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Title: Humanity to Honey-Bees - or, Practical Directions for the Management of Honey-Bees - Upon an Improved and Humane Plan, by Which the Lives of - Bees May Be Preserved
Author: Nutt, Thomas
Language: English
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Transcriber Note

Text emphasis denoted by _Italics_. Whole and fractional parts of numbers
as 123-4/5.

[Illustration: Principio sedes Apibus statioque petenda, ---- Virgil.]

                         HUMANITY TO HONEY-BEES:

                         _PRACTICAL DIRECTIONS_


                      THE MANAGEMENT OF HONEY-BEES


                              BY WHICH THE



                             BY THOMAS NUTT.

                  ---- Vos non vobis mellificatis Apes:
                  Sic ---------------------------------


                             SECOND EDITION.




                         _Price Ten Shillings,_



Also may be had on application to my agent, Mr. G. Neighbour, 131, High
Holborn, near Southampton Street, London, honey taken on the principles
here specified, with hives stocked with bees, or unstocked. All letters
must be post paid to the author.


                             BY PERMISSION,

                      TO HER MOST GRACIOUS MAJESTY,

                             QUEEN ADELAIDE


To pen a dedication skilfully is generally the most difficult part of
an Author's task; but a dedication to ROYALTY is so delicate a matter,
that I almost tremble for the success of my undertaking--tremble lest I
should fail to express myself dutifully, gratefully, properly; though I
am not without hope that your Majesty's goodness will graciously extend
to the Author that degree of indulgence of which he is sensible he stands
so much in need, especially as nothing unbecoming a dutiful subject to
write, or improper for a gracious Sovereign to read, is intended to be
here expressed.

As, however, every colony of Bees, wherever domiciled, whether in a
box, or in a cottage-hive, in the roof of a house, or in the trunk of
a hollow-tree, is under an admirable government, the presiding head
and Sovereign of which is a QUEEN,--as no colony of Bees, deprived of
its QUEEN, ever prospers, or long survives such loss,--as this insect
government, or government of insects, exhibits to man the most perfect
pattern of devoted attachment, and of true allegiance on the part of the
subject Bees to their Sovereign, and of industry, ingenuity, prosperity,
and apparently of general happiness in their well-ordered state,--and
as these most curious and valuable little creatures have hitherto been
most cruelly treated--have been, and still are, annually sacrificed by
millions, for the sake of their sweet treasure; I do feel a pleasure,
and think there is a sort of analogical propriety, in dedicating to your
Gracious Majesty this work, the leading feature of which is--Humanity to
Honey-Bees. Under your Majesty's fostering and influential Patronage,
I cannot but anticipate that this object will be essentially promoted,
and that the management of Bees, in this country at least, will not
hereafter reflect disgrace upon their owners.

In this pleasing hope, I humbly beg to subscribe myself,


              most dutiful
                 most grateful

                             Subject and Servant,

                                        THOMAS NUTT.

  Moulton-Chapel, Lincolnshire,
      Nov. 27th, 1832.


Could I disarm criticism as easily as I can deprive Bees of their power
to sting, this would be the proper place to do so; though I am doubtful
whether it would be well-judged in me, or to my advantage, to stay the
critics' pen. But, possessing no such talismanic power, I shall adventure
my little book into the world, without any attempt to conciliate the
critics' good-will, or to provoke their animosity, conscious that from
_fair_ criticism I have nothing to fear. That I shall be attacked by
those apiarians who are wedded to their own theories and systems, however
faulty, is no more than I expect: of them, I trust, I have nowhere spoken
disparagingly; towards none of them do I entertain unkindly feelings--far
otherwise. Their number, I am led to believe, is not formidable; and as
gentlemen, and fellow-labourers in the same work of humanity, their more
extensive learning will hardly be brought to bear against me with rancour
and violence. Should any one of them, or of any other class of writers,
so far degrade himself, I shall have the advantage of the following
preliminary observation, viz. that one set of my collateral-boxes, placed
in a favourable situation, and _duly and properly attended to_, for
one season only, will outweigh all the learning and arguments that can
be adduced against my Bee-practice,--will be proof positive, visible,
tangible, that there is in my pretensions something more than empty
boast. Luckily for me, there are plenty of those proofs to be met with in
the country, and there are some--several, not far from town; they are at
Blackheath, at Kensington, at Clapham, and at other places. As hundreds
of the Nobility and Gentry of this country will recollect, there was
one of these incontrovertible proofs of the truth of what I am stating,
exhibited for several weeks at the National Repository last autumn, where
it was seen, examined, admired, and, I may without any exaggeration add,
_universally approved_. Practice, which has resulted from more than ten
years' experience in the management of an apiary, and from innumerable
experiments, carried on, and a hundred times repeated, during that
period, is what I ground the utility of my discoveries upon. To theory I
lay no claim. Born and brought up in the fens of Lincolnshire, where I
have spent the greater part of my life amidst difficulties, misfortunes,
and hardships, of which I will not here complain, though I am still
smarting under the effects of some of them, my pretensions to learning
are but small: for, though sent to the respectable Grammar School at
Horncastle in my boyhood, my education was not extended beyond writing,
arithmetic, and merchants' accompts. As soon as it was thought that I had
acquired a competent knowledge of these useful branches of education,
it was my lot to be bound apprentice to learn the trades and mysteries
of grocer, draper, and tallow-chandler. Whilst endeavouring to gain an
honest livelihood as a grocer and draper, at Moulton-Chapel, in 1822,
I was afflicted with a severe illness, which, after long-protracted
suffering, left me as helpless as a child, the natural use and strength
of my limbs being gone; and, though supported by and tottering between my
crutches, it was a long time before I was able to crawl into my garden.
Fatigued and exhausted with the exercise of journeying the length of a
garden-walk of no great extent, it was my custom to rest my wearied limbs
upon a bench placed near my Bees. Seated on that bench, I used to while
away the lingering hours as best I could, ruminating now on this subject,
now on that, just as my fancy chanced to fix. Among other things my Bees
one day caught my attention: I watched their busy movements,--their
activity pleased me,--their humming noise long-listened to became music
to my ears, and I often fancied that I heard it afterwards when I was
away from them. In short, I became fond of them and of their company,
and visited them as often as the weather and my feebleness would permit.
When kept from them a day or two, I felt uneasy, and less comfortable
than when I could get to them. The swarming season arrived; and with
it ideas took possession of my mind which had not until then possessed
it:--I conceived that swarming was an act more of necessity than of
choice,--that as such it was an evil; but how to provide a remedy for
it--how to prevent it--was a problem that then puzzled me. I studied
it for a long time, and to very little purpose. The old-fashioned
method of eking did not by any means satisfy my mind; it might answer
the purpose for one season, but how to proceed the next did not appear.
Then the time for taking honey was approaching: to get at that treasure
without destroying my little friends that had collected it, and that had,
moreover, so often soothed me in my sorrow and my sufferings, was another
problem that long engaged my mind. After some years' unremitted attention
to my Bees, for I had formed a sort of attachment to them during the
first stage of my convalescence, which never left me, an accident aided
my studies by directing my attention to the effects of ventilation, as
will be found related in the body of this work, and I began to make
experiments, which being repeated, varied, improved, and then gone
through again, have gradually led to the development of my improved mode
of Bee-management, attempted to be explained in the following pages.

At the time I have been speaking of, I had not read one single book on
Bees; nor had I then one in my possession. Whatever my practice may be,
it has resulted from my own unaided experience and discoveries. To books
I am not indebted for any part of it: nay, had I begun to attempt to
improve the system of Bee-management by books, I verily believe, I never
should have improved it at all, nor have made one useful discovery. _The
Bees themselves have been my instructors._ After I had so far succeeded
as to have from my apiary glasses and boxes of honey of a superior
quality, to exhibit at the National Repository, where, with grateful
thanks to the Managers of that Institution for their kindness to me, I
was encouraged to persevere, Bee-books in profusion were presented to
me, some of them by friends with names, some by friends whose names I
have yet to learn. I have read them all: but nowhere find, in any of
them, clear, practical directions, how honey of the very purest quality,
and in more considerable quantity than by any of the plans heretofore
proposed, may be taken from Bees, without recourse to any suffocation
whatever, or any other violent means;--how all the Bees may be preserved
uninjured;--and how swarming may be prevented. These are the grand
features in my plan; and minute directions for the accomplishment of
these most desirable objects are laid down in this book.

I by no means maintain that my system of Bee-management is incapable
of improvement; but I do think that the principles upon which it is
founded _are right_,--that the foundation is here properly laid,--and
that every apiarian, who may hereafter conform to, or improve upon, my
practice, will be instrumental in contributing a part towards raising the
superstructure--namely--an asylum or sanctuary for Honey-Bees.

I cannot close this preface without acknowledging myself to be under
the greatest obligations to the Rev. T. Clark, of Gedney-Hill. But for
his assistance the following work would not have made its appearance
in its present form; if indeed it had appeared at all. He has revised,
corrected, connected, and arranged the materials of which it is composed;
and he has, moreover, gratuitously added much that is original and
valuable from his own rich stores of knowledge. To him I am indebted for
the selection of the Latin mottos. As an apiarian he is one of my most
improved and skilful pupils, and bids fair to become an ornament to the
science of Bee-management. As a mechanic he is ingenious enough to make
his own Bee-boxes, and has actually made some of the very best I have
yet seen. To his knowledge of mechanics it is owing that the description
and explanation of each of the different boxes, of all the other parts
of my Bee-machinery, and of my observatory-hive, in particular, are more
detailed, clearer, and more intelligible than they would have been in my
hands. As a scholar there are passages in the following work that afford
no mean specimen of his abilities. I have only to regret that the reward
for the pains he has taken with it must be my thanks--that it is not in
my power to remunerate him for his kind labours more substantially than
by this public acknowledgement of the obligations I am under, and of my
sense of the debt of gratitude that is due to him.


"Out of print," though a somewhat laconic, might be a not inappropriate
preface to this second edition, and of itself a quaint apology for
its appearance. _Out of print_ is certainly exhilarating news to the
author anxious for the success of a work inculcating a new system of
Bee-management, in which not only is his reputation as an apiarian
involved and evolved, but, it may be, the very means of his subsistence
are _bound up_ in it; the oftener therefore he hears the bibliopolist
expression--_out of print_--the more animating and welcome it becomes;
because its reiteration can hardly fail to be considered by him an
indication that the demand for his book continues.--that his system is
progressing,--or, at any rate, that either curiosity respecting it, or
some higher and more laudable motive, is still existent in the public
mind. Thus cheered on, thus, as it were, _encored_, it has become his
duty to the public no less than to himself to proceed forthwith to the
publication of a new edition.

Previously, however, to stating what alterations, emendations, &c. have
been introduced in order to render the work, as far as I am yet able to
render it, worthy a continuance of public patronage, I consider it to be
my duty to record my grateful thanks for the success and encouragement I
have already received.

To the scientific and literary press, and to the several gentlemen of
scientific attainments connected therewith, who, by their influence
and kind professional assistance, and promptitude in the furtherance
of my interest, have greatly contributed to my success, my best thanks
are due, _and are hereby respectfully tendered:_ amongst these I
have sincere pleasure in particularizing Dr. BIRKBECK--the talented
President of the London Mechanics' Institution,--Dr. HANCOCK--Fellow
of the Medico-Botanical Society--a veteran of high and esteemed
attainments,--and Mr. BOOTH--the popular Lecturer on Chemistry--a young
man of first-rate abilities.

To J. C. London--the erudite editor of the Gardeners' Magazine,--to E.
J. Robertson, Esq.--the able and ingenious editor of the Mechanics'
Magazine,--to Richard Newcomb--the editor and publisher of the Stamford
Mercury,--and to the several editors of the Metropolitan and Provincial
Press, who have made favourable mention of my labours, my public thanks
are justly due,--and particularly to the editor of the Cambridge
Quarterly Review, for a highly commendatory notice of my work, evidently
written by a practical apiarian, and with competent knowledge of his
subject, which appeared in No. 3 of that Review, published in March
1834. Also to my long-tried, worthy _Friend_--George Neighbour--it is
gratifying to me to have this opportunity of offering my sincere thanks
for his valuable services in my behalf;--and to the conductors of those
excellent and useful institutions--the National Gallery of Practical
Science, Adelaide Street,--and the Museum of National Manufactures,
Leicester Square, London, I gratefully acknowledge myself to be under no
slight obligations for the advantageous opportunities which I have there
possessed of extending the knowledge of my system, and of exhibiting,
year after year, to thousands of visitors, the products of my apiary.

With the view of making "The Humane Management of Honey-Bees" more
interesting, the dialogue, which formed the introductory chapter in the
first edition, has been withdrawn, and in its place have been substituted
some valuable remarks of Dr. Birkbeck, Dr. Hancock, and Mr. Booth,
respecting Bees, honey, wax, &c. of course _the first chapter is new_;
as is chapter X. giving an account of the apiary of the Most Noble the
Marquess of Blandford, at Delabere Park, which can hardly fail of being
interesting to every reader: it is principally from the able pen of Mr.
Booth. Chapter XVIII. on Apiarian Societies, is new also. And, besides
these three entire chapters, not short paragraphs merely, but whole pages
of new matter have been introduced interspersedly by my most respected
friend--the Rev. T. Clark, of Gedney-Hill, who has revised, corrected,
and re-arranged the whole; and who has not only bestowed much time and
pains upon the improvement of my work, but in the kindest and most
disinterested manner has, in superintending this and the former edition
through the press, actually travelled upwards of _eight hundred_ miles.
The friendly performer of services so generous, so laborious, and so
perseveringly attended to, without any stipulation for fee or reward,
merits from me, and has from me, every expression of my gratitude, and,
were it in my power, should have _one expression more_.


