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Title: The American Bee Journal, Vol. VI., Number 5, November 1870
Author: Various
Language: English
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  VOL. VI.      NOVEMBER, 1870.      No. 5.

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Cure of Foulbrood.

Mr. EDITOR:--I promised, (vol. V., page 187,) to report how my
refrigerator wintered its colony. The frames were covered with a piece
of old carpeting, and the whole space outside the inner hive packed with
straw and shavings. This spring it was in splendid condition, and it was
found necessary to remove brood and cut out queen cells as early as the
20th of May; and, for this locality, the surplus would have been large,
if I had not been obliged to break up the colony on account of

You can imagine my disappointment when my apiarian friend, Mr. Sweet of
West Mansfield, pointed out to me this loathsome disease in my choicest
Italian colony, early in June, when up to that time I had supposed that
everything was prosperous with my twelve colonies. After a thorough
examination I found six hives more or less affected, and according to
high authority, should be condemned to death. The other six appeared
free from disease at this time, although three more subsequently became

This is my second summer of bee-keeping, and all the duties pertaining
to an apiary were entered into with the enthusiasm, and shall I confess
it, the ignorance and carelessness of a novice. Yes, ignorance and
culpable carelessness, for in gathering empty combs from various
quarters, the disease was introduced and spread among my pets. One hive,
in particular, of empty comb had the peculiar odor, perforated cells,
and brown viscid fluid, with which I have since become so familiar this
summer; and it seems unaccountable to me, how any person with the Bee
Journal wide open and Quinby’s instructions before him, could be so
careless as to give such combs to his bees.

But such was the fact, and foulbrood spreading right and left. What
shall be done to get rid of it? Shall Quinby be followed, purify the
hive and honey by scalding, and treat the colony as a new swarm; or
shall the heroic treatment of Alley be adopted; bury or burn bees and
hive, combs and all? The latter has sent me some fine queens; but the
former has always given reliable advice, and I shall follow his
instructions with two colonies which are past all cure, and reserve the
others for treatment, hoping that I may find some cure, or at least
palliative for the disease, and add my mite of experience, and, perhaps,
useful knowledge to our Bee Journal.

Accordingly, June 8th, the combs of the two condemned colonies were
melted into wax, the honey drained over and scalded, and the bees, after
a confinement of forty hours, were treated like new swarms; and now,
September 18th, are perfectly healthy and in fine condition for winter.

I will not occupy your valuable space with all the details of my
experiments and fights (which lasted through three months) with the
trials of doses of different strengths and kinds, with old comb and new,
with young queens and old ones, and with no queen at all, and how, in
doing this, I was obliged to keep up the strength of the colony for fear
of robbers and of spreading the disease to my neighbors. Suffice it to
say, that after two months I had made no apparent headway, although
still determined to “fight it out on this line, if it took all summer”
and my last hive. In fact, I devoted my apiary to the study of this
disease, and, perhaps, death.

Starting with, and holding to the theory that foulbrood is contagious
only by the diffusion of living germs of feeble vitality, (and I was
strengthened in my conjecture in microscopical examinations, by finding
the dead larvæ filled with nucleated cells,) I determined to try those
remedies which have the power of destroying the vitality of these
destructive germs, these living organisms. And no remedies seemed to me
more potent than carbolic acid and hyposulphite of soda. At first I used
both, making one application of each, with an interval of one day, and
with apparent benefit. But, attributing the improvement to the more
powerful of the two, I abandoned the hyposulphite and used the carbolic
acid alone, and I was so infatuated with the idea of its superiority,
that I did not give it up until three of the four hives had become so
hopelessly diseased, that the combs were destroyed and the colonies
treated to new combs (as it was late in the season,) and freely fed with
sugar and water. These are now in good condition for winter.

The fourth hive was carried a mile away, the queen caged, and the colony
strengthened with a medium sized second swarm. After all the brood,
which was advanced, had left the cells, I transferred the colony to a
clean hive; thoroughly sulphured the old hive with burning sulphur,
and stored it away in a safe place for future experiments. I now thought
my apiary free from the pest; but on thoroughly examining the whole,
three new cases of foulbrood were found--one very badly affected, and
two slightly so, with perhaps twenty to forty cells diseased and

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

This was about the 1st of August, and again hyposulphite of soda was
selected for the trial; and from the first application I have had the
disease under control. Three days ago I examined the three colonies
thoroughly, and found no new cells diseased in the two which had been
the least affected; and in the almost hopelessly diseased one (as much
diseased, in fact, as any of those that I destroyed,) an entire brood
had been raised, with not over fifty or sixty diseased and perforated
cells with dead larvæ remaining, most on one comb, and nearly all the
cells contained a new supply of eggs; this colony is certainly
convalescent, and I think now, from the recent and second application of
the hyposulphite of soda, is entirely cured. Still, I should not be
surprised to find two or three, or even more, perforated cells after
this second crop of brood has hatched, as the whole hive, honey, and
comb, had been for so long a time so thoroughly saturated with the
disease, and at least two-thirds of the cells had, before the _medicine_
was used, been filled with putrid larvæ. If so, I shall treat it to a
third dose.

Now, Mr. Editor, as it is frequently of as much practical importance to
tell how to administer a remedy, as it is to know its name, I will ask
your indulgence a little longer, hoping that others may improve upon my
remedy or at least test it, if they are so unfortunately ignorant and
careless as I was, in bringing “the wolf home to the fold.”

The solution of hyposulphite of soda which I used, was one ounce to half
a pint of rain water. With this I thoroughly washed out every diseased
cell with an atomizer, after opening the cap; also spraying over the
whole of the combs and the inside of the hive. The instrument I use is a
spray producer, invented by Dr. Bigelow of Boston, and sold by Codman &
Shurtleff of that city. There are two small metallic tubes, a few inches
long, soldered together; and by placing the point of exit of the spray
at the lower part of the cell, the whole of the contents of the cell is
instantly blown out upon the metallic tubes. With a very little practice
there is no necessity for polluting the comb with the putrid matter.
Place the comb perfectly upright or a little leaned towards you, and
there is no difficulty; yet, if a drop should happen to run down the
comb, it would do no harm, but had better be carefully absorbed with a
piece of old dry cotton cloth. I quite frequently do this with the bees
on the comb, as it does them no harm, to say the least, to get well
covered with the vapor.

It is not at all injurious to the larvæ, after they are two or three
days old, though it may be before that time, as I have noticed that
after using the hyposulphite where there are eggs and very young larvæ,
the next day the cells are perfectly clean.

There are many interesting points which have come up during my summer’s
fight, which I would speak of; but I have already gone beyond all
reasonable bounds in this communication.


_New Bedford, Mass._, Sept. 18, 1870.

  [Translated from the Bienenzeitung,
          For the American Bee Journal.]

Queen Breeding.

To obtain not only purely fertilized queens, but fine, bright yellow
ones, I have for some years proceeded thus:

As all Italian queens do not produce equally fine drones, I mark those
stocks in the course of the summer which contain queens producing the
choicest of these. Then, in the following spring, when I desire to have
a plentiful supply of prime Italian drones early, and before common
drones make their appearance in neighboring apiaries, insert in the
hives thus selected and marked, combs of worker brood taken from other
colonies. I do this in order to make those colonies very populous, so as
to induce drone-egg-laying; for a queen will always be disposed to
commence doing so, if she is in a strong colony well supplied with
honey, or is well fed. As soon as I find that those colonies are
becoming populous under this management, I insert some empty drone comb
in the centre of the brooding space. These the queen, stimulated by
liberal feeding, will speedily supply with eggs; and when the drone
brood so produced is nearly mature, I subdivide these combs and insert
pieces in nuclei previously furnished with young bees, worker brood, and
eggs, taken from the colonies containing the choice queens from which I
design to breed, and which are known to produce the largest, most
active, and best marked workers.

As the drones form the brood thus introduced mature several days sooner,
than the young queens bred in the same nuclei, there is a strong
probability that the latter will be fertilized by them and consequently
produce fully marked choice progeny, as it is certain that queens will
almost invariably be fertilized early if they and the drones are bred in
the same hive or nucleus, since that secures the simultaneous flight of
both and obviates the necessity of a wide range in their excursions. I
adopt this process also, because if the Italian drones of the colonies,
which contain the young queens, are poorly marked and dark yellow in
color, we cannot reasonably look for bright and handsomely marked

At about ten o’clock in the morning of a calm, clear day, when the young
queen is at least two days old, I feed the bees of the nucleus with
diluted honey. Drones and queens will then almost invariably issue at
the same time, and before common drones from other colonies or
neighboring apiaries are on the wing. Thus both disappointment and delay
are in a great measure precluded. I do not stimulate the bees of the
nucleus by feeding either on the first or the second day after a young
queen has left her cell, because she is then yet too feeble to make an
excursion with safety. But I have frequently succeeded in having
fertilization effected on the third or fourth day, in favorable weather,
when the nucleus thus stimulated contained both drones and queen; and in
many cases the queens began to lay on the third or fourth day
thereafter. In this way, I not only obtain many (I do not say all)
purely fertilized queens; but also very superior ones, large, vigorous,
and prolific, producing both workers and drones well marked and brightly

I do not indeed claim that this process gives us absolute certainty, but
only a very great probability, that the queens we rear will be purely
fertilized. Other bee-keepers too, who employed it long before the
Kœhler method was promulgated, regard it as furnishing the most likely
means of assuring success. Thus, for instance, the President of the
Bee-keeper’s Union of Moravia, Dr. Ziwanski, who is not a blind imitator
of others, but a careful and indefatigable inquirer, never recommending
aught for adoption till he has himself tested it with success, found my
method worthy of adoption five years ago already, for his annual report
for 1865 contains the following passage:--

“I made five nuclei this year, with fresh brood from pure original
Italians. When fitting them up, I recollected a suggestion of the Rev.
Mr. Stahala, and inserted both drone and worker brood in four of them,
omitting the drone brood in the fifth. The queens of the first four
mentioned were purely fertilized, while the one in the fifth nucleus
mated with a common drone. This result induces me to invite your
attention to the fact, for it is reasonable to presume that queens
making their excursions will be more likely to mate with drones from
their own hives flying simultaneously, than with drones from other and
distant hives. The queen usually makes such excursions only at periods
when drones are flying, and there is then generally great commotion in
the hive, as though there was much eagerness to get abroad and enjoy the
genial air. Still, too much must not be expected from this suggestion
and its adoption. It is not supposed that any preliminary arrangements
or appointments are made by drones or queens, before the excursion is
undertaken; but merely that there is a much greater probability that
parties flying at the same time and necessarily in close proximity, will
mate, than those starting from remoter points. Hence since it can do no
possible harm to supply our nuclei with drone and drone-brood in this
manner, the plan should by no means be disregarded when preparing to
Italianize an apiary.”

By means of this process, having selection to a great degree in my
power, I frequently obtain queens nearly entirely yellow, having black
only at the extremity of the abdomen. I have procured queens for
breeding from both Dzierzon and Mona. The young queens breed from
Dzierzon’s stock were at first handsomer than those bred from Mona’s.
But in later years, since using the method I now recommend, I obtain
equally fine queens from the latter’s stock. The drones from Mona’s
queens were, from the start yellower than those from Dzierzon’s, which
were only faintly tinged with yellow on the sides, and had dark orange
bands. Observing this, I then took worker brood and queen cells from the
Dzierzon’s queens, with drones and drone-brood from the Mona queens, to
furnish the same nucleus, and thus obtained regularly very handsome
queens, bright workers, and very fine drones.

  J. STAHALA, _Pastor_.

_Dolein, near Olmutz_, Feb. 5., 1870.

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Purity of Italian Queens.

Your correspondent, E. L. Briggs, in the August number of the Journal,
has stirred up the bee-keepers a little; and for fear they will not
discuss the point which most interests me, I drop you a line, hoping
that those who have had more experience may be able to settle the

It is a fact which I think no one will deny, that it would be for the
interest of every one selling queens, to send only such as are purely
fertilized. It being as easy to rear queens from pure eggs as from any
other, we may look to some other cause than selfishness or cheapness of
the price for the difficulty. I have managed my apiary under the
impression that the Dzierzon theory is correct, that the drones from a
pure queen which had mated with a black drone, were pure.

I have failed in keeping my stock pure enough to breed from; and in my
opinion, other bee-keepers who have reared queens in the same way, are
as badly off as myself. If we wish to improve the Italian bee, we may do
so by selecting the best of its race, both male and female, to breed
from; not by crossing with the black bee. The type of the Italian bee
should be so fixed, that the bees all show the same marking. We may fix
the type of any admixture of the German and Italian bees, so that they
will have similar markings. The crossing has been so recent in many
cases, that there is no uniformity of color. Breeders of choice stock
look as much to the quality and purity of the male as the female parent.
It is my present belief that bees are as much subject to the rule, as
the animal creation are.

I look for higher results than any yet attained, when we control (as we
soon shall) the mating of our queens; and the low priced ones have given
me the most satisfaction so far.


_East Saginaw, Mich._

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Italian Queens.

MR. EDITOR:--Since so much has been said of late about Italian queens,
(especially cheap ones,) I feel it my duty, in justice to Mr. Alley, to
say, that I purchased one of his $2.50 queens last June and have bred
sixteen queens from her, besides a host of drones and workers; and the
facts are, first, her progeny are all three-banded; second, she is the
most prolific queen in my apiary; third, her workers are very
industrious; fourth and last, I am not at all out of patience because
she cost me only $2.50. Five dollars will not buy her to-day; and if I
have the good luck to keep her till next June (supposing she is young,
as claimed by Mr. Alley), I shall not want to part with her for two
fives. All who have seen her and her workers, pronounce them beauties;
and Italian bees are nothing new in these parts.


_Dowagiac, Mich._, Sept., 1870.

  [For the American Bee Journal.]


Mr. EDITOR:--Sometime ago, in one of our articles, we mentioned that we
considered the “Apiary” department in the “_Rural New Yorker_” of more
real worth than some of the periodicals specially devoted to bees.

