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Title: The Bee-keeper's Manual - or Practical Hints on the Management and Complete - Preservation of the Honey-bee.
Author: Taylor, Henry Weston
Language: English
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Text emphasis denoted as _Italics_ and =Bold=. WHole and fractional
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                          BEE-KEEPER'S MANUAL


                         BEE-KEEPER'S MANUAL,

                            PRACTICAL HINTS
                                ON THE
                            THE HONEY-BEE;


                             HENRY TAYLOR.

                    SIXTH EDITION, WITH ADDITIONS.




  CHAPTER                                                  PAGE

  The Bee-Keeper’s Manual.                                    1
       The Queen or Mother Bee                                4
       The Common or Working Bees                            11
       Swarming (or Single Hiving) and Depriving Systems     21
       Common Straw (or Single) Hives                        27
       Straw Depriving Hives                                 30
       Hive-Covers                                           37
       Floor or Hive-Boards                                  42
       Hive-Stands, or Pedestals                             37
       Wood Box Hives                                        51
       Wood Bar Boxes                                        54
       Bar Glass Hives                                       72
       Straw Bar-Hives                                       73
       Circular Wooden Hives                                 75
       Collateral System                                     78
       White’s Collateral Hive                               81
       Nutt’s Collateral Hive                                82
       Nadir Hive                                            87
       Bee Sheds and Houses                                  94
       Position and Aspect                                   97
       Bee Passage and Number of Hives                      101

  Summer Management.                                        106
       Wax and Combs                                        109
       Propolis                                             112
       Honey                                                113
       Pollen and Farina                                    113
       Water                                                115
       Shade                                                115
       Moths, Wasps, Hornets, and Other Enemies             116
       Super-hiving                                         119
       Bell-glasses                                         120
       Triplets and Nadirs                                  122

  Autumnal Management.                                      124
       Remove a Full Box or Super                           125
       Honey Harvest                                        128
       Comb-Knives                                          130
       Robbers                                              131
       Autumnal Feeding                                     132
       Feeding-troughs                                      133
       Bee Food                                             137
       Winter Store                                         138
       Autumnal Unions, Fuming, and Transferring Bees       140
       Driving of Bees                                      152

  Winter Management.                                        157
       Winter Positioning                                   158
       Damp in Hives                                        161
       Temperature                                          162
       Dysentery                                            164

  Spring Management.                                        166
       Cleaning or Changing Floor-boards                    167
       Comb-pruning                                         167
       General Directions                                   168
       Spring Feeding                                       170
       Enemies and Robbers                                  175
       Super-hives                                          176
       Temperature and Weather                              177
       Swarming                                             180
       Returning of Swarms                                  183
       After-swarms                                         186
       Uniting of Swarms                                    192
       Prevention of After-swarms                           193
       Maiden Swarms                                        196
       General Directions on Swarming                       196
       Artificial Swarming                                  199
       Dividing Bar-Hive                                    204
       Bee-Protector                                        208
       Remedy for the Sting of a Bee                        210

  Conclusion.                                               212

  Index.                                                    217




Twelve years have elapsed since the original publication of the
Bee-keeper's Manual. For the fourth time the author is called upon to
revise his little book, and he still thinks that the leading object in
offering it to public notice will best be explained in the words with
which it was first introduced. "The existence of the following pages
had its origin, some time ago, in the request of a friend, that the
author would give him a brief practical compendium of the management of
Bees, on the humane or depriving system. Similar applications came from
other quarters. The subject is one which has of late acquired increased
interest; but the hints following would perhaps never have been
prepared for the press, had not the hours of a protracted confinement
by illness required some diversity of occupation and amusement. On
reviewing his experience as an amateur bee-keeper, the author was led
to believe that the result of it, added to a concise view of such
particulars as are usually spread over a large surface in works of
this nature, and arranged according to the progressive order of the
seasons, might be useful to others, seeking like himself occasional
relaxation from weightier matters in watching over and protecting these
interesting and valuable insects. Step by step this or that defect of
construction in his Hives had been remedied, and such conveniences
added as necessity or the spirit of improvement from time to time had
suggested. These are briefly described in the following little work.
If it have the good fortune, though in a small degree, to smooth the
path (usually a rough and uncertain one) of the apiarian novice,--of
removing ignorance and prejudice, or of obviating any portion of the
difficulties with which a more general cultivation of bees has to
contend,--why may not the contribution of this mite be considered a
humble addition to the store of USEFUL KNOWLEDGE?"

In its present renewed form, the author has been induced partially to
extend his first design (originally much restricted in its scope), by
entering somewhat more at large into the subject of Bee management,
and the general details of practice. Although not professing to offer
his remarks to any particular class of readers, he is, nevertheless,
inclined to think they will frequently be found, in an especial degree,
applicable to the position of the amateur Apiarian. For the peculiar
use of cottage bee-keepers, tracts and scraps innumerable have been
issued,--probably with very uncertain effect. In short, there is
little room for doubt that these can be more effectually benefited by
example and verbal advice, than by any kind of printed instructions.
Be this as it may, putting out of the question the long train of
contingencies incident to locality, season, &c., much must often be
left to individual judgment and careful observation; and no writer can
be expected to meet every supposable case of difficulty in dealing
with insects confessedly often so intractable as bees. The author,
therefore, must be considered as merely laying down a scheme of general
recommendations; aiming much less at novelty than at plain practical
utility; not hesitating occasionally to borrow the language of other
unexceptionable authorities where it clearly expressed his convictions,
or coincided with the results of his own experience; but carefully
abstaining from any interference with the dogmatists and hyper-critics
in the settlement of the affairs of their peculiar vocation.

If some of the details relative to the construction of hives or their
appurtenances appear to be tedious to the general reader, it must be
borne in mind that these are chiefly addressed to the mechanic, who
will not be found to object that his particular department has received
the aid of a careful attention to matters of description and direction.

On the whole, the author is induced to hope that the improved
arrangement, additional information, and variety of illustration now
introduced, will render superfluous any apology for a small unavoidable
increase in the size of the book.

  _April, 1850._




In once more revising the following pages for republication, the
author has still kept in view the purpose in which they originated,
as referred to in a former preface, and which is again prefixed. He
trusts that the intervening period has not been unprofitably occupied
in the task of continued investigation and experiment relative to the
general economy of the Bee; in the introduction either of original
invention or improvement as regards the mechanical requirements of
the Apiary; and in maturing the many useful suggestions derived
in the course of a pretty widely extended correspondence. The
incorporation of matter thus arising must be the apology, if such
is needed, for the omission or abridgment, here and there, of some
that a later experience had superseded or modified. From these causes
the rewriting of many portions of the work became a necessity,
together with the introduction of much new illustration,--on the whole
resulting in a slightly enlarged volume. Under the circumstances of
accumulated materials, condensation was often found more difficult of
accomplishment than expansion, had this been thought desirable; but
brevity throughout has been the aim, so far as seemed consistent with
clear explanation and obvious utility. A work on the Honey-Bee, thus
restricted in its object and scope almost entirely to details of a
practical bearing, may not entitle it to much literary or scientific
consideration, but--without reference to the claims involved in a
large circulation--the author will never regret the time and thought
bestowed, where the leading aim was the welfare and preservation of
one of the most curious of God's creatures; and the dissemination of
knowledge in relation to a pursuit in rural life, of more general
interest, probably, than many kindred ones of higher pretensions.

  _August, 1855._




A continued, or rather an increasing sale of the Bee-keeper's Manual
has, for the sixth time, rendered a reprint necessary; confirming
the belief that a work, first appearing as the amusement of an idle
hour, has, in its more recent extended form, not been unappreciated,
as supplying a medium between the costly treatises of elaborate
investigators and compilers and the class of mere tracts on Bee
management, that have, with more or less of pretension, abounded
of late years. These are sometimes directed to detached points or
portions only in the wide and diversified field of controversy opened
in relation to the Honey-Bee, or confined by space to the usual
desultory scraps of information for the guidance of the inexperienced
tyro, or supposed cottager; communicating just enough to prove the
necessity of advancing a step further, by consulting works that take
a wider and more systematic view of the subject in its details. The
prefaces to the two last editions of the book are again placed before
the reader, as showing that, in its successive stages, the author's
purpose has been the condensation of a large amount of useful apiarian
knowledge, assisted by an unusual variety of illustration. The present
republication professedly follows in the path of its predecessors; such
additional matter or remark being occasionally introduced as space
permitted, and the onward progress of improvement appeared to demand.

  _May, 1860._

  What well appointed Commonwealths! where each
  Adds to the stock of happiness for all;
  Wisdom's own forums! where professors teach
  Eloquent lessons in their vaulted hall:
  Galleries of art, and schools of industry!
  Stores of rich fragrance! Orchestras of song!
  What marvellous seats of hidden alchymy!
  How oft, when wandering far and erring long,
  Man might learn Truth and Virtue from the Bee!




The Hive or domestic Honey Bee of this country is classed
entomologically _Apis mellifica_, order _Hymenoptera_, as having four
wings.[A] The limits to which a Bee-keeper's Manual of practice is
necessarily confined, permits only the remark that these extraordinary
insects are, as to origin and history, lost in the mists of a remote
antiquity. We know, however, that they, their habits and productions,
are alluded to in Scripture, and attracted marked attention and
admiration in the early eastern communities, where doubtless was
familiar their characteristic Oriental name, _Deburah_,--"she that
speaketh." Subsequently, the bee has spread itself, or been carried,
in spite of clime and temperature, over a large portion of the old
continents; following in the wake of civilized man wherever he has
placed his foot in the primeval forests of the new world; and later on,
in our own time, has been received as a friend and benefactor in the
boundless regions of Australasia and the islands of the Pacific Ocean.
From the time of Aristotle down to our own day, treatises on Bees have
ever been popular, and the curious naturalist has no difficulty in
collecting a library relative to a subject apparently inexhaustible.
But space allows us to notice neither the crude speculations to be met
with in ancient literature, the unprofitable disputations too often
prevailing among modern Bee-annalists, nor the endless catalogue of
hives, possible and impossible, of every period, by which the novice is
bewildered. Our present purpose is restricted to a utilitarian view of
the subject of apiarian knowledge, where science, invention, and the
most competent testimony, have combined to place it in our own day.

[A] Although in the following pages the _Apis mellifica_ alone is
referred to, it may be well here to state that attention has recently
been directed, not only in our own country, but in a still higher
degree in Germany, France, and even in the United States of America,
to the introduction of the Ligurian Bee, or _Apis Ligustica_ of
Italy, the race most probably that was known to Aristotle and Virgil,
and, perhaps, to the ancient Greeks. The combs of this species of
bee closely resemble those of the common kind, but its outward
characteristics exhibit a marked difference; the first rings of the
abdomen being of a reddish colour, instead of dark brown. A fertile
Ligurian queen is readily accepted in an English stock-hive, from which
a common queen has been abstracted, and in due time young Italians are
distinguishable, gradually displacing the original inhabitants. Report
speaks favorably of the superiority of the strangers over our own bee,
as more hardy, more laborious, less irascible, and as swarming earlier.

To those who may be unacquainted with the leading characteristic of the
Honey Bee, it is necessary to premise that in every family, when fully
constituted, its members are of three kinds of individuals; viz.,

  A _Queen_, or _Mother Bee_,       [Illustration]

  The _Common_, or _Working Bees_;  [Illustration]

  And (during a part of the year)
   the _Male_, or _Drone Bees_.     [Illustration]

Thus associated, they severally perform their allotted functions
in great harmony, labouring for the general good, combining in
self-defence, recognising one another, but permitting the intrusion of
no stranger within the hive.


Is darker on the back, longer, and more taper towards the end of her
body than the common bees; has longer legs but shorter wings, and is
of a tawny or yellowish-brown colour underneath. She is supreme in the
hive, admitting no rival or equal; and is armed with a sting, somewhat
more curved in form than that of the common bees, which, however, she
rarely uses. Where she goes the other bees follow; and so indispensable
is her presence to the existence of the commonwealth, that where she is
not none will long remain. She is the mother of the entire community,
her office being to lay the eggs from which all proceed, whether
future queens, drones, or workers. Separate her from the family, and
she instinctively resents the injury, refuses food, pines, and dies.
Without a Queen, or a prospect of one, the labour of the hive is
suspended, and a gradual dispersion or emigration of the community


Those who have examined the appearance of a bee-hive, after it has
been filled with combs during a year, will recollect seeing suspended
here and there, certain small inverted cup-shaped forms. These are the
partially destroyed remains of what were designed for the birthplaces
of young queens, and so-called royal cells or cradles. They are much
larger than the common hexagonal cells in which the working bees are
bred; varying also in their composition, the material of which appears
to be a mixture of wax or propolis, and the farina of flowers. Soon
after the foundation of one of them has been laid, an egg is deposited
in it, the work of completion of the cradle being carried on as
required by the increasing growth of its occupant. When finished and
closed up, it presents in form the appearance of an oblong spheroid,
about an inch long, usually appended like a stalactite perpendicularly
to the edge of a comb, the small end or mouth being downwards, a
position most favorable to economy of space in the hive. In number
the royal cells vary from four or five to a dozen, and sometimes
more. They are not peopled till after the usual great spring laying
of eggs for the production of working bees, preparatory to swarming;
and also those to produce drone bees. The existence of the latter,
or in some stage towards existence, is an invariable preliminary to
the construction of royal cells, the reason for which will hereafter
appear. The affectionate attachment evinced by the nurse-bees towards
the royal larvæ is marvellous, the quantity of food given is profuse,
and they arrive severally at maturity on or about the sixteenth day
from the laying of each egg; these having usually an interval between
them of but a few days. Of the young females or princesses, as they are
often called, and the mode of disposing of supernumerary ones, we shall
speak more at large when we come to treat of swarming. The duration
of life in a Queen bee, under ordinary circumstances, is, by a wise
provision for the perpetuation of the species, much more prolonged than
is the case with the common bees, and some observers have imagined
that it may in some instances have reached to nearly five years. So
far as my knowledge extends, the oldest queen bee of which we have an
authentic record, existed, in the apiary of Mr. Robert Golding,[B]
during the space of three years and eleven months. She died in April
or May, showing little sign of decrepitude, judging by her fertility,
for previously she had filled the hive with an abundance of brood of
every kind. I am, however, inclined to believe that a Queen is oftener
changed than we are always aware of, for in nothing in Nature is there
displayed a more careful attention to the due preservation of a family
of bees than in the provision made for supplying the casual vacancies
arising not merely from the natural demise of the sovereign, but from
other causes, especially those involving deficient powers or absolute
sterility. I should, therefore, discountenance any attempt at direct
interference by the forcible removal of a queen, after a prescribed
period, as has sometimes been advocated. If, however, it should happen
that such removal is absolutely necessary, the bees will accept a
successor as soon as they have discovered their loss, which is often
not till after the lapse of several hours. If all is right the previous
agitation will cease.

[B] See the 'Shilling Bee-book,' by Robert Golding.

And this leads us on to a curious, if not unique fact in relation to
the natural history of the Honey bee, which though probably not unknown
to the ancients, was rediscovered and promulgated by Schirach, a member
of an apiarian society, formed in the middle of the last century at
Little Bautzen, in Upper Lusatia. In contradistinction to the usual way
in which a young Queen is created, preparatory to the swarming season,
by what is denominated the _natural_ process, the details we are about
to give show that the same thing may be effected by another mode, or,
as it is said, _artificially_. Whether these terms, as opposed to each
other, are rightly applied or not, they at least mark a difference;
and being thus practically understood, we shall follow the example of
other authors in using them. The fact itself, startling as at first it
seemed, has been so clearly authenticated, that any lurking scepticism
has disappeared; and, indeed, the principle is now so well understood
and carried into general use by the scientific Apiculturist that, in
a popular treatise on the Honey bee, our object would he imperfectly
accomplished without entering into a few particulars in connection with
it. And first, we have the assurance that the prevalent opinion as to
any supposed original or generated difference between common eggs and
those laid for the especial production of Queen bees, is founded in
error; an altered and accelerated mode as to the development of the
egg being all that is needed for the maturation of a perfect female.
That we may understand the method of procedure on the part of the
bees, we have to suppose that a hive has been deprived of its Queen
(no matter whether by death or design) at that particular period when
eggs and larvæ are each present in the cells of the combs: such larvæ
being not more than two or three days old, for this is essential.
Could we at such a juncture witness the proceedings of the family, a
spectacle would be presented of much domestic distress and confusion
when it had been discovered that the hive was queenless. Soon, however,
the scene changes to the quietude of hope, for the foundation of a
queen's cell (and as a provision against possible failure, often of
three or four) is commenced by the bees, usually within twenty-four
hours. They select a common grub or larva, and enlarge the cell it
occupies, by sacrificing the three contiguous ones, surrounding it
with a cylindrical enclosure; the new cradle of royalty presenting in
this stage the appearance of an acorn cup. The embryo Princess, for
such she has now become, is amply supplied with a nurture, supposed to
differ from that given to the common larvæ (a point questioned by some
naturalists); her habitation in the meanwhile receiving elongation to
suit her growth. About the fifth day the worm assumes the nymph state,
the cell being now worked into its usual pear-shaped figure; the bees
quitting it as soon as the lower end is finally closed. About the
fourteenth day a perfectly developed female comes forth, in no respect
differing from a Queen bred in the natural way. Fecundation and the
laying of eggs usually follow in a few days, the economy of the hive
then resuming its wonted course.

The Queen bee rarely leaves home, or is to be seen, except in hives
constructed purposely with a view to observation. In such a one I have
frequently watched the proceedings, as she has leisurely traversed
the combs, the bees clearing a passage on her approach, their heads
turned towards her, and, by repeatedly touching her with their antennæ,
showing a marked attachment, a favour she is occasionally seen to
return. Indeed, in some well-authenticated instances, affection has
been continued even after her death. The great object of her existence
being the perpetuation of the species, her majesty seems intent on
nothing more, during these royal progresses, than peeping into the
cells as she passes them, ever and anon selecting one, within which she
inserts her abdomen, and deposits at the bottom an egg. These are about
the size of those produced by a butterfly, but more elongated, and of a
bluish-white colour. So prolific are some Queens that I have sometimes
witnessed an extraordinary waste of eggs when, as the combs have become
in great part filled with brood or honey, she finds a difficulty in
meeting with a sufficiency of unoccupied cells. In such an emergency,
impelled by necessity, the eggs are dropped at random, and carried off
or devoured by the bees. No doubt an early and productive season tends
often to this result, and marks the necessity of a timely temporary
addition to the storing room of the family. The great laying takes
place in April and May, when the number of eggs has been variously
estimated by naturalists at 200 to 600 in a day, amounting to an
aggregate of 50,000 to 80,000 in the year. "This sounds like a great
number," remarks Dr. Bevan,[C] "but it is much exceeded by some other
insects." Indeed, a wider calculation has been made, in his valuable
remarks on bees, by the Rev. Dr. W. Dunbar,[D] who thinks that some
Queens (for they are not all equally prolific) produce 100,000 eggs
yearly. When we take into account the enormous demand for the supply of
swarms, the constant deaths in the course of nature, and the thousands
of lives always sacrificed by casualties of various kinds, at home
and abroad, I am inclined to lean to the higher estimate. No doubt as
the cold weather advances there is a considerable falling off in the
number of eggs, but the interval is very short in which the queen, in a
flourishing hive, discontinues laying more or less. "Indeed," observes
Mr. Golding, "it appears that at any time when the temperature is not
too low for the bees to appropriate the food that is given to them, the
Queen will deposit eggs."

[C] See 'The Honey-Bee, its Natural History, Physiology, and
Management.' By Edward Bevan, M.D.

[D] See the 'Naturalist's Library,' vol. xxxiv.


Are the least in size, and in point of numbers in a family are
variously calculated at twelve to thirty thousand, according to
the bulk of the swarm; though under certain circumstances they are
sometimes much more numerous. As regards sex, we have seen in the
preceding section that there is no reason to doubt they are females,
only that the reproductive organs and ovaries are not as fully
developed as they are in the case of a perfect Queen; and this has led
to the erroneous use of the term _neuters_, as sometimes applied to the
common bees. If any doubt should remain as to their sex, it is removed
by the knowledge that, in some rare instances, they have been able to
produce eggs. Like the Queen, each has the power of stinging. The use
of the sting, however, usually involves a loss of life, for, being
barbed like an arrow, the bee has rarely the power of withdrawing it.

The eggs for workers are deposited in the common cells in the centre
of the hive, being the part first selected for that purpose, the Queen
usually laying them equally on each side of a comb, and nearly back to
back. In four or five days' time, they are hatched, when a small worm
is presented, remaining in the larva or grub state four to six days
more, during which period it is assiduously fed by the nurse-bees. The
larvæ then assume the nymph or pupa form, and spin themselves a film or
cocoon, the nurses immediately after sealing them up with a substance
which Huber[E] calls wax. It is, however, a mixture of wax and pollen,
being thicker, more highly coloured, more porous, and less tenacious,
probably to afford air, and facilitate the escape of the imprisoned
tenant. This takes place about the twenty-first day from the laying
of the egg, unless the process has been somewhat retarded by cold
weather. The attentive observer may at this time, in a suitable hive,
witness the struggles and scrambling into the world, generally by its
own exertions, of the now perfect _imago_, the little grey new-born
shaking, brushing, and smoothing itself, preparatory to entering upon
the duties of life, and in a day or two, or sooner, it is busily
occupied in the fields.[F]

[E] See "Observations on the Natural History of Bees," by Francis
Huber; English edition, London, 1841. An invaluable work to the
scientific apiculturist.

[F] As soon as the young bee comes forth, the others partially clear
the cell, and it again receives an egg; this being often repeated
four or five times in the season. Afterwards the cells become the
receptacles for honey or farina; but they are found in time to become
contracted or thickened by this rapid succession of tenants, and the
consequent deposits of exuviæ, excrement, &c. It has been asserted by
Huber and other naturalists, that young bees, bred in old contracted
cells, are proportionately smaller in size. Such combs should be
removed from the hive.

Though we have, as I conceive, no actual proof that the occupation of
individual bees is at all times unchangeably directed to one point (as
some naturalists have imagined), observation shows that the division
of labour is one of their leading characteristics. Some are engaged
in secreting and elaborating wax for the construction of combs in the
hive; others in warming the eggs; in feeding the larvæ, as also their
queen; in ventilating and cleansing the hive; in guarding and giving
notice of attacks or annoyance from without; and the rest in searching
the fields and woods for the purpose of collecting honey and farina,
for present and future store.

The longevity of the working bees has often furnished matter for
dispute, and erroneous ideas have been engendered where a family
has been seen for a series of years to continue in a populous and
thriving condition. But during this period the Queen (or more than
one in succession) has been incessantly occupied in laying eggs
innumerable, to supply by new births the place of the countless
thousands of bees that periodically disappear. Their dwelling has
remained, but successive generations of tenants have kept its works
in repair, giving way in time to fresh occupants. It is shown clearly
by Dr. Bevan and other good authorities, both by argument and actual
experiment, that six to eight months is the limit of their duration;
for, notwithstanding the immense annual increase, the numbers in a hive
dwindle down gradually, owing to the chills of autumn and towards the
end of the year, to a comparatively few. There is no doubt, therefore,
that every bee existing after Christmas was bred during the latter
part of the summer or autumn; and this is a sufficient answer to those
who sometimes inquire what is to become of the accumulated masses of
bees, in hives managed on the depriving system, where neither swarming
nor destruction takes place.

We might here allude to a prevalent error as to any inherent
difference, local or otherwise, in the characteristics of the domestic
Honey bee. When we hear it said, that some are "better workers" than
others, all that ought to be understood is, that the family has the
advantage of being under favorable circumstances as to locality or
season; with a fertile Queen, and an abundant population, for without
these essentials, every operation goes on sluggishly, and prosperity
becomes hopeless.


Are computed in the early part of the summer at one to two thousand,
and upwards, in a stock-hive; but the numbers are irregular, for
a weak stock will often have an undue proportion. They possess no
sting; are larger, darker, and more hairy than the common bees; easily
distinguishable by their heavy motion on the wing, and by their louder
humming or _droning_.

After her great spring laying of common eggs has far advanced, and
as an invariable preliminary to the construction of royal cells, the
Queen proceeds to deposit eggs intended for the production of drones
or males, though often without discontinuing those for workers. The
drone eggs are laid in cells larger in diameter, and stronger than
the others, and usually placed towards the outer extremities of the
hive.[G] A longer period is necessary for the development of a male
than a female, and the drones pass through their various stages in
about twenty-four to twenty-six days, being seldom seen till about
the beginning of May (though occasionally earlier), and then only in
warm weather, in the middle of the day. These are the produce of the
first-laid eggs; for a second smaller laying of drone eggs commonly
takes place about two months later, though the males are rarely found
after August, unless under certain contingencies.

[G] A curious question for the naturalist arises as to the instinct
which directs a Queen bee invariably to deposit the proper eggs in the
proper cells. The most accurate microscopic observation cannot detect
any difference between the egg of a worker, that of a drone, or of
a Queen, all proceeding indiscriminately from the same ovaries and
oviduct. Ingenious theories have been advanced as to the possibility
of what some call impregnated and unimpregnated eggs being laid at
the option of the Mother bee. Huber's opinion, "that nature does not
allow the Queen the choice of the eggs she is to lay," only adds to the
difficulty of arriving at any satisfactory conclusion.

The drones take no part in the collection of stores, nor in any
operation or process of the hive, for which they have proverbially
suffered much ignorant and absurd reproach, since Nature has denied
them the necessary means, and in their creation has allotted them
a distinct office. Indeed, their flights from the hive are only
occasional short ones, and they rarely alight during such excursions.
They are of the male sex, their presence in a hive being only required
at that particular period when the young queens are arriving at
maturity; for of all the theories that have been entertained as to
the functions of the drones, that of Huber is undoubtedly the true

"Naturalists," says Huber, "have been extremely embarrassed to account
for the number of males in most hives, and which seem only a burden
on the community, since they appear to fulfil no function. But we now
begin to discern the object of nature in multiplying them to such an
extent. As fecundation cannot be accomplished within the hive, and as
the queen is obliged to traverse the expanse of the atmosphere, it is
requisite that the males should be numerous, that she may have the
chance of meeting some one of them. Were only two or three in each
hive, there would be little probability of their departure at the same
instant with the Queen, or that they would meet in their excursions;
and most of the females might thus remain sterile."

Were any doubt to remain on the subject, perhaps the annual destruction
of the drones by the workers throws the most satisfactory light on
the design of their creation. This process varies in point of time,
according to circumstances. Deprive a hive forcibly of its Queen, and,
according to Bonner and Huber, no expulsion of drones takes place.
"In such cases," says the latter, "they are tolerated and fed, and
many are seen even in the middle of January." They are retained under
the inspiration of hope, for a contingency might arise to require
their presence. Where a necessity for swarming has been in any way
superseded, there are either no royal cells constructed, or the young
queens meet with premature destruction. Then frequently commences an
early expulsion of the drones, thus rendered purposeless: they become
mere consumers, an incumbrance in the hive, and as such the common bees
instinctively wage fierce war upon them, ending in total annihilation:
nor are even the male larvæ allowed to remain in their cells. This
expulsive process often commences, under such circumstances, in the
middle, or at any rate towards the end of May, as I have repeatedly
witnessed, and not unfrequently is again resorted to later on in the
season. On the other hand, in the case of swarming hives it does not
take place till July, or even later, according to season and locality,
when all the royal brood is disposed of. The circumstances differ
in the two cases; and the bees in this, as in other parts of their
practice, are sufficiently utilitarians to modify their proceedings
accordantly. In the one instance, the office of the males is rendered
void, and in the other it is indispensable to the young queens. Such of
these as go forth with swarms become fertilized in two or three days
after (though sometimes it is later than this), followed by the laying
of eggs in about a similar distance of time. Thenceforth they remain
fruitful, if not ever after (as is the case with some other insects),
at all events for a year, for young bees are produced, without the
subsequent presence of a single male in the family, till the following
spring. The destruction of the drones, therefore, be it sooner or
later, may be considered an indication that the hive contains no queen
brood, and, consequently, that no swarming is to be expected.

Conflicting opinions have been formed as to the desirableness of
assisting the working bees in the task of expelling the drones--often a
protracted process--for although the latter are not armed, like their
more numerous opponents, yet their superior size and strength dispose
them often to make a stout resistance. If it can be done at once,
without undue annoyance to the family, much fighting and valuable time
may doubtless be saved by interfering; but no advice can be worse than
that of attempting to accomplish the work piecemeal. When attacked,
the drones, to stave off the impending storm, will congregate together
in a remote part of the hive. Observation led me to think they would
at such a time be glad to retreat for still greater safety into a
separate box, so placed as to be accessible to them. Accordingly,
on the 14th of June, in one of my collateral stock-hives, where the
drones for a day or two had been hard pushed by the others, I opened
a communication on the ground floor into an empty side box. My theory
was completely realised, for the poor drones gladly made their way
into this, where they remained clustered at the top like a swarm,
not a single common bee accompanying them, and would probably have
been starved. The following morning I took away the box of drones and
destroyed them, counting rather more than 2200, besides some few that
had escaped; altogether a greater number than the usual estimate gives
to a family. I did not find among them a solitary working bee; nor
could I discover in the parent stock-hive one remaining drone. The bees
peaceably at once recommenced work, and did well; as if glad in this
wholesale way to be rid of their late unprofitable inmates. What was
the cost of their daily maintenance? And what proportion to the entire
population of the hive did the drones bear? After this apparently large
abstraction, no sensible difference was observable in the crowding.
In this hive the usual second laying of drone eggs took place, and a
good many more drones were expelled at the end of July. I have not been
enabled to repeat this experiment, but have no doubt it would always
succeed under similar circumstances.


The multiplication of families or colonies of bees, in the natural
manner, is accomplished by the secession of a portion of the
inhabitants of a stock-hive, which has become over-peopled, with
insufficient room for the breeding and storing departments. This act
of emigration or swarming is sometimes an affair of expediency only;
and by a timely enlargement and decrease in the temperature of the
hive it may often be prevented. As soon as warm weather sets in, a
common sized hive becomes crowded and heated to excess; and at length a
separation of the family becomes a matter of necessity. In anticipation
of this event, royal cells are constructed and tenanted for the rearing
of young queens, for without these no swarming occurs. A crowded
dwelling therefore naturally prompts to this preliminary; whilst on the
contrary, a large hive has the effect of retarding the formation of
such cells, and the migration of which they are the precursor. In the
words of Gelieu,[H] "in the swarming season the strong hives are almost
entirely filled with brood-combs. At that time also honey becomes
abundant; and when fine days succeed each other, the working bees amass
an astonishing quantity. But where is it to be stored? Must they wait
till the young bees have left the brood-cells, by which time the early
flowers will be withered? What is to be done in this dilemma? Mark the
resources of the industrious bees. They search in the neighbourhood[I]
for a place where they may deposit their honey, until the young shall
have left the combs in which they were hatched. If they fail in this
object, they crowd together in the front of their habitation, forming
prodigious clusters. It is not uncommon to see them building combs on
the outside."