  Chapter                                                  Page

      I. _Introductory Matters_                          1

     II. _Bee-Boxes and Management of Bees in them_     14

    III. _Ventilation_                                  49

     IV. _Thermometer_                                  58

      V. _On Driving Bees_                              90

     VI. _Inverted-Hive_                                96

    VII. _Observatory-Hive_                            107

   ----  _Mode of Stocking an Observatory-Hive_        119

   VIII. _Fumigation_                                  121

     IX. _Objections against Piling Boxes_             135

      X. _Apiary at Delabere Park_                     149

     XI. _Honey-Bees_                                  156

   ----  _For the Sting of a Bee_                      171

    XII. _Impregnation of the Queen-Bee_               175

   XIII. _Supernumerary Queens_                        181

    XIV. _Bee-Feeding_                                 190

   ----  _Bee-Food_                                    200

     XV. _Catalogue of Bee-Flowers, &c._               206

    XVI. _Honey-Comb_                                  211

   ----  _Bees' Wax_                                   232

   XVII. _Winter Situation for Bees_                   237

  XVIII. _Apiarian Societies_                          246

    XIX. _Miscellaneous Directions_                    253


  Frontispiece, to face title.                             Page

  Octagonal-Cover for the Pavilion                           16

  Collateral-Boxes apart                                     17

  Ditto closed.                                              29

  Inverted-Hive                                             100

  Observatory-Hive                                          109

  Ditto with additions                                      118

  Fumigator                                                 123

  Tower at Delabere                                 to face 149

  The Three Bees                                            157

  Honey-Comb                                                213




The object of the generality of persons who keep Bees, is--profit: and
that profit might be indefinitely augmented were Bees properly managed,
and their lives preserved--were the still extensively-practised, cruel,
and destructive system superseded by a conservative one. Some few there
may be in the higher ranks of life, who cultivate bees from motives
of curiosity--for the gratification of witnessing and examining the
formation and progress of their ingenious and most beautiful works, and
with a view to study the instinct, habits, propensities, peculiarities,
or, in one word, the nature, of these wonderful, little insects, in
order to improve their condition, and to gain additional knowledge
respecting their natural history, hitherto, it must be confessed,
enveloped in much uncertainty, and very imperfectly understood. To this
class of Bee-masters and _Bee-friends_ the system of management to be
explained in the following pages, will, it is hoped, unfold discoveries
and impart facilities and improvements hitherto unknown in apiarian
science. And they, whose sole object in keeping Bees is _profit_, may
derive incalculable advantage from conforming to the mode of management,
and strictly attending to the _practical directions_ hereinafter to be
detailed: because as their profits are expected to arise principally
from honey and wax, it evidently must be for their interest to know how
to obtain those valuable Bee-productions in their purest state and in
the greatest quantity. The quantity obtained in a good honey-year (viz.
1826) from a well-stocked and exceedingly prosperous colony--still in
existence, and still flourishing, (i. e. in 1834) was so considerable,
and so far beyond anything ever realized from a common straw-hive
colony, that my statements respecting it have been doubted by some, and
totally discredited by others, unacquainted with my (I trust I may say)
_improved_ system of Bee-management. With respect to the purity of the
honey taken according to my plan, and the general properties and medical
virtues, and, of course, _value of honey when pure_, I have much pleasure
in being enabled to submit to the reader the opinions of my scientific
friends--Dr. Birkbeck, Mr. Abraham Booth, Lecturer on Chemistry, and Dr.
Hancock; because their opinions may safely be considered as unimpeachable
authority on this subject, viz. the uses and medical virtues of _pure

In some observations on the effect of the temperature of Bee-hives on
the quality of honey, published in a scientific journal, Mr. Booth
observes--"notwithstanding the adequate justice which has been done to
Mr. Nutt's improved and admirable system of Bee-management, there is
one point which does not appear to have elicited much attention--the
superiority in quality both of the honey and the wax. It does not appear
to me that the whole of this superiority consists in freedom from
extraneous animal or vegetable matters, a point of very great importance,
however, as its dietetic purposes are concerned; but that it greatly
depends upon the modified degree of temperature at which the Bees effect
their labours, and which is insufficient to produce any chemical changes
in the constitution of these substances; whereas under the old system,
the continued high temperature of the hive is sufficient to induce those
changes which impart the colour that so materially deteriorates the
quality as well as the value of the products. _From Mr. Nutt's hives we
obtain pure honey, as it is actually secreted by the Bee_, which cannot
be ensured by any other mode of management."

To my very intelligent friend and patron, Dr. Birkbeck, whose uniform
liberality and kindness, from the infancy of my pursuits, I have
reason to appreciate, I am indebted for introducing this subject in a
Lecture[A] at the London Institution, Moorfields, on the application
of the oxy-hydrogen light to illustrate the economy and structure of
the insect world. In the course of his observations, on referring to
the tongue of the Bee, the learned Doctor made copious allusions to my
system, and the advantages which would in his view result from its
general extension. He observed that "so small is the supply that we
derive from the labours of Bees in this country, that the production of
wax does not even more than equal its consumption in the simple article
of lip-salve. Under this improved system, we may however hope that the
advantages of Bee-management may be more generally diffused throughout
the kingdom,--that Bee-hives will be multiplied, and that the choicest
flowers of the field and forest will no longer 'waste their sweetness in
the desert air.' In a dietetic point of view, it is of great importance
that a saccharine, secreted by one of the most beautiful processes of
nature, should be substituted for one produced by the most imperfect and
complicated process of art, whilst the more salutary properties of the
former would recommend it as far more eligible for use. He could not but
hope that, in this view the system would soon receive that extension in
practice to which its merits fitted it."[B]

[Footnote A: Delivered April 23d 1334.]

[Footnote B: Dr. Birkbeck related the following instance of the power
of recognition possessed by Bees to myself and Mr. Booth, which I
cannot suffer to pass unnoticed. When a boy, he was accustomed to cover
his hand with honey, and go to the front of one of the hives in his
father's garden. His hand was soon covered by the Bees, banquetting on
the proffered sweets, and the whole of it was speedily removed. The Bees
appeared to recognize the learned Doctor ever afterwards when he appeared
in the garden, his hand being always surrounded by them in expectation of
there finding their accustomed boon.]

Some very important observations on honey, in a medical point of view,
are those which were contained in a paper written by my very learned and
valued friend, Dr. Hancock, and read before the Medico-Botanical Society
at their sitting November 26th 1833.[C]

[Footnote C: For a copy of the first edition of this work, with specimens
of honey, &c. the author received the thanks of the Society; and he has
since been honoured with a diploma, which constitutes him a corresponding
member thereof.]

An abstract of this important paper[D] I shall communicate for the
information of my readers.

[Footnote D: An abstract of the paper was published in the Lancet and
several other journals.]

"The great objects which recommend Mr. Nutt's plan, consist in the
great improvement in quality and augmentation of honey produced, and
that without destroying the Bees--a discovery equally creditable to Mr.
Nutt, as a man of benevolent mind, and to his industry and indefatigable

"The cultivation of Honey-bees is of remote antiquity. The Bee was
regarded as the emblem of royalty with the ancient Egyptians, and Bees
have been held in the highest esteem by all nations, whether barbarous
or civilized; yet the united experience of ancients and moderns has
never hitherto led to the happy results, which, by a connected series
of experiments, patient research, and logical induction, have in twelve
years been achieved by Mr. Nutt. In the course of his observation he saw,
not only that the destruction of the Bees was barbarous in the extreme,
but that this cruelty was equally subversive of the crops of honey; his
inquiries were hence directed to find how this destructive system could
be exchanged for a conservative one. In this he has completely succeeded,
and by preserving the Bees has been enabled to increase their produce
many-fold, and that too, in a far more salutary and improved quality. It
is equal even to the samples usually obtained from young hives called
virgin honey, which is scarce, dear, and seldom to be had genuine.

"Owing to the want of knowledge on the subject, the consequent
impurities, and the great price of foreign honey, together with the
adulterations practised, the use of this valuable article has been nearly
abandoned in this country, whether as an article of the materia medica or
of domestic economy; and for the reasons just stated, the preparations
of honey have even been expunged from the Edinburgh Pharmacopeia. From
the recent improvement, however, by the gentleman just mentioned, we have
reason to hope its use will be restored in a condition vastly improved,
and that at a great reduction in price, the facilities of production
being greatly enhanced, and such as to render it in time available to all
classes of society.

"Pure honey was justly considered by the ancients to possess the most
valuable balsamic and pectoral properties--as a lenitive, ecoprotic, and
detergent; and it is well-known to dissolve viscid phlegm and promote
expectoration. As a medium for other remedies, it is in its pure state
far superior to sirups, as being less liable to run into the acetous
fermentation. It appears that honey procured on Mr. Nutt's plan is not
excelled by the finest and most costly samples from the continent, as
that of Minorca, Narbonne, or Montpelier. The various impurities and
extraneous matter usually contained in honey, cause it in many cases to
produce griping pains, or uneasy sensations in the stomach and bowels;
this however has no such effect, unless it be taken to an imprudent

"Pure honey, though in its ultimate elements similar to refined sugar,
yet differs considerably in its physiological effects on the body, being
a _lenitive_, _aperient_ or gentle laxative, and hence incomparably more
beneficial in costive habits. It has in a dietetic or medicinal point of
view been recommended in gravel or calculous complaints; of this however
I have no knowledge, but its utility in asthma I have experienced in
my own person as well as in others;--as also as an efficacious remedy
in hooping cough, taken with antimonial wine, camphor, arid opium. For
sedentary persons and those troubled with constipation of the bowels,
there is no dietetic or medicinal substance so useful as pure honey,
whether taken in drink or with bread and butter, &c. It is well-known
as a detergent of foul sores, and I have often found it to succeed in
healing deep-seated sinuous or fistulous ulcers, and thus to obviate the
necessity of surgical operations.

"In South America and amongst the Spaniards, honey is considered as
one of the best detergents for sloughing sores and foul ulcerations;
so it was formerly in Europe. Its uses in a surgical point of view
have in this country long been lost sight of. Its detergent power is
such, that it was formerly denominated a _vegetable soap_, as we may
see in the older writers. It is still made the basis of _cosmetics_,
and this empirical practice goes to prove its efficacy--to those at
least who have experienced its effects in cleansing and healing sinuous
ulcers, its stimulating property producing withal the sanitary adhesive
inflammation. A species of wine made from honey, called metheglin and
mead--the _mulsum_ of the ancients--was formerly much in use in this
country, and most deservedly so from its pleasant taste and salutary
properties. By the perfection of honey, this may now be obtained no doubt
of equal excellence here, and a rich mellifluous species of wine of the
most wholesome kind will be acquired, and open a new source of national

"It has been said, that where the air is clear and hot, honey is better
than where it is variable and cold, and this seems to have served as
an apology for the inferiority of much of the honey contained in this
country. It is a position, which I am persuaded is not well founded;
for the honey in hot climates, notwithstanding the fragrance of the
flowers, is mostly inferior to the commonest samples produced here. This
inferiority, however, may be entirely owing to the difference in the
Bees--for I speak here of the wild or native honey--and it is probable
that the _apis mellifica_ might, in South America, on Mr. Nutt's plan,
produce the best of honey, and in very great abundance, because it would
there work all the year, and the product therefore would be greatly

"I have seen honey taken in the forests of South America from several
different species of Bees; they were always destitute of a sting,
although entomologists consider it as one of the generic characters of
_apis_. It is also singular that their wax is always _black_, or dark
brown, although the pollen of the flowers, which is said to give colour,
is equally yellow as in this country. Bees obtain honey from most kinds
of flowers, but appear in general to prefer the labiati or lip flowers,
as those of sage, marjoram, mint, thyme, lavender, &c.

"Mr. Nutt, in the course of his observation, has noticed the curious
fact, that the nectar or honey obtained from different plants is
carefully deposited by the Bees in separate cells, or at least that the
nectar from different _genera_ of plants is kept distinct. It appears
indeed, that the produce of the flowers is classed by them, and arranged
with a precision not inferior to that of the most accurate botanist.
What but a hand Divine could guide these little insects thus to mock the
boasted power of human reason! This consideration too, coupled with our
own interests, should operate as a powerful argument in favour of Mr.
Nutt's new conservative system of management, and against the reckless
destruction of the Bees. Mr. Nutt has already been patronised by the
Royal Family and several of the nobility, and no doubt his plan will
be adopted by all persons of intelligence, who engage in this pursuit,
whether for profit or the most rational amusement."

When I first entered into my apiarian pursuits, I felt convinced of the
great and profitable extent to which they might be carried; and of this I
have been all along since confirmed as success has crowned my efforts. If
I could demonstrate--and I have repeatedly demonstrated--how much honey
might be increased in quantity, its superior quality also struck me as
a point of no less importance; and in this I am now most satisfactorily
confirmed by the sanction of those scientific friends whose valuable
opinions have been above quoted. With alacrity and pleasure I will
therefore proceed, without further introduction, to give a description
of my Bee-boxes, and other hives, and of all my Bee-machinery,--and
directions for the proper construction of them,--and also for the proper
ordering and management of Bees in them.



The schemes and contrivances, and ways and means, to which apiarians
have had recourse, in order to deprive Bees of their honey, without
at the same time destroying their lives, have been various, and some
of them ingenious; but hitherto not one of them has been crowned with
the desired success. The leaf-hives of Dunbar and of Huber--Huish's
hive with cross-bars,--the piling of hive upon hive, or box upon box,
(called storifying), and several other contrivances, have all had this
great object in view,--have all had their patrons and admirers,--have
all had fair trials,--but have, notwithstanding, all failed of fully
accomplishing it.

Whether my inventions may merit and may meet with a similar or with
a better fate, it is not for me to predict,--time will show. I feel
warranted, however, in asserting of my COLLATERAL-BOX-HIVE, which I am
now about to explain,--of my INVERTED-HIVE, and of my OBSERVATORY-HIVE,
of which in their proper places minute descriptions will be given,--I
feel, I say, warranted in asserting that these--my inventions--possess
such conveniences and accommodations both for Bees and Bee-masters, that
the pure treasure stored in them by those industrious, little insects
may at any time be abstracted from them, not only without destroying
the Bees, but without injuring them in the least, or even incommoding
their labours by the operation;--that they afford accommodations to
the Bees which greatly accelerate the progress of their labours in
the summer-season;--and that the Bees never leave them in disgust, as
it were, as they not unfrequently _do leave_ other hives, after being
deprived of their stores; but, as if nothing had happened to them,
continue day by day to accumulate fresh treasures, the quantity of which
has astonished the beholders, and not only the quantity, but the quality

That my boxes do not, admit of improvement is more than I assert; but
having worked them most successfully for many years, and knowing that
several other persons, following my directions, have succeeded with them
as well as myself, and far beyond their most sanguine expectations, I do
flatter myself that the principle of managing Bees after my plan is right.



The plates here presented to my readers exhibit a set of my collateral
Bee-boxes open, and every compartment exposed to view, especially to
the view and for the examination of experienced workmen. I make use of
the word _experienced_, because the better the boxes are made, the more
certain will the apiarian be of success in the management of his Bees in

There has been some difference of opinion as to the most suitable
dimensions for Bee-boxes. I approve of and recommend those which are from
eleven to twelve inches square inside, and nine or ten inches deep in the

The best wood for them is by some said to be red cedar; the chief grounds
of preference of which wood are--its effects in keeping moths out of the
boxes, and its being a bad conductor of heat. But of whatever kind of
wood Bee-boxes are made, it should be well seasoned, perfectly sound, and
free from what carpenters term _shakes_. Good, sound, red deal answers
the purpose very well, and is the sort of wood of which most of my boxes
have been made hitherto. The sides of the boxes, particularly the front
sides, should be at the least an inch and a half in thickness; for the
ends, top, and back-part, good deal one inch thick is sufficiently
substantial; the ends, that form the interior divisions and openings,
must be of half-inch stuff, well dressed off, so that, when the boxes and
the dividing-tins are closed, that is, when they are all placed together,
the two adjoining ends should not exceed five-eighths of an inch in
thickness. These communication-ends, the bars of which should be exactly
parallel with each other, form a communication, or a division, as the
case may require, which is very important to the Bees, and by which the
said boxes can be immediately divided without injuring any part of the
combs, or deluging the Bees with the liquid honey, which so frequently
annoys them, by extracting their sweets from the piled or storified boxes.