We had then seen about half a dozen of the “Rurals” that contained some
very good articles, from the pens of intelligent bee-keepers who were
well up to the times. Since then, however, we have seen so much else
there so greatly behind the times, that we must think our decision then
a little hasty. For instance last week a bee-keeper takes the trouble to
inform the public that “hives should be moved in the night _when the
bees are all in_, for he had just moved some in the day time and a large
number that were out, never found their hive on their return. So take
notice everybody, always move your bees at night!” As this was given as
a piece of valuable information, we looked in vain for some note from
the editors, cautioning their readers against falling into the same
error, and pointing it out. And then we wondered if the editors knew any
better, or anything about bees at all, for many of their articles seem
to imply that they are uninformed and publish anything they come across,
indiscriminately, truth and error, without note or comment.

The editor of the Apiculturist thought it the height of absurdity
because we seemed to consider him in any way responsible for what his
correspondent wrote. We certainly _were_ so innocent as to suppose that
an editor _knew_ what he was going to publish, and that should a
correspondent send him an article containing a very gross error,
calculated to lead beginners astray, he would tell such correspondent
his mistake, without using his article; or if it contained something
else good and valuable, and he decided to publish it, he would kindly
mention the mistake or error, in a little note somewhere, and give his
readers confidence by letting them know that some one _was_ “running the
machine” “somewhere.”

There are a large number of good farmers who refuse to read agricultural
papers, because they say, and with considerable reason, that more than
half that is written is “impracticable nonsense.” We believe the
American Agriculturist and the American Bee Journal are at least two
noble exceptions. None of their readers can fail to know that each of
those papers is _edited_ by some one who is fully posted, and is _at
home_ too _every time_.

The Apiculturist intimates that we think no one else has a right to
_start_ a bee journal. So far from that we would be glad to subscribe
this minute for half a dozen more; if they were in charge of competent
men and had the broad platform before them that our own Journal
has--namely, the advancement of bee culture for the nation at large.

We should have replied to the Apiculturist before, but he “called
names,” and when we were a small boy we used to make it a principle that
when our comrades called us names, we “wouldn’t play any more,” and we
feel just so still.

We, too, Mr. Editor, noticed the mention in the “Scientific American,”
of the chicken roost bee arrangement to stop moths, and felt pained to
think that anything, so far behind the times, should be found in that
paper. Then, again, we noticed shortly after where they advised a
correspondent to _chop_ up his combs and strain the honey out, and
mentioned too that it _was said_ that the outside combs contained the
nicest honey! Have Munn & Co., too, been sleeping in Rip Van Winkle
style, or do they think us Bee Journal people not to be depended on?

We have had many letters from highly intelligent people, even professors
in colleges, asking about the melextractor and inquiring whether there
was no serious objection to such unnatural treatment of bees?

“Unnatural treatment,” indeed! About the 25th of last June, a farmer
called on us to know where he could sell his honey best. On asking him
how he had got it so early, he coolly informed us that he had _taken it
up_, as _it seemed full_! But how about the brood? He didn’t know what
we meant by brood, but had thrown away the young bees and did not think
that they were of any use! Murdered thousands of young innocents before
the end of June! Of course such treatment is perfectly _natural_ and
right. He didn’t get much for his honey.

Mr. Editor, we are getting hoarse in trying to explain, and all we tell
inquirers now is to get the “_American Bee Journal_.” Yet many, many
times they can’t afford it, and many more times don’t get time to read
it. Yet the same persons will say--“Why, Novice, your forty-six hives of
bees have been worth more to you than any hundred acre farm in Medina
county,” and go home quite excited.

We have had a few weeks’ drouth, the first this season, and it soon
stopped the honey from autumnal wild flowers.

Since Mr. Tillinghast suggested our being called “Expert” (or some such
foolishness), we think we could hardly be honest without confessing some
of our work this fall. For instance, we removed queen from No. 23,
August 9th, and ten days after cut out thirty-two (32) queen cells. We
have mentioned before that we tried hatching some of them in cages, and
the rest were put in hives from which we had removed hybrid queens. We
were such an _expert_ at the business that we hatched about one-half the
thirty-two, and after they were hatched, we _bungled_ the life out of
_every one_--some by artificial fertilization experiments; and the rest
wouldn’t lay and finally died their “own selves.”

Well, (we have considerable patience,) we tried again; removed queen
from No. 16, August 28, and cut out twenty-one (21) cells ten days
after. Of these we _did_ raise five laying queens; and most of the other
cells were destroyed by laying them on the top of the frames when the
weather was too cool. In fact we have had more cells destroyed this fall
than ever before, and only saved five by inserting them carefully in
place of one _cut out_. Now, Mr. Editor, we should have felt somewhat
better at this result, had we not discovered that the original queen
removed from No. 16 had been killed, and only a miserable, small, black
queen reared in her place. She was put in a hive in which we had a
caged, unfertile queen, and we neglected to look whether they had raised
any more. _Inexcusable carelessness_, we call it.

To shorten the matter, we sent Mr. Grimm fifty dollars on Monday
morning, and received twenty-five nice queens (or a part of them at
least) on Saturday afternoon. Is not that pretty prompt?

Now, Mr. Editor, we are going to take this queen raising business up
next spring just where we left off; and if we can’t do better, and at
least raise enough for our own apiary, we shall call ourself something
worse than


_October 10, 1870._

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Natural, prolific, and hardy Queens.


Answer to Charles Dadant and Willard J. Davis, in September number of
the American Bee Journal, pages 60 and 61.

To commence with Mr. Dadant. He says, first, that “we are all disposed
to regard our own ideas as indisputable.”

_Answer._ Prove all things; then hold fast to the true. Do not condemn
before trial. I have been several years experimenting and am satisfied
with my method, as a means of procuring natural, prolific, hardy and
long-lived queens--far, far ahead of any yet given to the public. It
having relieved me from the disappointment and losses heretofore
experienced in artificial swarming, with forced or artificial queens, I
have freely given my mode to the public, for adoption or rejection, as
they see fit. Those who are _set_ in their way, are under no obligation
to either adopt or even try my mode; but there are those who are not
satisfied with their present light, and who will be benefited by the
knowledge of an improved process, and to them my communications are

He says, second, that I “condemn all artificially raised queens.”

_Answer._ I do: as against nature, reason, and common sense. I see a
difference in a provision of nature, by means of which a swarm,
accidentally deprived of its queen, can temporarily replace her, till
one can be raised in a more natural way, and the way men in their
_wisdom_ are running the race out. You yourself prove my position by
almost every line of your article, if you would only place your trials,
troubles, vexations, and losses to their right account--_forced or
artificially raised queens_. New brood may seemingly save you for a
time; but when all breeders have the _cholorosis_ stamped on the product
of their apiaries, like will beget like.

He says, in the third place--“why does friend Price imagine that
artificial queens are not as good as natural ones?”

_Answer._ Because convinced by years of experiment and careful
comparison (not hard to see, I assure you) of natural with forced queens
raised by the means you have mentioned in your article, and by others
not mentioned. Even now I am trying the experiment of raising forced
queens from the brood of a pure Italian queen received last spring from
a celebrated breeder. But so far I have only succeeded in raising
cripples, drone layers, and non-egg-hatching queens. Most of them _play
out_ before commencing to lay; yet I have raised them from the egg--not
one of them hatching before the sixteenth day.

He says, fourth, after giving away or getting queens from the egg, “I
guess this method is as good as, and more simple than, that of friend

_Answer._ You would go through every motion that I do, and get two or
three queens, worthless in comparison with natural ones; while I would
secure from ten to sixty natural ones. If you followed your own method,
you would have to divide almost every hive in your apiary, if you got
through swarming in any season; while by my method[1] one hive would
furnish all the natural queen cells that would be wanted in the largest
apiary in the time of natural swarming.

He says, fifth, “a queen hatched from grubs three or four days old is
just as good as any.”

_Answer._ To sell!

Sixth, he says, “many bee-keepers find the half-blood Italian bees are
better than pure ones”--his reason being that in and in breeding is
broken up.

_Answer._ Those that receive them, let them swarm naturally; thus the
forcing is at an end, and nature again asserts her superiority.

He says, seventh, “In good seasons the queens raised in small nuclei are
as good as those raised in full stocks.”

_Answer._ He admits that they cannot at all times raise good ones. He
had better have attributed it to the lack of a natural instinct to raise
good ones. A swarm on the eve of swarming, broken up into nuclei, would
probably raise pretty fair queens--say half as good as natural ones. As
well might you hire a rough wood chopper or ditcher to make a watch, as
to set a nucleus of bees not having the swarming instinct, to raise a
first rate chronometer balanced queen.

Mr. W. J. Davis says that he does not know what effect my Revolvable,
Reversible, Double-cased, Sectional Bee-hive may have had on the tender
life of a young queen, _forced or artificial_.

As I have only used my old Langstroth hives for nuclei; _my_ hive has
of course not had any influence on them, for good or evil. But my twenty
young natural queens, raised by my method, are without exception hardy,
prolific, and have every promise of being long-lived. Had they been
forced queens two-thirds of them would have been played out before this
time. They are as prolific as any of my old “natural” queens which I
bought of those who practice natural swarming only. My R. R. D. C. S. B.
Hive has a good effect on the life of natural queens; and as Mr. Dadant
says his bees in my hive have done better than in any other, and he has
of several patents, and as he says he has only raised forced queens, my
R. R. D. C. S. Bee-hive most probably saved him.

_Secondly_, after reading all his conditions of age, weather, season,
stock, nuclei, time, and egg, that have to be consulted to insure a good
queen by the forcing process, I have an idea that his queens are natural
ones. Do you not bring your bees up to swarming and then secure their
cells Gallup fashion? Gallup calls such natural queens. I should.
Otherwise why not have good queens from March to October?

_Thirdly_, Mr. Davis says that “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 are 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.”

_Answer._ I have only one artificial queen laying, my pure _prolific_
Italian. I will guarantee any of my black, “young or old,” or other
natural queens, to fill five frames with brood quicker than she can fill
one; and if you, or “any other man,” cannot see any difference between
my forced queens[2] and my natural ones, you must be deficient in the
organs of size and weight, and would not be able to tell a Shetland pony
from an elephant.


_Buffalo Grove, Iowa._

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Introducing Queens.

Dr. H. C. Barnard in the June number of the A. B. Journal, gave
directions for introducing queens by fumigating with tobacco smoke. I
had introduced them by means of the queen cage, and sprinkling them with
sweetened water scented with the essence of peppermint. But as this
seemed to be a better plan, I thought I would try it. I caged the queen
to be introduced, and followed his directions to the letter, but what do
you think I had? A laying queen in twelve hours? Nay, verily, but a dead
queen, and half the bees dead and driven from the hive. Now, Mr. Editor,
I think a great deal of my bees, and when, in opening a hive, I
carelessly kill one, I am always sorry; but then to see them
slaughtered by wholesale, was very cruel to say the least. All the next
day, whenever I passed that way, the well bees were driving off those
that were crippled or had lost the use of their legs or wings. Besides
this, while they were in no condition to repel an attack, the robber
bees came in for a share, and I came very near losing them. They were
not so drunk but that most of them could crawl round, and only a few of
them fell to the bottom of the hive.--Dr. Barnard said, “if they all
fell to the bottom it would do no harm.” Now what was the cause of this
failure? I could not have smoked them too much, according to his
instructions, for nearly all of them could crawl round, when I first
opened the hive to let the smoke out; yet it destroyed fully half of
them. I do not write this by way of fault-finding, but so that nobody as
green as I was, should undertake the same process, and have a like


_Borodino, N. Y._, Sept., 1870.

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

The Looking-Glass Once More.

MR. EDITOR:--I cannot think, as Mr. Nesbit does on pages 80, 81 of the
last number of the Journal, that either one of his suppositions in
regard to the old woman’s bees, would do to rely upon. It is not at all
likely that a queen so defective as to be unable to fly a distance of
two hundred and fifty yards, would ever have been found where this one
was.--And as to there being two or more young queens with the swarm,
that may be true; but that they went with that swarm in sufficient
numbers to divide them on the apple tree, is positively an erroneous
idea. The swarm was followed from the apple tree on which a portion of
them was first discovered, to the one on which they clustered last, and
they did not seek a place so hidden from view as to make it difficult
even for me to see that they selected a bare limb on which to settle.
They were hived without difficulty, but proved to be bent on pitching
their tent in some other section, by leaving the old box hive unobserved
the next day.

As to the “knot” theory, I have nothing more to say--than that, if tried
right, it will prove equally true with the _inverted glass theory_. But
as to the looking-glass having nothing to do with stopping a decamping
swarm of bees, it is a grand mistake. In conclusion, I append a portion
of two letters which are before me, showing that I am not the only man
that places some confidence in a good thing.

  “BELLEFONTAINE, _Ohio, June 25_.

“At the time of swarming, I never allow noise of any kind, and have
never had a swarm that did not settle. If the apiarian sees his bees
rise high and act as though they were going to leave, the reflection of
a mirror thrown in among them, is the most efficient means that I know
of to make them alight.”

  “WINCHESTER, _Ohio, June 21_.

“If the apiarian finds that they will not settle, all that is necessary
is for him to take a looking-glass and place it in such a position that
it will reflect the rays of the sun among the bees, and they will
generally settle immediately.”

I write for the American Bee Journal for a purpose different from the
object of a teacher, and when I appear as such, will be willing to wear
a garb that will not fit _Ignoramus_. But, at the same time, if anything
from me serves the purpose of teaching, it will be all right with your
brother in bee-culture best known as


_Sawyersville, N. C._, Oct. 1, 1870.

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

More About the Looking-Glass.