[H] See 'The Bee-Preserver,' by Jonas de Gelieu, translated from
the French; Edinburgh, 1829. This valuable little work contains the
substance of sixty-four years' experience.

[I] The word here translated _neighbourhood_ seems, with some, to
have given rise to a misconception as to the meaning intended to be
conveyed by it. From the context it is clear Gelieu only meant to
imply some place of deposit in proximity to the parent hive, and not
anything actually apart from it. He distinctly says, "provided there be
an accessible way of communication between them." That bees do, in a
degree, leave their usual domicile for the temporary storing of honey
is evident, when from necessity they construct combs (often in the open
air) on the underneath side of their floor; or work in a separate hive
or box, placed against the original one.

In general, honey-gathering is altogether suspended, necessarily,
under the circumstances we have stated; and, after a long course of
inaction, in the very best part of the season, swarming follows. Indeed
there always appears to be a connexion between swarming and idleness,
induced by a succession of interregnums in the government, causing
a suspension of breeding, when little or no store of any kind is
collected. The proprietor must therefore make his election as to his
course. If the multiplication of stocks is his object, his bees may
thus be impelled to throw off swarms, but he must abandon the prospect
of a large harvest of honey under such circumstances. This method of
bee management is usually called _single hiving_, and is that commonly
followed by cottagers, as on the whole the least expensive. On the
general subject of swarming we shall enter more at large under the head
of "Spring Management."

_Depriving system._--Opposed to the mode of management in which
swarming is systematically encouraged, is that whereby, under ordinary
circumstances, it may be often prevented, and much valuable time, in
the most productive part of the year, be rendered available for the
purposes of adding to the wealth of the family. Let us observe the
natural instinct of these little animals, and at the proper season
provide them with such an occasional addition of storing-room as will
enable them uninterruptedly to go on constructing fresh combs, to
be filled with honey, unmixed with brood or other substances. This
temporary receptacle, though in communication with the stock-hive, can
at pleasure, in the way which will hereafter be described, be detached
from it, without injury to the bees; these returning to their original
habitation, in which the mother bee (although she may occasionally
perambulate every part of her dominion,) ought exclusively to carry on
the work of breeding. The honey obtained by this act of _Deprivation_
is always supposed to be in excess of what is required for the wants
of the family, and almost invariably pure in quality. Various have
been the contrivances for effecting the separation of the storing
and breeding departments in a hive. The bees, when pressed for room,
will extend their operations almost in any direction, whether the
accommodation is given above (which is termed _storifying_), at the
bottom (_nadiring_), or _collaterally_. Equally indifferent are they
to the material of the temporary receptacle. A second hive, box, or
glass, placed over the stock, is termed a _duplet_, or more commonly
a _super_; by which general name, as we proceed, any kind of storing
vessel so placed will be designated. A productive season sometimes
admits of a second super (usually introduced between the first and the
stock), called in such case a _triplet_. An empty box or hive, pushed
beneath a full one, is denominated a _Nadir_,--a mode of practice
not always advisable except in the case of swarms of the same year,
or towards the latter end of very abundant seasons. A still smaller
addition to a common hive consists merely of a few bands of straw,
on which it is raised temporarily, and this constitutes an _eke_.
When either this or a nadir is used, and to facilitate its subsequent
removal, a board ought to be placed between the stock-hive and the
nadir, to prevent the combs from being worked down into it. The board
may either be pierced with good-sized holes, throughout, or it may be
cut into the form of parallel bars, as a grate, with about half an inch
of space between them. The entrance to the stock-hive must be stopped,
and one made at the bottom of the eke or nadir. We shall hereafter
describe a modification of the Nadir principle, which, by way of
distinction, I have called _Nethering_.

In contrasting, as we have done, the Swarming and Depriving systems,
it should not be understood that either of them can invariably be
advantageously carried out exclusively. An occasional change of system
is desirable. In all large apiaries there is always a necessity
for renewals both of Stocks and of Hives, by swarming; and it is
seldom profitable, more especially as respects a common straw hive,
to continue to work it on the depriving plan beyond a few seasons
consecutively. Moreover, the cost of a new hive will be well repaid
by an entire occasional renovation of the colony, stimulated thus to
increased exertion, and with the advantage probably of a changed Queen.

The preference given to either of the two schemes of Bee management
we have just detailed, must direct the proprietor in the choice of
his hives, and we shall proceed to describe such of them as have
found most favour among modern practitioners; premising that in using
the term _Hive_, we intend its general acceptation, no matter of
what material it is made. Neither is it our object unduly to magnify
the advantages of wooden hives at the expense of those of straw:
prejudice exists on both sides the question. They are each valuable
according to circumstances, and their intended uses. Moreover, he only
deceives himself and others who imagines he has discovered a system
or a hive by which to command an abundance, or an improved quality of
Honey, at pleasure. A favorable season may crown with success some
cherished theory or mechanical device, to be followed in the next
by disappointment; for he has little studied the natural habits of
bees, who believes they can be made at will to conform, under all
circumstances, to any settled scheme of practice we may devise for
them. The attempt has led to the Babel of contrarieties too frequently
exhibited amongst apiarian professors, to the confusion of the novice;
each deprecating everything except the mode of procedure he has found
applicable to his own case or district, and with which of course he
is most familiar. In the words of Mr. Golding, "Let my readers repel
the quackery which would have them believe that it was the _kind of
hive_ which commanded the honeyed store. No; that will be ruled by the
productiveness of the season and the locality." Having taken the Honey
bee under our especial protection, we are bound to provide for its due
preservation from the effects of climate, &c., and perhaps, in addition
to the ordinary attentions, the most that can be done with permanent
advantage is to furnish our intelligent little workmen with a dwelling,
convenient in its form and arrangement for the intended purposes;
bearing in mind, as a general rule, that these are best consulted by an
attention to simplicity in its details.


In their wild state, bees have most usually found a secure residence
in the decayed trunks of the thick forest trees. Where they are
domesticated, the kinds and shapes, as well as the materials of
bee-hives, vary according to climate and locality, or the purse of
the proprietor. Those used in many parts of this country are made of
straw, of a bell-shape, and being intended for single hiving, are
usually without any means of enlargement. At the end of the second or
third year, they are too often placed over the pit of destruction;
and thus, with a little impure honey, flavoured with brimstone, the
scene closes. Is it surprising that an unpleasant association is
thus connected with the use of such hives? Happily for the cause
of humanity, experience has decided that this consequence is not
inevitable; and I trust I shall hereafter point out the method by
which it may be avoided, and make it appear to be the interest of the
proprietor _never to kill_ his bees, let the hive be of what kind it

Common hives are best made of unthreshed rye, or good wheat straw. They
would be much improved by a greater attention to shape, being usually
too high in proportion to the width. It may be well, in this connexion,
to introduce the observation of Gelieu. "One of my chief objects," says
he, "has been to ascertain what shape of hive is the most profitable;
and with this view I have tried all the different kinds, and have
invariably remarked that bees thrive better in low hives than in high
ones; that in general those which are broad and flat amass more honey,
thrive better, and give out stronger and earlier swarms than those
which are high. A hive thrives only in proportion to the success or
perfection of its brood-comb in the spring. It is, therefore, of great
importance to keep up the necessary degree of heat for the hatching
of the brood. If, at that time, the bees are lodged in high and roomy
hives, they will crowd together in vain, and the heat ascending is lost
in the empty space above. This never happens in low flat hives, where
it is more easily concentrated."

To prevent the combs from falling, sticks are commonly put across,
or along the inside of a hive, as a support to them. But these props
are an annoyance to the Bees, presenting difficulty in subsequently
extracting the combs, and are never required in a hive made with a
proper regard to proportion; in other words, where the combs are not
too large to bear their own weight, when fully loaded. As regards
the area of hives, much difference of opinion prevails, and a
certain degree of latitude must be left for circumstances connected
with locality, &c. Credit has been taken by some apiculturists, and
doubtless with reason, for much reducing the unwieldy hives of our
ancestors. On an average, perhaps, a preference may be given, as
regards a common bell-formed straw hive, to one made about fourteen
inches wide, and not more than eight inches high at the centre of the
crown, both inside measure. There will be less of room wasted in a hive
thus formed, inasmuch as the combs are stored down to the bottom cells,
which is rarely the case in a high and narrow one. A low wooden hoop
is often used, worked at the bottom of the hive; or, as Dr. Bevan says,
"the lower round of straw may be begun upon a wooden hoop, the bottom
of which has been planed smooth; it should be perforated through its
whole course, and the perforations made in an oblique direction, so
distant from each other as to cause all the stitches of the hive to
range in a uniform manner." The hoop gives greater stability to the
hive, preserves the lower edge from decay, and affords facility in
moving it.

The custom of plastering round the bottom edge of a hive with mortar or
clay is better omitted. Its own increasing weight will settle it down
to its board: at all events no cement is equal to that used by the bees
themselves; any other only serves to accelerate the decay of the hive,
besides presenting an impediment on occasional removal for cleaning or



A reference to the preceding section will show the reasons for giving
a preference to rather shallow common straw hives over high ones, and
the same arguments hold good where they are intended to be managed on
the system usually termed of _Deprivation_; except that then the hive
need be scarcely so large as in the case of single hiving. But to
give facilities for the placing of a second hive, or super, over the
original stock-hive, the latter ought to be made flat on the top, viz.,
cylindrical and straight in form. This shape found an advocate in the
late Mr. Payne,[J] one of the most experienced instructors of Cottage
Bee-keepers, who saw reasons for altering the dimensions of his hives
from twelve inches wide to fourteen, and seven, or sometimes eight,
inches in height (both inside measure), and which I have adopted as
preferable. In the centre of the crown of the hive is a three or four
inch hole. The latter, when not in use, is stopped by a piece of worked
straw, like a mat, as seen in the preceding illustration; and this may
be fastened down by pins or a slight weight. At the proper time for
placing a super, the straw mat cover can be removed, and its place
supplied by what is termed an _adapter_, which is usually a piece of
board the same diameter as the top of the hive, having a corresponding
hole through its centre; thus in fact _adapting_ it as the floor-board
to a super. It will often be better, instead of one thick adapter,
to have two very thin ones, of equal form and size, placed together.
In such case, mahogany or some hard wood should be used, to prevent
warping. On the removal of a full super, this double adapter will be
found useful, as any impediment can be removed by passing between the
two boards a knife, or some fine wire. Or a piece of tin, zinc, or thin
wood may be inserted to entirely stop the communication, if desired, at
any time.

[J] See the 'Bee-keeper's Guide,' by J. H. Payne.


A straw super is best made of the same flat and cylindrical form as
the stock-hive just described. The size may vary in diameter according
to season and locality, from ten to twelve inches, or even the full
width of the stock-hive, and three to six inches in inside height.
In good years two or more of such supers may sometimes be filled in
succession, the appearance of the hive determining its expediency.
Should the stock-hive become hot and crowded before the first cap is
entirely filled, a second smaller one (or triplet,) may be added. In
such cases, the first super is always to remain the upper one, for it
would be useless to put the triplet anywhere except _between_ the two
now in use, and it must have a two-inch hole in its crown as a passage
upwards for the bees. In moving the first super, the upper half of the
double adapter can be lifted with it, first introducing between them a
piece of zinc or tin, to stop the communication with the stock-hive.
In order to give the straw supers a better footing when placed one
upon another, some persons prefer an extra cord or rim of straw to be
worked round the outer bottom and top band. Or, if they are made plain,
a thin hoop may be slipped round at the point of junction, embracing
them both. A few holes are made in the hoop, for the reception of small
pointed iron pins (easily removable), passing through and into the
straw, and thus keeping it in its place. Those who choose may have the
supers made without crowns, which gives facilities for fitting them up
to serve any required purpose. This is done by means of loose wooden
crown-boards: they may be prevented from warping by being made of two
circular smooth boards glued together, the grain of the wood crossing.
These boards are of different diameters; the smaller circle falls
within the inner diameter of the cap; the other should be made an inch
or more larger, to rest upon the upper edge of it. A reference to the
engraving in the next page will illustrate our meaning. A small weight
for a day or two will adjust the crown to its place; but any little
apertures should in some way be stopped, for the escape of too much
warmth must not be permitted. Mr. Golding does this by an effectual
method: "Any little misfit," says he, "through which the bees may get
out, is best stopped with a bit of tea lead, a store of which should
be kept for such purposes." On removing a full cap, the combs can be
separated from its sides with a knife or spatula, when there will be no
difficulty in lifting up the crown-board with the combs suspended from
it, in an unbroken state; and this often enhances their value.


Whether with or without the protection of a bee-house, the supers ought
to be covered. For this object an exterior hive or straw cylinder may
be used, similar in form and diameter to the stock-hive, and of any
required height. The zinc shade and its cover, which will be more
particularly described (under the head of hive-covers), suitably
completes a protection of this kind. At present a reference to the
preceding illustrations will suffice. The upper engraving shows a straw
super with its moveable crown-board, and the method of placing it over
a stock-hive; whilst the lower one represents the appearance of the
whole when put together, with zinc shades and a cover.


We have as yet supposed the stock-hive to be constructed in the
usual way, with a flat straw crown; but many persons are induced to
prefer wood; in which case the hive may be made in the mode pointed
out for the caps, open at both ends alike. The same kind of moveable
crown-board will in that case be suitable; made, as already detailed,
of two circular pieces of wood of different diameters, together about
three fourths of an inch in thickness. A little of some kind of luteing
can, if needed, be used in adjusting the crown-board to its hive; or
the tea lead we have just spoken of may often serve.




There is another mode of fitting a wood crown. This may be of the same
size as the _outside_ diameter of the hive, a thin hoop being screwed
around its edge, with an inch additional; the whole fitting over as a
cap. A few small pointed iron pins may pass through the lower edge of
the hoop horizontally into the straw, thus sufficiently holding it;
at the same time that its subsequent removal is easy. Instead of a
hoop, I have used a strip of zinc, screwed round, and pinned, as just
mentioned, which fits closer than wood, and when all is painted of one
colour, has a neat appearance. Even without any kind of hoop, the wood
top may be fixed by means of moveable pointed pins going through it,
and down into the upper edge of the hive. Amateurs often prefer the
crown-board cut with three holes, triangularly in position, to a single
central one; as convenience is thus given for working three small
glasses, or a large-sized one, as shown by the circles delineated in
our illustration. The holes may be one and a quarter inch in diameter
at the larger end, tapering two inches down to a point. Three zinc
slides or _dividers_, as they are called, move in grooves, cut two
inches wide from the edge of the crown-board, over the holes. The
supers should be placed each on a separate adapter; and on removal, the
slide is passed underneath the adapter, the whole being then lifted
off together.

Various opinions have prevailed as to the expediency of painting the
exterior of straw hives, some believing that absorption of vapour best
takes place where it is omitted. My own idea is that, for exposed
hives, an annual coat of paint is desirable, and nothing looks better
for the purpose than a natural straw colour. We may resort to the words
of Gelieu, who says, "it is commonly supposed that bees thrive best in
straw hives, because the straw absorbs the moisture, and the combs are
less liable to mould. For my part I can perceive no difference. The
bees are careful enough to varnish over the interior of the straw hives
with a coating of wax, or rather propolis, to prevent the settlement
of the moths; and in the old hives this varnish is so thick that no
moisture can penetrate between the cords of straw. Wooden hives will
also absorb moisture to a certain extent; and experience has shown me
that it is a matter of indifference which are employed, except as to
the price."


Whatever difference of opinion there may be as to the expediency of
the practice of placing straw hives in the open air, independently of
a house or shed, the custom prevails to so great an extent, that our
object would be incomplete were we not to point out some of the modes
resorted to for protecting them in such cases. Of the commoner kinds
of coverings many are sufficiently unsightly; some being of straw
thatch (or hackles), others of earthenware, in various ugly forms,
and often objectionable and injurious to the hive, from their weight.
In the apiary of a friend I have seen a dome-formed straw cover to a
stock-hive, constructed with a projection all round of about three
inches. On the underneath side are attached three or four bands in a
circle, fitting over the outer diameter of the hive. The appearance
of this cover is appropriate; but unless carefully painted, wet will
eventually find admittance. It may, however, be rendered water-proof by
means of some kind of cement. I have sometimes used for this purpose
a mixture of paint with fine sawdust, pounded into the consistence of
paste, and afterwards painted and varnished.


A cover of the same form can be manufactured in zinc, more or less
convex, or sometimes nearly flat, its edges being turned down over
stiff wire. A descending rim of not less than two inches deep is
attached to the underneath side, encircling the upper edge of the hive.
There ought to be perforations immediately under the projection of the
rim, and a space left between the cover and the crown of the hive,
for the passage of air; or a small worked mat, of straw bands, may be
interposed to prevent any ill effect from a hot sun.



A modification of the last-described zinc cover I have used
satisfactorily for the protecting of flat straw depriving hives,
requiring more than one story in height. Immediately upon the stock-hive
is introduced what, for want of a more distinctive term, I call
a _shade_, encircling the upper edge, as just detailed, with the same
kind of descending rim and air-holes. It is made of moderately thick
sheet zinc, cut of such exterior diameter as to leave a projection
round the outer edge of the hive of three to four inches, and turned
a little downwards over stout wire, to throw off wet. In the centre
of the shade is a circular opening, which, if required, may be of the
same diameter as the interior of the stock-hive, and round it is a
raised rim, standing up not less than half an inch. Within this central
opening it is intended to place the super, of whatever kind it may be.
A reference to what has been said at page 34, and the illustrations
there given, as well as those now annexed, will show the construction
of the shade; also the mode of covering the super by means of a second
straw hive (made with or without a crown), standing upon the shade,
the upright rim of which keeps it in its place. On the top of this
upper hive a second shade, made like the first, may be placed. The
completion of the whole is a slightly convex zinc cap, of about two
inches in height, fitting securely over the central opening, like
the top of a canister or pot. There is a projecting lateral rim to
the cap, underneath which air-holes are made, similar to those under
the projection of the shade. In winter, and at any time when a super
hive is not required, the cap is placed over the shade immediately
surmounting the stock-hive, reducing the edifice to one story. When
feeding is needed by the bees, a pan may be introduced for the purpose
within the central opening, and covered over by the zinc top. In reply
to those who are dubious as to the expediency of using metal coverings,
it may be remarked that no inconvenience arises in the present case, as
neither the shade nor its cover come in contact immediately with the
crown of the hive.


If a straw cover to a super is preferred, it can stand over the rim of
the shade, as seen in the illustration annexed.


An effectual protection to a round hive may be made by means of an
outer case, in fact merely a straw cylinder, with open ends. It must
in diameter be large enough to drop loosely over the hive, and rest
on the floor-board. The height ought to be sufficient to include any
supers that may be required. Surmounting the whole, either one of the
zinc covers, shown at page 39, of an enlarged size, can be used; or the
shade and its top, as seen at page 40.


The floor on which a hive is placed should be of wood, and not of any
material too retentive either of heat or cold, as stone, slate, &c.
In summer, the melting of the combs often results, and in winter,
numerous lives are lost from chill. Every hive, of whatever kind,
should stand upon its own separate board, so as to give facility for
lifting, cleaning, or weighing the whole together at any time, without
disturbance to the bees.


The entrance into a hive is generally cut out of its bottom edge. This
has a tendency to cause decay in that part, particularly if of straw;
besides that, a hole so made affords but indifferent protection from
driving wet or a scorching sun, and gives imperfect facility for the
escape of moisture from the hive. It is a better plan to sink the
passage out of the thickness of the floor-board, till it reaches the
inside of the hive. There are several ways of doing this, but a simple
one is the following: Let the board be of thick, seasoned wood, and to
prevent warping, screw two strong cross-bars to the underneath side,
seven or eight inches apart. In size the floor-board ought to be a
little larger than the exterior of the hive, from whence it should be
chamfered down every way, to three eighths of an inch at the edge. From
the latter, the entrance must be cut or grooved out, straight and level
till it enters the inside of the hive, when it may slope upwards. This
groove may be about four inches wide, and three eighths of an inch deep
where the hive crosses it; for it is better in all instances that the
requisite space at the door should be given laterally, rather than in
height. This is not only more convenient to the bees, but shuts out
from admission into the hive such guests as the snail or the mouse. In
a board thus constructed a convenient mode of occasionally contracting
the entrance-way is by means of small wooden blocks, of different
widths, so formed that the lower half can be pushed within the hive's
mouth. The board just described, and its blocks, are shown in the
engraving beneath.



Another kind of hive-board, suitable for some description of boxes, is
made by cutting a rabbet of any required width, and three-eighths of
an inch deep, on all its sides, leaving the raised part of the board
the size of the outside of the box, with an additional half inch beyond
this, every way. The passage into the hive is to be cut from the edge
of the rabbet, and on the same level, for about two inches; after which
it must slope upwards. It may be four to five inches wide, and its
sides should bevel a little outwards. This gives facilities for the
introduction of moveable blocks or mouth-pieces, for the convenience of
contracting or altogether stopping up the entrance, as may be required.
The blocks are an inch wide, and must all be of one size, and of the
same length and bevel as the entrance-way. In height they should be
three quarters of an inch in front; cut down behind, half the width to
three eighths of an inch. Thus made, the lowest half inch of the block
is inserted within the mouth of the hive, and the other half projects
on the outside. To suit all cases and seasons, blocks so formed
may be cut on the lower part, from front to back, with any required
passage-way through them at pleasure. The preceding engraving exhibits
one of these boards, with a front and back view of four blocks thus
varied; the third one being fitted with perforated zinc.

An entirely covered entrance, for those who desire it, is afforded by a
double board, in which the passage is cut through the floor, altogether
within the hive; and it may be thus made:


Take a piece of inch seasoned wood, an inch or two broader and longer
than the hive. Smooth both sides, and underneath it cut a groove four
or five inches wide, and four inches back from the edge. The part
next the edge should be there hollowed out three eighths of an inch
deep, increasing to double this at the other end, where it enters the
hive. An opening through from the upper side must be made, to meet
the underneath hollow, giving a gradual slope down into it. A piece
of three-quarter inch board, seven to nine inches wide, must then be
screwed underneath, the grain crossing the other; the doorway for
the bees being of course between the two. The lower board should be a
little the longest, the extra length being intended to form a small
alighting board in front.

All the boards in the preceding illustrations are shown square as to
form; but any of them may at pleasure be made round.



Hives standing singly, in the open air, must be so placed as that there
is no risk of their being overthrown by the wind or other casualty, and
various kinds of supports have been devised. Whatever is preferred, it
ought to afford facilities for allowing the lifting up of the hive on
its board at pleasure. A single pedestal or post is sometimes used,
cut flat at the top to six or seven inches square. It may stand out of
the ground fifteen or sixteen inches, and be firmly fixed, to avoid
shaking, which alarms the bees. Sometimes a higher elevation than this
is given, but it is not expedient to subject the hives unnecessarily
to the action of the wind, any more than it is to place them so near
the ground as to cause the bees to be affected by damp exhalations. On
the under side of the centre of the hive-board fix four bars of wood
(or three will do), of about two inches square, so as to form a cap or
socket, fitting over the top of the pedestal. The board may be there
secured by the insertion, diagonally, of one or two pins, through the
sides of the cap and into the post. This plan may be varied by means
of the two pieces or arms, let edgewise flush into the top of a post,
crossing it diagonally: on this the hive-board may rest, or be secured
by a button or two.

Or, on the top of a pedestal, four or five inches in diameter, a piece
of board, of about nine inches square, may be fixed as a table. Upon
this place the hive-board, of which the cross bars, appended to its
underneath side, are so adjusted in point of distance apart, as to come
on each side of the table, being there secured by a pin or turn-button.


This last-described stand may be improved, at a little further cost.
Nail upon the pedestal a piece of strong board, eight or nine inches
wide, and three inches longer than the outside width of the hive-board.
Underneath the table thus formed, a couple of struts or angle-pieces
must be fixed, to render the whole firm. The under-side bars of the
hive-board are adjusted to fall on each side the table, as before
detailed. The extra three inches of the latter must be thrown to the
front, where it is designed to form a projecting alighting platform for
the bees. This part is occupied by a piece of wood nailed to it, and
chamfered to meet the hive-board, to which it forms a stay.


Another support to an out-door hive is made by means of four props,
driven upright into the ground, and cut off level, at about sixteen
inches high. The hive-board must have two cross bars screwed to its
under side, from front to back, just coming within the uprights: to
make it still more steady, four small blocks can be appended near the
corners, between the cross bars and the edge of the board, to hold the
latter in the opposite direction, as seen by the dotted lines in our

The same remark applies to the hive-stands just described as was made
in the last section, viz., they can be adapted equally well to round
as to square hive-boards. It may be well also to observe that, instead
of sinking a pedestal into the earth, where decay soon ensues, it can
be fixed upon strong cross pieces or feet, these being fastened to the
ground by pins passing downwards through them.



Where there are a number of hives, instead of a separate stand for
each, they may be placed more economically, and perhaps safely, on
what I term a _hive-range_, of any required length. The range consists
simply of a couple of rails, about an inch thick, and four inches in
depth, nailed to the top outer edge of a series of posts, fixed firmly
in or on the ground, about eighteen inches high. The space between
the rails may be about twelve inches, measured withinside. The most
suitable hive-board for a range is that shown at page 43. The cross
bars on its underneath side must be so cut in point of length, as to
fall within the two rails, where they are held; whilst what remains of
the width of the board lodges upon them, with a convenient projection
before and behind. Nor does it matter whether the hive-boards are made
square or round. A range of this kind occupies very little space, and
presents few facilities for the incursions of insects or other annoyers
of bees. The hives ought to have a good interval between each; but it
is an advantage that on this plan they can be moved, by sliding the
boards to the right or left, if circumstances call for it. A range
on the same principle might readily be made ornamentally, in part or
wholly of iron, standing on feet, moveable anywhere, and setting vermin
at defiance.

To the intelligent reader it is unnecessary again to repeat, that
bee-stocks ought always to be raised sufficiently from the ground to
protect them, not only from the baneful effects of damp, but from the
incursions of vermin, &c. But inattention on this point is sometimes
met with so gross, that we cannot forbear giving place to the preceding
engraving, from a drawing made on the spot in Dorsetshire, illustrating
the treatment to which the poor bees may be sometimes subjected by
indifference or deplorable ignorance.


As far as we have proceeded, our attention has been directed
principally to Straw hives. Those, however, of Wood have in modern
times come pretty generally into use, when cost is not an object, as
being more durable, less liable to harbour vermin, and better adapted,
from their square form, for a convenient arrangement of the combs,
besides admitting of glass windows.

As regards the plainer kind of boxes, either intended for use on
the swarming system, or on that where deprivation is practised,
I adhere to the opinion expressed as to straw hives, and prefer
those constructed broad and shallow to such as are high and narrow.
They may be made of the lighter and more porous kinds of deal,
some preferring red cedar; but whichever is made use of, it should
be thoroughly seasoned, and well put together; observing that the
grain of the wood always runs in the horizontal direction, when its
tendency to expansion or contraction is rendered of no importance.
Conflicting opinions prevail as to the best size for bee-boxes;
but, like almost everything else where these insects are concerned,
something must be left dependent on circumstances and locality, as
well as the intended mode of working them. A fair average size for a
plain box is eleven and a half inches square, by eight inches deep,
withinside; or, perhaps better, twelve by seven or seven and a half
inches, clear; the thickness of wood throughout being not less than
an inch, or, if exposed, more than this. The cover of the box should
have a small projection on all sides, for better appearance, and to
afford convenience for lifting. On the top a two- or three-inch hole
may be cut in the centre, for the purposes of supering, of feeding, or
ventilation. Instead, however, of one central hole, some persons like
to have three smaller ones, cut triangularly; affording convenience for
the use of a single large, or three small glasses. It is best to leave
the roof of the box, withinside, unplaned, as the bees have sometimes
a difficulty in making the first combs adhere to too smooth a surface.
A window may be placed at the back, and another at one side, about four
inches high, and six wide. The glass should be thick, and secured by
putty; but it must not fit too tightly, or it is apt to crack from the
swelling of the wood. There are various ways of covering the windows,
but the best is, perhaps, by a sliding shutter of zinc. Round the
window there must be a projecting moulding, mitred at the corners. On
one side the piece of moulding is moveable, and to the back of this is
screwed a plate of sheet zinc. This passes into a rabbet to receive it,
cut, on the remaining three sides, at the back of the lower edge of the
moulding. Where uniformity of appearance is studied, blank windows may
be made opposite to the real ones.[K] No entrance-way should be cut in
the box, as this more properly belongs to the floor-board.


[K] As regards windows, they are always useful to inspect a hive, but
should, as a rule, be kept darkened. At the same time there is no doubt
that bees will work exposed to the light, when the option of darkness
is not allowed them. A friend put a swarm into a unicomb hive, made
without shutters on each side, and exposed to the full glare of light
at a window, which I frequently inspected. The bees filled the hive
in a short time, paying apparently no attention to the eyes often
observing their operations. It is to be remarked, however, that whether
bees are in light or darkness, the one or the other must be continuous,
as alternations disturb and alarm them. We shall hereafter give a
design for an experimental _Light Hive_.

A reference to the engraving will show a box thus made, with its
sliding shutter. It ought to be painted a sufficient time before use,
or the smell is offensive to the bees; indeed, I have known a swarm
forsake a box in consequence. I may observe, however, that some persons
prefer boxes, when in a house, to be unpainted. They are always best
placed under some kind of cover, as protection from wet and a hot sun
is necessary to prevent warping and splitting, and not unfrequently
the melting of the combs. Some German bee-keepers have recommended
box-hives made long from back to front, and narrow from side to side.


An undoubted improvement on the box described in the last section,
consists in the addition of separate moveable bars of wood, crossing
the top of the hive, in parallel lines, to which the combs are to
be attached. By this means any comb, on removal of the cover, can
be separately extracted, adhering to its own particular bar. The
_bar-system_, as we may call it, has had many advocates, but to none
are we more indebted than to Dr. Bevan and Mr. Golding, for reducing
to fixed rules what had previously been undefined and uncertain. The
latter, however, appears to have a preference for straw hives, and
has given instructions for adapting bars to them. We shall hereafter
describe a hive of this kind, but varying in some respects from Mr.
Golding's. With Dr. Bevan, many prefer boxes; and a square form is
better than any other, as in these every bar has the advantage of
being alike, fitting anywhere, either in the same or another box. At
all events, "whatever the construction of the hive," says Mr. Golding,
"without some such facility as bars, whereby every comb can be made
individually available, there is something wanted, something wrong."
With no claim, therefore, to the invention of any new principle, the
boxes I have constructed are modifications of those that preceded them;
the object in view being to render these, at a small extra cost, more
manageable to the amateur. In short, I know of no hive more completely
under control.



