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Title: The American Bee Journal, Volume VI, Number 3, September 1873
Author: Various
Language: English
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  VOL. VI.        SEPTEMBER, 1870.         NO. 3.

  [Translated for the American Bee Journal.]

The Foulbrood Question.

The following remarks, made by the Rev. Mr. Kleine, before a convention
of bee-keepers in the town of Meppen, province of Hanover, Prussia,
present a succinct account of the present state of this subject abroad.

“The question propounded in our programme,” said Mr. Kleine, “and which
I have been requested to consider, may properly be thus
subdivided--first. Has any efficient remedy for foulbrood been devised?
and, secondly, What are we to think of Lambrecht’s theory?

“I wish I could answer the first interrogatory with a positive _aye_. If
I could, I should regard myself entitled not only to your thanks, but to
those of the entire bee-keeping community; for foulbrood is confessedly
the direst evil that can befall the bee-keeper, and the appearance is,
at present, that it is likely speedily to spread everywhere, where bees
are cultivated.

“Remedies in abundance have, indeed been suggested, and recommended as
efficient and infallible. But when we come to investigate them, we seek
in vain for any solid reason why curative qualities should be attributed
to them; and we usually find that the alleged recovery of diseased
colonies can fairly be ascribed to something else than the application
of those vaunted remedies. Possibly, too, the real disease,--the
genuine, virulent, contagious foulbrood, did not exist, and the boasted
cure consisted merely in the apparent arrest and removal of some simple
malady which, in the course of nature, would speedily have run its
harmless course and disappeared, and with the cure of which the
medicaments or treatment employed had, in reality, no connection
whatever. How indeed can it be possible to devise and apply an efficient
remedy for a disease of the origin and nature of which entire ignorance
has still prevailed.

“Dr. Asmusz conceived, some years ago, that he had discovered the cause
of foulbrood in a minute winged insect--the _Phora incrassata_; and the
Baron of Berlepsch coincided with him in opinion. The doctor supposed
that the parent fly deposited her eggs in the larvæ of the bees, which,
dying in consequence and putrifying, thus generated the devastating
disease. It happens, however, that the Phoridæ do not deposit their
eggs in living organisms, but, under the impulse of native instinct, in
dead bodies only. Consequently it does not and cannot cause the dreaded

“Again, Mr. De Molitor assigns to it a similar origin,--but instead of
the Phora, regards some ichneumon-fly as the perpetrator of the
evil--unless, indeed, he regards the Phora itself as an ichneumon. But
this notion, too, is obviously untenable, for if ichneumon-flies laid
their eggs in the larvæ, those eggs must surely hatch and the insect
develop there, at least in its first stages; but on placing a foulbroody
comb under glass, and watching it closely, nothing of this sort is found
to take place.

“The Baroness of Berlepsch supposes the cause of foulbrood is to be
found in the use of movable comb hives, and the various
manipulations--oftimes needless--which the facilities afforded tempt the
apiarian to undertake. Were this diagnosis correct, the remedy could
readily be found. It would only be necessary to discontinue the use of
such hives, and return to the ancient fixed comb system, to be safe from
the inroads of this pestilence. But alas, it is only too well known that
foulbrood existed extensively long before Dzierzon was born, and that it
prevails where the fixed comb system is most rigidly adhered to.

“Others imagine that the disease has its origin in malarious vapors, in
some kind of fungus, in a diseased condition of the sexual organs of the
queen, in an imperfect fecundation of the egg, or even in a noxious
state of the fluids of the bee-keeper’s body, &c., without, however, by
any of these surmises or suggestions, furnishing us with an available
clue to a remedy, from the application of which a favorable result might
be expected. Obscurity and doubt still involve the inquirer, and he
quietly ‘gives it up;’ while the more practical bee-keeper, perplexed
and baffled, finally resolves to resort to the radical remedy of the
brimstone pit and the ‘parlor match’--thus effectually _curing_ his

“So matters stood in regard to this puzzling question, till, in
consequence of a communication from the Directors of the Central
Committee of the Hanover Agricultural Society, respecting an alleged
cure of foulbrood which Mr. Fisher claimed to have devised and
successfully employed, the Hanover Centralblatt opened its columns for
further discussion of the topic.

  Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by Samuel
  Wagner, in the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

“I had given it as my own opinion that the disease was probably, in most
cases, produced by feeding infected honey derived from foulbroody
colonies; but that we were still constrained to believe that it had also
an independent origin, which would probably be found in some deleterious
substance mixed with the nutriment of the bees.

“A reason for this assumption I found in a communication from Mr.
Hoffman to the Eichstadt Bienenzeitung, in which he stated that in all
foulbroody colonies examined by him, he found most of the pollen in the
cells covered by a slimy, fatty substance and the pollen itself in a
state of fermentation. I then said that if this discovery be confirmed
by further observation and scientific investigation, deteriorated pollen
would probably be found to play an important part in the production of
the disease in question, and perhaps account for the well known fact
that in colonies infected with foulbrood, the larvæ die only after being
sealed up. I also expressed the hope that we should have the aid of
science--especially of physiology and chemistry--in the further
prosecution of the inquiry; as it is only by ascertaining the nature and
origin of the disease, that we could hope to obtain the means of
effectually counteracting and controlling it.

“We had to wait long for these elucidations, but they have come at last,
and we may well be proud that the Hanover Centralblatt contributed so
materially to the result so far.

“I now come to the second subdivision of the question--What is to be
thought of Lambrecht’s theory?

“This theory is briefly thus: Pollen, in peculiar circumstances, and
under the influence of heat and moisture, begins to ferment; and the
fermentive process is then communicated to the honey. If this fermenting
nutriment be now fed to the larvæ, their organism becomes thereby
deranged and disorganized, they die and putrefaction follows. Here we
find the original source and cause of foulbrood. The detailed
explanation of this so simple theory, given with the directness of
scientific demonstration, yet in popular language readily understood, is
contained in the pages of the Centralblatt. Its correctness is not to be
doubted, for the proof of it is clearly furnished by this simple
experiment: Expose a mixture of pollen and water to the heat of the sun,
or otherwise to a temperature sufficiently high to bring on
fermentation, and feed therewith the bees of a colony containing larvæ
just hatched, and foulbrood will speedily be produced in the hive. I
made this experiment myself in the summer of 1868, and though I felt
some misgivings before, every doubt was dissipated by the result
obtained, for the thus infected colony might have claimed a premium as a
prime prize case of the disease. I here submit to the convention, for
inspection, a piece of foulbroody comb thus obtained. The contagiousness
of the artificially originated foulbrood is also demonstrated by the
fact, that the disease has been communicated from it to several other
colonies in my apiary. Other bee-keepers have repeated this experiment
with like results; so that there is no longer room to doubt, or to
suspect deception.

“The fermented or fermenting condition of the nutritive matter with
which the larvæ of bees are fed, is thus, according to Lambrecht’s
theory, the cause of foulbrood. I doubt much whether this scientifically
grounded doctrine will ever be scientifically refuted.

“We have here, accordingly, the point at which the insidious foe is to
be attacked, if we would hope for success. This, Lambrecht alleges that
he does, and claims that he has devised a reliable method of cure, as
shown in the experimental case at Brunswick. To doubt the truth of the
statement made by the committee superintending that experiment, would be
to impugn the untarnished honor of those gentlemen. But unfortunately,
we are not yet made acquainted with the composition of Lambrecht’s
remedy. For the present, he treats it as a secret, intending to publish
it in a pamphlet and thus compensate himself for his discovery. For
this, he has been subjected to reproach and abuse. Allow me to express
my surprise at this. We find fault with Lambrecht for that which we
approve in ourselves and others. The inventor strives to secure to
himself the profits of his invention by taking out a patent; and the
author indemnifies himself for his labors by procuring a copyright, or
accepting a premium from his publisher. I have not hesitated to accept
such compensation myself, when the opportunity was properly presented;
and others, here, I presume, may find themselves under like
condemnation. Why then cast stones on Lambrecht, who, probably, has very
valid reasons for imitating our example, for his experiments presuppose
a large sacrifice of time and money on his part.

“I will not deny that, for one, I should have preferred if Mr. Lambrecht
had disinterestedly published his curative process in a communication to
the Centralblatt. For if No. 7 of the volume for 1868 is now out of
print, in consequence of the increased demand created for it by his
first article on the subject, there is no doubt a very large edition
would have been required of the number containing his cure; and what a
powerful impetus that would have given to the success of the
Centralblatt! But I should have been ashamed to approach Mr. Lambrecht
with a request based on calculations so selfish, when I understood that
he intended to reserve the information for his own benefit. But there is
thus within our reach a secret of great importance and value to all
bee-keepers; and since we have no prospect of obtaining a knowledge of
it in any other way than by the publication of his pamphlet, I advise
you all to subscribe for it and induce others to do so likewise, so that
the work may speedily be published, and the veil withdrawn that possibly
conceals a matter of vital importance to bee-culture.

“Mr. Lambrecht was requested by the President of the Nuremberg
Convention to attend its meeting, and present his theory among the
regular orders of the day, for discussion. I felt confident he would
comply with the request, and considered that the most suitable mode of
bringing his theory to the knowledge of the bee-keepers generally and
securing the required number of subscribers to his pamphlet. But,
according to the report of the proceedings, the result was just the
reverse. Mr Lambrecht, we are told, _failed altogether_! And how? He was
refused a hearing! How this is to be explained, I know not. Heretofore,
the Convention was ever disposed to invite and allow free discussion of
all questions pertaining to bee-culture, whether of a theoretical or
practical cast; and to accept, with enthusiastic applause every new
invention or device tending to advance the favorite pursuit of its
members. But this I know for certain, that Mr. Lambrecht’s theory,
despite of this opposition, will work its way, and finally meet with
universal acceptance. I therefore beg this respected assembly not to
withhold due attention to this important matter, but to contribute all
they can towards a full compliance with the stipulations on which the
speedy promulgation of Mr. Lambrecht’s curative process depends.”

       *       *       *       *       *

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Polanisia Purpurea.

MR. EDITOR:--I would like to give the readers of the journal my
experience with the Rocky Mountain bee plant _Polanisia purpurea_. In
1868, I had the pleasure of receiving some of the seed from Mr. J. L.
Hubbard, then of Walpole, N. H.; and from sixteen plants that grew, I
got six quarts of seed. It comes into bloom about the last of July, and
continues till frost comes. The bees work on it from morning till night.

In selecting honey-producing plants, it should be the aim of the
bee-keeper to plant such as would be of benefit to stock or poultry as
well as bees. Now I find that my poultry will eat the seed of the
Polanisia in a short time as readily as buckwheat; and there is no plant
on my farm that stands the drouth equal to it. At present (July 25th) we
are having a very severe drouth and extreme heat, yet with the
temperature ranging from 90° to 108° in the shade, not a leaf of the
Polanisia wilts; on the contrary, it is making a very rapid growth.
Taking everything into consideration, I think it is worthy the attention
of bee-keepers.

  A. Green.

  _Amesbury, Mass._

       *       *       *       *       *

  [From the London “Journal of Horticulture.”]

Bees in Borneo and Timor.

Having recently perused Mr. Spencer St. John’s very interesting work on
Borneo, published in 1862, under the title of “Life in the Forests of
the Far East,” I have made notes of several passages relating to the
apian aborigines of that magnificent tropical island:--

Speaking of the agricultural pursuits of the “Sea Dayaks,” Mr. St. John
says--“They obtain beeswax from the nests built on the tapang tree, and
climb the loftiest heights in search of it, upon small sticks which they
drive in as they advance up the noble stem that rises above one hundred
feet free of branches, and whose girth varies from fifteen to
twenty-five feet. Once these pegs are driven in, their outer ends are
connected by a stout rattan, which, with the tree, forms a kind of
ladder. It requires cool and deliberate courage to take a bee-hive at so
great an elevation, where, in case of being attacked by the bees, the
almost naked man would fall and be dashed to atoms. They depend upon the
flambeaux they carry up with them, as, when the man disturbs the hive,
the sparks falling from it cause, it is said, the bees to fly down in
chase of them instead of attacking their real enemy, who then takes the
hive and lowers it down by a rattan string. The bees escape unhurt. This
plan does not appear to be as safe as that pursued by the Pakatan
Dayaks, who kindle a large fire under the trees, and, throwing green
branches upon it, raise so stilling a smoke that the bees rush forth,
and the man ascending takes their nest in safety. Both these operations
are generally conducted at night, although the second might be, I
imagine, practised in safety during the day.”

With regard to the “Land Dayaks” it is stated, that “To the left of the
Sirambau are some very fine tapang trees, in which the bees generally
build their nests; they are considered private property, and a Dayak
from a neighboring tribe venturing to help himself to some of this
apparently wild honey and wax would be punished for theft.” This is the
first hint that is given of bees being considered in any respect as
private property, but the following passage would seem to indicate that
the domestication of the honey-bee is not altogether unknown in the
island:--“During the night, our rest was much disturbed by bees, which
stung us several times, and Mr. Lowe, with that acuteness which never
deserts him in all questions of natural history, pronounced them to be
the ‘tame’ bees, the same as he had last seen thirteen years ago among
the Senah Dayaks, in Sarawak. About midnight we were visited by a big
fellow, who, our guides assured us, wanted to pilfer; but we found next
morning that he had come to complain of his hives having been plundered.
On inquiry, we discovered the man who had done the deed. He was fined
three times the value of the damage, and the amount handed over to the

During one of his adventurous expeditions up the river Limbang, Mr. St.
John found a Pakatan named Japer, who accompanied him, a storehouse of
information. He had a thorough faith in ghosts and spirits, and told of
many an adventure with them, and of the Antus who caused the death of
the wax-hunters, by pushing them off the mengiris or tapang tree. When
the unfortunate men, from inefficient preparations, as their companions
not keeping up a great fire under the trees to stupefy the bees, are so
stung as to let go their hold, the natural explanation is never taken;
they fly to their superstitions. Japer’s nephew saw one of these tapang
ghosts, and managed to keep his eye upon him and prevent him pushing him
off, he came down without accident, but without any wax. I suggested
that he invented the ghost to excuse his timidity, which Japer thought
probable. To-day we passed one of these lofty trees bearing above twenty
bees’ nests, among them four old ones white with wax.[1] As the country
is full of tapangs, in which alone do the bees build their nests, the
stories of the great amount of wax formerly procured in this district
may be true. Why do the honey-bees generally build on one particular
tree? Its being the finest in the forest is no good reason, perhaps
there is something enticing in the bark. I say ‘generally,’ because,
though I have never seen their nests on other trees, yet I have often
come across them in the crevices of rocks.

