmost care should be exercised to avoid the
dripping of honey about the apiary or the exposure of implements,
receptacles, or combs smeared with or containing honey from the
diseased colonies. It may even be better, in order to save time and
possible risk, where but few combs and a comparatively small amount
of honey are involved, to destroy all of these immediately after
their removal from the hive. The old hive and all utensils used about
the diseased colony should be disinfected by washing in a solution
of corrosive sublimate--one-eighth ounce in one gallon of water--and
should afterwards be exposed to the air and sun for some time. If
healthy colonies are to be manipulated immediately after handling
diseased ones the hands of the operator must also be disinfected by
washing in the solution just mentioned.

Those who care to try and save combs and brood should employ the
remedial method developed by the late Professor Cheshire. This is
explained in full in his work on bee keeping,[C] and a brief statement
of it may also be found in "The Honey Bee," Bulletin No. 1, new series,
of the Bureau of Entomology, United States Department of Agriculture.
Notwithstanding these remedies, some will prefer, where healthy
colonies of bees can be bought at moderate prices, to burn diseased
bees, combs, and frames rather than spend time to effect a cure, and
risk, as they fear they may, the further spread of the pest. To kill
the bees thus is, however, neither profitable, humane, nor necessary,
for if confined as described above and separated at once from the other
colonies, this work being done at nightfall, when all of the bees are
in their hives, the risk of spreading the disease will not thereby be
increased, nor is the labor much greater than that involved in the
removal of combs and bees for burning. And if it be found that the
diseased colonies are weak in numbers and seem, therefore, individually
hardly worth saving, this need not be taken as an excuse for the death
sentence, as several colonies may be smoked and shaken together into
the same box to make a single strong colony, the best queen of the
lot having been selected and caged in the box in such a way that the
workers can release her within a few hours by eating through candy.

[C] "Bees and Bee keeping," by Frank K. Cheshire, F. L. S., F. E. M.
S., London, 1888, Vol. II, pages 554-575.


Among other diseases of a bacterial nature paralysis is most
noticeable, although not to be dreaded as foul brood. It affects the
adult bees only, producing a paralyzed condition of their members and
a swelling up of their bodies. The diseased bees, often set upon by
other workers, lose the hairy covering of their bodies, and, black
and shiny in appearance, may often be seen wriggling away from their
hives to die. In such cases the working force of the affected colony
frequently becomes so greatly reduced as to preclude any return in
the form of honey or swarms during the given season. The source from
which the bees obtain the original infection is unknown, but, once in
the apiary, it is spread mainly by the entrance of affected workers
into healthy colonies, and probably also by the visits which bees from
healthy colonies make to the diseased ones, the latter often being
so weakened in numbers as to be unable to protect their stores from
healthy bees out on robbing expeditions.

Ordinary paralysis may generally be cured by strewing powdered sulphur
over the combs, bees, and along the top bars of the frames, the
precaution first having been taken of removing all unsealed brood. This
brood would be killed by the application of sulphur, but as there is no
danger whatever of spreading the disease by the transfer of brood or
honey from one hive to another, provided absolutely every one of the
adult bees has first been shaken or brushed from the combs, the latter
may be given to healthy colonies which need strengthening.

Another simple plan for getting rid of the disease and yet utilizing
the available strength of the affected colonies is to close their hives
at night and move them a mile or more, locating them, if possible,
outside of the range of other bees. As the brood in these colonies
remains healthy all that is sealed or even well advanced in the larval
stage may have the bees shaken from it and be distributed among the
remaining colonies of the apiary. The bees of the diseased colonies
thus become rapidly reduced in numbers, and several of the colonies
themselves may soon be combined, the best queen being selected to
continue egg deposition. Eventually the diseased apiary becomes, by the
removal of the developing brood and the death of the old bees, reduced
to nothing. None of the queens should be saved nor should any of the
adult workers be returned to the healthy apiary.

A combination of the sulphur cure with the last plan mentioned--that
of getting rid of the disease through the removal of brood combs from
affected colonies--is really, all in all, the best procedure. When a
fairly strong colony has been made up by shaking the adult bees of
two or more together and this removed to an isolated locality, the
application of sulphur may be made before any brood has been started.
It is well, also, to replace the queen with a vigorous one from stock
entirely unrelated to the diseased bees. Should any signs of the
disease reappear, constant removal of the brood should be followed, as
mentioned in the preceding paragraph.