I see on pages 34 and 35, Vol. VI of the A. B. Journal, that Mr. H.
Nesbit seems to doubt the efficacy of the looking-glass for stopping a
swarm of bees. I would like to tell him an instance, and see if he
doubts longer. A near neighbor of mine was at work for me one day, when
his wife called him, for the bees were swarming. We went to his house
and the bees were just clustering on a tree near by. He got a hive and
was going to hive them, when they started to go off. He took a large
looking-glass and ran to get up with them, for by this time they had got
fifteen or twenty rods from where they had clustered. He reflected the
rays of the sun upon them, and they soon began to think of lighting. As
there were no trees near by, they began to cluster on his hat; and he,
being somewhat afraid of bees, made good time for the house, I assure
you. They then settled on a post in the fence near by, and were hived.
In about an hour they concluded to try for the woods again; but the
looking-glass brought them down once more, and they were hived a second
time. In two hours after they started the third time. It being cloudy at
the time, they made their escape, as the looking-glass would not work
without the sun. Now, was the queen tired or defective, or was it the
looking-glass that proved efficient? There were several persons, nearly
a mile distant, who saw the reflected rays of the sun, their attention
being called from their work by the brightness of the reflection. I am
inclined to think it was the looking-glass, instead of the queen being
tired or defective. I have since tried it, and never failed to stop a
swarm when the sun shone.


_Borodino, N. Y._, Sept. 13, 1870.

       *       *       *       *       *

Pösel says that if a colony has suffered from hunger for twenty-four
hours, the fertility of the queen will be greatly impaired, and never be

       *       *       *       *       *

All futures are possible to Young Samson. The lion in his path he
throttles, turning his carcass into a bee-hive.

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

The Hive Question.

This question has again been revived for discussion in the Journal, and
several of our patentees and vendors have made pretty free use of its
columns for “blowing” their particular inventions and wares. Prominent
among them is Mr. J. H. Thomas; and as I have had some experience with
his hive, I wish to have my say about it in particular, and other hives
in general. Mr. T. has gotten up a neat and substantial hive, and has
admirably adapted the use of frames to the old form of the common
box-hive--tall in proportion to its length and breadth. The frames are
fixed in their relation to each other, but are as easily moved
laterally, when desired, as the frames of any other hive. As there are
only eight frames, they can be taken out and examined, when looking for
queens, &c., quicker than can be done with hives containing a greater
number of frames, and this seems to be considered by some as of great
importance. But I do not consider facilities for looking up queens, the
most important requisite of a good hive; and I find in the fact of its
having so few frames a very serious objection. In order to have the
proper number of square inches of comb in a few frames, they have to be
made comparatively large, which is the case with these. The frames are
so large that, in very hot weather, when the hive is exposed to the sun,
and the combs are full of honey, they break down and fall out of the
frames, making a very undesirable muss in the hive. I have had this to
happen repeatedly, even in his “double wall self protecting hive,” so
called, with all the ventilation that could be given it. By the way, he
has lately made a change in the ventilation, by enlarging the entrance
(an improvement) and by closing the inch and hole covered with wire
cloth, in the bottom board, and making another in the back and about an
inch above the bottom board. I do not know which is according to
“scientific principles,” and whether an improvement or not. It is true
this breaking down of combs might be prevented by shading the hive; but
the “best hive in America” ought not to require this, as we do not
always want our hives shaded. There are several other minor objections
to Mr. T.’s hives, but a still more important one will be mentioned

Five years ago Mr. T.’s hive might have been considered a very good one,
but “the world moves,” and no single department has made greater strides
of progress in the last ten years than apiculture. His, and all similar
hives, lack one important feature to make it adapted to the present
wants of all progressive bee-keepers. No hive should now claim
perfection without being easily provided with extra frames for surplus
honey to be used in the honey extractor, and these frames should be of
the same size as those in the body of the hive. It should be well
adapted to the use of the division board, with room at side or ends for
surplus frames, or be easily and conveniently converted into a two-story
hive, with frames in the upper story the same size as below.--Tall
hives with large frames are not well adapted to this purpose. The
two-story Langstroth works well. Mr. Gallup’s and Mr. Truesdell’s style
of hives can be easily arranged with additional frames at each end, or
on top, or both. Now, I do not say that any and every hive thus arranged
is perfect, but that no hive should lay claim to being the most perfect
hive made, without being adapted to such an arrangement; for it is
important to give for the breeding capacity of the queen, and to furnish
a sufficient amount of empty combs for the accumulated workers, and
thereby obtain the greatest yield of honey with the extractor, or
without it.

Besides “puffs” of particular hives, we have numerous articles on
general principles to be observed in their construction--some approving
and some condemning the shallow form of the Langstroth hive. In the
August number, Mr. J. W. Seay pitches into the shallow hives on general
principles and preconceived theories. Now, theories do well enough for
fine talk, and are good when substantiated by facts. But facts are the
things for the practical man, and one fact is worth a dozen theories.
Mr. S.’s theory and deductions therefrom, in regard to the production of
early brood, I do not find confirmed in my experience and observation;
and the facts of the case warrant a very different conclusion. A tall
hive is thought best for wintering out doors, for we know the bees will
place their stores above them when there is room. We know, also, that
they do not cluster on the honey, but below it, and the heat from them
ascends and makes their stores more accessible in cold weather. But how
is it with the breeding early in the season? Mr. S. says, “the bees in
order to hatch brood as the weather becomes warm in the spring, will
cluster at the larvæ end of said combs, &c. Now what he means by the
“larvæ” end of the comb, I do not exactly know. If he intends to say
that they cluster at the bottom of the brood comb, so that the heat will
ascend and warm up the upper part of the brood comb for the extension of
brood, facts do not warrant the assertion; for it is well known that
bees do not commence breeding at the lower end of the comb, except in a
very rare case, when they have had the hive full of honey and have
consumed none or only very little during the winter. As a general thing,
they commence breeding near the centre, and frequently in the upper part
of the hive. I have known them, in the Thomas’ hive, to commence
breeding within two inches of the top bar, with plenty of honey at the
sides. Now, when breeding is commenced near the top, the extension of
brood in a tall hive must be chiefly downward--away from the heat
generated in the cluster, instead of towards it. And for this reason, as
the warmth of the cluster will be diffused laterally more readily than
it will extend downwards, more rapid breeding will be induced in the
shallow hive than in the deep one. This accords exactly with the facts
of the case. If Mr. S. only means that the bees cluster on the larvæ and
around it, he is correct; but this does not alter the conclusion. In
stating that the bees will cluster and commence breeding in one end of
the low hives, leaving the other end empty and cold, Mr. S. does not
fairly state the case. They generally cluster near the centre of the
hive, and the heat will radiate towards both ends.

But, we have had enough of theory. How stand the facts? I have had Mr.
Thomas’ hive--one of the best of the tall ones, and the Langstroth hive,
side by side, for several years. Last winter I prepared eight of each
kind for wintering on their summer stands, somewhat similar to the plan
recommended by Mr. Langstroth. In the latter part of the winter one
colony in a Langstroth hive was lost, not from any fault of the hive,
but from my carelessness. At the opening of the spring, a thorough
examination was made of each hive, with the following comparison:
_First_--loss of honey was about alike in each kind; some of each had
nearly exhausted their stores, while others of each kind had more than
enough, so that when equalized all had plenty. _Second_--loss of bees:
In the Langstroth hives this was light. In four of them a spoonful of
dead bees could not be found. The other three had a few dead bees. In
one of the Thomas’ hives no dead bees were found. In two others not a
great many, but more than in the worst of the Langstroth hives. The
other five had a great many dead bees. The colonies were much
reduced--one to a mere handful, with frames and hive badly soiled with
their discharges, had to unite it with another hive. The T. hive that
had no dead bees, was in a fence corner, nearly buried in snow all
winter. _Third_--mould on combs. In all the Thomas’ hives there was more
or less mould, except one. No mould in any of the Langstroth hives.
_Fourth_--quantity of brood. _Decidedly the most in the Langstroth
hives, at the time of the examination, and it increased faster, and they
swarmed earlier than the tall hives._ My first swarms came from the flat
hives every season. It may be said that the colonies in the flat hives,
having lost only few bees in the winter, were stronger and would
generate heat and naturally increase faster, and swarm earlier from this
cause. I grant it; but one of the tall hives lost no bees, and was very
strong, and yet did not breed as rapidly as the other.--I make this
statement without favor or partiality. I expected a different result. I
have no hives--patented or unpatented, no territory, or interest in any
patent, to sell.

I have made a hive on the plan of Mr. Gallup and Mr. Truesdell; which I
believe possesses many advantages, and is capable of being used more
ways, with the same size frame for all the different styles, than any
hive I have seen described. The brood apartment is the plain box of Mr.
Gallup--eleven inches wide, fourteen inches deep, eighteen inches long,
or as much longer as may be desired. The frames are hung across the
narrow way. I have given greater depth and less width than my model,
because I wanted to winter out-doors, and because I wanted to use the
same frames-in a non-swarmer, with two tiers of boxes at sides. We can
use this hive--1st. as a simple frame hive, with large room on top for
surplus boxes.--2d. By extending the length to any desired number of
frames, frames for surplus honey may be put in each end, for emptying
with the extractor.--3d. It can be easily made a two-story hive, with
frames in the upper story the same size as in the lower one.--4th. By
having movable side-boards, it may be made a non-swarmer on Mr. Quinby’s
and Mr. Alley’s principle, and piles of honey boxes may be put on the
sides and top. I have one made this way with thirteen frames, sixteen
five pound boxes form the sides, and three twelve pound boxes on top,
all enclosed in a suitable case. This is made somewhat like Mr. Alley’s
hive; but I think is better than his. To avoid one extreme--the flat
form, he has gone to the other, and has his hive too tall and too
narrow. From all that I have read from our best German and American
writers on the subject, I think I have hit the “golden mean” of width
and depth. The great beauty of it is that the same frame can be used in
all the different styles; and that we may have a variety of hives with
but one size of frame.

I call this hive, with its non-swarming and box arrangement, the
It is said “there is nothing in a name,” but if I could only get friend
Price’s “_Reversible-Revolvable_” attachment, with the privilege of
adding the name, there would be considerable improvement in adopting
this compellation for the modified arrangement.


_Pelee Island, Ontario_, Sept. 10, 1870.

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

The Thomas Hive.

Mr. EDITOR:--I wish, with your permission, to correct some few errors
which have appeared in the Journal with regard to the Thomas hive in

Mr. J. H. Thomas, in the July number of the Journal, says--“It is the
principal hive in use in Canada.” Again, in the correspondence of the
Bee Journal, September No., page 71, Mr. H. Lipset says--“The Thomas
hive is all the go in Ontario.” How is it that men will make such
extravagant statements? Now for a few facts, as the bee-men say.

One of my neighbors, an intelligent and scientific bee-keeper, having
been bred to the business, received a hive from Mr. Thomas, and after
giving it four or five years’ trial, says he would not use the hives if
he could get them for nothing.

A Mr. Conger, of this county, whose son was an agent for the Thomas
hive, told me lately that he had thrown the Thomas hive aside, in favor
of a hive similar to Langstroth’s shallow form.

Mr. Walter Taylor, of Fitzroy Harbor, Ontario, formerly an agent for the
Thomas hive, wrote me last winter that he would get his bees out of the
Thomas hive as soon as possible, as he had found the shallow Langstroth
hive was “just the thing.”

I know of no person, making bee-keeping a “business,” who uses the
Thomas hive. After all, the Canadian bee-keepers ought to feel proud of
having a man among them who has produced the “best bee hive in America.”
Where are Dr. Conklin, D. L. Adair, and J. M. Price with his revolvable,
reversible--and so on to the end of the chapter? Echo answers--nowhere!

This has been a good year for bees in this part of Ontario. Yet a man
living five miles from here, and using the Thomas hive, says it has been
a very bad season.

I commenced in the spring with forty-five hives, several of them being
very weak from want of honey. I now have eighty-seven good stocks and
sixteen hundred (1600) pounds of box honey, besides about ten frames
full. Two stocks that did not swarm produced eighty-five (85) pounds
each, of box honey. My first swarm of the season, which came off June
13th and was put in an empty hive, stored sixty-six (66) pounds of honey
in boxes, besides losing a frame of honey which melted down with the
extreme heat which prevailed this summer.

The foregoing, of course, does not come up to the big stories we read in
the Journal; but it is very good for this section of Ontario, and pays
very well.

My hives contain nine frames, 16¾ inches long and 8½ inches deep,
inside. The frames run from front to rear. The hive is similar in shape
to Langstroth’s shallow form. I obtain earlier swarms and more surplus
honey than any other person in these parts using a deeper form of hive.
While I put boxes on the top I would not use any other form of hive. I
think that Alley’s new style of Langstroth hive is the best for
obtaining surplus honey in boxes that was ever invented. I constructed
two hives last year, as an experiment, similar to Mr. Alley’s. One of
these gave me the sixty-six pounds before mentioned.

W. Baker, in the September correspondence of the Journal, says that his
bees swarmed without making any preparation. Many of mine did the same
thing this summer. In opposition to this, on examining a hive five days
after a swarm left it, I found a laying queen, and from the number of
eggs I saw, I should think she had been laying twenty-four hours at

In looking over the Bee Journal, I am surprised to see that so many
bee-keepers still use a pan of chips, old rags, rotten wood, &c., with
which to smoke their bees. I use a pipe, which for convenience and
efficiency, I think cannot be surpassed, notwithstanding Mr. Thomas to
the contrary. It consists of a tin tube, six inches long and one inch in
diameter, having a funnel soldered to the inside, about 1½ inches from
one end, as shown in the annexed figure:


The funnel or cone is punched full of small holes. Into each end of the
tube a bored plug, _a_ and _b_, is nicely fitted. The plug _b_ is cut so
as to be easily held between the teeth. To get the smoke, draw out the
plug _b_, fill the space _c_ with some combustible material, then with
the plug _a_ in the mouth, it may be lighted with a match, like a common
pipe. When lighted, insert the plug _b_ in its place, and blow away. I
have used cut tobacco till lately, but now find dry corn silk much
better. The advantage of this pipe is, that it can be held in the mouth,
and the smoke directed where it is wanted, while the hands are free to
operate with. This is a great convenience, especially in taking off


_Bloomfield, Ontario._

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Shallow Hives, or Deep?

Mr. EDITOR:--In the September number of the Journal, Dr. B. Puckett
criticises an article of mine in the July number, and asks me to explain
wherein the shallow Langstroth hive is lacking.