I may premise that the boxes (as illustrated in a former edition),
following those described by Dr. Bevan, were adapted for the reception
of seven bars. Subsequent experience has shown that these may be
advantageously increased to eight in number, extending the square of
the hive, but diminishing its height. In thickness the wood ought not
to be less than a full inch. The dimensions withinside are thirteen
and a quarter inches square; the height being seven inches, inclusive
of the bars. As regards windows, there may be one at the back and
at the side, four inches high by seven or eight inches long; with
sliding shutters, like those described in the preceding section. The
glass ought to be so fixed as to leave as little recess as possible
withinside the box, otherwise the extraction of the combs is impeded.
Indeed, it is better to have the panes introduced flush, and cemented
from the inner side into a fine rabbet. The best kind of cement for
this purpose is a mixture of powdered chalk and glue. The bars must
be one and an eighth inch wide, and half an inch thick; being best
unplaned on the under side, to enable the combs to adhere to them.
Recesses of a full eighth of an inch are cut from the upper inner edge
of the box, to receive the ends of the bars, into which they should
fall easily, ranged from front to back. It is essential to follow the
rules laid down by Dr. Bevan, who says, "if the distances of the bars
from each other be nicely adjusted, there will be interspaces between
them of about half an inch. The _precise_ width of the bars should
be attended to, and also their distances from each other, as any
deviation in this respect would throw the combs wrong. It is better
to be somewhat _within_ the rule than to exceed it by ever so little,
for the tendency is generally to make the combs approximate. This has
induced me to vary a little the relative distances of the bars, the
three (four) centre ones being placed only seven sixteenths of an inch
from each other, whilst the rest gradually recede from that distance."
For the purpose of ensuring the needful uniformity and correctness of
workmanship requisite in all points, I constructed a pattern gauge,
as seen in the annexed engraving. It is made of sheet metal, brass
being the best, of the same dimensions as the interior square of the
boxes, exclusive of the end projections. These latter denote the exact
interspaces between the bars; so that if the gauge is placed upon the
inner edge of the box, the position of the recesses into which the bars
are intended to fall may be indicated at each end. Moreover, the gauge
gives a correct pattern for making the bars, as also the position of
the holes through the crown and centre boards.


It may be well here to allude to what some have thought to be an
improvement in the construction of the bars, the object being to render
the combs more accessible, and the usual cutting, to detach them
from the sides of the hive, avoided. A reference to the accompanying
engraving will exhibit a bar with a frame suspended beneath it, but so
made as not to touch either the sides or bottom of the hive, and within
which the combs are, or ought to be, wrought. Doubtless, advantages
may arise from the facilities thus given for removal, provided these
are not counterbalanced by the evil of greater complication, and the
inconvenience arising from the possible attachment by the bees of
the frame itself to the sides of the hive, and so setting them fast.
Moreover, as such frames curtail space in the hive, allowance is
necessary in its external dimensions.


A cover or crown board, three quarters of an inch thick, clamped at
the ends, and projecting all round nearly half an inch, is fixed down,
flush with the bars, with two or three long screws. To prevent rusting,
these may be of brass.

Some objection has been raised against screws, as being occasionally
troublesome to remove. The engravings annexed (drawn half size) show
another mode of attaching the crown board by means of brass rings,
elongated like the link of a chain, and held loosely at the bottom by
the head of a screw, inserted at the side of the box. An aperture is
cut in the projection of the crown board, through which the link passes
to the top, into a recess made to receive it, and where it is fixed by
a moveable lateral pin, leaving a flush surface. On removing the pin
the link drops down upon the screw head, and the crown board becomes
released. Instead of a ring, a similarly formed link can be cut from a
piece of sheet metal.

It is not always that amateurs are possessed of the nerve requisite
to perform, periodically, the operation of changing the cover
immediately over a populous stock. The construction of my bar-hive
renders this unnecessary. Through the cover are three openings, cut
as a passage upward for the bees into a super. For convenience, two
of these are placed within three inches of the front of the box
(measuring inside), to the centre of the holes, which are one inch
and a quarter in diameter at the outer end, lengthening towards the
centre to three inches; there diminished to a point, and leaving two
intermediate inches between them. I have found it well in this part to
give an increased facility to the bees in passing over the bars, which
otherwise too much intercept the passage. To accomplish this, let the
crown board be turned bottom upwards, grooving out the central portion
coming immediately underneath and between the two holes, for the space
of six or seven inches long, one and a half inch wide, and three
eighths of an inch deep. The third hole is made an inch and a half from
the back of the cover (measured inside); of the same size and form as
the others, but an inch shorter. This will be useful in working glasses
and in feeding. The elongated form given to the holes is best adapted
to prevent killing or maiming the bees in introducing the dividing
slides. The latter are plates of stout zinc or copper, two inches wide,
sliding within a recess or groove, cut their own thickness, across the
top of the crown board, over the holes. The slides are long enough
to meet in the centre, their outer ends being a little turned up for
convenience. If the last inch is perforated with small holes, the slide
becomes a ventilator, by drawing it out a little.

This hive may be used either for single or double hiving, or with any
kind of super; but to render it complete for all purposes, there ought
to be three boxes, forming a set, as seen in the engravings at p. 56, in
which the stock-box is the bottom one. In many seasons and localities,
however, the third box might not be called for. For convenience of
description, the numbers 1, 2, and 3, are used in reference to the
_stock-box_, the _first super_, and the _centre box_; all to be of equal
size as to the square. No. 2 should be fitted with bars and windows, like
the first; but in height it may be one inch, or sometimes two, lower.
Moreover, there must be no holes through its crown board, for whether
two or three boxes are in use, No. 2 is always the upper one. A great
convenience is given by the introduction of a loose centre board, placed
on the top of the stock-box, and of the same dimensions; being in fact an
adapter to the super, which can be lifted upon it, on removal. It is of
half-inch wood, clamped, having openings cut through, corresponding in
form and position with those of the stock-box, but without any recess.
The slides move beneath the centre board, opening or shutting off the
communication from box to box, as required. No. 3 box differs from the
others in being still shallower, and having no moveable bars. Moreover,
the central portion of its cover is cut through into the semblance of
a grating, as shown in the illustration, with six bars, nine inches
long, of an inch and an eighth in width, and with interspaces of half an
inch. In certain very productive seasons, and when the super No. 2 is
filled, No. 3 may be introduced _between_ the two others; not removing
the upper box till the bees have commenced working in No. 3. A temporary
close cover must then be placed over the grated one of the latter. Many
experienced apiarians, however, object to using more than one super
hive, preferring to give any further room that may be required, at the
_bottom_ of the stock. The box No. 3 is equally well adapted for either
alternative; for it may go as a nadir, beneath the stock-hive, taking its
place on the hive-board, in which latter is the entrance for the bees, no
other being permitted.

A hive-board suitable is either like the one shown at p. 43, or that at
p. 44; the boxes being placed upon it, with the bars ranging from front
to back. Some persons are inclined, instead of one central entrance to
the stock-box, to prefer two smaller ones, placed respectively at the
outer extremities of the front, of course cut from the floor board; and
it is probable that this departure from the general practice may not
be without its occasional advantage, in winter especially, in a broad,
shallow hive.


These boxes, like all wooden hives, should be placed in a house of some
kind, if possible; but instances occur where such a convenience is not
available. To meet these, I will describe a substitute, which gives
effectual protection, though it would still be better standing under
a shed. A recurrence to the engraving in the next page will show that
our plan comprises an outer casing, in two compartments, and surmounted
by a top cover or roof. They may be of half-inch wood, large enough
in the square to drop loosely over the boxes, the lower compartment
resting upon the rabbet of the hive-board, which may be made as shown
at page 44, and wide enough to leave, on three sides, an outside
margin of an inch. On the front side a rather more extended margin
may be expedient. The height of the lower compartment, measuring from
the rabbet of the floor board, reaches to the top of the stock-box,
except just as much as will allow the slides to pass over its edge. A
good-sized elliptical opening faces the mouth of the hive; or increased
to two, where there is a second entrance. The other compartment of
the case should be high enough to enclose within it the two upper
boxes. To its outer bottom edge, a band or fillet, about two inches
wide, and nearly half an inch thick, is appended, half its width. The
other half-width is intended to overlap the outer upper edge of the
lower case, when placed one upon the other; and this part should be
chamfered, so as to go on and off easily. For appearance' sake, another
band is appended to the upper case, near its top; unless any other
exterior architectural embellishment is preferred. A reference to the
engraving will show the whole design is completed by a hipped roof or
cover. Under the four projecting edges of the latter is a suspended
cornice, about two inches deep, on its outer sides. When in its place,
about three quarters of an inch of the cornice ought to overhang,
dropping loosely over the upper outer edge of the case (a little
chamfered); to regulate this, recessed at the four angles, within the
cover, are attached cross corner blocks. For the purpose of ventilating
the roof, long lateral openings are cut out on the four sides, from the
upper part of the cornice, under the projecting edges of the roof. The
total projection of this may be two inches, or a little more. The cover
ought to fit equally well upon either compartment of the case; for in
winter the edifice can be reduced to one story only.

The stand for the whole is simply an open frame, of the same outside
dimensions as the cases; with inch-thick rails, four inches deep,
framed at the corners to four posts or legs. These may be two inches
square, and eighteen inches high; either sunk into the ground, or
placed upon it, by means of cross-pieces, pinned or pegged down. The
hive-board drops loosely down into the frame, and rests upon the
rails, showing a projection all round of an inch; the cross bars on its
underneath side retaining it steadily.


In a former edition, this kind of hive, when thus fitted up with an
outer covering, obtained the name of the _double_ bar-hive, by way of
distinction from another mode of constructing it, which will now be

Whatever may be said about the inexpediency of placing wooden hives
in exposure to the weather, the one we are now proceeding to describe
was intended to meet the wishes of some bee-proprietors, who objected
to the small degree of trouble, involved in using any kind of outer
casing; obtaining from this circumstance the appellation of the
_single_ bar-hive.


The three boxes, forming the set, differ but little from those last
described; the interior dimensions, bars, windows, crown-boards, &c.,
being similar; but the centre board is omitted, and the thickness of
the wood must be increased to not less than one and a quarter inch. A
rabbet of a quarter of an inch is cut round all the crown-boards, to
receive a super box, or the roof cover; the better to retain it in
its place. The outside projection should be extended to not less than
an inch and a half; this part being chamfered to throw off wet. The
plan of the roof cover will be seen on reference to our illustration.
The square appended within it is in interior diameter the same as the
boxes, to fit over any of them, resting upon it sufficiently to allow
the projecting parts of the crown-board to be seen as a cornice. Beyond
this, there is a further projection of the roof of an inch, provision
for ventilation being made by a double set of openings, cut as shown
in our engraving. For better security in winter, loose wooden blocks,
to the stock-box, may be made to fill the space intervening between
the glass windows and the sliding shutters. The hive-board may be that
shown either at p. 43, or 44, of the same dimensions as that of the
crown-boards, and chamfered off. The stand to receive it is like the
one described and shown at p. 66, the square of its frame being the
same as that of the exterior of the boxes. Our engraving exhibits a
simple method of adding a useful kind of porch to the entrance of the
stock-box, by means of a strip of zinc or other material, of the width
of the front projection of the floor board. It can be bent into the
form of an elliptical arch, the two lower extremities being held by
going down within the sunken part of the board, whilst the upper part
derives support by being pressed back beneath the window moulding.


Those who study economy may, instead of the entire set of boxes just
described, retain the stock-box only, with a cover to receive any kind
of super, as shown above. The cover will do if made of half-inch wood,
nine inches high to the square of the roof; the outside dimensions
being the same as in the stock-box. A slanting projecting roof forms a
part of the cover. Under its projecting edges openings for ventilation
can be cut. The cover is retained in its place by a rabbet cut round
the top of the stock-box, and preventing the admission of wet.

The object of the bars we have said is to furnish parallel foundations
on which the combs are to be worked, for without an observance of this
regularity, subsequent extraction becomes impossible; showing the
necessity for a proper _beginning_. To induce the bees to preserve a
straight direction, it has usually been found expedient to append what
are termed _guide-combs_ to three or four of the centre bars of the
stock-box, previously to hiving a swarm into it; and for the purpose
some pieces of clean _worker-comb_ ought to be kept in reserve. In
giving the needful directions for fixing the guides, we cannot do
better than use the words of Mr. Golding, who says, "this is easily
effected by heating a common flat-iron, slightly warming the bars with
it, then melting a little bees'-wax upon it. The comb is now drawn
quickly across the heated iron, and held down upon the centre of the
bar, to which it firmly adheres, if properly managed. These pieces of
guide-comb need not be more than two or three inches in diameter. Care
should be taken that the pitch or inclination of the cells is upwards
from the centre of each comb." Or it may do equally well, if the edge
of the comb is dipped in melted wax.

In the absence of guide-combs another mode of proceeding has been
sometimes successfully resorted to. Take a flat piece of tin or zinc
(or stiff paper might do), of the length and width of one of the bars:
cut out the central portion to the extent of half an inch in width.
Lay the pattern thus prepared upon the bar, and with a brush smear,
in a straight line, some melted bees'-wax along the central half-inch
opening, and so proceed with four or five other bars. The bees will
usually commence working first upon the waxed part of the bar, and
this tends to uniformity subsequently. Nothing can be more beautiful
than a box of honey-combs thus regularly worked; nor is it possible
in any other way to have them so perfect and unbroken, when detached.
Indeed, the convenience of moveable bars can only be appreciated
by those accustomed to their use. Their advantage is apparent when
it has become expedient to remove old combs from stock-hives. They
may be made available in cases where one box has more and another
less of sufficient store of honey: in such event, or as a substitute
for feeding, a loaded bar or two can be transferred from the one to
the other; or from a super to a stock-box. For the object of making
artificial swarms great facility is given, more especially when a comb
contains a royal cell. A brood-comb may in like manner be taken and
inserted in a weak stock, to strengthen the population; or for the
purpose of rearing a Queen artificially, in a hive wanting one. So
also, in the swarming season, supernumerary royal cells may be cut out:
likewise, a superabundance of drone-combs can be removed, and the bees
will fill the vacancies with common ones.

We shall, under the head of _Autumnal management_, give general
directions for the removal or deprivation of full super boxes; but
it may be well here to describe the method to be pursued where it
is necessary to operate on a _stock-hive_. In such a case, a piece
of board is useful, of the same width and thickness as the top, or
crown-board. In the middle of the day, unscrew the latter, sliding it
sideways; the extra board covering over the vacancy as you proceed. In
this way, only as much space as is wanted to get at any given bar need
be exposed. "A few puffs of smoke," says Mr. Golding, "may now be blown
down the sides of the comb to be taken out, which will intimidate the
bees, and drive them away. A double-edged knife-blade, an inch and a
half long, and three eighths of an inch wide, turned at right angles
from the end of an iron rod of about a foot in length, is now passed
down the edges of the comb, to detach them from the hive. After this
is done, the comb may be easily lifted; such bees as still adhere to
it being swept down into the hive as the bar is lifted upwards. Such
operations as these are much less formidable than many persons believe.
The fact is, the bees, when once intimidated by the smoke, may be done
almost anything with. Quietness and a little tact are all that is
required. When combs are taken out, they may be either detached from
the bars at once, and the bars returned, or spare bars may be kept on
hand wherewith to replace such as have been extracted."



Before we leave the subject of box-hives, it may be interesting to
give a description of one recently constructed by me for experimental
purposes, as referred to in the note at page 53, and here illustrated.
It may not improperly be termed a _Light_, or _Observatory Hive_, in
distinction from the usual mode of rendering the dwelling as dark as
possible. The hive itself resembles the bar-boxes just described,
as to its interior dimensions, bars, crown-board, &c.; but differs
inasmuch as it is made simply as a frame, filled in on the four sides
with thick glass, flush with the inside surface of the wood. For the
purpose of preventing the bees from attaching the combs to the glass,
thin upright strips of wood, rather more than half an inch wide, are
tacked under the centre of each bar, at both ends, extending from top
to bottom inside of the hive. Or some might prefer to use frame-bars,
like the one described and illustrated at page 58; but guides or waxed
bars must be used, to ensure the regularity of the combs, and prevent
an obstruction to the sight. The hive ought to be placed in a house,
and in winter should be carefully covered; an outer case or box going
over all.


We have already alluded to hives of straw, fitted with bars. The one
now about to be described differs from those commonly used, in several
respects, as will be seen on reference to the annexed illustration.




In form, my hive is an open cylinder, 14 inches in inside diameter,
and 7 inches in height, to the upper side of the bars, which are
eight in number; similar in size, and interspaced like those in the
square bar-hive, described at page 56. For the purpose of supporting
the bars, a well-seasoned hoop is introduced within, and on a level
with, the upper edge of the hive--nearly two inches in depth, and a
quarter inch thick; its interior diameter being the same as that of
the hive. The two upper straw bands of the latter are reduced in size,
sufficiently to form a recess equal to the thickness of the hoop,--the
outside of the hive remaining flush. The hoop is there retained by a
few small brad-nails, driven through it and into the straw; and thus no
impediment is offered on extracting the combs. A difficulty presented
itself in attaching the bars to the edge of the hoop, to overcome which
I constructed a pattern-gauge, differing in form from that seen at
page 57. Our illustration will show that the outer edges of the gauge
are divided, so as, when laid flat upon the hoop, to give the precise
position of the indentations for the reception of the ends of the bars:
moreover, these may severally be correctly fashioned by following
the form shown upon the gauge. The adjustment of the bars should be
done previously to attaching the hoop to the hive, not allowing them
to fit too tight. The cover is a flat piece of worked straw, which
ought to lie _close_ upon the bars. I have found no better method of
securing the cover in its place than by the use of a few pointed iron
pins, going down through it and into the upper edge of the hive. For
convenience of working supers, a three-inch hole is left in the centre
of the cover; stopped, when not in use, by a small piece of worked
straw, pinned down. Some persons might prefer a wooden top, which
may be perforated either with one hole or three. It should rest upon
the bars, and can be held in its place by pins, in the way we have
just mentioned, and which at any time are removable; or a hoop may be
attached to the edge of the crown-board, as described and shown at page





I have sometimes turned my attention to cylinders of wood, as offering
great advantages in constructing a hive; not only in attaching bars,
but also the desirable convenience of windows. The facilities for
procuring them made with the requisite correctness of form, however,
depends on circumstances not always at command; the process of
construction being the same of steaming, rolling, and shaping, employed
by the manufacturers of our common wooden corn measures, &c. The cost
of the wood cylinders alone are not much more than the straw ones, and
being made of oak or ash, they are very durable. Softer and more porous
wood would doubtless be preferable, but a difficulty attends the use
of such. In size, the dimensions before recommended are adhered to;
viz., 14 inches clear, by seven inches in height, for hives with or
without bars; the thickness being about half an inch. A reference to
our illustration, and to the accompanying pattern gauge, will show the
mode of cutting and adjusting the bars; these resting rather loosely in
rabbets, cut the width of the bar, half through the thickness of the
hive. The crown-board may be made and cut in the way already described,
and can be fixed by means of a few small screws; or, if preferred, in
the method detailed and illustrated at page 59. When the hive is not
fitted with bars, it is an advantage partially to sink the crown-board
within the diameter of the cylinder, which ensures a more perfect
joint. At the back is a window of bent glass, protected by a sliding
zinc shutter, moving in a frame of rabbeted moulding; all following the
curved form of the wood. A suitable staining and varnishing gives to
the whole a neat appearance. Two of the hives may be placed one upon
the other, for supering; an adapter or centre board going between them:
or smaller wooden round hives, of any size, with thin tops, can be used
for the same purpose; and these might be made by a common cooper.


These hives are of too recent introduction to warrant saying more than
that, to adapt them to the object in view, it is essential that they
be placed in a house or cover, as from the density of the wood they
are not calculated to bear exposure to the sun and weather. In winter
attention should be given to close covering them. I may add that, in
using a thinner cylinder, I have tried the experiment of coating the
outside with an envelope of _gutta percha_, giving the advantage of
improved appearance, and doubtless of utility, but at a considerable
increase of cost.



Various modes of working hives collaterally, or side by side, have been
devised, but a very simple one has been practised with success by a
correspondent, which as adapted by me may with propriety be termed a
_doubling-board_. It is formed of a plain board not less than an inch
thick. It must be of sufficient width to take a broad shallow hive,
and long enough to contain two of these, with six or eight inches to
spare. A stock-hive is in the first instance placed over the centre
circular mark, within which is the double outlet for the bees. When
more space is required, it must be moved over one of the side circles,
and a second hive placed over the other. The double outlet forms
a communication within the floor-board from hive to hive. The part
hollowed out for this purpose is five inches wide, six inches long, and
half an inch high inside, a sloping way being cut on the two further
sides down into it. Two covered passages lead from this, terminating
at one point on the alighting-board. The bees, having been accustomed
to both these passages, will commonly take to the second hive, and
commence working therein, particularly if smeared with honey. In order
to show the position of the parts hollowed out, these are slightly
shaded in the engraving. They are cut from the bottom side of the
board, in the way described at page 45. A second piece of wood, nine
or ten inches wide, must be screwed to the under side, to enclose
the openings. This ought to reach back nearly the width of the upper
board; at the same time projecting far enough in front to form the
alighting-place. Another cross piece may be screwed to the under side,
at each end.

When it is required to take away one of the hives, the communication
below must be cut off between them. This is done by means of a divider
of strong tin, copper, or iron, pushed in from behind, in a groove
cut edgewise in the bottom side of the main board, and resting on the
under one. The dotted line in the engraving shows the position of the
divider, which must in depth be the same as the passage between the
two hives, so as, when in its place, to stop it entirely across the

Another plan of working hives side by side is shown below, two boards
being required.


They are made on the double plan, as described at page 45; alike in
size and thickness, with the entrance passages cut out from beneath.
There must, however, be two entrances to the board intended for the
second hive--one in front, and the other at the side, with doorways not
less than six inches wide. A wedge or two of wood will contract them
as needed. When room is required, the first board with its hive must
be moved so far sideways that the second one can precisely occupy its
place. At the same time it must be turned half round, so that its mouth
and that on the side of the new hive meet and fit close together. The
bees will pass into the other hive on going out: on returning it will
be the same, for the alighting-board (which ought to be a fixture) will
remain as usual. On removing a full hive, the other must be restored
to its original position.



As regards collateral bee-boxes, we owe our original acquaintance with
them principally to White, nearly a century ago.[L] His plan requires
two boxes, placed side by side, with means of communication, open
or stopped at pleasure. These hives do not appear to have been very
extensively used; perhaps a good deal owing to the imperfect way in
which they were made. For my own use, I endeavoured to improve upon the
original design, of which the engraving following will give an idea.
The boxes and their boards are shown a little separated; the passages
from one to the other being made along the top and bottom of each box.
These openings can be closed by the introduction horizontally of slides
of thick tin or copper, of an inch and a quarter wide, inserted from
behind; let into the boxes their own thickness, and there loosely kept
by cases or strips of tin, cut to correspond with the openings. The
tins may be about two and a half inches wide. Their form, and that of
the slides, is here shown.

[L] See 'Collateral Bee-boxes; or a new, easy, and advantageous method
of managing Bees.' By Stephen White, Holton, Suffolk, London, three
editions, 1756, 1763, and 1764.



The modes we have hitherto noticed as applicable to hives worked
side by side suppose two to be employed; but Nutt, a few years ago,
introduced _three_ boxes, as forming a set; and these hives had their
day, where cost and space were not objects.[M]

[M] See 'Humanity to Honey Bees.' By Thomas Nutt.

The three boxes are placed together collaterally, with an entrance
from the centre box to the side ones, each way, through what may be
termed a grating; which communication can either be open, or cut off
by means of a divider, made of sheet tin, pushed between. The centre
box Nutt named the _Pavilion_, into which the bees must be hived, and
not afterwards disturbed. As more space is required by the bees, it
is given by withdrawing the divider. They then take possession of one
or both of the side boxes, which when filled can be removed. There are
holes on the top of the side boxes for the reception of ventilators.
In the construction of these hives the theory of Nutt supposes that a
warmer temperature is required in the seat of breeding from that in
which comb-building and the storing of honey ought to take place, than
which no greater fallacy is possible, as during the formation of a comb
the bees cluster round it in masses, to generate the highest degree
of warmth. By the agency of ventilation in his side boxes, these are
injuriously rendered cooler than the centre one; a thermometer inserted
within the ventilator determining the relative degrees of heat.[N]

[N] Another point on which Nutt laid much stress may be mentioned,
viz., the supposed advantage to the bees in working on one level,
without the necessity of _climbing_, as in storified hives. I long
thought this was indisputable. Further consideration led me more
minutely to examine the habits of the bee in this respect, and I became
convinced that nature had given it equal facilities for moving in every
direction. A scientific correspondent thus writes on this subject: "I
once propounded the question to a very eminent mathematician, and his
reply was, that, if any, the difference was too minute to admit of
calculation between the horizontal and the perpendicular movement; it
was, in the language of the present day, infinitesimal." Although few
of Nutt's positions have been found to stand the test of practice, it
ought not to be said that his crude speculations and rash assertions
have been altogether without useful results, as they undoubtedly led to
farther investigation, and several modern improvements had thus their


Although at one time I inclined to the principle propounded by Nutt,
yet in the working of his hives, I found several disadvantages in their
details. I therefore, for my own convenience, altered in part the form,
and mode of communication between the boxes, as shown in White's hive;
in the absence of a bee-house, completing the fabric by the addition of
an outer cover and weather-boarded roof. The details of this hive have
so frequently been repeated in former editions, that a reference to the
preceding engravings will now suffice to give a general idea of the
ground and separated plan, and elevation.


The ventilators I constructed for my Nutt's hive, after trying various
forms, consist of double tin or zinc tubes, both resting on a flanch
or rim, in the holes prepared for them on the top of the box, usually
near the back. The outer tube is of one inch diameter, and six inches
long, with six half-inch holes dispersed over it. It is soon fixed down
in its place by the bees, and so must remain. The inner tube is of
perforated zinc, with a projecting top as a handle, and a cap to put on
or off this, as required. The bees will stop up the inner tube where
they can get at it, when it may be turned round a little to present a
new surface. When wholly stopped, it can be withdrawn from its place,
and a clean tube substituted. A small thermometer fits within the inner
tube. The scientific apiarian, with experimental objects in view, will
often find this kind of apparatus, which is applicable to any plain
box-hive, of use.


There is nothing to prevent the adoption, in this hive, of an entrance
from beneath the floor-board, in the way described at page 45. In this
case, the portico and its adjuncts are superseded; as seen below, in an
improved elevation.


[Illustration: _Elevation_]

Bees not unfrequently take advantage of a hole or crack in the
floor of their domicile to commence building combs underneath it, a
position possessing some advantages. Deriving a hint from themselves,
I contrived what, from this peculiarity, I used to term by way of
distinction a _Nadir Hive_, the store box being placed underneath the
stock, coming out at the back, as a drawer. The details of construction
of the _Nadir Hive_ have appeared several times in our former
editions, but by way of illustrating the principle and methods of its
application, the engravings annexed will not be without their utility.
In practice I found no indisposition on the part of the bees to enter
and work in the store drawer, into which they have access through the
floor-board above, and which is in part made like that shown at page
78. It will be seen that the entire design supposes an out-door hive,
with a hipped cover. The stock-box is enclosed by four panels, moving
up and down in grooves or rabbets, cut in the corner pilasters, the
latter being attached to the box.

[Illustration: Separated Plan.]

[Illustration: _Floor-board._]

[Illustration: _Nadir drawer and loose cover._]

This mode of applying the Nadir, or rather Nether principle, must not
be confounded with the usual plan of disturbing the stock-hive for the
purpose of placing an empty one beneath it, with a new entrance in the
latter for the bees. Under such circumstances the Queen will commonly
descend and breed in the nadir, which is converted into the stock,
occasioning much subsequent inconvenience. I have not found such to be
the case where the stock, and the entrance into it, is not interfered
with; and am inclined to believe that this adaptation of bottom-hiving
is worthy of much more attention than it has received; to say nothing
of its simplicity, safety in management, and obvious convenience to
the bees. I will therefore proceed to show in what way it may be made
applicable, generally, to the purposes of an apiary.

We have just pointed out that the mode we are now discussing differs
from the Nadir principle, and by way of distinction, the term _Nether_
will be used, not only to mark the difference, but as presenting a
contrast to the opposite word _Super_.

We are to suppose that the shelf on which the hives are ranged in a
bee-house is perforated under the centre of each, from back to front,
with an opening through, three inches long, and about three quarter
inch wide. The hive-board must be a separate loose one; and it ought
to lie flat on the shelf, with a perforation similar to the other, the
holes in each coming together: to ensure this the shelf can be marked.
By moving the hive-board (which is best square) a little sideways
of this mark, the position of the two holes is altered, and the
communication downwards becomes stopped; always doing this cautiously,
to avoid injuring the bees. Or, the same object is perhaps better
attained by means of a narrow zinc or tin slide, inserted from behind,
between the two boards, moving in a groove ploughed its own thickness
out of the shelf. A reference to our last engraving sufficiently
exhibits a box, or rather drawer (of suitable size), which, when in its
place, moves close on the underneath side of the bee-house shelf, by
means of blocks and runners; drawing out at the back by a handle. It
may have a window and shutter, but no entrance for the bees, except
downwards through the cover, in which is an aperture, corresponding in
size and position with those in the boards above it. It will be seen
that the cover of the drawer is a moveable one, of half inch board,
fitting down flush into it, and resting at the four corners upon wire
supports, or small blocks, placed the thickness of the cover, across
the angles. The edges of the cover (except at the corners) are cut
away just enough to admit of passing a knife-blade down, to separate
the combs from the sides, when the whole may be lifted up, with the
combs attached. The honey thus obtained is of the purest kind, and I
have known a large quantity made available with the least possible
disturbance to the bees, on removal. The drawer may be sometimes
further made useful for the purpose of feeding, a trough being placed
in it, close up to the opening in the cover. A small opening or
perforation, at or near the bottom of the drawer, will give ventilation
should it be needed.

[Illustration: FIG. 1. FRONT.]