In a subsequent part of his journal of the same expedition, our author
says--“I never was in such a country for bees, they everywhere swarm in
the most disagreeable manner, and ants and other insects are equally
numerous.” When on their return and nearly starved, the party had “a
very happy find, for while passing under a fine tapang tree we noticed
the remains of a bees’ nest scattered about, and every particle was
eagerly appropriated. From the marks around it appeared as if a bear had
climbed this lofty tree and torn down the nest to be devoured by its
young below, as there were numerous tracks of the smaller animals
around, but whether the comb had been sucked by the bears or not was
very immaterial to our men, who rejoiced in securing the little honey
still clinging to it.”

The party appears only once to have fallen foul of a hornet’s nest. The
encounter and its results are thus described:--“It was in following the
bed of the Rawan that I was stung. Notice was given by the guide to
leave the direct path, and we all did; but I suppose some one disturbed
the hornets, as they attacked me with a ferocity that appears
incredible: many flew at me, but two fixed on my arms and stung me
through my double clothing. They poised themselves a moment in the air,
and then came on with a rush which it was impossible to avoid. The pain
was acute, but I saved my face. I tumbled down the steep bank in a
moment, and throwing aside rifle and ammunition, plunged up to my eyes
in a pool until the buzzing ceased and the hornets had returned to their
nests. Some of my men were also stung; they squeezed a little tobacco
juice on the wounds, and they say they felt no further inconvenience. I
tried it about an hour afterwards, but it did me no good. I had no idea
that the sting of this insect was so severe; my right arm swelled up to
double its natural size and was acutely painful; now, on the second day,
it is much less so, but as the swelling continues it is impossible to
use it much.”

That wild bees are exceedingly abundant in the forests and jungles of
Borneo may be inferred from the foregoing passages as well as from the
numerous references to parties of native “wax-hunters,” which occur in
almost every chapter of the work. Although no clue is given by Mr. St.
John to the identity of the Borneon honey-bee, or any information as to
the manner in which it builds its nest, I am enabled in some measure to
supply the deficiency from other sources.

Some half dozen years ago I received from Mr. Charles Darwin, the
distinguished naturalist, a few specimens of bees named Apis testacea
(Smith), together with two pieces of their comb. Although these had been
brought by Mr. Alfred B. Wallace, the celebrated traveller and author of
“The Malay Archipelago,” just published, from the island of Timor in the
Eastern Archipelago, I believe them to be the same as those which are
indigenous in Borneo, so that there appears little reason to doubt that
these are the bees referred to by Mr. St. John. On examination I found
them half as long again as Apis mellifica, and their brood comb
proportionably thicker. They were in fact, a variety of the magnificent
Apis dorsata, which is described as flourishing abundantly throughout
the great Indian peninsula, from Cape Comorin to the Himalayas, as well
as in Ceylon.

Mr. Darwin subsequently introduced me to Mr. Wallace, to whom I am
indebted for the following particulars:--“In Borneo and Timor the wax
forms an important article of commerce. The combs hang on the under side
of horizontal limbs of lofty trees, often one hundred feet from the


“I have seen three together as above, and they are often four feet in
diameter. The natives of Timor I have seen take them. They climb up a
tree carrying a smoke torch made of a split creeper bound up in palm
leaves, and hanging by a rope from their waist. They cover up their body
and hair carefully, but their arms and legs are bare. The smoke directed
on the comb makes the bees fly off in a cloud as the man approaches. He
sweeps off the remainder with his hand and then cuts off the comb with a
large knife, and lets it down to his companions below by a thin cord. He
is all the time surrounded by a cloud of bees, and though the smoke no
doubt partly stupefies them, he must be severely stung. While looking on
from a considerable distance a few came down and attacked me, and I did
not get rid of them till I was half a mile from the place and had caught
them all, one by one, in my insect net. The sting is very severe. I
should imagine that in Timor the dry season answers to our winter, as
the drought is very severe and much of the foliage is deciduous.
Eucalypti are the most common trees, and their flowers I suspect supply
the bees with their honey. In Borneo combs are placed in a somewhat
similar manner, perhaps formed by the same species. The only bee I have
seen domesticated in the East is one at Malacca, the natives hang up
bamboos and hollow logs for it, but it is, I believe, not a true Apis,
as it makes clusters of large oval shells of black wax.”

I may add that the Timor bee was named Apis testacea on account of its
color, which is very light, and is, in fact, the only point in which it
differs from Apis dorsata. When some years ago I compared the specimens
in the British Museum, I became impressed with the idea that those which
represented Apis testacea were nothing more than newly-hatched and
immature specimens of Apis dorsata, and so strongly did I urge my views
upon Mr. Smith, that I believe I almost induced him to doubt the
correctness of his own nomenclature, until he was afterwards assured by
Mr. Wallace himself, that they were really mature and fully-developed

       *       *       *       *       *

Management of Bees in Winter.

  The following address on this subject was delivered by Mr. E.
  ROOD, of Wayne (Mich.), at the Michigan Bee-keeper’s Convention,
  held at Lansing, on the 23d of March last. The crowded state of
  our columns and files at the time it was received, prevented an
  immediate insertion, and its appearance now will probably be all
  the more opportune and serviceable.--ED.

If there be no objection, I would like to reverse the order of the time
or statement of the subject which I am expected to discuss, as the
spring management follows that of the winter.

The winter management, of a necessity, involves some things that must be
done in the fall; and let me premise by saying that almost, if not all
of the operations and manipulations of bees, are quite simple, when the
natural habits and requirements of the insect are well understood, and
with a reasonable amount of intelligence and perseverance the object is
accomplished. Let me assure new beginners, and those that have not
begun, that the honey will much more than compensate for the labor
bestowed upon them, as I know of no branch of rural pursuits that, in
dollars and cents, pays as well. And the pleasure derived from a study
of their nature and habits, will far more than compensate, in a
scientific point of view, for all their stings.

In preparing for winter, of necessity it is incumbent upon us to see or
learn that they have sufficient food to carry them through until they
can procure it for themselves;--say twenty or twenty-five pounds if
wintered in a special depository, and twenty-five or thirty if wintered
on their summer stands.

We should then remove the surplus honey-boxes as soon as the first hard
frost; as, if they remain on, the bees will the next day carry into the
breeding apartment all that is not capped over; and I have seldom or
never known a swarm but what had enough in the body of the hive to
winter on, if they had stored any in the surplus boxes.

Next, weigh one or more empty hives, to which weight add, say ten pounds
for weight of bees, combs and bee bread; then the first cool day proceed
to weigh every swarm,--_no guessing about it_. Mark the net weight of
honey upon the same corner or place on each hive.

Next, the first fine day commence to equalize the amount of honey in the
various swarms; if in movable frames, taking from the heaviest and
giving to those that require feeding; if not in movable frame hives, the
light ones must be fed in the evening with some of the various feeders,
and a good swarm will carry from five to eight pounds to the combs in a
night. They may be fed on a syrup made of clarified sugar, but the syrup
should never, nor should honey be kept, melted, dissolved, or fed from
copper or brass vessels, as it has been ascertained that verdigris will
cause foul brood.

We have now provided our bees with sufficient food for winter, and why
should we not? We provide (or should), a sufficient supply for each
sheep, and certainly the profits of a swarm of bees are as great as from
a sheep--aye, and far greater--and they do not require one-fourth part
of the care and attention.

I know of but one other preparation for wintering. In almost any apiary
there will be some small swarms and some destitute of queens, they may
and should be doubled up, but no two large swarms should be put
together--they will not do well.

We are now ready to put our bees into winter quarters. The exact time
for removing them to the quarters cannot be now definitely determined.
If there are any small swarms, it will be well to put them in somewhat
earlier than the large ones; as there is not as much animal heat, and
those upon the outside of the cluster become chilled and perish; perhaps
the first of December, as a general rule, will be the correct time.

Now for the winter quarters. If they are wintered on their summer
stands, it would be much better if the yard was enclosed with a high
board fence, or something to break off the winds. The fly-holes should
be nearly closed, so that it will be one-half or three-fourths of an
inch in size, that it may not get stopped up with dead bees, also that
but a trifle of air may enter, thus preventing much draft, and as upward
ventilation is almost absolutely necessary, there should be openings in
the top of the hive for the vapor to escape, but the openings should be
protected in a manner to prevent the wind from driving into them. There
are many ways, as laying on five or six inches of straw and placing the
roof on it, or a board and some weight to keep it in place, or the cover
to the honey boxes may be filled with straw or some other substance that
will absorb all the moisture. This upward ventilation should be closed,
say the 15th of March, or after the extreme cold weather is over. Thus I
have given you all that seems necessary, where they are wintered on
their summer stands.

When they are wintered in special depositories, the preparation is the
same, except that no straw or other substance is necessary; but the
honey-board must be raised, say a quarter of an inch, or if in common
hives, the holes in the top of the hive left open, the fly-hole the same
as above, the temperature kept between twenty-five and forty-three by
_thermometer_, the cellar or room _perfectly_ dark, and when you enter
it, do so with a lantern.

I will now proceed to give what I regard as the best form and method of
constructing a special depository. Convenience to the apiary is
essential; it is as well, and perhaps better if we can, to place it in
the edge of a bank--as some root cellars are made--bluff, or side-hill.
The door should be at the lowest side, for the convenience of entrance,
as it is difficult to pass up and down stairs with a swarm of bees.

The size of the room will of course be sufficiently large to contain
what bees we wish to place therein. Sixteen feet by twenty, inside
measure, will hold one hundred and fifty swarms, and leave ample alley
room. The place should be dry, there should be a double door, the room
_perfectly dark_, ceiling joists and a floor should be laid over head,
and eight or ten inches of sawdust, tan-bark, dry marsh muck, or some
nonconductor placed on it before putting on the roof. Four pipes,
chimneys or tubes, made of ten or twelve inch boards, should run from
just below the ceiling through the roof, and be of sufficient length to
exclude the light, say eight feet, on the lower end of which there will
be a simple slide or valve. Place one in or near each corner of the
room. Thus we have the means distributed for the ascent of the surplus
heat, and the animal heat of one hundred swarms is quite considerable,
and the great difficulty, if any, will be to keep our room cool enough.
To jump at the conclusion that a room with thin walls will accomplish
it, will not answer; the great difficulty is to have an even
temperature. As, if our walls are thin, the rays of the sun and warm air
will make the room too warm. In February, 1869, I was under the
necessity of doubling the thickness of a ten inch wall on the south

We also place a pipe or tube quite around the inside of the room upon
the floor or ground (a floor is quite unnecessary, worse than nothing,
for it makes a hiding place for rats and mice), this tube may be made of
foot boards, and inch holes bored in it, once in two feet, for the equal
distribution of the cold and fresh air, when needed. One end of this
pipe must pass through the wall, and must have a slide or valve at or
near the outer end.

If my room was at the bank or hill, the lower side or end will of
necessity be destitute of earth banking, and we would make the wall at
least sixteen inches, filled as above with some nonconducting substance,
and dry marsh muck is equal, if not superior, to almost any other
substance, except fine charcoal, and is easily procured.

A house built altogether upon a level surface, with the walls of
_sufficient thickness_, say eighteen or twenty inches, will be equally
good. The cost of such a house as I have described cannot be great.
Most, if not all the labor, can be performed by the apiarian.

This house will be found very convenient for many other purposes in the
spring and summer, in the various operations, to wit: in overhauling and
examining the bees in the spring, as a window sash may then be placed in
the top of one of the doors, and a stove placed within--thus I have one

When you suspect there may be a material change in the temperature of
the room, look to the thermometer; if too cold, close the valves, if too
warm open them more or less, as occasion may require; if that is not
sufficient, open the door after dark, and close it again before light,
and if that is not sufficient, throw in and spread over the floor a few
bushels of snow or pounded ice.

Many swarms will be benefited by being set out on their summer stands at
the time of the January thaw, or in February, those that are besmearing
their hives, that they may discharge themselves, which will cure most
cases of diarrhœa, or dysentery as it is called--though there are real
cases of diarrhœa, but not often.

Thus we have passed over the most essential points in the wintering of
bees. I will now proceed to give some, if not all of the necessary steps
in their management in the spring.

It is difficult to give the exact date at which they should be removed
to their summer stands, but whenever it is done, it is not at all
important that each swarm should be placed on the identical stand it had
the previous season, neither is this precaution necessary if set out in
the winter.

In removing them from the cellar, it will first be necessary to close up
the fly-hole and remove the chip or block from under the honey board--to
confine the bees in the hive.

Immediately after placing them upon their summer stands, if housed in
special depositories, and perhaps about the same time or a trifle
earlier if wintered out, the bottom boards should be cleaned of dead
bees and other filth, it saves the bees much labor and no doubt conduces
to their health.

As soon as they have become accustomed to their new location, one of the
most important operations in bee management becomes necessary, to wit,
the thorough examination of the swarm, for five purposes: First, to
ascertain if they have sufficient honey to carry them through; of this
we may judge with sufficient accuracy from the appearance of the
quantity. Be sure to leave them enough, as the breeding season is now
considerably advanced. We must also regard the size of the swarm, which
will, of course, include the quantity of brood now on hand. Secondly, to
see if they have too much honey. This reason is almost equally important
with the other; it could be hardly conceived by the novice how it was
possible that a swarm of bees could have too much honey. Well, we would
like to have you explain that, Mr. Lecturer, says one--I think many.
Well, be patient, my friends, and we will make the attempt. First, then,
we will suppose the breeding chamber of the hive is the proper size.
This involves the question as to what is the proper size. Well, there
are various opinions about it; but with some experience, aided by a few
simple figures, we may approximate to it. We may assume that a vigorous
and healthy queen can and will lay three thousand eggs a day; now, each
square inch of comb will contain fifty eggs, and fifty will go into
three thousand sixty times; it takes about twenty-one days for the eggs
to hatch; now twenty-one times sixty is one thousand two hundred and
sixty: this would be a solid mass of comb, larva and pupa; of a
necessity, then, we must add to the above one thousand two hundred and
sixty, half as much more room, six hundred and thirty inches, making the
inside of the hive one thousand eight hundred and ninety cubic inches.
It will be well to add say half an inch more to the depth of the hive,
as the bees seldom build combs to within half an inch of the bottom
board. Well, suppose the hive is fourteen inches each way (horizontal)
we would thus add ninety-eight inches more; this would give one thousand
nine hundred and eighty-eight, or for convenience, two thousand cubic
inches; two thousand two hundred and eighteen and one-fifth cubic inches
are a bushel, which is most commonly given as the proper size of the
hive. Now, our figures have given nearly that size, and worked
mathematically close, and giving a little leeway, our hive will hold
about a bushel. Let us recollect this is the room required for breeding
purposes. We added two hundred inches, and will suppose that will be
filled with pollen and honey; now, if these premises be correct, we
start in the spring with the size of our hive much reduced by being
filled with honey, as we have but two hundred cubic inches for that
purpose and the bee-bread. Can we now see that a swarm of bees may have
too much honey in the breeding chamber? Still we must leave enough at
this examination to carry them safe through till an abundant supply can
be obtained from the blossoms. Suppose, therefore, we leave from thirty
to fifty pounds of honey in the hive, is it not evident we have trenched
that amount of space upon the breeding territory? Then, if the season is
a good one for honey, this room is constantly being diminished by the
bees depositing honey in the cells as soon as the brood leaves, the
result of which will be your young swarms will be too small, and by
winter the old ones, for the want of breeding room, are too few to raise
sufficient animal heat to winter. Even if the proper amount only is left
in the hive in the spring, and the season is a good one for honey, the
hives should be examined, say the first day of August, and the outside
sheets that are filled with honey and have no brood in them, be removed,
and empty sheets or frames placed in the centre of the hive that the
queen may have more room.