When I wrote the article referred to, my object was to show that the
shallow hive could be altered to a different form, and that those who
were using it, and considered it too shallow, need not throw their hives
away. I said it was _not_ a good hive for wintering in the open air, or
for early spring. I did not think it necessary to give my reasons in
detail, why it was not good; for that matter I considered had been
already fully discussed in the Journal. But as Dr. P. requests it, I
will explain.

For wintering in a cellar, the hive is perhaps good enough. But I do not
want to be _obliged_ to house my bees. Sometimes I have plenty of room
in the cellar, and sometimes not. If the hives are of suitable form for
wintering in the open air, I can let them remain out, when it is not
convenient to carry them in. But the great objection to them is in early
spring. Dr. P. asks if it is the fault of the hive that the _old_ bees
die off, or that bees are destroyed by cold winds? Of course it is not.
But if a swarm is not breeding enough to make up that loss, there must
be a fault somewhere. When we take bees from the cellar, we expect that
they will have brood in all stages, from the egg just laid to young bees
just gnawing out. We expect too that the queen will continue to deposit
eggs, even more rapidly, because of the excitement produced by the bees
flying, and especially if they are fed rye meal, as mine always are. I
said, after they had been out _a month_, there appeared to be fewer bees
than when first carried out. We expect a loss the first day or two after
taking them out, but soon afterward, the bees should be increasing; and
at the end of a month, which brings it into April, there should be a
decided increase. In deeper hives, according to my experience, it is so;
and the deeper the hive the greater the increase.

The reason why the shallow hive is not good for early spring, as I
understand, is this: as soon as severe weather is past, we want to
confine the animal heat as much as possible to the hive, that the bees
may breed rapidly. Consequently we shut off all upward ventilation. The
coldest part of a hive is near the entrance and so along the bottom
board. The farther the bees get from the bottom, the warmer they find
the temperature. These hives being so low, before the bees get out of
the way of the cold air coming in at the entrance, they are bumping
their heads against the top. And, instead of spreading the brood in a
circle, which is the best form to economise heat, they are obliged to
carry it along horizontally, and after all work at a disadvantage.

In a tall hive they can draw up and get well out of the way of the cold
air from the entrance. The top of the hive being small, _the animal
heat_, _brood_, and bees are all compact, and in the best condition for
rapid breeding. The faster they breed, the faster they can breed, as
there are more bees to keep up the heat; and as it naturally ascends,
the smaller the hive is across the top, the more compact the heat will
be kept.

A friend, who for some years has been using a very tall hive, after
trying for a long time to persuade me to use some of them, finally gave
me one in the spring of 1868, and requested me to put a swarm into it.
Says he--“You may let it stand anywhere through the winter; the bees
will be sure to do well.” I have used it, and found that the bees
increase in it nearly twice as fast in April and May, as in the shallow
hive. The result is the same in his apiary.

Mr. Alley, who at one time so vigorously advocated the shallow hive, has
since become convinced of his error, and invented what he calls the new
style Langstroth hive. The shallow frames are set up endwise, which
gives it extreme depth. In the September number of the Journal, 1869,
page 54, he says--“I examined fifty stocks of bees in shallow hives last
spring (and many of these were larger colonies than any I had); but none
of them had as much sealed brood as mine.”

When he first got up this hive, and before any of them had been used, a
friend of his had one, and was requested by Mr. A. to show it to me and
get my opinion upon it, not letting me know where it came from. I
refused to express an opinion, except on the point of wintering, in
which I considered it could not be beat.

The great depth of combs, together with the protection given by the
outer case, makes it one of the best hives for wintering that I have
seen. It has a large amount of box room for surplus honey, which is
needed for a swarm that has been well wintered, and that has increased
well during the spring. But let him just turn the frames down to a
horizontal position, making it a shallow hive, and I will guarantee that
one-half of the box room will be ample.

I have attempted to explain wherein the shallow hive is lacking, and now
have a favor to ask of Dr. P. He says: “The Langstroth hive could be
made deeper very easily, without Mr. R.’s patchwork.” Will he tell us
how it can be done, and still retain about the same number of cubic


_West Newberry, Mass._, September 10, 1870.

       *       *       *       *       *

Honey is the most elaborate of all vegetable productions.

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Wintering Bees.

We republish the following from the A. B. J., Vol. IV., page 109, at the
request of a number of new subscribers. We regard it as probably the
least troublesome and most successful mode of out-door wintering yet

It is settled beyond a doubt in my own mind, by the experience of others
as related in the BEE JOURNAL, and by my own experience for several
years in the apiary, that bees to winter well, must have sufficient
ventilation to carry off the excessive moisture which accumulates in
well stocked hives. This moisture arises partly from the exhalations
from the bodies of the bees, but mostly, I think, from the surrounding
atmosphere, which constantly holds in suspense a greater or less amount
of moisture, according as its temperature is higher or lower. The warm
atmosphere of the hive is capable of holding a considerable quantity,
until it is condensed by coming in contact with the cold walls of the
hive, at some distance from the cluster of bees. There it condenses,
first into minute drops of moisture, and afterwards, if the cold
increases, into frost. The constant accumulation of the quantity, by
repeated thawing and freezing in a hive that has no efficient means of
ventilation, gradually encroaches on the space occupied by the bees,
finally reaching those on the outside of the cluster. These grow
benumbed, cease to eat, lose their vitality, grow cold, the frost forms
on their bodies, and they die where they stand. The frost continues to
penetrate the cluster, if the cold weather is prolonged, until finally
the last bee dies covered with frost. The warm days of spring then melt
this frost, and on examination, the whole mass of bees are found dead
and as wet as if just dipped from a basin of water. I found one hive in
that condition last spring. The entrance to this hive was left open, but
the honey-board was left on tight, without any upward ventilation, as an
experiment. All my other colonies wintered well on their summer stands,
having their entrances open three or four inches wide, and the front and
rear openings in the honey-boards (half an inch wide, and extending the
whole length of the hive) uncovered, but the middle opening closed.

For the coming winter I have adopted Mr. Langstroth’s plan with some
modifications. I shall omit the outside covering of the hive, believing
that it is better to have the hive of a single thickness of board, say
seven-eighths of an inch, in order that the heat of the sun may easily
penetrate it, and warm up the hive almost daily, thus giving the bees an
opportunity to bring to the central part of the hive fresh supplies of
food from the outer combs. This plan _may_ lead to a somewhat greater
consumption of honey; but if a swarm of bees will give its owner from
fifty to one hundred pounds of surplus honey in a season, as mine have
done the past summer, he ought to be entirely willing to have them eat
all they need during the winter. At all events, one of two things must
be done, to winter bees successfully, in addition to their having a
supply of food and thorough ventilation--they must either be kept in a
repository where frost cannot enter, as a cellar, trench, ice-house, or
the like; or they must be put where the sun can warm them up

I have removed all the honey-boards, placed two one-half or
three-quarter inch strips across the frames, and covered the whole top
of the frames with any old woollen garments that could be found about
the house.[3] These need no cutting or fitting. Pack them in as you
would pack a trunk, (the roof or cover of my top box is movable, and I
like it much better than the old plan of having it nailed on,) two,
three, or half a dozen thicknesses will make no difference. The moisture
will pass through as readily as the insensible perspiration of our
bodies will pass through our bed covering. The hives will remain dry and
the bees warm. I have no fear of losing a single swarm the coming
winter, although several new ones which I bought are quite weak, owing
to the sudden close of the honey harvest a month earlier than last year,
in consequence of the drought.


_Seneca Falls, N. Y._, Oct., 1868.

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Upward Ventilation.

MR. EDITOR:--I once found a bee-tree, with an excellent swarm in it. I
cut it down Gallup-fashion, and moved it home, in the month of February.
The entrance was a hole, about three inches in diameter, just at the top
of the cavity. The tree was a green butternut. I sawed it off, short
enough to handle easy, and set it up in the yard. The combs were bright
and clean, and there were not over a dozen dead bees in it when found.
It swarmed twice in June following, and next winter I stopped up the
entrance at the top, and made another within six inches of the bottom,
by boring a two-inch hole through the side. All this time I kept the top
closed tight. The following winter I came near losing them with dampness
and dysentery. Next winter, I closed up the auger hole, and opened the
top entrance again. They wintered as nice as a pin--no dampness or
dysentery. In April I thought I could still better their condition, by
making the entrance smaller, and reduced the entrance to one inch in
diameter. Within six days after, I came near losing them with dampness
and mould. Experimenting still further, I noticed that the fanners or
ventilating bees would, in hot weather, be arranged in this manner--one
set at the lower edge of the entrance, with their heads outward; the
other set at the top of the entrance, facing inward, driving out the hot
air. I then reduced the size of the entrance still more, and found that
in a very short time nearly the entire swarm would issue and cluster on
the outside of the log or gum. Enlarging the hole to three inches again,
the bees would soon return inside and resume work. I kept that log hive
four years, and then sold it to a neighbor. Whenever I wintered it with
the natural entrance open, there was no dysentery and no unnatural
distention of the abdomen; and on their first flight in the spring, they
would not even speck the snow.

In wintering bees in the Wellhuysen hive, made of willows and plastered
with cow manure, they would never have the dysentery--not the least sign
of it. The combs were always bright and clean, and the bees always in as
good condition as they were in midsummer. I have wintered bees in
Canada, in the old-fashioned straw hive, with the entrance, summer and
winter, a two-inch hole in the centre at top; and they always wintered
well, without the least sign of dysentery, even when they would not
leave the hive from the 10th of October to the 1st of May--nearly eight
months. In that climate they are nearly always confined from the 1st of
November to the 10th or 20th of April, or about five months. When I
lived there, there was scarcely ever any honey stored after the 15th of
August, yet bee-keeping pays in that climate. To encourage our northern
bee-keepers, I will say that, according to my experience, there and in
the West, I think the flowers secrete more honey, in the same length of
time, there than here. Our atmosphere is rather dry, while theirs is
moist and humid--just right for the secretion of honey.


_Orchard, Iowa._

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Alley’s Improved Langstroth Hive.

MR. EDITOR:--For twenty years I have had experience in bee-keeping, and
had within that time as many different styles of bee-hives in my apiary;
but, taking everything into consideration, the advantages derived from
Mr. Alley’s, proves it to be the best I have yet seen. It has the best
shape, the greatest amount of animal heat for wintering bees, and as for
storing honey, it allows as much room for surplus honey as the largest
stock would need.

These are only two among the many advantages it presents. Many more
might be mentioned. I simply state these, as I consider them the most
important. Brother bee-keepers, who are about to purchase, should not
fail to give it a trial.


_Danvers, Mass._, Sept. 10, 1870.

       *       *       *       *       *

Intelligent practice is very different from blind practice; or, in other
words, practice preceded by a sound theory is evidently far superior to
practice without theory.--TALBOT.

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Ventilating the Gallup Hive in a Damp Cellar.

The cellar of my house is nearly underground. Its size is 38 × 28 × 7
feet, inside measure. The temperature during the winter is usually 38°
F., with occasional extremes of 35° and 41°. It is damp, and not
specially ventilated. A stairway from the porch and one from the
kitchen, furnish all the air; the latter being very much used during
winter time. In this cellar I have usually wintered some of my bees, for
many years--trying various methods and different kinds of hives, with
the result always, till last winter, of more or less mouldy combs. I
then had among the lot four strong stocks and Gallup hives. These I had
setting up three feet from the ground, with caps and honey-boards
removed, and the loose top cover laid directly on the hives; and by
means of hard wood wedges pushed in between the lower edges of the hives
and the bottom-boards, and also between the upper edges and the top
covers, I gave them one-eighth of an inch air all round the hives, above
and below, except six inches in length at the entrance, where I gave
them one-fourth of an inch, so that the bees could get out. In this
condition the hives were left all winter. The bees remained very quiet,
humming almost inaudibly, and paying little attention to the light of a
candle which was carried in many times a day. Scarcely any came out to
die; and not over half a teacupful died in each hive. They consumed
comparatively little honey, and when the hives were examined after being
set out in the spring, the combs were all dry and free from mould. In my
experience absorbents used on a hive in a cellar have always caused
combs to mould. Who would think of laying on top of his hives a damp
straw mat, or a pile of damp corncobs? And yet it is all about the same
thing. Give the proper amount of air, and let it pass off unobstructed.
I shall try a larger number of hives the coming winter. Many thanks to


_Lake P. O., Stark county, Ohio_, Oct. 4, 1870.

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Bee Hives, and Shipping Honey in Frames.

There has been much said on hives in the columns of the Bee Journal.
Some are said to be too deep, and others too shallow. But after all,
profit in dollars and cents is the great object; and to secure this in
the shape of surplus honey, three things are requisite--_first_, strong
colonies of bees; _second_, a good season with plenty of pasturage; and,
_third_, the placing your surplus honey boxes or frames as near as
possible to the brood in the main body of the hive. There are two ways
to accomplish this: _first_, by using the shallow form of hive, with
frames say seven or eight inches in depth; and, _second_, by using the
side gathering or storing hive. I prefer the latter, with frames twelve
inches deep; and this for three reasons. _First_, if the apiarian has no
repository for winter quarters, his bees are right in these for
wintering in the open air. _Second_, the brood and cards of honey can be
so adjusted as to bring the former next to your honey boxes, if
necessary; as we never want more than one full frame of honey between
the brood and the surplus honey boxes or frames. _Third_, in the
manipulation of colonies there is no comparison between the side storing
hive, and the top storing. With the former, when the lid is removed, we
have access to the frames, without the intervention of surplus honey or
other boxes. Top-storing hives are now behind the age.

Those using shallow frames must, in this latitude and climate, have a
house for wintering their colonies, and when bees are removed to their
summer stands in the spring, the lid that covers the second-story or
surplus honey chamber, should fit on the brood chamber, that the honey
chamber may be left off till the time comes for placing surplus honey
boxes on your hives. By this means all the heat rising from the bees is
secured and diffused through the main hive or brooding chamber for
hatching the eggs; and the bees multiply as rapidly for aught I can see,
and swarm as early as in the twelve inch frames. I have used one hundred
shallow hives, with frames eight inches in depth, for three years; and
when I suffer them to throw off natural swarms, they swarm as early,
sending off as many and as large swarms as taller hives.

