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Title: Farmers' Bulletin 447: Bees
Author: Phillips, E. F.
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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  Whole and fractional parts of numbers displayed as 17-5/8.

                                                      Issued May 23, 1911

                    U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.

                        =FARMERS' BULLETIN 447.=



                         E. F. PHILLIPS, Ph. D.,

            _In Charge of Bee Culture, Bureau of Entomology._


                       GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE.


                         LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL.

                    U. S. Department or Agriculture,

                                                    Bureau of Entomology,

                                      _Washington. D. C., March 4, 1911._

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith a manuscript entitled "Bees,"
by E. F. Phillips, Ph. D., in charge of bee culture in this bureau.

This paper will supersede Farmers' Bulletins 59 and 397, A few new
illustrations which add greatly to the value of the paper and some minor
alterations in the text are the only changes in this from Farmers'
Bulletin 397; but since it is not now the policy of the department to
issue revised editions, it is recommended that this bulletin be issued
under a new serial number.

In the preparation of this paper the aim has been to give briefly such
information as is needed by persons engaged in the keeping of bees, and
to answer inquiries such as are frequently received from correspondents
of the department. No attempt has been made to include discussions of
bee anatomy, honey plants, or the more special manipulations sometimes
practiced, such as queen rearing. The discussion of apparatus is
necessarily brief.


                                                      L. O. Howard,

                                      _Entomologist and Chief of Bureau._

Hon, James Wilson,

      _Secretary of Agriculture._



  Introduction                                                   5

  Location of the apiary                                         6

  Equipment in apparatus                                         9
    Workshop                                                     9
    Hives.                                                       9
    Hive stands                                                 11
    Other apparatus                                             11

  Equipment in bees                                             12

  Bee behavior                                                  15

  Directions for general manipulations                          19
    Transferring                                                22
    Uniting                                                     24
    Preventing robbing in the apiary                            25
    Feeding                                                     26

  Spring management                                             26

  Swarm management and increase                                 29
    Artificial swarming                                         31
    Prevention of swarming                                      32

  Preparation for the harvest                                   33

  The production of honey                                       33
    Extracted honey                                             34
    Comb honey                                                  36

  The production of wax                                         39

  Preparations for wintering                                    40

  Diseases and enemies                                          42

  General information                                           44
    Breeders of queens                                          44
    Introducing queens                                          44
    Dealers in bee keepers' supplies                            45
    Bee keepers' associations                                   45
    Laws affecting beekeeping                                   45
      Disease inspection                                        45
      Laws against spraying fruit trees while in bloom          46
      Laws against the adulteration of honey                    46
      When bees are a nuisance                                  46
  Supposed injury of crops by bees                              46

  Journals and books on beekeeping                              46

  Publications of the Department of Agriculture on beekeeping   47



  Fig. 1. A well-arranged apiary 7

       2. A ten-frame hive with comb honey super and
            perforated zinc queen excluder                            10

       3. Smoker                                                      11

       4. Bee veil with silk-tulle front                              11

       5 Hive tools                                                   12

       6. Drone and queen trap on hive entrance                       12

       7. Bee escape for removing bees from supers                    13

       8. Spring bee escape                                           13

       9. Bee brush                                                   14

      10. Worker, queen, and drone                                    16

      11. Comb architecture                                           17

      12. Egg, larvæ, and pupa                                        18

      13. Queen cells                                                 18

      14. Handling the frame: First position                          21

      15. Handling the frame: Second position                         21

      16. Handling the frame : Third position                         22

      17. Division-board feeder to be hung in hive in place of frame  27

      18. Feeder set in collar under hive body                        27

      19. "Pepper-box" feeder for use on top of frames                28

      20. Pan in super arranged for feeding                           28

      21. Knives for uncapping honey                                  34

      22. Honey extractor                                             35

      23. Perforated zinc queen excluder                              38

      24. Shipping cases for comb honey                               38

      25. Queen mailing cage                                          45



Beekeeping for pleasure and profit is carried on by many thousands of
people in all parts of the United States. As a rule, it is not the sole
occupation. There are, however, many places where an experienced bee
keeper can make a good living by devoting his entire time and attention
to this line of work. It is usually unwise to undertake extensive
beekeeping without considerable previous experience on a small scale,
since there are so many minor details which go to make up success in the
work. It is a good plan to begin on a small scale, make the bees pay for
themselves and for all additional apparatus, as well as some profit, and
gradually to increase as far as the local conditions or the desires of
the individual permit.

Bee culture is the means of obtaining for human use a natural product
which is abundant in almost all parts of the country, and which would
be lost to us were it not for the honey bee. The annual production of
honey and wax in the United States makes apiculture a profitable minor
industry of the country. From its very nature it can never become one of
the leading agricultural pursuits, but that there is abundant opportunity
for its growth can not be doubted. Not only is the honey bee valuable
as a producer, but it is also one of the most beneficial of insects in
cross-pollinating the flowers of various economic plants.

Beekeeping is also extremely fascinating to the majority of people as a
pastime, furnishing outdoor exercise as well as intimacy with an insect
whose activity has been a subject of absorbing study from the earliest
times. It has the advantage of being a recreation which pays its own way
and often produces no mean profit.

It is a mistake, however, to paint only the bright side of the picture
and leave it to the new bee keeper to discover that there is often
another side. Where any financial profit is derived, beekeeping requires
hard work and work at just the proper time, otherwise the surplus of
honey may be diminished or lost. Few lines of work require more study to
insure success. In years when the available nectar is limited, surplus
honey is secured only by judicious manipulations, and it is only through
considerable experience and often by expensive reverses that the bee
keeper is able to manipulate properly to save his crop. Anyone can
produce honey in seasons of plenty, but these do not come every year in
most locations, and it takes a good bee keeper to make the most of poor
years. When, even with the best of manipulations, the crop is a failure
through lack of nectar, the bees must be fed to keep them from starvation.

The average annual honey yield per colony for the entire country, under
good management, will probably be 25 to 30 pounds of comb honey or 40
to 50 pounds of extracted honey. The money return to be obtained from
the crop depends entirely on the market and the method of selling the
honey. If sold direct to the consumer, extracted honey brings from 10 to
20 cents per pound, and comb honey from 15 to 25 cents per section. If
sold to dealers, the price varies from 6 to 10 cents for extracted honey
and from 10 to 15 cents for comb honey. All of these estimates depend
largely on the quality and neatness of the product. From the gross return
must be deducted from 50 cents to $1 per colony for expenses other than
labor, including foundation, sections, occasional new frames and hives,
and other incidentals. This estimate of expense does not include the cost
of new hives and other apparatus needed in providing for increase in the
size of the apiary.

Above all it should be emphasized that the only way to make beekeeping
a profitable business is to produce only a first-class article. We can
not control what the bees bring to the hive to any great extent, but by
proper manipulations we can get them to produce fancy comb honey, or if
extracted honey is produced it can be carefully cared for and neatly
packed to appeal to the fancy trade. Too many bee keepers, in fact, the
majority, pay too little attention to making their goods attractive. They
should recognize the fact that of two jars of honey, one in an ordinary
fruit jar or tin can with a poorly printed label, and the other in a
neat glass jar of artistic design with a pleasing, attractive label, the
latter will bring double or more the extra cost of the better package. It
is perhaps unfortunate, but nevertheless a fact, that honey sells largely
on appearance, and a progressive bee keeper will appeal as strongly as
possible to the eye of his customer.


In choosing a section in which to keep bees on an extensive scale it is
essential that the resources of the country be known. Beekeeping is more
or less profitable in almost all parts of the United States, but it is
not profitable to practice extensive beekeeping in localities where the
plants do not yield nectar in large quantities. A man who desires to make
honey production his business may find that it does not pay to increase
the apiaries in his present location. It may be better to move to another
part of the country where nectar is more abundant.

[Illustration: Fig. 1.--A well-arranged apiary.]

The location of the hives is a matter of considerable importance. As a
rule it is better for hives to face away from the prevailing wind and to
be protected from high winds. In the North, a south slope is desirable.
It is advisable for hives to be so placed that the sun will strike them
early in the morning, so that the bees become active early in the day,
and thus gain an advantage by getting the first supply of nectar. It is
also advantageous to have the hives shaded during the hottest part of the
day, so that the bees will not hang out in front of the hive instead of
working. They should be so placed that the bees will not prove a nuisance
to passers-by or disturb live stock. This latter precaution may save the
bee keeper considerable trouble, for bees sometimes prove dangerous,
especially to horses. Bees are also sometimes annoying in the early
spring, for on their first flights they sometimes spot clothes hung out
to dry. This may be remedied by having the apiary some distance from the
clothes-drying yard, or by removing the bees from the cellars on days
when no clothes are to be hung out.

The plot on which the hives are placed should be kept free from weeds,
especially in front of the entrances. The grass may be cut with a lawn
mower, but it will often be found more convenient and as efficient to
pasture one or more head of sheep in the apiary inclosure.

The hives should be far enough apart to permit of free manipulation. If
hives are too close together there is danger of bees entering the wrong
hive on returning, especially in the spring.

These conditions, which may be considered as ideal, need not all be
followed. When necessary, bees may be kept on housetops, in the back
part of city lots, in the woods, or in many other places where the ideal
conditions are not found. As a matter of fact, few apiaries are perfectly
located; nevertheless, the location should be carefully planned,
especially when a large number of colonies are kept primarily for profit.

As a rule, it is not considered best to keep more than 100 colonies in
one apiary, and apiaries should be at least 2 miles apart. There are so
many factors to be considered, however, that no general rule can be laid
down. The only way to learn how many colonies any given locality will
sustain is to study the honey flora and the record of that place until
the bee keeper can decide for himself the best number to be kept and
where they shall be placed.

The experience of a relatively small number of good bee keepers in
keeping unusually large apiaries indicates that the capabilities of the
average locality are usually underestimated. The determination of the
size of extensive apiaries is worthy of considerable study, for it is
obviously desirable to keep bees in as few places as possible, to save
time in going to them and also expense in duplicated apparatus. To the
majority of bee keepers this problem is not important, for most persons
keep but a small number of colonies. This is perhaps a misfortune to the
industry as a whole, for with fewer apiaries of larger size under the
management of careful, trained bee keepers the honev production of the
country would be marvelously increased. For this reason, professional
bee keepers are not favorably inclined to the making of thousands of
amateurs, who often spoil the location for the honey producer and more
often spoil his market by the injudicious selling of honey for less than
it is worth or by putting an inferior article on the market.

Out apiaries, or those located away from the main apiary, should be so
located that transportation will be as easy as possible. The primary
consideration, however, must be the available nectar supply and the
number of colonies of bees already near enough to draw on the resources.
The out apiary should also be near to some friendly person, so that
it may be protected against depredation and so that the owner may be
notified if anything goes wrong. It is especially desirable to have it in
the partial care of some person who can hive swarms or do other similar
things that may arise in an emergency. The terms under which the apiary
is placed on land belonging to some one else is a matter for mutual
agreement. There is no general usage in this regard.


It can not be insisted too strongly that the only profitable way to keep
bees is in hives with movable frames. The bees build their combs in these
frames, which can then be manipulated by the bee keeper as necessary.
The keeping of bees in boxes, hollow logs, or straw '"skeps"' is not
profitable, is often a menace to progressive bee keepers, and should be
strongly condemned. Bees in box hives (plain boxes with no frames and
with combs built at the will of the bees) are too often seen in all parts
of the country. The owners may obtain from them a few pounds of inferior
honey a year and carelessly continue in the antiquated practice. In some
cases this type of beekeeping does little harm to others, but where
diseases of the brood are present the box hive is a serious nuisance and
should be abolished.