This is not the only advantage my boxes possess: the receptacles
or frame-work for the ventilators, which appear upon each of the
end-boxes,--the one with the cover off, the other with it on--must be
four inches square, with a perforated, flat tin of nearly the same size,
and in the middle of that tin must be a round hole, to correspond with
the hole through the top of the box, and in the centre of the frame-work
just mentioned, an inch in diameter, to admit the perforated, cylinder,
tin ventilator, nine inches long. This flat tin must have a smooth piece
of wood well-made to fit it closely, and to cover the frame-work just
mentioned, so as to carry the wet off it, then placing this cover over
the square, perforated tin, your box will be secure from the action of
wind and rain. The perforated cylinder serves both for a ventilator, and
also for a secure and convenient receptacle for a thermometer, at any
time when it is necessary to ascertain the temperature of the box into
which the cylinder is inserted. Within this frame-work, and so that the
perforated, flat tin already described may completely cover them, at each
corner make a hole with a three-eighths centre-bit through the top of the
box. These four small holes materially assist the ventilation, and are,
in fact, an essential part of it.

We next come to the long floor, on which the three square Bee-boxes,
(A. C. C.), which constitute _a set_, stand collaterally. This floor is
the strong top of a long, shallow box, made for the express purpose of
supporting the three Bee-boxes, and must, of course, be superficially of
such dimensions as those boxes, when placed collaterally, require; or, if
the Bee-boxes project the eighth part of an inch over the ends and back
of this floor-box, so much the better; because in that case the rain or
wet, that may at any time fall upon them, will drain off completely. For
ornament, as much as for use, this floor is made to project about two
inches in front; but this projection must be sloped, or made an inclined
plane, so as to carry off the wet from the front of the boxes. To the
centre of this projecting front, and on a plane with the edge of the part
cut away for the entrance of the Bees into the pavilion, is attached the
alighting-board, which consists of a piece of planed board, six inches by
three, having the two outward corners rounded off a little. The passage
from this alighting-board into the pavilion, (not seen in the plate, it
being at the centre of the side not shown) is cut, not out of the edge
of the box, _but out of the floor-board_, and should be not less than
four inches in length, and about half an inch in depth; or so as to make
a clear half-inch-way under the edge of the box for the Bee-passage. I
recommend this as preferable to a cut in the edge of the box,--because,
being upon an inclined plane, if at any time the wet should be driven
into the pavilion by a stormy wind, it would soon drain out, and the
floor become dry; whereas, if the entrance-passage be cut out of the box,
the rain that may, and at times will, be drifted in, will be kept in, and
the floor be wet for days, and perhaps for weeks, and be very detrimental
to the Bees. In depth the floor-box, measured from outside to outside,
should be four inches, so that, if made of three-fourths inch-deal, there
may be left for the depth of the box-part full two inches and a half.
Internally it is divided into three equal compartments, being one for
each Bee-box: admission to these compartments, or under-boxes, is by the
drawer and drawer-fronts, or blocks, which will be described presently.

The bottom, or open edge of each of the boxes, (A. C. C.) should be
well planed, and made so even and square that they will sit closely and
firmly upon the aforesaid floor, and be as air-tight as a good workman
can make them, or, technically expressed, _be a dead fit_ all round.
In the floor-board are made three small openings, i. e. one near the
back of each box. These openings are of a semi-lunar shape, (though
any other shape would do as well) the straight side of which should
not exceed three inches in length, and will be most convenient if made
parallel with the back-edge of the box, and about an inch from it. They
are covered by perforated, or by close tin-slides, as the circumstances
of your apiary may require. The drawer (G.) the front of which appears
under the middle-box, is of great importance, because it affords one of
the greatest accommodations to the Bees in the boxes. In this drawer is
placed, if necessity require it, a tin made to fit it, and in that tin,
another thin frame covered with book-muslin, or other fine strainer,
which floats on the liquid deposited for the sustenance of the Bees.
Here, then, you have a feeder, containing the prepared sweet, in the
immediate vicinity of the mother-hive, and without admitting the cold or
the robbers to annoy the Bees. When you close the drawer thus prepared
with Bee-food, you must draw out the tin placed over the semi-lunar
aperture, which will open to the Bees a way to their food in the
drawer beneath. The heat of the hive follows the Bees into the feeding
apartment, which soon becomes the temperature of their native-hive.
Here the Bees banquet on the proffered boon in the utmost security, and
in the temperature of their native domicile. Under such favourable
circumstances it is an idle excuse, not to say--a want of humanity, to
suffer your Bees to die for want of attention to proper feeding.

I now come to notice the use of the block-fronts on each side of
the feeding-drawer, marked G. These two block-fronts answer many
good purposes, and furnish the apiarian with several practical
advantages: first, in the facility they afford of adding numbers to
the establishment, as occasion may require, which is done without the
least inconvenience or trouble to the apiarian, and without the least
resentment from the native Bees; second, in affording to the Bees a place
of egress when you are about to take from them one of the end-boxes;
third, in the effectual and beautiful guard they furnish against robbers:
for instead of the solid block, seen in the plate, a safety-block (of
which a description will be given presently) may be substituted, which
is so contrived that ten thousand Bees can with ease leave their prison
and their sweets in the possession of the humane apiarian, without the
possible chance of a single intruder forcing its entrance to rob the
magazine or to annoy the apiarian. Perhaps this is the most pleasing
part, and the most happy convenience attached to the boxes. Its origin
was this: Whilst explaining to some scientific gentlemen at the National
Repository the method to be pursued in the management of Bees in a set of
collateral-boxes,--and, in particular, the manner of taking off a box of
honey, it was objected--that, on removing the block-front and withdrawing
the tin that opens a communication into the box above, though a passage
would thereby be opened for the imprisoned Bees to get away, it would at
the same time afford an opening and an opportunity--nay, be a sort of
invitation for the Bees of other hives,--for strange Bees and robbers to
get in, annoy, and destroy the native Bees, then subdued by having been
imprisoned, and to plunder and carry away their treasures.

This objection, to persons unskilled in Bee-matters, may, I grant, appear
to be plausible--nay, reasonable: but every _practical apiarian_, who has
taken off two or three end-boxes of honey, knows very well that there is
not the least danger to be apprehended from robbers or marauders during
the short time that the liberated, native Bees are hurrying away as fast
as they can get. I have never witnessed any thing like an attempt to
besiege and rob a box so situated. Were, however, the communication to
be left open for any considerable time after the Bees have departed, I
have no doubt that, if not discovered by Bees belonging to other hives,
it (the vacated box) would be re-entered by its own Bees, and by them
be soon entirely emptied of its honey. Nothing, however, but down-right
carelessness on the part of the operator will ever subject a box of honey
to a visitation of this description. But, notwithstanding the conviction
in _my_ mind that the above-stated objection is _in fact_ groundless, I
set my wits to work to answer it in a way more satisfactory to the highly
respectable persons who raised it, and, if by any means I could, to
obviate it entirely. It did not cost me much mental labour to invent--_a
safety-block_,--nor does it require much manual labour to make one.

A safety-block must be made to fit the place of the common block, and may
be cut out of a piece of half-inch deal board, having one side planed
off so as to leave the bottom-edge less than one-fourth of an inch in
thickness; then with a three-eighths-inch centre-bit cut as near the
lower, that is--the thin edge, as you can, a row of holes. Ten holes
in a length of six inches will allow a convenient space between each
hole. Next, over each of these small holes, suspend a piece of talc, cut
of a proper size for the purpose, by a thread of silk, and make that
thread fast round a tiny brass nail above. The talc, which is a mineral
substance as transparent as glass, and much lighter, and on that account
much better than glass, thus suspended over each hole, is easily lifted
and passed by Bees from within, but is heavy enough to fall again as soon
as a Bee has made its exit, and forms an effectual bar or block against
the entrance of Bees from the outside. A block of this description may be
had for a trifling expense, and is recommended to all such inexperienced
and timid--timid because inexperienced---apiarians, as are apprehensive
of being annoyed by intruders when they are taking off a box of honey.
Though this safety-block rather impedes the escape of the Bees, it has
nevertheless a pretty appearance when it is neatly made,--and it is
amusing enough to see the beautiful, little creatures pushing open first
one little trap-door and then another, popping out their heads, and then
winging their flight to the entrance of the pavilion. After all, though
it certainly is a complete _safety-block_, and was invented to obviate
a groundless objection, it is more an article of curiosity than of real

Lastly, I have to notice the security which the under-box or frame gives
to the stability of the three upper boxes,--the firmness with which it
supports them,--and the dry and comfortable way in which the Bees by
it are enabled to discharge their dead, and other superfluities of the
colony, without their being exposed to the cold atmosphere of an autumn
or a spring morning.

The octagon-box, marked H, is a covering for the bell-glass, marked B,
which is placed on the middle-box, or seat of nature. It matters not of
what shape this covering is, because any covering over the glass will
answer the same purpose, provided the under-board of it is wide enough
to cover the divisional openings, and to throw off the wet. I choose an
octagon because of the neatness of its appearance.

In endeavouring to recommend these Bee-boxes as worthy of general
adoption, in order to succeed in my object, it is undoubtedly necessary
that the parts and construction of them, and of every thing pertaining to
them, be fully explained and clearly understood: I therefore proceed to
give another view of them.

In the former plate they are exhibited as open, or detached and apart
from each other: in the following one they are represented as closed and
standing together, as when stocked with Bees, and in full operation in an
apiary: in both it is the back of the boxes that is presented. With the
exception of the alighting-board, the front is quite plain, being without
window-shutters in the boxes, and without drawer and block-fronts in the


In this plate the engraver has made the floor-box to extend beyond the
ends of the C. C. boxes; but, as has already been observed, and for the
reason before given, it is better that the floor-box be made so that
those (C. C.) boxes project a little over the ends and also over the back
of the floor.


  A. is the pavilion, or middle-box, which may be most easily stocked
    by a swarm of Bees, just as a cottage-hive is stocked.

  B. is the bell-glass in the first plate,--in the second, it only
    points to the place where the glass stands.

  C. C. are the collateral, or two end-boxes.

  D. D. are neat mouldings, about three inches wide, made of
    three-fourths-inch deal, and are so fastened to the middle-box in
    front, (i. e. the side not here shown) as well as at the back,
    that an inch and a half of each may project beyond each corner of
    that box, and form a cover and protection for the edges of the
    dividing-tins, and also for the four seams, or joints, necessarily
    made by placing the end-boxes against the middle one.

  E. E. are the frame-work and covers of the ventilation and

  F. F. are the block-fronts }
  G. is the feeding-drawer   } already described.
  H. is the octagon-cover    }

  I. I. I. are the window-shutters, five inches by four, or larger or
    smaller, as fancy may direct: these shutters open as so many little
    doors by means of small brass-joints, and are kept fast, when
    closed, by a brass-button set on the box.

  1, 2, 3, 4, are so many tin-slides, to cut off, or to open, as the
    case may require, the communications between the pavilion and
    the bell-glass, between the pavilion and the feeding-drawer, and
    between the end-boxes and their under-boxes.

For a Bee-passage between the pavilion and the bell-glass, is cut, in the
centre of the top of the pavilion, a circular hole, an inch in diameter,
and from the edge of that circular hole are cut four or six passages,
just wide enough to allow the Bees space to pass and re-pass. These
lineal cuts must of course terminate within the circumference of the
circle formed by the edge of the bell-glass that is placed over them.

Perhaps it may be said,--in fact, it has been said--that these boxes are
in reality nothing more than a common cottage-hive. Be it so: but it is
an _improved_ cottage-hive, made convenient by being divisible, and by
having its parts well arranged. The middle-box, or department, marked
A, is, however, square, and not round, like the common straw-hive. But
beyond this one box the comparison cannot easily be carried; the common
straw-hive possesses no such conveniences and accommodations as those
afforded both to Bees and Bee-masters by the end-boxes of my hive.

In the middle-box the Bees are to be first placed: in it first they
skilfully construct their beautiful combs,--and, under the prerogative
of one sovereign--the mother of the hive--carry on their curious works,
and display their astonishing, architectural ingenuity. In this box the
regina of the colony, surrounded by her industrious, happy, humming
subjects, carries on the propagation of her species,--deposits in
the cells prepared for the purpose by the other Bees, thousands upon
thousands of her eggs, though she deposits no more than one egg in a
cell at one time: these eggs are hatched and nursed up into a numerous
progeny by the other inhabitants of the hive. It is at this time, viz.
when hundreds of young Bees are daily coming into existence, that my
collateral-boxes are of the utmost importance to the Bees domiciled
in them: for when the young larvæ are perfected upon the cottage
plan, a swarm is the necessary consequence. The Queen, with thousands
of her Bee-subjects, leaves the colony, and seeks another place in
which to carry on her astonishing labours. But as swarming may, by
proper precaution and attention to my mode of management, generally
be prevented, it is manifestly a good thing to do so; for the time
necessarily required to establish another colony, even supposing the
cottager succeeds in saving the swarm, would otherwise be employed in
collecting the pure sweets, and in enriching the old hive. Here, then, is
one of the advantages of my plan, viz. _the prevention of swarming_. When
symptoms of swarming begin to present themselves, and which may be known
by an unusual noise in the hive or box (for it is of Bees in boxes that
I am now treating), and by the appearance of more than common activity
among the Bees; when these symptoms are apparent, then the Bee-master
may conclude that more space is required. At this period, therefore, he
should draw out the sliding-tin, marked 1, from under the bell-glass,
which simple operation will immediately open to the Bees a new room--a
palace--which they will adorn, and fill with their sweets as pure as
the crystal stream. But if by mistake the manager should draw up either
of the collateral-slides, which divide the end-boxes from the pavilion,
the Bees in that case will refuse to go up into the glass, and will
commence their works in the collateral-box opened to them, in preference
to the elevated glass; so well aware are these matchless insects of the
inconvenience attending the carrying of their treasures into an upper
room, when a more convenient store-house is to be had in a lower one.
The natural movements of Bees have demonstrated to me this fact by more
than a thousand trials: year after year I have made this experiment to
my entire satisfaction. The natural movements of the Bees also suggested
to me the idea of the utility of ventilation, and that by its influence
their works might be both divided and purified; and that a place of
safety might still be preserved for the Queen in the pavilion. She wants
a certain situation in which to carry on the work of propagating her
species. Like the fowls of the air, she will not, if she can avoid it,
propagate her young whilst under the observation and influence of man:
she, therefore, prefers the middle-box for her work of propagation;
as well on account of its privacy, as because the ventilation of the
end-boxes so cools their temperature, that they are not the situation
nature requires to bring the young larvæ to perfection; yet they can be
kept at such a temperature as to make them desirable store-rooms for the
Bees' treasures. By this mode of management we prevent the necessity of
swarming; and behold the grandest chemists in the world, and stores after
stores of their pure treasure, unadulterated by the necessary gathering
of immense quantities of farina for the young larvæ, which we see in the
piling system, as well as in the common cottage-hive; but this is all
carried into the immediate vicinity of the seat of nature, the place
where it is wanted.