In 1869, I had gathered six thousand pounds of fine surplus honey in
frames in the top receptacles of my shallow hives. A large proportion of
this I shipped, in the frames, to C. O. Perrine & Co., Chicago, Ills.
They paid me twenty-five cents per pound for it, frames and all. Should
any honey raisers in the West wish to sell to a good man, I should
recommend them to Mr. Perrine. I have trusted him with quite large
amounts at a time, and always found all right at settlement day.


To do this properly and safely make the box or case in which you ship
only wide enough to receive the length of the top bar of your frames,
and one and a half inch deeper than the depth of the frame. Make the
case tight and pitch the inside with rosin and bees wax, so that the
leakage of the combs will not be lost.

In packing the frame honey, first pierce the projection of the frames
through with an awl, invert it and place in the holes one inch finishing
nails, then place the top of the frame down and crossways in the case,
and with a tack hammer drive your nails. Place the next frame by the
side of this first, corresponding as built in the hive, if it can be;
and place them so as slightly to touch. In filling the last end of the
case, place an iron rod on the head of the nail to drive it, as you
cannot play the hammer.

When the case is full, take two strips (common lath) just long enough
and wide enough to fill the case tightly from end to end, and cover the
ends of the frames and fit tightly against the sides of the case; drive
an inch nail through the strips in the end piece of each frame, and the
frames will be perfectly solid.

I shipped from one to two hundred pounds in a case, in this manner, and
Mr. Perrine tells me the average was not over two frames broken down per
case, and no loss from leakage, the boxes being pitched inside.


_Camargo, Ills._, Sept. 6, 1870.

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

The New Smoker.

I introduce to the notice of bee-keepers a new smoker for bees,
believing it will be pronounced the best, until a better one is found.

It will be found the best for ease of lighting, and to retain fire, and
as burning with equal facility, rotten wood, old rags, or a combination
of wood and rags; and it will not annoy the operator every few minutes
by going out.

To make one, procure a piece of wove wire; I use very fine wire cloth,
but suppose that a coarser article will answer. The piece should be
twelve inches wide and from twelve to eighteen inches long. Take of old
rags a sufficient quantity to make a roll about 2 or 2½ inches thick and
twelve inches long. Roll the rags evenly and firmly together, and then
lay them at one end of the sheet of wove wire, and roll the wove wire
over them pretty tightly, and bind with wire. Light at one end with a
match; and your smoker, if nicely made, will burn from two to four
hours. Or if it be only half filled with rags, then fill out lightly
with damp rotten wood, and you will have a big smudge.


_Buffalo Grove, Iowa._

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Reply to Mr. Worthington’s Inquiry.

MR. EDITOR:--I see in the June number, page 264, Mr. Worthington asks
how to examine bee stores, &c., in the American hive. Here is the way I
do. Remove the cap and honey box; blow a little smoke through the slot
in the top bar of frames, to quiet the bees; remove the movable side,
and with your pocket knife, you can easily run the blade between the top
bars, loosening them; lift out the frames, placing them in a skeleton
frame made to hold them; and in this way you see _exactly_ the condition
of your bees. In returning the frames to the hive, you have only one
place to watch to prevent killing bees, that is the top.


_Pierce, Mo._

       *       *       *       *       *

If asked how much such contrivances against the moth will help the
careless bee-man, I answer not one iota; nay, they will positively
furnish him greater facilities for destroying his bees. Worms will spin
and hatch, and moths will lay their eggs, under the blocks, and he will
never remove them. Thus, instead of traps, he will have most beautiful
devices for giving effectual aid and comfort to his
enemies.--_Langstroth’s “Hive and Honey Bee.”_

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Bees in Bennington, Vermont.

MR. EDITOR:--The season in Bennington has been very good for bees, that
is, considering that they were in poor condition last spring. Many
colonies died last winter in this town, and I should think it safe to
say that one half our bees then perished for want of honey. I was not at
home in February to attend to mine, and lost five colonies before I was
aware of their being so short of supplies, which I discovered only after
losing my best stock of Italians. It was quite warm in January, and one
day was so like spring that I carried my hives all out, and for a couple
of hours it seemed like swarming time. The weather was so mild that my
bees began to breed considerable, and so used up their honey. When I
removed the dead bees from one of my hives, I found brood in three combs
sealed over, a spot as large as my hand in each, besides eggs and larvæ.

February was very cold, and a terror to light swarms. I set my hives out
again the last of March, and had then only fifteen stocks. Three of
these I united with others, thus reducing the number to twelve. One of
these got discouraged, and tried to form a partnership with another
colony, but got killed in the operation. Thus, by the first of May, I
had only eleven colonies remaining, and they were very weak. I fed them
every day till I began to see they were getting stronger. Then, thanks
to the Bee Journal, I knew enough to double their feed as they increased
in numbers and the hives in weight of brood, for they could not of
course get much honey till the first trees blossomed. The weather then
became warm and pleasant, and the bees got a good start in life, so that
when clover and red raspberries bloomed, they were soon ready to march
out and take a limb of a tree on their own account. I soon had
twenty-five swarms and began to think hives and all would swarm. Besides
those we hived, four swarms took the wings of the morning. By the way, a
great number of swarms ran away this year to the woods. I found a small
swarm about three miles away from home. They came over a barn I was
painting, and clustered near by. I hived them in a powder keg, and
carried them home at night.

I have taken two hundred and twenty-five (225) pounds of box honey from
my bees, besides ten six pound boxes partly filled, of which I take no
account. I have twenty-one hives to winter. They are very heavy, too
heavy, I fear, to winter well; but hope for the best. Bees within half a
mile of mine have not done anything at all; because they had no care or
feeding in the spring, and when summer came they were merely ready to
begin their spring’s work. I think it pays to feed bees as well as other

I have only two swarms of black bees, and some hybrids, the rest are
pure Italians. I received two queens from Mr. Cary this season, and
inserted them all right. They were, to all appearance, accepted and
owned for four or five weeks, when one day I found one of them thrown
out dead on the bottom board; and if it had not been for the Bee
Journal on the superseding of queens, I should not have known what the
trouble was. The other is all right so far, and the young bees from both
queens are beauties. I never saw finer, and am well satisfied with them.
My bees are all descendants of Mr. Cary’s stock, and another year I
shall get some more from him and other breeders, to avoid breeding in
and in.

I have never yet seen a honey extractor at work, but there is one within
a few miles of me and I am going to see it. If it proves to be the one
thing needful in my case, I shall go for one another year.

I have procured some of the Rocky Mountain bee plant seed from Mr.
Green, and if it is good, as I have no reason to doubt it will be, I
shall let you know all about it.

The season has been quite favorable here, not as dry as it was in some
places; and our crops are very good, with an abundance of fruit. Taking
every thing into consideration, I am well satisfied with my bees and
their labors last summer. When I bought my bees, a man in the same
business blowed a good deal and said it would not be a great while
before I would run out with my Italian bees and wintering in the house.
Last year (1869) he had in the summer sixty-six colonies. He fed two
barrels of sugar this spring, as he says, and now has twenty or
twenty-one colonies. Who has run out? I fed half a barrel or one hundred
and twenty-five pounds of sugar. He don’t “fool away his money for Bee
Journals, nor Italian queens.”


_North Bennington, Vt._, Oct. 5, 1870.

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

The Season in Massachusetts.

After reading the various accounts in the Journal as to how bees have
done in other parts of the country, I think it will not be out of place
to let its readers know what has been going on in Massachusetts, or
rather in a part of that State.

About May 20th our bees commenced to collect honey rapidly, and from
that time to June 7th, honey was very abundant, and I never saw bees put
into the hives and surplus boxes faster. From June 7th until July 1st
they did very little. In fact we had then ten days in succession when no
honey was collected; and by the 1st of July pasturage failed altogether,
as it generally does here in New England. I never knew bees to put honey
into boxes later than July 12th, and that for only one year, since I
have kept bees.

Perhaps it will be new to some of the readers of the Journal to know the
fact that bees do not collect honey here, in Essex county, as a general
thing, later than the first week in July; and this season they did not
work later than the last day of June. Very little honey was put into
boxes between June 7th and July 1st. Had the season held out as it gave
promise in May, honey would have been plenty in Massachusetts.

I have a few hives that did very well, considering how short the honey
harvest was, and to let some of your readers know that Alley can raise
honey as well as queen bees, I enclose a short report that was intended
to be shown to the “Honey Committee,” at the Essex County Fair; but as I
was the only person who exhibited bees or honey (except four small boxes
by Mr. Gould, of Ipswich,) I did not submit it. Of course Alley got the
highest “premium,” under such circumstances. I suppose if I say that the
stock that did best was in one of Alley’s hives, some one will think
that this article is meant only for an advertisement. Well, I cannot
help that; so here goes for the report, and all who do not want to
believe it, can accommodate themselves in that line, and I will find no
fault. I do not, myself, believe more than only just what I think is
true, even when I see it in the A. B. J.:

HIVE No. 1, filled sixty-eight 2½lb. boxes, and cast one small swarm.
The honey was sold at thirty-five cents per pound, box and all. Weight
of boxes and honey 170lbs.; weight of the sixty-eight boxes empty
34lbs.; net amount of honey stored 136lbs., which, at 35 cents per

  is                  $47 60
  One young swarm       3 00
  Whole amount        $50 60

HIVE No. 2. This was a stock transferred from a box hive to a movable
comb hive, May 26th, 1870. It filled thirty 3lb. boxes, and the honey
was sold at thirty-five cents a pound, without including the boxes. Net
amount of honey stored 75lbs.; which, at 35 cents per pound, is $26 25

HIVE No. 3, filled two 15lb. boxes, and cast two swarms. The first of
these swarms filled a new hive, from which I have taken twenty-five
pounds of honey, and it now has enough to winter on, without feeding.
The second swarm I used to rear queens, and it was worth five dollars to

  Value of first swarm                       $7 00
  Value of second swarm                       5 00
  55lbs. of honey at 35 cents per pound      19 25
  Whole profit from Hive No. 3              $31 25

The profit from these three hives is one hundred and eight (108)

I omitted to say that I took twenty-five pounds of honey from Hive No.
2, as late as August 20th. That hive now has honey enough to winter

Since September 20th, the bees have put in a considerable amount of
honey, but not in surplus boxes. Even my nucleus hives put in enough
from September 20th, to keep them--making a saving to me of twenty-five
(25) dollars.

If other bees in this vicinity have done as well as mine, few colonies
will starve in this county next winter. My article is getting long. I
will stop just here.


_Wenham, Mass._, Oct. 3, 1870.

       *       *       *       *       *

Virgil recommends the hollowed trunk of the cork tree as a hive, than
which no material would be more admirable, if it could only be easily
and cheaply procured.

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Bees at Binghamton, N. Y.

MR. EDITOR:--Having gained so much instruction and pleasure from the
perusal of your valuable paper, I think it no more than right to send
you a report of the season’s operations here. But there are so many of
your contributors so much more successful, that my account will appear
tame in comparison; yet when compared with what has been done by my box
and Kidder hive neighbors, it seems to be quite a success.

The season has been favorable in this locality, though rather dry for
many crops, yet honey was more or less abundantly yielded all through
the season. The weather has been such that the bees could gather honey
almost every day, from the first of May until the present time.

We placed ten (10) swarms in the cellar in the fall of 1869, all of
which wintered in good condition and came out strong in the spring. Four
of them were Italians, and six blacks, seven in movable frames and three
in box hives. Those in the box hives were transferred in April; the
black queen killed about the first of June, and young, fertile Italian
queens of my own raising substituted for them. One hive was broken up
into nuclei in May, and also the first swarm. We have run from six to
ten nuclei all through the season, to obtain, if possible, a pure queen
for every hive; but we have not succeeded in getting all full marked
workers in more than half of the stocks, as our box hive neighbors kept
us flooded with common drones.

We have taken this season, as surplus, eleven hundred (1100) pounds of
honey--eight hundred (800) pounds being comb or box honey, and three
hundred (300) pounds extracted; and have increased our stock to fifteen
(15) full swarms. Besides the surplus, we have forty Langstroth frames
filled with comb and honey, averaging two pounds each. This is not
counted as surplus, but reserved for next season’s operations.

After transferring last spring, and cutting out drone combs, our hives
lacked from one to two frames each, from a full complement. Having
constructed a _slinger_ this season, we are enabled to lay by a goodly
store of combs for future use.

Our best stock gave us twenty-four six pound boxes, weighing one hundred
and forty-four (144) pounds, and twenty-five (25) pounds of extracted
honey; besides ten frames of brood and honey, taken from the body of the
hive at different times in the season and replaced with empty frames. It
is now in good condition.

This is the first season that we have practiced non-swarming on the true
principle of making box honey, and had we had the knowledge and
experience that we now have, we are confident we could have attained
still more favorable results. We are no friend to increase, and would
never increase more than is absolutely necessary. Nor can we understand
how some men are so well satisfied with a large increase and a small
amount of surplus. Yet we have not seen any feasible plan put forth
whereby a large amount of surplus can be made without a slight increase.

After having tried both kinds to our entire satisfaction, we think we
can get as much profit, and far more pleasure, from one Italian swarm in
a Langstroth hive, than we can from twenty-five (25) swarms of black
bees in box hives.

  J. P. MOORE.

_Binghamton, N. Y._, Oct. 3, 1870.

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Bee Report from Champaign Co., Ills.

MR. EDITOR:--I write to let you know how bees have done here, this
season. I had last spring fifty-one (51) stocks, nearly all in my own
hive with frames, and on the top four glass boxes, holding ten pounds
each, box and all. I sold two stocks for thirty-six dollars, and they
earned for the man who bought them one hundred (100) dollars, in swarms
and honey.

During the blooming of the trees in the spring, bees had a week to
gather honey. Then they did not get any more until the white cover
blossomed, and we had a rain on the 10th of June. From that time until
the 25th of June bees did splendid; but after that to the 1st of August,
they did not collect as much as they consumed. Then we had the fall
flowers, and they have done very well.