[Illustration: FIG. 1. BACK.]

With a further view of facilitating the practice of under-hiving, when
favorable circumstances allow of it, we will proceed to describe what I
have termed a _Nether_, which may be used as an adjunct to a straw or
any other hive, as shown in the illustrations Fig. 1, back and front.
It may be of half inch wood, 11 or 11-1/2 inches square withinside,
and 6 to 7 inches deep, as circumstances require (see Fig. 4). It has
a window and shutter at the back, but neither a fixed top nor bottom,
these being moveable boards, of half inch wood, made to project half an
inch beyond the Nether box; except that, as respects the bottom board,
the projection is increased at the back, with a view to give facilities
on the removal of the Nether. (See Figs. 3 and 5.) To receive and
enclose the Nether, there is an outer case or cover, also of half inch
wood, 13 to 13-1/2 inches square withinside, made half an inch higher
than the Nether, its top and bottom boards inclusive. The outer case
is closed on all sides except the top and back. (See Fig. 2.) Upon it
rests the floor-board of the stock-hive, which may be of inch wood,
showing a projection all round of an inch, except at the front, where
an additional three inches is given, to form the alighting board, this
part bevelling forwards. A square of half inch wood must be screwed
to the under side of the floor-board, of a size to drop easily within
the square of the outer case, and thus retaining it in its place.
Between the two pieces of which the floor-board is composed, a groove
is ploughed out, from front to back, two inches wide, to receive a zinc
dividing slide, pushing in from behind. An opening, about three inches
long, is cut through the floor-board, towards the front, and also
through the cover of the Nether, to correspond, so that a passage for
the bees can be opened on withdrawing the divider. (See Figs. 6, front
and back.)

[Illustration: FIG. 6. BACK: 6. FRONT: 5, 4, 3, 2]

A reversal of this proceeding enables possession or inspection to be
had of the Nether box, by withdrawing it (upon its bottom board) from
behind, the stock-hive being entirely undisturbed by the operation.

It is well here to remark that experience has shown that it is seldom
expedient to apply the Nether principle to any but strong and populous
stocks, and especially in only moderately warm weather, as otherwise
the bees will prefer to follow the warmth upwards, into a super. On
their first admission into the Nether, a few bees will often be lost
in consequence of their inability to find the way out, so that, as
a precaution, a frequent inspection of the window is at such time
desirable. A small aperture behind, at the bottom or side of the
Nether, may be made, as a mode of exit for the prisoners, to be closed
at pleasure.


Under the head of _Hive-covers_ we have shown in what way exposed
hives can be protected from the effects of weather; and where only
one or two of them are kept, any of these might suffice. The case,
however, is altered when a well-stocked apiary is aimed at, requiring
a more complete provision for permanent safety. For this purpose, some
proprietors like a covered shed or verandah, in a well-screened spot,
partially open in the front only. There should be ample space inside
for a passage behind the hives, which may be ranged far enough from the
front to be beyond the reach of wet and too much sun. At page 49, is
given a description of a _Hive-range_ well adapted for a position like

The common wooden bee-houses, as usually constructed, open in front,
and closed altogether behind, retaining the sun's heat as an oven,
are objectionable. These are frequently the receptacles of dirt and
vermin, and most inconvenient to operate in. It would be an improvement
to make them deeper backwards; or with a falling front, moving on
hinges, so that the hives can be recessed behind it, away from the
influence of weather. At the back should be folding doors, opening
from top to bottom, allowing a good access to the hives. For greater
convenience, it is best only to have them in a single row, with good
head room. But a still more desirable plan is to board up the front of
the house entirely, making oblong openings through for a passage to the
bees, with an exterior alighting board, a good deal slanted downwards
(the bees preferring this to a flat surface). The hives are arranged
immediately behind, upon a shelf, the further apart the better, as
the bees occasionally mistake their own homes, and fall a sacrifice
in consequence. This kind of house is capable of receiving some
architectural form; and, with locked doors at the back, gives better
security than most others against depredation; for hive-stealing is by
no means rare, in many localities.


A spare room in a dwelling or an outhouse may often be fitted up to
serve the purpose of an apiary, with great convenience; but a lower
room is to be preferred, as bees placed at a high elevation often fly
a long distance before they alight when swarming, or, perhaps, may
settle on the top of a tree. A shelf can be fixed along the wall, with
perforated passages facing the hives, leading outside. Any space there
may be between the mouth of the hive and the wall should be filled up
by means of a suitably formed wooden block or covered passage, well
hollowed out on the underneath side; admitting the bees freely through
it into their dwelling, but excluding them from the room itself, and
thus ensuring safety in operating. Even at a common window, I have
sometimes placed a stock-hive on a doubling-board; the latter fitting
within the frame of the window, which is raised, to admit of its being
projected under the lower edge, so that the bees have no admission
except to their domicile.



As regards position, it is of great importance that an apiary should
be as free from damp, or the drippings of trees, and as little exposed
to the direct influence of the wind as possible, for which end a
sheltered nook on a low level is preferable to an elevated one. A dry
gravel, or well-mown grass plot, is often to be preferred; closed in
with evergreens, especially the laurel and laurustinus, which are much
resorted to by the bees; but always leaving an approach at the back
of the hives. Let these not be placed too near water, into which the
bees are apt to fall or be blown; and it is desirable that they should
be within sight of some dwelling-house, to prevent losses in swarming
time. The absence from noise and of bad smells ought to be studied; for
no sense in bees is so acute as that of scent. Disturbers of any kind,
as fowls, dogs, pigs, &c., should be kept at a distance. Experience
has shown that where bees are very extensively kept, the apiary is
best divided on the same premises, so as not to have the whole crowded
together; often inconvenient, particularly in the season of swarming.
Nothing high enough to obstruct the direct flight of the bees should
be allowed immediately in front of the hives; but a few low plants are
rather useful as resting-places; for bees, from fatigue, often fall to
the ground just on reaching home, especially in an evening, and numbers
in consequence fall a prey to cold, and various enemies. Many lives may
be saved by spreading out a cloth or mat in front of a hive, when this
is observed. Shrubs or bushes, at no great distance, are convenient in
the swarming season for the bees to alight upon; and often prevent a
longer flight, or collecting on high trees, &c.

As regards aspect for bees, many and conflicting have been the
recommendations relative to it, influenced by locality and climate. So
many circumstances have to be taken into account, that it is difficult
to lay down any rule of universal application, and they have been
known to prosper in all positions, from due south to north. We know
that it has been sometimes advised to turn the hives from the sun in
winter, and to screen them from its direct rays in summer: this has
led to an opinion that a permanent north aspect is the best; and often
it is so. Still local considerations must have their weight, and we
are to look to these as regards shelter from cutting winds; the more
necessary where no sun reaches the front of the hives. A north aspect
need not necessarily be an exposed one in winter; nor at other times
one wholly uninfluenced by the effects of the sun. We have recommended
doors at the back of a bee-house, by opening which at proper times, in
the case of a north frontage, the sun's rays have access from behind,
with sufficiently good effect in producing a genial general warmth.
In forming a decision as to aspect, we ought to take into account
the position of buildings, trees, &c., for we have already observed
that the flight of the bees from the hives should be uninterrupted.
Moreover, the kind of house must have its weight in the scale; for
where this is one closed at the front from the immediate influence
of the sun, aspect is of less importance. Dr. Bevan placed his hives
around the interior of an octagon erection, without perceiving any
sensible difference in their well-doing. It may, however, be remarked
that, occasionally, in a hive exposed to the earliest rays of the sun,
the bees have been prematurely tempted out in the spring months, and
fallen victims to the effects of a damp and chilly atmosphere.

When once fixed, do not move your bees, the mischief of which is
self-evident. I cannot enforce this recommendation better than Gelieu
has done. "I have seen people," says he, "shift about their hives
very inconsiderately; but change of place invariably weakens them, as
the bees will return to their old residence, the environs of which
are so familiar to them. A hive should remain as fixed to the spot as
the ancient oaks, in the hollows of which they delight to establish
themselves; where they have their young, their companions, their
beloved queen, and all their treasures. When the young bees take wing
for the first time, they do it with great precaution, turning round
and round, and fluttering about the entrance, to examine the hive
well before taking flight. They do the same in returning, so that
they may be easily distinguished, conducting themselves nearly after
the same manner as the workers of a newly-hived swarm. When they have
made a few excursions, they set off without examining the locality;
and returning in full flight will know their own hive in the midst of
a hundred others. But if you change its place you perplex them, much
the same as you would be if, during a short absence, some one lifted
your house and placed it a mile off. The poor bees return loaded, and,
seeking in vain for their habitation, either fall down and perish with
fatigue, or throw themselves into the neighbouring hives, where they
are speedily put to death. When hives are transported to a considerable
distance, there is no fear that the bees will return. But this
inconvenience would be sure to take place if they were removed only a
few hundred paces from the spot they have been accustomed to. The hive
may not perish, but it will be greatly weakened. In my opinion, if the
situation is to be changed at all, they should be taken at least a mile
and a half." This removal should only be attempted in winter or early
spring, under usual circumstances. It might, however, happen that it
was required to move a hive only a very short distance, in the summer
time; when no harm would arise were the change of location made by
daily shifting it a few inches.


It is almost needless to say that on the nature and extent of the
vegetable productions, following in succession, in the immediate
neighbourhood of an apiary, must mainly depend its prosperity. After
every care has been bestowed on all points of housing and management,
it is in vain to expect a large harvest of honey where nature has
limited the sources of supply, or restricted them to a particular
season of the year. The most highly-cultivated corn districts are
rarely so favorable to bees as those in which wild commons, woods,
and heathy moors prevail; or where some such farm products as Dutch
clover, trefoil, saintfoin, buck-wheat, tares, mustard, colewort,
turnip and cabbage blossoms, &c., do not enter largely into the staple
of the country. The neighbourhood of certain kinds of willows, and of
hazels, in the opening spring, is of great advantage to our little
collectors in furnishing farina; as also the blossoms of the furze,
broom, bramble, wild thyme, &c. To these we may add the large early
stores of honey and farina available from many of the products of
our horticultural gardens and orchards, as gooseberries, currants,
raspberries, apples, pears, plums, and other fruits. Payne says, "I
have always found the advantage of planting in the vicinity of my hives
a large quantity of the common kinds of crocus, single blue hepatica,
helleborus niger, and tussilago petasites, all of which flower early,
and are rich in honey and farina. Salvia memorosa (of Sir James Smith),
which flowers very early in June, and lasts all the summer, is in an
extraordinary manner sought after by the bees; and, when room is not
an object, twenty or thirty square yards of it may be grown with
advantage. Origanum humile, and origanum rubescens (of Haworth), and
mignonette may also be grown. Cuscuta sinensis is a great favorite with
them; and the pretty little plant anacampseros populifolium, when in
flower, is literally covered by them. Garden cultivation, beyond this,
exclusively for bees, I believe answers very little purpose."

It will follow as a matter of course from what we have said, that
the size of an apiary in any district must be mainly determined by
circumstances. In some seasons, so prolific a harvest of blossoms and
honey comes all at once, that a large number of hives may abundantly be
filled together. The locality must be the chief guide; and I have known
instances where fewer stocks would have yielded a much better return;
for one rich colony is worth more than two or three half-starved ones.

The distance to which bees will resort during the honey harvest has
been the subject of controversy; some limiting their flight to one
mile, and others extending it to three or four. When pressed for
stores, they will doubtless fly a long distance, directed probably by
their very acute sense of smell; but I am inclined to believe, with Dr.
Dunbar, that the ordinary range of their excursions is comprised within
the radius of a comparatively small circle.



The question has often been put to me, "How and at what time can
an apiary be best commenced?" Some remarks in reference to this
subject will be found under the heads both of _Autumnal_ and _Spring
Management_. At present the reader is supposed to have been put in
possession of a prime swarm, in the season, which is the best method of
stocking a new hive of whatever kind, and the earlier the better.[O]
On this head we may with advantage quote the words of Mr. Golding.
"Notwithstanding," says he, "all that has been said about tenanting
hives by the removal of the bees of other hives into them, there is no
plan so safe or certain as peopling them by good early swarms. When
these are brought from a distance, it should be on the day in which
they are hived, and in a cloth of coarse texture, which should be tied
round near the bottom of the hive, so as to prevent the escape of the
bees. Tie up the cloth by its corners over the top of the hive; and, if
carried by the hand, or properly suspended, a swarm may be removed in
this manner for miles."

[O] All careful bee proprietors will take the precaution to record
the weight of the empty hive, and of its floor-board, before stocking
it; a matter of subsequent importance in ascertaining the contents. A
journal, also, recording dates, and the various operations of the hive,
as they arise, will be useful in many ways.

All experienced apiculturists know that no colony of bees thrives,
or works so well, as one that is populous at the outset. Should any
doubt exist on this point, it is often expedient to unite a second
smaller swarm to the first, but this can only be attempted within a
few days, before many combs are made, or mischief would result. Our
recommendation applies with greater force in a late season, or to the
case of second swarms, which are rarely strong enough, separately,
to collect sufficient winter stores. Of the mode of proceeding in
effecting these junctions we shall hereafter speak, when treating of
Uniting Swarms, under the section _Spring Management_.

The plan originally proposed in the Bee-keeper's Manual supposes, as
has before been intimated, an arrangement embracing directions for
the management of an apiary, "according to the order of the seasons."
Our legitimate commencement, therefore, must practically date from
the separate existence of the recently established colony; noticing,
as we proceed, the various substances stored or used in a hive, and
collected more or less abundantly, according to circumstances and

Should the weather now be fine, operations are commenced with
astonishing activity, the bees being at first solely intent on
preparing their new dwelling for its intended objects--the rearing of
young, and storing supplies for the future requirements of the family.
If, however, circumstances are such as to prevent them from quitting
the hive for several successive days following swarming, and before
provision is accumulated, recourse to feeding becomes expedient, or
starvation might ensue. Under any circumstances, some apiculturists
have advised giving honey, or a syrup of sugar, to a newly-hived
colony. It is well known that, on leaving the parent stock, the bees
carry with them a good deal of honey. There is little doubt that the
main object in this provident proceeding is to enable them at once to
commence the work of building: this they do almost as soon as they are
hived, a piece of comb being frequently made on the same day, which is
as quickly appropriated, either as a receptacle of honey or of eggs,
if the Queen is already fertile. Where a young Queen has accompanied
the swarm, such is not always the case, and this occasions a delay in
laying of several days.

The entrance of the hive should now (and at all times when the bees
are at full work) be opened to its whole extent.[P]

[P] To the spectator the view of a recent swarm is animated in the
extreme, and probably suggested the


  We watch for the light of the morn to break,
      And colour the gray eastern sky
  With its blended hues of saffron and lake;
  Then say to each other, "Awake, awake!
  For our winter's honey is all to make,
      And our bread for a long supply."

  Then off we hie to the hill and the dell,
      To the field, the wild-wood and bower;
  In the columbine's horn we love to dwell,
  To dip in the lily, with snow-white bell,
  To search the balm in its odorous cell,
      The thyme and the rosemary flower.

  We seek for the bloom of the eglantine,
      The lime, pointed thistle, and brier;
  And follow the course of the wandering vine,
  Whether it trail on the earth supine,
  Or round the aspiring tree-top twine,
      And reach for a stage still higher.

  As each for the good of the whole is bent,
      And stores up its treasure for all,
  We hope for an evening with hearts content,
  For the winter of life, without lament
  That summer is gone, with its hours misspent,
      And the harvest is past recall!

_Wax and Combs._--The material of which the combs are so curiously
formed is wax, _secreted by the bees_ themselves, and not any
substance directly conveyed into the hive, as is generally, but
erroneously, supposed. Its component parts are carbon, oxygen, and
hydrogen. To enable them to form this secretion, the workers must have
access to honey or some other saccharine matter; and this is the first
thing sought by a new colony. The quantity required is very great, it
being estimated that thirteen to twenty pounds are necessary to make
one pound of wax. The common opinion is, that the substance often seen
adhering so abundantly to the legs of bees is wax, and as such is the
basis of the combs. Has it never appeared strange to the observer of
a new swarm, that at the time when comb-building is proceeding more
rapidly than at any other period, the bees are loaded with but little
of this substance? On the other hand, is it not equally clear, that
in the early spring, when few or no combs are constructed, they carry
it into the hive with the utmost avidity? "To see the wax-pockets in
the hive-bee," observes Kirby and Spence, "you must press the abdomen,
so as to cause its distension; you will then find on each of the four
intermediate ventral segments, separated by the carina or elevated
central part, two trapeziform whitish pockets, of a soft membranaceous
texture; on these the laminæ of wax are formed, in different states,
more or less perceptible." "Whenever combs are wanted," says Dr. Bevan,
"bees fill their crops with honey, and, retaining it in them, hang
together in a cluster from the top of the hive, and remain apparently
in a state of profound inactivity about twenty-four hours. During
this time, the wax is secreted, and may be seen in laminæ, under the
abdominal scales, whence it is removed by the hind legs of the bee,
and transferred to the fore legs; from them it is taken by the jaws,
and after being masticated, the fabrication of comb commences." An
extraordinary degree of heat always accompanies comb-building, supplied
no doubt by the large quantity of oxygen at that time generated.

"In the height of the honey season," Dr. Dunbar observes, "in one day
the bees will construct no fewer than 4000 cells. The whole structure
is so delicately thin, that three or four of their sides, placed upon
one another, have no more thickness than a leaf of common paper." The
best authorities have estimated that about half a pound of wax is
yielded to fifteen pounds of honey.

The form and number of the combs in a hive vary considerably, the bees
adapting them according to the shape of their domicile, so as to fit
and fill in every part, and often very irregularly. At first they are
beautifully white, but soon, from the heat of the hive, become tinged,
and finally turn nearly black. The worker-breeding cells are made the
first: they are invariably hexagonal in form, and of one uniform size
and depth; but those intended only for the storing of honey are often
somewhat larger and elongated; sometimes more so on one side than the
other. A small dip or inclination upwards is given to the cells, the
better to prevent the honey from running out, assisted, moreover, by a
small bar or thickened border of wax, at the entrances. The cells in
which the drones are bred are larger in diameter than the common ones,
and they are generally placed nearer the outside of the hive, though
occasionally joined on to the others. When this takes place, our little
architects have the sagacity to interpose two or three rows of cells of
an intermediate size, gradually enlarged to the proper dimensions. In
this, as in everything else, the bees adapt their operations according
to circumstances; constructing their combs, either by suspending them
from the top of their dwelling, or occasionally by working them from
the bottom, upwards.

_Propolis._--To attach the combs firmly in their place, the bees
employ a pliable substance of balsamic odour, called _propolis_, a
glutinous exudation from certain trees, or their buds, of a grayish
colour, which they collect immediately on swarming, blending with it a
portion of wax. With this material they varnish the lids of the closed
honey-cells, glue up all crevices in the hive, and cement it down to
the floor.

_Honey._--We have seen that the first want of the swarm is honey, for
the purpose of comb-building. This valuable article the bees collect,
by means of their proboscis, from the nectaries of certain flowers,
from whence it derives a higher or less degree of flavour, together
with its colouring matter; sometimes nearly transparent, to various
shades of brown. They receive it into their first stomach or honey-bag,
the greater portion being subsequently regurgitated into the cells,
employing for the purpose those of both workers and drones. As these
become severally filled, they are coated over or sealed with a thin
covering of wax. The honey-cells, when thus closed, are distinguishable
from those containing brood, by being whiter in appearance, and often
slightly concave. The brood-cells are more coloured, besides being a
little convex. In some seasons honey is abundantly collected when in
the state of what is termed _honey-dew_, a viscous substance found
adhering to the leaves of particular trees, especially the oak. This
only occurs in certain years, for in others it is found very sparingly,
or not at all.

_Pollen, or Farina._--The hive will be rapidly filled with combs, and
progressively with an increased population, for the eggs, as we have
seen in page 13, are matured in three weeks. In the mean time, the
bees will have commenced a new labour--that of collecting pollen or
farina. This is the anther-dust of the stamina of flowers, varying
in colour according to the source from whence it is derived; and it
may be remarked that the bees in their collection never mix together
the pollen of different plants, but in each excursion visit only one
species of flower. By a peculiar adaptation, they are enabled to brush
this off, and pack it into the spoon-like cavities (or baskets as they
have been termed), furnished for this object, on the centre joint of
their hind legs; being often, as has been already pointed out, mistaken
for wax. The powder or meal thus conveyed into the hive is by other
bees afterwards kneaded up into paste, and stored for use in the worker
cells, adjoining those containing brood. To preserve it from the air, a
small portion of honey is put on the top of each cell, coated over with
wax. Thus prepared, it is a very heavy substance; and this often leads
to a false estimate of the value of a hive; for the annual collection
of pollen has been variously estimated at thirty to one hundred pounds
in a single family.

Naturalists are, I believe, pretty well agreed that the store of
pollen or farina is used (with a mixture of honey and water) chiefly
for feeding the larvæ; though a portion of such compound may form,
occasionally, the sustenance of the bees themselves. Indeed, it has
been asserted that pollen is often found in the stomach of bees engaged
in the fabrication of wax.

_Water._--At certain dry periods, but always in the breeding time, bees
require a supply of water, which is necessary in preparing the farina
and honey for the brood, as well as to enable them to secrete wax. If
no pond or brook is within a reasonable distance, a shallow vessel will
do, filled frequently to the brim, having a piece of thin perforated
wood floating on it and covering the whole surface; or it may be filled
with moss or pebbles, pouring in water to the top, and placing it near
the apiary. Precaution is necessary, for the bees easily slip into
the water and are drowned. So essential is water, that it has been
recommended to place a supply, early in the year, within the hive.

_Shade._--It has already been observed that out-door hives ought not to
be left exposed to the mid-day and afternoon sun in sultry weather; the
heat not only rendering the bees extremely irascible, but subjecting
the combs to melting, and especially in wooden boxes, with most
disastrous consequences. In all such cases it is well, therefore, to
give the comfort of a mat, or something of the kind, thrown over them.
In the words of Gelieu, "they delight best in thick forests, because
they there find a uniform temperature and a propitious shade. It is a
mistake to suppose that bees exposed to the sun produce the earliest
and strongest swarms: I have often experienced the reverse. Bees like
the shade when working, and the sun only when in the fields."

_Moths, Wasps, Hornets, and other Enemies._--In the warm summer
evenings, bees are often much annoyed by the attempted inroads of
moths, particularly the small _Wax Moth (Tinea Mellonella)_, of
a whitish gray colour. These are sometimes formidable foes, and
their appearance at dusk on the alighting-board is the signal for a
commotion. It is difficult to eject them if they obtain a footing in a
hive, where they will deposit their eggs, spinning their silken webs,
and they now and then increase so as to cause its entire destruction.
When these vermin have established themselves, there is no remedy but
driving the bees into another hive. To prevent the ingress of these
troublesome invaders, it is sometimes desirable for an hour or two in
an evening to close the entrance, by placing before it a screen of
gauze, wire-grating, or perforated zinc, to be removed at dark.[Q]

[Q] A difficulty sometimes occurs when it is necessary to confine bees,
or drive them into the hive, as the alighting-board is often covered
with them in an evening, and the numbers are increased on the least
alarm. In this case take a small watering-pot, and gently sprinkle the
board and entrance, when the bees, mistaking this for rain, will retire

Poultry, and some kinds of birds, are destroyers of bees; and many,
that from weakness or other causes fall to the ground, become a
sacrifice to them. In particular, that little marauder, the Blue Tomtit
or Titmouse (_Parus major_ of Linnæus), must not be tolerated. In
summer he will devour bees, and feed his young with them; and in winter
he will even try to force an entrance into the hive.[R] Rats and mice
must also be guarded against, as well as slugs and snails.

[R] In some parts these birds are very numerous; and poison has been
found efficacious, placed at the hive mouth, in little balls of lard,
oatmeal, and nux vomica, mixed together.

The nests of wasps ought to be destroyed: from their superiority in
strength and activity, they are very annoying, and often destructive,
to bees towards the end of summer; and the nuisance must forthwith
be met by contracting the entrance to the hive, when the passage
is more readily defended.[S] In this place it may be well to draw
attention to a very simple mode of dealing with wasps attacking a
hive. We shall have occasion hereafter to notice the fondness of bees
for barley-sugar: let a piece of this be laid across, or just within,
the entrance of the hive, so as greatly to narrow it. This is so
attractive to the bees, that they muster at the door in greater force
than the wasps durst venture to assail. As fast as the fortification
is devoured, it ought to be renewed, and the out-generalled enemy will
retire from a hopeless contest.

[S] Amongst well-informed apiculturists an apology might seem to be
necessary in referring to so bigoted an author as Huish; but Huber's
observations on some of the habits of bees have frequently been the
subject of his ignorant ridicule; and particularly where he says that
they occasionally erect barricades, for greater security. Mr. Golding
has given a confirmation of Huber's assertion. He says, "At the end of
summer, a kind of curtain, apparently a compound of wax and propolis,
and about a sixteenth of an inch thick, was erected before the entrance
of one of my hives; about two inches and a half in length, and half
an inch in height, with the exception of a small aperture at each
end." Dr. Bevan, in the 'Honey-Bee,' exhibits a drawing of this piece
of fortification. My own experience is perfectly conclusive, as the
following extract from my journal will show:--"July 31, 1842. Weather
fine. Removed a box of honey from a collateral hive. The wasps had been
troublesome for some days, and as the entrance to the centre box was
left fully open, the bees had contracted it for better defence. A thin
wall of what appeared to be propolis was attached from the upper edge
of the doorway, extending along its centre, and closing all up but a
space of about three quarters of an inch at each end. I never witnessed
a more convincing proof of the sagacity of the bees than this beautiful
proceeding." So runs my journal; to which I may add, that the entrance
to the box, so contracted, was five inches in length, and three eighths
of an inch high; or double that of Mr. Golding's. From the hint thus
derived from the bees themselves, I constructed the moveable blocks or
mouth-pieces described and shown at page 44.

Insects of all kinds, as earwigs, spiders, wood-lice, &c., should be
cleared away from the hives and stands, and ants' nests destroyed.
Cobwebs must not be permitted to remain, or numerous deaths would ensue
to the bees from entanglement in them. In short, we may sum up by a
general recommendation of cleanliness, in every way, and the removal of
whatever serves as a harbour to dirt and vermin.

_Super-hiving._--Should the weather continue favorable for
honey-gathering, the colony must be inspected in about three weeks from
the time of hiving. Indeed in sultry weather, and where the swarm is a
large one, it is often politic to place a glass or small super upon it
very soon, as a ventilator, to moderate the temperature, and prevent
the clustering of the bees at the mouth of the hive. If the combs are
worked pretty nearly down to the floor, and the cells in a good measure
filled, no time should be lost in supplying additional working-room;
more especially if symptoms of crowding are apparent, for by this time
young bees are coming forth. We may here observe that many experienced
bee-keepers object to supering in the case of a new colony, preferring
to give the requisite room at the bottom, by means of a _Nadir_; which,
as the bees carry their stores upwards, often ensures abundance in
the stock-hive, the nadir being removed in the autumn. Under the head
_Depriving System_, are some remarks as to the mode of using nadirs;
as also under that of _Nadir Hive_, and _Nadiring Stocks_.


_Bell-glasses._--As these are commonly formed, nothing can be more
objectionable: inconveniently high and narrow, a few misshapen combs
are all that can be packed into the space; and these are afterwards
only to be extracted by a general mash. The same remark applies to
all supers, of any material, where breadth of surface enough is not
afforded for a large number of bees to cluster and labour at one time.
Can it be a matter of wonder, that a chimney-formed vessel should be
twice as long in being filled (supposing that the bees do not forsake
it) as a broad one, in which a genial warmth is concentrated, and
where several combs can be in progress simultaneously? A reversal of
the usual proportions, both in straw and glass supers, is therefore to
be recommended. The latter may advantageously be from nine to eleven
inches across; the depth being about half the diameter: straight at
the sides, and flat on the top. A piece or two of guide-comb, slightly
melted, and fixed by its edge to the top of the glass, previously made
warm, will serve as an attraction; or in a large glass, four or eight
pieces, radiating from the centre uniformly, will direct the bees in
working with a regular design, producing a pleasing effect. A useful
adjunct to a glass is a small circular tube of perforated zinc, having
a rim round its upper end, by which it is held suspended within a small
hole on the top. It should be long enough to reach nearly down to the
level of the floor. To the tube, when a little warmed, a narrow piece
of guide-comb will adhere, and act as an attraction to the bees: it
will be further useful as a central support to the loaded combs.

Whatever may be said as to the pleasing appearance of glass supers,
it is doubtful whether in point of utility and economy they can
compete with those of straw, made as directed under the head of
"Straw Depriving Hives," and which can readily be packed and sent to
a distance, if needed: or shallow supers, as wide as the stock-hive
admits, may be cheaply made by means of a wood hoop, three or four
inches deep, on which is fixed a thin top, by two or three small
screws. These are readily withdrawn, when the top can be lifted up with
the combs suspended. Under the head _Circular Wooden Hives_ are some
remarks on the subject of wood supers.

In the use of Glasses it is always well at first to prevent the escape
of warmth, especially at night, till the bees are well established in
their new work-room; and the admission of light is best avoided. A
little ventilation afterwards, in sultry weather, is desirable; which
may be given by slightly wedging up the lower edge of the super. If
a double adapter is in use, it is easy to insert a slip or two of tin
or zinc between the two boards, so as to keep them a little separated,
for the passage of air, when it seems necessary. Sometimes it is even
advisable to introduce between the stock and the super a very shallow
box, as a moderator of the temperature. I have found, by experiment
with the thermometer, that at a temperature between 95 and 100, the
combs will soften so much as to be in danger of collapsing.

_Triplets and Nadirs._--In good seasons and localities, the first super
is sometimes filled in time to admit of the introduction of another (or
triplet), on an adapter, observing the rules laid down at page 32. But
even where the first super is completely filled, it is often politic
not to remove it for a few days, as its attraction induces the bees to
occupy the triplet. On the other hand, if from any cause a super has
been left only partially filled upon one hive, it may be removed (the
bees being first ejected), and placed upon some other for completion.
Instead of a separate triplet, an addition may often be made to the
first super, especially if of straw, by placing beneath it an eke,
consisting merely of two or three bands of the same material; in fact a
hoop. This will save the bees the labour of laying the foundations of
fresh combs, as they have but to continue the old ones downwards. We
may here call attention to what has been said at page 62, respecting
the use of box, No. 3, of the bar-hive, and of Nadiring.

After the main honey season is over, which is usually as soon as the
dry July weather sets in, it is useless, in most localities, to give
any further extension of working room; and, indeed, from the end
of this month there is, under common circumstances, often rather a
diminution than an increase of store.