When the glass is nearly filled, which in a good season will be in a very
short space of time, the Bees will again want accommodation. Previously,
however, to drawing up the tin-slide to enlarge their crowded house,
the manager should take off the empty end-box he intends to open to
them, and smear or dress the inside of it with a little liquid honey.
Thus prepared, he must return the box to its proper situation, and then
withdraw the sliding-tin between it and the pavilion, or middle-box, and
thereby enlarge the Bees' dominion, by opening an end-box to them, which
will produce the greatest harmony in the hive. The Bees will immediately
commence their operations in this new apartment. This simple operation,
_done at a proper time_, effectually prevents swarming; and by it the
Queen gains a vast addition to her dominions, and consequently additional
space for the population of her enlarged domicile. There is now no want
of store-house room, nor of employment, for our indefatigable labourers.
And while the subjects are employed in collecting, and manufacturing (if
I may so say) their various materials, the regina is engaged in carrying
on the great, first principle of nature--the propagation of her species.
This she does in the department (A.) re-filling with her eggs the cells
which have been vacated by the young larvæ. When, however, her next new
progeny are about to be brought into life, the Bee-master must draw out
the other tin-slide, and thereby open a communication to the other empty
apartment, and so make a further addition to the Queen's realm; which the
new, and even veteran labourers, will presently occupy, and set about
improving and enriching their again enlarged commonwealth. No sooner have
the Bees finished their operations in the several compartments of their
box-hive, which may be ascertained by looking through the little windows
at the back and ends of the boxes, than the Bee-master gently puts in
the tin-slide (1.) lifts up the lid of the octagon-box or cover (H.) and
takes off the bell-glass, filled with the purest and most perfect honey.
Before, however, he endeavours to take away the glass, it is necessary
that he should cut through between the bell-glass and the box, with a
fine wire, in order that the tin may the more easily slide under the
full glass of honey; when this is done, he may take off the full glass
and replace it with an empty one. He must then draw out the tin-slide
(1.) and so on for even The operation of taking off a glass, or a box,
of honey, may be best performed in the middle of a fine, sunny day;
and in taking off a glass, the operator, having put in the tin-slide
(1.) as already directed, should wait a few minutes, to see whether the
Bees made prisoners in the glass manifest any symptoms of uneasiness;
because, if they do not, it may be concluded that the Queen-bee is
amongst them; and in that case it is advisable to withdraw the slide (1.)
and to re-commence the operation another day. But if, as it generally
happens, the prisoners in the glass should run about in confusion and
restlessness, and manifest signs of great uneasiness, _then_ the operator
may conclude that all is right, and, having taken off the octagon-cover,
may envelope the glass in a silk handkerchief, or dark cloth, so as to
exclude the light, remove it with a steady hand, and place it on one
side, or so that the Bees may have egress from it, in some shady place,
ten or fifteen yards from the boxes, and the Bees that were imprisoned in
it will in a few minutes effect their escape, and return with eagerness
to the pavilion and their comrades.

And what may be done with B, may also be done with either of the C. C.
boxes, as occasion requires. It may not, however, be amiss to be more
explanatory of the mode of taking away the treasures of the Bees in
the side-boxes. It will be necessary to examine minutely the state of
your boxes, particularly when the whole of your colony is full of the
Bees' works. When the tin is put down to divide an end-box from the
mother-hive, you, no doubt, make many prisoners; to prevent which, the
night before separating an end-box from a middle one, lay open the
ventilator, which will not only lower the heat of the box, but will
admit the atmospheric air, which naturally causes the Bees to leave that
apartment, and to draw themselves into the middle-box--their native
climate; when this is done, you may put down the tin-slide (D.) as
already directed, and let your Bees remain fifteen or twenty minutes in
total darkness: then open the windows of the box you are about to take
off, and if the Queen-bee is not within that box, the Bees that are in
it will show a great desire to be liberated from their disagreeable
confinement, by running about in the most hurried, agitated, and
restless manner. But should the Queen-bee be there, you will then find
the Bees show no desire to leave her;--the commotion will appear in
the middle-box. Under such circumstances, which sometimes happen, you
must act with caution; for were you to open the egress from the box,
that is, the block (F.) and tin-slide (2. or 4. as the case may be) to
permit their departure, very shortly would the whole of the working Bees
join their sovereign in the box you intended to take; and this would
be a great disappointment and complete puzzle to the Bee-master, not
thoroughly acquainted with the moves of, or proper mode of managing, his
valuable hive. To me such an occurrence would be a repetition only of a
demonstration of facts--of pleasures unspeakable, in beholding the grand
works of nature, the noble influence of her majesty--the Queen of the

When, however, you do find the Queen in the box you are about to take
off, is it not easy to draw the tin-slide up again? Certainly it is
easy to draw up the dividing-tin. Do so, then, and that done, the
Queen-bee will readily embrace the opportunity of leaving the place of
her confinement; and then, having put down the dividing-tin, you will
presently be in a situation to accomplish your object. You will soon
see the Bees running to and fro upon the windows in the box you are
about to take off, and when you thus find them anxious to leave your
box of honey, close the windows, and you have then only to open an
egress by withdrawing the tin, No. 2. or 4. as your box may require;
the Bees finding an aperture, with light to direct their departure,
will immediately embrace the opportunity of regaining their liberty,
will fly away from their prison, and join their fellow-labourers at the
entrance of the mother-hive. In a few minutes you will be in possession
of a box of honey, and all your Bees will be in safety and harmonizing
with their beloved parent--the Queen of the hive. Take from them the box
your humanity entitles you to, minding that the tin-slide is safe to the
middle-box. You will then empty the full box, and return it empty to its
former place; then draw up your tin, and you again enlarge their domicil,
having gained a rich reward for your operation, at the expense of their
labour. A child of twelve years of age may be taught to do this without
the least danger; there need no Bee-dresses,--there needs no fumigation
of any sort. It is a natural movement for the welfare of these worthies,
that prevents their swarming, and at once secures to the sovereign Queen
of Bees her rightful throne. Reader, this declaration is founded on
facts,--on the practical experience of many years. And that you may
adopt this principle and mode of managing Honey-Bees, that is, of taking
from them their superabundance of treasure, and preserving your Bees
uninjured, and, if you can contrive it, improve upon the instructions
here given you, and upon the example here set you, is my hearty wish,
for my country's welfare, and for the welfare of my admired, nay, my
_beloved_ BEES.

Should it, however, so happen, as it sometimes may, owing to a variety
of causes, such, for instance, as the negligence, or unskilfulness,
or unavoidable absence of the Bee-master at a critical time, or from
any other cause, should it, I say, so happen that the pavilion, or
middle-box, should swarm, take such swarm into one of the end-boxes,
prepared for such an event, by merely making an entrance to it, at or
as near as possible to the corner farthest from the entrance into the
middle-box; and before this new entrance fix a small alighting board.
The swarm will thus become a family of itself, and as much a stock
pro tempore, as if it were placed on a separate stand, provided the
dividing-tin, which separates the middle-box from that in which the
swarm is put, be carefully adjusted, and made perfectly tight and secure,
so that a Bee cannot pass from one box to the other. To this material
point the apiarian will necessarily attend when he first removes the
end-box in order to put the swarm into it. In the evening place the box
containing the swarm on its floor, just where and as it was before it
was taken off. Let the Bees thus managed work two or three weeks, or as
the nature of the season may require,--I mean--until the end-box appears
to be pretty well filled with combs. Then close up the exterior entrance
of the collateral-box containing the swarm of Bees, and draw out the
sliding-tin which hitherto has separated the two families or colonies,
and the Bees will unite, and become one family. The apiarian will
likewise witness with pleasure the effect of ventilation in the hive; for
as soon as the Bees have deposed one of the Queens, and the end-box has
been cooled by means of the cylinder-ventilator, he will discover that
the combs will be presently emptied of every material necessary for the
support of the young larvæ; so that the combs, that had been so recently
constructed for a seat of nature, soon become receptacles for pure
honey, and the numerous Bees become the subjects of one sovereign in the

This is a neat method of re-uniting a swarm to its parent-stock; and the
operation is so easy that the most unpractised apiarian may perform it
without subjecting himself to the slightest danger of being stung by the
Bees. It can however only be practised with Bees in boxes. Another and a
more prompt method of returning a swarm to its parent-stock, and which is
practicable with swarms from cottage-hives, as well as with those from
boxes, is the following.

After the swarm has been taken in the usual way into an empty box, or
into a straw-hive, and suffered to settle and cluster therein for an hour
or two, gently and with a steady hand take the box or hive, and, having
a tub of clean water placed ready and conveniently for the purpose, with
a sudden jerk dislodge the Bees from the box or hive and immerse them
in the water. Let them remain therein two or three minutes: then drain
it off through a sieve, or other strainer, and spread the now harmless
Bees--harmless, because apparently half-drowned, upon a dry towel or
table-cloth, and search for and _secure the Queen_. This done, and which
may very easily be done, place a board or two in a slanting direction
from the entrance of the parent-hive to the ground; upon this lay the
cloth on which are your immersed Bees, and spread them thinly over it,
in order that they may the sooner become dry; and, as they become dry,
you will with pleasure see them return to their native-hive, which they
will be permitted to enter without the slightest opposition from the Bees
already therein.

By this operation not only are the immersed Bees cooled, but their
re-union with those already in the hive cools them also, and considerably
lowers the temperature of the whole stock. With a late swarm from any
sort of hive, as well as with an accidental swarm from boxes, this is
a good method to be adopted; and, if the apiarian possess sufficient
coolness and dexterity to perform it cleverly, it is a practice I would
recommend whenever it is advisable to return a swarm to its native-hive.
When a swarm has thus been returned to a cottage-hive an eke should be
added forthwith.

Before I further explain the nature of my collateral Bee-boxes, I shall
briefly express my desire that my readers will attend particularly to
the discovery of the effects of ventilation. I have been asked--"Of what
use is ventilation in the domicil of Bees?" I answer--one of its uses
has already been described, and much more of its use, I may say, of its
necessity, in the humane management of Bees will be told presently. Many
treatises on the management of these valuable insects have appeared, but
in none of them do I find any allusion to this important point--important
in my practice at least, and essentially necessary in it. Therefore--

    To works of Nature join the works of man,
    To show, by art improved, what Nature can.
    Nature's great efforts can no further tend,
    Here fix'd her pillars, all her labours end.


Perhaps the divided labour of the Honey-Bees was anticipated by the
author of these lines: but, be that as it might, I, in my turn, will
ask--How can we preserve the Bees uninjured, divide their works, and take
away their superabundant treasure, without the influence of ventilation?
I think it is impossible. A lesson, a true lesson from nature, has
demonstrated this fact to me, and twelve years' constant labour and
attention to this important subject have put into operation my plans for
the welfare of that wonderful insect--the sovereign Queen of Bees. Well
might Dr. Bevan say--

    First of the throng, and foremost of the whole,
    One stands confess'd the sovereign and the soul.

Curious facts respecting this extraordinary creature are before me,
which have been ascertained and proved by means of my observatory-hive.
This hive is unknown in any work hitherto published on the interesting
subject of Bee-management: and with reference to it I may observe--that
when a new principle is discovered by studying nature, such principle
will seldom fail to produce effects beneficial in proportion to its being
understood and skilfully applied. So simple and so rational (if I may so
say) is my observatory-hive, that it cannot but be approved, when it is
once understood, by the followers of my apiarian practice. Be my humble
theory what it may, it hath truth for its foundation; and by perseverance
and industry I flatter myself I shall materially improve, if not bring
to perfection, the cultivation and management of Honey-Bees, merely by
pointing out _how_ the produce of their labour may be divided, _how_ a
part thereof may be taken away, a sufficiency be left for the sustenance
of the stock, and _how_ their lives may be preserved notwithstanding.

Much has been said against the probable results of this practice:
but facts are stubborn things; and luckily for me and my mode of
Bee-management, I have an abundance of the most incontrovertible facts
to adduce, which will, I think and hope, convince all those who have
heretofore entertained doubts upon the subject.

The first movement in my apiarian practice commences with the pavilion
of nature. This pavilion, which is equivalent to a cottage-hive, is the
subject of my present observations and explanation.

I say, then,---disturb not this hive--this pavilion of nature: weaken
not its population; but support its influence, and extend to it those
accommodations which no practice, except my own, has yet put into
operation, or made any adequate provision for. This humane practice
partakes not of the driving, nor of the fumigating, nor of the robbing
system. It is a liberal principle of Bee-cultivation founded on humanity.
And it is by such practice that we must succeed, if we hope to be
benefited by the culture of Honey-Bees.



To ascertain the degree of heat in a colony of Bees, and to regulate it
by means of ventilation, as circumstances may require, recourse must be
had to the use of the thermometer, as will be explained presently. But
here I would ask my worthy Bee-keepers, whether, in the course of their
experience, they have at any time beheld a honey-comb suspended beneath
the pedestal of any of their hives--a circumstance that not unfrequently
occurs under old stools? The beautiful appearance of a comb suspended
in such a situation is, as it were, the very finger of Providence,
pointing out the effects of ventilation, and teaching us by an example
the necessity there is for it in a crowded, busy hive. Behold the purity
of such a comb; examine the cause of that purity, and you will find that
it is owing--solely and undoubtedly owing--to the powerful influence of

An occurrence of this description, I mean--the discovery of a beautiful
comb suspended, as just described, having excited my curiosity and my
admiration, led me to inquire into the cause of it, and to study to
discover, if by any means I could, why my skilful, little Bees should
have constructed their combs in such a situation. My observations soon
satisfied me that one of these two causes, viz. either a want of room
in the hive,--or a disagreeable and oppressive heat in it,--or most
probably, a combination of these two causes, had rendered it necessary
for them, if they continued working at all, to carry on their work in
that singular manner. My next step was to endeavour to prove the truth
of my reasonings and conclusions, in which, I flatter myself, I have
fully succeeded, after no inconsiderable labour, and many contrivances
to accommodate the Bees with additional room, as they have had occasion
for it, and after repeated experiments to keep such room, when added,
at a temperature agreeable to them by means of ventilation. In short,
my COLLATERAL-BOXES and VENTILATION are the results of my studies and
experiments on this point of apiarian science.