Other bacterial diseases, though existing, have developed only very
locally or have been too limited in the amount of injury inflicted to
require special mention here.


The bee or wax-moth (_Galleria mellonella_ Linn.) is regarded by those
unfamiliar with modern methods in bee keeping as a very serious enemy
to success in this work. It was frequently such when only the common
black bee was kept and the old way of managing, or rather of trusting
to luck, was followed. But with the better races now introduced and
with improved hives and methods, and especially with the care that is
now given to have no colonies queenless long at a time, the wax-moth
larvæ are no longer regarded with great concern.

Some species of wasps take a little honey at times--more particularly
when hives are opened--and they annoy the bees; others capture and
eat workers, as do also the large ant-like "cow-killers" (Mutillidæ),
and certain predaceous flies (Asilidæ), true bugs (Phymatidæ), and
neuropterous and orthopterous insects (Libellulidæ and Mantidæ). The
larvæ of certain beetles (Dermestidæ and Tenebrio) feed upon pollen
and the cast-off skins of developing larvæ and pupæ, and certain of
the Meloid larvæ attach themselves to the bodies of bees as parasites.
Ants (Formicidæ) and cockroaches (Blattidæ), which gather above the
quilts and between the quilts and the tops of the frames in order
to be benefited by the warmth of the cluster of bees, sometimes
help themselves to honey, and their presence annoys the bees more
or less. Some of the insects here mentioned are only found locally,
the predaceous ones being confined mainly to the South, while it may
be said that the general welfare of strong colonies is not often
materially affected nor the return noticeably reduced through the
attacks of any of them.

Spiders, toads, and lizards destroy, in addition to many injurious
insects, also some bees, and should be tolerated in the vegetable
garden rather than in the apiary.

Swallows, kingbirds or bee martins, mice, skunks, and bears only
occasionally commit depredations in the apiary.

Properly constructed hives enable the bees to limit in a great measure
the injury which these various enemies might inflict, and the avoidance
of overswarming, with care to insure the constant presence of a
prolific queen and a supply of food suited to the needs of the colony
at the time, will keep it populous and therefore in shape to repel
attacks or to make good most of the unavoidable losses.


Robbing is sometimes a more serious matter, although it very rarely
happens that a little careful attention just at the right time on the
part of the bee keeper would not avoid all serious trouble on this
score. When bees find nothing to gather during weather when they can
still fly out they are easily tempted to appropriate the stores of
weaker colonies. Exposure of combs of honey at such times may even
occasion a combined attack upon a good colony otherwise quite able to
take care of itself. It is then that the greatest destruction ensues,
for such a colony will defend itself vigorously, and a pitched battle,
with perhaps fifty or sixty thousand Amazons on either side, leaves the
ground literally strewn with dead and dying.

If the invaders conquer, every drop of honey is taken from the
few vanquished that are likely to be still alive; and in turn the
despoilers invariably fight among themselves as to the possession of
the booty. When the robbing takes place during the absence of the
owner, the condition of the robbed colony may not attract immediate
attention, and during warm weather moth larvæ gain full possession of
the combs within a few days. When this condition is observed, the whole
damage is very likely to be attributed to the moth larvæ. Colonies that
have been left queenless for some time, and those weakened by disease
or by overswarming, are especial marks for such attacks. Of course
these defects should be remedied whenever observed, but meanwhile, if
legitimate field work is likely to be interrupted, every colony should
be assisted in protecting itself against assault by having its hive
made secure and the entrance such a narrow pass as to enable a few
workers to repel attack there.