Thirdly. We examine the hive to see if there is too much drone comb (and
any is too much in a large apiary) for if you remove all, the bees will
find means to raise drones enough, as in a hive with the ordinary
quantity there are probably enough for an apiary of fifty or
seventy-five swarms.

Fourthly. We examine the hive to determine if the queen is living, and
if so, if she may not be a drone layer. The question will be asked by
some how we determine if she is living, or is a drone layer. If there is
no queen there will be no brood, and _vice versa_, and if the brood be
_all_ drone, there would be no doubt of her being a drone layer. In
either case, the swarm should be doubled up with a swarm that has a
normal queen; the drone layer should first be killed.

Fifthly. In performing these examinations it is an excellent plan to
transfer each swarm to a clean hive, as the rabbets have often become
partially filled with propolis or gum, as are also the ends of the
frames covered with it, and sometimes the hive may want repairs.

We have seen that this examination is one of paramount necessity. The
better place to operate is perhaps in a room or place with a single
window, or a half window is better, and the room should be so warm that
the bees will not chill upon the window. It should be so arranged that
the bees that gather thereon may be frequently liberated; the weather
should be sufficiently mild for them to fly from the place to the hive.
A decoy hive should be set upon the stand, with a few pieces of comb in
it; the decoy hive should be of the same color as the one being operated
upon. An active person can examine twenty hives in a day with an
assistant. This examination may be performed out of door at the stands,
were it not for the fact that it is a season of the year when the
robbers are most persistent. In performing these operations, it will be
found advantageous to blow in a little smoke at the time of opening the

We now have our bees in clean hives with plenty of honey--not too
much--and without too much drone comb. But perhaps a few queens may have
died a natural death during the winter, or there may be some drone
layers. In either case, the bees should be put with another swarm. This
may done in various ways; the safest, perhaps, for the uninitiated,
would be to drive the swarm from the hive without a queen into the
other, by first blowing in a little smoke, also sprinkle in a trifle of
scented syrup, and then drumming; and after they are driven the swarm
had better be removed to a perfectly dark room or cellar say for a week,
or remove them to a distance of at least a mile for a week. This
removing should be done instanter. An additional precaution would be to
place the one hive above the other preparatory to driving, with a wire
cloth between them, say for forty-eight hours, that each may have the
same scent.

It is often the case that many swarms are small in the spring; then
comes the question, what is it best to do with them? I am of the opinion
that the better plan is to feed them, to stimulate the queen to
breeding. Commencing the 15th of March, give the swarm from three to
four tablespoonfuls of honey every day, or every other day, except the
days they gather from flowers, will answer; but they must be watched
closely to see if they have plenty of honey in the combs for their
brood, and they consume much more than we would suspect; as, for
illustration, suppose a hive to be filled with larva capped over, can
any person tell me how that amount or mass of animal matter can be
brought into that form without an equivalent in weight of liquid sweet
(honey or sugar syrup) and pollen, for which we substitute in our
stimulating process in the spring unbolted rye flour, placed where it
will be protected from wind and water. They may be easily enticed to it
by placing a little honey in the vessel.

Another method of procedure is to double up the weak ones. Another still
is to equalize them by taking a sheet of brood that is hatching from a
large swarm and giving it to the small one.

One of these methods is very important, as after all the apparent secret
of bee management the greatest secret lies in keeping the swarms strong.

The bees in small swarms are all compelled to stay at home to keep up
sufficient animal heat to keep the brood warm, perhaps scarcely
gathering honey enough to stimulate the queen to lay; and if she did
lay up to her full capacity, there are not bees enough to keep the brood

Another advantage in having strong swarms is to avoid the miller or wax

I lay down the proposition that the moth _never materially injured a
good swarm_ in a decently made hive.

In this connection, I lay down another proposition, that without some
explanation may seem as strange as the one above alluded to, (that a
swarm of bees may have too much honey.) I think I may assert that the
moth is or may be an advantage. We always act from one or more motives
moving us to a particular point. Amongst other things, I stated that the
moth never _materially_ injured a _good_ swarm of bees. Now, one of the
requisites of a good one is strength. Let us see if the moth may not be
an advantage. Most bee-keepers have had in their yard say at least two
swarms of that size that all they could do would be to get themselves
into good condition as to numbers and stores for the coming winter,
without giving the owner a young swarm or an ounce of surplus honey, and
at the same time they were very much exposed to the moth and stood a
good chance to be destroyed by them, because there are not bees enough
to guard the unprotected combs.

Now, we will put these two swarms together, and see what the result will
be; we will have a swarm strong enough to guard against the moth, strong
enough to keep a large quantity of brood warm, by which it will be
strong enough to throw off a swarm in good season, and if it is a fair
season for honey we may expect twenty-five pounds of surplus honey from
the mother swarm. And what have we lost? a queen. The comb we will
preserve in a cool, dry place, and give them to the young swarm. Has the
moth in this view been a benefit?

We have now our hives properly examined, those that need it fed, the
honey taken away if too much, the queenless doubled up, the weak
stimulated, equalized or doubled up. There are now but few things to be
done, the hive should be made as tight as possible with no upward
ventilation, the fly-hole opened but a trifle, and as the swarm
increases, which we can determine by the steam, or rather dampness, on
the bottom board at the fly-hole in the morning, we will enlarge the

We will next place a trough in the centre of the yard and keep water in
it, and to prevent the drowning of the bees will cover its surface with
corn-cobs, and occasionally exchange them for fresh ones as they become
sour in time.

Now we feel pretty sure thus far we have warded off that scare crow,

I think of but one other duty we can perform for our and their benefit,
that is within the task assigned me, to wit, that of placing the surplus
honey boxes on the hive. Mr. Quinby, I think is the only writer that
tells us the proper time, namely, when the hive is full of brood and
honey below. As they only go into the boxes for the want of room below,
and not always then, they should not be put on much sooner, as it
enlarges the space to be kept warm by the animal heat, _all of which is
needed up to that time_.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Wintering Bees.

MR. EDITOR:--I believe the inventors of all hives claim--each for his
special invention--better wintering qualities “than any other hive in
use.” But many of them, after being tested, prove to be no better than
any old common hive, from the fact that they are not constructed on the
right principle. When I constructed the hive described in the Journal
for July, it was my intention to make it one of the best for wintering
bees that had ever been devised; and I have yet to find the man who has
seen and examined it, who says it is not upon the right principle for
that purpose. If we can have a hive constructed on the right principle
for successful wintering of bees, storing honey, and allowing of as much
room for surplus honey-boxes as the largest stock needs, it is certainly
an improvement over anything yet constructed in the shape of a bee-hive.
I claim that my hive combines more good qualities and fewer _bad_ ones,
than any hive now extant.

When I commenced to write, I did not intend to say anything in favor of
this hive. Those who have used it will say enough in its favor. I will
now give my plan for wintering bees in it, which I can do in very few
words; and it will not take longer to prepare one of them for wintering,
than it will to read this article.

First, make the winter passages through the combs. This I do by taking a
stick twenty inches long and three-fourths of an inch wide, made sharp
at one end, and slowly worm it through the combs, from front to rear of
the hive. If a hive be examined, twenty-four hours after this has been
done, the bores will be found as round and as smooth as though the bees
had made them. Next remove the board from the top of the brood chamber,
and cover the frames with any old rug, coat, or woolen cloth of any
kind; and, although it is not necessary, it will be found a good plan to
remove the sides of the brood chamber, and cover them the same as the
top; or they can be covered with cotton cloth, leaving the surplus box
holes open as a means of ventilation, and at the same time keeping the
bees confined to the combs and from going into the outer hive. I did not
remove the woolen cloths from the tops of my hives this season, and the
only ventilation my hives have had during the _very_ hot weather was
through the entrance. There was no melting down of combs as in the
shallow form of the Langstroth hive.

The entrance should be closed during the winter, so as to leave only
about one inch space between the blocks. A stock of bees will not
smother in this hive, even if it be covered up in snow all winter; but
the ventilating holes in the cap must be left open during the winter. In
most of the hives sent out, I left a hole in front of the brood chambers
to make the winter passages through.

In the spring the brood chamber can be lifted off the bottom boards and
cleaned of bees and droppings; and I have done this without even
disturbing the bees.

Three years ago I gave a plan for wintering bees in the shallow form of
Langstroth hive. Many who tested that plan, have written to me that it
worked well. I think the plan a good one, and hope some one who has a
copy of it will send it to the editor of the Journal to have it
republished. I will guarantee that all who try it will be pleased with
the plan.


  _Wenham, Mass._, August, 1870.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Italian Queens.

I wish to thank the Rev. E. L. Briggs for his excellent article upon the
permanency and purity of Italian bees, published in the August number of
the Bee Journal, although I cannot concur in all his conclusions, nor
accept some portions of his theory; but it is on a subject that will
soon be of absorbing interest to every bee-keeper.

To the central idea of his article, that our aim should be _perfection_,
undoubtedly all will cordially assent, while few will adopt it
practically, for obvious reasons. Bee-keepers, as a class, have neither
time, taste, nor inclination to attain the highest results in this
direction; though they will seek to improve their stock, provided it can
be done cheaply and without much trouble. It is well known that a
_cross_--all things being equal--invariably improves stock. It therefore
follows that the introduction of impure Italians even, will have a
beneficial effect and thus help the matter, if for no other reason than
simply crossing and mixing the blood.

Mr. Briggs will admit that comparatively few persons will pay $8.00 or
more for tested queens to breed from or to Italianize their stocks with.
And until such queens of undoubted purity can be afforded at a much
lower price than that, the great mass of bee-keepers will continue to
regard well marked Italian queens at $2.50 each, as a great blessing,
inasmuch as they vastly improve the general status of the bee, even if
not quite reaching the point of perfection.

Mr. Alley, to whom Mr. Briggs refers, has furnished me with queens
perfectly satisfactory, being as finely marked as any I ever saw, and
their workers and daughters are “chips of the old block.” Certainly the
introduction of such blood will not cause deterioration in all or any of
those qualities that a progressive bee-keeper delights in. It is
pleasant to have bees gentle and harmless; but when that quality is
obtained at the expense of activity in breeding or working, it becomes
an unprofitable luxury.

The question that is so often asked--“Are pure Italians superior to
hybrids, as workers and breeders?” must be satisfactorily settled by
breeders of pure Italians, before bee-keepers generally will accept
fully the conclusions of Mr. Briggs.

My own experience has satisfied me that hybrids are far superior to the
pure Italians, in every quality save that of gentleness. Possibly my
queens may not have been absolutely pure, yet they conform to the best
marks as described by Quinby and others. Those of my stocks that are
unquestionably hybrid have given the best satisfaction in every respect.
Others assure me of similar experience. Will some one explain this fact?

In view of it all, I can but regard a general crossing of Italians and
blacks, as of immense advantage to bees and bee-keepers, and I hope and
trust that friend Alley will continue to distribute, far and near, by
scores and hundreds, those large, prolific and beautiful queens at $2.50


  _Winterport, Me._, Aug. 4, 1870.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [For the American Bee Journal.]


MR. EDITOR:--Criticisms based on substantial facts, courteously worded,
made in a spirit of kindness and a desire to benefit the world, are
opportune and of great value. But when made merely for the purpose of
“showing off,” or of filling up space in an article, thereby damaging
the reputation of any person without just cause, based on no facts, and
unsupported by even a shadow of proof, they tend to mislead, and are an
injury to the author, the person criticised, and the public generally.

On page 38 of the August No. of the Journal in an article written by Mr.
E. L. Briggs, is a direct attack on one of your correspondents, who for
years has been engaged in the queen-breeding business, and who, by
devoting his whole time thereto, is enabled to supply his customers at
very low prices. And the only cause given for this attack is that he
supplies the bee fraternity at $2.50 for a warranted queen, and has four
hundred orders at that price.

Now if Mr. Alley can afford to rear queens and sell them at $2.50, and
his customers do not find fault, whose business is it? And is it just
the thing for any one to assume that his queens are not pure, without
showing the proof thereof? I think not.

As to Mr. Alley and his reputation as a man and a dealer in queens, I
will say, in order that the many readers of your Journal who do not know
him, may get at the facts, that I have for a long time been personally
acquainted with him, and have always found him just and honorable in his
dealings. I also know that he takes great pains to obtain the best stock
to breed from, by purchasing imported queens, and continually procuring
from reputable dealers, such queens as are of known purity, in order to
avoid too close breeding. These facts, in connection with the fact that
he is in a locality where all the bees, for miles around his apiary,
have been Italianized by him, show whether the assumed idea in Mr.
Briggs’ article has a shadow of foundation. Now, shall any one of the
queen-raising brotherhood assume that a man is a sharper who sells
queens for $2.50, without proving that the purchasers thereof have been
swindled? For one, I answer no! And if I can buy pure queens of Mr.
Alley for $2.50, I shall not send to Mr. Briggs, and pay him from $8 to
$10, even for his four or more banded mothers.

I have written this article in justice to Mr. Alley, and could if
necessary bring any amount of proof to substantiate it; but thinking
this enough, I remain always for the right.

  J. E. POND, JR.

  _Foxborough, Mass._, Aug. 8, 1870.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

About Italian Queens, &c.