There are few persons, who are managers of Honey-Bees under the old hive
system, who, if they have not seen a comb constructed and suspended
in the manner just described, have not, however, beheld these little
creatures, when oppressed with the internal heat of their crowded
domicil, and straitened for want of room in it, unhappily clustering and
hanging at the door, or from and under the floor-board of their hive, in
a ball frequently as large as a man's head, and sometimes covering all
the front part of it, for sixteen or twenty days together; and this, be
it remarked, at the season of the year which is the most profitable for
their labours in the fields and among the flowers. During this distress
of the Bees in, or belonging to, such a hive, their labours are of
necessity suspended,--their gathering of honey ceases,--ceases too at the
very time that that saccharine substance is most plentifully secreted by
the vegetable world. And---why? Because they want an enlargement of their
domicil,--an extension of the dominion, or (if it may be so termed) of
the territory of the Queen; by which enlargement swarming is superseded,
and the Royal Insect relieved from the necessity of abdicating her
throne, retains it, continues and extends the propagation of her species,
and of course increases the busy labours of her innumerable subjects.
_This accommodation is provided for Bees in my collateral-boxes._

Ancient as well as modern Bee-keepers have frequently adopted the plan
of eking, that is--placing three or four rounds of a straw-hive (called
an eke) under their hives. This method of enlarging a hive does in many
instances prevent swarming during that one season. Notwithstanding,
from all that I can see in it, it tends only to put off the evil day,
and to accumulate greater numbers of Bees for destruction the following
year. This is certain, because on minute examination of the pavilion of
nature, we find an increase of wealth, as well as an increase of numbers
in the state; but there is no provision or contrivance in the common
hive for dividing the wealthy produce of the labours of those numbers:
eking will not do it,--eking enlarges the hive, and that is all it does;
consequently to get at their honey, the necessity for destroying the
Bees follows, and the suffocating fumes of brimstone at length bring
these worthies to the ground--to the deadly pit in which they are first
suffocated, then buried, and are, alas, no more! a few minutes close the
existence of thousands that had laboured for their ungrateful masters;
and their once happy domicil becomes a scene of murder, of plunder, and
of devastation, which is a disgrace to Bee-masters, and ought by all
means to be discountenanced and discontinued. Assuredly Bees are given
to us by the gracious Giver of all good things for a better purpose
than that of being destroyed by thousands and by millions. Are we not
instructed by the sacred writings to go to the Bee and to the ant,
and learn wisdom? We are not told, neither are we warranted, by this
language, to go and destroy them and their works,---to disobey the
commands of their, no less than of our Maker, who has given Bees to us
for our edification and comfort, and not wantonly to commit a species of
murder, in order to procure their delicious treasure. Nor is there the
slightest necessity for destroying Bees in this cruel manner, when an act
of humanity will obtain for us their purest honey, and secure to us their
lives for future and profitable labour. Surely, then, an act of humanity
to Bees cannot be displeasing to any one, especially when we are taught
by the beneficial results of our experience, that their lives _may be
preserved_, and their labours for us thereby continued.

Apiarian reader, take this subject into thy serious consideration: in
the busy hive behold the curious works of God's creatures--the Bees;
misuse riot, then, the works of his hands; but improve upon this lesson
from nature: and for a moment pause before thou lightest the deadly
match,--before thou appliest it with murderous intent to the congregated
thousands in thy hive.

    It's he who feels no rev'rence for God's sacred name,
    That lights the sulphur up to cause the dreadful flame:
    Alas! I think, viewing the monster's busy hand
    Taking the dreadful match, I see a murderer stand.

These insects' indefatigable labours alone should humanize our feelings
for them, and induce us to spare their lives, for the rich treasures
which they first collect, and then unresistingly yield up to us when
operated upon by the healthy influence of ventilation.

Why should we lay the axe to the root of the tree that produces such good
fruit? Rather let us gather from its pure branches, and let the root
live. Examine the nature and effects of my Bee-machinery, and you will
discover its utility and its value in the management of Bees. By the
proper application of that machinery you may instantaneously divide the
treasures of the Bees, even in the most vigorous part of their gathering
season, without the least danger to the operator, and frequently without
the destruction of a single Bee. Is not this, then, a rational and humane
practice? I trust it wants only to be properly understood in order to be
universally adopted.

Again: Does not she that is a kind mother know the wants and desires
of her children? Take the lovely offspring from its mother's care and
protection, and imprison it before her eyes, and will she not impatiently
cry aloud for its release and restoration to liberty? and will not the
child's screams show its affection for its fond parent? and when its
liberty is restored, does not consolation quickly follow? The lost child
being once more under its mother's care, both mother and child are happy.
Similar facts are exemplified by the mother of the hive, who loves her
multitudinous offspring, and lives in harmony and affection with them.
She evidently dislikes a separation from her subjects, who seem to be,
and doubtless are, most devotedly attached to her. And when, on taking
off a glass or a box, they are divided only for a few minutes, we witness
their sorrow, and hear their lamentations in the hive,--the Queen-mother
calling for her children, anxious on their part to be released; and
as soon as an opportunity is afforded them of effecting their escape,
they embrace it,--the moment they feel their liberty, they gladly take
advantage of it, and return to the pavilion in multitudes, so that in a
short time tranquillity is restored, and peace and happiness are again
enjoyed by the previously unhappy mother of the hive,--her subjects crowd
round her, and the place that had lately been their prison soon becomes
their palace, and a magazine for future treasure, which the humane
apiarian will again be entitled to.

Much has been said on the piling or storifying mode of managing Bees;
and I admit that there are advantages in it which we do not meet with
in the cottage-hive system. It is, notwithstanding, imperfect in the
design,--it is founded in error,--in practice it is liable to many
difficulties,--and it is particularly disadvantageous to the labours of
these valuable insects, as will be more fully shown when I come to state
my objections to it.

We have only to study the nature and habits of Bees, and to watch
particularly the desires of these indefatigable creatures. They alone
will teach us the lesson. But follow them through their movements
during a summer's day, and you will behold them, as it were, pitifully
asking for the assistance of man, according to the varying state of the



As I have been frequently asked to explain the utility of ventilation
in a hive or colony of Bees, so have I as frequently been asked,
sometimes with civility and politeness, sometimes jeeringly and in
contempt,--"What has the thermometer to do with Bees?" I answer--We
shall see presently; and I trust, see enough to convince the veriest
sceptic on the subject, that the thermometer is an instrument that is
indispensably necessary in the management of Bees according to my plan.
Such inquirers might as reasonably ask what the mainspring of a watch
has to do with the movements of that machine? Without the mainspring
the watch would not work at all; and without the thermometer we cannot
ascertain with any degree of accuracy the interior temperature of the
hive; the knowledge of which temperature is of the utmost consequence in
the humane management of Honey-Bees. The thermometer is the safest, if
not the sole guide to a scientific knowledge of their state and works. To
ventilate an apiary or colony of Bees, when their interior temperature
is under 60 degrees, would be ruinous to them,--because contrary to the
prosperous progress of their natural labours. From upwards of fifteen
hundred observations in the summer of 1825, I am fully satisfied on this
point. Their nature is to keep up at least that, and sometimes a much
higher, degree of temperature by their indefatigable labours; and as the
temperature of the hive rises, so does it invigorate and encourage an
increase of population, as well as an increase of their treasured sweets.
As the hive fills, so will the thermometer rise to 120 and even to 130
degrees, before these worthies will by over-heat be forced to leave their
wealthy home. When the thermometer is at the above height, these wealthy
colonists will have arrived at the highest state of perfection,--wealthy
indeed, every store-house being filled nearly to suffocation with their
abundant treasures, and they, as it were, petitioning the observer of
their too-limited store-house for a fresh room. Thus circumstanced then
give them a fresh room,--accommodate them with such a store-house as
either of my collateral-boxes will and is intended to afford them. _Force
them not to warm:_ an emigration from a prosperous colony of half its
population cannot fail of being very disadvantageous, both to those that
emigrate, who must necessarily be poor, and to those that remain, be they
ever so industrious, or ever so wealthy.

When you discover your thermometer rising rapidly, and, instead of
standing, as it generally does in a well-stocked colony, at about 80
degrees, rising in a few hours to 90, and perhaps to 96, or even to
100, you may conclude that ventilation is _then_ highly necessary. The
more you ventilate, when their temperature gets to this oppressive and
dangerous height, the more you benefit the Bees labouring under it; for
when they find a comfortable temperature within, they enjoy it, and will
proceed to fill every vacant comb.

Nature has provided the Queen of Bees with the power of multiplying her
species, and of providing against any casualty which in so numerous a
state may frequently happen. That all-seeing eye that neither slumbers
nor sleeps, but constantly superintends alike the affairs of insects
and of men, has, doubtless, long beheld the shameful neglect of man,
which is the main cause of the distress of the hive, and which _forces_
it to swarm. Let man, then, remedy the distress and mischief which he
occasions, by _preventing it_. It is the Queen-Bee that emigrates; were
she not to lead, none would lead; nor would any follow were another than
the Queen to lead, to seek and to settle in some place more congenial
to them than an over-heated, over-stocked, though rich hive. She well
knows she cannot live in a state subjected to a suffocating heat, amidst
an overgrown population. So she leaves the royal cradle, impregnated
with the royal larva, and withdraws from the hive, reluctantly, one may
suppose, though accompanied by thousands of her subjects. The Queen-Bee
leads the swarm to seek a place of comfort, and to establish another
home, where not one cell nor drop of honey exists.

To establish the truth of these assertions, and to prove the utility
of ventilation and of the thermometer, in regulating the degree of
ventilation in the management of Bees, I will now give my reader an
account of some interesting experiments that I made in 1826, and then
add a few extracts from my thermometrical journal of that summer; which
in fact guided me in those experiments, for without the assistance of
my thermometer I could not have made them; from which, taken together,
it will, I think, be sufficiently evident that ventilation and the
thermometer are highly necessary,--are alike important,--in short, are
_indispensable_ in the humane management of Honey-bees.

On the 26th of June 1826, I suffered a colony of Bees to swarm, in order
to prove the truth of the foregoing statements. It was a very fine
colony: the thermometer had been standing at 110 for six days previously,
in one of the collateral end-boxes; on the eighth day it rose suddenly to
120. I was then forcing my Bees to leave their home; I could have lowered
their temperature, and by so doing, I could have retained my worthies in
their native boxes: but I was then about to prove a fact of the greatest
moment to apiarians. On the ninth day, at half-past twelve o'clock,
the finest swarm I ever beheld towered above my head, and literally
darkened the atmosphere in the front of my apiary. After remaining about
five minutes in the open air, the Queen perched herself upon a tree in
my garden, where she was exposed to the rays of a scorching sun; but
her loyal subjects quickly surrounded her, and screened her from its
influence. I immediately did what I could to assist my grand prize, by
hanging a sheet before it, to ward off the intense heat of the sun. I
allowed the Bees to hang in this situation until the evening. During the
absence of the swarm from the colony, my full employment was to watch the
parent-stock, in order that I might, in the evening, return the Bees of
this beautiful swarm to their native-hive, which they had been forced to
leave. Curiosity and a desire to solve a doubtful problem, for the good
of future apiarians, led me to act as already related, at the expense
of much inconvenience to the Bees. The remaining Honey-Bees continued
labouring during the remainder of the day; and in the evening of that
same day, the thermometer was standing at 90 degrees in the old stock; so
that the absence of the swarm had lowered the temperature of the pavilion
30 degrees, and I was quite sure I could reduce it in the collateral
end-box to that of the exterior atmosphere, which, after the sun had gone
down, was only 65.

To effect this, I resolved at once to take off a fine top-glass filled
with honey. I did so: its weight was fourteen pounds. This operation
reduced the interior heat of the colony to 75. But looking at my grand
swarm, and intent as I was upon re-uniting it to the parent-stock, I
thought it impossible for the vacant space conveniently to hold all
the Bees. I had one, and only one, alternative left,--and that was to
take from my colony a collateral-box. I therefore took it; and a most
beautiful box it was: its weight was fifty pounds. I immediately placed
an empty box in the situation the full one had occupied. I then drew
from the side of the pavilion the dividing tin-slide, and the whole of
the colony was shortly at the desired temperature of 65, that being the
exterior heat of the evening. I was now fully convinced of the propriety
of returning the swarm. I commenced operations for accomplishing that
object at ten o'clock in the evening, by constructing a temporary stage
near the mouth of the parent-stock. I then procured a white sheet, and
laid it upon the table or temporary stage, and in a moment struck the
swarm from the hive into which the Bees had been taken from the bough
in the evening. My next difficulty was to imprison the sovereign of
the swarm: but with a little labour I succeeded in discovering her, and
made her my captive. No sooner was she my prisoner than the Bees seemed
to be acquainted with her absence. But so near were they placed to the
mouth of the parent-stock that they soon caught the odour of the hive,
and in the space of about fifteen minutes the whole swarm, save only her
majesty, were under the roof of their parent-home. The following morning
increased my anxiety about the welfare of my stock. Fearful lest my
carious anticipations should meet with a disappointment, at sun-rise in
the morning I released from her imprisonment the captive Queen. I placed
her on the front-board, near the entrance of her hive, to ascertain, if
possible, whether there was within the state one greater than herself.
But no visible sign of such being the case presented itself. The
influence of the cheery sun soon caused her to move her majestic body to
the entrance of her native domicil, where she was met, surrounded, and no
doubt welcomed, by thousands of her subjects, who soon conducted her into
the hive, and, it may be presumed, re-instated her on the throne, which a
few hours before she had been compelled to abdicate. The Bees afterwards
sallied forthwith extraordinary alacrity and regularity, and, beyond my
most sanguine expectations, filled a large glass with honey in the short
space of six days. That glass of honey was exhibited at the National
Repository, with a model of my apiary, and was much admired by many of
the members and visitors of that noble institution.