In proportion to the wealth of the colony is the determination of
the bees to defend it; and their irascibility and vigilance are now
greater than heretofore, the strongest stocks showing it the most. The
work of the year being pretty well over, all their attention is turned
towards home. They become more and more suspicious, and the less they
are approached or annoyed the better; for they are slow to forget or
forgive an injury.


Much of what has been said in the preceding section is equally
applicable in practice to the later periods of the summer. The month
of August is usually associated with the collection of harvest.
Though this may often hold good as regards honey, yet the storified
or doubled stocks of the spring are commonly ready for deprivation at
an earlier period, occasionally in May, and so on throughout July;
the spring-gathered honey being usually to be preferred in point of
quality. I know of no better rule as to the fitness of a super, or
side hive, for removal, than an observation of the state of the combs
and cells, which ought to be completely filled and sealed over, to
prevent a loss of honey by running out. In this stage the sooner
it is appropriated the better, as a longer continuance only leads
to discoloration. As respects a colony of the same year, Dr. Bevan
remarks, "as a general rule, no honey should be taken from a colony the
first season of its being planted, though there may be an extraordinary
season now and then, which may justify a departure from this rule:" the
produce in such a case is usually denominated _virgin honey_, though
that term is often applied indiscriminately to any in combs free from
brood. But in any event the stock-hive should be previously examined,
for there is a disposition in bees to carry their stores into a super,
though afterwards they sometimes remove it into the stock-hive. In
cases where doubt exists as to a sufficiency of winter store, it is
often well to allow them to do this; recollecting the further advice of
Dr. Bevan, that, "it should be an invariable rule never to remove an
upper box or hive till an under one be quite full; nor to diminish the
weight of a stock-box below seventeen or eighteen pounds, exclusive of
the box itself."

_To remove a full Box or Super._--The middle of a sunny day may be
recommended as the best time to take away for deprivation a box or
glass of honey. The mode usually adopted is at once to remove it from
its position to a distance from the stock-hive, and there get rid
of the bees. I have often found it well to reverse this proceeding.
Whether the box to be taken is a collateral or storified one, let the
communication from the parent hive be previously cut off, and without
any jarring. Entire quietness is the main requisite. Gently lift up
the super on one side, inserting under it a small wedge or two, so as
just to allow an exit for the bees. The position of the queen bee will
soon become apparent. If she is not in the super (and she seldom is
there after it is filled), the silence that at first prevailed will be
exchanged for a murmuring hum, attended by a commotion among the bees;
and they shortly after begin to quit the super, without attempting any
attack. Should the queen be present, however, a very different scene
would ensue, and a hubbub would then commence in the stock-hive; though
the loss of their queen is sometimes not discovered by the bees for a
considerable time. In such a case, the box must be reinstated in its
former position, and the communication reopened till some other day.
The process might happen to be complicated by the presence of brood,
for this the bees leave very reluctantly, and often not at all. In an
emergency of this kind, it is best to restore matters to their previous
state, and let the super remain till the brood is perfected. A little
patience is sometimes necessary: but all attempts at ejection of the
bees by tapping, smoking, or driving usually do more harm than good.
So long as they continue to leave the super, it may remain where it
is, for on these occasions young bees are sometimes numerous; and if
the super is removed, though only to a short distance, these are in
part lost, not having become sufficiently acquainted with the position
of their home; or, if they enter a wrong hive, they pay the penalty
with their lives. This freedom from disturbance has the further good
effect of preventing in a great degree the intrusion of robber bees,
readily distinguishable from the others by their hovering about the
box, instead of flying from it. These are strangers from various
quarters, immediately attracted by the scent attending the removal of
a full box or glass. Should a few of these plunderers once obtain a
taste or sample of the honey, they speedily convey the good news to
their associates, when large reinforcements from every hive in the
neighbourhood will be at once on the alert, and quickly leave nothing
behind but empty combs. Let the separated super, therefore, not be
left or lost sight of, but if scented out by robbers, be conveyed into
some room or out-building to prevent a general battle; and which might
extend itself to all the neighbouring hives. The remaining bees may
here be brushed out, escaping by the window or door. Mr. Golding has
sometimes found the advantage of using for the purpose a darkened room,
with the exception of a very small aperture, to which the bees will fly
and make their exit. Others like to remove a super at once to a short
distance from the stock-hive, leaving it shut up in perfect darkness,
for an hour or two. Its edge is then raised up, when the bees will
evacuate it. In the case of a bar-hive super, after most of the bees
have left it, it can be placed across a couple of rails or sticks,
when the top cover may be unscrewed and detached. It is then readily
cleared of bees by brushing them downwards between the bars, with a
feather or a twig.

The same general directions apply when a full glass is to be removed.
If it stands on a double adapter, a piece of tin or zinc can be
inserted between them, and the upper part then lifted with the glass.
Payne, however, says, "I have found the process much simplified by
placing an empty box between the glass and the parent hive, and leaving
it a few hours. The bees by that time have quitted the glass, and by
this plan robbing is entirely prevented, whilst the bees are less
irritated." It might occasionally happen that a piece of comb had
been worked upwards, so as to be connected with the underneath hive,
and thus causing a difficulty on attempting a separation. There is no
better way of meeting such an emergency than by passing a bit of fine
wire beneath the lower edge of the super, from side to side, and thus
cutting through the obstruction. It may be well to observe that on
removal, the box or glass ought to be kept in its original position, to
prevent the honey, which at first is thin and fluid, from running out
of the cells, and especially in hot weather.

_Honey Harvest._--As regards the quantity of honey to be taken from
a hive in any one year, there can, in our uncertain climate, be no
general rule, though now and then I have known a very large amount
obtained by deprivation.

Payne says, as the result of his own experience with depriving hives,
"It is usual to obtain from every good stock twenty or perhaps thirty
pounds of honey annually." This would be thought too high an estimate,
in many districts; as in my own, near London. It must be remembered
that honey thus harvested sells at a higher rate than that procured
by suffocating the bees, as in the common single hives; for then the
brimstone not only imparts a disagreeable flavour, but there is no
means of preventing the intermixture with the honey more or less of
pollen and brood. After deprivation, the sooner the honey is drained
from the comb the better, as it soon thickens, particularly if not kept
warm. For the purpose of straining it off, a hair sieve is commonly
used, within which the combs are inverted; the waxen seals on both
sides being first sliced off. The honey will of course run off the
sooner if placed before a fire, but exposure to heat is injurious to
fine flavour. We may here resort to the advice of Payne, who says,
"the honey should be put into jars, quite filled, and tied down with
a bladder; for exposure to the air, even for a few hours, very much
deteriorates its flavour. I may observe that honey in the combs keeps
remarkably well, if folded in writing paper, sealed up to exclude the
air, and kept dry."



_Comb-knives._--A difficulty sometimes arises in extracting the combs
from common hives or boxes. A large spatula will separate them from the
sides, but to detach them from the top, an instrument of a different
kind is requisite. The one often preferred is simply a bar of steel
about fourteen inches in total length, half an inch wide, and an
eighth of an inch thick. At one end it is bent at a right angle with
the handle, and at the other at an angle of 80° or 90°. The part thus
turned up is in both cases an inch and a half long, rather less than
half an inch wide, and made spear-pointed, or lancet-shaped; sharp on
both sides, to cut either way. The one end is used when the top of
the hive is flat; and the other is adapted to the common dome-formed
roof. Another useful instrument is the one employed in detaching the
combs from the bar-hives, made as recommended by Mr. Golding, with a
double-edge blade, an inch and a half long, and three eighths of an
inch wide; turned at right angles from the end of a rod, which may be
of quarter-inch square iron. For occasional convenience, the other end
may be turned the flat way, sharpened at both edges.

_Robbers._--Should an attack upon a hive from strange bees take place,
which sometimes occurs at this season (the strong robbing the weak),
no time ought to be lost in narrowing the entrance, for if allowed to
continue a day or two the ruin of the family might be the consequence.
Indeed, it is always well gradually to do this as the working season
draws to a close. An assault from robber bees is often a much more
formidable evil than one from wasps, although it is said that one of
these is a match for three bees. Unless the colony is very weak, they
are usually soon expelled, if the methods pointed out at page 117 are
resorted to. Not so with bees, for if but one or two strangers gain
admittance into a hive they will return again and again, always with an
accession of force; and for a day or two it is often necessary entirely
to close the entrance against them, opening it only at night. In such
case the robber bees will sometimes collect in vast numbers at the
mouth of the hive, when a shower from a watering-pot will send them
away to dry themselves. The thieves are generally distinguishable; and
they are often cunning enough to commence their marauding practices
early in the morning and late at night. A supply of honey given on
the top, or even sprinkled among the combs of contending hives, will
often divert the attention of the combatants; or smoke is sometimes
effectual, puffed into both hives. If fighting recommences on the
succeeding day, the smoking should be repeated, followed by a feed of
honey. Others have found it advantageous to remove for some days a
plundered hive to a distance; or even to make the belligerent hives
change places in the apiary; which, as a friend remarked to me, "gives
a new turn to their ideas of meum and tuum." A German proprietor,
after removing an attacked stock, put in its place a hive filled with
wormwood leaves, so distasteful to the robbers that they forsook the
spot, when the stock was brought back again.

_Autumnal Feeding._--All labour is now usually suspended for the year,
and it remains to see that ample provision is laid up for the coming
winter and spring. There ought not to be less than seventeen to twenty
pounds of honey in a hive of the same year; but in the case of an old
one, eight or ten pounds more must be allowed in estimating the weight;
for old combs are much heavier than new ones; besides that they are
a good deal filled with stale pollen, and sometimes contain candied
honey, of no use to the bees.[T] In a healthy stock there should be no
scarcity of food, if the season has been tolerable. The worst, however,
must be provided for; and if, from any cause, it should be necessary,
recourse must be had to supplying the deficiencies of nature. "A stock
of bees," observes Dr. Bevan, "generally consumes from a pound to a
pound and a half of honey per month, betwixt the first of October and
the first of March. From this time to the end of May, they will consume
double that quantity."

[T] In reference to this part of our subject, it may be useful to quote
the following estimate, as given by Dr. Dunbar:--"A common straw hive
weighs, when empty, from five to six pounds; an ordinary swarm about
four pounds; the wax of a full hive of the current year, nearly two
pounds; of the preceding year, at least three pounds; and the farina in
the cells, not less than one pound; making in all about fifteen pounds.
A stock, therefore, to be secure, ought to be double that weight in
the gross; that is, should contain not less than fifteen pounds of
honey."--_Naturalists' Library._

The requisite feeding to make up the winter store ought not to be
delayed later than the beginning of October, and the weather should be
fine. Food must never be placed in the open air, but under a cover;
otherwise the smell would attract wasps or, what is worse, strange
bees; in the latter case a battle generally following.

_Feeding-troughs._--The feeding of bees, though apparently a simple
matter, is often a troublesome process, and without due precaution
sometimes leads to a good deal of commotion. The common swarming hives
present much difficulty, from their construction. Having no opening
at the crown, the clumsy and dangerous mode must be resorted to of
bottom-feeding, in any way possible; either by tearing up the hive for
every supply of food, or by means of an eke, pushed for the purpose
beneath it. An improved hive gives facilities for presenting food on
the top, obviating these inconveniences; and where it may be supplied
in any quantity, without disturbance; at the same time that it is
inaccessible to all enemies.


When there is a hole in the centre of the top of the hive, a trough
may be used, made of tin or zinc, seven or eight inches square, and
one inch and a quarter deep; having a circular two-inch hole in the
middle of the bottom, with a rim round it, standing up half an inch,
through which the bees enter the pan from below. Another circular rim
or partition, as large in diameter as the square of the pan will admit,
is soldered down within it at the four points where it touches the
sides. It must not go down to the bottom, but a space should there be
left of nearly an eighth of an inch, as a passage for the food, which
is poured in at the four angles. A perforated thin wooden bottom or
float is fitted loosely into the pan, between the circles, removing an
objection sometimes made against the chilling effects of metal upon
bees. The float should be a little raised by means of two thin strips
of wood, appended below, to allow the liquid to flow beneath. A cover
is made by a piece of glass, resting on the larger circle, but cut
nearly octagonal in form, so as to leave the corners open. The circle
on which the glass rests should be an eighth of an inch lower than the
outer rim. In making a trough of this kind, it is sometimes customary
to append beneath it a central descending rim or tube, fitting down
into the hole on the top of the hive. This is worse than useless, and
it is in the way on the removal of the pan; on which occasion it is
expedient to push beneath it a piece of sheet tin or zinc, to stop the
communication from below.

Such a pan is perhaps made more readily without the inner circle; in
which case, all that is needed for pouring in the food is a partition
going nearly down to the bottom, so as to cut off a portion at one
corner. The glass pane can rest on angle-pieces, sunk an eighth of an
inch, at three of the corners, and upon the partition at the fourth
one, this part being left open.


A charge is sometimes brought against zinc feeding-pans, as tending
to create acidity in the food. There is perhaps some truth in this,
where it is suffered to remain too long; together with another cause of
mischief,--a very general neglect of cleanliness. Those, however, who
prefer wood altogether may have troughs made of that material, either
square or round in form, as that given in our illustration, which is
turned from hard wood in a lathe; a piece being divided off on one side
by a partition, under which the food passes, beneath a wood float. A
pane of glass rests upon a circular rabbet turned out to receive it,
leaving uncovered the part beyond the partition.


For the purpose of feeding the bees in my bar-hive, a zinc or tin
trough is provided, of a form adapted to the position of the openings
cut through the crown-board to the stock-box. The extreme length is ten
inches and a half, four inches wide, and an inch and a half deep. At
one end is a partition an inch and a quarter wide, going down nearly
to the bottom. Into this the honey or other food is poured, running
under a wooden perforated float, and fitted loosely within the bottom.
A pane of glass rests on two angle pieces, at one end, and on the cross
division at the other, all sunk a quarter of an inch, and covering the
pan as far as the partition. The latter is strengthened in the centre
by a cross-stay, against which the glass rests. At the bottom is an
opening seven inches long and half an inch wide, with a rim around it,
about half an inch high. This opening is placed so as to correspond
with that communicating through the bars beneath. Draw out the slides,
and the bees will have access to the pan. This proceeding is of course
reversed on its removal.


_Bee Food._--Nothing that can be presented to bees is so acceptable
as their natural food--pure honey. At this season, as it is chiefly
stored for future consumption, it is best unmixed with water. Fill
the pan every evening till the requisite quantity is given, for it
will speedily be emptied. Refuse honey may be given to the bees in
the combs, piled in a pan, a little separated, and covered by a box
or hive. The sooner the feeding is ended the better, the bees, if in
health, being on these occasions much excited and often irascible. Let
enough be given when you are about it. Gelieu says, "Let there be no
higgling with bees; better that they have too much than too little."
Recollect that little of your bounty is now eaten, but is conveyed
and stored for the day of need; the bees sometimes extending the
combs purposely to receive it, and often of pollen as well; for it is
observable that feeding at any time stimulates them to foraging abroad.
Nothing is wasted, and whatever there is to spare will be repaid with
interest in the spring. It must also be borne in mind, that what food
is likely to be wanted must be supplied _now_, for very rarely should
any further attempts at feeding be made till the returning spring
restores animation to the family. A reference to _Spring Feeding_ will
supply information as to various substitutes for honey.

_Winter Store._--Under the head of _Autumnal Feeding_ we have mentioned
the usual estimate as to the requisite supply of honey for the winter.
Anomalous as it may seem, it has been remarked, that the quantity
apparently required is not dependent on the population of the hive.
The number of mouths make little sensible difference, even when two or
three stocks have been united. This fact was first noticed by Gelieu,
and has been corroborated by other observers.

"In doubling the population," says Gelieu, "I naturally conceived that
we must also double the quantity of food; for I had always seen that
two or three families, living together, used more meat than each would
have done singly, however rigid their economy. The more mouths the more
meat, thought I; and, in consequence, I augmented greatly the amount of
provision the first time that I doubled a hive; but to my astonishment,
when I weighed it again in the spring, I found that the united swarm
had not consumed more than each would have done singly. I could not
believe my eyes, but thought there must be some mistake; nor could I be
convinced until I had repeated the experiment a hundred times over, and
had always the same result."

This seeming anomaly, Gelieu and others have attempted to account for
on the principle that the increased heat of an augmented population
is in some measure a substitute for food; but this is opposed to all
experience, which proves that warmth is a stimulus to consumption.
A more satisfactory way of disposing of the question seems to be,
in the first place, that the bees in a well-peopled hive feel in a
lower degree the evils consequent on frequent changes of temperature
occurring in winter, than is observable in a less populous one; for
alternations of cold and warmth have an injurious effect, generally
leading to an increased consumption of stores. The next consideration
is that the junction of stocks, alluded to by Gelieu, ensures a larger
supply of labourers in the early spring. It is not in the cold weather
that much consumption of food takes place, but after the month of
February, when the great hatching comes on; and then not so much by
the _bees_, as by the _brood_. In a thinly-populated hive, almost the
whole family is required within-doors at this time, to warm the eggs
and feed the young; and consequently little is added to the continually
diminishing stock of honey and farina. Nothing is more common than
to see a hive, apparently well stored in February, on the point of
perishing in the month of April. This is not the case where a large
number of bees can be spared to go abroad and bring in fresh supplies,
to keep pace with, or even to exceed, the demands of the craving brood.

_Autumnal Unions, Fuming, and Transferring Bees._[U]--The subject of
autumnal unions of bee stocks is strongly advocated by Gelieu; and
in this country has not always received the attention it demands.
Perhaps this is in part owing to ignorance as to a ready mode of
accomplishing the object; and in some degree from the supposed doubt
about maintaining the bees, when collected in a large body, through the
winter. The latter difficulty is removed by a reference to what has
been said on the subject of winter store, in the last section. I hope
I shall be able to show that, by a safe and simple expedient, the bees
of two or three weak or worn-out families may be joined together, to
form one vigorous stock; at the same time saving thousands of valuable
lives. The late Apiarian Society of Oxford is entitled to credit for
the care it bestowed on this branch of bee economy; and the method of
procedure now to be explained was there successfully practised. It
should be done about September, and in warm weather.

[U] It may be well in this place to call attention to the distinction
between the system of _Transferring Bees_, in _Autumn_, in the way now
pointed out, and what has sometimes been confounded with it; namely,
the practice of _Transferring Bees and Combs together_, from one hive
to another. This I never advocated, except in bar-hives, when it is
sometimes practicable, provided the combs are built in straight lines.


The custom of stupefying bees by some narcotic substance has long
been in practice; and, observes Dr. Dunbar, "there is no more useful
auxiliary in every operation in an apiary than smoke." By subjecting
them to the fumes, the bees are rendered insensible and harmless for a
time; but soon recover, with no ill-effects subsequently. Apparatus
more or less complicated has been invented for fuming; but perhaps the
most simple was that used at Oxford, which is a tin tube, eighteen
inches long, and three quarters of an inch in diameter; readily made by
any tin-worker. One end is extended and flattened to adapt it to the
entrance of the hive, whilst the other is applied to the mouth of the
operator. In the centre of the tube is a box, two inches and a half
long, and two inches in diameter, to contain the fumigating material;
and to receive which, one end is made to draw out like a telescope. The
two ends of the box, where the tubes join it, are stopped withinside
by divisions of perforated tin. This part must be put together, by
rivetting, and without solder, which the heat would melt. An instrument
of this form is adapted for most purposes where smoke is needed, it
being applicable to fuming a hive at the mouth, or, in some cases,
from the top; for it is, occasionally, more in accordance with the
object in view that the bees should be driven down, rather than
upwards. When, therefore, this is proposed, a bend in the tube becomes
expedient, which is readily managed by having the farther end made
in two pieces to be disconnected at pleasure, after the plan of a
watering-pot. Another end-piece can then be slipped on like a nozzle,
turned downwards, to enter the hole through the top of the hive. The
instrument just described is of course used in the hand; but another
kind is sometimes applicable, made not unlike a pepper-box, upon a
foot, which stands on, or in a hole in, the ground, whilst the hive
about to be fumed is placed over it. The top lifts off to receive the
fungus; and this, as well as the lower end, is pierced with holes.


The substance hitherto chiefly recommended for the fumigation or
stupefying of bees is a kind of fungus, found growing often very large
and round, mostly in rich pastures or plantations, in the autumn.
It is the _Lycoperdon Giganteum_, but variously called, as Devil's
snuff-box, fuzz-ball, or puff-ball. It should be gathered when nearly
ripe. Dry it in the sun, or a cool oven, and preserve it from damp. It
is then a spongy substance, containing brown dust; and burns with an
offensive smell. The difficulty often of procuring this material led
me to make trial of another kind of fungus, called _Racodium Cellare_,
or mouse-skin _Byssus_. It may be found growing in large wine or beer
vaults, in immense dark-coloured bunches or festoons, suspended from
the roof, often wearing a handsome appearance. In a single such vault,
in London, I have seen as much as would suffice for a large portion
of the bee-keepers in Great Britain; and I can recommend it (not
too freely used) as even more efficacious than the other fungus. It
requires no preparation, igniting and smouldering readily, and may be
preserved for years. Whatever be the material employed, let the box of
the tube be about two-thirds full; and a few puffs will cause it to
send forth smoke abundantly. The hive which it is intended to deprive
of its tenants may be lifted gently from its place soon after dusk,
and placed over some kind of receptacle. An empty hive, turned bottom
upwards, might answer with a little management, but there must be no
place of escape for the bees. The best thing is a box or bowl, about
ten inches square withinside, and four or five inches deep; with a wide
flat rim all round. The first introduction of the smoke will cause an
uproar among the bees, which will speedily be followed by silence, as
they fall down from its effect. A minute or two generally suffices for
this, assisted by striking the sides and top of the hive. When all is
quiet, turn up the hive, and you will have received the greater part
of its inhabitants in the bowl, in a stupefied state and perfectly
subdued. A portion will remain sticking in the combs, which must be cut
out one by one, and the bees swept with a feather into the bowl, where
a little more smoke will, if needed, keep them quiet in the interim. As
respects the Queen, if perceived, she can be taken away, but the bees
will commonly dispose of her in their own way, by the next morning. The
whole being thus collected, they soon begin to show signs of returning
animation; and when this is about to take place, sprinkle them pretty
freely with a mixture of sugared ale. Next, lift quietly from its stand
the hive to which the smoked bees are to be united, placing it over
the bowl, but leaving no opening except the mouth, for air. The bees
from above, attracted by the scent, will go down, and begin licking the
sprinkled ones. The whole become intermixed, and ascend together into
the hive over them, in perfect goodwill. Leave them till the following
morning early, when the bowl will generally be found empty. Replace the
doubled hive on its original stand, and the work is complete. If it is
thought desirable still further to augment its strength, the bees of
a second hive may be added in the bowl; or a second union may be made
in a night or two afterwards. All that remains is to see that the hive
contains honey to last the winter; and whatever is wanted to make up
about eighteen pounds must be supplied for that purpose, in the way
pointed out in a previous section.

We will now detail another mode of proceeding, at once speedy and
efficacious, and attended with no risk to the operator. With the tube
of which we have before spoken, in the evening puff some smoke into the
mouth of the hive you wish to take, without removing it. Compel as many
of the bees to fall down as you can; then lift the hive, and brush out
those remaining; taking away the Queen if you can find her without much
trouble. Collect the whole in a heap on the floor-board, and sprinkle
them pretty well with sugared ale. You may now, if the numbers are
still thought insufficient, add to the first, the smoked bees of a
second hive. Next puff some smoke within the stock-hive into which the
bees thus collected are to be transferred, quietly where it stands;
just sufficient to stupify its inhabitants, and produce a uniformity
of scent. Turn it bottom upwards, floor-board and all, so as to drop
no bees; and place it, if of straw, in a pail, or some similar kind of
support. In this position lift off the floor-board, and sprinkle these
bees also with a smaller portion of the ale, in the hive where they
are. After this is done, before they have recovered, sweep the smoked
bees uniformly among the combs of the hive destined to receive them.
Clean and scrape its floor-board, and as soon as symptoms of returning
animation begin to appear, replace it, turning the whole again into
the right position. All that remains is to restore it at once to its
original place or stand. Before the hive is left, clear away from the
entrance any bees that may have fallen down, so that the passage for
air is not obstructed. In the absence of a tube like the one described,
it is very practicable to make use of a common pipe and tobacco; but
the latter should be of a mild kind, and not too freely used, or many
deaths might ensue.

In selecting the future domicile of the family thus augmented, it will
be well to observe that the hive is not one of long standing, in which
the combs have become thickened with age. Indeed, a colony of the same
year is to be preferred, and more particularly where the Queen is a
young one. If, however, it is desired to cut out the old combs from
the intended future stock-hive, it can now be done with safety; first
turning on to the board as many of the bees as you can. A supply of
honey will invigorate the new community, and the vacancies will be
filled up with fresh combs, provided the operation has not been delayed
too late in the season.

It is of great importance here to observe, that after making autumnal
unions, in cases where the bees have been expelled from hives
possessing fresh combs, the latter ought to be left undisturbed,
as so much gain to a spring swarm, which will gladly accept a house
ready furnished: moreover, a vast saving of honey results, for the
fabrication of comb, as we have shown at page 110, consumes a great
deal of this. The same remark applies to supers partly filled with
combs; but they should be kept clean and dry. It is worthy of remark,
that some authorities maintain the opinion that bees will now and then
re-work portions of old combs or wax, but it must be free from impurity.

As far as it can be managed, it is desirable that attention should be
paid to the previous position of the hives intended to form unions,
for there is always a disposition in bees to return to the spot to
which they have been accustomed. Where it is practicable, therefore, it
is best to unite adjoining families; or when the union is to consist
of three, unite to a hive in the centre, one on each side. A little
foresight at the time of swarming, in the arrangement of the hives,
will often facilitate after proceedings. Some have resorted to the
plan of confinement of the bees, but this does not always meet the
difficulty; for, on the first opportunity, many of them will return to
their old haunts, and seek in vain their former dwelling.

Fumigation may often be resorted to in cases where a superabundance of
honey exists in a hive at this season; for after the introduction of
a little smoke the bees will fall down. It may then be reversed, and
a portion of comb cut away in due moderation. Restore the bees to the
hive, and replace its board, when the whole may be turned back to its
proper position without injury.

Under the head of _Common Straw Hives_, we have remarked that
suffocation with brimstone is the usual mode of obtaining possession
of their stores; the stocks of the second or third year's standing
being commonly selected for destruction. If, however, such stocks
can be made strong and healthy in the way we have been detailing,
good policy would point to the colonies of the present year as those
affording the richest harvest of honey, and of the best quality, as
being in new combs. These will never be of more value for the market
than in the first autumn, provided the proprietor is satisfied as
to the state of his older stocks for the next year's swarming. Such
of the latter, moreover, as have sent out swarms in the same season
will of course possess young Queens. In some districts this principle
is carried out in practice, and doubtless with advantage, when a
proper discretion is used. Under any circumstances, it is clear that
in gaining possession of the honey, destruction of the bees may be
avoided by adopting the fuming and uniting plan, instead of that of
suffocation; for whether the hive be new or old, rich or poor, the
same principle applies, with no amount of time, trouble, or expense,
greater than under the brimstone system. The plea of necessity no
longer exists for a wanton waste of valuable life; and to this point
the attention of the cottager, in particular, might surely be directed,
as one often involving his future profits. Let him know that it is his
interest not to _kill his bees_; but, when expelled from one hive, to
unite them to another, where augmented numbers will require no more
than the usual stock of winter food. Inform him that he is acting on
a mistaken principle when he imagines that his bees are worn out with
age--the common plea for destroying them: that these are short-lived,
and periodically renewed, so that the _hive_ alone becomes old:
moreover, that a large proportion of the bees at the close of the
season are those produced in the later months; the older ones gradually
disappearing in the autumn, to be succeeded by others destined to
become the early labourers of the opening new year.[V]

[V] In a case where a proprietor had been obstinately bent on resorting
to the old mode of destruction, the bees were stupefied by a wiser
neighbour; taken home by him, and added to one of his own weak stocks,
which turned to good account in the following spring.

Before we leave this part of our subject, a word may be said
to those who are disposed to fancy there may be an evil in a
super-abundant winter population in a hive. I never observed any
permanent inconvenience arising from this; and no doubt can exist as
to the advantage of maintaining a comfortable temperature, the Queen
continuing to lay later in the autumn under such stimulant. Moreover,
it must not be imagined that all the bees collected together to form
a stock, at this time, are destined to survive till the spring.
The day of life may, with many of them, be already far spent; but
we have shown in what way their presence, though but temporary in
the hive, indirectly contributes to augment the numbers of future
spring labourers. Were it not so, there would be nothing to mark the
well-known distinction between a populous and a half-tenanted hive. It
is certain that, however numerous may be the eggs laid in the spring,
a portion only are of avail in any but a hive so well peopled as to
create a favorable temperature for hatching them, and to supply the
means necessary to their full development. Thus strength in one year
begets it in succeeding ones; and it must be remembered how influential
is warmth to the early productive powers of the Queen, without which
all goes wrong; and how important it is in the opening spring to be
able to spare from the home duties of the hive a large number of
collectors to add to the stores, which would otherwise not keep pace
with the cravings of the rising generation.

Following up the principle thus laid down, I entirely agree with those
who carry it out still further, by never destroying, if it can be
avoided, the brood often found in quantity in a hive treated in the
way we have been advising; for it is obvious that the latest hatched
bees are those most likely to be of use in the spring. Where it is
practicable, therefore, those combs which contain brood should, with
as little loss of time as possible, to avoid chill, be arranged in
a natural position, in a well-covered super, and placed over a hive
requiring to be strengthened. The bees from below will ascend and
cluster upon them and, in due time, a valuable accession of numbers
will result. A deprived bar-hive offers many facilities in such cases,
without injuring the combs.