Mr. E. L. Briggs seems to pitch into cheap queen raisers, and Alley in
particular (at least so Alley understands it, although he mentions no
names). I cannot let such remarks pass unnoticed. I would have Mr.
Briggs understand that I spare no pains to procure the best breeding
queens imported into this country. I have paid from $5 to $20 and
upwards for Italian queens, and have never as yet found among my
purchases when received any queens superior to those of my own raising.
My only object in purchasing queens, is to avoid in-and-in breeding. I
am very careful to select the largest, handsomest, and most prolific
queens to breed from, both for young queens and drones. I do not doubt
that I ship queens now and then that are not up to the standard, and so
do all other breeders who do not test their queens before sending. But
in every case, I will send other queens, or give satisfaction in some
way. The stock I now have produce as large, prolific, and handsome
queens as Mr. B. or any other man ever saw. Any queen that I send out is
worth all I charge for her, even if she has perchance mated with a black
drone. I pay the highest figure for my breeding queens, and now have
queens of my own raising that I would not sell for fifty dollars. If Mr.
B. would like to purchase some Italian queens, and thinks they would be
any better by paying eight or ten dollars for them, instead of two
dollars and a half, I can accommodate him in that line; and if he has
any such queens as he describes, I will take the lot at the price he has
stated, viz.: eight or ten dollars. Now here is a chance for a trade! I
know that some bee-keepers think that my queens are not worth much,
because I sell them so low: but if it will do them any good to know how
it is that I can afford to sell at such low prices, I will make it

I have all I can do in the summer to raise queens and reply to all the
letters I receive; and I find it quite business enough to keep two
hundred (200) nucleus hives in full operation. Talk about boasting of
orders for four hundred queens! Why I have orders for more than seven
hundred on my books, and they are still coming in by every mail. I was
expecting to raise and ship one thousand queens this season, but cannot
do it. My orders began to come in as early as last December, and one man
ordered fifty as early as last March. Nearly all the orders I have
received this season came from persons I supplied last season, and their
friends who have seen my stock in the apiaries of former purchasers. I
have plenty of letters speaking in the highest terms of my queens; and
many of them, like Dr. Barnard, say they are much better than those
they paid twenty dollars for. Let me say here that I sent Dr. B. his
queens last fall, and the first I heard from him since, I saw in the
American Bee Journal--it was of course no pre-arranged plan for him to
blow Mr. Alley’s stock of Italians.

I paid a certain party in June last ten dollars for a queen. A few days
ago I received her, and I may safely say I never shipped a queen as poor
in appearance. Nor was there any excuse for the party sending me such a
queen, as she was raised last season and was taken from a full stock
when sent to me. I guarantee to send out just as good queens for two
dollars and a half.

I do not want the reader to suppose that this article is intended as an
advertisement. That is far from my design; but I feel obliged to make
this statement in self defence.

Last winter I read an advertisement in a western paper, from the pen of
a high-price queen dealer, in which he said that he did not believe that
good queens could be raised and sold for $2.50. Now, the same person has
advertised them at a figure even lower than that. I can afford to raise
and sell good pure queens for the price I am charging, and mean to do so
as long as I can find purchasers for them, which judging from the demand
for them, will be some time yet.

I have, within a few weeks, bought seven queens from some of these
high-priced queen breeders, none of which are any larger or handsomer
than the stock I now have; nor do I believe that their progeny will
prove to be any better. Only this morning I received three queens from
such a breeder, two of which I returned by the next mail. I do not want
any stock of that kind.

I do not know who Mr. Briggs is, nor whether he is “blowing” for himself
or not; and I do not understand his object in sending such an article to
the Journal as appeared last month over his name. If he intends to build
up a trade at the expense of other people by underrating their stock, I,
for one, would like to know it.

I have plenty of letters from purchasers, “blowing up” some of these
high-price queen breeders; and I presume they have some of the same
kind, giving Alley what he deserves and perhaps more than is due to him.
But let that be as it may, all I have to say is this--if any man has a
queen purchased from Alley, that he does not like, let him return her at
once, or ever after hold his peace.

Mr. Langstroth has written to me several times that they never yet
imported a queen that would invariably duplicate herself. Who is the
best authority on this point--Mr. L. or Mr. B.? I have this information
not only from Mr. L., but from other importers also. I know nothing
about Morgan mares nor of certain breeds of pigs; but I have several
years’ experience with Italian bees, and profess to know something about
them. Those who breed Italian queens, and charge high prices for them
too, will acknowledge that not more than one queen in fifty is as good
as those which Mr. B. has pictured in the last number of the Journal;
and he may bet a high figure that no worker bee in the country ever
showed four bands. This article has grown pretty long, and I do wish Mr.
B. would stir one up when the weather is cooler, and we have more
leisure for rejoinder--say next winter.


  _Wenham, Mass._, Aug. 8, 1870.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [For the American Bee Journal]

Bees in Central New Hampshire.

The limited number of bee-keepers that are found in this section of the
country is sufficient evidence that the securing of honey is not here
regarded as the royal road to wealth. Many a farmer may have some four
or five hives, which are but a small taxation upon his time. From them
he is furnished with a luxury which if not secured in this manner,
probably no money would purchase.

Last year, (1869,) we secured five hundred pounds in boxes--beginning in
the spring with twelve colonies. The harvest began on the 14th or 15th
of June, and closed the 16th of July. The season was considered by
bee-keepers generally in this section of the country, as being a very
poor one. But few hives yielded any surplus honey, save those that
received extra attention.

On the 12th of November we placed fifteen colonies in the cellar, where
they remained till the 9th of April, 1870. In our opinion, proper
ventilation is the necessary lesson to learn in order to secure success;
and every man should be fully persuaded in his own mind what course is
best for him to pursue. We have had some experience with corn-cobs,
paper coverings, wire screens, straw mats, and old carpets. With us, the
last of these articles proves to be the most satisfactory.

Thirteen colonies passed the five months incarceration and came out
fresh and fair. The remaining two nearly failed us, as we attempted to
have them live without much change of air. Those hives from which we
removed the honey-boards and covered the frames with two thicknesses of
good woolen carpets, all came out in the spring beautifully neat and
clean. We shall anticipate the same favorable results for the coming

As the surplus honey harvest for 1870 has already passed, we can begin
to count our actual gains. Comb-building began about the first of June,
and ceased the first week in July. Since that date very little honey has
been deposited in the boxes, even when the bees were furnished with nice
frames of comb. The white clover blossomed very profusely, and ripened
rapidly, and the bees were thus soon deprived of their largest and best
harvest field.

Thus far we have secured somewhat over four hundred pounds of No. 1
honey, and shall probably realize enough more to make _five hundred_
pounds, when all the boxes are removed and the hives taken up that are
not wanted for winter. Thus far we have not succeeded so well as we have
wished in combining colonies. We would not destroy any with brimstone,
because that is so very unkind; but when we add colony to colony many
bees will kill each other. Tobacco smoke and fragrant waters have at
times failed to produce harmony of feeling. Perhaps it would be better
to sell the colonies we do not wish to keep.

We have, however, reason to be thankful for the sweet blessing we have
already received, and are also thankful that our friends, west and
south, are having such bountiful returns.

Dear Editor, we have just returned from a visit to the school. The
scholars were engaged in reading their themes, it being Saturday
afternoon. Among the many subjects, one little girl had selected the
Honey Bee. It interested us so much that we have taken the liberty to
send you a copy, that you may see what one of our little Shaker girls,
nine years of age, has written


“I love bees, because they make honey; but I do not love them sometimes,
because they sting me, and that I do not like, though I like their
honey. I have felt a sting from a honey bee, and I never want to have
one again, for I know how it feels. It smarts well, indeed it does. A
bee is like a little girl, because it does good when it wants to, and
when it does not it will sting you. Now, scholars, I will just tell you
not to ’flict a bee, if you don’t want it to sting you. It is like a
girl, for if you ’flict her, she will be unkind to you, and you must not
’flict her. This is all I have to write about the bee.”--C.

The Journal as a welcome visitor arrives while we are engaged writing
this communication; and the pages tell of great and precious treasures.
As time passes on we hope to be able to write of more bountiful
harvests. We have in anticipation the simon pure Italian Bee, to take
the place of our blacks and hybrids; and extended fields of Alsike
clover, instead of the antiquated red. In that day of bounty and beauty,
we shall hope to write temptingly to our worthy editor.


  H. C. BLINN.

  _Shaker Village, N. H._, Aug. 1870.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Natural, Prolific, Hardy Queens.


(_Continued from July Number, page 11._)

In early spring, or at any time desirable, proceed to stimulate a
selected colony with liquid feed. “Warm syrup or strained honey, is the
best for the purpose;” placing alternately empty combs or combs full of
brood, from other hives, until your hive is full; or by the removal of
one or more colonies, on each side of the selected one, the worker bees
from one or more hives, can be thrown into the selected hive, and so
stimulate the swarming fever or impulse. Proceed now as recommended in
the July number, page 11, when the bees will commence building queen
cells. The bee-keeper will thus secure from ten to sixty queen cells per
week. During my experiments, each weekly robbing only stimulated the
bees to greater exertions to secure a queen. Proceed thus until the
desired number of queen cells are secured, or the bees swarm. If they
should swarm before a sufficient number of queen cell’s are secured,
and it is desirable to still breed from the same queen, secure her and
introduce her to a colony that has not swarmed, and proceed as before.
Or, better still, introduce her to a colony making preparations to
swarm. Before introducing her, destroy all queen cells that have eggs or
larva in them; then cell building will proceed as before. A swarm under
the swarming impulse will communicate it to a strange queen introduced
to them; or a queen under the swarming impulse, “and not satisfied,”
will communicate it to any populous colony to which she may be


  _Buffalo Grove, Iowa._

       *       *       *       *       *

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Natural and prolific hardy Queens.

We are all more or less disposed to regard our own ideas as

Mr. Quinby for example, praises his new hive, and his queen yard. I have
experimented with both, and both are now in my barn, waiting to be split
up for kindling wood.

Mr. John M. Price, in the July number of the Bee Journal, condemns all
artificially raised queens. But _rassurez vous_, friend queen-breeders,
I come to prove to friend Price, that he has misconceived the reason of
his bad luck in raising artificial queens.

When I commenced to introduce Italian bees in my apiary, six years ago,
I received from one of our best queen-breeders a very nice looking
queen. She was very yellow from the waist to the tip of the abdomen.
Well, I raised a number of queens to get drones, and next season I
raised some more, from the same queen, to replace the misallied queens.
But lo, one-fourth of my young queens were either crippled, or drone
laying, or laying non-hatching eggs. Yet these queens were as yellow as
their mother, and it seemed as if the brighter they looked, the poorer
they were.

Then my first imported queens came. They were not yellow, but dark. The
first rings of the abdomen were leather-colored, the last were entirely
black or nearly so. I wrote to Dr. Blumhof, reproaching him for having
sent me so dark queens. He replied that all the healthier queens in
Italy are dark, and that it was well ascertained there, that the
light-colored queens were not so good as the dark. The light-colored
queens, added the Doctor, seem to have the chlorosis. Prof. Mona told
the same thing to Mr. A. Grimm, when he was in Italy. See _American Bee
Journal_, vol. III. From this we can guess that the selecting of the
brightest yellow queens for breeders, is one of the causes of the
failure of the queens raised. But in-and-in breeding is another, and
according to my experience, a main cause of weakness.

As soon as my first imported queens were on hand, I commenced raising
queens from them, and from that time forward I raised artificial queens
every year from newly imported queens. Those queens mate with drones
from queens of the preceding year’s importation, and so on. I do not
care for the color of these queens, but not one of them is crippled or
proves to be a poor layer.

My five best stocks this year, all have artificial queens. Three of
these queens are with swarms of last year. I hived them in one of friend
Price’s hives. These swarms are better than the three original stocks
they came from, though these latter have raised natural queens in the
height of the swarming season, as friend Price prefers they should. The
five stocks referred to gave me from seventy to one hundred pounds each,
of box honey. I suppose I should be thought very _exigeant_ if I were
not content with such results, in so dry a season as this.

Why does friend Price imagine that artificially raised queens are not so
good as natural ones? Probably, because the bees, in order to obtain
queens sooner, chose grubs already several days old, instead of
selecting newly laid eggs, from which to raise queens. I have watched
that very closely, and could see no appreciable difference. A stock
rendered queenless will raise queens maturing at different periods, some
hatching in from nine to twelve or fourteen days, and sometimes not till
sixteen days after. If the above theory were correct, the earlier
hatching queens should be the poorer, for they come from grubs three or
four days old. Yet such is not the case--those queens are as good as

If that theory proved to be true, it would still be an easy matter to
prevent the evil results apprehended. We could destroy the two or three
first-capped queen cells; or force the bees to raise queens from the
egg, by a method far more easy than friend Price’s. Insert in your
chosen stock a frame, containing empty worker comb, placing it between
two frames containing brood. In three days, if the bees find honey in
the fields, the cells of the worker comb will be supplied with eggs.
Then remove the queen and all the brood combs, except the one containing
the eggs. The bees will thus have eggs only from which to raise queens,
and _all_ your young queens will necessarily be started _ab ovo_. I
guess this method is as good as, and more simple than, that of friend

I am not a queen-breeder. That business does not suit me, for it is a
source of too much vexation. I have repeatedly imported queens, but I
lost money and suffered so much in that business, that I think my
sufferings will pay for all my sins in the other world. I am thus
altogether disinterested in this matter of breeding queens.

On this topic, my advice to apiarians is--

1st. Do not look for yellow queens, for they are not as good as dark

2d. Take care to avoid too close in-and-in breeding.

Let us also remark, that many bee-keepers find that the half-blood
Italian bees, are better than the pure ones. Why? Simply because the
in-and-in breeding the race of their queens was subject to for some
generations, was broken by the alliance with black drones. But the
alliance of the Italian queens with Italian drones remotely bred, would
doubtless give as good progeny, while preserving the purity of the

Let us remark also, that Nature in ordering for the queens the wedding
flight, obviously had in view the avoidance of in-and-in breeding.

3d. Choose the colony having the purest queen, and the most fertile,
from which to provide the queens cells, and distribute in small nuclei
when sealed. No matter if the queen is dark. In good seasons the queens
raised in small nuclei are as good as those raised in full stocks.


  _Hamilton, Ills._, July 24, 1870.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Artificial Queens.

In the July No. of the Journal. Mr. John M. Price contributed an article
on “Natural, Hardy and Prolific Queens,” which was no doubt his
conviction of the truth of the matter at the time; but as it does not
agree with my experience, I will give the other side of the question.

If I understand his theory, it is that queens reared in stocks deprived
of their queen when not under the “swarming impulse,” are smaller, less
prolific and shorter lived than what are termed _natural queens_. I am
fully aware that Mr. Price does not stand alone on said theory, and yet
I believe it to be an error.

For the sake of distinguishing, we will state that queens bred in full
stocks from which the mother queen led forth a swarm, or queens which
were _started_ while the old queen remained in the hive, are _natural_
queens, and all others _artificial_. I have both kinds in my apiary, and
have had for several years, and can see no difference in their size,
beauty, fertility or longevity. I have repeatedly kept artificial queens
until they were three years old, and had one very prolific queen which
died in March last, being then three years and nine months old. I left
her as an experiment, to see what age she would attain; but my practice
is to remove queens in their second or third year. Of course a few die
before they are two years old, for they are not exempt from the ills
that bee “flesh is heir to.” But that four or five in succession should
pass off the stage of action in a single stock in one season, is
something before unheard of. I do not know what effect brother P.’s
revolvable, reversible, double-cased hive _might_ have upon the tender
life of a young queen; but it seems to have been most disastrous, for we
have no such work here in the old Keystone State.