It is desirable to have a workshop in the apiary where the crop may be
cared for and supplies may be prepared. If the ground on which the hives
are located is not level, it is usually better to have the shop on the
lower side so that the heavier loads will be carried down grade. The
windows and doors should be screened to prevent the entrance of bees.
The wire-cloth should be placed on the outside of the window frames and
should be extended about 6 inches above the opening. This upper border
should be held away from the frame with narrow wooden strips one-fourth
inch in thickness so as to provide exits for bees which accidentally get
into the house. Bees do not enter at such openings, and any bees which
are carried into the house fly at once to the windows and then crawl
upward, soon clearing the house of all bees. The windows should be so
arranged that the glass may be slid entirely away from the openings to
prevent bees from being imprisoned. The equipment of benches and racks
for tools and supplies can be arranged as is best suited to the house. It
is a good plan to provide racks for surplus combs, the combs being hung
from strips separated the distance of the inside length of the hive.


It is not the purpose of this bulletin to advocate the use of any
particular make of hive or other apparatus. Some general statements may
be made, however, which may help the beginner in his choice.

The type of hive most generally used in this country (fig. 2) was
invented by Langstroth in 1851. It consists of a plain wooden box holding
frames hung from a rabbet at the top and not touching the sides, top, or
bottom. Hives of this type are made to hold eight, ten, or more frames.
The size of frame in general use, known as the Langstroth (or L) frame
(9-1/8 by 17-5/8 inches), is more widely used than all others combined.
One of the best features in hive manufacture developed by Langstroth
is the making of the spaces between frames, side walls, and supers
accurately, so that there is just room for the easy passage of bees. In
a space of this size (called a "bee space") bees rarely build comb or
deposit propolis.

The number of frames used depends on the kind of honey produced (whether
comb or extracted) and on the length of honey flow and other local
factors. There are other hives used which have points of superiority.
These will be found discussed in the various books on beekeeping and in
the catalogues of dealers in bee keepers' supplies. Whatever hive is
chosen, there are certain important points which should be insisted on.
The material should be of the best; the parts must be accurately made,
so that all frames or hives in the apiary are interchangeable. All hives
should be of the same style and size; they should be as simple as it is
possible to make them, to facilitate operation. Simple frames diminish
the amount of propolis, which will interfere with manipulation. As a
rule, it is better to buy hives and frames from a manufacturer of such
goods rather than to try to make them, unless one is an expert woodworker.

The choice of a hive, while important, is usually given undue prominence
in books on bees. In actual practice experienced bee keepers with
different sizes and makes of hives under similar conditions do not find
as much difference in their honey crop as one would be led to believe
from the various published accounts.

[Illustration: Fig. 2.--A 10-frame hive with comb honey super
and perforated zinc queen excluder.]

Hives should be painted to protect them from the weather. It is usually
desirable to use white paint to prevent excessive heat in the colony
during hot weather. Other light colors are satisfactory, but it is best
to avoid red or black.


Generally it is best to have each hive on a separate stand. The entrance
should be lower than any other part of the hive. Stands of wood, bricks,
tile (fig. 2), concrete blocks, or any other convenient material will
answer the purpose. The hive should be raised above the ground, so that
the bottom will not rot. It is usually not necessary to raise the hive
more than a few inches. Where ants are a nuisance special hive stands are
sometimes necessary.

[Illustration: Fig. 3.--Smoker.]

[Illustration: Fig. 4.--Bee veil with silk-tulle front.]


In addition to the hives in which the bees are kept some other apparatus
is necessary. A good smoker to quiet the bees (fig. 3), consisting of a
tin or copper receptacle to hold burning rotten wood or other material,
with a bellows attached, is indispensable. A veil of black material,
preferably with a black silk-tulle front (fig. 4), should be used. Black
wire-cloth veils are also excellent. Even if a veil is not always used,
it is desirable to have one at hand in case the bees become cross. Cloth
or leather gloves are sometimes used to protect the hands, but they
hinder most manipulations. Some sort of tool (fig. 5) to pry hive covers
loose and frames apart is desirable. A screwdriver will answer, but any
of the tools made especially for that purpose is perhaps better. Division
boards drone traps (fig. 6), bee escapes (figs. 7 and 8), feeders
(figs. 17, 18, 19, 20), foundation fasteners, wax extractors, bee brushes
(fig. 9), queen-rearing outfits, and apparatus for producing comb or
extracted honey (figs. 2, 21, 22) will be found described in catalogues
of supplies: a full discussion of these implements would require too much
space in this bulletin. A few of these things are illustrated, and their
use will be evident to the bee keeper. It is best to have the frames
filled with foundation to insure straight combs composed of worker cells
only. Foundation is made from thin sheets of pure beeswax on which are
impressed the bases of the cells of the comb. On this as a guide the
worker bees construct the combs. When sheets of foundation are inserted
they should be supported by wires stretched across the frames. Frames
purchased from supply dealers are usually pierced for wiring. It should
be remembered that manipulation based on a knowledge of bee behavior
is of far greater importance than any particular style of apparatus.
In a short discussion like the present it is best to omit descriptions
of appliances, since supply dealers will be glad to furnish whatever
information is desired concerning apparatus.

[Illustration: Fig. 5.--Hive tools.]

[Illustration: Fig. 6.--Drone and queen trap on hive entrance.]


As stated previously, it is desirable to begin beekeeping with a small
number of colonies. In purchasing these it is usually best to obtain them
near at home rather than to send to a distance, for there is considerable
liability of loss in shipment. Whenever possible it is better to get
bees already domiciled in the particular hive chosen by the bee keeper,
but if this is not practicable then bees in any hives or in box hives
may be purchased and transferred. It is a matter of small importance
what race of bees is purchased, for queens of any race may be obtained
and introduced in place of the original queen, and in a short time the
workers will all be of the same race as the introduced queen. This is
due to the fact that during the honey season worker bees die rapidly, and
after requeening they are replaced by the offspring of the new queen.

[Illustration: Fig. 7.--Bee escape for removing bees from

A most important consideration in purchasing colonies of bees is to
see to it that they are free from disease. In many States and counties
there are inspectors of apiaries who can be consulted on this point, but
if this is not possible even a novice can tell whether or not there is
anything wrong with the brood, and it is always safest to refuse hives
containing dead brood.

The best time of the year to begin beekeeping is in the spring, for
during the first few months of ownership the bee keeper can study the
subject and learn what to do, so that he is not so likely to make a
mistake which will end in loss of bees. It is usually best to buy good
strong colonies with plenty of brood for that season of the year, but
if this is not practicable, then smaller colonies, or nuclei, may be
purchased and built up during the summer season. Of course, no surplus
honey can be expected if all the honey gathered goes into the making of
additional bees. It is desirable to get as little drone comb as possible
and a good supply of honey in the colonies purchased.

[Illustration: Fig. 8.--Spring bee escape.]

The question as to what race and strain of bees is to be kept is
important. If poor stock has been purchased locally, the bee keeper
should send to some reliable queen breeder for good queens as a
foundation for his apiary. Queens may be purchased for $1 each for
"untested" to several dollars each for "selected" breeding queens.
Usually it will not pay beginners to buy "selected" breeding queens, for
they are not yet prepared to make the best use of such stock. "Untested"
or "tested" queens are usually as good a quality as are profitable for a
year or so, and there is also less danger in mailing "untested" (young)

Various races of bees have been imported into the United States and among
experienced bee keepers there are ardent advocates of almost all of
them. The black or German race was the first imported, very early in the
history of the country, and is found everywhere, but usually not entirely
pure. As a rule this race is not desirable. No attention has been paid to
breeding it for improvement in this country, and it is usually found in
the hands of careless bee keepers. As a result it is inferior, although
it often produces beautiful comb honey.

The Italian bees, the next introduced, are the most popular race among
the best bee keepers in this country, and with good reason. They are
vigorous workers and good honey gatherers, defend their hives well, and
above all have been more carefully selected by American breeders than any
other race. Especially for the last reason it is usually desirable to
keep this race. That almost any other race of bees known could be bred to
as high a point as the Italians, and perhaps higher, can not be doubted,
but the bee keeper now gets the benefit of what has been done for this
race. It should not be understood from this that the efforts at breeding
have been highly successful. On the contrary, bee breeding will compare
very unfavorably with the improvement of other animals or plants which
have been the subject of breeding investigations.

[Illustration: Fig. 9.--Bee brush.]

Italian bees have been carefully selected for color by some breeders
to increase the area of yellow on the abdomen, until we now have what
are known as "five-banded" bees. These are very beautiful, but it can
scarcely be claimed that they are improved as honey producers or in
regard to gentleness. They are kept mostly by amateurs. Some breeders
have claimed to select Italians for greater length of tongue, with the
object of getting a bee which could obtain the abundance of nectar
from red clover. If any gain is ever made in this respect, it is soon
lost. The terms "red-clover bees" or "long-tongued bees" are somewhat
misleading, but are ordinarily used as indicating good honey producers.

Caucasian bees, formerly distributed throughout the country by
this department, are the most gentle race of bees known. They are
not stingless, however, as is often stated in newspapers and other
periodicals. Many report them as good honey gatherers. They are more
prolific than Italians and may possibly become popular. Their worst
characteristic is that they gather great quantities of propolis and build
burr and brace combs very freely. They are most desirable bees for the
amateur or for experimental purposes.

Carniolan and Banat bees have some advocates, and are desirable in that
they are gentle. Little is known of Banats in this country, Carniolans
swarm excessively unless in' large hives. Cyprians were formerly used
somewhat, but are now rarely found pure, and are undesirable either
pure or in crosses because of the fact that they sting with the least
provocation and are not manageable with smoke. They are good honey
gatherers, but their undesirable qualities have caused them to be
discarded by American bee keepers. ''Holy-land," Egyptian, and Punic
(Tunisian) bees have also been tried and have been universally abandoned.

The Department of Agriculture does not now distribute or sell queen bees
or colonies of bees of any race.


The successful manipulation of bees depends entirely on a knowledge
of their habits. This is not generally recognized, and most of the
literature on practical beekeeping consists of sets of rules to guide
manipulations. This is too true of the present paper, but is due to a
desire to make the bulletin short and concise. While this method usually
answers, it is nevertheless faulty, in that, without a knowledge of
fundamental principles of behavior, the bee keeper is unable to recognize
the seemingly abnormal phases of activity, and does not know what to do
under such circumstances. Rules must, of course, be based on the usual
behavior. By years of association the bee keeper almost unconsciously
acquires a wide knowledge of bee behavior, and consequently is better
able to solve the problems which constantly arise. However, it would save
an infinite number of mistakes and would add greatly to the interest of
the work if more time were expended on a study of behavior; then the
knowledge gained could be applied to practical manipulation.