I have now to remark, that during the nine days after the swarm had
been returned to the parent-stock, the thermometer continued rising
until it reached the temperature of 90 within the collateral-box; and
on the tenth day, at five o'clock in the morning, I witnessed the grand
secret,--I viewed with unutterable delight the extraordinary fact I had
been endeavouring to ascertain,--viz.--_two royal nymphs laid prostrate
on the alighting-board_, near the exterior entrance of the hive. This
circumstance alone convinced me that no more swarming was necessary.
I have further to notice, that on the third day afterwards the Bees
commenced their destruction of the drones,--which was a satisfactory
proof that I had gained my point. That colony has never swarmed since
the period I thus first satisfactorily established the utility of
ventilation. And on minutely attending to the extraordinary movements
of this my favourite colony, it was not uncommon to notice the most
infant appearance of the royal brood lying upon the front-board of the
pavilion. So that I am well satisfied that the royal larva is always in
existence in the hive, independently of the reigning Queen. Let me not
be misunderstood; I do not mean by this expression to assert--that the
royal larva exists in the hive without the instrumentality or agency of
the reigning Queen;--far from it; for no common Bees can make a sovereign
Bee without the egg from the royal body: what I do mean is--that the
royal larva is always in existence in a colony of Bees, notwithstanding
the existence and presence of a reigning Queen--that the Queen is there,
and that the royal larva is there at the same time. In this the wisdom
of Providence is manifest; for Nature has _thus_ provided that the
royal cradle should contain the royal brood, that in case any accident,
misfortune, casualty, or necessity, should occasion the absence of the
reigning Queen, another may be brought forth. This larva in reserve, as
it were, is protected and reared by the inhabitants with the utmost
care, nay, in the absence of the Queen, it is almost worshipped, until
it becomes sufficiently matured to take the office and fulfil the duties
of its royal predecessor; of course it then reigns supreme,--it is
then Queen absolute. On this point I not only coincide in opinion with
Thorley, but have seen enough in the course of my experience among Bees
to confirm the truth of what I have now stated. As, however, the further
discussion of this nice point belongs to the natural history of the Bee
rather than to the explanation and inculcation of my practical mode of
Bee-management, I refrain from saying more upon it, lest by so doing
I should inadvertently excite criticism and controversy. I therefore
proceed with my proper subject.

The following thermometrical observations are from the journal before
mentioned. The first column gives the day of the month,--the second shows
the hour of the day when the thermometer was examined,--and the third is
its height at those several times in the colony of Bees upon which my
experiments were so successfully made.

  1826.              At this state of the Thermometer
  April Hour Ther.   it is highly necessary
                     to remove your Bees to their
    1     8   38     summer stand. A great decrease
   --    12   46     of wealth in the hive will appear
    2     8   38     daily under this temperature;
   --    12   43     and feeding should be resorted
    3     8   32     to until it rise to 50: and if
   --    12   37     _moderate feeding_ be continued
    4    12   37     until the interior temperature
    5         37     reach 55, it will materially
    6         37     strengthen and invigorate your
    7         37     Bees. And as the thermometer
    8     8   40     continues to rise, you will find
   --    12   45     your hive improve. It will soon
    9     8   46     be in a good state for the spring.
   10    12   58     Considerable improvements in
   11     6   46     the combs, and immense gathering
   --    10   58     of farina, appear to occupy
   12     9   52     the Bees at this time.
   --     1   64
   13    12   64     The enemies of Bees are
   14         64     numerous and active in this
   15         64     month. As much as possible
   16         64     guard against their attacks, and
   17         64     be careful to defend your Bees
   18     8   54     against them. At all times keep
   19    12   60     their floor-boards clean; and
   20         56     now withdraw the dead Bees, if
   21    12   58     there should appear to be any
   22         50     lying on the floor-boards or
   23         52     other stands. This will save
   24         60     the live Bees much labour, and
   25         65     may be done very easily.
   26         70
   27         74
   28         68
   29         74
   30         70

  May  Hour Ther.     Swarming may be expected in
    1     5   42      this month if the hives be rich
   --     9   58      and the season favourable. To
   --    12   70      prevent which enlarge your
    2     5   41      hives, by adding three or four
   --     8   48      rounds, i. e. an eke, to the
   --    12   60      bottom of each of them.
    3     5   43
   --    12   56      If you have the collateral-box
    4     7   51      hives, you need only draw up
    5     7   52      the tin-slides, or one of them,
   --     4   52      as occasion may require. By
    6     7   46      this means you enlarge the Bees'
   --     1   63      domicil, without admitting the
    7     5   42      atmospheric air. This move
    8    12   60      so pleases these indefatigable
    9     1   78      creatures, that you will behold
   10    12   58      at once the utility and humanity
   11    12   54      of this mode of management.
   12    12   62
   13    12   72
   14    12   70
   --     1   75
   15     5   43
   --    12   70
   --     2   74
   16    12   70      Should the weather be seasonable,
   17    12   68      the boxes will now be filled
   18     8   58      rapidly, and the thermometer
   19     8   50      will rise quickly. At this period
   --    12   70      ventilation will demonstrate
   20     8   58      what has hitherto been a secret
   --    12   60      of nature;--viz. many young
   21     8   54      sovereigns in various states of
   --    12   62      perfection will be seen daily cast
   --     2   58      out of the hives: and the waxen
   22     8   54      cells will be extended to the
   --    12   62      remotest corners of their domicil.
   --     2   58
   23     7   50      Riches are now rapidly accumulated:
   --    12   62      and the glasses filled
   --     2   70      with the purest sweets. Small
   24     7   50      glasses may be taken off from
   --    12   68      the inverted-hives, if the weather
   --     2   72      prove fine.
   25     5   60
   --     8   62      Mem.--A glass of honey, weighing
   --    11   64      12 lbs. and a collateral-box,
   --    12   70      weighing 42 lbs. taken.
   --     3   71
   26     7   58      After taking the above treasure
   --    10   74      from the collateral-hive,
   --     1   80      and placing an empty glass and
   --     4   73      an empty box in the places of
   27     6   61      those taken off, the interior
   --    10   74      temperature was reduced to 60
   --    12   84      degrees, while the atmosphere
   --     2   82      was 56 at twelve o'clock at
   --     4   80      night.
   --     5   70
   28     6   60
   --    12   68      The pure honey taken was
   --     2   68      about one-fourth of the weight
   --     3   70      of the hive, and it will be
   --     8   61      observed that the heat shows a
   29     5   60      decrease in the temperature of
   --    10   64      one fourth.
   --     1   76
   --     7   66
   --     9   64
   30     6   60
   --     8   64
   --     9   74
   --    12   78
   31     6   61
   --    12   74
   --     2   78
   --     4   76

  June  Hour Ther.
    1     7   62
   --    12   76
    2     6   62
   --    12   78
   --     5   76
    3     6   60      Mem.--A collateral-box of
   --    12   76      honey, weighing 56 lbs. and a
   --     5   74      glass on the 10th, weighing 14-1/2
    4     6   60      lbs. taken.
   --    12   74
   --     3   78
    5     6   54
   --    12   68
    6     6   58
   --    12   66
   --     3   62
    7     6   54
   --     2   62
   --     4   64
    8     6   52
   --    12   56
   --     4   52
    9     7   54
   --    12   74
   --     2   80
   10     6   60
   --    12   74
   --     3   72
   11     6   60
   --    12   70
   --     3   76
   --     4   78
   --     9   70
   12     6   64      Mem.--A collateral-box,
   --    12   74      weighing 60 lbs. and
   --     2   82      another, weighing 52 lbs.
   13     6   60      taken.
   --    10   82
   --    12   90
   14     6   64
   --    12   84
   --     2   88     --------------------------
   --     4   86
   15     7   66
   --    10   70
   --     3   88
   --     6   80          24    7   66
   17    12   70          --    8   82
   --     3   88          --    3   90
   --     9   68          25    6   70
   18     6   66          --   10   90
   --    12   70          --   12   94
   --     2   76          26    7   86
   19     6   60          --   11   94
   --    12   70          --    5   91
   --     5   66          --    9   86
   20     8   60          27    7   84
   --    12   70          --    9   90
   --     3   76          --    1   96
   21     7   60          28    6   88
   --    12   70          --   12   94
   --     3   72          --   11   90
   22     9   70          29    6   86
   --    12   70          --   12   94
   --     3   65          --    2   96
   23     6   70          --    7   91
   --    12   75          30    5   90
   --     3   82          --   12   96
   --     6   76          --    4   84

  July Hour Ther.
    1     6   94      If the pasturage for Bees begin
   --    12   96      to fail in your neighbourhood
   --     4   94      at this time, it is advisable, if
   --     7   94      it be practicable, to remove your
    2     6   94      colonies to a better and a more
   --    12   96      profitable situation. You will be
   --     6   94      richly rewarded for this attention
   --    10   94      to the prosperity of your apiary.
    3     6   94
   --    12   96
   --     6   94
   --    10   90     --------------------------------
    4     6   92
   --    12   94        July Hour Ther.
   --     6   90         14    6   76
    5     6   90         --   12   78
   --    12   92         --    6   76
   --     6   90         15    6   74
    7     6   90         --   12   76
   --    12   92         --    6   78
   --     6   92         16    6   78
   --    10   92         --   12   86
    8     7   92         --    6   86
   --    12   92         --   10   80
   --     6   90         17    6   78
   --    11   90         --   10   78
    9     6   88         --   12   80
   --    12   92         18    6   76
   --     3   82         --   12   80
   --    10   80         --    6   78
   10     6   78         --   10   76
   --    12   80         19    6   76
   --     6   82         --   12   80
   11     6   80         --    6   74
   --    12   84         --   10   74
   --     6   86         20    6   68
   --    10   90         --   12   70
   12     6   86         --    6   70
   --    12   80         --   10   70
   --     6   76         21    6   66
   --    10   74         --   12   68
   13     6   74         --    4   64
   --    12   76
   --     6   76

Summary of memorandums of the several deprivations or takings of honey
from one set of boxes this season:

  May  27. Glass and box   54    lbs.
  June  9. Box             56     ..
  ---- 10. Glass           14-1/2 ..
  ---- 12. Box             60     ..
  ---- 13. Ditto           52     ..
  Collateral-box           60     ..
                          296-1/2 lbs.

Did I deem it necessary, I could, from the letters of a variety of
highly respectable correspondents, show that the mode of managing Bees
in the way, and upon the principles, now explained, has been adopted,
and _has succeeded_ even beyond the most sanguine expectations of many
of my worthy friends and patrons; but I will content myself at present
with giving the two following letters, which I have just received from
a gentleman in this neighbourhood, whose very name, to all who have any
knowledge of or acquaintance with him, will be a sufficient guarantee
that his statements are facts. Besides, his letters are a condensed, and
I must say--clever epitome of my practical directions for the management
of Bees in my boxes, and may be useful on that account; and moreover, I
have, as will be seen presently, his unsolicited authority to make them
public, and therefore run no risk of being called to order for so doing.

                  "Gedney-Hill, 13th July, 1832.
    "Dear Sir,

"You will, I am persuaded, excuse me for troubling you with the
information that I yesterday took off a fine glass of honey from one of
my Bee-colonies. I went to work secundum artem, that is, in one word,
_scientifically_, or in four words, _according to your directions_; and
I have the satisfaction, nay more,--I have the pleasure to add that
I succeeded--I had almost said _completely_, but I must qualify that
expression by saying, that _I succeeded all but completely_; for one
luckless Bee had the misfortune to be caught between the edges of the
dividing-tin and the glass, and to be crushed to death in consequence.
Excepting that accident, I believe that not one Bee was injured, nor
lost. They left the glass, as soon as I gave them the opportunity of
leaving it, in the most peaceable manner; in a subdued and plaintive
tone they hummed round me,--settled upon me,--crept over me in all
directions,--but not one of them stung me; in short, they returned to
their home without manifesting the slightest symptoms of resentment, and
in less than half an hour from the commencement of the operation, _there
was not a single Bee left in the glass_. In my eye it is a very handsome
glass of honey; it weighs exactly 13 lbs, and it has not one brood-cell
in it. I intend to close it up,--to label it,--and to keep it, at least
until I get another as handsome. It is a _rich_ curiosity to exhibit to
one's friends, especially to those who have never seen such a thing.

"On the other side, I send you a fortnight's register of the heights and
variations of a thermometer, placed in the colony from which I have taken
the glass, and also, of one placed in the shade, and apart from all Bees;
from which register you will know, in a moment, whether I have managed my
Bees properly. I am willing to flatter myself that I have, and that you
will say I have been very attentive indeed.

                   Ther.    Ther.                       Ther.    Ther.
  1832.           in the   in the      1832.           in the   in the
  July    Hour    Colony    Shade      July    Hour    Colony    Shade
  --------------------------------     -------------------------------
     1     11       86        66           5      9       88        64
    ..      6       88        66           6      8       88        64
     2      6       90        65          ..      2       88        65
    ..      1       92        66          ..      9       88        64
    ..      1       92        66           7      8       89        64
    ..      9       86        65          ..      9       88        64
     3      8       88        65           8      9       86        64
    ..      1       87        65          ..      9       86        64
    ..      3       89        65           9      7       90        64
    ..      5       87        64          ..      2       89        65
    ..      9       88        64          ..      8       88        66
     4      4       88        64          10      8       88        66
    ..     10       83        64          ..      2       89        66
    ..     12       86        65          11      9       88        66
    ..      5       90        65          ..      2       89        66
    ..      9       86        64          12      9       90        65
     5      7       89        64          ..      1       94        66
    ..     10       88        64          ..      9       89        68
    ..      1       90        65          13      8       89        66
    ..      5       89        65          ..      5       90        66

"In addition to this I could, time and space permitting, tell you from
what point the wind blew on each of these days, when it came full in
front of my boxes, and when it came upon them in any other direction,
when it was high, and when it was otherwise, on what days the Bees were
able to get abroad, and also when they were kept at home by rain, or by
any other cause. From these observations of the wind and weather, and
particularly from the manner in which the wind is directed towards, or
into the ventilators in the boxes, in conjunction with the movements
of the Bees, I think I can account pretty satisfactorily for what may
appear, at first sight, to be a little contradictory, viz. for the rising
of the thermometer in the boxes sometimes when it was falling in the
shade; and vice versa, for its sometimes rising in the shade when it was
falling in the boxes. But instead of writing you a dissertation on these
subjects, or on any of them, I choose rather to put you into possession
of the whole of my Bee-practice, by submitting to your notice a copy,
or as nearly as I can make it a copy, of a letter I took the liberty of
addressing to the Editor of 'The Voice of Humanity,' in October last,
after the appearance in No. V. of that publication, of a representation
and _imperfect_ explanation of your boxes. I was encouraged to write
that letter by the following announcement in an article in that No.--'A
due regard of rational humanity towards the Bee, though but an insect,
we shall feel a pleasure in promoting in the future as well as the
present pages of our publication. This subject has, moreover, a very
strong claim, inasmuch as it also exemplifies the grand principle upon
which The Voice of Humanity is founded--the true _prevention of cruelty_
to animals, by substituting a practical, an _improved system_, in the
place of one which is defective; this, in reference to the present
subject, &c, _is true prevention of cruelty_, not only to units, but to
thousands and tens of thousands of animals.' Notwithstanding this very
_rational_ announcement, and the prompt acknowledgment of the receipt of
my letter, it did not appear in either of the next two numbers, nor am
I aware that it is in the last, but I have not yet seen the last No. of
that publication, therefore must not be positive. But this is not all:
in No. 6, the conductors of that work express i sincere pleasure' in
inserting an article which, they say, c forms an admirable addition to
that on Mr. Nutt's Bee-hive;' and that 'the plan which it developes, in
addition to its humanity, has the recommendation of being more simple
and practicable than even the excellent improvements of Mr. Nutt.' Now
what do you suppose this _admirable_ addition to your Bee-hive,---this
plan recommended on account of its _humanity_, as well as on other
accounts--is? It is no other than that most cruel and destructive one
of depriving Bees of their honey _and of every thing else_, by 'driving
them out of a full hive into an empty one, so early in the season as to
afford the Bees sufficient time to provide themselves with another stock
of winter food before the bad weather begins.' Very considerate this,
certainly! but who can tell how soon the bad weather may begin? Of all
the methods ever resorted to of getting their honey from Bees, this,
in my humble opinion, is the most cruel and _inhuman_: suffocating the
Bees and destroying them at once is far preferable to this (I had hoped)
exploded mode of robbing them. If practised, it will, however, soon cure
itself: but is it not a strange practice for 'The Voice of Humanity' to
revive? Either the utterers of that sweet Voice are unacquainted with
the humane management of Bees upon your plan, or they are unaware of the
mischievous and destructive consequences attendant on the driving mode
of deprivation, or they have little claim to the title they bear on the
score of their humanity to Bees. I believe the former to be the case
with them: and therefore, in addition to the reason already given for
troubling you herewith, and in order to set them right on this _vital_
subject, I give you full power to do what you please with these letters.
If they will be of any use to you in your projected publication, give
them a place in it, and welcome: only do not garble them, _give them
entire, if you give them at all_. I am decidedly opposed to the driving
scheme; and I as decidedly approve of yours, which is, if properly
attended to, at once simple, practicable, profitable, admirable, and
truly humane.