Should robbers get well started before being observed, the entrance
of the hive should be narrowed at once, and wet grass or weeds may be
thrown loosely over it, or a pane of glass may be stood against the
front of the hive in a slanting manner to confuse the intruders. In
extreme cases the attacked colonies may be removed to a cellar for a
few days, plenty of ventilation being given during confinement, and a
new location, apart from other colonies, selected, on which they are to
be placed just at nightfall; or, instead of putting them in the cellar,
they may be taken a mile or more away and returned only when the danger
has passed. With these precautions, little loss is to be feared on this

In general, the intelligent owner who gives careful attention to
certain important points in bee management finds that he very rarely
has disease to contend with, and that the reduction of profits through
the depredations of bee enemies is not, in most parts of the Union,
a serious discouragement. Altogether it seems to the writer that the
risks in these directions are even less in bee keeping than those
usually met in the keeping of other animals, which, like bees, are
legitimately made to contribute to the wealth of the individual and of
the nation.


Many States have in recent years passed laws having for their purpose
the eradication or suppression of contagious diseases among bees. State
and county inspectors have been appointed under these laws, whose duty
it is to go about and ascertain where diseased colonies of bees are
located, and recommend the treatment to be given, or in some cases to
carry out this treatment, even to the complete destruction of colonies
or apiaries where the virulence of the attack seems to warrant it.
Where these laws have been conscientiously and energetically executed,
much has been accomplished toward freeing the apiaries of the given
State from disease.

Some States have passed laws making it a misdemeanor to spray fruit
trees during the time of blossoming, since thereby bees are poisoned,
and besides the injury to the apiarist the pollination of the fruit
blossoms is seriously interfered with.

Laws against the sale of adulterated goods as genuine, known commonly
as pure-food laws, are in operation in some of the States, and where
bee inspectors or bee keepers have taken the pains to have these
laws applied to the marketing of honey, a check has been put upon
the selling of adulterated honey in the liquid form, which has been
practiced to a greater or less extent and still occurs in some of the
city markets.

In general, the rights of bee keepers to own and cultivate bees, either
within the limits of cities or on farms adjoining those devoted to
grazing and general stock raising, are becoming more clearly defined
through decisions of supreme and county courts. In this connection the
work of the National Bee-Keepers' Association should receive mention.

This organization is in no sense a trades union, but has for its
purpose the defense of its members against unjust attacks upon their
legal rights, the suppression, in so far as possible, of the sale of
adulterated honey, the securing of legislation for the protection of
its members and favorable to the general advance of the industry,
as well as the dissemination among its members of advanced ideas in
bee management and information regarding the marketing of apiarian
products. The membership fee of one dollar per annum entitles every
honey producer to membership and participation in all of the benefits
enumerated, as well as to the published report of the annual convention
held by the association. The membership numbers nearly 2,000 at the
present time, and the influence of this large body of intelligent
beemasters is already being appreciably felt in the general advance of
the industry in this country.


As a matter of general information, the following list of journals
relating to apiculture is given. It comprises all those published in
this country at the present time.

  The American Bee Journal, Chicago, Ill.
  Gleanings in Bee Culture, Medina, Ohio.
  The Bee Keepers' Review, Flint, Mich.
  The American Bee Keeper, Falconer, N. Y.
  The Progressive Bee Keeper, Higginsville, Mo.
  Western Bee Journal, Kingsburg, Cal.
  The Rural Bee Keeper, River Falls, Wis.


The following is a list of the Farmers' Bulletins available for
distribution, showing the number and title of each. Copies will be
sent to any address on application to any Senator, Representative, or
Delegate in Congress, or to the Secretary of Agriculture, Washington,
D. C. The missing numbers have been discontinued, being superseded by
later bulletins:

  No.  16. Leguminous Plants.
  No.  22. The Feeding of Farm Animals.
  No.  24. Hog Cholera and Swine Plague.
  No.  25. Peanuts: Culture and Uses.
  No.  27. Flax for Seed and Fiber.
  No.  28. Weeds: And How to Kill Them.
  No.  29. Souring and Other Changes in Milk.
  No.  30. Grape Diseases on the Pacific Coast.
  No.  31. Alfalfa, or Lucern.
  No.  32. Silos and Silage.
  No.  33. Peach Growing for Market.
  No.  34. Moats: Composition and Cooking.
  No.  36. Potato Culture.
  No.  36. Cotton Seed and Its Products.
  No.  37. Kafir Com: Culture and Uses.
  No.  38. Spraying for Fruit Diseases.
  No.  39. Onion Culture.
  No.  41. Fowls: Care and Feeding.
  No.  42. Facts About Milk.
  No.  43. Sewage Disposal on the Farm.
  No.  44. Commercial Fertilizers.
  No.  45. Insects Injurious to Stored Grain.
  No.  46. Irrigation in Humid Climates.
  No.  47. Insects Affecting the Cotton Plant.
  No.  48. The Manuring of Cotton.
  No.  49. Sheep Feeding.
  No.  50. Sorghum as a Forage Crop.
  No.  51. Standard Varieties of Chickens.
  No.  52. The Sugar Beet.
  No.  54. Some Common Birds.
  No.  55. The Dairy Herd.
  No.  56. Experiment Station Work--I.
  No.  67. Butter Making on the Farm.
  No.  68. The Soy Bean as a Forage Crop.
  No.  69. Bee Keeping.
  No.  60. Methods of Curing Tobacco.
  No.  61. Asparagus Culture.
  No.  62. Marketing Farm Produce.
  No.  63. Care of Milk on the Farm.
  No.  64. Ducks and Geese.
  No.  65. Experiment Station Work--II.
  No.  66. Meadows and Pastures.
  No.  68. The Black Rot of the Cabbage.
  No.  69. Experiment Station Work--III.
  No.  70. Insect Enemies of the Grape.
  No.  71. Essentials in Beef Production.
  No.  72. Cattle Ranges of the Southwest.
  No.  73. Experiment Station Work--IV.
  No.  74. Milk as Food.
  No.  76. The Grain Smuts.
  No.  77. The Liming of Soils.
  No.  78. Experiment Station Work--V.
  No.  79. Experiment Station Work--VI.
  No.  80. The Peach Twig-borer.
  No.  81. Com Culture in the South.
  No.  82. The Culture of Tobacco.
  No.  83. Tobacco Soils.
  No.  84. Experiment Station Work--VII.
  No.  85. Fish as Food.
  No.  86. Thirty Poisonous Plants.
  No.  87. Experiment Station Work--VIII.
  No.  88. Alkali Lands.
  No.  89. Cowpeas.
  No.  91. Potato Diseases and Treatment.
  No.  92. Experiment Station Work--IX.
  No.  93. Sugar as Food.
  No.  94. The Vegetable Garden.
  No.  95. Good Roads for Farmers.
  No.  96. Raising Sheep for Mutton.
  No.  97. Experiment Station Work--X.
  No.  98. Suggestions to Southern Farmers.
  No.  99. Insect Enemies of Shade Trees.
  No. 100. Hog Raising in the South.
  No. 101. Millets.
  No. 102. Southern Forage Plants.
  No. 103. Experiment Station Work--XI.
  No. 104. Notes on Frost.
  No. 105. Experiment Station Work--XII.
  No. 106. Breeds of Dairy Cattle.
  No. 107. Experiment Station Work--XIII.
  No. 108. Saltbushes.
  No. 109. Farmers' Reading Courses.
  No. 110. Rice Culture in the United States.
  No. 111. Farmers' Interest in Good Seed.
  No. 112. Bread and Bread Making.
  No. 113. The Apple and How to Grow It.
  No. 114. Experiment Station Work--XIV.
  No. 115. Hop Culture in California.
  No. 110. Irrigation in Fruit Growing.
  No. 118. Grape Growing in the South.
  No. 119. Experiment Station Work--XV.
  No. 120. Insects Afflicting Tobacco.
  No. 121. Beans, Peas, and other Legumes as Food.
  No. 122. Experiment Station Work--XVI.
  No. 123. Red Clover Seed: Information for Purchasers.
  No. 124. Experiment Station Work--XVII.
  No. 125. Protection of Food Products from Injurious Temperatures.
  No. 126. Practical Suggestions for Farm Buildings.
  No. 127. Important Insecticides.
  No. 128. Eggs and Their Uses as Food.
  No. 129. Sweet Potatoes.
  No. 131. Household Tests for Detection of Oleomargarine and Renovated