A colony of bees consists normally of one queen bee (fig. 10, _b_), the
mother of the colony, and thousands of sexually undeveloped females
called workers (fig. 10, _a_), which normally lay no eggs, but build
the comb, gather the stores, keep the hive clean, feed the young, and
do the other work of the hive. During part of the year there are also
present some hundreds of males (fig. 10, _c_) or drones (often removed or
restricted in numbers by the bee keeper), whose only service is to mate
with young queens. These three types are easily recognized, even by a
novice. In nature the colony lives in a hollow tree or other cavity, but
under manipulation thrives in the artificial hives provided. The combs
which form their abode are composed of wax secreted by the workers. The
hexagonal cells of the two vertical layers constituting each comb have
interplaced ends on a common septum. In the cells of these combs are
reared the developing bees, and honey and pollen for food are also stored

The cells built naturally are not all of the same size, those used in
rearing worker bees being about one-fifth of an inch across, and those
used in rearing drones and in storing honey about one-fourth of an inch
across (fig. 11). The upper cells in natural combs are more irregular,
and generally curve upward at the outer end. They are used chiefly
for the storage of honey. Under manipulation the size of the cells is
controlled by the bee keeper by the use of comb foundation--sheets of
pure beeswax on which are impressed the bases of cells and on which the
bees build the side walls.

[Illustration: Fig. 10.--The honey bee: _a_, Worker; _b_, queen; _c_,
drone. Twice natural size.]

In the North, when the activity of the spring begins, the normal colony
consists of the queen and some thousands of workers. As the outside
temperature raises, the queen begins to lay eggs (fig. 12, _a_) in the
worker cells. These in time develop into white larvæ (fig. 12, _b_, _c_),
which grow to fill the cells. They are then capped over and transform
first into pupæ (fig. 12, _d_) and then into adult worker bees. As the
weather grows warmer, and the colony increases in size by the emergence
of the young bees, the quantity of brood is increased. The workers
continue to bring in pollen, nectar to be made into honey, and water
for brood rearing. When the hive is nearly filled with bees and stores,
or when a heavy honey flow is on, the queen begins to lay eggs in the
larger cells, and these develop into drones or males. Continued increase
of the colony would result in the formation of enormous, colonies, and
unless some division takes place no increase in the number of colonies
will result. Finally, however, the workers begin to build queen cells
(fig. 13). These are larger than any other cells In the hive and hang on
the comb vertically. In size and shape they may be likened to a peanut,
and are also rough on the outside. In preparing for swarming the queen
sometimes lays eggs in partly constructed queen cells, but when a colony
becomes queenless the cells are built around female larvæ. The larvæ in
these cells receive special food, and when they have grown to full size
they, too, are sealed up, and the colony is then ready for swarming.

[Illustration: Fig. 11.--Comb architecture: _a_, Vertical section
at top of comb; _b_, vertical section showing transition from worker to
drone cells; _c_, horizontal section at side of comb showing end bar of
frame; _d_, horizontal section of worker brood cells; e, diagram showing
transition cells. Natural size.]

The issuing of the first swarm from a colony consists of the departure
of the original queen with part of the workers. They leave behind the
honev stores, except such as they can carry in their honey stomachs, the
brood, some workers, drones, several queen cells, from which will later
emerge young queens, but no adult queen. By this interesting process the
original colony is divided into two.

The swarm finds a new location in some place, such as a hollow tree, or,
if cared for by the bee keeper, in a hive. The workers build new combs,
the queen begins laying, and in a short time the swarm becomes a normal

[Illustration: Fig. 12.--The honey bee: _a_, Egg; _b_, young larva;
_c_, old larva; _d_, pupa. Three times natural size.]

The colony on the old stand (parent colony) is increased by the bees
emerging from the brood. After a time (usually about seven or eight days)
the queens in their cells are ready to emerge. If the colony is only
moderately strong the first queen to emerge is allowed by the workers to
tear down the other queen cells and kill the queens not yet emerged, but
if a "second swarm" is to be given off the queen cells are protected.

If the weather permits, when from 5 to 8 days old, the young queen flies
from the hive to mate with a drone. Mating usually occurs but once during
the life of the queen and always takes place on the wing. In mating she
receives enough spermatozoa (male sex cells) to last throughout her life.
She returns to the hive after mating, and in about two days begins egg
laying. The queen never leaves the hive except at mating time or with
a swarm, and her sole duty in the colony is to lay eggs to keep up the

When the flowers which furnish most nectar are in bloom, the bees usually
gather more honey than they need for their own use, and this the bee
keeper can safely remove. They continue the collection of honey and other
activities until cold weather comes on in the fall, when brood rearing
ceases; they then become relatively quiet, remaining in the hive all
winter, except for short flights on warm days. When the main honey flow
is over, the drones are usually driven from the hive. By that time the
virgin queens have been mated and drones are of no further use. They are
not usually stung to death, but are merely carried or driven from the
hive by the workers and starve. A colony of bees which for any reason is
without a queen does not expel the drones.

[Illustration: Fig. 13.--Queen cells. Natural size.]

Many abnormal conditions may arise in the activity of a colony, and it is
therefore necessary for the bee keeper to understand most of these, so
that when they occur he may overcome them. If a virgin queen is prevented
from mating she generally dies, but occasionally begins to lay eggs
after about four weeks. In this event, however, all of the eggs which
develop become males. Such a queen is commonly called a "drone layer."

If the virgin queen is lost while on her flight, or the colony at any
other time is left queenless without means of rearing additional queens,
it sometimes happens that some of the workers begin to lay eggs. These
eggs also develop only into drones.

It also happens at times that when a queen becomes old her supply of
spermatozoa is exhausted, at which tune her eggs also develop only into
drones. These facts are the basis of the theory that the drone of the
bee is developed from an unfertilized egg or is partheno-genetic. A full
discussion of this point is impossible in this place.

The work of the hive is very nicely apportioned among the inmates,
so that there is little lost effort. As has been stated, the rearing
of young is accomplished by having one individual to lay eggs and
numerous others (immature females or workers) to care for the larvæ.
In like manner all work of the colony is apportioned. In general, it
may be stated that all inside work--wax building, care of brood, and
cleaning--is done by the younger workers, those less than 17 days old,
while the outside work of collecting pollen and nectar to be made into
honey is done by the older workers. This plan may be changed by special
conditions. For example, if the colony has been queenless for a tune and
a queen is then given, old workers may begin the inside work of feeding
larvæ, and these may also secrete wax. Or, if the old workers are all
removed, the younger bees may begin outside work. As a rule, however, the
general plan of division of labor according to age is probably followed
rather closely.


Bees should be handled so that they will be little disturbed in their
work. As much as possible, stings should be avoided during manipulation.
This is true, not so much because they are painful to the operator, but
because the odor of poison which gets into the air irritates the other
bees and makes them more difficult to manage. For this reason it is most
advisable to wear a black veil (fig. 4) over a wide-brimmed hat and
to have a good smoker (fig. 3). Gloves, however, are usually more an
inconvenience than otherwise. Gauntlets or rubber bands around the cuffs
keep the bees from crawling up the sleeve. It is best to avoid black
clothing, since that color seems to excite bees; a black felt hat is
especially to be avoided.

Superfluous quick movements tend to irritate the bees. The hive should
not be jarred or disturbed any more than necessary. Rapid movements are
objectionable, because with their peculiar eye structure bees probably
perceive motion more readily than they do objects. Persons not accustomed
to bees, on approaching a hive, often strike at bees which fly toward
them or make some quick movement of the head or hand to avoid the sting
which they fear is to follow. This should not be done, for the rapid
movement, even if not toward the bee, is far more likely to be followed
by a sting than remaining quiet.

The best time to handle bees is during the middle of warm days,
particularly during a honey flow. Never handle bees at night or on cold,
wet days unless absolutely necessary. The work of a beginner may be
made much easier and more pleasant by keeping gentle bees. Caucasians,
Carniolans, Banats, and some strains of Italians ordinarily do not sting
much unless unusually provoked or except in bad weather. Common black
bees or crosses of blacks with other races are more irritable. It may be
well worth while for the beginner to procure gentle bees while gaining
experience in manipulation. Later on, this is less important, for the
bee keeper learns to handle bees with little inconvenience to himself or
to the bees. Various remedies for bee stings have been advocated, but
they are all useless. The puncture made by the sting is so small that
it closes when the sting is removed and liquids can not be expected to
enter. The best thing to do when stung is to remove the sting as soon as
possible without squeezing the poison sac, which is usually attached.
This can be done by scraping it out with a knife or finger nail. After
this is done the injured spot should be let alone and not rubbed with any
liniment. The intense itching will soon disappear; any irritation only
serves to increase the afterswelling.

Before opening a hive the smoker should be lighted and the veil put on.
A few puffs of smoke directed into the entrance will cause the bees to
fill themselves with honey and will drive back the guards. The hive
cover should be raised gently, if necessary being pried loose with a
screwdriver or special hive tool. When slightly raised, a little more
smoke should be blown in vigorously on the tops of the frames, or if a
mat covering for the frames is used, the cover should be entirely removed
and one corner of the mat lifted to admit smoke. It is not desirable to
use any more smoke than just enough to subdue the bees and keep them down
on the frames. If at any time during manipulation they become excited,
more smoke may be necessary. Do not stand in front of the entrance, but
at one side or the back.

After the frames are exposed they may be loosened by prying gently with
the hive tool and crowded together a little so as to give room for the
removal of one frame. In cool weather the propolis (bee glue) may be
brittle. Care should be exercised not to loosen this propolis with a
jar. The first frame removed can be leaned against the hive, so that
there will be more room inside for handling the others. During all
manipulations bees must not be mashed or crowded, for it irritates the
colony greatly and may make it necessary to discontinue operations.
Undue crowding may also crush the queen. If bees crawl on the hands, they
may be gently brushed off or thrown off.

[Illustration: Fig. 14.--Handling the frame: First position.]

In examining a frame hold it over the hive if possible, so that any bees
or queen which fall may drop into it. Freshly gathered honey also often
drops from the frame, and if it falls in the hive the bees can quickly
clean it up, whereas if it drops outside it is untidy and may cause
robbing. If a frame is temporarily leaned against the hive, it should be
placed in a nearly upright position to prevent breakage and leaking of
honey. The frame on which the queen is located should not be placed on
the ground, for fear she may crawl away and be lost. It is best to lean
the frame on the side of the hive away from the operator, so that bees
will not crawl up his legs.

[Illustration: Fig. 15.--Handling the frame: Second position.]

In hanging frames the comb should always be held in a vertical position,
especially if it contains much honey. When a frame is lifted from the
hive by the top bar, the comb is vertical with one side toward the
operator (fig. 14). To examine the reverse side, raise one end of the top
bar until it is perpendicular (fig. 15), turn the frame on the top bar as
an axis until the reverse side is in view, and then lower to a horizontal
position with the top bar below (fig. 16). In this way there is no extra
strain on the comb and the bees are not irritated. This care is not so
necessary with wired combs, but it is a good habit to form in handling

It is desirable to have combs composed entirely of worker cells in
order to reduce the amount of drone brood. The use of full sheets of
foundation will bring this about and is also of value in making the
combs straight, so that bees are not mashed in removing the frame. It
is extremely difficult to remove combs built crosswise in the hive, and
this should never be allowed to occur. Such a hive is even worse than a
plain box hive. Superfluous inside fixtures should be avoided, as they
tend only to impede manipulation. The hive should also be placed so that
the entrance is perfectly horizontal and a little lower than the back
of the hive. The frames will then hang in a vertical position, and the
outer ones will not be fastened by the bees to the hive body if properly
spaced at the top.

[Illustration: Fig. 16.--Handling the frame: Third position.]