I bought ten swarms on the 23d of June, but before they commenced work
forage failed. I fed them and four of my own late swarms; one hundred
pounds of sugar and two gallons of honey. I then stopped until the first
of September. Then I fed them over one hundred pounds more of sugar,
doubled up three colonies and broke up two. So I now have seventy-two
(72) stocks, all of which I think will winter.

My bees have made about 800 or 900 lbs. of honey. To strengthen the weak
ones, I took off boxes full of honey and bees, and gave them to weak
swarms. Thus they got bees and honey at the same time. In doubling
swarms, I open both hives and take five of the lightest frames from one,
and five of the best from the other, put them in and brush all the bees
out, and they will not fight.

Bees have done better in the country than in the village, as our village
is nearly overstocked. The Spanish Needle is a good honey-producing
plant; also a tall flower called Wild Artichoke.--It has been very dry
here; but rains have gone in streaks. Two or three rains come in the
right time, would have been worth a thousand dollars to me. The white
clover dried up early. The bees visited the groceries and were lost by
thousands. My bees are nearly all Italians, which I consider the best.

I gave a description of my hive in the Journal, last year. Every one
uses it here. It costs about four dollars, and can be made for a little

We have had no frost yet, and the bees are collecting honey still, and
will do so as long as the Wild Artichoke lasts. I feed my bees by taking
off one of the boxes, and put on a saucer with some pieces of comb in
it. Then dissolve sugar and fill the comb and saucer. They will take it
up every night. Feed till you get them heavy enough.

I divided ten swarms, and they did well, though I divided them too late
in the season. If one is going to divide, it should be done early.

Last year was a splendid season for honey. Thirty-two weak stocks gave
eighteen swarms, and twenty-six hundred pounds of honey.


_Tolono, Ills._, Oct. 3, 1870.

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

White Clover crop.--Buckwheat yielding no Honey.

MR. EDITOR:--I once more take up my pen to advocate bee-keeping. As I
said in my last article that my apiary was increasing, I have now ten
new swarms from eleven old colonies, and I am every day expecting some
second swarms to issue, as queens in the hives that sent out swarms, can
be distinctly heard uttering the word “peep! peep!” and according to
more able apiarians than myself, that is the true sign that second
swarms will issue in a few days, if the weather be favorable.

The other morning I was out where my bees are. I suppose you have a
strong idea of what I saw, when I raised up one of my stands. There were
a half dozen of the fattest full grown moth worms almost any one ever
saw. They were lying back in all their glory, after gorging themselves
with the rich feast on which they no doubt had luxuriated. I made short
work of them, however. Those round, plump, greasy-looking fellows seem
to think, from all appearance, that they are lords of creation. But I
soon dislodged them from their snug quarters, by means of a
sharp-pointed iron bar made for the purpose. “They slept rather late
that morning, and were caught up with.”

The piping of the young queen was something new to me. I told some of my
bee-raising friends of it, and they hooted at me, calling me a deceiver
and impostor. I referred them to Mr. Langstroth’s book, and Mr.
Quinby’s, and told them that they should subscribe for the American Bee
Journal, or even read it, and they would find that what I said in regard
to the young queen’s piping, was strictly correct. My friend Mr. K.
(whom I converted) in a conversation with Mr. S., asked him why he did
not take the American Bee Journal. “Why,” replied he, “they can print
anything in a paper, and there are fools enough to believe it.” I have
known Mr. S. for about fourteen years, and know that he has had bees all
that time. Yet he has not any more stands now, than he had ten years
ago. (It is no wonder.)

The honey product of this season seems to be good. Bees are storing
great quantities of surplus honey. The weather has been very favorable
for honey-gathering, for the past six weeks. White clover has been in
bloom for the last fifteen days, and will probably continue till the
middle of July. From it the best honey is gathered. In the spring the
early flowers were cut off by sleet, which fell about the 18th of

I am now preparing to sow a large field with buckwheat, exclusively for
my bees, though some writers in different papers state that the bees do
not get any honey from this plant. Whether it is a honey-producing plant
or not, the bees seem to visit it as regularly when in bloom, as if
there was something about it they are very fond of. Perhaps I can throw
some light on this subject. Last fall I had three hives of bees, that
came late, while nearly all the other flowers were exhausted, and
buckwheat was their only resource for supplies for winter. They worked
like white-heads, as long as the blossoms lasted; and after that went
through the winter safely, though they were weak the following spring.

I will now give my opinion on ventilation, for the benefit of Mr. A.
Green. My mode is as follows: I leave the summer entrance open, and also
upward ventilation all winter. I have always, heretofore, wintered my
bees in the open air. If Mr. Green uses hives with movable caps, he can
close the summer entrance and take off the surplus honey-boxes,
substitute straw or fine shavings in their stead, and replace the cap as
before. This is the best way that I have yet tried. I intend this for
winter. In summer I give them all the ventilation needed--that is, I
leave all the ventilators open.

I have drawn out this article longer than I intended, and close with
greeting to all bee-keeping friends.

  T. H. WOODY.

_Pleasant Valley, Mo._, June 18, 1870.

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Honey-producing Plants.

MR. EDITOR:--Not having much to do, at present, I thought I would give
your readers an account of my observation and trial of the different
kinds of honey-plants around us here. It may be of some service to new
beginners, as I have tried all kinds I could hear of and procure, that
were reputed valuable for producing honey.

Among the best are Alsike clover, Melilot clover, White Dutch clover,
Borage, and Buckwheat. These, with us, just fill out the season from
June to October.

The plants named in the following list, I do not consider of any account
here, for honey, viz.: White Mustard, Black Mustard, Rape, Chicory,
Mignonette, Lucerne Clover, and the Rocky Mountain Plant. Kale did not
come into blossom, and I cannot speak of its value as a honey-yielding


_Rochelle, Ill._

👉 Some of the plants named as of no value for bees, are highly praised,
in other localities.--ED.

       *       *       *       *       *

I once met with an individual whose breath, shortly after he was stung,
had the same odor with the venom of the enraged insect.--_L. L.

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

The Rocky Mountain Bee Plant.


MR. EDITOR:--About the middle of August, by invitation of Mr. Alfred
Green, of Amesbury, a friend and myself visited his place to see the
bees work on the Rocky Mountain bee plant. We arrived there about eight
o’clock in the morning, and found the plants swarming with bees; one,
two, and in some cases three bees upon the same flower.

Mr. Green informed us that they were still at work on it, the day
before, at seven o’clock in the evening. It was amusing to see them
gather pollen from it while on the wing, the stamens extending so far
out that they could not reach them after alighting on the flower.

The plant was growing on a rather light soil, not highly manured, and
stood from two to three feet high, branching out in all directions.
Planted in the spring, it comes into blossom soon after the white clover
disappears and continues until killed by the frost. If planted in the
fall, as Mr. G. says it can be, it would blossom much earlier. I think
this is the best plant to cultivate for bees, as it fills a vacancy, (in
this locality) between the white clover and the fall flower.

Alsike clover I have raised, commencing in 1860; and find that, on my
soil, bees prefer it to white clover. But as it begins and ends
blossoming at the same time with white clover, it is not of so much
value for bees, as it would be if it came a month or so later.

As the seed of the Rocky Mountain bee plant is valuable for poultry, and
probably for swine and other farm stock, when made into meal, it would
perhaps pay to raise it for the seed alone.


_West Newbury, Mass._, Sept. 12, 1870.

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Silk Weed or Milk Weed.

Well, Mr. Editor, I saw in the Bee Journal for July something concerning
the injuriousness of the silk weed or milk weed. After reading the
article it struck me that there was some of this weed in the vicinity of
my apiary, and next day set about to search for it. On going out west,
on the low ground on the prairie, I found ten flowering stems of this
weed, and seven of the ten had bees fastened on them. Some of these bees
were dead, and some still living, though they could not leave the
flowers, being fastened in them by their hind legs. The bees seemed to
have been gathering honey.

Last Monday, as I was going to a neighbor’s, I saw one of these flowers,
three quarters of a mile from my home. I stopped to see if I could find
any bees on it, and found an Italian just alive. I am glad there are not
many of this species of plants in this neighborhood.


_Rochelle, Ills._

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Honey Dew.

MR. EDITOR:--I have at last caught the chaps that rain down what is
called honey-dew. In localities where the common willow grows, I found
the most. On the Missouri river bottom, which is literally covered with
willows, I find in June and July they are covered with small insects,
which at a certain age get wings and fly off in large swarms, going for
miles. Sometimes they will stop in the air, over some trees, and fly
around in a circle for an hour. If you get them between your eye and the
sun, you will see them discharging the so-called honey-dew. They will
stop in one place, the same as gnats or mosquitoes, which you have often
seen about as high as a man’s head.

Now, if any person really wants to test the correctness of this, let him
go to a willow grove and he will find those insects (or willow lice)
just before sun-down; and getting the willows between him and the sun,
he will see them rising from every part of the tree, in small squads,
and collecting till they form a large swarm. Then they will be seen
discharging continually a fluid which resembles a fine sprinkle of rain.
I have often seen those same insects discharging a fluid on a limb,
where they were hatching; and then saw large ants, wasps, and yellow
jackets working on it. And I often wondered how it got on the very tops
of the trees, where no insects were to be found. I think this
observation will settle the matter about the origin of honey-dew.

Bees have done very poorly here until now. The golden rod is in full
bloom, and the bees are doing well.

  H. FAUL.

_Council Bluffs_, Sept. 6, 1870.

  [For the American Bee Journal.]


MR. EDITOR:--Through the columns of your indispensable Journal, allow me
to say to my brother bee-keepers, and “all whom it may concern,” have
nothing to do with a hive called the “Multilocular Protoplastic Protean
Hive,” though it is no doubt superior to any or all you have in use. Let
us not step upward only one step at a time to the use of this hitherto
excelsior hive; but let us take at least two steps at once, to that hive
and those new principles that “beat” _all_. Yes, all the long and
toilsome labor of a Huber and a Dzierzon is totally eclipsed; and
entirely snuffed out are such lights as Langstroth, Gallup, Quinby,
Wagner, and many others, who formerly shone so brightly as
“instructors.” Your theories, gentlemen, are forever “cast in endless
shade.” The great revolution of nature that moves all things, has thrown
before my vision this wonderful apistical domicile. I have scanned it
closely, and now let me say to you, Rev. L. L. Langstroth, talk no more
of laterally movable frames, since this great hive has “a place for
every frame, and every frame in its place.” And you, “far-famed Gallup,”
say no more of division boards and economy of heat. ’Tis useless, as
these frames are made extra large, and small frames for surplus set in
the top of the large ones, which space is left in free communication
with the brooding apartment, till again filled with surplus. Speak not,
Mr. Wagner, of compactness of form, as this marvellous habitation stands
erect, human like. And now the sturdy German (Dzierzon) must yield the
palm and transfer it over into Indianapolis, (Ind.) the centre of
bee-gravity--the place where one hundred colonies are made from one in a
single season! Can we not plainly see the dawning of a day when “the
land shall flow with honey,” and each and every individual will supply
himself freely with this “sweetest of all sweets,” and the apiarian turn
his attention elsewhere for a livelihood?


_Dowagiac, Michigan._

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Correction Requested.

MR. EDITOR:--My attention has been called to an alleged error of
statement in my article on page 72, Vol. VI., of the Bee Journal,
wherein I say, “Mr. Langstroth was among the first to introduce to the
notice of the bee-keepers of America the invaluable honey extractor.”
Now I claim that the statement is strictly true. Mr. Langstroth was
_among_ the first to introduce the honey extractor to the notice of the
bee-keepers of this country, taking upon himself the responsibility of
manufacturing from a bare description, and extensively advertising the
machines for sale; thus risking pecuniary loss in case it should prove
unpopular, before any other person in this country, except the editor of
the American Bee Journal, spent a single dollar upon them.

Still, in order to give every man due credit for any assistance given to
bee culture, I will here, with pleasure, state a fact in this connection
that had escaped my recollection at time of writing the previous
article, namely, that the first _mention_ of the machine of Von Hruschka
in the English language was made in the American Bee Gazette,[4] page
85, September No., 1866, edited by Rev. E. Van Slyke, in an article
translated from the German, by the editor. And to this article, Mr.
Langstroth was most probably indebted for his first idea of the honey
extractor, as Mr. Van Slyke writes me as follows--“Mr. Langstroth
himself, who visited me at my office the very next month after the
publication, spoke in terms of the highest enthusiasm of the article,
and said that from my description as published he was about to construct
a machine for honey extraction.” &c.


_Seneca Falls, N. Y._, Oct. 5, 1870.

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Why are Two Queens Sometimes Found in One Hive?

MR. EDITOR:--Mr. A. Green, in the October number of the Journal, gives
an account of finding two queens in one hive. Other correspondents have
also given us their knowledge of similar facts; but none have, I think,
given us any reasons for such exceptions.

Last fall I bought an Italian queen from a reliable breeder. She came
recommended as A No. 1. I received her on the 8th of September. All the
workers sent with her were dead, except two; and she was herself so
benumbed by cold that I had quite a time of it bringing her back to
vitality. Finally I succeeded in getting her quite lively, and
introduced her to a tolerably weak swarm. On the 10th of October finely
marked Italians were flying in front of the hive. I spared no pains in
wintering. (I winter out-of-doors.) In April she had filled three cards
of brood. I then gave her a card of drone-comb. She would not look at
it, and I moved it back and put in its place a card of worker-comb,
which she filled with eggs almost instanter. I then put the drone-comb
in the middle of the cluster, and got about fifty drones. Of course I
was stimulating, and kept plenty of honey in the hive. I put in other
worker-comb, but she refused to lay any more. I then took out a frame to
start a nucleus, and in about a week after, when examining the old
stock, I found queen cells started and the old queen on the comb,
apparently all right. In due course a young queen was hatched, and after
destroying the queen-cells, she remained with the old queen ten days
before she was fertilized, and at least a week after she was laying. At
the end of three weeks the old queen was gone.

Now, what does this prove? Simply that the queen was chilled in coming
by mail, which interfered with her prolificness, rendering her
supersedure a necessity for the future welfare of the colony. She was
tolerated in the hive by the new queen and bees, having lost that
distinct individuality peculiar to the queen bee, and consequently
become to them (the workers and young queen) no more than a common bee.
I cannot help but conclude that when such exceptions occur, the course
relatively is the same.