It is a matter of very great importance in the success of an apiary,
that our stocks are supplied with the _right kind_ of queens, and in
order to effect this desirable result, something more is necessary to a
full understanding of the subject, than simply to know that bees, when
deprived of their queen, will attempt to supply her place. I find little
difficulty in rearing _fine_ queens, with the following conditions: 1st.
a suitable queen mother; 2d. fair weather and good pasturage; 3d. a full
stock, in which honey and pollen are abundant (not a nucleus where
starvation stares them in the face). It is a settled point with me, that
the production of queens is a matter wholly under the control of the
worker bees; and we lack evidence that a queen _ever_ lays an egg in a
royal cell. If the bee is guided by instinct _alone_, and the production
of a queen depended on the depositing of a _peculiar_ egg by the queen
in a royal cell (an egg, differing from the worker or drone eggs), it
would follow that, on the loss or removal of the queen when no such eggs
existed in the hive, no young queens could be produced.

Small queens may be produced in nuclei where the requisite food is
limited, and where from want of bees the larva is exposed to repeated
changes of temperature, which is detrimental. When reared in full stocks
in times of great scarcity, nearly the same results follow.

There is another important point, namely the _proper age_ for the mother
bee. In breeding all our domestic animals, regard is always had (and
wisely we think) to the age of the parents. It may be thought that the
life of the bee is so short that it would allow but little latitude in
this direction; but it should not be forgotten that the queen usually
lives three and sometimes four years, during which time there is
doubtless a period of fertility and hardiness, or power of endurance,
not common to the whole of her life. Just what that period is, I am not
prepared to say; but the rapid advancement of apiarian science will
doubtless solve the problem. I am satisfied, however, that queens bred
from _young_ queens are not equal, in several desirable points, to those
bred from mothers a year old. In experimenting with black bees, I became
satisfied on this point several years ago. I have never known a _young_
black queen, after becoming fertile, to lead out a swarm, no matter how
populous the stock might be; and indeed apiarians have considered it the
best method of preventing swarming, in order to secure surplus honey, to
remove the old queen and install one of the current year. (It is ahead
of Quinby’s queen yard). We reason from this, that their instinct
teaches them that they are _unfit_ for queen mothers. This would not,
perhaps, hold good in the high temperature of southern latitudes, which
tends to the earlier maturity of all animal life. With the Italian bees
it is somewhat different, for young queens produce drone eggs, and they
do sometimes lead out swarms, yet they are not so liable to do so as
older queens.

Mr. Aaron Benedict tells us he produced six generations of queens in a
single season, but does not give us the result, further than that he
thought he improved his bees in color.

I am not surprised that the men who raise queens from March to October,
have cheap queens and sell them by the hundred. But I am one to say that
no genuine lover of our pets who duly considers consequences, would
proceed thus. And now, Mr. Editor, I wish to say in conclusion, that of
my 125 queens about one-fourth are _natural_ and the balance artificial
queens, and if Mr. Price, or “any other man” will, upon examination,
decide correctly, by size or fertility (amount of brood), which are of
the former and which of the latter class, he may pick out ten as large
and yellow queens as he _ever saw_, and I will make him a present of the
same, and will warrant that, if artificial, they shall be as productive
as he wishes them.

NB.--I have no cheap queens for sale.


  _Youngsville, Pa._, Aug. 8, 1870.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [For the American Bee Journal.]


DEAR BEE JOURNAL:--That flood of honey that was driving us so, when we
last wrote you, has ceased, and we are having a resting spell.

About the 18th of July the basswood failed, and we were obliged to
desist, mostly on account of the neighbors’ black bees desperately
attempting to rob our hives when we opened them. In fact, the upper
stories of our Langstroth hives are all full now, but before we can
empty two hives the black bees are so thick as to threaten
demoralization to our whole apiary. Though the Italians will sometimes
sting a pint of them to death around a single hive, not an Italian can
be found among the slain.

In spite of all this, to which we have repeatedly called the attention
of others, many are busy in accusing the Italians of driving the
innocent common bees out of the land. One neighbor in particular, who
cannot afford to take the Bee Journal, has been very busy in telling how
our Italians have taken all his surplus honey, and had he not used
_great_ care, they would have carried off all his honey, hives, bees and

It was in this way. He came to us one day, quite excited, saying that
our Italians were robbing his bees at a great rate--even some new swarms
in movable frame hives that we had let him have, (not to mention several
hours’ verbal instruction and the attempt to answer all questions
pertaining to bee-culture at once).

“But that is impossible,” said we.

“Can’t you believe me when I tell you so?” inquired he, angrily.

“We will go with you and see.”

On the way the conversation was resumed, thus:

“You are sure you left no hives open, nor anything sweet around?”

“Nothing of the kind.”

“When did the robbing commence?”

“In the morning.”

“Have you taken off your surplus honey yet?”

“Took it off this morning.”

“Where is it,” stopping in our walk.

“_In the orchard, on a table._”

“Covered up?”

“No, I left it open to let the bees go out. The boxes were full of them,
and I could not get them out.”

“Are they there now?”


“Now, C----, why in th---- did you not do as we were very careful to
tell you, and put the honey in a large box with a white cloth spread
over it, to be turned over every hour or two?”

“Well, it was too much trouble, and I did not suppose it would make much

Of course we found boxes that had held about forty pounds, empty, and
oh, such music! There _were_ Italians there too, but we estimated
nine-tenths black bees to one-tenth yellow-banded ones. Without giving
the particulars, we may say that we have since heard that our bees had
robbed him of sixty, and then eighty pounds, and we don’t know what it
will amount to in the end.

The whole quantity of honey taken out by us this season, is now six
thousand one hundred and sixty-two (6,162) pounds. Of this we sold over
two thousand (2,000) pounds, in June and July, for thirty cents per
pound, jars and all. The jars do not cost us as much, in the end, as

How does that figure, in comparison with box honey?

Besides this, our forty-six (46) colonies have been increased to
sixty-four (64); and as the upper frames are all full, and we have more
bees than the hives will hold, we propose to raise queens this fall and
make swarms of the upper stories, perhaps eighteen (18) more.

How many of our co-workers in the melextractor field have had trouble
with heavy new combs breaking down in hot weather? Well, listen to our
plan of putting them back. Throw away your splints, wires, strings, &c.,
and simply lay all the pieces of comb, full of honey or not, on a board
the size of your frame; put the frame over it in place, and then set the
whole in the upper part of some hive over night where the bees have
access. In the morning turn the whole up in proper position, and slide
your board away, and as soon as the bees have repaired that side too, it
is ready for the melextractor.

Mr. Price says Novice’s feeder will not answer for thin syrup. We are
afraid he has not tried one. Use new strong cloth, and there is no
trouble at all in feeding maple sap or even pure water.

Why is it that we can never have any success in trying to build up a
stock by feeding? For instance--We commenced putting the cappings, after
being drained, strainer utensils, &c., in the top of a hive to be
“licked off.” As the hive was handy, we kept them busy, and one other,
most of the time. Do you suppose it built them up? Not at all! While
other stocks were bringing home from six to eight pounds a day, and
building comb rapidly, these two could not “lick up” half that; and,
further, would build no comb at all until we stopped their “rations” and
saved our “trash” until the honey season was over.


  August 9, 1870.

       *       *       *       *       *

Colonies that are overstocked with honey in August, should have some of
it removed, either by the honey extractor or by sliding off the caps and
laying the combs on a dish, to allow the honey to drain out of the cells
of the sides alternately. When thus partially emptied, the comb should
be returned to the hive.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Bee-culture--East and West.

MR. EDITOR:--I think the time has fully come when your correspondent
“NOVICE”--that notable personage of whom we have so often read, and
whose plans and acts have so often fired our brain with new resolutions
and determinations to at least _try_ to “go and do likewise”--should,
hereafter and evermore, drop that simple title, and sign himself ADEPT,
EXPERT, or some other name a little more suggestive of the manner in
which he seems to “swing things” of late.

FIVE THOUSAND (5,000) pounds of clover honey, in about one month, from
forty-six (46) colonies of bees! That will do! Let’s all go west. No use
in trying to raise honey here any longer![2]

Why, Mr. Editor, in our locality this is simply impossible. That amount
of honey is not to be had within the flight of our bees. Still, we seem
to have flowers enough. Is the country overstocked? There are probably
not more than 150 swarms, our own included, within a circle of one mile
from our place. All of our pastures seem covered with white clover in
its season; and it lasted, in many places, this season, until buckwheat
came into bloom. The old raspberry is said to be an excellent honey
producing plant, and its cultivation for bee pasturage is often
recommended. There are hundreds of acres of it, within the flight of our
bees, already covered with this plant. Basswood grows wild here, to some
extent; and probably there are one hundred trees near enough to be
visited by our bees. Buckwheat is also grown considerably--say fifty
acres, this season, within easy reach. Aside from this, there are many
scattering flowers in bloom at different times, from which honey can be
extracted. And yet, of late, it is not one year in five that surplus
honey is obtained from any other source than buckwheat.

I have this season increased our number of colonies from thirteen to
twenty-nine, wholly by artificial swarming; but shall expect no surplus
of any consequence.

While walking through a pasture field one day this season, where bees
seemed to be working freely upon white clover, I undertook the job of
watching a bee, in order to ascertain how many clover heads were visited
by her while collecting one load of honey. Selecting a bee that looked
quite empty and had no pollen on her legs, I commenced the count. How
long she had already been there, I, of course, did not know, but I kept
my eye upon her until she left the _five hundred and eighty-second_
clover head. Then she flew over some weeds, and I lost sight of her.
Whether she then left for home, or not, I do not know. The time occupied
by her in making this number of visits, was just one hour. Now, I do not
think that this shows a very bountiful yield of honey, even though
plenty of flowers exist. This bee visited the same clover head several
times, while I was watching her.

If it was not for our fall pasturage of buckwheat, as slim as it is,
bee-keeping would, in this section, be “played out,” as more honey is
usually obtained from this, than from _all other sources combined_. It
may be different in the western and southern parts of the State; but, so
far as I am acquainted, I certainly think Pennsylvania is not the best
place in the world for producing honey.


  _Factoryville, Pa._, Aug. 10, 1870.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Form of Hive, and Feeding Bees.

I object to a low and flat shape of hive, for reasons which I shall
assign. I will first state, however, that a hive of bees without
provision for the retention of animal heat, is as helpless as a new born
babe without raiment. Take, as an example, a hive twelve inches square,
containing an oblong square perpendicular, and the frames to suit in
size and shape. Your combs say eighteen inches in depth perpendicular,
and twelve inches wide. The bees, in order to hatch brood, as the
weather becomes warm in the spring, will cluster at the larva end of
said combs, and keep up the temperature from bottom to top, because of
two combined reasons, the combs being the long way perpendicular, and
the natural tendency of heat being to rise, it ascends throughout the
entire length of the combs, and thus the proper temperature is attained
throughout the hive. It is a settled principle too, that a given
quantity or number of bees can produce animal heat only sufficient in
amount to rarify the air in a given space to a given temperature. Take,
for example, a low flat hive, with combs say eighteen inches long
horizontal, and nine inches deep, the hive being twelve inches wide, the
same as the other. Now remember the principle just before stated. The
bees will collect at the front end of the comb, and the animal heat, as
generated, will ascend the same as along the combs in the other hive,
which are eighteen inches deep; whereas these are only twelve inches
deep. Is it not obvious that here one-third of every comb towards its
rear end is entirely lost to the bees, so far as the early production of
brood is concerned, because of the shape of the combs and the natural
tendency of the heat generated to ascend? If the bees (being the same in
number in both hives,) were spread out at the bottom of the combs in the
last mentioned hive, the full size of the hive, the cluster would be
twelve inches wide and eighteen inches horizontal. Then, on the
principle that a given number of bees can generate only a certain degree
of heat in a given space, they would fail to bring about the proper
temperature in any part of the hive; and the result would be that they
could not produce any brood. But allow them (as they will) to contract
the size of their cluster, and you find that there is nearly one-third
of each comb not used by them in the production of brood. Hence we find
in the communications of bee-keepers such remarks as these--“My bees
swarmed out of my common box and log gums earlier than they did out of
my patent hives.” But universally we find in such cases that their
patent hives are low and flat in shape. We have used such hives, and
know by experience the truth whereof we speak; and, fearless of
successful contradiction, we proclaim that the time is not far distant
when the practical bee-keepers will adopt the shape of from a square to
an oblong perpendicular, the oblong being preferable. We once were of
those who thought there could be no difference in the mere shape of a
hive, but justice to the true principles of bee-keeping compelled a
change of opinion.

There is still another reason why bees should have a hive long up and
down. In cases of long continued extreme cold weather, the bees cannot
move in a lateral direction to obtain food. But the warmth of the bees
will aid them in obtaining it from above, from the fact that their
warmth will ascend and keep the frost melted at a greater distance from
the bees above them, than on the sides. And, further, when spring came,
or in the month of April, my bees almost always became nearly extinct in
the low flat form of hive.

Now, in conclusion, let me add some remarks on _feeding_. There is a
principle in the feeding of bees that is truly astonishing in its
effects. They may be fed in sufficient quantity to cause them to fill
all the empty cells and thereby work a complete destruction of the
colony, if the owner fails to remove some of the honey out of their way.
Or they may be fed in such proportions that the prosperity and increase
of the hive will be somewhat like the rolling of a snow-ball--the longer
and further it rolls, the greater its magnitude becomes. The queen has
the ability to deposit from 2,000 to 3,000 eggs every day in the height
of the breeding season; and if bees are then excited by finding liberal
supplies of honey in the flowers, yet not in such abundance as to cause
them to fill the hive to overflowing, brooding and rearing young bees
will proceed most rapidly. But if there is little honey or none yielded
by the flowers, and the bees remain idle for some length of time, the
queen will cease depositing eggs; while on the other hand, if the bees
rapidly fill nearly all the cells with honey, the queen must necessarily
cease laying, for want of room to deposit eggs.

Bees seem to have three periods of probation. The first twenty-one days
of their existence are passed in the cell; the next eighteen or twenty
one days they spend in the hive mainly, nursing brood exclusively,
except when engaged at times in building or repairing comb; the next
period is devoted to assiduous outdoor labor, and varies from forty to
fifty days, in the busy season of the year.