In placing frames in the hive great care should be exercised that they
are properly spaced. Some frames are self-spacing, having projections on
the side, so that when placed as close as possible they are the correct
distance apart. These are good for beginners or persons who do not judge
distances well and are preferred by many professional bee keepers. If
unspaced frames are used, the brood frames should be 1-3/8 inches from
center to center. A little practice will usually enable anyone to space
quickly and accurately. Careful spacing is necessary to prevent the
building of combs of irregular thickness and to retard the building of
pieces of comb from one frame to another.

A beginner in beekeeping should by all means, if possible, visit some
experienced bee keeper to get suggestions in handling bees. More can be
learned in a short visit than in a considerably longer time in reading
directions, and numerous short cuts which are acquired by experience will
well repay the trouble or expense of such a visit. Not all professional
bee keepers manipulate in the very best way, but later personal
experience will correct any erroneous information. Above all, personal
experimentation and a study of bee activity are absolute necessities in
the practical handling of bees.


In increasing the apiary it is sometimes best to buy colonies in box
hives on account of their smaller cost and to transfer them to hives with
movable frames. This should be done as soon as possible, for box hive
colonies are of small value as producers. The best time to transfer is in
the spring (during fruit bloom in the North) when the amount of honey and
the population of the colony are at a minimum.

Transferring should not be delayed until spring merely because that
season is best for the work. It may be done at any time during the
active season, but, whenever possible, during a honey flow, to prevent
robbing. If necessary, it may be done in a tent such as is often used in
manipulating colonies. By choosing a time of the day when the largest
number of bees are in the field the work will be lessened.

=Plan 1.=--The box hive should be moved a few feet from its stand and
in its place should be put a hive with movable frames containing full
sheets of foundation. The box hive should be turned upside down and a
small, empty box inverted over it. By drumming continuously on the box
hive with sticks for a considerable time the bees will be made to desert
their combs and go to the upper box, and when most of them are clustered
above, the bees may be dumped in front of the entrance of the hive which
is to house them. The queen will usually be seen as the bees enter the
hive, but, in case she has not left the old combs, more drumming will
induce her to do so. It is necessary that the queen be in the hive before
this manipulation is finished. The old box hive containing brood may
now be placed right side up in a new location and in 21 days all of the
worker brood will have emerged and probably some new queens will have
been reared. These bees may then be drummed out and united with their
former hive mates by vigorously smoking the colony and the drummed bees
and allowing the latter to enter the hive through a perforated zinc to
keep out the young queens. The comb in the box hive may then be melted up
and any honey which it may contain used as the bee keeper sees fit. By
this method good straight combs are obtained. If little honey is being
gathered, the colony in the hive must be provided with food.

=Plan 2.=--If, on the other hand, the operator desires to save the combs
of the box hive, the bees may be drummed into a box and the brood combs
and other fairly good combs cut to fit frames and tied in place or held
with rubber bands, strings, or strips of wood until the bees can repair
the damage and fill up the breaks. These frames can then be hung in a
hive on the old stand and the bees allowed to go in. The cutting of
combs containing brood with more or less bees on them is a disagreeable
job, and, since the combs so obtained are usually of little value in an
apiary, the first method is recommended.

=Plan 3.=--Another good plan is to wait until the colony swarms and then
move the box hive to one side. A movable frame hive is now placed in the
former location of the box hive and the swarm is hived in it. In this
way all returning field bees are forced to join the swarm. In 21 days
all of the worker brood in the box hive will have emerged. These young
bees may then be united with the bees in the frame hive and the box hive

Colonies often take up their abode in walls of houses and it is often
necessary to remove them to prevent damage from melting combs. If
the cavity in which the combs are built can be reached, the method
of procedure is like that of transferring, except that drumming is
impractical and the bees must simply be subdued with smoke and the combs
cut out with the bees on them.

Another method which is often better is to place a bee escape over the
entrance to the cavity, so that the bees can come out, but can not
return. A cone of wire cloth about 8 inches high with a hole at the apex
just large enough for one bee to pass will serve as a bee escape, or
regular bee escapes (fig. 8) such as are sold by dealers may be used.
A hive which they can enter is then placed beside the entrance. The
queen is not obtained in this way and, of course, goes right on laying
eggs, but as the colony is rapidly reduced in size the amount of brood
decreases. As brood emerges, the younger bees leave the cavity and join
the bees in the hive, until finally the queen is left practically alone.
A new queen should be given to the bees in the hive as soon as possible,
and in a short time they are fully established in their new quarters.
After about four weeks, when all or nearly all of the brood in the cavity
has emerged, the bee escape should be removed and as large a hole made
at the entrance of the cavity as possible. The bees will then go in and
rob out the honey and carry it to the hive, leaving only empty combs. The
empty combs will probably do no damage, as moths usually soon destroy
them and they may be left in the cavity and the old entrance carefully
closed to prevent another swarm from taking up quarters there.

In transferring bees from a hollow tree the method will depend on the
accessibility of the cavity. Usually it is difficult to drum out the bees
and the combs can be cut out after subduing the colony with smoke.


Frequently colonies become queenless when it is not practicable to give
them a new queen, and the best practice under such conditions is to unite
the queenless bees to a normal colony. If any colonies are weak in the
fall, even if they have a queen, safe wintering is better insured if two
or more weak colonies are united, keeping the best queen. Under various
other conditions which may arise the bee keeper may find it desirable
to unite bees from different colonies. Some fundamental facts in bee
behavior must be thoroughly understood to make this a success.

Every colony of bees has a distinctive colony odor and by this means bees
recognize the entering of their hive by bees from other colonies and
usually resent it. If, however, a bee comes heavily laden from the field
and flies directly into the wrong hive without hesitation it is rarely
molested. In uniting colonies, the separate colony odors must be hidden,
and this is done by smoking each colony vigorously. It may at times be
desirable to use tobacco smoke, which not only covers the colony odor but
stupefies the bees somewhat. Care should be taken not to use too much
tobacco, as it will completely overcome the bees. The queen to be saved
should be caged for a day or two to prevent the strange bees from killing
her in the first excitement.

Another fact which must be considered is that the bees of a colony
carefully mark the location of their own hive and remember that location
for some time after they are removed. If, therefore, two colonies in
the apiary which are not close together are to be united, they should
be moved gradually nearer, not more than a foot at a time, until they
are side by side, so that the bees will not return to their original
locations and be lost. As the hives are moved gradually the slight
changes are noted and no such loss occurs. As a further precaution, a
board should be placed in front of the entrance in a slanting position,
or brush and weeds may be thrown down so that when the bees fly out they
recognize the fact that there has been a change and accustom themselves
to the new place. If uniting can be done during a honey flow, there is
less danger of loss of bees by fighting, or if done in cool weather, when
the bees are not actively rearing brood, the colony odors are diminished
and the danger is reduced.

It is an easy matter to unite two or more weak swarms to make one strong
one, for during swarming the bees have lost their memory of the old
location, are full of honey, and are easily placed wherever the bee
keeper wishes. They may simply be thrown together in front of a hive.
Swarms may also be given to a newly established colony with little


When there is no honey flow bees are inclined to rob other colonies, and
every precaution must be taken to prevent this. Feeding often attracts
other bees, and, if there are indications of robbing, the sirup or honey
should be given late in the day. As soon as robbing begins, manipulation
of colonies should be discontinued, the hives closed, and, if necessary,
the entrances contracted as far as the weather will permit. If brush
is thrown in front of the entrance, robbers are less likely to attempt
entering. At all times honey which has been removed from the hives should
be kept where no bees can get at it, so as not to incite robbing.


During spring manipulations, in preparing bees for winter, and at other
times it may be necessary to feed bees for stimulation or to provide
stores. _Honey from an unknown source should never be used_, for fear
of introducing disease, and sirup made of granulated sugar is cheapest
and best for this purpose. The cheaper grades of sugar or molasses
should never be used for winter stores. The proportion of sugar to water
depends on the season and the purpose of the feeding. For stimulation
a proportion of one-fourth to one-third sugar by volume is enough, and
for fall feeding, especially if rather late, a solution containing as
much sugar as it will hold when cold is best. There seems to be little
advantage in boiling the sirup. Tartaric acid in small quantity may be
added for the purpose of changing part of the cane sugar to invert sugar,
thus retarding granulation. The medication of sirup as a preventive or
cure of brood disease is often practiced, but it has not been shown that
such a procedure is of any value. If honey is fed, it should be diluted
somewhat, the amount of dilution depending on the season. If robbing is
likely to occur, feeding should be done in the evening.

Numerous feeders are on the market, adapted for different purposes and
methods of manipulation (figs. 17, 18, 19). A simple feeder can be made
of a tin pan filled with excelsior or shavings (fig. 20). This is filled
with sirup and placed on top of the frames in a super or hive body. It is
advisable to lean pieces of wood on the pan as runways for the bees, and
to attract them first to the sirup, either by mixing in a little honey or
by spilling a little sirup over the frames and sticks.

It may be stated positively that it does not pay financially, or in any
other way, to feed sugar sirup to be stored in sections and sold as comb
honey. Of course, such things have been tried, but the consumption of
sugar during the storing makes the cost greater than the value of pure
floral honey.


The condition of a colony of bees in the early spring depends largely
upon the care given the bees the preceding autumn and in the method of
wintering. If the colony has wintered well and has a good prolific queen,
preferably young, the chances are that it will become strong in time to
store a good surplus when the honey flow comes.

The bees which come through the winter, reared the previous autumn,
are old and incapable of much work. As the season opens they go out to
collect the early nectar and pollen, and also care for the brood. The
amount of brood is at first small, and as the new workers emerge they
assist in the brood rearing so that the extent of the brood can be
gradually increased until it reaches its maximum about the beginning
of the summer. The old bees die off rapidly. If brood rearing does not
continue late in the fall, so that the colony goes into winter with a
large percentage of young bees, the old bees may die off in the spring
faster than they are replaced by emerging brood. This is known as "spring
dwindling." A preventive remedy for this may be applied by feeding, if
necessary, the autumn before, or keeping up brood rearing as late as
possible by some other means.

[Illustration: Fig. 17.--Division-board feeder to be hung in
hive in place of frame.]

If spring dwindling begins, however, it can be diminished somewhat by
keeping the colony warm and by stimulative feeding, so that all the
energy of the old bees may be put to the best advantage in rearing brood
to replace those drying off. The size of the brood chamber can also be
reduced to conserve heat.

[Illustration: Fig. 18.--Feeder set in collar under hive body.]

It sometimes happens that when a hive is examined in the spring the
hive body and combs are spotted with brownish yellow excrement. This is
an evidence of what is commonly called "dysentery." The cause of this
trouble is long-continued confinement with a poor quality of honey for
food. Honeydew honey and some of the inferior floral honeys contain a
relatively large percentage of material which bees can not digest, and,
if they are not able to fly for some time, the intestines become clogged
with fæcal matter and a diseased condition results. Worker bees never
normally deposit their fæces in the hive. The obvious preventive for this
is to provide the colony with good honey or sugar sirup the previous
fall. "Dysentery" frequently entirely destroys colonies, but if the bees
can pull through until warm days permit a cleansing flight they recover

[Illustration: Fig. 19.--"Pepper-box" feeder for use on top of

Bees should not be handled in the early spring any more than necessary,
for to open a hive in cool weather wastes heat and may even kill the
brood by chilling. The hive should be kept as warm as possible in early
spring as an aid to brood rearing. It is a good practice to wrap hives
in black tar paper in the spring, not only that it may aid in conserving
the heat of the colony, but in holding the suns heat rays as a help to
the warmth of the hive. This wrapping should be put on as soon as an
early examination has shown the colony to be in good condition, and there
need be no hurry in taking it off. A black wrapping during the winter is
not desirable, as it might induce brood rearing too early and waste the
strength of the bees.