  No. 132. Insect Enemies of Growing Wheat.
  No. 133. Experiment Station Work--XVIII.
  No. 134. Tree Planting in Rural School Grounds.
  No. 135. Sorghum Sirup Manufacture.
  No. 136. Earth Roads.
  No. 137. The Angora Goat.
  No. 138. Irrigation in Field and Garden.
  No. 139. Emmer: A Grain for the Semiarid Regions.
  No. 140. Pineapple Growing.
  No. 141. Poultry Raising on the Farm.
  No. 142. Principles of Nutrition and Nutritive Value of Food.
  No. 143. The Conformation of Beef and Dairy Cattle.
  No. 144. Experiment Station Work--XIX.
  No. 145. Carbon Bisulphid as an Insecticide.
  No. 146. Insecticides and Fungicides.
  No. 147. Winter Forage Crops for the South.
  No. 148. Celery Culture.
  No. 149. Experiment Station Work--XX.
  No. 160. Clearing New Land.
  No. 161. Dairying in the South.
  No. 152. Scabies in Cattle.
  No. 133. Orchard Enemies in the Pacific Northwest.
  No. 154. The Home Fruit Garden: Preparation and Care.
  No. 155. How Insects Affect Health in Rural Districts.
  No. 156. The Home Vineyard.
  No. 157. The Propagation of Plants.
  No. 168. How to Build Small Irrigation Ditches.
  No. 169. Scab in Sheep.
  No. 161. Practical Suggestions for Fruit Growers.
  No. 162. Experiment Station Work--XXI.
  No. 164. Rape as a Forage Crop.
  No. 166. Culture of the Silkworm.
  No. 166. Cheese Making on the Farm.
  No. 167. Cassava.
  No. 168. Pearl Millet.
  No. 169. Experiment Station Work--XXII.
  No. 170. Principles of Horse Feeding.
  No. 171. The Control of the Codling Moth.
  No. 172. Scale Insects and Mites on Citrus Trees.
  No. 173. Primer of Forestry.
  No. 174. Broom Com.
  No. 175. Home Manufacture and Use of Unfermented Grape Juice.
  No. 176. Cranberry Culture.
  No. 177. Squab Raising.
  No. 178. Insects Injurious in Cranberry Culture.
  No. 179. Horseshoeing.
  No. 181. Pruning.
  No. 182. Poultry as Food.
  No. 183. Meat on the Farm.--Butchering, Curing, etc.
  No. 184. Marketing Live Stock.
  No. 186. Beautifying the Home Grounds.
  No. 186. Experiment Station Work--XXIII.
  No. 187. Drainage of Farm Lands.
  No. 188. Weeds Used in Medicine.
  No. 189. Information Concerning the Mexican Cotton Boll Weevil.
  No. 190. Experiment Station Work--XXIV.
  No. 191. The Cotton Bollworm--1903.
  No. 192. Barnyard Manure.
  No. 193. Experiment Station Work--XXV.
  No. 194. Alfalfa Seed.
  No. 195. Annual Flowering Plants.
  No. 196. Usefulness of the American Toad.
  No. 197. Importation of Game Birds and Eggs for Propagation.
  No. 198. Strawberries.
  No. 199. Corn Growing.
  No. 200. Turkeys.
  No. 201. Cream Separator on Western Farms.
  No. 202. Experiment Station Work--XXVI.
  No. 203. Canned Fruits, Preserves, and Jellies.
  No. 204. The Cultivation of Mushrooms.
  No. 206. Pig Management.
  No. 206. Milk Fever and Its Treatment.
  No. 207. Game Laws for 1904.
  No. 208. Varieties of Fruits Recommended for Planting.
  No. 209. Controlling the Boll Weevil in Cotton Seed and at Ginneries.
  No. 210. Experiment Station Work--XXVII.
  No. 211. The Use of Paris Green in Controlling the Cotton Boll Weevil.
  No. 212. The Cotton Bollworm--1904.
  No. 213. Raspberries.
  No. 214. Beneficial Bacteria for Leguminous Crops.
  No. 215. Alfalfa in the Eastern States.
  No. 216. Control of the Cotton Boll Weevil.
  No. 217. Essential Steps in Securing an Early Crop of Cotton.
  No. 218. The School Garden.
  No. 219. Lessons Taught by the Grain Rust Epidemic of 1904.
  No, 220. Tomatoes.
  No. 221. Fungous Diseases of the Cranberry.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcribers Note

Illustrations moved so as not to split paragraphs. The listing of
publications was reformatted to enhance readability.

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