Early and continued stimulation to activity, by feeding the bees, causes
the colony to become strong in numbers. If therefore we wish for
handsome profits from the labors of the bees, we must have them in great
numbers, at all times in the hive. If we expect great quantities of
honey from weak colonies, we are doomed to disappointment. In almost
every locality there is a time, during the spring or summer, when bees
cannot gather nectar from the flowers. Such spells are sometimes
prolonged for months; and in some years, in Iowa, in the month of June,
the writer has known colonies to starve to death. In such times of
scarcity, the bee-keeper should always be on the alert, and begin
feeding only in sufficient quantity to produce activity in the hive. It
frequently occurs that bees use up all the unsealed honey in the hive,
and almost stop brooding. They appear to be reluctant to open their
sealed honey. It seems that there is a principle at this point which we
have not been able to grasp yet. I think that as a rule, if bees run out
of unsealed honey in the spring months, the keeper should, from time to
time, shave off the capping of some of the full cells. This, I think,
would answer the same purpose as feeding, by exciting the bees to
activity. It should be practiced in all cases where there is plenty of
sealed honey in the hive, in the forepart of the season; and feeding
only to a limited and small extent, when the bees have used up their
unsealed supply. In fact, feeding should never be resorted to, while the
hive contains plenty of sealed honey. Better uncap some of it.

It is not by any means desirable to have a hive in the height of the
breeding season, with the cells so stored with honey that the queen is
unable to deposit eggs to the full extent of her powers. Better extract
some honey, even if you have to return it again by feeding as the season
advances, thus keeping up the activity of the colony.

There are many attempts to systematize bee-keeping. Some ideas
communicated through the Journal prove highly serviceable. Others drop
without effect, perhaps, except that they set bee-keepers to thinking,
and sometimes to experimenting, which is useful, too, if it be not
indulged in at too great cost.

  J. W. SEAY

  _Monroe, Iowa._

       *       *       *       *       *

Practical gardeners may find the management of bees, for their
employers, quite a lucrative part of their profession.

       *       *       *       *       *

When a colony of bees has become hopelessly queenless, then, moth or no
moth, its destruction is certain.--_Langstroth._

       *       *       *       *       *

    “Bees work for man, and yet they never bruise
     Their master’s flower, but leave it, having done,
     As fair as ever and as fit for use.”--_Herbert._

       *       *       *       *       *

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Bee Letter from Middle Tennessee.

Some weeks since, in company with a friend, armed with a pint of
strained honey and a bee-box, we started for the edge of the cedars,
distant from my apiary, in a direct line, not less than 2½ miles, where
we found bees foraging. We boxed and coursed many, but found none that
did not belong to my apiary. It was a very warm day, and being wearied,
without pushing out a mile or two further, we returned home, to renew
our hunt in the fall.

All the trees I ever saw, having bees in them (and I have seen many) had
the entrance hole or crack on the south or southeast side.

Native queens of colonies five miles distant from Italian stocks, in two
instances that I know of, mated with Italian drones. And in this
connection, speaking of distances, I will mention the reception through
the mail of two Italian queens, accompanied by about one dozen workers
each, from Wenham, Massachusetts. Look on the map, and you will see it
is a long distance from here.

Very little surplus honey has been stored here this season, on account
of continuous rains during the spring and summer. Late swarms, not fed,
have _gone up_. I have endeavored to keep my bees breeding, giving them
repeated small quantities of honey, and have succeeded in doing so; and
buckwheat being now in bloom, I hope to obtain a dividend for my outlay
and trouble, leaving enough for the worthy laborers when nature shrouds
herself in snow.

This is a great country to raise bees in, and I would think more of them
if they would swarm less and store more honey. But swarm they will, and
they cannot be kept from it. Breaking up an old hen from sitting when
she has fairly made up her mind to sit, is an easy job compared to
keeping bees from swarming in this section. Swarming commences in Middle
Tennessee about the 20th of April, and becomes general about the 5th of
May. These new swarms often cast a swarm in thirty days. Swarming is
also frequent in August if the season be a good one. Our honey harvest
is divided in two seasons--the spring, embracing April and May; and the
fall, embracing August and September. Very little honey is stored
outside those two dates, except perhaps in the month of March, if the
spring is forward and fruit trees come in bloom; and in the month of
October, if we have a favorable fall and frost is delayed. There has
been no fall of honey dew this year.

Friend Novice’s allusion to air castles in his communication in the Bee
Journal for August, _struck our flint_. We read his communication to our
better half. “Don’t believe a word of it! Do you think that’s so?”
Exclaimed she. “I do. I have been following that Novice in print some
time, and always found him truthful.” Here’s what’s the matter. A spruce
old aunt was at our house a few days since, and something was said about
new dresses and the fall styles, when our better half broke loose
with--“Don’t expect to have anything new this year. Everything we’ve
made this year has been spent for bee-gums and paints; and now the
upstairs is stored so full, there’s no place for old carpets and lumber.
There’s never been any money in that here, yet, and I don’t believe
there ever will be,” &c., &c.


  _Murfreesboro, Tenn._, Aug. 8, 1870.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

That Shallow Form of Hive.

MR. EDITOR:--I see in the July number of the Bee Journal, page 9, that
Mr. C. Rogers is out on “the shallow Langstroth Hive.” Mr. R. and _my
old friend_ Gallup are the only persons that I now recollect of, who
complain of the shallow form of hive, when wintered in a house or
cellar. Mr. Rogers says it is not a “good” hive “for the six or eight
weeks between the winter and warm weather,” and leaves it thus, without
telling us why it is not. For my part, I cannot see what the shape of
the hive has to do with the loss of bees in early spring. All
bee-keepers say that the bleak winds at that season destroy a great many
bees, regardless of the kind of hive they may have been in. All the
proof Mr. Rogers gives that this form of hive is bad in early spring is,
that “he has sometimes _thought_ that his hives contained _less_ bees
after being out a month or two, than when first put out.” Well, suppose
it is so, is that the fault of the hive? Every experienced bee-keeper
knows that when bees in any form of hive are taken from their winter
quarters, there is a sudden decrease in numbers, from the simple fact
that many of them are old and ready to die at any hour from sheer old
age; but having been shut up all winter they live longer than they would
in the working season. Then, when taken from their winter quarters and
allowed to issue in the open air, many of them never return. But is this
the fault of the hive? My experience is that any form of hive, when
wintered in a cellar, will lose bees very rapidly when first set out;
much more so than a colony that has been wintered on its summer stand. I
can account for this in no other way, than that many of the bees have
lived to a good old age, and are ready to die soon; and a sudden change
in the weather being hard on them any how, weakens them in numbers very

The Langstroth hive could be made deeper very easily without Mr. R.’s
patchwork; but would it answer the purpose as well? I have found no
other hive from which I can get the same results, in surplus honey, as
from the “shallow” Langstroth. Last summer I tried the experiment with a
hive with only six inches depth of comb, adding one more frame (_eleven_
instead of _ten_.) The result was that I got some six pounds more honey
from that hive, than I did from the common Langstroth hive, sitting
within four feet of it and the two colonies as near alike in numbers as
I could get them. Without doubt the shallow form of hive is best for
surplus honey.

Now a few words about wintering bees in the Langstroth hive. Everything
considered, I think bees do somewhat better when wintered in a cellar,
provided they be arranged just right. But I have wintered bees very
successfully in the Langstroth hive, on their summer stands, in northern
Illinois and eastern Indiana. But young colonies that have new comb,
should be protected, if wintered on their summer stands.

I hope Mr. Rogers will explain the whys and wherefores, and tell us
wherein the Langstroth hive is lacking.


  _Winchester, Ind._, July 20, 1870.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Letter from Missouri.

MR. EDITOR:--I send you a sample of something that seems to be troubling
my bees very much. It is in small scales resembling the wing of some
insect.[3] The bees come in with from three to five sticking to their
mouths. It seems to trouble them greatly. I think I could pick up or
rather scrape up a pint of it, on the bottom board of some hives.

This section of country is too much subject to extremes for bees. Last
year it rained all through May and June, so that the bees could not get
out to work; and they did nothing but swarm after that until September.
Pollen was plenty, but honey scarce. This spring commenced well, but
most of May and up to the 15th of June the weather was too cold for bees
to work. Nearly all the fruit blossoms were killed by cold. Wild plums
and crab apples did not bloom. We have had no rain for several weeks,
and very little since last fall. Everything is parched up, leaving
nothing for the bees. I am feeding nearly fifty colonies, and will have
to continue doing so until we have rain and flowers begin to bloom

I could exchange one little farm here for fifteen hundred acres of
mountain land in Pocahontas county, Virginia. Is that a good bee

Too much wind here, even if the pasturage were good. My Italians are
doing much better than the native bees.

I sowed the strap-leaved turnip last fall for early pasturage, but none
came up this spring. Cold killed them. What kind is best to sow, or what
is better? Would it do to sow ten acres in turnips, and mix Alsike
clover seed with it?

I have watched nearly every movement a bee can make for the last three
years, and read all the bee books I could get.


  _Freedom, Mo._, July 5, 1870.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

How we made a Honey Knife.

Some of our readers will perhaps remember the trouble which we had last
season in uncapping cells preparatory to the use of the Honey Extractor.
In justice to Mr. Baldridge we will say that the knife which we received
from him was found, upon trial, to work very well--much better, in fact,
than we expected. Our only trouble with it, was to keep it in cutting
order. Still, we find that a knife for this business does not need to be
kept so extremely sharp, if it be kept _hot_ while in use, by
occasionally dipping it in hot water. In _shape_ we think this knife
about what is wanted.

As _two_ knives are found very convenient, one to be heating in the
water while the other is in use, we concluded to try our hand at making
one and succeeded so admirably that we will give a description of it,
and the manner in which it was made.

We first took an old _scythe_--an article which can usually be found on
every farm--and, with a cold chisel, cut a piece out of the straightest
part, of such length as we wished the knife to be. This was then laid
upon a block and cut lengthwise about three-fourths of an inch from the
cutting edge. It was now taken and ground down smooth upon the back and
ends, and the edge ground off at the ends a little in order to
straighten it. It is then fitted into a suitable handle. You thus have a
knife of whatever length you choose to make it, which may be ground very
thin and will yet hold an edge well. The whole time occupied in making
it, need not exceed an hour, provided the assistance of a second person
can be had in cutting out and grinding. It will present a much neater
appearance than one would think possible when commencing the job, and
will I think give perfect satisfaction.

Of course the style will be governed much by the ingenuity of the maker.

Since writing, the above, we have received the August number of the Bee
Journal, and in it notice the advertisement of the National Bee Hive
Company, of which Mr. Baldridge is Secretary. It says--“no _wrought
iron_ knives for sale, in fact never _kept_ them, nor _sold_ them.
_Liars_ will please to take the hint.” Indeed! I sincerely hope they
will. Now, in justice to _myself_, I must say a few more words in regard
to that knife, which we have already spoken about in this communication.
When we received the knife last fall, it was shown to a person whom we
thought a competent judge of metal, and was unhesitatingly
pronounced--well, anything but _spring-steel_, as it could readily be
bent into almost any shape, and would _so remain_. However as its
quality was not mentioned before the purchase; and as it has been found,
on trial, to work well enough for all practical purposes, when rightly
used, I suppose we ought not to have said anything about that part of
the transaction. The difference between the “best quality of wrought
iron” and the lower classes of steel is so slight that, to separate
them, would be like naming the hour that sweet cider becomes sour. Iron
is used in three states; as crude or cast iron, as _steel_, and as
wrought iron, the difference only depending on the relative amount of
carbon with which the metal is combined--cast iron containing a larger
proportion of carbon than steel, and steel more than wrought or
malleable iron.

I have nothing whatever against Mr. Baldridge, this being my first
dealing with him; and my only excuse for writing as I did (A. B. J., vol
V., page 18,) is that, after waiting, and watching the post office, so
long as I did, and finally receiving a knife--too late for use--which
did not then come up to my expectations, I felt considerably out of
humor, and told the whole story, when perhaps I should have kept _mum_
and “swallowed” it all, as he had not advertised knives for sale, his
reason for not being more prompt, may be that he was obliged to invent
and manufacture it, after it was ordered. I have no doubt that parties
ordering of him now, will receive knives that will give perfect


  _Factoryville, Pa._, Aug. 5, 1870.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

More about the Looking-glass.

On pages 34-5, Vol. VI., of the American Bee Journal, H. Nesbit states
that he has tried the looking-glass theory to his satisfaction in _one_

Now, Mr. Editor, I wish to say, in reply, that the glass has been tried
three times, this year, to my knowledge, and three swarms of bees
secured. The particulars of _one_ case will be sufficient to cause most
of the Journal’s readers to try the experiment, when opportunity offers,
whether one that has “_played_” the theory “_out_” will try any more, or

An old lady was in her garden, about four o’clock one afternoon, when
her attention was arrested by the hum of a swarm of bees, leaving the
top of an apple-tree that stood in the garden. The superstitious notion
of stopping bees by the music of the cow-bell (peculiar to a certain
class) was soon put in practice, but the bees moved on till _somebody_
flashed the sun’s rays among them, by the aid of a looking-glass. Then,
almost instantly, from some cause or another, the bees scattered and
some even fell to the ground; but in a few minutes more, all were snugly
clustered on another apple-tree, in sight of the one on which a portion
of them were first discovered.

Did the queen stop to rest in this case? Perhaps Mr. Nesbit will think
she was defective; or would his reply to this be as ambiguous as his
language, when he says in one place that there is “no use of your trying
to go away, for I will stop you with the looking-glass;” and in another
breath, after he had tried and failed, says--“I was rather a sceptic

Mr. Editor, he makes me think of an old Dutch lady, with whom I used to
be acquainted, that knew how to bake bread and fry meat. You might read
her a recipe from some agricultural or other Journal, for making
something new and rich, and she would at once go about trying it, “to
see if it was good.” But, in place of following the directions to the
letter, she would use the ingredients in quantities that seemed
handiest; and the consequence was that she would make compounds to
disagree with the gustatory organs of all hands. The fault was never
with the old lady, and she could always tell that it was in the recipe;
but in no instance could she be induced to try her hand a second time on
the same thing. Perhaps, if Mr. Nesbit will take his looking-glass to
the well and invert it, and instead of looking down the well, will look
into the glass, he will see differently from the way he did on the other
occasion. If he will take a glass large enough (a _piece_ will answer
the purpose; but it will depend upon how bright the sun shines, and the
distance of the bees from the ground, what must be the size of the glass
required,) I think he can stop a swarm in every instance.

Before quitting, I will also say that if Mr. Nesbit, or any one else
will obtain the “_blackest_” and “_knottiest_” piece of wood, near the
size of a quart pot, and secure it by means of a pole or otherwise,
surrounded by foliage, in front of the apiary, before natural swarms
issue, that by the time the fifth natural swarm is hived, the experiment
will have very well paid him for his trouble with the knot.


  _Sawyersville, N. C._, Aug. 12, 1870.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Bee Humbugs.

Since the introduction of movable comb hives, numerous attempts have
been made to palm off on bee-keepers worthless hives and sundry humbugs.