It may not be misplaced here to remark, that, in the language of
apiculturists, the hives of the year, _made up_, as it is termed,
for the winter, now assume the name of _stocks_. Hitherto they have
been denominated swarms or colonies. At this time a good selection of
stocks may be made by those about to establish an apiary, to be removed
at Christmas. In addition to the usual characteristics of vigour,
such families are to be preferred as exhibit a certain degree of
irascibility, for this is often most observable where there is most to

_Driving of Bees._--In the preceding section we have detailed the
modes in practice for uniting bees, and for obtaining possession of
their honey, by the aid of _fumigation_. Many proprietors, however,
prefer to arrive at the same object by resorting to what is termed
_Driving_; by which process the inmates of one hive are impelled to
abandon it, and enter some other. When skilfully performed, this
operation is often successful in attaining the end in view; but it is
seldom well to attempt it, except in a pretty full hive. Mr. Golding
has given, in a small compass, general directions as to the mode of
procedure in common cases of Driving, and we will, therefore, adopt
his words. "Towards dusk, when the family will be all at home, let the
hive be raised gently from its floor-board, and supported on wedges
about half an inch thick. When the bees shall have quietly ascended
from the floor up into the hive, it may be inverted steadily on a small
tub or pail. An empty hive, of the same diameter, being at hand, should
be quickly set over the one turned up to receive it. A lighted pipe
may be ready to give a puff or two if necessary, but the operation
can generally be effected without using it. Tie a cloth firmly round
the junction of the hives so that the bees cannot escape. Proceed to
drum upon the full hive (opposite the sides of the combs, so as not
to detach them), with the open hands or a couple of sticks; the bees
will be so alarmed that in a few minutes they will have ascended
into the hive set over them. A hive full of combs, and well peopled,
always drives better than a weak and partly-filled one. The operation
should never be attempted excepting in warm weather. If the object be
to furnish another hive with the bees, there is nothing to do but to
reverse the hive in which they are, and place the other upon it, again
tying the cloth round the junction. A few raps upon the peopled hive
will cause them to ascend, and early next morning they should be placed
upon their usual stand. Those who still adhere to the common cottage
hive may, by driving, deprive well-stored families of part of their
honey. Having previously weighed the hive, calculate how much may be
taken with safety, and cut away the external combs accordingly. The
bees may then be returned as directed." Some operators vary the above
proceeding, and perhaps diminish the danger, by placing, as the first
step, the empty hive at the bottom, and the full one gently upon this.
After making the junction complete between them, the two hives are
reversed carefully together, so that the unoccupied one comes to the
top, and the drumming then proceeds. This should be continued from five
to ten minutes, according as circumstances indicate its necessity.

There are diversified ways of uniting the bees after they have been
driven into an empty hive. Dr. Dunbar says, "turn up the stock-hive
which is to receive the addition to its population: with a bunch of
feathers, or a very small watering-pot, drench them with a solution of
ale and sugar, or water and sugar, made a little warm. Do the same to
the expelled bees: then placing these last over the stock, mouth to
mouth, a rap on the top of the hive will drive them down among the bees
and combs of the underneath hive. Place this last on its pedestal, and
the operation is completed. The strong flavour of the solution will
prevent the bees from distinguishing between friend and stranger."

Payne advocates the middle of a fine day as the best time for driving;
removing the hive to be operated upon to a shady place, and then
inverting over it an empty hive, as already described. A little smoke
might sometimes be needful. Having ascertained that the bees have gone
into the upper hive, Payne continues, "take the latter immediately to
the place where the driven hive was taken from, and place it upon the
same floor-board. Carry the driven hive fifty or sixty yards away; the
few bees that remain in it, as well as those that are out at work, will
return to the other hive, at the accustomed spot. All is now finished
until an hour after sunset (excepting emptying the driven hive of its
store), when two sticks may be laid upon the ground, about nine inches
apart, opposite the stock-hive to which the driven bees are to be
joined; then with a smart stroke dash out the bees between the sticks;
and instantly, but gently, place the stock-hive over them upon the
sticks: leave them for the night, protecting them from the weather, and
an hour before sunrise restore the stock-hive to its original position.
Here will be an increased population, enabled to stand through the
winter much better, and to send out an earlier swarm, than if the union
had not been effected."

The autumnal driving of bees is a common practice when the proprietors
reside within a few miles of the moors and heaths, to which the hives
are conveyed in time to luxuriate in a second harvest of blossom,
now available from the heather. In such districts, it is not unusual
to appropriate the whole contents of the driven hive; the bees being
compelled to begin the world again in a new house and locality, like
a recent swarm. Or, two or three small families may be driven into
one. In a good season, a few weeks suffice to enable them to fill
their second dwelling with combs, brood, and honey of the very finest
quality. On their return home from the moors, some of the hives are
again driven, and deprived of a portion of their stores; or united
in many instances two or three together, to form strong families as
stocks; for the value of population is too well understood to allow of
any unnecessary destruction of life.


The management of bees in the winter season is probably that which is
less understood than any other department of the apiary, and various
have been the modes urged for ensuring safety through its various
dangers. It seems, however, to be pretty generally admitted that it is
better to allow the hives to remain in their usual position throughout
the year; and our care therefore should be directed to ward off the
casualties now to be guarded against. Ignorant attention, nevertheless,
is sometimes worse even than neglect; and having once made the needful
winter arrangements, there ought to be as little subsequent disturbance
as possible. The great points to be observed are, adequate exterior
covering and complete protection from the effects of wind, wet, and
sudden changes of weather; a sufficiency of food to last till the
spring; and preservation from damp in the hive, with its attendant
evils. As regards the store of honey, we have already said that this
is a matter to be clearly ascertained and supplied in autumn. When,
therefore, as the cold weather sets in, and the bees have collected
and clustered together, there must be no more attempts at feeding.
The mouth of the hive should gradually be contracted, as the winter
advances, though never entirely closed. After every fall of snow, let
it be cleared away from the hives, and about the stand or house, to
prevent the chance of reflection, which always injuriously arouses the
bees, and for the better security from moist exhalation on thawing.


_Winter position._--It is extremely desirable in winter to keep off
the influence of the sun from the front of the hives. Some persons
recommend moving them from their summer position to a north aspect,
or turning them round on their stands. But this shifting of quarters
involves the necessity of shutting up the bees close prisoners till
the spring; for all that casually left the hive would fly back to the
original familiar spot, never more to revisit home. I entirely agree
with those who assert that bees are never healthy where confinement
has been long continued. "Who shuts up the wild bees in the forests of
Lithuania, where they thrive so well?" asks Gelieu. Surely in this,
as in other parts of our practice, we cannot do better than follow
the guidance of nature. On a fine day, with the thermometer at or
not much below 50° (and these are not of unfrequent occurrence in
winter), the bees avail themselves of it, sallying forth in evident
delight, with certain advantage to health and cleanliness; for they
void nothing in the hive, unless compelled by long necessity. This is
the point at which disease commences: indeed the retention of their
fæces sometimes occasions death. Their impatience of confinement is
excessive, and increases as the season advances, so that they will
leave the hive at a lower temperature after Christmas than before.
But in thus advocating the principle of liberty, I am not insensible
to the evil it may bring with it, if not guarded against. The most
disastrous consequences follow the flight of bees on a frosty day,
when the gleams and deceitful warmth of a winter sun reach their
domicile, particularly with snow on the ground, the glare of which
allures them out to destruction, for they soon fall down to rise no
more. The remedy for this is the screening of the hive in some way from
its effects; and it should be done as soon as winter actually sets
in. At the same time it is important that no obstruction to the free
passage of air is presented, or dysentery among the bees would be the
certain consequence. Where the hives stand singly, I have always seen
the advantage of fixing before each a wooden screen, nailed to a post,
sunk in the ground, and large enough to throw the whole front into
shade. This does not interfere with the coming forth of the bees at a
proper temperature; and it supersedes any necessity for shutting them
up when snow is on the ground. The screen should be fixed a foot or
two in advance, and so as to intercept the sun's rays, which will be
chiefly in winter towards the west side. Other plans have been tried
for effecting the same object, such as blocks placed at the mouth of
the hive; but these answer no good end, as the rays of light penetrate
underneath and around them. In a bee-house, entirely enclosed at the
front, the hives and their boards may sometimes at this season be
advantageously shifted a little sideways of the exterior entrance way;
with hollowed blocks (see page 96), shaped in accordance, to intercept
the light, but not the air.

A screen of the kind we have described has the further tendency to
promote the security of the bees, where other enemies than wind,
frost, snow, or sun might sometimes endanger them. One of these, at
this time, is the blue Titmouse, to which we have before alluded. Old
Purchas says, "She will eat ten or twelve bees at a time, and by-and-by
be ready for more. When she cometh to the hive and findeth none, she
knocketh with her bill at the door, and as soon as the bees come out to
inquire the cause, she catcheth first one and then another, until her
belly be full." At page 117 we have described a mode of dealing with
these marauders.

_Damp in Hives._--Perhaps there is nothing more prejudicial than the
moisture often engendered in exposed hives at this time, particularly
after frost, and in certain states of the atmosphere. It accumulates
on the top and sides, moulding and rendering offensive the combs, and
producing disease amongst the bees. For this reason, hives with flat
roofs have sometimes been objected to; and perhaps justly, where no
provision is made for ventilation. Gelieu obviated the evil by placing
caps or small hives (cemented down) over the stocks; the moisture
ascending, evaporated through the opening, "as by a chimney," I have
tried different experiments, and have found nothing better than the
practice of condensing the vapour of the hive as much as possible, and
conveying it away. At the beginning of winter, over the hole on the
top, a piece of perforated zinc or wood is placed. Upon this let one of
the common feeding troughs, already described, be put, from which the
glass cover, and, if you please, the perforated bottom, are previously
removed; the hole in the pan being placed over the one below. This
may be covered with a bell-glass, standing within the pan. As the
exhalation rises from the bees below, it is condensed on the glass,
and received, often in considerable quantity, in the pan. The hole
at the top of the glass may be stopped, opening it occasionally on a
fine day, to allow the escape of vitiated air. The change of air in a
hive, in mild, dry weather, is always conducive to health, till the
early spring breeding begins, when caution against chill to the bees is
needed. In the absence of a bell-glass, the glass cover to the trough
may be kept in its place as a substitute. We have already recommended
the giving to all hives or boxes a slight inclination forwards, as
being useful in conveying away the moisture.


Where there is no feeding pan, a bell-glass may be put within a
circular leaden or zinc trough, having the centre open, and placed over
the hole below.

_Temperature._--With good protection from cutting winds, from wet
without, and from damp within, the effects of cold alone, unless of
extreme severity, need not be apprehended, for the bees of a strong
stock will generate sufficient warmth; and a dry season is often better
sustained than a mild, moist one. It is of importance to guard against
_sudden changes_ of temperature, often occurring in winter; and
experienced bee-keepers have recommended covering each hive with a mat,
or something of the kind, as a regulator.

It is certain that less food is consumed at a low than a high
temperature, and that the bees are often healthy in proportion. I have
known the thermometer down to 32° in a box, with no bad effect to the
bees when _clustered together_; but they would become torpid if exposed
_singly_ to this, or to a much less degree of cold, especially towards
the close of winter; and could then only be recovered by artificial
warmth.[W] The action of very severe frost, moreover, has an injurious
effect upon the honey, which becomes candied at the extremities of the
combs, and sometimes throughout. It is thenceforth useless as food for
the bees.[X]

[W] It is frequently the case in winter that a number of bees may
be found, apparently dead, about a hive, particularly after sudden
disturbance. The greater part of these are merely paralysed on coming
out into a lower temperature, and may be recovered by taking them to
the fire. But this should be done with caution; for, if placed too
near, the bees are not so likely permanently to recover, as when the
restoration is gradual. The best way is to put the bees into a large
basin, spreading over it a piece of muslin to confine them till they
are restored to the hive.

[X] In two stocks which I had an opportunity of examining, at the end
of February, 1838, after a very severe winter, I found cells filled
with honey in a granulated state, and perfectly white. This was
untouched by the bees, though distressed for food. Notwithstanding the
unusual severity of the season, there was brood in various stages of

A thermometer is not always a criterion of the state of the hive at
this season, as I have often found; for the temperature varies as the
bees recede from it, and they frequently shift their quarters, moving
in a mass to preserve the warmth. When congregated immediately about
the thermometer, I have known it rise as much as 30° on a frosty day;
and an increase of temperature always follows any commotion, from
whatever cause, or partial activity in the dwelling, resulting in an
increased consumption of food.

_Dysentery._--Care should be taken to clear away any dead bees at the
mouth of the hive, for these give great offence, besides endangering
the safety of the family, by preventing the passage of air. Whilst the
bees are in activity, they carefully remove every dead body from the
hive; but in winter this service should be occasionally performed for
them. In particular it should be attended to if signs of dysentery
appear, which may be known by the dark-coloured evacuations, offensive
smell in the hive, and frequent deaths. This malady often attacks the
strongest hives, too much closed at the mouth, particularly at the
latter part of winter or in early spring, the most critical time for
bees; and no doubt it is attributable to unnaturally retained fæces
in a damp impure atmosphere, with deficient covering and ventilation.
It has been thought that the want of water predisposes the bees to
dysentery. As soon as the disease is apparent, no time should be lost
in lifting the hive from its board, expelling the vitiated air, and
scraping and washing away all impurity; repeating the same process,
if requisite, on some fine subsequent day. But the board should be
dried before the hive is replaced on it; or a fresh one may be at
once substituted for it, with less loss of time and annoyance to the
bees. I have restored a stock to perfect health by thoroughly cleaning
and ventilating it, after a third of the inhabitants had fallen a
sacrifice. All remedies, as they are called, by feeding with various
prescriptions, do more harm than good. "Bees," says Gelieu, "have no
real disease: dysentery, about which so much noise has been made, and
for which so many remedies have been prescribed, never attacks the
bees of a well-stocked hive that is left open at all seasons, but only
those that are too long and too closely confined. They are always in
good health as long as they are at liberty; when they are warm enough
and have plenty of food. All their pretended diseases are the result
of cold, hunger, or the infection produced by a too close and long
confinement during the winter."


Those who commence an apiary by the purchase of established
stock-hives, and who did not secure such in the autumn, can, with
the opening of February, and for the five or six weeks ensuing,
make a selection of those that have the characteristics of health
and strength, which may generally be ascertained on a fine day, by
observing the quantity of farina carried into a hive. "The best time,"
says Payne, "to establish an apiary is from the middle of February to
the middle of March. The stocks will have passed through the winter,
and the removal is safe and easy. There are few commodities in which
a person can be so easily deceived as in a hive of bees. I would,
therefore, recommend the young apiarian to take the opinion of some
experienced person before he makes his purchase. If the hive is not of
the preceding year, its weight is no criterion of its value; for an
old stock contains a large quantity of pollen." An examination of the
combs, as to discoloration, will often be a useful criterion of age.
The selected stocks should be removed to their new quarters by hand, at
dusk, to be no more disturbed.

_Cleaning or changing Floor-boards._--All who have been accustomed to
the care of bees must have perceived the saving of labour to them, in
the early spring, in the cleaning of their floor-boards, by scraping
away all filth, removing dead bees, refuse wax, &c., and thoroughly
drying them. In many cases the best and quickest plan is to change the
board, and particularly when it shows signs of decay, which always
leads to mischief.

_Comb-pruning._--In conjunction with an examination of the
floor-boards, opportunity can be taken of observing the state of the
hives, as respects their combs. Where these are seen to be old, mouldy,
mildewed, or infected by moths, they should be cut away; as also when
they have become filled with a mass of stale pollen and useless honey;
at the same time taking care not to disturb any brood there may be.
Hives sometimes contain too large a proportion of drone-combs, which
can now be removed with advantage. Some persons use a little smoke, but
at this season it must be resorted to sparingly, as the bees are weak.
They will speedily fill up the vacancies thus made, and a stock in
this way partially renewed may be continued in health several years,
provided the hive itself is in good state. Nevertheless, it may be well
to recur to an opinion we have already expressed, that it is often more
to the interest of the proprietor to allow a stock to swarm rather than
to persevere for several succeeding seasons in preventing it, in a hive
constantly becoming worse for occupation.

_General directions._--As soon as vegetation begins to appear, with
genial weather, all obstructions to the free access to the hives must
be removed; and by degrees extended space given at the mouth. The
critical time for the bees is now approaching; for in February brood
often rapidly increases, requiring greater attention to a uniform
warmth. The tops of the hives, therefore, should be closed in, to
prevent currents of cold air, often at this time fatal both to the
eggs and larvæ, as may be seen by the ejectment of dead grubs. Even
much later on in the season the recurrence of cold days will leave
certain proofs of mischief; and at such times the mouths of the hives
ought again to be contracted and screened; carefully retaining till all
danger is past the outer coverings to the hives.

The bees will now, in fine weather, go forth in search of pollen, which
they bring into the hive in large or apparently in useless quantity,
so as sometimes to render it necessary afterwards to remove it, at a
great expense of labour. "This," says Gelieu, "is the only point on
which they can be accused of a want of that prudence and foresight,
so admirable in every other respect." A supply of pollen, together
with water, are the first requirements of the spring, both essential
to the brood, and the eagerness of the bees to seek them is a certain
indication of health and strength in the hive.[Y] At page 102, a list
is given of early flowering plants, which it is desirable to have in
the immediate vicinity of the hives. At present the bees are weak, and
incapable of a long flight: the weather, too, is often unfavorable for

[Y] It is worthy of attention that a distinguished German apiculturist
has recently introduced a substitute for pollen in the early year,
when the bees have no means of procuring it. Observing that his bees
frequented a neighbouring mill, he found them engaged in conveying from
thence a quantity of rye meal. Deriving a hint from this discovery, he
placed a trough of the meal in front of his apiary, which was eagerly
carried to the hives, the bees preferring it to old pollen; and this
continued till the opening blossoms supplied the natural article. Some
hives consumed as much as two pounds. Subsequent experimentalists, at
home, have used the flour of wheat, or other grain, with success. The
knowledge that the collection of pollen and the need of water by the
bees are simultaneous, led these observers a step further, by giving a
supply of both these essentials at the same time. As this assistance
has been afforded as early as January, it would seem necessary, in our
climate, to place both articles in some accessible part within the
hive. In the absence of any better provision, wet sponge or moss has
been found to answer; or old combs will suffice as receptacles either
of water or flour. Stocks thus treated are said to be greatly forwarded
both in breeding and swarming.

An attentive observer will now readily distinguish the strong, healthy
stocks; but now and then a family may be seen sluggish in its work,
though, perhaps, not deficient in numbers. The cause may generally be
traced to an unfruitful Queen, to be got rid of as soon as the season
is a little more advanced, and a successor can be reared in the way
described under the head _Queen Bee_. Or, it might happen if the Queen
dies before the bees have the means of establishing another, when
an abandonment of the hive often ensues, though honey may still be
plentiful in store. Prudence will at this time point out the expediency
of surveying the state of the apiary as to repairs, painting, &c., to
be done before the bees have fully entered into a state of activity.

_Spring-feeding._--It is well now to examine the remaining stock of
food, for much will shortly be required for the increasing numbers. If
needed, some must be given, though in less quantity than in autumn; and
it ought to be placed within the hive, either at the top or bottom; but
the time is arrived when every precaution should be used to prevent
the effects of chill to the brood, by the creation of cold currents.
It usually suffices to supply food about three times a week, but the
feeding trough must be closely covered, to keep up the temperature,
or the bees will not at first enter into it. When this is the case,
some proprietors do not hesitate to invert a hive, and pour a cup of
honey amongst the combs: the bees will soon lick one another clean. Or,
in lieu of a trough, I have used a tin vessel, holding nearly half a
pint, open at each end, made somewhat taper downwards, the lower end
fitting into a hole on the top of the hive, of about two inches. This
part is somewhat loosely tied over with linen cloth, through which the
bees suck the food. It may be made cylindrical, if preferred, with
a flanch to rest upon. At this season it is well to give the food
slightly warmed. Many persons recommend feeding even the strong hives,
for it is certain the bees are stimulated by the increased temperature
to which it gives rise; and there can be no doubt of the importance
of bringing the stocks forward as early as possible. But no feeding,
unless from absolute necessity, should be resorted to till a certain
degree of animation is visible in the dwelling, otherwise the bees
are prematurely put in motion, and numbers perish, unable to reach
home. Nor is it of less importance to observe that feeding is not
discontinued too soon; for even after warm days there will be a return
of ungenial weather, and a stock might perish where a very little
additional food would have saved it. But some limit should be put to
the quantity as the weather becomes fine and warm; for I have known
evil arise where the cells have been filled by the bees with sugared
mixtures, at the time when the Queen requires them to deposit eggs. We
have already alluded to the advantages of a supply of water withinside,
in the very early year, before the bees can go abroad.

Where honey is abundant, it is of course preferable; and it is no worse
for being slightly made liquid with water. In other cases various kinds
of substitutes have been resorted to. I have used good sound ale,
sweetened with sugar and honey, and boiled for a minute or two: the
usual proportion is a pint to a pound of refined sugar, adding a fourth
part of pure honey, which imparts a flavour the most agreeable to the
bees. A tablespoonful of rum still further improves the compound. Mr.
Golding recommends a very similar mixture; to which, however, he adds a
teaspoonful of salt and a glass of wine. Payne prescribes lump sugar,
in the proportion of three pounds to a pint of water, boiled for two or
three minutes, and mixed with a pound of honey.

The kind of food we have been describing is that which is most commonly
used for bees at this season. I have, however, turned my attention,
occasionally, to the saving of trouble that arises where food can
be given them in a concrete form, to supersede some of the evils
attending the common methods of administering liquids at this season.
In one of my feeding troughs I have sometimes put some large lumps of
refined sugar, dipped previously in water till pretty well saturated,
which the bees will appropriate. Of the various concrete saccharine
preparations, however, I have found none entirely combining the
needful requisites except that in which the crystallizing properties
of the sugar had been altogether destroyed. It is well known that this
change can be effected by certain methods of boiling. I believe I am
correct in stating that the heat required to convert crystallizable
into uncrystallizable sugar is from 320° to 360° of Fahrenheit. If,
therefore, to two pounds of loaf sugar half a pint of water is added in
a saucepan, it must be boiled up to a temperature not exceeding 360°
of heat. This may be pretty well known when the syrup becomes brittle;
ascertainable by suddenly cooling a little on a cold substance, or
plate, when it begins to assume a pale yellow colour. The longer it
is exposed to heat, up to this point, the more perfect is the change
produced; but about twenty minutes' boiling is usually sufficient. If,
instead of water alone, a fifth to a fourth part of vinegar is mixed
with it, the process is expedited; and when thus made, the bees appear
to give it a preference. The whole must be poured out gradually upon
a cold dish, or a slab of stone, marble, or slate, previously rubbed
with a very little fine oil, or other unctuous matter, to prevent
adhesion. In a few minutes it is sufficiently stiffened to allow of
being cut, with a pair of scissors, into such conveniently-formed
pieces as are best adapted for insertion into the hive at its mouth.
To those who do not object to the trouble of preparing this kind of
bee-food themselves, the cost may be estimated at that of the sugar,
as there does not appear to arise any loss in weight. It will be seen
that this preparation differs but little from the common confection,
familiarly known as barley-sugar. The bees, as lambent insects, have
no difficulty, from the deliquescent properties of this concrete, in
appropriating it speedily; and in the use of a large quantity I have
always found it to be unaccompanied by the usual degree of disturbance,
observable when honey is administered. It may be given at any time
of the day; and an impoverished family might frequently be saved by
inserting a few sticks of barley-sugar within a hive, when any other
mode of feeding was impracticable. In fact it would appear that no
other artificial food is so acceptable to the bees; and much of it
doubtless returns to the proprietor, intermixed with natural honey. By
the process we have described, common sugar has now been converted into
a substance much resembling in its properties the saccharine matter
of certain fruits, as grapes, &c., known as uncrystallizable sugar;
probably nearly identical with the honey collected by the bees from
the nectaries of flowering plants. After exposure to the action of
a moist atmosphere, the concrete soon assumes a dissolved form; and
so, thenceforth, remains, as I have proved by keeping it, in any way
unaltered, for several years; in short, it becomes a substance very
much resembling honey.[Z]

[Z] I am not amongst the number of those who (to my apprehension) go
out of their way to maintain that this vegetable secretion undergoes
some kind of chemical change by passing into the stomach of the bees
(in reality a mere receiving bag), from whence it is often regurgitated
into the cells of the combs in a few minutes, or even seconds, of time.
Honey doubtless derives both its colour and flavour immediately from
the plants supplying it; the bees not possessing the power of altering
either. It even sometimes contains an original poisonous matter. Its
subsequent thickened consistency naturally results from the effect of a
lowered temperature; acting in a greater or less degree, according to
circumstances, season, &c. That the bees have not the ability to change
chemically the contents received into their honey-bags, is shown by
an examination of the saccharine mixtures given to them as artificial
food; in which I never could detect any alteration after being stored
in the combs.

_Enemies and robbers._--The enemies of bees, already pointed out at
p. 116, should now have the attention of the proprietor; and more
especially robber-bees, for these are sometimes troublesome at this
season, particularly where the hives are placed not sufficiently apart.
On this subject we would refer to what has been said at p. 131. Let a
vigilant look-out be given for Queen-wasps, now becoming common, and
destroy them in any way possible; remembering that each of these is the
parent of a future family. When the wasps are seen to alight, the use
of a garden syringe and water is often effectual in disabling them from
flying, when they are easily killed.

_Super-hives._--As the season continues to open, young bees will
become numerous, timidly peeping out of the hive, and distinguishable
by the lightness of their colour. With genial weather, wealth also
rapidly accumulates; and the strong odour of the hive, and increased
activity of its inmates, attest the growing prosperity of the family.
Attention now is requisite to these symptoms of a rising temperature,
and, consequently, to the crowding of the hive. If the glass windows
become sensibly warm, attended with clustering at the mouth, increased
building room should at once be given, as detailed at pp. 23 and
119, or under the head of _Nadiring stocks_; for a fertile Queen
will require a large proportion of the stock-hive for the purpose of
depositing eggs. Should a few cold nights ensue, the supers must be
kept covered; and more especially glasses, which the bees will desert
unless a warm temperature is fully preserved in them.

I much doubt the probability of preventing the swarming of bees,
where the extra storing room is delayed till royal cells have become
tenanted, or, perhaps, only formed. Mischief has also frequently arisen
where the bees have all at once had a large additional space given
them of too cold a temperature; and often rendered more unacceptable
by undue or ill-timed ventilation, as in using Nutt's hives was often
the case. The same cause has sometimes operated to prevent progress
of any kind; and in a collateral hive, thus managed, I witnessed the
fact that, during five or six successive seasons, there was no more
breeding or storing than barely sufficed to keep the unhappy family in
existence, the proprietor deriving no benefit whatever.

_Temperature and weather._--With the advance of the season, and a
more abundant efflorescence, the buzz of the hive becomes louder and
more general, and particularly when the family are all assembled at
night. And now the exertions of the bees are called into action for
the purpose of promoting ventilation, and expelling the vitiated air.
This they accomplish by means of a rapid and continuous fanning,
or vibration of their wings, giving rise collectively to the sound
usually termed _humming_; and which is readily distinguishable from the
sharp, angry note emitted by a bee under the excitement of irritation.
Sometimes the heat of the hives impels the inhabitants to seek a cooler
temperature by clustering on the outside. At such times it is often
well to aid in moderating the warmth by slightly raising up the bottom
edge of the supers with a few strips of wood or lead. At p. 115, we
have given some general recommendations relative to the shading of
exposed hives, now to be attended to; as also on the subject of water.

In most localities, the best part of the honey season will now be
approaching; and much consequently depends on the state of the
weather. In particular, a prevalence of dry easterly winds, acting on
vegetation, causes the suspension of almost all operations; so that
the main honey-storing time is often limited to three or four weeks
in the season, or frequently even less, in our uncertain climate.
The secretion of honey is remarkably promoted by an electric state
of the atmosphere. Huber says truly of the bees: "I have remarked
that the collection by these creatures is never more abundant, nor
their operations in wax more active, than when the wind is from the
south, the air moist and warm, and a storm approaching." A certain
commencement of the latter is to be looked for when the bees are seen
rapidly hurrying home in crowds to the hive. Payne may be cited in this
connexion. "I am not aware," he observes, "that bees have ever been
placed in the list of those animals which are said to foretell the
changes of weather, as many of the feathered and insect tribes are;
but in my opinion they stand foremost of the weather-wise. A nice
observer, by looking at them in the early morning during the working
season, will very soon be able to form an opinion as to what the day
will be, and that almost to a certainty; for they will sometimes appear
sluggish and inactive, although the morning is very bright, and showing
every appearance for a fine day; but the sun soon becomes clouded,
and rain follows. And, again, the morning may be dull and cloudy, and
sometimes rain may be falling; still the bees will be observed going
out in considerable numbers; and as sure as this is seen the day
becomes bright and fair."

  "Thou wert out betimes, thou busy, busy bee!
      When abroad I took my early way:
  Before the cow from her resting-place
  Had risen up, and left her trace
      On the meadow, with dew so gray,
  I saw thee, thou busy, busy bee!

  Thou wert alive, thou busy, busy bee!
      When the crowd in their sleep were dead
  Thou wert abroad in the freshest hour,
  When the sweetest odour comes from the flower;
      Man will not learn to leave his lifeless bed,
  And be wise, and copy thee, thou busy, busy bee!

  Thou wert working late, thou busy, busy bee!
      After the fall of the cistus flower;
  I heard thee last as I saw thee first,
  When the primrose free blossom was ready to burst;
      In the coolness of the evening hour,
  I heard thee, thou busy, busy bee!"


_Swarming._--The month of May, in fine seasons, usually brings with
it the period of the greatest interest to the proprietor, as regards
the swarming stocks of bees; on which subject we would refer to p. 21.
Drones now begin to make their appearance, darting out of the hive in
the middle of warm days, though occasionally in strong stocks they may
be seen in April; in which event early swarming may be looked for.
The usual limits during which swarming takes place vary in different
localities; but in general they are comprised in the months of May and
June; though in extraordinary circumstances a swarm may issue somewhat
earlier, or a little later than this. When it is expected, the hive
should be watched from ten in the morning till two or three o'clock,
after which time swarming rarely occurs. In particular, the bees ought
not to be left for five minutes if a hot sun intervene between showers;
for a greater predisposition to swarming then exists than in dry
weather; it seldom, however, takes place with an east or north wind.