As a further stimulus to brood rearing, stimulative feeding of sugar
sirup in early spring may be practiced. This produces much the same
effect as a light honey flow does and the results are often good. Others
prefer to give the bees such a large supply of stores in the fall that
when spring comes they will have an abundance for brood rearing, and it
will not be necessary to disturb them in cool weather. Both ideas are
good, but judicious stimulative feeding usually more than pays for the
labor. Colonies should be fed late in the day, so that the bees will not
fly as a result of it, and so that robbing will not be started. When the
weather is warmer and more settled the brood cluster may be artificially
enlarged by spreading the frames so as to insert an empty comb in the
middle. The bees will attempt to cover all the brood that they already
had, and the queen will at once begin laying in the newly inserted comb,
thus making a great increase in the brood. This practice is desirable
when carefully done, but may lead to serious results if too much new
brood is produced. A beginner had better leave the quantity of brood to
the bees.

[Illustration: Fig. 20.--Pan in super arranged for feeding.]

It is desirable early in the season, before any preparations are made for
swarming, to go through the apiary and clip one wing of each queen (see
p. 30). This should be done before the hive becomes too populous. It is
perhaps best to clip queens as they are introduced, but some colonies
may rear new ones without the knowledge of the owner, and a spring
examination will insure no escaping swarms. The beginner should perhaps
be warned not to clip the wings of a virgin queen.

Queens sometimes die during the winter and early spring, and since there
is no brood from which the bees can replace them, the queenless colonies
are "hopelessly queenless." Such colonies are usually restless and are
not active in pollen gathering. If, on opening a colony, it is found
to be without a queen and reduced in numbers, it should be united with
another colony by smoking both vigorously and caging the queen in the
queen-right colony for a day or two to prevent her being killed. A frame
or two of brood may be added to a queenless colony, not only to increase
its strength, but to provide young brood from which they can rear a queen
Bee keepers in the North can frequently buy queens from southern breeders
early in the spring and naturally this is better than leaving the colony
without a queen until the bees can rear one, as it is important that
there be no stoppage in brood rearing at this season.


The excessive rearing of brood at the wrong season or increase in the
number of colonies greatly reduces the surplus honey crop by consumption.
The ideal to which all progressive bee keepers work, when operating
simply for honey, is to stimulate brood rearing to prepare bees for
gathering, to retard breeding when it is less desirable, and to prevent
swarming. Formerly the measure of success in beekeeping was the amount
of increase by swarming, but this is now recognized as being quite the
contrary of success.

The stimulation of brood rearing in the spring, however, makes it more
likely that swarming will occur; so that the operator must counteract the
tendency to swarm. This is especially true in comb honey production. Very
few succeed in entirely preventing swarming, but by various methods the
situation can be largely controlled.

When a swarm issues, it usually first settles on a limb of a tree or bush
near the apiary. It was formerly common to make a noise by beating pans
or ringing bells in the belief that this causes the swarm to settle.
There is no foundation for such action on the part of the bee keeper. If
the bees alight on a small limb that can be spared it may simply be
sawed off and the bees carried to the hive and thrown on a sheet or hive
cover in front of the entrance. If the limb can not be cut, the swarm can
be shaken off into a box or basket on a pole and hived. If the bees light
on the trunk of a tree or in some inaccessible place they can first be
attracted away by a comb, preferably containing unsealed brood. In these
manipulations it is not necessary to get all the bees, but if the queen
is not with those which are put into the hive the bees will go into the
air again and join the cluster.

If a queen is clipped as recommended under "Spring management" (p. 29)
the swarm will issue just the same, but the queen, not being able to fly,
will simply wander about on the ground in front of the hive, where she
can be caught and caged. The parent colony can then be removed to a new
stand and a new hive put in its place. The bees will soon return and the
queen can be freed among them as they enter. The field bees on returning
will enter the new hive with the swarm, thus decreasing still more the
parent colony and making a second swarm less probable. To make sure of
this, however, all queen cells except one good one can be removed soon
after the swarm issues. Another method of preventing second swarms is
to set the old hive beside the swarm and in a week move the old hive to
another place. The field bees of the parent colony then join the swarm
and the parent colony is so much reduced that a second swarm does not

To hold a swarm it is desirable to put one frame containing healthy
unsealed brood in the new hive. The other frames may contain full sheets
or starters of foundation. Usually comb honey supers or surplus bodies
for extracting frames will have been put on before swarming occurs. These
are given to the swarm on the old stand and separated from the brood
chamber by queen-excluding perforated zinc. In three or four days the
perforated zinc may be removed if desired.

When clipping the queen's wing is not practiced, swarms may be prevented
from leaving by the use of queen traps of perforated zinc (fig. 6).
These allow the workers to pass out, but not drones or queens, which, on
leaving the entrance, pass up to an upper compartment from which they
can not return. These are also used for keeping undesirable drones from
escaping, and the drones die of starvation. When a swarm issues from a
hive provided with a queen trap, the queen goes to the upper compartment
and remains there until released by the bee keeper. The workers soon
return to the hive. When the operator discovers the queen outside, the
colony may be artificially swarmed to prevent another attempt at natural
swarming. A queen trap should not be kept on the hive all the time for
fear the old queen may be superseded and the young queen prevented from
flying out to mate.


If increase is desired, it is better to practice some method of
artificial swarming and to forestall natural swarming rather than be
compelled to await the whims of the colonies. The situation should be
under the control of the bee keeper as much as possible. The bees, combs,
and brood may be divided into two nearly equal parts and a queen provided
for the queenless portion; or small colonies, called nuclei, may be made
from the parent colony, so reducing its strength that swarming is not
attempted. These plans are not as satisfactory as shaken swarms, since
divided colonies lack the vigor of swarms.

A good method of artificially swarming a colony is to shake most of the
bees from the combs into another hive on the old stand with starters
(narrow strips) of foundation. The hive containing the brood with some
bees still adhering is then moved to a new location. If receptacles for
surplus honey have been put on previously, as they generally should be,
they should now be put over the artificial swarm separated from the brood
compartment by perforated zinc.

This method of artificially swarming (usually called by bee keepers
"shook" swarming) should not be practiced too early, since natural
swarming may take place later. The colony should first have begun its
preparations for swarming. The method is particularly useful in comb
honey production. The bees may be prevented from leaving the hive by
the use of a drone trap (fig. 6) or by putting in one frame containing
unsealed brood. Some bee keepers prefer using full sheets of foundation
or even drawn combs for the artificial swarm, but narrow strips of
foundation have some advantages. By using narrow strips the queen has no
cells in which to lay eggs for a time, thus reducing brood rearing, but,
since by the time artificial swarming is practiced the profitable brood
rearing is usually over, this is no loss but rather a gain. There are
also in the brood compartment no cells in which the gathering workers
can deposit fresh honey, and they consequently put it in the supers.
Gradually the combs below are built out and brood rearing is increased.
Later the colony is allowed to put honey in the brood combs for its
winter supply. If no increase is desired, the bees which emerge from the
removed brood combs may later be united with the artificial swarm and by
that time there will usually be little danger of natural swarming.

Artificial swarming can readily be combined with the shaking treatment
for bee diseases, thus accomplishing two objects with one manipulation.
If disease is present in the parent colony, only strips of foundation
should be used and the colony should be confined to the hive until a
queen and drone trap and not with a frame of brood.


Unless increase is particularly desired, both natural and artificial
swarming should be done away with as far as possible, so that the energy
of the bees shall go into the gathering of honey. Since crowded and
overheated hives are particularly conducive to swarming, this tendency
may be largely overcome by giving plenty of ventilation and additional
room in the hive. Shade is also a good preventive of swarming. Extra
space in the hive may be furnished by adding more hive bodies and frames
or by frequent extracting, so that there may be plenty of room for brood
rearing and storage at all times. These manipulations are, of course,
particularly applicable to extracted honey production.

To curb the swarming impulse frequent examinations of the colonies
(about every week or 10 days during the swarming season) for the purpose
of cutting out queen cells is a help, but this requires considerable
work, and since some cells may be overlooked, and particularly since
it frequently fails in spite of the greatest care, it is not usually
practiced. Requeening with young queens early in the season, when
possible, generally prevents swarming.

Swarming is largely due to crowded brood chambers, and since eggs laid
immediately before and during the honey flow do not produce gatherers,
several methods have been tried of reducing the brood. The queen may
either be entirely removed or be caged in the hive to prevent her from
laying. In either event the bees will usually build queen cells to
replace her, and these must be kept cut out. These plans would answer the
purpose very well were it not for the fact that queenless colonies often
do not work vigorously. Under most circumstances these methods can not
be recommended. A better method is to remove brood about swarming time
and thus reduce the amount. There are generally colonies in the apiary to
which frames of brood can be given to advantage.

In addition to these methods various nonswarming devices have been
invented, and later a nonswarming hive so constructed that there is no
opportunity for the bees to form a dense cluster. The breeding of bees by
selecting colonies with less tendency to swarm has been suggested.

On the whole, the best methods are the giving of plenty of room, shade,
and ventilation to colonies run for extracted honey; and ventilation,
shade, and artificial swarming of colonies run for comb honey. Frequent
requeening (about once in two years) is desirable for other reasons,
and requeening before swarming time helps in the solution of that


An essential in honey production is to have the hive overflowing with
bees at the beginning of the honey flow, so that the field force will be
large enough to gather more honey than the bees need for their own use.
To accomplish this, the bee keeper must see to it that brood rearing is
heavy some time before the harvest, and he must know accurately when the
honey flows come, so that he may time his manipulations properly. Brood
rearing during the honey flow usually produces bees which consume stores,
while brood reared before the flow furnishes the surplus gatherers. The
best methods of procedure may be illustrated by giving as an example the
conditions in the white clover region.

In the spring the bees gather pollen and nectar from various early
flowers, and often a considerable quantity from fruit bloom and
dandelions. During this time brood rearing is stimulated by the new
honey, but afterwards there is usually a period of drought when brood
rearing is normally diminished or not still more increased as it should
be. This condition continues until the white clover flow comes on,
usually with a rush, when brood rearing is again augmented. If such a
condition exists, the bee keeper should keep brood rearing at a maximum
by stimulative feeding during the drought. When white clover comes in
bloom he may even find it desirable to prevent brood rearing to turn the
attention of his bees to gathering.

A worker bee emerges from its cell 21 days after the egg is laid, and it
usually begins field work in from 14 to 17 days later. It is evident,
therefore, that an egg must be laid five weeks before the honey flow to
produce a gatherer. Since the flow continues for some time and since bees
often go to the field earlier than 14 days, egg laying should be pushed
up to within two or three weeks of the opening of the honey flow. In
addition to stimulative feeding, the care of the colony described under
the heading of "Spring management" (p. 26) will increase brood production.


The obtaining of honey from bees is generally the primary object of their
culture. Bees gather nectar to make into honey for their own use as
food, but generally store more than they need, and this surplus the bee
keeper takes away. By managing colonies early in the spring as previously
described the surplus may be considerably increased. The secret of
maximum crops is to "Keep all colonies strong."