_Bethlehem, Iowa_, Oct. 9, 1870.

       *       *       *       *       *

It cannot be too deeply impressed on the mind of the bee-keeper, that a
small colony should be confined to a small space, if we wish the bees to
work with the greatest energy, and offer the stoutest resistance to
their numerous enemies. Bees do most unquestionably “abhor a vacuum,” if
it is one which they can neither fill, warm, nor defend. Let the prudent
bee-master keep his stocks strong, and they will do more to defend
themselves against all intruders, than he can possibly do for them, even
though he spend his whole time in watching and assisting

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

The Coming Convention.

Mr. EDITOR:--We would like to attend the prospective convention of
bee-keepers, which is to assemble the coming fall or winter, and to take
by the hand some of the many correspondents we have followed through the
columns of your Journal, and hear their opinions by the word of mouth,
but we must forego that pleasure at present. We are poor and have not
straightened up yet the ravages of war. We are rebuilding as fast as our
means will admit, and hope in a few years more to see our once desert
looking country “blossom as the rose.” We have lost our substance, the
toil of years, and in bee parlance, though driven out and robbed of comb
and honey, are allowed to return in a bad season, to recuperate.

When these bee conventions become yearly in our country, (and I hope
they will,) we will be sure to attend, if within the range of our
flight. We would be delighted to see the different specimens of honey
and bees which should be in attendance, and ahead of anything to see
except the phiz of Novice, Gallup, Grimm, and their ilk, side by side
the different hives in working order. A great majority of the hives with
movable frames are patented, many are not, and we would like to see them
on exhibition, opened, and the points of excellence each contains,
shown. We don’t mean the sub-venders of different patents, who are
travelling over the country, and attend at the different fall fairs, who
never kept or owned a hive of bees, know nothing of the nature and habit
of the insects, and who move up to you and talk as learnedly on the bee
as Langstroth or Dzierzon could; but men of experience and veracity, who
have tried and used for several seasons the hive on exhibition, through
poor as well as rich harvests; and hives of different forms and
capacity, which you could criticise, and the good qualities, or the real
or imaginary defects of which a man might point out, without danger of
being called a mutton-head and ignoramus. There are several different
patents in our country, and if they are not thrown over the fence the
first season, they are sure to go the way of all trash the second. Some
unfortunate purchasers try to get their money back by transforming the
hives into troughs to feed the cow in; others convert them into boxes
for hen-nests. In many of these cases, however, it is through the
ignorance of the keepers that they do not succeed.

One year ago, Esq. Boring, a Justice of the Peace from one of our rural
districts, thought to outstrip his neighbors in honey and bee-keeping,
and ordered a hive with which you could control swarming, catch the
drones, keep out moths, and the Lord only knows what its owner didn’t
claim for it. Draw out the chamber, take out honey enough for supper,
and replace the drawer, and all is right, nice, and snug! I believe they
call it the Buck-eye, patented by Mitchell. Esq. Boring was eager to
have bees in, and couldn’t wait for a natural swarm, but drove in a fine
stock. He was so well pleased with it and its workings, that he
Buck-eyed his whole apiary; and upon inquiry a few days since, he
informed me that he would lose nearly all his bees. The first time he
drew out the chamber everything worked fine. The second time it was
rather tight and glued up. A month after that he thought it would take a
small yoke of steers to pull out the chamber of frames, and during the
summer nearly the whole fell a prey to the moth-miller. However, he
should not condemn the hive after this slight trial. It has been an
unusually poor season, and none but the strongest stocks stored any


_Murfreesboro, Penna._, Oct. 6, 1870.

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

The Queen Nursery.

Under the above heading, Mr. Gallup, in the Journal for October, gives
his experience with the queen nursery, which, with him, appears to be a
perfect success. I wish to give my experience, and ask Mr. Gallup and
others why it is so different from his.

I made fifty cages 1½ × 1¾ × 1¾ inches, four sides of very thin wood,
and one side covered with wire gauze, and the other with a piece of
glass slipped in grooves in the two wooden sides, so as to be moved up
or down for a door. In each of these cages I placed a piece of honey in
comb (unsealed), with the cells in natural position; and then placed the
cages in frames, on slots inserted across them, so as to hold three
tiers of six each, or eighteen to a frame. I then took out two centre
frames from good, strong hives, and put one of these frames containing
cages in their place. Some very strong colonies, some were medium. To
some I gave upward ventilation, by leaving off the honey boxes and
raising the cap. On others I left the honey boxes. I then awaited the
result. Some queens hatched in fourteen days from starting the cell;
some in sixteen days; two or three in twenty-four days; and some _never_

Many of the young queens died in the cages in from twelve to twenty-four
hours after hatching; very few lived to be five days old--the time given
by many writers for them to mate with the drones; only six or seven out
of about one hundred lived two weeks. The queens, when first hatched,
were put in fertilizing cages such as described by N. C. Mitchell, but
_never_ were fertilized.

Now Mr. Editor, will Mr. Gallup or some one else tell me why my
experience differs so widely from that of Mr. G.?

Sister cells, cut from the same comb as some of those that were put in
the cages, hatched in from fourteen to sixteen days, were duly
fertilized, and are now alive and well. Hence it could not be any defect
in the stocks they were raised from. In some of the cages, I put two or
three workers, to feed the young queens; but still the latter would die,
and leave the workers to eat the honey left in the cages.

If queens require any other food than honey, why did not the bees give
it to them through the wire gauze on which they clustered in great
numbers? Some of the cages were put in colonies that had fertile queens
at liberty, but most of them were put in queenless hives.

The cells were mostly put in on the ninth day from starting the cell.

I shall be pleased to see replies to this in the next number of AMERICAN


_Cynthiana, Ky._

  [For The American Bee Journal.]

Do the Right!

Friend Bickford, I wish to shake your honest fist!

Your matter is _sound_, your argument JUST!!

To render substantial aid to our “venerable Tutor” is an imperative
duty. Let us see to it then, _at once_, and


I don’t feel at liberty to enlarge on the subject, being “only an


_Wickham-breaux, Kent, England_, Sept. 28, 1870.

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

The African Honey Tree.--Inquiry.

In the “_Poultry Bulletin_,” J. M. Wade, of Philadelphia, writes--“A
man, I can hardly say _gentleman_, came into the store yesterday, with
seventy-one humming birds, which he had shot the day before in his own
yard. He said some years ago he brought a honey tree from Africa, and
thousands of humming birds would come to it in one day. Where did so
many come from?”

As it may be in the interest of bee culture to know what can be learned
about the honey tree of Africa, will some one who is informed give the
readers of the AMERICAN BEE JOURNAL his knowledge of it? stating its
growth, whether bees visit it, its uses, whether it is hardy, length of
time in flower, in what month and at what age it blooms, and how it is


_New York._

       *       *       *       *       *

Early in October, I examine carefully all my hives, to see that they are
in suitable condition for wintering. If any need feeding, they are fed
at this time. If any have too much vacant room, I partition off that
part of the hive which they do not need. I always expect to find some
brood in every healthy hive at this time, and if in any I find none, and
ascertain that it is queenless, I either at once break it up, or if it
is strong in numbers, supply it with a queen, by adding to it some
feebler stock. If bees, however, are properly attended to, at the season
when their young queens are impregnated, a queenless colony will seldom
be found in the fall.



Washington, Nov., 1870.

👉 The residence of the Rev. Mr. Semlitsch is not at Gratz, in Styria,
as, in consequence of a slight omission, was erroneously stated in our
last issue; but at Strasgang _near_ Gratz.

       *       *       *       *       *

The attention of those who are unfortunately suffering from the
prevalence of foul-brood in their apiaries, will doubtless be arrested
by the communication, in this number of the Journal, from Dr. ABBE, of
New Bedford (Mass.), announcing that he has succeeded in curing that
disease, as it existed in several of his colonies; and that an efficient
and easily applicable remedy has at length been devised for the dreaded
and devastating evil. Dr. ABBE deserves the cordial thanks of
bee-keepers, both in this country and abroad, for so generously and
promptly making known his remedy and the mode of administering it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Last fall we suggested to those who found it necessary to supply their
bees with winter food to add a portion of glycerine to sugar syrup or
dissolved candy, to prevent crystillization; and we learn that it was
advantageously used. We have since learned that gum tragacanth is now
employed for the same purpose, by some of the German bee-keepers. This
gum, dissolved in water, forms a thick mucilage, which may not mingle so
readily with the food as glycerine does; and the latter is hence a more
manageable and probably cheaper article, especially as it forms besides
an excellent spring stimulant, though still too high-priced to be freely

       *       *       *       *       *

A bee-keeping friend has procured for us a quantity of seed of the
Partridge Pea (_Cassia chamæcrysta_) mentioned by one of our western
correspondents, (Mr. Ingels, of Oskaloosa, Iowa,) as an excellent honey
plant. It was in bloom here from the middle of July to the middle of
October, and frequented by that bees, in crowds, all the time.

This plant is usually classed among weeds, and where it occurs, is
regarded by some as one of the _pests_ of the farm; but as it is an
annual, it ought not to be difficult to get rid of it by proper
management, when its presence is undesirable. Blooming during the
interval between spring and fall pasturage, it constitutes an important
resource for bees, here and in other districts, at a period when the
native vegetation fails to furnish supplies.

In the third volume of the Transactions of the American Philosophical
Society, Dr. Greenfield of Virginia speaks of the Partridge Pea as
furnishing means to recruit worn-out lands, by its decomposition in the
soil when plowed under. It was, we understand, originally introduced for
that purpose, in the District of Columbia, by the Hon. Benjamin
Stoddert, while Secretary of the Navy; and it would probably answer well
as a substitute for red clover, where from poverty of soil, the latter
could not yet be grown.

We hope to be able to make satisfactory arrangements for the
distribution of the seed among bee-keepers desiring to make trial of the
plant, and if successful, will state particulars in our next.

       *       *       *       *       *

We learn from Mr. Adam Grimm, of Jefferson (Wis.,) that his crop of
surplus honey, this year, is over 15,000 lbs., and that he “could take
at least 10,000 lbs. more from his hives, and still leave the stocks
heavy enough to winter well.” Such a result as this must be calculated
to unsettle the notions of those who “have kept bees many years, and
_know_ there is nothing to be made by it!”

       *       *       *       *       *

We intended to give a brief history of the opposition to the meeting of
the National Convention of Bee-keepers at Indianapolis, showing when and
where it originated, and what were the obvious motives and objects of
those most active in the business. But as it appears to be a “fixed
fact” now that the Convention will be held at the time and placed
designated, we shall save ourselves the trouble of hunting up musty
records in the limbs of things forgotten.

       *       *       *       *       *

👉 Since the above was put in type we have learned incidentally that it
was resolved at Utica by the N. E. Bee-keepers Association to hold
another Convention elsewhere, though particulars have not reached us. We
sincerely regret this proceeding on various accounts.


TRENTON, ILLS., Sept. 12, 1870.--The forepart of this season I think was
the poorest I ever saw in this neighborhood. Last winter was a very warm
and open one, and the bees dwindled down very much, so that nearly all
stocks were quite weak before spring. Then we had a severe snow storm on
the 17th of April, with two or three freezing nights, that killed nearly
all the peach blossoms; and this was followed by a period of cold high
winds through May. The first two weeks of June there was cloudy,
drizzling, chilly weather, so that bees could not fly more than about
half the time. The consequence of all this was, late swarms and very few
of them. Not more than one-sixth of the stocks swarmed, and many of the
latest of them starved. It was very dry from the middle of June to the
13th of August. Then, for a week, it rained nearly every day; at the end
of which some of my hives had not more than a pound of honey remaining.
Since that time they have been doing very well. Most of my hives were
filled up, so that they commenced working in the surplus boxes about
the middle of last week, and some of them have now as much as fifteen
pounds in the boxes.

I would like NOVICE to tell us how he gets his board and frame into the
top of his hive, if his hives are all of one size. I have a few of the
two-story hives made by the National Bee-hive Company at St. Charles,
Illinois, and I cannot get a frame into the top story in any other way
than perpendicular, as the top bar of the frame is longer than the
inside of the hive. I have tried one to see how it would work.--C. T.

DOWAGIAC, MICH., Sept. 12--We have had just half a surplus honey
harvest, here, this season. Since I have been in the bee business, I
have learned that the surplus harvest depends entirely upon the clover
and basswood blossoms, in this vicinity; which is probably the case all
over the State. When we have a wet season clover fails, but basswood
produces well; and when a dry season, _vice versa_. Reverses from
abundance to starvation take place within a few miles of each other. I
am located now in the midst of clover and basswood, together with the
best spring and fall pasturage I have ever seen. After losing
seven-eighths of my bees last winter, you can easily guess the condition
of the remaining six colonies. Four of them were merely skeletons, and
the other two very inferior stocks. Yet, with the aid of a three cent
feeder of my own invention, (which works to perfection,) and one and a
fourth dollar’s worth of sugar, I have succeeded in marketing five
hundred and twenty-three (523) pounds of box honey; and with the aid of
old combs have increased my stock to twenty-two (22) colonies, all
strong and heavy--too heavy I fear, for their own good; and I have as
yet no emptying machine. This, I think, is doing very well (see
Langstroth’s “HIVE AND HONEY BEE,” page 177) for a bee-keeper of only
two years’ experience.--I came near forgetting to mention that I have
Italianized all my new stocks. I use top-bar hives mostly. Am using four
or five frame hives on the sly!--J. HEDDON.

WINCHESTER, IOWA, Sept. 13.--The season of 1870 has not been any of the
best here, nor of the poorest either, as swarming and honey gathering
has been moderately good. The American Bee Journal well deserves the
support of bee-keepers.--I. N. WALTER.

ROCHELLE, ILLS., Sept. 17.--This has been the poorest season that we
have had here for some years. I got only five new swarms from forty
stands, and merely one hundred pounds of honey. Since the buckwheat came
into blossom the bees have done well. They will average about fifty
pounds to the stand; and that is doing very well, in such a year as this
has been. Alsike clover is now in blossom, and the bees are working very
busily on it.--R. MILLER.