             Accept me, Dear Sir,
                    Yours very truly,
                         Thomas Clark."

"Mr. Editor,

"Since the publication of the last No. of 'The Voice of Humanity,'
in which you treated your readers with some interesting particulars
explanatory of the construction and different parts of Mr. Nutt's
Bee-boxes, and also of the mode of managing the Bees in them, so
far at least as regards the taking away a box when stored with the
delicious sweet (i. e. with honey), it has been suggested to me, that
a plain, simple history of a colony of Bees in my possession, and
managed according to Mr. Nutt's excellent plan, may not be altogether
unacceptable to the general readers and friends of 'The Voice of
Humanity' and may be even _a treat_ to amateur apiarians, who may be
unacquainted with the merits of Mr. Nutt's plan; or who, if partially
acquainted therewith, may have their doubts as to its practicability, or,
at least, as to its advantages, i. e. superiority over other plans. As
far, then, as 6 The Voice of Humanity' can make them (the merits of Mr.
Nutt's plan) known, I trust it will be as music to that Voice to publish
the following facts.

"Having had a complete set of Mr. Nutt's boxes presented to me, I,
though comparatively a novice in apiarian science, and not at that time
particularly attached to it, could not, in compliment to the donor,
do less than endeavour to work them, that was--get them stocked. That
was done with a swarm on the 18th of May 1830; and the middle-box, or
pavilion of nature, as Mr. Nutt calls it, into which the said swarm was
taken just in the same way it would have been if put into a common
straw-hive, was conveyed a distance of nearly four miles and placed
in my garden in the evening of the same day. The next day being fine,
I observed that the Bees were very busy constructing comb, and had,
within twenty-four hours of their being domiciled in their new abode,
actually made a progress in that most curious work that astonished me:
they were passing and re-passing, and literally all alive; many were
visibly loaded with materials for their ingenious work. My curiosity
was excited, and so much was I pleased with my multitudinous labourers
that I visited them daily, and many times in the course of each day,
when the weather was favourable for their getting abroad. Their combs
were rapidly advanced; but to my great mortification they very soon
obstructed my view of their interior works, by bringing a fine comb quite
over the only little window at the back of the pavilion, at the distance
of about half an inch from the glass. I was not, however, without the
means of ascertaining that they were filling the pavilion with their
treasures, and consequently that they would soon be in want of more
room. I, therefore, at the end of a fortnight admitted them into the
large bell-glass by withdrawing the slide, which, when closed, cuts
oft' the communication between the pavilion and the said glass. They
(the Bees) immediately reconnoitred it, as it were, and examined it
round and round, and presently took possession of it in great numbers;
and in the course of the second day afterwards I could perceive that
they began to continue their work upwards from and upon the combs in
the box. Here I was again inexpressibly gratified by daily observing
the progress of their beautiful work, and by the busy thousands in
perpetual motion. When they had about half-filled the glass, and before
I was aware that there was any occasion for their admission into either
of the collateral-boxes, they suddenly threw off a swarm. That event
I attribute partly to my own inexperience in apiarian matters, and
partly--principally to the want of a thermometer by which to ascertain
and regulate the temperature of the crowded pavilion, so as to keep
the Bees _at the working, and below the swarming point of heat_. Mr.
Nutt assures me that a barn would not contain a colony of Bees if its
temperature were raised above a certain degree. What that precise degree
of heat is I leave to Mr. Nutt to determine and explain: at present
it is enough to state that I am convinced it is possible, nay, quite
easy, to keep Bees at work, and to prevent their swarming, by giving
them plenty of room, and by proper ventilation. After my Bees had thrown
off the swarm, as above mentioned, the work in the glass progressed but
slowly, indeed it was for some time almost deserted, owing, I presume, to
the room made in the pavilion by the absence of the thousands that had
left it: for, whenever the weather was such that they could get abroad,
they were always busy. The season, however, it is well-known, was so wet
as to be very unfavourable for Bees:--the summer of 1830 was not by any
means what is called a Bee-year; and early in the autumn I could see
that, instead of adding to their store, they were under the necessity of
living upon it. They were, however, abundantly provided for the winter,
and lived through it almost to a Bee. In the spring of this year (1831)
they appeared to be strong and in excellent condition. As early as the
middle of May they had replenished the emptied combs in the glass, and,
it may be presumed, in the pavilion too. In the first week of June, the
glass was completely filled in the most beautiful manner. I therefore
opened the communication to one of the end or collateral-boxes, and two
or three days afterwards, viz. on the 10th of June, I took off the glass
and replaced it with another. So rapidly did those industrious little
insects proceed with their work, that in about six weeks they completely
filled the end-box. I then opened the way to the empty box at the other
end of the pavilion: and a few days afterwards had the full box taken off
by Mr. Nutt himself (who happened to call upon me, and who handsomely
volunteered his services on the occasion), without any stifling of any
sort--without the destruction, or the loss, of--scarcely a Bee,--as
nearly in the manner described in your last No. as circumstances would
permit; for the Queen-Bee being in the box taken off made it necessary
for Mr. Nutt to vary the operation a little;--not a person was stung,
though ladies, very timid ladies, and children too, were among the
admiring lookers on; only, in returning the Queen-Bee, found in the box,
to the pavilion, I myself was stung, owing to my over-anxiety to see
how she would be received by the Bees in the pavilion. Her majesty's
presence in that box (the box taken off) at that time might probably
have puzzled me; but to Mr. Nutt it presented no difficulty; and to
witness his operation was to me a most instructive lesson, and would have
delighted any friend of humanity. It was performed in the middle of a
fine day. That box contained, as nearly as we could estimate, about 35
lbs. of honey, incomparably purer and finer than any I ever saw, except
from Mr. Nutt's boxes. The glass beforementioned contained 12 lbs.--so
that I have this year taken _forty-seven pounds_ of the very finest
honey from one stock of Bees;--I have all my Bees alive--and they are
at this time abundantly provided for the ensuing winter; nay, without
impoverishing them, I believe, I might take 6 or 8 lbs. more; but I have
already had enough; and, if my Bees have more than enough for their
winter's consumption, they will not waste it;--it will be found next year.

"The preservation of the Bees unhurt, uninjured, very many of them
undisturbed at all,--the quantity of honey that may be had,--and the very
superior quality of that honey, are advantages of Mr. Nutt's mode of
Bee-management, over the barbarous, stifling system, that cannot fail to
recommend it to the adoption of every friend of humanity,--to every lover
of the delicious sweet,--and to every apiarian who has nothing beyond
self-interest in view.

"One word more, and I have done. There are, I observe with pleasure,
persons of considerable influence among your subscribers, and probably
there may be persons of still greater influence among your readers. To
such I would most respectfully suggest the propriety of doing something
to reward Mr. Nutt for the services he has already rendered the Honey-Bee
and the cause of humanity. I--an obscure, country clergyman, know not how
to set about procuring it; but a _premium was never more richly deserved_.

"Though longer than I intended, when I sat down to write, I hope you will
find no difficulty in giving the foregoing communication a place in your
pages; and, in this hope, I beg to subscribe myself,

           Your humble servant,
                       Thomas Clark.

"Gedney-Hill, near Wisbech,
    October 20th, 1831."



As my reverend correspondent has introduced the subject of _driving_
Bees from their full hive into an empty one, in order that they may be
deprived of their honey and wax, and has animadverted upon that practice
with some severity, I will take the opportunity of here stating my
objections to it.

Mr. Huish, in his treatise on Bees, has twice described the manner in
which "_driving a hive_" may be performed; but nowhere, that I can
find, has he once recommended it. In a note (in page 24) he says---that
"by _driving a hive_ may be understood the act of obliging the Bees to
leave their own domicil, and take refuge in another. This is performed
by placing the full hive under an empty one, (or he might have said, by
placing an empty hive upon the full one inverted) and by gently tapping
the lower hive the Bees will ascend into the upper, and the lower one
then remains vacant for experiments, or the purpose of deprivation." He
afterwards (in page 252) gives a more detailed account of the manner of
performing this operation; and having done so, he presently observes that
"by the driving of the Bees a number is unavoidably killed." I do not
find that Mr. Huish himself practises it further than for the purpose of
making experiments; and that, having made those experiments, he returns
the driven Bees to their hives and to their treasures in them. In short,
he describes it to his readers because they may wish to be acquainted
with it, and not because he approves of it. I mention this because I
consider Mr. Huish to be respectable authority on such a subject.

Now, were there nothing in a hive but Bees and honey, driving them into
an empty hive (were it as easy in practice as it seems to be upon paper,
though I presume it is not) in order to rob them of their all, would be
a most arbitrary and unjust method of treating them: but, besides Bees
and honey, there are other substances in a prosperous hive which ought
not to be disturbed. There are the future inhabitants of the colony in
every stage of existence, from the egg to the perfect Bee, and these in
a driven hive are all totally destroyed--eggs, larvæ, nymphs, in one
word, _the brood_, in whatever state, is all destroyed, when the Bees are
driven from it and not suffered to return. And is it not an unnatural
operation that thus destroys many thousands of lives in embryo, over and
above the "_number unavoidably killed_" thereby? as painful must it be
for the Queen--the mother of the colony, and to all the other Bees, to
be _forcibly expelled_ from a hive and home of plenty and prosperity,
as it is for an industrious man and his thriving family to be rudely
ejected from a comfortable house and home, without the least notice
of, or preparation for, so calamitous an event, and forced by lawless
marauders to take shelter in an empty house, and left there destitute,
to subsist as best they can, or to starve, as probably they may, their
spirits being cast down by the violent deprivations and desperate robbery
they have experienced, and it may be, the winds, and the weather, and the
elements of heaven, are warring, as it were, against them at the same
time. And, comparatively speaking, is it not so with _driven_ Bees? They
are turned topsy-turvy, and in that strange, unnatural position their
fears are operated upon, or excited, by unusual, and to them, no doubt,
terrible sounds made by even "gently tapping" their inverted-hive--their
house turned upside down. Though no advocate for suffocating Bees,
but the contrary--a decided opponent to it, I agree in opinion with
my correspondent that suffocation at once is preferable to the very
reprehensible practice of "driving a hive," inasmuch as an instantaneous
death is preferable to a lingering and unnatural one by starvation,
which, whatever may befal the driven Bees, is the hard, untimely fate
of the brood and young larvæ of a hive when the Queen and commoners are
driven from them into a new and empty domicil. They leave, because they
are forced to leave behind them, and to perish, thousands of the young
brood in a state of helplessness. Their mother and their nurses are
driven into banishment and pauperism, while her offspring are doomed to
perish for the want of their aid and support. If driving be practised
early in the season, that is in June or July, all the brood then in
the driven hive must inevitably perish; if later, it is hardly to be
expected that the surviving Bees will or can prosper. Can the Bee-master
for a moment think that when Bees are so driven from their old hive, they
will work in their new one, as if they had swarmed voluntarily and then
been put into it: it is some considerable time before Bees thus treated
will work vigorously; and during that time of lingering and irresolution
the honey-season fast declines,--the Bees' difficulties multiply,--and
they become paupers at a time they should be rich. Nine times out of ten
the hive so treated perishes by famine, and like the young brood, dies
the worst of deaths,--the whole hive becomes a melancholy wreck, and is
absolutely sacrificed to the mistaken notions of the speculating, or
experiment-making proprietor. It is a practice of which _I disapprove
altogether_: and I am surprised that any one could so far misunderstand
the principles and nature of my practice as to recommend the driving
of Bees out of a full hive into an empty one as an admirable addition
to my Bee-hive--that is--to my Bee-boxes. I have the satisfaction,
however, to state that in the management of Bees in my boxes _no driving
is necessary, nor even possible_: by them _driving_ and _suffocation_
are both superseded, and rendered as useless to operators as they have
long been destructive to Bees,--and, I cannot but say--disgraceful to
apiarians. What I have already said (in page 48) I will here repeat with
as much emphasis as I am able, because that passage comprehends the
very essence of my directions relative to the management of Bees in the
middle-box,--and because those directions are utterly incompatible with

"This humane practice partakes not of the _driving_, nor of the
_fumigating_, nor of the _robbing_ system. It is a _liberal principle_
of Bee-cultivation, founded on _humanity_. And it is by such practice
that we must succeed, if we hope to be benefited in the culture of



Many useful discoveries have been made by accident;--and to some
of the greatest and grandest of those discoveries even philosophers and
men of science have been led by accidents apparently the most trifling
and insignificant.

To the playful tricks of some little children that astonishing and most
scientific instrument--the telescope, it is said, owes its origin; and it
is said also that that great and good man--Sir Isaac Newton was led to
investigate the laws of gravitation by accidentally observing an apple
topple to the ground from the twig that had borne it. One of the sweetest
of our poets, however, informs us--that

    All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee,
    All Chance, Direction, which thou canst not see.

If, therefore, a beautifully delicate honey-comb suspended from the
stool of a hive first led me to discover the utility of ventilation in a
colony of Bees, though there may be nothing very surprising, there is, I
trust,--nay, I am convinced, and therefore I assert--there is something
very useful in it: and if an accident of another description induced me
to endeavour to turn it to advantage, there is nothing to be greatly
wondered at. So, however, it happened; and here follows the account of it.