Honey is gathered in the form of nectar secreted by various flowers, is
transformed by the bees, and stored in the comb. Bees also often gather
a sweet liquid called "honeydew," produced by various scale insects and
plant-lice, but the honeydew honey made from it is quite unlike floral
honey in flavor and composition and should not be sold for honey. It is
usually unpalatable and should never be used as winter food for bees,
since it usually causes dysentery (p. 40). When nectar or honeydew has
been thickened by evaporation and otherwise changed, the honey is sealed
in the cells with cappings of beeswax.

It is not profitable to cultivate any plant solely for the nectar which
it will produce, but various" plants, such as clovers, alfalfa, and
buckwheat, are valuable for other purposes and are at the same time
excellent honey plants; their cultivation is therefore a benefit to the
bee keeper. It is often profitable to sow some plant on waste land; sweet
clovers are often used in this way. The majority of honey-producing
plants are wild, and the bee keeper must largely accept the locality
as he finds it and manage his apiary so as to get the largest possible
amount of the available nectar. Since bees often fly as far as 2 or 3
miles to obtain nectar, it is obvious that the bee keeper can rarely
influence the nectar supply appreciably. Before deciding what kind of
honey to produce the bee keeper should have a clear knowledge of the
honey resources of his locality and of the demands of the market in which
he will sell his crop. If the bulk of the honey is dark, or if the main
honey flows are slow and protracted, it will not pay to produce comb
honey, since the production of fancy comb honey depends on a rapid flow.
The best localities for comb honey production are in the northern part
of the United States east of the Mississippi River, where white clover
is a rapid and abundant yielder. Other parts of the United States where
similar conditions of rapidity of flow exist are also good. Unless these
favorable conditions are present it is better to produce extracted honev.

[Illustration: Fig. 21.--Knives for uncapping honey.]


[1] For farther discussion of the production and care of extracted honey,
see Bulletin 75, Part I, Bureau of Entomology.

Extracted honey is honey which has been removed by means of centrifugal
force from the combs in which the bees stored it. While it is possible
to adulterate extracted honey by the addition of cheap sirups, this is
rarely done, perhaps largely on account of the possibility of detection.
It may be said to the credit of bee keepers as a class that they have
always opposed adulteration of honey.
In providing combs for the storage of honey to be extracted the usual
practice is to add to the top of the brood chamber one or more hive
bodies just like the one in which brood is reared, and fill these with
frames. If preferred, shallower frames with bodies of proper size may
be used, but most honey extractors are made for full-size frames. The
surplus bodies should be put on in plenty of time to prevent the crowding
of the brood chamber, and also to act as a preventive of swarming.

Honey for extracting should not be removed until it is well ripened and
a large percentage of it capped. It is best, however, to remove the crop
from each honey flow before another heavy producing plant comes into
bloom, so that the different grades of honey may be kept separate. It
is better to extract while honey is still coming in, so that the bees
will not be apt to rob. The extracting should be done in a building,
preferably one provided with wire-cloth at the windows (p. 9).

[Illustration: Fig. 22.--Honey extractor.]

The frames containing honey to be extracted are removed from the hive,
the cappings cut off with a sharp, warm knife (fig. 21) made specially
for this purpose, and the frames are then put into the baskets of the
honey extractor (fig. 22) . By revolving these rapidly the honey is
thrown out of one side. The basket is then reversed and the honey from
the other side is removed. The combs can then be returned to the bees to
be refilled, or if the honey flow is over, they can be returned to the
bees to be cleaned and then removed and stored until needed again. This
method is much to be preferred to mashing the comb and straining out the
honey, as was formerly done.

In large apiaries special boxes to receive cappings, capping melters to
render the cappings directly into wax, and power-driven extractors are
often used. These will be found listed in supply catalogues.

The extracted honey is then strained and run into vessels. It is
advisable not to put it in bottles at once, but to let it settle in open
vessels for a time, so that it can be skimmed. Most honeys will granulate
and become quite hard if exposed to changes of temperature, and to
liquefy granulated extracted honey it should be heated in a water bath.
Never heat honey directly over a stove or flame, as the flavor is thereby
injured. The honey should never be heated higher than 160° F. unless it
is necessary to sterilize it because of contamination by disease.

Extracted honey is put up in bottles or small tin cans for the retail
trade, and in 5-gallon square tin cans or barrels for the wholesale
market. Great care must be exercised if barrels are used, as honey will
absorb moisture from the wood, if any is present, and cause leakage. The
tin package is much to be preferred in most cases. In bottling honey
for retail trade, it will well repay the bee keeper or bottler to go to
considerable expense and trouble to make an attractive package, as the
increased price received will more than compensate for the increased
labor and expense. Honey should be heated to 160° F. and kept there for a
time before bottling, and the bottle should be filled as full as possible
and sealed hermetically.

=Granulated honey.=--Some honeys, such as alfalfa, granulate quickly after
being extracted. Such honeys are sometimes allowed to granulate in large
cans and the semisolid mass is then cut into 1-pound bricks like a butter
print and wrapped in paraffin paper. It may be put into paraffined
receptacles before granulation, if desired. There is always a ready
market for granulated honey, since many people prefer it to the liquid


Comb honey is honey as stored in the comb by the bees, the size and
shape being determined by the small wooden sections provided by the bee
keeper. Instead of having comb in large frames in which to store surplus
honey, the bees are compelled to build comb in the sections and to
store honey there (fig. 2). A full section weighs about 1 pound; larger
ones are rarely used. By the use of modern sections and foundation the
comb honey now produced is a truly beautiful, very uniform product, so
uniform in fact that it is often charged that it must be artificially
manufactured. The purchaser of a section of comb honey may be absolutely
certain, however, that he is obtaining a product of the bees, for never
has anyone been able to imitate the bees' work successfully. To show
their confidence in the purity of comb honey, the National Bee Keepers'
Association offers $1,000 for a single pound of artificial comb filled
with an artificially prepared sirup, which is at all difficult of

There are several different styles of sections now in use, the usual
sizes being 4-1/4 inches square and 4 by 5 inches. There are also two
methods of spacing, so that there will be room for the passage of bees
from the brood chamber into the sections and from one super of sections
to another. This is done either by cutting "bee ways" in the sections and
using plain flat separators or by using "no bee-way" or plain sections
and using "fences"--separators with cleats fastened on each side, to
provide the bee space. To describe all the different "supers" or bodies
for holding sections would be impossible in a bulletin of this size,
and the reader must be referred to catalogues of dealers in beekeeping
supplies. Instead of using regular comb honey supers, some bee keepers
use wide frames to hold two tiers of sections. It is better, however, to
have the supers smaller, so that the bees may be crowded more to produce
full sections. To overcome this difficulty, shallow wide frames holding
one tier of sections may be used. The majority of bee keepers find it
advisable to use special comb honey supers.

In producing comb honey it is even more necessary to know the plants
which produce surplus honey, and just when they come in bloom, than it
is in extracted honey production. The colony should be so manipulated
that the maximum field force is ready for the beginning of the flow. This
requires care in spring management, and, above all, the prevention of
swarming. Supers should be put on just before the heavy flow begins. A
good indication of the need of supers is the whitening of the brood combs
at the top. If the bees are in two hive bodies they should generally be
reduced to one, and the frames should be filled with brood and honey so
that as the new crop comes in the bees will carry it immediately to the
sections above. If large hives are used for the brood chamber it is often
advisable to remove some of the frames and use a division board to crowd
the bees above. To prevent the queen from going into the sections to lay,
a sheet of perforated zinc (fig. 23) may be put between the brood chamber
and the super (fig. 2).

It is often difficult to get bees to begin work in the small sections,
but this should be brought about as soon as possible to prevent loss of
honey. If there are at hand some sections which have been partly drawn
the previous year, these may be put in the super with the new sections as
"bait." Another good plan is to put a shallow extracting frame on either
side of the sections. If a few colonies in the apiary that are strong
enough to go above refuse to do so, lift supers from some colonies that
have started to work above and give them to the slow colonies. The super
should generally be shaded somewhat to keep it from getting too hot.
Artificial swarming will quickly force bees into the supers.

To produce the finest quality of comb honey full sheets of foundation
should be used in the sections. Some bee keepers use nearly a full sheet
hung from the top of the section and a narrow bottom starter. The use of
foundation of worker-cell size is much preferred.

When one super becomes half full or more and there are indications that
there will be honey enough to fill others, the first one should be
raised and an empty one put on the hive under it. This tiering up can
be continued as long as necessary, but it is advisable to remove filled
sections as soon as possible after they are nicely capped, for they
soon become discolored and less attractive. Honey removed immediately
after capping finds a better market, but if left on the hive even until
the end of the summer the quality of the honey is improved. A careful
watch must be kept on the honey flow, so as to give the bees only enough
sections to store the crop. If this is not done a lot of unfinished
sections will be left at the end of the flow. Honeys from different
sources should not be mixed in the sections, as it usually gives the comb
a bad appearance

[Illustration: Fig. 23.--Perforated zinc queen excluder.]

To remove bees from sections, the super may be put over a bee escape so
that the bees can pass down but can not return, or the supers may be
removed and covered with a wire-cloth-cone bee escape.

[Illustration: Fig. 24.--Shipping case for comb honey.]

After sections are removed the wood should be scraped free of propolis
(bee glue) and then packed in shipping cases (fig. 24) for the market.
Shipping cases to hold 12, 24, or 48 sections, in which the various
styles of sections fit exactly, are manufactured by dealers in supplies.
In shipping these cases, several of them should be put in a box or crate
packed in straw and paper and handles provided to reduce the chances of
breakage. When loaded in a freight car the combs should be parallel with
the length of the car.

In preparing comb honey for market it should be carefully graded so that
the sections in each shipping case are as uniform as possible. Nothing
will more likely cause wholesale purchasers to cut the price than to
find the first row of sections in a case fancy and those behind of
inferior grade. Grading rules have been adopted by various bee keepers'
associations or drawn up by honey dealers. The following sets of rules
are in general use:

Eastern Grading Rules for Comb Honey.

_Fancy._--All sections -well filled; combs straight; firmly attached to
all four sides; the combs unsoiled by travel, stain, or otherwise; all
the cells sealed except an occasional one; the outside surface of the
wood well scraped of propolis.

_A No. 1._--All sections well filled except the row of cells next to the
wood; combs straight; one-eighth part of comb surface soiled, or the
entire surface slightly soiled; the outside surface of the wood well
scraped of propolis.

_No. 1._--All sections well filled except the row of cells next to the
wood; combs comparatively even; one-eighth part of comb surface soiled,
or the entire surface slightly soiled.

_No. 2._--Three-fourths of the total surface must be filled and sealed.

_No. 3._--Must weigh at least half as much as a full-weight section.

In addition to this the honey is to be classified according to color,
using the terms white, amber, and dark; that is, there will be "Fancy
White," "No. 1 Dark," etc.

New Comb Honey Grading Rules Adopted by the Colorado State Bee Keepers'

_No. 1 White._--Sections to be well filled and evenly capped, except the
outside row, next to the wood ; honey white or slightly amber, comb and
cappings white, and not projecting beyond the wood; wood to be well
cleaned; cases of separatored honey to average 21 pounds net per case of
24 sections; no section in this grade to weigh less than 13-1/2 ounces.
Cases of half-separatored honey to average not less than 22 pounds net
per case of 24 sections. Cases of unseparatored honey to average not less
than 23 pounds net per case of 24 sections.