As with other branches of business, so with bee-culture; it has its
proficients, amateurs, novices, and pretenders. Generally, it is with
the two last-mentioned classes that worthless hives and various humbugs
originate. The novice is often suddenly attacked with that disease known
as “bee on the brain,” and ignorantly but innocently fancies he has
mastered the whole science of bee-culture, and is therefore prepared to
astonish the world by producing a bee hive that will supplant all its
predecessors. Now, with many, to think is to act. Hence, yearly, there
are introduced to the public several “best hives in the world,” which,
however, prove to be either bungling attempts at an imitation of some
good hive, or a worthless throwing together of timber, embracing in its
construction not one scientific principle, but often many features
directly opposed to the nature and wants of the bees. Their fanciful
shape, novel construction, and the many advantages they are said to
possess, often cause a number of them to be sold to unsuspecting
bee-keepers, who are not educated in the science of bee-culture. The
country is full of such worthless trash, and parties often pay more than
they would require to do for really good hives, the reputation of which
has been established for years--hives constructed by those well
acquainted with bee-culture, and who are hence qualified to construct a
hive adapted in every feature to the wants of the bee.

The other class, whom I have styled pretenders, are generally
unscrupulous persons, who do not hesitate at anything by which they can
bring the “dimes” to their pockets. It is with this class that “bee
humbugs” generally originate. Having a slight smattering of knowledge,
they make great pretensions, and tell wonderful stories about bees--what
strange things they have known bees to do; how one swarm went away,
because the owner quarrelled with his wife; another because a child was
buried, and the owner failed to whisper it in the hive; while a third
was so particular, that it would not stay in the hive, because there was
a rusty nail in sight! In this way they arouse the curiosity of the
uneducated bee-keeper, who is soon ready to swallow all they have to
say. They then come forward with their pretensions to superior
knowledge. They can do this or that with bees. They have some wonderful
secrets, and for a “V” (five dollars) they can tell you how to take the
bees out of a box-hive, take their honey, put them back again, and they
shall be all right “in the spring.” They have also got a curious
compound, a peculiar drug, with which they can charm the bees so that
they will not sting, price “only fifty cents a bottle;” and the recipe
to make it only another “V.” Thus the honest and unsuspecting bee-keeper
is victimized, while the swindling pretender “feathers his nest.”

The following extract from a letter of inquiry, has called forth these

“During the past season, the management of bees has been taught in a
secret school, and one of the things taught is the art of drawing bees
from a tree a distance of two miles, even though it may not be known
where they are located. As one of the students is preparing to sally out
on the public, I thought I would write to you, for your opinion.”

A person possessed of such power as this would be likely to surround
himself with a large number of swarms in a very short time, if he
performed his operations in some neighborhoods where hundreds of swarms
are kept within a circle of two miles. He would certainly be an
exceedingly dangerous person to have about, unless strictly honest, as
he might draw off and steal all the bees. Perhaps his secret
incantations have no attractions for bees that live in a hive; and, I
may say and, for bees that live in a tree! Allow me to say to my
bee-keeping friends that all the bee drugs or bee charms are bee
humbugs. If any person is pretending to teach or to do what is stated
above, he is either a knave or a fool, perhaps both.

To say the least, all such persons should be arrested, for obtaining
money under false pretences. If bee-keepers would be safe, let them take
a reliable Bee Journal or agricultural paper, where they will find such
impositions exposed; and in purchasing hives let them select such as the
experience of years has proved to be good.


  _Brooklin, Ontario._

       *       *       *       *       *

I never use a hive, the main apartment of which holds less than a

       *       *       *       *       *

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Proper Requisites of Hives and Movable Frames.

MR. EDITOR:--There seems to be no subject connected with bee-culture so
badly mixed up, as the above. One approves of a low and long form of
hive and frames, and another of a short and deep form. Now I have seen
and used nearly all styles in use, but never saw a frame hive but what
was too deep for summer use, or too shallow for winter.

It seems to me we have been straining at a gnat and trying to swallow a
camel. I think a frame in the clear, six or seven inches deep and eleven
or twelve inches long is what the practical bee-keeper needs. But for
the careless and indifferent, fixed top bars are too good.

Perhaps few if any have experimented with and used more different styles
of hive than we have. Being a mechanic, and always having lumber and
tools at hand, we have experimented too much for our own benefit. We
have patented (like many others) one hive costing us $100; and have
never realized a dime in return. But all right; I suppose the greenbacks
are moving.

Now, Mr. Editor, I believe that the one thousand and one who are
pocketing money for improvements in hives, would be just as honest and
make more money, by picking up the farmer’s box-hive, putting the
Langstroth frames in, and teaching people how to use them
properly--selling the same on commission for Mr. Langstroth or his

But we must return to the sectional hive. Has any one ever used such a
hive? If so we have never heard of it. We use two sections deep in
winter, and from one to four in summer. We make our case twelve inches
wide, using eight frames in the brood sections, and seven in the third
and fourth sections, in which we get the greatest possible amount
stored, in good shape for the table or market. Mr. Thomas, or any one
else who thinks he has a hive that will offer so many advantages, as the
simple sectional box, with Langstroth’s frames in them, had best bring
such hive out this way; and I will agree to sell them as fast as forty
men can turn them out.

We have omitted to mention many little points, in the arrangement of the
case and frames, such as beveling to prevent propolis, securing straight
combs, &c., but will do so in a future article, if requested.


  _Dowagiac, Mich._

       *       *       *       *       *

All necessary arrangements and preparations for properly wintering bees,
in any kind of hive, should be fully completed in the month of October.

       *       *       *       *       *

Let me strongly advise the incorrigibly careless to have nothing to do
with bees, either on my plan of management, _or any other_; for they
will find both time and money almost certainly thrown


Washington, Sept., 1870.

The remarks on queen raising, by the Rev. Mr. Briggs, in our last issue,
appear to be considered by some as aimed personally at Mr. Alley, of
Wenham, Mass. We did not so regard them. Mr. Briggs’ object seemed to us
to be very different, and one in which queen breeders in general have
quite as much interest as queen purchasers. Bee breeding, as a science,
is yet in its infancy--not less so in Europe than here; but is evidently
engaging the attention of the best and most experienced apiarians, and
has already led to some highly interesting discussions in the German
Journals and Conventions. Of these we shall, in due season, take proper
notice--we give, in this number of the Journal, several communications
referring to Mr. Briggs’ article, and shall probably have one from him
in explanation.

       *       *       *       *       *

👉 The March number of the American Bee Journal contained a call for a
meeting of the Michigan Bee-keepers’ Association, to be held at Lansing,
on the 23d and 24th of that month.--Bee-keepers from other States and
the British Provinces were invited to attend that meeting, as it was
_proposed then to make arrangements for holding a_ NATIONAL BEE-KEEPERS’
CONVENTION. The Association met accordingly, and it was resolved to hold
a _National Convention_ at Indianapolis, (Ind.) on the 11th and 12th
instant, but the time was subsequently changed to the 21st and 22d of
December next, as better suiting the convenience of bee-keepers. The
_place_ designated seems now, however, for some reason, to have become
objectionable to certain parties who probably have “axes to grind.” They
are now laboring hard to effect a change; but we presume the effort will
fail, as we are assured from various quarters that the Convention will
be held at Indianapolis.

       *       *       *       *       *

A patent has recently been granted for a method of excluding bee-moths
from hives by means of a long lever operated by a hen-roost. The
inventor claims “a combination of a vibrating roost or perch for fowls
with the slides or doors of one or more bee hives, when so constructed
and arranged that the weight of the fowls upon the roost shall close the
hives, and their removal from the roost shall open the doors.” How this
ingenious contrivance came to be patented at this late day, we do not
know; but certainly it is neither, “new” nor “useful.” The same thing
was tried and abandoned many years ago, as will be seen by reference to
Langstroth’s “_Hive and Honey Bee_,” page 263, first edition. Possibly
there is some new “modification” or some novel “combination” of material
(chickens included), on which the claim to a patent is based; but
unfortunately, no modification or combination can ever enable him who
employs this contrivance to circumvent the moths thereby.

       *       *       *       *       *

When a colony in an apiary is found to be queenless, and has been so
till all the brood has matured, it will generally be found difficult to
get the bees to raise a queen from brood inserted, or even to accept and
cherish a sealed queen cell. Repeated trials are usually necessary, and
when successful the population has generally so dwindled, before the new
generation attains the working age, that the colony is of little value,
especially late in the season. The better mode is to introduce at once a
fertile prolific queen from some populous colony, and let the latter do
the queen raising; unless we have fertile queens in reserve in nuclei.
With the transferred queen, several combs of brood taken from other
strong colonies, should, if possible, be given to the one that has been
queenless. The desired object will thus be more speedily attained, and
frequently with benefit to the colonies drawn on.

The European Sparrow.

“A large number of German sparrows, have been imported and placed in the
vineyards in the vicinity of Davenport, Iowa.” So the newspapers inform
us--the object, we presume, being the destruction of caterpillars. We
fear, however, that the grape growers there have made a capital mistake,
and are likely to have an easy time annually hereafter, when gathering
the vintage.

It has been customary to charge the bees with damaging the grape crop,
but it appears that in Germany this sparrow is the real offender. The
Rev. Mr. Stern, an aged and well known bee-keeper, residing at
Wessenburg in Lower Austria, writing to the Bienenzeitung about this
alleged malfeasance of the bees, says--“I have lived more than thirty
years in a village of three thousand inhabitants, most of whom derive
their support from grape culture. Besides their vineyards, they have
numerous trellises of vines at their houses, and there are several
apiaries in the village. I have myself an arbor of vines, 180 feet in
length, within twenty-five feet of my apiary. Now it has happened for
many years that I did not get a single bunch of grapes, undamaged, from
any vine in this arbor, and the other grape-growers in my neighborhood
fared no better. Berries torn open were annually to be seen, and I have
seen bees on _such_ berries often--not indeed by ‘myriads’ nor yet by
thousands, or hundreds, nor even by fifties, but only here and there a
solitary one quietly sipping of the extruding juice. I have killed
hundreds of _hornets_ in the act of tearing open the berries, and
thousands of wasps busy at the same work; but _I have never seen a bee
so engaged_. But, what flies and bees are wholly incapable of doing, and
what wasps and hornets do only in part and occasionally, _is really the
work of the_ SPARROW, which, because its habits have been little
observed or studied, continues to be held in high estimation in some
districts. Even a small number of these birds can, in a few days, do
exceedingly great injury in a vineyard, at the time when the ripening
grapes are becoming mellow. They then peck open berry after berry, as
though in sport, sip a little of the juice occasionally, and flitting
away to some other cluster incessantly repeat the damaging process. I
have witnessed this hundreds of times; and seen them do the work so
effectually that, year after year, I have not obtained one undamaged
cluster from my arbor.--This cunning sparrow knows, too, how to avoid
traps and springes, and soon familiarizes himself with the most
elaborate fantastic scarecrow set up _in terrorem_, acting apparently in
derision and contempt of the baffled and mortified grape-grower.”

Forty years ago, an American ornithologist, speaking of this species of
sparrow and the injury done by it to grain fields in Europe,
said--“_Fortunately we are free from this pest on this side of the
Atlantic._” Now we import them, and boast of it!

       *       *       *       *       *


TYRONE, ONTARIO, July 16.--Bees are doing very well here this year. I
have got forty pounds surplus honey from some of my hives already.--J.

WASHINGTON HARBOR, WIS., July 16.--This has been the best honey season,
thus far, seen by me. A second swarm hived on Tuesday June 21st, on
Wednesday night the 29th, weighed twenty-five pounds, besides having
yielded thirty-eight pounds ten ounces taken by honey machine in eight
days. I had given the swarm seven old combs and one empty frame, placed
it on the old stand, and removed the old stock to a new place. On the
25th and 26th, it gained twenty-one pounds six ounces in two days, on
raspberry and clover blossoms. This is the best day’s work and week’s
work I have noticed. The queen began to lay on Monday the 27th, so they
had no brood to nurse.

The next fourteen days they lost four pounds each. Basswood began to
bloom July 13th. One hive gained fifteen pounds in four days; and in the
next ten days I expect my five hives to gain thirty to forty pounds
each, which closes the honey season here. The last two years the hives
lost more in weight from the 1st of August to the 1st of November, than
in five months in the cellar to 1st of April.--H. D. MINER.

BORODINO, N. Y., July 16.--I think that you publish by far the best Bee

GANSEVOORT, N. Y., July 20.--I think the American Bee Journal worthy of
every bee-keeper’s attention, whether he keeps one stand or a hundred.

I would like to learn from some more experienced bee-keepers than
myself, the best way to set bees for summer; whether exposed to the sun,
in the shade of trees, or under a shelter made of boards.

It has been very dry here all summer, and flowers have nearly all dried
up. Bees have swarmed but little and have not stored much cap honey. Box
hives are mostly used here, though there are some others of different

RICH VALLEY, MINN., July 20.--The season for bees has been fair thus
far; but I do not think this location so well adapted to the business as
most of the States south.--L. M. LINDLEY.

RIDGEWAY, MICH., July 21.--I have one hundred and thirty colonies in box
hives, somewhat like T. B. Miner’s equilateral hive. I shall have about
twenty hundred pounds of honey for sale this season.

I cannot learn that it would be wise for me to adopt the movable comb
hive, as I have five hundred dollars invested in box hives, and have
been successful with them. So far as I can learn I have the largest
apiary in Michigan, and have perhaps, in the last thirteen years sold
more surplus honey than any apiarian using box hives, or perhaps any
other kind of hive. Honey sells for twenty to twenty-five cents per
pound.--J. F. TEMPLE.

AUGUSTA, ME., July 22.--This is a very dry season with us. Bees will not
give much surplus honey; and in some cases old stocks will not get honey
enough to winter.--H. B. CONEY.

GEBHARTSBURG, PA., July 22.--This has been a remarkable honey season,
and also for swarming. I practice artificial swarming, yet in spite of
all precautions I got two natural swarms, and that too without the least
preparation by the bees, for no queen cells had been started. This is
contrary to the books and my previous experience.--W. BAKER.

HAMILTON, ILL., July 24.--No Bee Journal either on the old continent or
the new, can vie with the American Bee Journal.--C. DADANT.

NIAGARA, ONTARIO, July 30.--We have had a good honey season, through
June and part of July, from white clover; but I do not think bees are
doing much now. I lost some honey for want of shade. The combs melted,
though in double boxes.--F. G. NASH.

EXCELSIOR, MINN., July 30.--Bees have done very well here, until the
middle of this month, the season having been an unusually fine one, up
to that time. Since then, we have had a change of weather and bees are
doing nothing. The season has been a very dry and hot one, thus
indicating--not for the first time--that dry warm seasons are the best
for honey in this latitude.--J. W. MURRAY.