It is not always easy to distinguish the appearances that precede a
first (or _prime_) swarm, and experienced apiculturists are sometimes
deceived. If, however, we had access to the interior of the hive,
the usual time would always be found (accidents as to weather not
interfering) to be that in which the larvæ of the royal cells were
about to be transformed into nymphs, and therein sealed up; viz.,
eight or nine days before the young Queens are matured; for it is to
be remembered that on the occasion of a first swarm it is always the
_old_ Queen that accompanies it. The issue of a swarm is frequently
to be expected when the bees have remained for some time previously
in a state of seeming inertness, followed by an unusual commotion
among the drones; and more especially if these make their appearance
in the morning, hanging out with a cluster of bees; conjointly with a
disinclination to foraging abroad, among the workers. If, in addition,
the honey previously stored in a super is observed to disappear
suddenly, swarming may be anticipated, as the bees load themselves
before leaving home. But mere clustering at the mouth of the hive
is not invariably the precursor of a swarm; and the bees frequently
continue to congregate in unmeaning idleness on the outside, even
though honey may be abundant. "In this case," says Dr. Bevan, "the
cluster may be swept into an empty hive towards dusk, and carried to a
short distance from the apiary, when they will gradually return, and
generally join the family." This, however, is often only a temporary
expedient; and the prolonged continuance of a period of inaction
frequently denotes the absence, from abortion, or other cause, of
a young Queen; the old one not choosing to leave the hive without
the prospect of a successor. Or it may be that the hive contains an
unfruitful Queen, and a weak population with insufficient warmth, when
little of store is collected, and often no drone eggs are produced,
these being always the preliminary of royal cells. A continuation of
unfavorable weather, moreover, notwithstanding the sealing up of the
Queen-cells, will often prevent any issue of a swarm; for the reigning
sovereign will avail herself of this compulsory detention in severally
destroying the young princesses as they are matured. An old Queen is
permitted by the bees to do this, but it is otherwise with a young
one, till a later stage. Neither as to swarming will the state of the
thermometer be an invariable guide. I have rarely seen it reach as high
as 95° within a stock-hive, but I have observed the issue of swarms at
a temperature four or five degrees below this; and in one instance it
occurred when the thermometer ranged but little above 80°.[AA]

[AA] Some naturalists, and amongst them Huber, have imagined a much
higher degree of heat at the time of swarming; but in this there must
be some error, for I have proved that the combs collapse and fall at a
temperature a little above 100°. I am almost ashamed to say that this
experiment cost me the destruction of a fine stock-hive.

It is common to imagine that a swarm consists exclusively of the young
bees of the season; but Nature is no such bungler, or what would
become of the parent stock? Accordingly, we find that bees of all
ages, and usually several hundreds of drones, go forth intermingled,
to form the new family. It is not always an easy matter to estimate
the strength of a swarm. The bulk is not entirely a criterion, as the
temperature of the weather causes the bees to cluster together more or
less closely. A pint will usually contain about 2000. Five thousand
bees are estimated to weigh nearly a pound; but this also varies, for
on swarming they are always provident enough to load themselves more or
less with honey before their departure. A good swarm, however, ought to
weigh about four pounds. Some have reached to six pounds, but this is

_Returning of swarms._--Cases sometimes occur in which it is thought
desirable to compel the return of a swarm to the stock-hive. On this
subject we will use the words of Payne. "The process," says he, "is
very simple, and I have always found it succeed. As soon as the swarm
is settled in the hive, turn it bottom upwards, and, if the Queen-bee
does not make her appearance in a few seconds, dash the bees out upon
a cloth, or a gravel walk, and with a wine-glass she may be easily
captured. Upon this the bees will return to their parent hive. The
queen may also very easily be taken during the departure of a swarm;
for she appears to leave the hive reluctantly, and may be seen running
backwards and forwards upon the alighting-board before she takes wing."
I have sometimes found it advantageous, instead of a cloth, to place
on the ground four or five sheets of large paper. On these the bees
have been spread, and the sheets carried in opposite directions, thus
enabling a better search to be made for the Queen; and especially in
the case of a second swarm, for then there are frequently three or
four. Where there is no Queen, the bees will soon be in confusion
and fly to their original home; but in the reverse case, she may be
discovered by their congregating in one particular part. Nor is there
any danger in thus proceeding; for the bees, being gorged with honey,
are not often disposed to attack, with the precaution of not breathing
upon them. Moreover, any such operation is best done in the shade, as
a hot sun makes the bees less tractable at all times. Occasionally it
might happen that, on the issuing of a swarm, the Queen, from inability
to fly, falls to the ground, when the bees will return to the hive,
which is often attended with advantage.

In judging of the desirableness of compelling the return of a first
swarm, we must be guided by circumstances. Should it be a large issue,
expediency would dictate the hiving it at once, as a new colony; for
the Queen may reasonably be supposed to be a vigorous one, and a
compulsory returning of the bees to the parent hive (the result of
destroying her) would occasion a loss of valuable time; a young Queen
not yet being in a state to commence laying eggs. On the other hand, a
poor swarm might denote an unfruitful Queen, to be got rid of in the
way we have just pointed out. The bees would re-issue under a young
sovereign, after the usual interval, with a large accession of numbers,
the produce of the brood matured in the mean time; and this might have
the further good effect of preventing an after-swarm, which is always

It has already been said that on the occasion of a first swarm the
_old_ Queen invariably issues with it. It is also a fact that she
leaves no actual successor, but that an interregnum usually occurs of
eight or nine days; the royal larva being left short of maturity by
this period, unless bad weather has interposed to delay the issuing of
the swarm, in which event this interval may be much shortened; it is
also subject to extension under certain contingencies of weather. The
first princess that is subsequently liberated from her cell becomes the
future mistress of the hive, unless she leaves it with an after-issue;
for the law of primogeniture has been observed to be strictly followed.
It is therefore evident that no regal disagreement can occur except in
the cases of after-swarms, when a Queen returning to the stock-hive
might chance to find a rival, and would have to contest her way to the

_After-swarms._--It is not an unusual thing to hear a boast of a number
of swarms from a stock-hive; but nothing is proved by this beyond the
fact, that a thriving community has been weakened (if not destroyed)
by too much subdivision. The proprietor, therefore, must not imagine
that his care is ended with the return of a swarm to the parent hive.
Though one Queen has been removed, several successors are usually at
hand, and swarming may occur again and again, so long as more than
one is left. The hive must be watched more especially from the eighth
to about the twelfth day from the departure of a first swarm, after
which another rarely issues; the probability, or rather the certainty,
then being, that the first-liberated young Queen has succeeded in
destroying the others--an event always to be desired. But the symptoms
which precede a second issue are more unequivocal than those in the
previous case. The young princesses are now arriving at maturity, and
two or more may be ready to come forth at the same time; impatiently
awaiting the assistance of the bees to liberate them from imprisonment;
for, unlike the workers and drones, they are not allowed by their own
volition to leave their cells. In this state of confinement they are
objects of great solicitude, and are supplied with food through a small
orifice in their cocoon, till one of them is set at liberty, which
is never till she is able to fly. At this precise period, a singular
and plaintive call or croak, proceeding from the young Queens, may
be heard, often at a distance of several feet from the hive, and more
particularly in the evening. These notes are of two kinds, according
as the princesses emit them from without or within their cells. For
want of a more distinctive term, these sounds have obtained the name of
_piping_. To Huber we are largely indebted for the knowledge we possess
as regards this peculiarity in the natural history of the bee; and
his observations have since received abundant confirmation,--perhaps
from no apiarian more satisfactorily than from Mr. Golding. "The first
note of piping heard," says the latter, "is low and plaintive, and is
uttered by the princess already _at liberty_, and I have frequently
seen her emit it. She traverses the hive, stopping upon or near the
royal cells which still contain brood, and emits her _long_ plaintive
note. This, when the other young Queens are sufficiently forward
(generally in about two days), is answered by them from _within_
their cells, in a quick, _short_, hoarse note. After these last have
been heard for about two days, the swarm may be expected to come
off." "These sounds, therefore," in the words of Keys, "convey to the
apiarian one certain warning, that when heard, he may be assured the
first or prime swarm has escaped." But universal as this rule has
been considered, it has not been entirely without exception; for in a
stock-hive of Dr. Bevan's, in the remarkable season of 1852, swarming
had been so long prevented by bad weather, that a young Queen became
liberated, and escaping into a super, piping was the consequence for
two days before the issue of a _prime_ swarm.

After-swarms are frequently accompanied by more than one young Queen;
often by three or four, and always in the virgin state. "Indeed,"
observes Mr. Golding, "it would appear that all which are ready to quit
their cells (one only, be it remembered, being at liberty in the hive,
until the moment of swarming) go off with the swarm; leaving the more
forward of the younger princesses to come off with subsequent swarms,
or 'fight out' their title to the sovereignty of the parent stock at

A third and even a fourth issue sometimes takes place, the intervening
periods successively becoming shorter, and more piping being heard.
As all the royal cells must have been tenanted before the old Queen
departed from the hive, it follows that from sixteen to eighteen
days comprise the limit during which, under ordinary circumstances,
swarming can occur; and thenceforth the Queen-bee is mute for the year.
Moreover, the worker brood originally left in the hive will now, or in
a few days, be matured, leaving the combs less occupied, probably in
any way, than at any other period of the year, until the young reigning
Queen is in a condition again to stock them with eggs. This state of
the hive is therefore considered by some as the most favorable for
examination and excision of old combs, and other operations usually
attended to in the spring.

I have known piping after a second swarm has departed, where no third
issue has followed. The second swarm, however, in this instance,
was restored to the stock-hive on the same evening, together with
one Queen. This is often the best time for making a reunion of
after-swarms; for I have usually found that all the Queens except one
are ejected on the day of swarming: she, being stronger than those
still in the parent hive, is able to destroy them on her return to
it. If a cloth is spread on a table, placed in front of the old hive,
at dusk, the bees of the swarm can be jerked out upon it, and guided
to its mouth. In two hours after the reunion just mentioned, piping
from a Queen at liberty was heard. The next day two young Queens were
ejected; one of them torn from its cell, not having attained its full
growth. From the other the sting was protruding, evidently the result
of a recent combat. Piping was again heard on the following morning;
and soon after, another princess, doubtless the last, was cast out of
the hive, which I took away still alive; making five in all, since the
issue of the first swarm. We may observe that when swarming has taken
place more than once, the original utilitarian principle no longer
impels the bees to guard the royal cells; the reigning princess being
then permitted to tear them open and destroy any prospective rival.

No point has been better established, than the fact recorded by Huber,
as to the destruction of the supernumerary young Queens by their
combating together; the sovereignty remaining with the single survivor.
"In order," says Huber, "that at no time there may be a plurality of
females in a hive, Nature has inspired Queens with an innate inveteracy
against one another. They never meet without endeavouring to fight, and
accomplish their mutual destruction. If one combatant is older than
the rest, she is stronger, and the advantage will be with her. She
will destroy her rivals successively as produced. Thence, if the old
Queen did not leave the hive before the young ones undergo their last
metamorphosis, it could produce no more swarms, and the species would

It is not clear by what instinct bees are guided as respects
after-swarms, or rather as to the construction of royal cells; for, as
has been shown, these abound much more in some hives than in others.
The repeated issues occasioned by the presence of supernumerary young
Queens, although there has previously been a rapid development of
brood, not only leaves a hive comparatively depopulated, but the
succession of interregnums is mischievous as operating to suspend,
not breeding alone, but almost entirely the gathering of honey.
A different kind of instinct appears to direct the bees than is
observable at the time of the original issue; for the young Queens will
depart in weather that would be thought unfavorable for the issuing of
an _old_ one. "The reason seems evident," observes Mr. Golding; "for
when the proper age of the young Princesses has arrived, the swarm
must go off, or not at all, as the younger would be destroyed by the
eldest." As a natural consequence, there is evidently less of foresight
as regards the future place of abode. Where so much of prudence and
seeming intelligence are discernible in all the proceedings of these
wonderful insects, it is hardly to be expected that mere chance
should direct on so important an occasion as the change of residence;
although when a swarm suddenly finds itself in a comfortable dwelling,
by the act of hiving, it is rarely inclined to relinquish it. A hive
containing a few combs, placed in the season near an apiary, is almost
certain to receive a colony, which will sometimes fly to it at once,
without any previous clustering.[AB] The instances are numerous of
prime swarms proceeding a considerable distance to a new domicile,
carefully inspected and cleaned beforehand. I was an eye-witness to
an example of this, where the bees, taking a dislike to the hive in
which they had been housed, soon after quitted it; and, mounting high
in the air, flew in a direct line to the roof of a church nearly a
mile distant. But an after-swarm appears to have little or nothing of
preparation; and has been known, in seeming perplexity, to commence
comb-building in the bush on which it had alighted.

[AB] In the garden of a friend stood an untenanted hive, in which were
a few empty combs. Some straggling strange bees were observed hovering
about and in it, for several successive days; and, at my suggestion,
the hive was left undisturbed. On the day following, a fine swarm of
bees suddenly made its appearance, undoubtedly from a distance, and
entered the hive. In this instance, a few hundreds, or perhaps dozens,
of pioneers alone could have been in the secret as to the locality of
the chosen domicile to which they so sagaciously conducted their Queen
and a community of perhaps 20,000 bees.

_Uniting of Swarms._--It has been shown that it is easy to compel the
return of a swarm of bees to the parent hive; but their remaining there
depends much upon accidental circumstances. We have seen that several
young Queens are often only waiting their time and opportunity to leave
their cells and depart from the hive; and till all these are in some
way or other disposed of, there can be no progress made in the family.
Under such circumstances, many persons think it best to hive all swarms
in the usual way, and to strengthen the later ones by joining two or
three of them together; for, separately, these are rarely of any value.
In cases where more than one after-swarm or subdivided swarm, comes
out on the same day, each can often with little difficulty be shaken
into the same hive, at the time: or the branches on which such swarms
cluster may be cut off, and brought to one hive. Otherwise, a generally
certain method of union may be resorted to at night. At any time,
within a few days after the first swarm has been established, another
may be added to it. On the same evening of the issue, in front of the
one to which it is to be joined, place a table, over which spread a
cloth. By a sudden and smart stroke the bees may be displaced from the
second hive, and will fall on the table in a lump. Take the first-hived
colony and place it over them, raising it a little at the bottom, when
the bees below will ascend and join it, forming one family. In moving
this hive, let it be done with caution, for the combs, being at present
new and brittle, are otherwise apt to fall down. It is seldom that any
quarrel takes place if the business be done properly; but some persons
think that a little smoke previously blown into both the hives, has a
tendency to prevent fighting. Early the next morning move the hive back
to its former position, when one of the Queens will have been deposed.
In thus uniting swarms, the doubled colony should always occupy the
first hive. As a general rule, it may be remarked, that the mode the
most likely to succeed is that in which the bees are suddenly blended
together, without space or opportunity for individual recognition or
fighting, bee against bee; but it must be done when the first hive
contains but a few combs.

In this place it may be noticed, that in an apiary where a weak and
sluggish old stock is now observed, opportunity can be taken to add to
its numbers, by uniting to it an after-swarm, in the mode just pointed
out; though some persons would prefer puffing a little smoke to both
parties. If either Queen be removed, the strangers will usually be well
received, and this accession of numbers is almost certain to lead to a
vastly increased action and industry.

Like most other operations on bees, the mode of uniting swarms admits
of variety, according to choice and circumstance; and some apiarians
prefer to drive them, in the way for which general directions have
been given at page 152; a plan that may be resorted to almost at any
time. Another mode of junction can be effected by the aid of a sheet
of perforated zinc, inserted between the two hives about to be united.
There is little reason to doubt that the members of each colony of bees
are distinguishable amongst themselves by a certain peculiarity of
odour, which, if assimilated, appears to have the effect of preventing
mutual dissension. When the construction, therefore, of the hives
admits of their being brought into juxtaposition, the perforated zinc
allows a free circulation of scent between them, without permitting
actual contact of the bees. After leaving matters in this position
for two or three days, I have usually found, on withdrawing the zinc
divider, that no disturbance has ensued.

_Prevention of After-swarms._--Where the construction of the hive
admits of it, no doubt the repetition of swarming may be prevented by
depriving it of the royal cells. Under the head _Bar-Hives_, we have
alluded to the facilities given for this object; and it may be done
immediately on the issuing of a swarm, when but a small portion of the
bees will remain in it. Let the cover be unscrewed, and moved sideways
as required, puffing in some smoke on each side the combs, which must
be lifted separately, beginning first at one end of the hive, and then
the other, so as to work to the centre. Cut out the Queen cells as
you proceed, replacing the bar. A quarter of an hour will suffice for
the operation. In the meanwhile, the swarm may be hived in the usual
way, and afterwards permanently returned; for her majesty has now no
alternative; "stay at home," as Mr. Golding says, "she _must_. Or," he
continues, "after the first swarm is gone off, subsequent ones may be
prevented in this way: so soon as the _long_ note of piping has been
heard, cut away at the royal cells. The young princess, _already at
liberty_, will then remain Queen of the stock."

_Maiden Swarms._--Under peculiar circumstances of early season and
situation, a prime swarm will occasionally send forth another, the
original Queen again going with it; in such instances, termed a maiden
swarm; rarely, however, of much value. "In this case," says Dr. Bevan,
"it usually occurs between the twenty-eighth and thirtieth day of its
establishment. The only indication of the approach of such an issue,
besides those already enumerated, is the worker-combs, with which first
swarms generally store their hives, becoming edged with drone-cells."
Indeed, an indispensable condition necessary to a maiden swarm is a
Queen, capable of producing drones; and this rarely happens in the case
of a young one.

_General Directions on Swarming._--An absurd custom is very general
of beating a metal pan, or some such sonorous thing, usually called
_tanging_, on the occasion of bee-swarming. The practice, doubtless,
originated in the precaution formerly observed of ringing a bell,
or giving some signal of the flight of bees, with a view to an
identification of the property in case of its straying to a distance.
By degrees the idea became prevalent that the bees themselves were the
parties interested in the hubbub; but as regards them it is worse
than useless, and frequently prevents their settling so soon as they
would do if left quietly to themselves. The drenching or anointing of
a hive, intended for a swarm, with any kind of material, is another
common practice much better avoided. A dry clean hive is preferable;
only, if of straw, cutting off the loose ends. As respects the precise
mode of housing a swarm, no directions will meet all cases. After
rushing in great apparent excitement from the family domicile, the bees
form a cloud in the air, wheeling about in a thousand directions, and
exhibiting a scene of the greatest animation; then, for the purpose
of assembling together, they alight and cluster round the Queen that
has accompanied them, usually on a bush or branch of a low tree. The
hive must now be put close under the swarm, into which it is easily
shaken; or, according to circumstances, swept with a light brush,
which is all the better if made of very fine shavings; but care should
be taken not to crush any bees. The success of the operation depends
upon the inclusion of the Queen, when the new family will soon collect
with her, within the hive, on placing this in its proper position, a
little raised on one side, and shaded in some way from the sun. On
the occasion of swarming, bees are seldom much inclined to use their
stings, unless irritated by wind. The hiving ought not to be delayed,
especially with a hot sun, or the bees would soon again take wing,
perhaps for a long flight, and be hopelessly lost. A somewhat larger
hive may be selected for a full-sized early swarm than for a later one.
In case a swarm returns to the parent hive, which sometimes happens,
let the latter be watched, for it will soon re-issue, and perhaps on
the same day. Occasionally a swarm will divide and settle in two parts,
which, if near together, can be shaken into one hive. Otherwise a
junction may be made at night, in the way pointed out at page 193. An
observance of the advice of Gelieu, and others, is to be recommended,
not to allow the swarm to remain where it had been hived till the
evening, as is customary, but to place it at once, as soon as settled,
or within a quarter of an hour, on the spot (if at hand) it is destined
to occupy. In sultry weather raise the hive a little to admit air,
especially if a large swarm. When first hived, it is curious to observe
the caution with which bees mark the site of their new position, making
circuits in the air, wider and wider, till they clearly understand
the locality. Having done this, they are much perplexed at any
subsequent removal of their dwelling; nor do they ever, under ordinary
circumstances, re-enter the original parent-hive.

We may say a word as to the practice of some proprietors, with a
view of giving additional strength to a recent swarm: the stock-hive
from whence the issue took place is moved to a little distance, and
immediately that the swarm is settled in its new hive, the latter is
placed on the site which the other had just left. The outlying bees, on
returning home, will of course fly to the original spot, joining and
strengthening the new family. The old one must necessarily be weakened
in the same proportion, but it will soon be recruited by the maturation
of the brood which it is sure to contain. Sometimes this shifting of
the stock-hive has been allowed to be permanent; whilst, in other
instances, it has been found more expedient only to do it for two or
three hours immediately following the swarming. The hives should, under
the latter supposition, then be made to change places, and no bees
would be lost, as one or the other of the two positions would be sought
by them.

It may be well to refer the reader to what has been said at page 108,
relative to the occasional necessity that might exist for feeding a
newly-hived family of bees.

_Artificial Swarming._--Many apiculturists have practised the making
of what have been termed artificial swarms of bees;--in other words,
have compelled them to leave the parent hive sooner than they would
have done in their own natural way. What is more common than to see
a large bunch of bees hanging in idleness, often for weeks, on the
outside of a stock-hive, at the best part of the season. Is it not a
great gain if we can contrive in some way to set this unprofitable
community to work, in a new home? The advantages of early swarms have
been already pointed out, and in our uncertain climate the risk is
often great, either of losing them altogether, or of their coming too
late for the principal season of blossoming. Such considerations have
led to the compulsory system, which may, in one form or another, often
be successfully resorted to by the practised hand, but otherwise, it
is scarcely to be wondered at that failure sometimes ensues. Different
operators have succeeded in different ways of proceeding; and we will
briefly point out some of them. The raising of a young Queen from
worker larvæ has been already described under the head _Queen Bee_;
and for the purpose we have now immediately in view, we will suppose
the use of a bar-hive, as the one best adapted; the time of year being
that when it is ascertained to contain eggs and young larvæ, both of
workers and drones. A comb must be abstracted from a full box, and put
into an empty one, care being taken that it is not allowed to chill
during removal. In describing the subsequent process, we may adopt
the words of Dr. Bevan. "Towards noon of a fine day, or almost at any
time, if the bees cluster out much (for there ought to be plenty of
them), let a stock-hive be removed to a distance, and a spare hive
or box be put in its place, to one bar of which is attached a comb
containing worker-eggs, or very young larvæ of the same sex (better
still if the hive contain also one or two other worker combs); the
outliers, or the bees that are abroad, or both, will then enter the new
habitation, cluster round the brood, construct one or more royal cells,
and raise a young sovereign: and thus, if the season be favorable, form
a flourishing stock; whilst the old removed family, with beneficially
reduced numbers, will soon be reconciled to their new situation." But
we may often proceed a step further, and at once ensure the presence
in the new hive of an embryo sovereign, by inspecting a stock about
the time of closing up the royal cells, and deprive it of a comb,
containing one or more of these, as alluded to under the section
_Prevention of After-swarms_. In this way the double advantage will be
gained of ensuring greater certainty, and saving valuable time; for,
from the commencement of the process of raising a Queen from the worm,
to the period at which young bees may be looked for--her progeny--can
scarcely be less than seven weeks.

Artificial swarm-making is sometimes successfully accomplished by means
of driving the bees; to the general principles of which process we
have directed attention at page 152. A diversity in the objects to be
obtained, of course, leads to a little alteration in the details of
the proceedings; and we have now in view, not, as before, the creation
of a young Queen in the new hive, but forcing the old one into the
latter. Dr. Dunbar thus narrates his own method of procedure, and
which will usually be found to answer. "We carried," says he, "the
full hive into a dark place, turned it up, fixed it in the frame of a
chair from which the bottom had been removed, placed an empty hive over
it, mouth to mouth, and partially drove it. As soon as we perceived
that about half of the bees had ascended into the empty hive (knowing
that in these cases the Queen is generally amongst the foremost), we
immediately replaced the old hive on its former station, and removed
the new one, now containing the Queen, to a little distance. As the
former had plenty of eggs and brood, they were at no loss to procure
another Queen; whilst the other, having a Queen, proceeded to work
in all respects as a natural swarm." To avoid annoyance, and loss of
the foraging bees, as they continue to return homewards, during the
process of the preceding operation, it is well to set an empty hive
(or it may have a few combs) on the site just before occupied by the
parent stock. The bees will be in no very placid mood, and this piece
of deception has a tendency to divert their attention temporarily, till
the re-establishment of their old house restores them to their proper

Some operators so far depart from the mode of proceeding we have
described as to prefer placing the newly driven swarm, possessing the
Queen, on the old site. In such case the original stock-hive is removed
to a little distance, and the entrance door stopped up, but raising the
bottom edge sufficiently to admit a sufficiency of air only, with but
little of light or sun. The bees thus confined are left undisturbed
during two days, and will probably have spent their time in founding
a prospective new monarchy. They may then be safely again trusted
abroad, for in their anxiety about the requirements of the provisional
government, they will no more trouble their old companions. Another
variation of plan, recommended by some, is, instead of shutting up
either portion of the bees, immediately to convey those driven into the
new hive, to a distance of not less than a mile, leaving the original
position for the old one.[AC]

[AC] I may here not inappropriately call attention to a subject touched
upon by Mr. Golding. His remarks are borne out by my own observation;
and I believe it would be for mutual benefit were bee-keepers, resident
a few miles apart, occasionally to exchange swarms in the season. I
make no apology for introducing a passage from the 'Shilling Bee-Book.'
"Though I can give no satisfactory reasons for the fact, yet it
certainly is one, that bees brought from a distance very generally
thrive better than families long domiciled on the spot. I am borne out
in this opinion by the concurrent testimony of my apiarian friends.
Whether they ply more vigorously on finding themselves in a strange
situation, or what can be the reason, I leave others to guess at." An
American author observes on this subject, "I am strongly persuaded that
the decay of many stocks may be attributed to the fact that the bees
have become enfeebled by _close breeding_. The cultivator should guard
against this evil by occasionally changing his stocks."


_Dividing Bar-Hive._--So far we are supposed to have proceeded in
forcing artificial swarms with hives of the usual kind. But an idea
has often been suggested of having boxes so made as to be divisible
vertically into equal halves; and, in this way, to create the basis
of two distinct families without swarming. Such hives are alluded to
by various authors, and, amongst them, by Dr. Dunbar and Dr. Bevan;
but we have hitherto had no guide as to any intelligible details of
construction; and on these depends the possibility of proceeding
with advantage. My own views on the subject induced me to think
that my eight-bar hive, already described, possessed, with a little
modification, the required facilities; and, indeed, I know of no other
that could be so adapted. Moreover, as the original dimensions are
preserved, the other boxes and all adjuncts remain as detailed at p.
54, so that the hive can be used without reference to the provision
made for subdividing it; this being altogether a super-added advantage.
The chief novelty is in the stock-box, which, with its cover, is
cut from front to back into two equal parts, but so as not to alter
the regular interspacing of the bars, four of which will of course
appertain to each compartment. In addition to the usual side-windows,
there should be a small one at the back of both the half-boxes. The
hive-board must also be divided, so as to be lifted up each half
independently of the other. Cross bars are appended on the underneath
side of the boards, the ends meeting in the centre. A groove is here
notched out from the upper side of the extremities of the cross bars,
to receive a moveable tongue, as it may be called, of half-inch wood
and an inch wide, inserted from behind, and passing through to the
front. The tongue connects the half-boards together on one level, and
forms a joint below. The entrance for the bees is in the centre,--half
being cut out of each board; though, probably, some persons might
prefer to have, instead, a smaller one at the two outer extremities.
In order to stiffen and serve as a stay or tie at the divided ends, I
have found the utility of a piece of very strong tinned wire, crossing
each half-box, horizontally. All that is needed is to cut the wire
into the requisite lengths, turn the ends at a right angle, and drive
them flush into the wood; where, as they fall within the space between
the two central bars, they are not at all in the way. A reference
to the illustration will be found sufficiently explanatory, the two
half-boxes being shown a little separated. When placed together, to
form one hive, they are held in position by means of the centre-board,
covering the whole top, and secured at the four corners by means of
iron pins going down through the centre-board and the projecting edge
of the crown-board of the boxes. On the occasion of hiving a swarm,
for the purpose of stocking the dividing-hive, a cord or strap must be
passed round the whole, and guide-combs should be used; for successful
subsequent separation of the two halves depends altogether upon the
regular working of the combs in straight lines upon the bars.

It will naturally occur, that to carry out the design of a _Dividing
Hive_ every part must have its duplicate, so that four halves, boards,
&c., are necessary; each made so precisely alike as to fit and be
attached to any other half-box. We must suppose the time of year to be
arrived (usually in May) when the combs are well filled with brood,
both of worker and drone bees. In the middle, or, as some would
prefer, the evening, of a fine day, the two halves of the hive can
be separated. To effect this with as little disturbance as possible,
two _dividers_ may be used. These are made of strong, well-flattened
sheet zinc or tin, the full size of the box, in length; and deep enough
to include the hive-board, besides an inch at the top edge to spare.
This latter part should be turned back, as a rim or flanch, at a right
angle, as seen in the illustration. Commence by withdrawing the wooden
tongue underneath the hive-board, and removing the centre-board; then,
with a thin knife-blade, the half-boxes can be loosened at their point
of junction; not allowing the knife to enter beyond the thickness
of the wood. This done, gently insert one of the dividing plates
horizontally from behind, its whole length; there being no obstruction,
unless the combs are worked across the bars. The other divider is to be
pushed in in a similar way, the flanches resting respectively right and
left on the upper edge of each half-box. The latter may then be moved
apart on their boards in safety. An empty half-box is to be adjusted
to each of the full halves, when the dividers may be withdrawn. We
have thus two families, which must be moved some distance apart. The
Queen will, of course, be in one of them; and, probably, Queen larvæ
in the other, or in both halves. A little tapping will serve to show
the position of the Queen, as the bees will soon become quiet where
she is, whilst in the queenless box confusion will continue to prevail.
The latter should then be put on the original stand, to receive the
foraging bees as they return home; whilst the presence of the old
Queen will secure a sufficiency in the other hive, which may be placed
at a little distance. In about twenty-four hours, preparation will
have commenced for founding one or more royal cells, if required, in
the queenless half-hive; and thus a new colony will arise, without

[AD] The dividing hive, and some other inventions described in the
'Bee-keeper's Manual,' may be seen at Messrs. Neighbour and Sons, 127,
High Holborn, and 149, Regent Street, London.


It ought to be remarked that, in general, all important operations on
bees should be conducted in the middle of the day, that being the time
when it is least annoying to them, and the safest to the operator, as a
large portion are then engaged abroad. Indeed, the bees are always more
suspicious and irascible by night. On their homeward way they are not
disposed to attack, any more than they are when at work in the fields.
The defence of _home_ is their actuating principle; and the danger
arises from the bees furiously darting out on any supposed enemy, from
within the hive. Make as little bustle and disturbance as possible,
and have at hand an assistant and whatever is likely to be wanted, for
a very trifling matter will often mar an operation irretrievably. Let
all things be done coolly and quietly, and without hurried motions of
any kind, which cause suspicion and irritation. Avoid breathing on the
bees; and, above all, be careful to kill none, for the smell of the
wounded body exasperates them exceedingly: in short, the aim should be
to do what is needed without the bees being conscious of it. Another
precaution may be mentioned, which is, in operating, not to employ any
one known to be obnoxious to bees; for without going the length of
saying with some that certain individuals are recognised by them, it is
well known that, from their nice discrimination of scent, the persons
of others are objects of constant and very marked dislike.