_No. 1 Light Amber._--Sections to be well filled and evenly capped, except
the outside row next to the wood; honey white or light amber; comb and
cappings from white to off color, but not dark; comb not projecting
beyond the wood; wood to be well cleaned. Cases of separatored honey to
average 21 pounds net per case of 24 sections; no section in this grade
to weigh less than 13-1/2 ounces. Cases of half-separatored honey to
average not less than 22 pounds net per case of 24 sections. Cases of
unseparatored honey to average not less than 23 pounds net per case of 24

_No. 2._--This includes all white honey, and amber honey not included in
the above grades; sections to be fairly well filled and capped, no more
than 25 uncapped cells, exclusive of outside row, permitted in this
grade; wood to be well cleaned; no section in this grade to weigh less
than 12 ounces. Cases of separatored honey to average not less than 19
pounds net. Cases of half-separatored honey to average not less than
20 pounds net per case of 24 sections. Cases of unseparatored honey to
average not less than 21 pounds net per case of 24 sections.


Beeswax, which is secreted by the bees and used by them for building
their combs, is an important commercial product. There are times in
almost every apiary when there are combs to be melted up, and it pays
to take care of even scraps of comb and the cappings taken off in
extracting. A common method of taking out the wax is to melt the combs
in a solar wax extractor. This is perhaps the most feasible method where
little wax is produced, but considerable wax still remains in old brood
combs after such heating. Various wax presses are on the market, or one
can be made at home. If much wax is produced, the bee keeper should make
a careful study of the methods of wax extraction, as there is usually
much wax wasted even after pressing.


After the main honey flow is over the management must depend on what may
be expected later in the season from minor honey flows. If no crop is to
be expected, the colony may well be kept only moderately strong, so that
there will not be so many consumers in the hive.

In localities where winters are severe and breeding is suspended for
several months great care should be taken that brood rearing is rather
active during the late summer, so that the colony may go into winter
with plenty of young bees. In case any queens show lack of vitality they
should be replaced early, so that the bees will not become queenless
during the winter.

The important considerations in wintering are plenty of young bees, a
good queen, plenty of stores of good quality, sound hives, and proper
protection from cold and dampness.

If, as cold weather approaches, the bees do not have stores enough, they
must be fed. Every colony should have from 25 to 40 pounds, depending on
the length of winter and the methods of wintering. It is better to have
too much honey than not enough, for what is left is good next season. If
feeding is practiced, honey may be used, but sirup made of granulated
sugar is just as good and is perfectly safe. If honey is purchased for
feeding, great care should be taken that it comes from a healthy apiary,
otherwise the apiary may be ruined by disease. _Never feed honey bought on
the open market._ The bees should be provided with stores early enough so
that it will not be necessary to feed or to open the colonies after cold
weather comes on. Honeydew honey should not be left in the hives, as it
produces "dysentery." Some honeys are also not ideal for winter stores.
Those which show a high percentage of gums (most tree honeys) are not so
desirable, but will usually cause no trouble.

In wintering out of doors the amount of protection depends on the
severity of the winter. In the South no packing is necessary, and even
in very cold climates good colonies with plenty of stores can often
pass the winter with little protection, but packing and protection
make it necessary for the bees to generate less heat, and consequently
they consume less stores and their vitality is not reduced. Dampness
is probably harder for bees to withstand than cold, and when it is
considered that bees give off considerable moisture, precautions should
be taken that as it condenses it does not get on the cluster. An opening
at the top would allow the moisture to pass out, but it would also waste
heat, so it is better to put a mat of burlap or other absorbent material
on top of the frames. The hive may also be packed in chaff, leaves, or
other similar dry material to diminish the loss of heat. Some hives are
made with double walls, the space being filled with chaff; these are
good for outdoor wintering. The hive entrance should be lower than any
other part of the hive, so that any condensed moisture may run out. The
hives should be sound and the covers tight and waterproof.

Entrances should be contracted in cold weather not only to keep out cold
wind, but to prevent mice from entering. There should always be enough
room, however, for bees to pass in and out if warmer weather permits a

In the hands of experienced bee keepers cellar wintering is very
successful, but this method requires careful study. The cellar must be
dry and so protected that the temperature never varies more than from 40
to 45° F.; 43° F. seems to be the optimum temperature. The ventilation
must be good or the bees become fretful. Light should not be admitted
to the cellar, and consequently some means of indirect ventilation is

Cellar wintering requires the consumption of less honey to maintain the
proper temperature in the cluster and is therefore economical. Bees so
wintered do not have an opportunity for a cleansing flight, often for
several months, but the low consumption makes this less necessary. Some
bee keepers advocate carrying the colonies out a few times on warm days,
but it is not fully established whether this is entirely beneficial and it
is usually not practiced.

The time for putting colonies in the cellar is a point of dispute, and
practice in this regard varies considerably. They should certainly be
put in before the weather becomes severe and as soon as they have ceased
brood rearing. The time chosen may be at night when they are all in the
hive, or on some chilly day.

The hives may be piled one on top of the other, the lower tier raised a
little from the floor. The entrances should not be contracted unless the
colony is comparatively weak. It is usually not considered good policy
to close the entrances with ordinary wire cloth, as the dead bees which
accumulate more or less on the bottom boards may cut off ventilation, and
the entrance should be free so that these may be cleaned out.

It is, however, good policy to cover the entrance with wire-cloth having
three meshes to the inch to keep out mice.

The time of removing bees from the cellar is less easily determined than
that of putting them in. The colonies may be removed early and wrapped in
_black_ tar paper or left until the weather is settled. If the weather is
very warm and the bees become fretful, the cellar must either be cooled
or the bees removed. Some bee keepers prefer to remove bees at night, so
that they can recover from the excitement and fly from the hive normally
in the morning. One of the chief difficulties is to prevent the bees
from getting into the wrong hives after their first flights. They often
"drift" badly with the wind, and sometimes an outside row will become
abnormally strong, leaving other colonies weak.

The night before the bees are removed from the cellar it is good practice
to leave the cellar doors and windows wide open.


There are two infectious diseases of the brood of bees which cause great
losses to the beekeeping industry of the United States. These are known
as American foul brood and European foul brood. Both of these diseases
destroy colonies by killing the brood, so that there are not enough young
bees emerging to take the place of the old adult bees as these die from
natural causes. The adult bees are not attacked by either disease. In the
hands of careful bee keepers both diseases may be controlled, and this
requires careful study and constant watching. In view of the fact that
these diseases are now widely distributed throughout the United States,
every bee keeper should read the available literature on the subject, so
that if disease enters his apiary he may be able to recognize it before
it gets a start. The symptoms and the treatment recommended by this
department are given in another publication which will be sent free on

[2] Farmers' Bulletin No. 442. "The Treatment of Bee Diseases."

It is difficult for a bee keeper to keep his apiary free from disease if
others about him have diseased colonies which are not properly treated.
The only way to keep disease under control is for the bee keepers in
the neighborhood to cooperate in doing everything possible to stamp out
disease as soon as it appears in a single colony. The progressive bee
keeper who learns of disease in his neighborhood should see to it that
the other bee keepers around him are supplied with literature describing
symptoms and treatment, and should also try to induce them to unite in
eradicating the malady. Since it is so often impossible to get all of
the bee keepers in a community to treat infected colonies properly and
promptly, it is desirable that the States pass laws providing for the
inspection of apiaries and granting to the inspector the power to compel
negligent bee keepers to treat diseased colonies so that the property
of others may not be endangered and destroyed. This has been done in a
number of States, but there are still some where the need is great and in
which no such provision has been made. When no inspection is provided,
bee keepers should unite in asking for such protection, so that the
danger to the industry may be lessened.

In case there is an inspector for the State or county, he should be
notified as soon as disease is suspected in the neighborhood. Some bee
keepers hesitate to report disease through fear that the inspector will
destroy their bees or because they feel that it is a disgrace to have
disease in the apiary. There is no disgrace in having colonies become
diseased; the discredit is in not treating them promptly. The inspectors
are usually, if not universally, good practical bee keepers who from a
wide experience are able to tell what should be done in individual cases
to give the best results with the least cost in material and labor. They
do not destroy colonies needlessly, and, in fact, they all advocate and
teach treatment.

The brood diseases are frequently introduced into a locality by the
shipping in of diseased colonies; or, more often, the bees get honey
from infected colonies which is fed to them, or which they rob, from
discarded honey cans. It is decidedly dangerous to purchase honey on the
market, with no knowledge of its source, to be used in feeding bees.
Many outbreaks of disease can be traced to this practice (see "Feeding,"
p. 26). It is difficult to prevent bees from getting contaminated honey
accidentally. If colonies are purchased, great care should be taken
that there is no disease present. Whenever possible, colonies should
be purchased near at home, unless disease is already present in the

There are other diseased conditions of the brood, known to bee keepers
as "pickle brood," but these can usually be distinguished from the
two diseases previously mentioned. The so-called "pickle brood" is
not contagious and no treatment is necessary. Bees also suffer from
"dysentery," which is discussed in the earlier part of this bulletin, and
from the so-called "paralysis," a disease of adult bees. No treatment for
the latter disease can as yet be recommended as reliable. The sprinkling
of powdered sulphur on the top bars of frames or at the entrance is
sometimes claimed to be effective, but under what circumstances it is
beneficial is unknown.

A number of insects, birds, and mammals must be classed as enemies of
bees, but of these the two wax moths, and ants, are the only ones of
importance. There are two species of moth, the larger wax moth (_Galleria
mellonella_ L.), and the lesser wax moth (_Achroia grisella_ Fab.), the
larvæ of which destroy combs by burrowing through them.[3] Reports are
frequently received in the department that the larvæ of these moths
(usually the larger species) are destroying colonies of bees. It may be
stated positively that moths do not destroy strong, healthy colonies in
good hives, and if it is supposed that they are causing damage the bee
keeper should carefully study his colonies to see what other trouble
has weakened them enough for the moths to enter. Queenlessness, lack
of stores, or some such trouble may be the condition favorable to the
entrance of the pest, but a careful examination should be made of the
brood to see whether there is any evidence of disease. This is the
most frequent cause of the cases of moth depredation reported to this
department. Black bees are less capable of driving moth larvæ out, but,
even with these bees, strong colonies rarely allow them to remain. The
observance of the golden rule of beekeeping, "Keep all colonies strong,"
will solve the moth question unless disease appears.

[3] Bee keepers refer to these insects as "moths," "wax moths," "bee
moths," "millers," "wax worms," "honey moths," "moth worms," "moth
millers," and "grubs." The last six terms are not correct.

Moth larvæ often destroy combs stored outside the hive. To prevent this
the combs may be fumigated with sulphur fumes or bisulphid of carbon
in tiers of hives or in tight rooms. If bisulphid of carbon is used,
great care should be taken not to bring it near a flame, as it is highly
inflammable. Combs should be stored in a dry, well-ventilated, light room.

In the warmer parts of the country ants are often a serious pest. They
may enter the hive for protection against changes of temperature, or to
prey on the honey stores or the brood. The usual method of keeping them
out is to put the hive on a stand, the legs of which rest in vessels
containing water or creosote. Another method is to wrap a tape soaked in
corrosive sublimate around the bottom board.