EAST FAIRFIELD, OHIO.--Bees are doing very nicely here this year. I
should like to see your valuable Journal have a wide circulation, and if
it were carefully read, I think bee-keepers would generally do well.--J.

SPRINGFIELD, ILL., August 4.--Our pets have done nothing since 20th of
June, but eat up what they saved before. The “heated term” has been
unusually severe and long. We look for better things, now that the
weather has changed and vegetation begins to revive. This morning one of
my early June swarms (Italian) threw off a very large swarm. On
examining the hive, I was not a little interested and surprised to find
five beautiful young queens, evidently stretching their legs (my queens
have legs) for the first time. Three went “where the woodbine twineth.”
I had use for the other two. Is not the simultaneous hatching of so
great a number unusual?--W. L. GROSS.

NORTH TUNBRIDGE, VT., August 7.--We have had a very great season here
for honey, but not as much swarming as usual. My bees have given me a
profit of twenty-four dollars per swarm, in box honey.--D. C. HUNT.

CLEVELAND, OHIO, August 8.--I think we have a very poor locality for
bees--the land being too flat, wet, and cold. No honey in the white
clover blossoms this year.--R. HONEY.

VIRDEN, ILLS., August 8.--We never had so good a season of white clover,
in my recollection, as the past has been; but it has been so dry since
that the bees have done nothing since the 1st of July. Our fall
pasturage too will be short, on account of the drouth. Last year I got
all my surplus honey after this time, mostly from Spanish needles and
red clover. There will be very little of either this fall, consequently
I do not expect much more surplus honey. I have increased my bees from
twenty-five colonies to sixty-five.--J. L. PEABODY.

PAW PAW, MICH., August 8.--The ever welcome American Bee Journal was
received as usual. It contains a variety of reading matter from all
sources, and it sounds like glad tidings unto all people. I have only
one fault to find--it should come on the first and fifteenth of each
month. How can that desirable end be accomplished? Will not our brother
bee-keepers co-operate to bring it about? Bees have done finely here,
this season.--A. F. MOON.

RIPON, WIS., August 8.--The Journal comes to hand promptly every mouth,
accept my thanks for the effort you make to furnish us with a first
class paper.--R. DART.

TOWANDA, ILLS., August 9.--The season for honey in this section of the
country has not been the best or the poorest. Bees on the prairies did
not swarm much, and there was great complaint of their leaving for the
timber. One man here found fourteen (14) bee trees in one grove. But in
the timbered portion of the country, the bees swarmed wide and gathered
the usual amount of honey, namely fifteen to twenty-five pounds per

Increased attention is being given to the culture of bees here, and I
hope I shall be able to send you a much larger list of subscribers for
your _excellent_ Journal.

An accident occurred in the apiary of Mr. Cyrus Jones, in this township,
that would probably come under the head of “Anger of Bees.” While his
hired man with the team, was hauling some old lumber from the yard, the
horses became frightened and ran directly among the bees, knocking over
seven stands and becoming fastened for a short time in a cherry tree.
The bees swarmed out not only from those stands that were run over; but
from most of the others (there being some twenty stands in all) stinging
the horses terribly. The horses became frantic, rearing and plunging,
broke loose from the tree, and ran into the next lot, breaking the wagon
badly. One of them died in about three hours, and the other in the
course of the day. While they were fastened in the tree, one of the men
in throwing water on the horses, to _cool_ I suppose the anger of the
bees, lost his hat. The bees lighting on him stung his head and face so
badly that his life was in danger. The horses were stung in their ears,
nostrils, and bodies so badly that by taking a corn knife and scraping
their sides, you could draw out thousands of stings. Mr. Jones estimates
his loss at about five hundred (500) dollars. This accident occurred
last spring. What would have been the best to do, in such a case?--S. C.

WENHAM, MASS., August 11.--The weather has been very dry and hot all
summer; but during the last few days we have had plenty of rain, though
the air is not cooler.--H. ALLEY.

LEXINGTON, KY., August 12.--The July number of the Journal failed to
come. I began to fear you had ceased to publish the Journal, as I did
not receive one for so long. _That_ I hope will never happen, as long as
it is doing the good to the bee-keeping public, that it now is. Long
life to you and it.--DR. J. DILLARD.

LISLE, N. Y., August 12.--As your correspondents commenced boasting
early, I should like to hear from them again, to learn whether the
drouth affected them as much as it has us, in this part of the country.
I think bees never did better than they did during raspberry time. It
then became so dry that they have not got much since, till now that they
are working on buckwheat freely. From one double Langstroth hive we have
taken seventeen full six pound boxes, and the bees are working in six
more. They filled both hives themselves, except six frames that were
transferred. I think this is doing very well, as it will make eighty
pounds in frames more than they need to winter on. We are sure of
thirty-six pounds more. We have a good many young swarms that have
already over one hundred pounds of box honey taken off. I will give you,
this fall, the total result. I think it will convince people that
bee-keeping pays.--H. S. WELLS.

CAMPBELL’S CROSS, ONTARIO, August 12.--I have the first four volumes of
American Bee Journal bound in two, and would not take five times their
cost if I could not get them again. I would freely pay double to get
them twice a month. It would pay to get them, if a person has only one
hive, or no bees at all.

Bees have done well, in this section, this season. They swarmed two
weeks earlier than usual. We have plenty of swarms and surplus honey.
Second and even some third swarms will gather honey enough to winter on.
My bees are all in frame hives. The Thomas hive is all the go in
Ontario. My bees are nearly all Italians, bred from the stocks of J. H.
Thomas, Brooklin, Ontario, and Henry Alley, Wenham, Mass.,--both of whom
I could recommend, their stock of Italians being very pure and well
marked.--H. LIPSETT.

GNADENHUTTEN, OHIO, August 15.--We have had a prosperous season, this
summer, both for honey and swarms. The weather was good from the time
the fruit trees blossomed until the close of the white clover blossoms.
It is refreshing to the drooping spirit to have a season of plenty after
such poor seasons as the previous two were. Our success would be better
if we had some reliable plants to supply honey, after the white clover
is past. That is now our main dependance, and when it is a partial
failure our late swarms cannot gather sufficient store to last them over
winter; and buckwheat is at best an uncertain source for honey.

As there is considerable rivalry among inventors about patent hives, and
divers contrivances are recommended to bee-keepers as the _ne plus
ultra_ of perfection, I will state that some years ago I invented a
side-opening leaf hive, with a sliding bottom board. Either front or
rear side is a door, through which the bottom board slides. At the
opposite end of the hive from the door, in the side of the hive, is a
frame or yoke, fastened to the sides of the bottom-board and reaching
half way up the side of the hive. On top of said yoke are clasps
fastened loosely to the yoke with wire rivets. These clasps hold the
frames by means of wire hooks driven into the frames and hooking over a
shoulder on top of the clasps. The clasps move sideways, and allow the
frames to be moved sideways, like the leaves of a book, and also to be
taken off. The part of the hive with a hook in, has a piece of wire
driven in at the bottom, to serve as a pivot, and works in a gimlet hole
in the bottom board. In operating with the bees in, the door is opened
and the fastenings made by the bees are to be cut loose; then the bottom
board with the frames is drawn out of the hive. It is perhaps as good a
side-opening hive as any, with the additional good quality that there is
no patent on it. Any one is at liberty to use the invention. For myself,
I prefer top opening hives, as more convenient.--S. LUETHI.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Death of James T. Langstroth.

MR. EDITOR:--I desire to offer, through the medium of the American Bee
Journal, a slight tribute of respect to the memory of JAMES T.
LANGSTROTH, the only son of Rev. L. L. Langstroth, whose death was
announced in the July number of the Journal.

Mr. James T. Langstroth was well known to most of the leading
bee-keepers of the country, either personally, or through business
correspondence relating to bee-culture, during the last ten years; and
certainly no young man could have more completely won the confidence of
all with whom he came in contact, than he has done, by his intelligence,
modesty, strict integrity, promptness, candor, and perfect manliness in
all his transactions. Aside from bee-culture, he took an active interest
in, and was generally at the head of, all patriotic, charitable, or
social organizations in his immediate neighborhood. In fact, he was the
leading young man in the town in which he lived. But above all his other
excellent qualities, stands, in my estimation, his unselfish and
untiring devotion to his aged, infirm, and dependent parents. Next to
the care of his own little family, his father’s, mother’s, and sister’s
comfort, wants, and wishes, were uppermost in his mind. Although
suffering many months from the insidious approach of consumption, yet
fraternal and filial devotion nerved his wearied spirits to active
labor, almost to the last day of his life. I saw him on his return home
from his office for the last time, with glazed eye and haggard cheek,
yet full of hope and plans for the future, after a few days of rest and
recreation.--But his earthly career is ended, and that father’s only
support is taken away. Who will take that son’s place? Who _should_ take
his place, unless it be the bee-keepers of America? Brother bee-keepers,
laying aside all prejudice, and all minor points of difference, and
detracting nothing from any man’s merits, are we not indebted to the
Rev. Mr. Langstroth, more than to any other person for a part of our
success in our noble pursuit or pastime?

There is one point, I believe on which the bee-keepers of the country,
and even all patentees of bee hives, of _whatever kind_, agree--namely,
that Mr. Langstroth _introduced_ movable frame hives into this country.
Admitting for a moment, that that was all he ever did for the benefit of
bee-keepers, does not even that act deserve some compensation from our
hands? I think it does. Again, Mr. Langstroth was among the very first,
and but for an accident would have been the first to introduce into this
country the Italian bee. He has imported them every year since, and has
every year furnished the leading queen breeders of this country with
their choicest queens to breed from. Do we owe him nothing for this?
Again, he was the first to introduce into this country the Egyptian bee,
the merits of which are not yet fully developed, but the importance of
which will in time come to be duly appreciated. And, lastly Mr.
Langstroth, was among the first to introduce to the notice of the
bee-keepers of America, the invaluable Honey Extractor. Does he deserve
nothing at our hands for this? Gentlemen, talk as you will, Mr.
Langstroth has been the pioneer bee-keeper of this country for the last
quarter of a century; and there is a fearful account against us, and in
his favor, that I fear we shall not be able fully to pay. But we can do
something. We can make him comfortable for the balance of his days, and
still be vastly enriched ourselves through his labors.

If we are so indebted can we not, in part, liquidate that indebtedness
_now_? Can we not make up our minds to send him, _at once_, some
substantial token of our appreciation of his labors of a lifetime for
the advancement of bee-culture? He and his family, and his son’s family
now dependent on him, need all that is rightfully due to them. If you
feel that you owe him five, ten, twenty, or a hundred dollars, don’t
wait for somebody else to begin or to join with you; but send a check or
a post-office order for the amount directly to his address. If you have
honestly paid him his price for the right to use his invention, don’t
let that entirely satisfy you. Ask yourself whether you have not made
too good a bargain, and whether you ought not to restore to him, to-day,
a part of your profits? Don’t stop to inquire whether Mr. Langstroth
owns territory where you live, send him a five dollar or a ten dollar
bill at once, and pay the rightful or legal owner of the territory, as
soon as you find him out. You could better afford to pay five dollars
royalty on every movable frame hive you use, than use the old box hive.
This deferred payment, let us call it, made _now_ will do much good, and
will give you a clear conscience, no matter whose patent you are using,
for they are all modifications of the Langstroth hive, although they are
not all infringements. Brother bee-keepers, don’t wait for each other to
respond, but send at once to this address--Rev. L. L. Langstroth,
Oxford, Butler County, Ohio; and may heaven prosper you for so doing.


  _Seneca Falls, N. Y._, Aug. 1, 1870.

P. S.--I have written this without the consent or knowledge of Mr.
Langstroth, or his family, simply because, knowing the circumstances, I
felt it a duty and a privilege to speak--R. B.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Egyptian beehives are made of coal dust and clay, which being well
blended together, the mixture is formed into a hollow cylinder about a
span in diameter and from four to six feet high. This is dried in the
sun, and becomes so hard that it may be handled at pleasure.--_Domestic

       *       *       *       *       *

Whoever intends to erect an apiary should purchase colonies towards the
close of the year, and only such as are full of combs and stocked with a
sufficient number of bees should be chosen. To ascertain the age of the
hives, it should be remarked that the combs of the last season are
white, while those of former years are dark yellow. Where the combs are
black, the hive should be rejected, as too old and liable to the attack
of vermin.--DR. WILLICH.


[1] More probably _new_ ones.--A DEVONSHIRE BEE-KEEPER.

[2] No, let us _not_ all _go west_, but rather let us have NOVICE _come
east_--retaining his time-honored name the while.

What was the average annual yield of honey, per hive, in Novice’s
locality, when he began to keep bees? What were his surroundings _then_,
as regards bee pasturage? and what are they now? If improved, are they
so proportionately to the increased quantity of honey obtained? Would
anybody _then_ have believed it possible, by any means that could be
devised, to secure, in any apiary, 6,162 pounds of surplus in four
weeks, or five times four, from the area of bee pasturage within the
range of the bees’ flight, taking the town of his residence as the

Now, if we mistake not greatly, the locality in Pennsylvania, as
described by Mr. T., furnishes quite as ample pasturage, _naturally_, as
that visited by Novice’s bees. Probably an unprepossessed observer,
noting appearances or indications in each, would give the Pennsylvania
locality the preference; and, very likely, Novice himself, at the
outset, had he been called on to choose, and been free to select, would
have so decided. Whence then the difference in the present results? Let
Novice come east, and we shall see. We do not propose that he shall
emigrate hither _in propria personæ_; no, but that his beekeeping
_spirit_ shall be imported. Let his mode of management be investigated,
adopted, applied, and carried out in its spirit and to the letter. Then,
if the result be not equally good, it will be early enough to attribute
the shortcoming to some natural or climatic inferiority.--ED.

[3] The substance enclosed to us was so crushed and pulverized in the
mail that we could not make out what it was, even with the aid of a
microscope. At first view it seemed as if minute scales of wax were
mingled with it, but none of it melted when exposed to heat. We presume
it is of vegetable origin.

[4] We do not know how bees thrive in the part of Virginia referred to
by our correspondent. Probably some of our subscribers in that section
could supply the desired information. A large part of Virginia is
unquestionably a first-rate bee country, and hardly second-rate in
anything else.

What sort of crop to cultivate for early bee pasturage, in a climate as
variable and uncertain as that which the writer describes, could only be
ascertained by trial and experience. Alsike clover is only suited to a
somewhat damp soil, otherwise in good condition. How far south or
south-west it can be cultivated with advantage, for bees and cattle, is
not yet known. We have no seed for sale--not dealing in seeds, bees,
queens, or hives; but contenting ourselves with publishing the American
Bee Journal, and striving to make that unsurpassed and unsurpassable.

[Transcriber’s Note:

Obvious printer errors corrected silently.

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.]

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