Security from attack, however, is essential to self-possession, and I
know of no covering so effectual as an envelope I devised of a kind of
light net, or gauze, sometimes called _leno_. It should be so made at
the top as to go over a hat or cap; with sleeves, tied at the wrists,
and strings at the bottom to draw and fasten round the waist. The
sleeves may be made of some stronger material. (See preceding page.)
The entire upper part of the person is in this way enveloped, as seen
in our engraving annexed. The projection of the hat keeps the dress
clear of the face, and it is sufficiently transparent. A thick pair of
gloves, which some think are best made of buck-skin, is all that is
further necessary to complete protection.


If attacked by a bee, the best plan is not to offer resistance, but to
walk away and thrust your head into a neighbouring shrub or bush, when
the enemy will in all probability retire. However, an accidental sting
may now and then be received, for which various remedies have been
prescribed. In the first place, the sting should at once be removed,
but without rubbing the part. My own experience leads me to recommend,
in preference to anything else, the immediate application of _liquor
potassæ_ to the spot, as a powerful alkali, to neutralize the poison of
the sting, which is an acid. It should be used in small quantity, on
a point of some kind, as a needle, introduced into the wound. In the
absence of this, _pure liquid ammonia_ is said on good authority to
succeed, if properly applied. Keep it in a close-stopped, small-necked
bottle, which should be turned bottom upwards, and held very tight over
the part. Some persons have found relief from an immediate application
of cold water. Indeed, any remedy to be efficacious must be speedily
resorted to; and particularly in the warm months, for then the poison
is much more active than in winter.


In the foregoing pages I have given an outline of my own experience in
the general management of bees, freely availing myself of such further
information, derived from the most trustworthy sources, as seemed most
likely to interest and instruct the reader. My aim, however, has been
restricted primarily to matters of a _practical_ bearing, passing
over the obsolete speculations of by-gone periods, and relying on the
superior intelligence of a later day. Those who wish to enter more
fully into the natural history and physiology of the bee may consult
a variety of works, at the head of which it is usual to place that of
Huber; followed by the later comprehensive and highly satisfactory one,
'The Honey Bee,' of the late Dr. Bevan; both publications to which we
have often had occasion to refer. That portion of the subject relating
to the structure and arrangement of their combs and cells is treated
of at considerable length by Lord Brougham, in his 'Dissertations on
Subjects of Science connected with Natural Theology.' Perhaps the
accurate observations and elaborate mathematical demonstrations of the
noble author have left little more to be desired in the particular
department to which he has devoted the energies of his powerful mind.
With his summary of the progress of apiarian knowledge, we may not
inappropriately close the 'Bee-keeper's Manual.'

"The attention," says Lord Brougham,[AE] "which has been paid at
various times to the structure and habits of the bee is one of the
most remarkable circumstances in the history of science. The ancients
studied it with unusual minuteness, although being, generally speaking,
indifferent observers of fact, they made but little progress in
discovering the singular economy of this insect. Of the observations
of Aristomachus, who spent sixty years, it is said, in studying the
subject, we know nothing; nor of those which were made by Philissus,
who passed his life in the woods, for the purpose of examining this
insect's habits; but Pliny informs us that both of them wrote works
upon it. Aristotle's three chapters on bees and wasps[AF] contain
little more than the ordinary observations, mixed up with an unusual
portion of vulgar and even gross errors. How much he attended to
the subject is, however, manifest from the extent of the first of
these chapters, which is of great length. Some mathematical writers,
particularly Pappus, studied the form of the cells, and established
one or two of the fundamental propositions respecting the economy
of labour and wax resulting from the plan of the structure. The
application of modern naturalists to the inquiry is to be dated from
the beginning of the eighteenth century, when Maraldi examined it with
his accustomed care; and Reaumur afterwards, as we have seen, carried
his investigations much farther. The interest of the subject seemed to
increase with the progress made in their inquiries; and about the year
1765 a society was formed at Little Bautzen in Upper Lusatia, whose
sole object was the study of bees. It was formed under the patronage of
the Elector of Saxony. The celebrated Schirach was one of its original
members; and soon after its establishment he made his famous discovery
of the power which the bees have to supply the loss of their Queen, by
forming a large cell out of three common ones, and feeding the grub of
a worker upon royal jelly; a discovery so startling to naturalists,
that Bonnet, in 1769, earnestly urged the society not to lower its
credit by countenancing such a wild error, which he regarded as
repugnant to all we know of the habits of insects; admitting, however,
that he should not be so incredulous of any observations tending
to prove the propagation of the race of the Queen-bee, without any
co-operation of a male,[AG] a notion since shown by Huber to be wholly
chimerical. In 1771 a second institution, with the same limited object,
was founded at Lauter, under the Elector Palantine's patronage, and of
this Riem, scarcely less known in this branch of science than Schirach,
was a member.

[AE] Vol. i, pp. 333-36.

[AF] Hist. An., lib. ix, cap. 40, 41, 42.

[AG] Oeuvres, x, 100, 104.

"The greatest progress, however, was afterwards made by Huber, whose
discoveries, especially of the Queen-bee's mode of impregnation, the
slaughter of the drones or males, and the mode of working, have justly
gained him a very high place among naturalists. Nor are his discoveries
of the secretion of wax from saccharine matter, the nature of propolis,
and the preparation of wax, for building, to be reckoned less
important. To these truths the way had been led by John Hunter, whose
vigorous and original genius never was directed to the cultivation of
any subject without reaping a harvest of discovery."

       *       *       *       *       *

In conclusion, whatever may be the degree of ignorance or doubt in
which on certain points respecting the Honey-bee we are still involved
(and these are probably not often practically important), there are few
but may receive instruction and example from these wonderful little
creatures, in the duties of persevering industry, prudence, economy,
and peaceful subordination; whilst all may be taught, by their perfect
organization and faultless adaptation of means to an end, a lesson of
humility; and, finally, by the contemplation of their beautiful works,
"to look from Nature up to Nature's God."



  Adapter, 31.
  After-swarms, 186, 188, 190, 195.
  Ancient bee observers, 213.
  Apiarian authors, 212.
    societies, 214.
  Apiary, management in summer, 106.
    autumn, 124.
    winter, 157.
    spring, 166.
  Apiary, plan of, 94, 95.
    position and aspect, 97.
    repairs of, 170.
    size of, 103.
    to commence, 106, 152, 166.
  Apis Ligustica, 1.
    Mellifica, 1.
  Artificial food, 172.
    swarming, 199, 204, 206.
  Aspect, 97.
  Authors on Bees, 212.
  Autumnal management, 124.
    feeding, 132.
    unions, 140.

  Bar hive, 54,
    advantages of, 55, 69, 195.
    dividing, 204.
    double, 66.
    glass or observatory, 72.
    single, 66.
    straw, 73.
    wooden box, 54.
  Bar system, 54.
  Bars, size of, 57, 58.
  Bee, Queen, or mother, 3, 4, 170, 181, 184, 186, 190, 214.
    common or working, 3, 11.
    drone or male, 3, 15, 16, 180.
    authors, 212.
    boxes, size of, 52.
    duration of life, 14, 151.
    eggs, 6, 10, 12, 16.
    flowers, 102.
    food, 137, 172.
    ligurian, 1.
    pasturage, and number of hives, 101, 156.
    protector, 208.
    sex of, 12, 17.
    sheds and houses, 94.
    sting, 4, 12, 210.
  Bees, confinement of, 148, 158.
    destruction of, 28, 149.
    driving of, 152, 201.
    enemies of, 116, 175.
    fighting, 131.
    flight of, 103.
    fortification of, 117.
    fuming of, 140.
    humming of, 177.
    increase of, 10.
    longevity of, 14, 150.
    number of, 11.
    removal of, 100, 107, 167, 198.
    to hive, 196.
    to unite, 140, 192.
    various occupations of, 13.
    weather-wise, 178.
    working, 11.
  Bell-glasses, 120.
  Blocks, 43, 44, 96, 160.
  Box hive, 51.
  Brood, 12, 126, 151, 168.

  Cells, common, 13, 111.
    drone, 15, 112.
    royal, 4, 180, 182, 187, 195, 200, 201, 208.
  Cement, 38.
  Circular wooden hives, 75.
  Cleaning or changing hive-boards, 165, 167.
  Cocoons, 12.
  Collateral system, 24, 78.
    hive, White's, 81.
          Nutt's, 82.
  Colony of bees, 106, 152.
  Comb-knives, 130.
    pruning, 147, 167, 189.
  Combs, 5, 29, 109, 147.
    and wax, 109.
    and cells, construction of, 109.
  Common, or working bees, 3, 11.
    straw hives, 27.
  Condensing trough, 161.
  Confinement of bees, 148, 158.
  Covers to hives, 37.
  Crown-boards, 35.

  Damp, 157.
  Deprivation, 23, 125, 148.
  Depriving hives, 30, 51.
    system, 21, 23.
  Destroying of bees, 28, 149.
  Directions on swarming, 196.
  Disease, 159.
  Dividers, 36.
  Dividing bar-hive, 204.
  Doubling-board, 78.
  Driving, 152, 201.
  Drone, or male bee, 3, 15, 180, 181, 183.
    cells, 16, 112.
  Drones, destroying of, 18, 19.
    expulsion of, 18.
    number of, 20.
    office of, 17.
  Duplet, 24.
  Dysentery, 159.

  Eggs, 8, 9, 10, 16, 151.
  Eke, 25, 122.
  Enemies of bees, 116, 175.
  Evaporation, 161.

  Farina, or pollen, 113, 168.
    substitute for, 169.
  Feeding in autumn, 132, 137.
    in spring, 170.
    swarms, 108, 199.
  Feeding troughs, 133.
  Flight of bees, 103.
  Floor- or hive-boards, 42.
    to clean or change, 165, 167.
  Food, artificial, 172.
  Fortification, 117.
  Frame-bar, 58.
  Fumigation, 140, 146.
  Fuming bees, 140, 148.
    material, 143.
    tube, 142.
  Fungus, 143.

  Gauge, 57, 74, 76.
  General directions in operations on bees, 209.
    on swarming, 196.
  Glasses, 120.
    to remove, 128.
  Glass or light-hive, 72.
  Guide-combs, 69, 120, 206.

  Hive, bar, 54.
      dividing, 204.
      double, 66.
      observatory, 72.
      single, 66.
      straw, 73.
      wooden, 54.
    boards, 42.
    circular wooden, 75.
    common straw, 27.
    covers, 37.
    nadir, 25, 87.
    nether, 91.
  Hive, Nutt's collateral, 82.
    protector, 41.
    range, 49.
    shade, 39.
    stands or pedestals, 46.
    White's collateral, 81.
  Hives, collateral, 81.
    number of, 101.
    shape of, 28.
    size of, 29, 31.
    super, 24, 119, 176.
    wooden box, 51.
  Hiving, 196.
  Honey, 113, 128, 175, 178.
    comb, 5, 109.
    dew, 113.
    harvest, 128, 149.
    season, 178.
    store of, 132, 138.
    to strain, 129.
    virgin, 124.
  Hornets, 116.
  Humming, 177.

  Imago, 13.
  Impregnation, 17, 19.
  Increase of bees, 10.
  Italian bee, 1.

  Journal, 106.

  Knives, 71, 130.

  Larvæ, 12.
  Light in hives, 53, 72.
    or observatory hive, 72.
  Ligurian bee, 1.
  Longevity of bees, 14, 150.

  Maiden swarms, 196.
  Male bee, 3, 15, 180, 181, 183.
  Management in summer, 106.
    autumn, 124.
    winter, 157.
    spring, 166.
  Moisture in hives, 161.
  Moths, wasps, hornets, and other enemies, 116.
  Moving of bees, 100, 106, 166, 203.

  Nadir, 25, 62, 87, 119, 122.
    drawer, 89.
  Nadir-hive, 87.
  Nadiring, 25, 87, 89, 119, 122.
  Nether-hive, 91.
  Number of hives, 101.
  Nutt's collateral hive, 82.
  Nymph, or Pupa, 12.

  Observatory, or light hive, 72.
  Odour of bees, 194.
  Office of drones, 17.

  Painting, 37, 54.
  Pasturage, 101, 156.
  Pattern gauge, 57, 74, 76.
  Pedestals, or stands for hives, 46.
  Piping, 186.
  Pollen, or farina, 113, 168.
    substitute for, 169.
  Population, 107, 139, 150.
  Position and aspect, 97, 158.
  Prevention of after-swarms, 195.
  Princesses, 6, 185, 186, 192.
  Propolis, 112.
  Protectors, 208.
  Pruning combs, 147, 167, 189.

  Queen, or mother bee, 3, 4, 170, 181, 183, 184, 190.
    cells, 4, 5, 180, 182, 185, 187, 195, 201, 208.
  Queens, combats of, 186, 190.
    duration of life, 6.
    fertility of, 10.
    impregnation of, 17.
    piping of, 186.
  Queens, reared artificially, 7, 208, 214.
    unfruitful, 170.

  Range for Lives, 49.
  Remedy for the sting of a bee, 210.
  Removal of bees, 106, 167, 203.
  Removal of a box or super-hive, 125.
  Removing of swarms, 106, 198, 203.
  Returning of swarms, 183, 186.
  Robber bees, 127, 131.
  Robbers, 134, 175.
  Royal cells, or cradles, 4, 5, 176, 180, 186, 195, 200.

  Screen in winter, 159.
  Sex, 12.
  Shade, 115, 178.
  Single hiving, 21.
  Snow, to clear, 158.
  Song of the bees, 109.
  Spring feeding, 170.
    flowers, 102, 169.
    management, 166.
  Stands for hives, 46.
  Sting, 4, 12, 210.
  Stocks, 152, 166.
    to strengthen, 194.
  Store of honey, 128, 132, 137.
  Storifying, 24.
  Straw bar-hive, 73.
    common hives, 27, 28.
    depriving hives, 30.
  Straw hives, painting of, 37.
  Strength of a colony, 107, 192.
  Stupefying bees, 140, 143.
  Suffocation, 28, 149.
  Summary of apiarian knowledge, 213.
  Summer management, 106.
  Super-hiving, 119.
  Supers, 24, 31, 34, 119, 125, 176.
    to remove, 125, 128.
  Swarming, 21, 180, 182, 191, 196.
    artificial, 199.
  Swarms, 180, 186.
    maiden, 196.
    removing of, 106, 198, 203.
    to feed, 108, 199.
    to return, 183, 184, 189, 195.
    to strengthen, 107, 198.
    to unite, 192.
    weight of, 183.

  Tanging bees, on swarming, 196.
  Temperature, 13, 83, 119, 122, 139, 151, 158, 168, 170, 177, 182.
  Temperature and weather, 177.
  Thermometer, 83, 163, 182.
  Titmouse, 117, 160.
  Top-feeding, 133, 170.
  Transferring bees, 140.
  Triplets, 24, 32, 122.
  Triplets and Nadirs, 122.
  Trough, feeding, 133.
  Tube for fuming, 142.

  Uniting bees, 107, 140, 192.
  Uniting swarms, 107, 189, 192.

  Ventilation, 83, 119, 121, 161, 177.
  Ventilators, 85.
  Virgin honey, 124.

  Wasps, &c., 116, 117, 175.
  Water, 115, 169, 178.
  Wax and combs, 109.
  Wax moth, 116.
  White's collateral hive, 81.
  Winter management, 157.
    position, 158.
    screens, 159.
    store, 132, 138.
  Wooden bar-boxes, 54.
    circular hives, 75.
    hives, 51.
  Worker cells, 13, 111.

  Printed by J. E. Adlard, Bartholomew Close, London.

       *       *       *       *       *



_Fcap. 8vo, Illustrated, price 5s., with a Memoir of the Author,_




 "Grace Aguilar wrote and spoke as one inspired; she condensed and
 spiritualized, and all her thoughts and feelings were steeped in the
 essence of celestial love and truth. To those who really knew Grace
 Aguilar, all eulogium falls short of her deserts, and she has left a
 blank in her particular walk of literature, which we never expect to
 see filled up."--_Pilgrimages to English Shrines, by Mrs. Hall._

 "A clever and interesting tale, corresponding well to its name,
 illustrating the silent, constant influence of a wise and affectionate
 parent over characters the most diverse."--_Christian Lady's Magazine._

 "This interesting volume unquestionably contains many valuable hints
 on domestic education, much powerful writing, and a moral of vast
 importance."--_Englishwoman's Magazine._

 "It is very pleasant, after reading a book, to speak of it in terms
 of high commendation. The tale before us is an admirable one, and
 is executed with taste and ability. The language is beautiful and
 appropriate; the analysis of character is skilful and varied. The
 work ought to be in the hands of all who are interested in the proper
 training of the youthful mind."--_Palladium._

 "In reviewing this work, we hardly know what words in the English
 language are strong enough to express the admiration we have felt in
 its perusal."--_Bucks Chronicle._

 "The object and end of the writings of Grace Aguilar were to improve
 the heart, and to lead her readers to the consideration of higher
 motives and objects than this world can ever afford."--_Bell's Weekly

 "'Home Influence' will not be forgotten by any who have perused

 "A well-known and valuable tale."--_Gentleman's Magazine._

 "A work which possesses an extraordinary amount of influence to
 elevate the mind and educate the heart, by showing that rectitude and
 virtue conduce no less to material prosperity, and worldly comfort and
 happiness, than to the satisfaction of the conscience, the approval
 of the good, and the hope and certainty of bliss hereafter."--_Herts
 County Press._



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  "Home Influence, a Tale for Mothers and Daughters."


 "Grace Aguilar belonged to the school of which Maria Edgeworth was
 the foundress. The design of the book is carried out forcibly and
 constantly. 'The Home Influences' exercised in earlier years being
 shown in active germination."--_Atlas._

 "The writings of Grace Aguilar have a charm inseparable from
 productions in which feeling is combined with intellect; they go
 directly to the heart. 'Home Influence,' the deservedly popular story
 to which this is a Sequel, admirably teaches the lesson implied in its
 name. In the present tale we have the same freshness, earnestness,
 and zeal--the same spirit of devotion, and love of virtue--the same
 enthusiasm and sincere religion which characterised that earlier work.
 We behold the mother now blessed in the love of good and affectionate
 offspring, who, parents themselves, are, after her example, training
 their children in the way of rectitude and piety."--_Morning

 "This beautiful story was completed when the authoress was little
 above the age of nineteen, yet it has the sober sense of middle age.
 There is no age nor sex that will not profit by its perusal, and it
 will afford as much pleasure as profit to the reader."--_Critic._

 "The same kindly spirit, the same warm charity and fervour of
 devotion which breathes in every line of that admirable book, 'Home
 Influence,' will be found adorning and inspiring 'The Mother's
 Recompense.'"--_Morning Advertiser._

 "The good which she (Grace Aguilar) has effected is acknowledged
 on all hands, and it cannot be doubted but that the appearance of
 this volume will increase the usefulness of one who may yet be said
 to be still speaking to the heart and to the affections of human
 nature."--_Bell's Messenger._

 "It will be found an interesting supplement, not only to the book
 to which it specially relates, but to all the writer's other
 works."--_Gentleman's Magazine._

 "'The Mother's Recompense' forms a fitting close to its predecessor,
 'Home Influence.' The results of maternal care are fully developed,
 its rich rewards are set forth, and its lesson and its moral are
 powerfully enforced."--_Morning Post._

 "We heartily commend this volume; a better or more useful present to a
 youthful friend or a young wife could not well be selected."--_Herts
 County Press._


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  "To show us how divine a thing
  A woman may be made."--Wordsworth.

 "This story illustrates, with feeling and power, that beneficial
 influence which women exercise, in their own quiet way, over
 characters and events in our every-day life."--_Britannia._

 "The book is one of more than ordinary interest in various ways,
 and presents an admirable conception of the depths and sincerity of
 female friendship, as exhibited in England by Englishwomen."--_Weekly

 "We began to read the volume late in the evening; and although it
 consists of about 400 pages, our eyes could not close in sleep
 until we had read the whole. This excellent book should find a
 place on every drawing-room table--nay, in every library in the
 kingdom."--_Bucks Chronicle._

 "We congratulate Miss Aguilar on the spirit, motive, and composition
 of this story. Her aims are eminently moral, and her cause comes
 recommended by the most beautiful associations. These, connected with
 the skill here evinced in their development, ensure the success of her
 labours."--_Illustrated News._

 "As a writer of remarkable grace and delicacy, she devoted herself to
 the inculcation of the virtues, more especially those which are the
 peculiar charm of women."--_Critic._

 "It is a book for all classes of readers; and we have no hesitation
 in saying, that it only requires to be generally known to become
 exceedingly popular. In our estimation, it has far more attractions
 than Miss Burney's celebrated, but over-estimated, novel of
 'Cecilia.'"--_Herts County Press._

 "This very interesting and agreeable tale has remained longer without
 notice on our part than we could have desired; but we would now
 endeavour to make amends for the delay, by assuring our readers that
 it is a most ably-written publication, full of the nicest points
 of information and utility that could have been by any possibility
 constructed; and, as a proof of its value, it may suffice to say,
 that it has been taken from our table again and again by several
 individuals, from the recommendation of those who had already perused
 it, and so prevented our giving an earlier attention to its manifold
 claims for favourable criticism. It is peculiarly adapted for the
 young, and wherever it goes will be received with gratification, and
 command very extensive approbation."--_Bell's Weekly Messenger._

 "This is a handsome volume; just such a book as we would expect to
 find among the volumes composing a lady's library. Its interior
 corresponds with its exterior; it is a most fascinating tale, full of
 noble and just sentiments."--_Palladium._


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  The Martyr.



 "The authoress of this most fascinating volume has selected for her
 field one of the most remarkable eras in modern history--the reigns
 of Ferdinand and Isabella. The tale turns on the extraordinary extent
 to which concealed Judaism had gained footing at that period in
 Spain. It is marked by much power of description, and by a woman's
 delicacy of touch, and it will add to its writer's well-earned
 reputation."--_Eclectic Review._

 "The scene of this interesting tale is laid during the reign of
 Ferdinand and Isabella. The Vale of Cedars is the retreat of a Jewish
 family, compelled by persecution to perform their religious rites
 with the utmost secrecy. On the singular position of this fated
 race in the most Catholic land of Europe, the interest of the tale
 mainly depends; whilst a few glimpses of the horrors of the terrible
 Inquisition are afforded the reader, and heighten the interest of the
 narrative."--_Sharpe's Magazine._

 "Anything which proceeds from the pen of the authoress of this
 volume is sure to command attention and appreciation. There is so
 much of delicacy and refinement about her style, and such a faithful
 delineation of nature in all she attempts, that she has taken her
 place amongst the highest class of modern writers of fiction. We
 consider this to be one of Miss Aguilar's best efforts."--_Bell's
 Weekly Messenger._

 "We heartily commend the work to our readers as one exhibiting, not
 merely talent, but genius, and a degree of earnestness, fidelity to
 nature, and artistic grace rarely found."--_Herts County Press._

 "The 'Vale of Cedars' is indeed one of the most touching and
 interesting stories that have ever issued from the press. There is a
 life-like reality about it, which is not often observed in works of
 this nature; while we read it we felt as if we were witnesses of the
 various scenes it depicts."--_Bucks Chronicle._

 "It is a tale of deep and pure devotion, very touchingly

 "The authoress has already received our commendation; her present work
 is calculated to sustain her reputation."--_Illustrated News._

 "It is indeed a historical romance of a high class. Seeing how steady
 and yet rapid was her improvement--how rich the promise of her
 genius--it is impossible to close this notice of her last and best
 work, without lamenting that the authoress was so untimely snatched
 from a world she appeared destined, as certainly she was singularly
 qualified, to adorn and to improve."--_Critic._


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  price 6s._,


  A Story from Scottish History.


 "We have had an opportunity of observing the interest it awakens in
 different classes of readers, and in no instance has it failed to
 rivet attention, and to induce a high estimate of the author's powers.
 Miss Aguilar was evidently well read in the times of Bruce. It is long
 since we met with a work which combines so happily the best qualities
 of historical fiction."--_Eclectic Review._

 "The life of the hero of Bannockburn has furnished matter for
 innumerable tales in prose and verse, but we have met with
 no records of that famous era so instructive as 'The Days of

 "'The Days of Bruce' was written when, in the vigour of intellectual
 strength, Grace Aguilar was planning many things, and all for
 good; it was we know her especial favourite: it is full of deep
 interest."--_Mrs. S. C. Hall, in Sharpe's Magazine._

 "It is a volume which may be considered as solid history, but is
 nevertheless entertaining as the most charming novel ever produced
 by genius. Sir Walter Scott's name as an author would not have been
 disgraced by it had it appeared on the title-page instead of Grace
 Aguilar."--_Bucks Chronicle._

 "This deeply interesting romance--a composition of great eloquence,
 written with practised polish and enthusiastic energy. We are not
 surprised at the elegance, the warmth, and the pathos with which
 Grace Aguilar paints love passages; but we are astonished at the
 fire and accuracy with which she depicts scenes of daring and of

 "The tale is well told, the interest warmly sustained throughout, and
 the delineation of female character is marked by a delicate sense of
 moral beauty. It is a work that may be confided to the hands of a
 daughter by her parent."--_Court Journal._

 "Every one who knows the works of this lamented author, must observe
 that she rises with her subjects. In 'The Days of Bruce' she has
 thrown herself into the rugged life of the fourteenth century, and has
 depicted the semi-civilization of the period in a manner that is quite
 marvellous in a young woman. Grace Aguilar always excelled in her
 delineation of female characters, while the skill she evinces in the
 illustration of the historical personages, and her individualization
 of the imaginary ones, might at once entitle her to a birthplace among
 historical novelists."--_Ladies Companion._

 "Her pen was ever devoted to the cause of virtue; and her various
 publications, exhibiting the beauties and enforcing the practice
 of the 'tender charities' of domestic life, have, we doubt not,
 recommended themselves to the hearts of numbers of her countrywomen.
 The work before us differs from the former publications of its author,
 inasmuch as it is in fact an historical romance, for this species of
 writing the high feeling of Grace Aguilar peculiarly fitted her; many
 of the scenes are very highly wrought; and while it will fix in the
 reader's mind a truthful idea of the history and style of manners of
 'The Days of Bruce,' it will also impress upon him a strong sense of
 the ability and noble cast of thought which distinguished its lamented
 author."--_Englishwoman's Magazine._


 "We look upon 'The Days of Bruce' as an elegantly-written and
 interesting romance, and place it by the side of Miss Porter's
 Scottish Chiefs."--_Gentleman's Magazine._

 "A very pleasing and successful attempt to combine ideal delineation
 of character with the records of history. Very beautiful and very true
 are the portraits of the female mind and heart which Grace Aguilar
 knew how to draw. This is the chief charm of all her writings, and
 in 'The Days of Bruce' the reader will have the pleasure of viewing
 this skilful portraiture in the characters of Isoline and Agnes, and
 Isabella of Buchan."--_Literary Gazette._

 "What a fertile mind was that of Grace Aguilar! What an early
 development of reflection, of feeling, of taste, of power of
 invention, of true and earnest eloquence! 'The Days of Bruce' is a
 composition of her early youth, but full of beauty. Grace Aguilar
 knew the female heart better than any writer of our day, and in
 every fiction from her pen we trace the same masterly analysis and
 development of the motives and feelings of woman's nature. 'The Days
 of Bruce' possesses also the attractions of an extremely interesting
 story, that absorbs the attention, and never suffers it to flag till
 the last page is closed, and then the reader will lay down the volume
 with regret."--_Critic._


  _Fcap. 8vo, Illustrated with Frontispiece, price 5s._,




  The Perez Family.
  The Stone-cutter's Boy of Possagno.
  Amete and Yafeh.
  The Fugitive.
  The Edict; a Tale of 1492.
  The Escape; a Tale of 1755.
  Red Rose Villa.
  Gonzalvo's Daughter.
  The Authoress.
  The Spirit's Entreaty.
  Lady Gresham's Fete.
  The Group of Sculpture.
  The Spirit of Night.
  The Recollections of a Rambler.
  Cast thy Bread upon the Waters.
  The Triumph of Love.


  _Second Edition, in Two Volumes, Foolscap 8vo, price 10s._,


  Or, Characters and Sketches from the Holy Scriptures, illustrative
  of the past History, present Duties, and future Destiny of
  Hebrew Females, as based on the Word of God.


  Principal Contents of the Work.

  First Period--Wives of the Patriarchs.

    Leah and Rachel.

  Second Period--The Exodus and the Law.

    Egyptian Captivity, and Jochebed.
    The Exodus--Mothers of Israel.
    Laws for Wives in Israel.
    Laws for Widows and Daughters in Israel.
    Maid Servants in Israel, and other Laws.

  Third Period--Between the Delivery of the Law and the Monarchy.

    Tabernacle Workers--Caleb's Daughter.
    Wife of Manoah.

  Fourth Period--The Monarchy.

    Wise Woman of Tekoah.
    Woman of Abel.
    Prophet's Widow.
    The Shunamite.
    Little Israelitish Maid.

  Fifth Period--Babylonian Captivity.

    The Captivity.
    Review of Book of Ezra.
    Suggestions as to the Identity of the Ahasuerus of Scripture.
    Review of Events narrated in Ezra and Nehemiah.

  Sixth Period--Continuance of the Second Temple.

    Review of Jewish History, from the Return from Babylon to the
        Appeal of Hyrcanus and Aristobulus to Pompey.
    Jewish History from the Appeal to Pompey to the Death of
    Jewish History from the Death of Herod to the War.
    The Martyr Mother.

  Seventh Period--Women of Israel in the Present as influenced by
      the Past.

    The War and Dispersion.
    Thoughts on the Talmud.
    Talmudic Ordinances & Tales.
    Effects of Dispersion and Persecution.
    General Remarks.

  "A work that is sufficient of itself to create and crown a
  reputation."--_Pilgrimages to English Shrines, by Mrs. S. C. Hall._

  London: GROOMBRIDGE & SONS, 5, Paternoster Row.





       Fcap. 8vo, Illustrated, Price 5_s._



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       Fcap. 8vo, Illustrated, Price 5_s._



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       Fcap. 8vo, Illustrated, Price 6_s._



       Fcap. 8vo, Illustrated, Price 5_s._


       Two Vols., fcap. 8vo, Price 10_s._

  London: GROOMBRIDGE & SONS, 5, Paternoster Row.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber Note

Illustrations were moved so as to not split paragraphs. Minor typos corrected.
Most hyphenation (or lack thereof) retained as printed.

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