For the purpose of answering numerous questions which are asked of this
department the following brief topics are included.


There are a large number of bee keepers who make a business of rearing
queens of good stock for sale. The queens are usually sent by mail. If
poor stock is all that can be obtained locally, it is recommended that
such colonies be purchased and the queens removed and replaced with
those obtained from a good breeder. This department can supply names of
breeders, nearest the applicant, of any race raised in this country.


When queens are shipped by mail they usually come in cages (fig. 25)
which can be used for introducing. If the colony to receive the new queen
has one, she must be removed and the cage inserted between the frames.
The small hole leading into the candy compartment is uncovered, and the
bees gradually eat through and release the queen. If queens are reared
at home, a similar cage may be used for introducing. In view of the fact
that disease may be transmitted in mailing cages, it is always a wise
precaution to remove the new queen and destroy the accompanying workers
and the cage and its contents. The queen may then be put into a clean
cage without worker bees, with candy known to be free from contamination
(made from honey from healthy hives), and introduced in the regular way.

Queens sold by breeders are always mated unless otherwise specified, and
consequently the colony in which they are introduced has no effect on her
offspring. During the active season the bees in the colony are all the
offspring of the new queen in about nine weeks. Three weeks is required
for the previous brood to emerge (if the colony has not been queenless).
and in six weeks after all the old brood emerges most of the workers from
it will have died. Queens are usually sold according to the following

"_Untested queen_"--one that has mated, but the race of the drone is not

"_Tested queen_"--one that has mated and has been kept only long enough to
show, from the markings of her progeny, that she mated with a drone of
her own race.

"_Breeding queen_"--a tested queen which has shown points of superiority,
making her desirable for breeding purposes.

[Illustration: Fig. 25.--Queen mailing cage.]


There are several manufacturers of supplies in this country who can
furnish almost anything desired by the bee keeper. Some of them have
agents in various parts of the country from whom supplies may be
purchased, thus saving considerable in freight.


There are a large number of associations of bee keepers in all parts
of the country, formed for the betterment of the industry, and a few
associations which are organized to aid the members in purchasing
supplies and in selling the crops. Of these the National Bee Keepers"
Association is the largest. It helps its members in obtaining their
legal rights, and aids in securing legislation for the furtherance of
the industry. The annual conventions are held in different parts of the
country, and copies of the proceedings are sent to the members. There are
also numerous State, county, and town associations, some of which publish
proceedings. The names of officers of the nearest associations or of the
National Bee Keepers' Association will be sent from this department on


=Disease inspection.=--Various States have passed laws providing for the
State or county inspection of apiaries for bee-disease control, and
every bee keeper should get in touch with an inspector when disease is
suspected, if one is provided. The inspectors are practical bee keepers
who fully understand how to control the diseases, and are of great help
in giving directions in this matter. The name of the inspector of any
locality can usually be furnished, and this department is glad to aid bee
keepers in reaching the proper officers.

=Laws against spraying fruit trees while in bloom.=--The spraying of fruit
trees while in bloom is not now advised by economic entomologists,
and to prevent the practice some States have passed laws making it a
misdemeanor. Such spraying not only kills off honey bees, causing a loss
to the bee keeper, but interferes with the proper pollination of the
blossoms and is thus a detriment to the fruit grower. Bee keepers should
do everything in their power to prevent the practice.

=Laws against the adulteration of honey.=--The national food and drugs act
of 1906, and various State pure food laws, are a great aid to the bee
keeper in preventing the sale of adulterated extracted honey as pure
honey. Bee keepers can often aid in this work by reporting to the proper
officials infringements of these laws which come to their notice.

=When bees are a nuisance.=--Some cities have passed ordinances prohibiting
the keeping of bees in certain areas, but so far none has been able to
enforce them. If bees are a nuisance in individual cases, the owner may
be compelled to remove them. The National Bee Keepers' Association "will
help any of its members in such cases, if they are in the right, as well
as in cases where bees sting horses. Bee keepers should be careful not to
locate bees where they can cause any trouble of this kind.


Bee keepers are often compelled to combat the idea that bees cause
damage to fruit or other crops by sucking the nectar from the flower.
This is not only untrue, but in many cases the bees are a great aid in
the pollination of the flowers, making a good crop possible. A more
frequent complaint is that bees puncture fruit and suck the juices. Bees
never puncture sound fruit, but if the skin is broken by some other
means bees will often suck the fruit dry. In doing it, however, they are
sucking fruit which is already damaged. These and similar charges against
the honey bee are prompted by a lack of information concerning their
activities. Bees may, of course, become a nuisance to others through
their stinging propensities, but bee keepers should not be criticized for
things which their bees do not do.


The progressive bee keeper will find it to his profit to subscribe for at
least one journal devoted to beekeeping. Several of these are published
in the United States. The names and addresses of such journals may
usually be obtained from a subscription agent for periodicals, or from a
supply dealer.

It will also be advantageous to read and study books on beekeeping, of
which several are published in this country. These are advertised in
journals devoted to beekeeping, or may usually be obtained through the
local book dealer or through dealers in bee keepers' supplies.


[4] List revised to April 1, 1911. (VII.)

There are several publications of this department which are of interest
to bee keepers, and new ones are added from time to time in regard to the
different lines of investigation.

The following publications relating to bee culture, prepared in the
Bureau of Entomology, are for free distribution and may be obtained by
addressing the Secretary of Agriculture:[5]

[5] Farmers' Bulletin No. 59, "Bee Keeping," and Farmers' Bulletin No.
      397, "Bees," have been superseded by Farmers' Bulletin No. 447.

    Circular No. 79, "The Brood Diseases of Bees," has been superseded
      by Farmers' Bulletin No. 442.

    Bulletin No. 1, "The Honey Bee," has been discontinued.

  Farmers' Bulletin No. 447, "Bees." By E. F. Phillips, Ph. D.
       1911. 48 pp., 25 figs.

      A general account of the management of bees.

  Farmers' Bulletin No. 442, "The Treatment of Bee Diseases."
     By E. F. Phillips, Ph. D. 1911. 22 pp., 7 figs.

    This publication gives briefly the symptoms of the various bee
    diseases, with directions for treatment.

  Circular No. 94, "The Cause of American Foul Brood." By G. F. White,
     Ph. D. 1907. 4 pp.

    This publication contains a brief account of the Investigations which
    demonstrated for the first time the cause of one of the brood diseases
    of bees, American foul brood.

  Circular No. 138. "The Occurrence of Bee Diseases in the United
     States. (Preliminary Report.)" By E. F. Phillips, Ph. D. 1911.
     25 pp.

    A record of the localities from which samples of diseased brood were
    received prior to March 1, 1911.

  Bulletin No. 55, "The Rearing of Queen Bees." By E. F. Phillips,
     Ph. D. 1905. 32 pp., 17 figs.

    A general account of the methods used in queen rearing. Several methods
    are given, so that the bee keeper may choose those best suited to his
    individual needs.

  Bulletin No. 70, "Report of the Meeting of Inspectors of Apiaries,
     San Antonio, Tex., November 12, 1906." 1907. 79 pp., 1 plate.

    Contains a brief history of bee-disease investigations, an account of
    the relationship of bacteria to bee diseases, and a discussion of
    treatment by various Inspectors of apiaries and other practical bee
    keepers who are familiar with diseases of bees.

  Bulletin No. 75, Part I, "Production and Care of Extracted Honey."
     By E. F. Phillips, Ph. D. "Methods of Honey Testing for Bee Keepers."
     By C. A. Browne, Ph. D. 1907. 18 pp.

    The methods of producing extracted honey, with special reference to the
    care of honey after it is taken from the bees, so that its value may
    not be decreased by improper handling. The second portion of the
    publication gives some simple tests for adulteration.

  Bulletin No. 75, Part II, "Wax Moths and American Foul Brood."
     By E. F. Phillips, Ph. D. 1907. Pp. 19-22, 3 plates.

    An account of the behavior of the two species of wax moths on combs
    containing American foul brood, showing that moths do not destroy the
    disease-carrying scales.

  Bulletin No. 75, Part III, "Bee Diseases in Massachusetts."
     By Burton N. Gates. 1908. Pp. 23-32, map.

    An account of the distribution of the brood diseases of bees in the
    State, with brief directions for controlling them.

  Bulletin No. 75, Part IV. "The Relation of the Etiologv (Cause) of
     Bee Diseases to the Treatment." By G. F. White, Ph. D. 1908. Pp:

    The necessity for a knowledge of the cause of bee diseases before
    rational treatment is possible is pointed out. The present state of
    knowledge of the causes of disease is summarized.

  Bulletin No. 75, Part V, "A Brief Survey of Hawaiian Bee Keeping."
     By E. F. Phillips, Ph. D. 1909. Pp. 43-58, 6 plates.

    An account of the beekeeping methods used in a tropical country and
    a comparison with mainland conditions. Some new manipulations are

  Bulletin No 75, Part VI, "The Status of Apiculture in the United
     States." By E. F. Phillips, Ph. D. 1909. Pp. 59-80.

    A survey of present-day beekeeping in the United States, with
    suggestions as to the work yet to be done before apiculture will have
    reached its fullest development.

  Bulletin No. 75, Part VII, "Bee Keeping in Massachusetts."
     By Burton N. Gates. 1909. Pp. 81-109, 2 figs.

    An account of a detailed study of the apicultural conditions in
    Massachusetts. The object of this paper is to point out the actual
    conditions and needs of beekeeping in New England.

  Bulletin No. 75, Contents and Index. 1911. Pp. vii+111-123.

  Bulletin No. 75, Parts I-VII, complete with Contents and Index. 1911.
     Pp. viii+123.

  Bulletin No. 98. "Historical Notes on the Causes of Bee Diseases."
     By E. F. Phillips, Ph. D., and G. F. White, Ph. D., M. D. (In press.)

    A summary of the various investigations concerning the etiology
    (Cause) of bee diseases.

  Technical Series, No. 14, "The Bacteria of the Apiary with Special
     Reference to Bee Diseases." By G. F. White, Ph. D. 1906. 50 pp.

    A study of the bacteria present in both the healthy and the diseased
    colony, with special reference to the diseases of bees.

  Technical Series No. 18, "The Anatomy of the Honey Bee."
     By R. E. Snodgrass. 1910. 162 pp., 57 figs.

    An account of the structure of the bee, with technical terms omitted
    so far as possible. Practically all of the illustrations are new, and
    the various parts are interpreted according to the best usage in
    comparative anatomy of insects. A brief discussion of the physiology of
    the various organs is included .


  Bulletin No. 110, "Chemical Analysis and Composition of American
     Honeys." By C. A. Browne. Including "A Microscopical Study of
     Honey Pollen." By W. J. Young. 1908. 93 pp., 1 fig., 6 plates.

    A comprehensive study of the chemical composition of American honeys.
    This publication is technical in nature and will perhaps be little
    used by practical bee keepers, but it is an important contribution to
    apicultural literature. By means of this work the detection of honey
    adulteration is much aided.


  Bulletin No. 17, "Hawaiian Honeys." By D. L. Van Dine and Alice R.
     Thompson. 1908. 21 pp., 1 plate.

    A study of the source and composition of the honeys of Hawaii.
    The peculiar conditions found on these islands are dealt with.

Transcriber Note

Illustrations were moved so as not to split paragraphs.

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