BREESPORT, N. Y., Sept. 20.--My bees have done well in gathering honey,
this season; but gave me no swarms during swarming time.--J. H. HADSELL.

OSKALOOSA, IOWA, Sept. 28.--I have one hundred and ninety colonies of
bees that have done well this year, and are in fine condition for
winter. I stored away one hundred and twenty-nine colonies in my cellar
last fall, and the same number came out in good order in the spring. I
sold them off to about one hundred, from which I came on to winter with
the above number (190), principally Italians.

Enclosed please find specimen of a bee plant. What is it? It blooms from
first of July to last of August profusely and is visited by bees thrice
as much as buckwheat. I have tried borage, melilot, alsike, mustard,
and find nothing to equal it. I calculate to cultivate it, in order to
give it a fair and full trial. I have secured about a peck of seed. The
great advantage is that it blooms at a time when most needed in this
country. I grew it this year alongside of buckwheat that bloomed at the
same time.--S. INGELS.

[The plant enclosed is the _Cassia chamæcrista_ or Partridge Pea. It is
an annual, growing in most sandy soil, and is common in the south. It
grows here on the eastern branch of the Potomac (the Anacostia), and
bees derive plentiful supplies of forage from it during eight or ten
weeks in summer, and it is then almost their only resource. They gather
pollen from the blossoms, but the honey is secreted by a small cupshaped
gland situated below the lowest pair of leaflets, and is supplied
abundantly for a long period.--Some of the farmer’s here-abouts affect
to consider it a pernicious and ineradicable weed; but as it is an
annual and known to be an excellent fertilizer when plowed under, it
would seem to indicate slovenly management not to be able to subdue it
readily where not wanted.--ED.]

VERVILLA, TENN., Sept. 24.--I consider the Journal cheap at any price
for the bee-keeper, and wish it could be published oftener.--DR. J. M.

WARSAW, MINN., Oct. 3.--This has been a poor season for bees here,
except in basswood time.--L. B. ALDRICH.

CEDARVILLE, ILLS., Oct. 5.--My bees have done well this season.--ROBERT

MEREDITH, PA., Oct. 4.--Bees did very well on white clover in this
section this season, but very poorly on buckwheat. My sixty stocks did
not give me sixty pounds of buckwheat honey surplus, all told; although
they are all in good condition for wintering.

I do not think that alsike clover has been over-estimated for bee
pasturage. I had three-quarters of an acre of it this season, and I
never saw a piece of land so covered with bees as that was while it was
in bloom, and they gathered honey from it very fast.--M. WILSON.

ORCHARD, IOWA, Oct. 6.--It is raining heavily to-day, yet the weather is
warm and we have not had a particle of frost yet. Bees have done storing
surplus honey for the season.--I shall give the result of the season’s
operations as soon as I can get the time. At present I am up 4 A. M.,
and do not get home till 8 and sometimes 9 o’clock P. M. I must have a
little relaxation from such excessive hard labor, before I can confine
or control my thoughts sufficiently to write for publication. From the
past season’s operations with the honey extractor, I can endorse all
that Novice claims over and above the old mode of getting surplus in the
comb--E. GALLUP.

NEW BEDFORD, MASS., Oct. 6.--The season for bees has been remarkable.
Commencing well, the dry weather soon made forage very scarce during the
blooming of clover and basswood, so that by the first of September there
was little or no surplus stored, and all the colonies were very light.
But during that month, mostly after the fifteenth, the bees gathered
honey as fast or faster than they ever do in this locality in June. It
was obtained from the wild aster; and the stocks are now heavy and in
fine condition for winter. Even now there seems to be no cessation of
their labors. This is true of all the neighboring towns; nearly every
hive in them having been examined by me during my professional
drives.--E. P. ABBE.

  [For The American Bee Journal.]

How May Progress be Taught?

MR. EDITOR:--As the columns of the Bee Journal are made the medium of
disseminating apicultural knowledge, by asking and answering questions,
I have this question to ask in reference to the class of bee-keepers who
use box and gum exclusively. How shall we reach these, and dispense the
necessary knowledge among them? Let us endeavor to devise some effective
means. Your Journal is doing the work as far as they can be induced to
take and study it; but the number is comparatively limited. Many of
these people, when they see an improved bee-hive, unconsciously exclaim
to the owner, who happens to be a practical bee-keeper:

“Mr. B.--What do you call that?”

B. “That, sir, is a bee-hive.”

Q. “What do you have so many sticks in it for?”

B. “Those are what we call _frames_ for the bees to build their combs
on; each frame separately giving them the means by which the combs may
be removed from the hive, for the purpose of making artificial swarms,
furnishing honey from the rich to the poor colonies and strengthening
weak ones.”

Here the querist exclaims in perfect amazement: “What will the bees be
doing while you are lifting their combs out?”

B. “If you treat the bees right they will not harm you; besides we can
have a protection, made of wire cloth, or what is more handy, a piece of
bobbinet to place over the face; and by keeping the hands wet, the bees
will not sting, unless they are badly treated.”

Q. “What a fool I have been. I have kept bees all my life, and never
before knew what I needed. I suppose if you can lift out the combs, as
you say you can, you could find the king’s house and perhaps the king

B. “There is no such bee in the hive.”

Q. “What! no king bee! Why I always understood that a colony of bees
without a king and ruler, whose mandates are strictly obeyed, will not
be worth anything.”

B. “The bee you allude to is the mother of the colony and is called the
queen; but she has no house or particular spot in the hive in which she
dwells. The worker-bees, however, construct what are called queen-cells,
in which queens are reared; but they never remain in them, except only
while in embryo.”

Q. “Why, Mr. B., you seem to know as much about bees as the man I heard
a neighbor speak of. He said there was a man living in Iowa that reared
king bees (perhaps you would call them queen bees) of a superior and
different kind from the common bee, and brought from some other

B. “Yes, we rear our own queens, or in other words we cause the bees to
do so, by our artificial process. This we do for the purpose of
furnishing fertilized queens to old stocks, when their queens are taken
away, as is the case in producing artificial swarms.”

Q. “Then you can make bees swarm, and rear queens at your will?”

B. “Yes.”

Q. “But do you never find a hive that is not in the notion of swarming?
I always thought that bees knew when they wanted to swarm, better than
man did.”

B. “Bees have only instinct, and were not intended in the beginning to
produce their own swarms. They were created for the benefit of man, and
if that had been the way swarms were intended to be made, they would be
made in conformity with natural laws that govern them, and swarming
would always be successfully performed in perfection. Man was given
knowledge, by means of which it was intended he should manage his bees
in his own way, independent of any will they may have. The penalty for
man’s neglect in this respect is the loss of his bees in various
ways--such as swarming and departing to parts unknown, loss of queen,
extermination by robbing, &c. Man, therefore, endowed with knowledge and
judgment, knows more of the management, for his benefit, of the internal
parts of the hive, than the bees, with mere instinct, can possibly

Q. “I perceive, sir, that these are the days of our ignorance spoken of
in Holy Writ, though I was never able to see it till now. Some of my
neighbors, a few years ago, purchased bees which were in common boxes
and gums. They brought them home and set them down in a remote corner of
the yard or garden, to live or die, as they might or could, with no
attention whatever, except when the time came to secure some of their
delicious stores, which, with shame I confess, is the practice in all
the neighborhood now.”

B. “Your statement is only too true, if indeed the facts are not worse.”

This is a fair specimen of the questions asked by common bee-keepers.

While the inventive genius of the age has given power to water in the
form of steam, causing the face of the earth to be alive with machinery
and wheels that are almost daily circumscribing its surface at lightning
speed--yea, the lightning itself has, as it were, been snatched from the
heavens and made to do the bidding of man--yet the bee-hive, till within
the last fifteen years, has in a measure remained as it may have been in
the garden of Eden. The invention of the frames was the dawn of a new
era in bee-keeping, by means of which we have advanced step by step up
the hill of science to the present advanced stage, while progression
still looms up and fades away in the distance. The mysteries of the hive
that remained hidden from the beginning till now, are, many of them,
solved and being solved, and all the various causes of the destruction
of colonies plainly disclosed. The practical man, properly informing
himself, need not lose a hive; while, in the old way, twenty-five per
cent, of all the bees kept in the country are lost every year. While we
have reached these advances, there are many things yet in embryo, that
will be reached by and by--such as the control of fertilization, which
enables the bee-keeper to select both queens and drones, and secure the
purity of the race we prefer to cultivate. We also expect a
forcing-box, hiver, and swarmer, all combined; and means which will
enable the bee-keeper to compel a plurality of queens in every colony,
without division, in the same apartment.

But I am wandering from my purpose, which was simply to start the
inquiry--how shall we reach, and dispense the necessary knowledge among
those who still keep their bees in unimproved hives? The State
governments should foster bee culture as they foster other agricultural
pursuits. Why not have a separate department for bee culture in every
State, under the charge of a man qualified to superintend it and diffuse
its advantages in the community? In some of the German States the number
of hives will average hundreds to the square mile, and that too in soil
comparatively sterile. How was this brought about? Simply by encouraging
and fostering the business. And cannot the American States produce the
same results? Millions of barrels of honey go to waste annually in this
country, merely from the want of bees to gather the nectar of flowers.
What, say you, bee-keepers of Iowa, shall we not make a united effort to
secure the means by which those who have bees in our beautiful State
shall be furnished with power (knowledge) to effect the gratifying
change? The bees of every hive now in the State, producing ordinarily
ten, twenty, or thirty pounds, may be made to produce annually from one
hundred to two hundred pounds.

Mr. Gallup will please accept our thanks for his practical and
instructive communications in the Journal. Will he not favor us with an
article on this subject. Let Iowa be the first to take a stand in favor
of promoting bee culture.

  J. W. SEAY.

_Monroe, Iowa._

  [For the American Bee Journal.]

Argo’s Puzzle.

R. M. Argo has found a job for Gallup.

That bees will sometimes build worker-comb when there is no queen
present is a positive fact, but the rule is almost invariably drone
comb. The fact that they built one-third drone comb is no proof that
they did not have an old queen. If they are gathering honey abundantly,
they are very apt to build too much drone comb; and sometimes they do so
in such cases, even with a young prolific queen. But with such a queen,
when they are gathering just sufficient to build comb and store but
little honey, the rule is almost invariably worker comb exclusively.

That bees will frequently make preparations for swarming immediately
after being hived is another positive fact, especially when the season
is good and the newly hived swarm is large. The first case of the kind
that came under my observation, occurred a number of years ago in
Canada. I hived an extra large swarm for a neighbor, sometime in the
forenoon. About four o’clock in the afternoon the shout came across the
mill stream, “my bees are going off!” I left all, and followed them to a
large pine stub. I cut down the stub, split it open, took out the bees,
put them in the same hive. That night they were sold as an _unlucky_
swarm, removed 3½ miles, and in just eight days from the time they were
replaced in the hive, they sent out a large swarm, which left for the
woods. The bees then belonged to my cousin. They left on Saturday. On
Sunday I went to church close by my cousin’s, and he informed me that
his bees had filled their hive and swarmed, and the swarm left for parts
unknown. I was rather incredulous, but after church went and made an
examination. Sure enough, the hive was completely filled and several
sealed queen cells were in sight, with several more unsealed near the
bottom of the comb. The hive was a box twelve inches square by fourteen
inches high, and when the swarm was hived I had to put on a large box
before the bees could all be got in the hive. That box was nearly filled
with comb, but the bees that went off took the honey with them. On the
fifteenth day they sent out a second swarm. So much for purchasing an
_unlucky_ swarm!--Since then I have had several cases of the same kind
come under my observation; one in the summer of 1868, and another this
summer. The one in 1868 was not a large swarm, and they did not fill
their hive before sending out a swarm. The case this season was a large
artificial swarm made by putting together bees from several hives, with
a queen.--I should be strongly inclined to think that, in your case,
they started queen cells for the purpose of superseding the old queen.
When a queen has begun to fail at about swarming time, and forage is
abundant, they cast a swarm. In my case, in 1868, it was no doubt caused
by the bees superseding the old queen. I had a case this season, where
the first swarm came out with a young queen, leaving the old queen in
the hive, with plenty of sealed queen cells. In another case, when
making an artificial swarm, I found the old queen and a young one both,
fertile, with several sealed queen cells.


_Orchard, Iowa._

       *       *       *       *       *

The amputation of _one_ of the antenna of a queen bee appears not to
affect her perceptibly, but cutting off both these organs produces a
very striking derangement of her proceedings. She seems in a species of
delirium, and deprived of all her instincts; everything is done at
random; yet the respect and homage of her workers, towards her, though
they are received by her with indifference, continue undiminished. If
another in the same condition be put in the hive, the bees do not appear
to discover the difference, and treat them both alike; but if a perfect
one be introduced, even though fertile, they seize her, and keep her in
confinement, and treat her very unhandsomely. “_One may conjecture from
this circumstance, that it is by those wonderful organs, the attennæ,
that the bees know their own queen._”

       *       *       *       *       *

That which is profitable only to the speculating business, though it be
theoretically plausible, deserves not to be recommended or accepted, if
it be not calculated to produce beneficial results to the practical


[1] My method and the use of Dr. Davis’ QUEEN NURSERY.

[2] Oranges, bananas, pineapples, and other tropical fruits are forced
in hot-houses; but they never reach the size, flavor, or perfection of

[3] In a subsequent communication in Vol. V., No. 10, Mr. B. says that
in place of old woollen garments, he covered the frames last winter
“with a sort of cotton batting comforters made precisely like a
comforter for a bed; and that he likes these much better than old
carpeting or old clothes.” He had one made for each hive, costing about
twenty cents a piece. “By lifting one corner of these comforters, the
condition of the hive can be seen at a glance. The bees are always found
clustered up against these warm comforters, and communicate over the
tops of the frames, instead of through the winter passages.”

[4] Shortly thereafter merged in the American Bee Journal.

[Transcriber’s Note:

Obvious printer errors corrected silently.

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.]

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