On rising early one morning in July 1827, and walking into my apiary, as
my custom then was, and still is, I discovered that some malicious wretch
had been there before me, and had overturned a fine colony of Bees. The
reader may judge how much my indignation was aroused by that dastardly
act of outrage against my unoffending Bees. My feelings of vexation soon,
however, subsided into those of pity for my poor Bees; and fortunately
for them, no less than for me, their overturned domicil, which consisted
of a hive eked or enlarged by a square box upon which I had placed it
some weeks previously, was so shaded from or towards the east by a thick
fence, that the rays of the sun had not reached it;--this compound-hive,
and the countless thousands that were clustering around it, were
prostrate in the shade. I viewed my distressed Bees for a considerable
time, and studied and planned what I might best do to relieve them, and,
if possibly I could, rescue them from the deplorable situation into which
they had been thrown. At length I determined to reverse the whole, which
I effected by first carefully drawing the box as closely as I was able to
the edge of the hive, and then placing the hive upon its crown, so that,
in fact, the whole domicil was inverted. I shaded, protected, shored-up,
and supported the Bees, their exposed works, and their hive, in the best
way I could, and afterwards reluctantly left them for the day, being
under the necessity of going from home a distance of almost twenty miles,
viz. to Wisbech. On my return in the evening I could discern evident
proofs of the willingness of the Bees to repair the sore injury they
had sustained; and on the third day afterwards I was highly pleased
to witness the progress their united efforts had made to rescue their
dilapidated habitation from the ruin that had threatened it and them too,
and which, I confess, I had anticipated. I was particularly attentive to
their movements. I assisted them by every means I could devise. They
gradually surmounted all the difficulties to which they had been exposed.
In short, they prospered; and from that malicious trick of some miscreant
or other I first caught the idea of an _inverted-hive_, which I have
since studied and greatly improved.

Every Bee-master will have had opportunities of observing--that this
curious, I may say--intelligent, little insect--the Bee, is ever alive to
the most ready methods of extricating itself from difficulties, and of
bettering the condition of the state, whenever accident or misfortune has
placed it in jeopardy: and, I will add--that the timely assistance of the
Bee-master will frequently save a stock from that ruin, or at least from
that trouble and inconvenience, which apparently trivial circumstances,
such for instance as uncleanliness, excessive heat in summer, intense
severity of winter, too contracted an entrance at one season, a too
extended and open one at another, or wet lodged on and retained by the
floor-board, may, and very often do occasion.

The subjoined cut is a representation of an INVERTED-HIVE fixed in its
frame, trellised, roofed, completely fitted up, and just as it appears
when placed in an apiary and stocked with Bees.



A. is a stout octagon-box, in which is to be placed an _inverted
cottage-hive_ containing the Bees. Its diameter within the wood, I mean
its _clear diameter_, is seventeen inches, and its depth, or rather
its height, is fifteen or sixteen inches, or just sufficient to reach
to, and be level with, the edge of the inverted cottage-hive, when
placed within it: in fact, the octagon-box (A.) is a strong case or
cover for the inverted-hive; and, if made an inch or two deeper than
the hive to be placed in it, it is an easy matter to pack the bottom,
so that the edge of the hive and the top-edge of the octagon-box (A.)
may be exactly on a level. Fitted and fastened to this is a top or
floor, made of three-fourths-inch deal, which top should sit closely
upon the edge of the hive all round. The centre of this top is cut out
circularly to within an inch and a half of the inner circumference or
edge of the hive upon and over which it is placed. Upon this floor is
a box, made of inch or inch-and-quarter deal, seventeen inches square
within, and four inches deep. This I call the ventilation-box, because
through two of its opposite sides are introduced horizontally two
cylinder ventilating-tubes, made of tin, thickly perforated, and in all
respects similar to those described in page 20. The top of this box is
the floor upon which nine glasses are placed for the reception of honey,
namely--a large bell-glass in the centre, and eight smaller ones around
it. By a _large_ bell-glass I mean--one capable of containing twelve
or fourteen pounds of honey, and by _smaller_ ones--such as will hold
about four pounds. The Bees of an inverted-hive in a good situation
will work well in glasses of these sizes, and soon fill some or all of
them: but, if in an unfavourable situation, lesser glasses, down to
one-half the abovementioned sizes, will be more suitable. Situation,
season, and strength of the stock,--strength, I mean, as respects the
number of Bees, must, after all, guide the apiarian in this matter.
The floor abovementioned should be made of three-fourths-inch deal. Of
course proper apertures must be cut through this floor under each of
the glasses to admit the Bees into them from the box beneath. Around
and over the glasses is placed another neat box or case, made like the
ventilation-box, upon which it rests or stands. The lid of this box is
made to open and shut. It is represented in the foregoing cut as opened
at B. an inch or two, and may be so retained at pleasure by a proper
weight attached to a cord passed over a pulley fixed in the inside of the
roof (C.) and fastened to the edge of the lid above B. The depth of the
box or cover for the glasses must of course be regulated according to
their different sizes. The alighting-board is on the front-side, directly
opposite to the latticed doors, and on a level with the upper-side of the
first floor; so that the entrance for the Bees must be cut through the
lower edge of the ventilation-box; and is made there most conveniently
for them to pass either into the inverted pavilion below, or into the
glasses above such entrance, as their inclinations may direct.

The octagon-cover placed upon the pavilion-hive, as represented in the
view of the closed boxes (in page 29) if _inverted_, would be a tolerably
good model of part A. of the inverted-hive.

I advise that every part be well-made--the floors and the boxes
particularly so; and that the whole exterior be well painted too,
previously to being exposed to the sun and to the weather. This advice
has reference to all my boxes and hives, collateral as well as inverted.

The stocking of this hive may be effected in the following manner.
Having made choice of a good, healthy, well-stocked, cottage-hive,
you may, at any time between the beginning of March and the end of
October, _carefully invert and place it in the octagon below the
ventilation-box_, that is, in the apartment (A.) then fasten the floor
with four short screws to the top of the octagon, taking especial care
that this floor sits upon the edge of the inverted-hive all round. It
will be necessary to keep the Bees from annoying you whilst adjusting
this floor and the other parts of the hive, by putting a sheet of tin
over the open circular space in the floor; by which tin every Bee may be
kept in the hive below. When the boxes, ventilators, glasses, and all
things, are duly adjusted, the dividing-tin may be withdrawn; and the
operation of stocking will be then completed.

Another method of accomplishing the same object, i. e. of stocking an
inverted-hive, is this:

Take the floor that is to rest upon, and be fastened to, the top of the
octagon A. and that is to rest also upon the hive when inverted, and
with a sheet of tin cover and securely close the circular space made by
cutting out its centre: then invert it, that is--let the tinned side
be undermost, and place upon this floor, thus prepared, the hive you
intend to be inverted. Return it to, and suffer it to occupy, its usual
place in your apiary; and _there_ for two or three weeks let it work in
which time the Bees will have fastened the hive to their new board with
propolis. Then, early in the morning, or late in the evening, when all
the Bees are in the hive, make up the entrance, and, having two doors
made in opposite panels or sides of the octagon (A.) ten inches by six,
or sufficiently commodious for the admission of your hands, _steadily
invert_ your hive and prepared board upon which it has been standing,
and, without sundering from the hive the board that will now be at its
top, _carefully_ place them in the octagon; which, with the help of an
assistant, and by the facility afforded by the two little doors in the
panels of the octagon for staying and properly supporting and adjusting
the hive and its attached floor, may be performed without the escape of a
single Bee. As soon as this, which is properly the inversion of the hive,
is completed, proceed with the ventilation-box, glasses, &c. as before
directed; and, lastly, be careful to liberate the Bees by withdrawing
the tin that has kept them prisoners since the entrance was closed. In
inverting a hive by this method an expert apiarian need not confine the
Bees five minutes.

The Bees will commence their labour by filling the square box between the
pavilion and the glasses; they will then extend their beautiful combs
into the glasses above. The appearance of their most curious works in
this stage of their labour is highly interesting--nay, gratifying, to
the apiarian observer; and, moreover, proves the extraordinary influence
and utility of ventilation in the domicil, or, rather let me say, in
the store-house apartment of Bees; for in the pavilion, or breeding and
nursing apartment, it is seldom wanted.

The method of taking off the glasses, whether large ones or small ones,
when stored with honey, is in every respect the same as that of which a
particular account has been already given, (in pages 37 and 38): to that
account, therefore, I beg to refer the reader, instead of here repeating



Having now given such a description and explanation of my
_collateral box-hives_, and of my _inverted-hive_, as will, by referring
to the plates or cuts that accompany them, make both of those hives,
and every thing pertaining to them, to be clearly understood; I proceed
to explain, in the next place, my OBSERVATORY-HIVE. With the help of
the subjoined representative figures or cuts, I hope to succeed in my
endeavour to make the reader thoroughly acquainted with every part
of it, novel, though it be, and, as far as I know, unlike any hive
hitherto invented. At first sight it may probably appear to be a piece
of complicate machinery, but upon examination it will be found to be
otherwise--I may say--simple and easy. A little curiosity and a little
patient attention are all the requisites that I entreat my apiarian
friends to bring with them to the studying of this _grand hive_. I
call it _grand_, not because it is my own invention, but because it
is admirably adapted for advancing, and perhaps for perfecting, our
knowledge of the habits and economy of Honey-Bees.

With the variation of one short word, the following passage from Evans'
delightful poem on Bees is so applicable to my observatory-hive that I am
tempted to adopt it as a motto.

    By this bless'd hive our ravish'd eyes behold
    The singing masons build their roofs of gold;
    And mingling multitudes perplex the view,
    Yet all in order apt their tasks pursue;
    Still happier they, whose favour'd ken hath seen
    Pace slow and silent round, the state's fair Queen.


The observatory-hive, as here exhibited in Fig. 1, consists of two
apartments--an upper one and a lower one. The upper one, (marked a.
b. c. d. e. e.) is properly the observatory-hive, and may be called
the summer-pavilion; the lower one, (marked g.) may be termed the
winter-pavilion. Of this winter-pavilion but little need be said, except
that it is an octagonal box, in size, in substance, and in every respect,
similar to the octagon-part of the _inverted-hive_ described in the
last chapter; save only that its top must not be cut away, as is there
directed to be done. At present let us suppose this top to be a perfect
plane--an entire surface, without any aperture of any sort to form a
passage for the Bees from and through it down into the pavilion below;
farther let us suppose an alighting-board of the usual size to be fixed
in front, and on a level with this floor or top; then the quære will
be--how, from the same front-entrance, the Bees are to have a passage
both into the observatory-hive above, and into the winter-pavilion below?
The difficulty is--to get a convenient passage into the summer-pavilion,
because the whole of that pavilion is made to turn round on the shoulder
of an upright shaft, through which shaft the passage for the Bees must
of necessity be made, and which does not admit of a bore of above an
inch in diameter. As, however, this narrow, perpendicular passage is of
no great length, (it need not be more than three inches) many thousands
of Bees will, in the course of a few minutes, if necessary, make their
egress and regress through it without incommoding one another. That this
rather intricate part--the construction of this passage-work--may be
fully comprehended, I will endeavour to illustrate it by references to a
well-known article, now standing on the table, on which I am writing. It
is a telescopic candlestick, the pedestal of which covers a square space
upon my table, each side of which superficial square is three inches.
Now suppose this candlestick was screwed or glued to the centre of the
plain, tabular top of the octagon (g.) having one of its sides parallel
to that side of the floor to which the alighting-board is attached. Next,
suppose _that_ side of the candlestick to be cut away so as to form an
entrance into the interior of the pedestal, two inches in front and half
an inch in height; and let there be a covered-way of this height, from
the opened side of the pedestal to the front-entrance of the hive: then,
if the front-entrance be six inches wide, the Bees on coming in will
enter this covered-way, which from six inches narrows to three at the
part where they enter the pedestal, and begin to ascend the perpendicular
passage which leads through it and through the upright shaft of the
candlestick into the--at present--_supposed_ apartment above. The
top-part of a telescopic candlestick may be turned round at pleasure;
consequently, if the pedestal be fixed and made immoveable, the top, and
whatever may be upon that top and fastened to it, may be moved round
notwithstanding: this is what we particularly want in the construction
of an observatory-hive, and must, therefore, be particularly attended
to. A piece of clean, close-grained wood--beech, elder, mahogany, or any
other firm wood--made much in the shape of our telescopic candlestick,
but of not more than two inches and a half in height, with a bore through
it of an inch in diameter, and turned, that is, wrought in a lathe, so
that an inch of the top-part may enter into, and neatly fit, the cap
fixed round the inch bore at the centre of the bottom-frame of the upper
pavilion (Fig 2), and which cap is represented by the moveable top of the
candlestick, is, as well as I can describe it, the pedestal to support
the observatory-hive,--is, with the cap just mentioned, the compound,
or double-hinge upon which that hive is turned round,--and is also the
Bee-way into that hive.

The way into the winter-pavilion, or octagon (g.) is made by cutting
a circular hole through the very centre of the plane top, an inch in
diameter, directly under the upward passage; so that the Bees, whether
their way be into the summer-pavilion above, or into the winter-pavilion
below, lies through the pedestal, and the only difference is, that one
passage leads upwards and the other downwards. The covered-way which
has been so often mentioned, may easily be made by taking out of the
under-side of the bottom-board of the paneled and roofed box, made to
secure the observatory-hive, and which is placed upon the top of the
winter-pavilion, just as much as will allow a sufficient space for that

Having completed the passages, my next business is--to describe the novel
apartment into which the passage through the pedestal leads--that is, the
real observatory-hive.

Figure 2 shows the upper glass-frame of this hive with two small circular
openings through the top of each arm, over which openings are placed
small glasses, (at e. e.) in both Figures, for receptacles for honey, and
are intended to answer the same purpose as those do which are placed upon
the inverted-hive. A line drawn from one extremity of any one of these
arms or wings, to the extremity of the arm or wing directly opposite to
it, is twenty-three inches; and the distance between the dotted lines,
which are intended to mark the glass-way, or, in joiners' phrase, the
_rebate_ to receive the edges of the glass, is exactly one inch and
three-fourths. The lower glass-frame, which (in Fig. 1) is placed upon f.
the shaft of the pedestal already described, is the exact counterpart of
the upper frame, with the exception of its not having any perforations
for honey-glasses: the only perforation in this frame is that at its
centre; which must be made to correspond with that of the shaft, and be
a continuation of the Bee-passage into the hive. These two frames are
connected and made one by four upright pieces, or ends, (marked a. b. c.
d. in Fig. 1,) these upright, end-pieces must be rebated, or channeled,
to receive the ends of the glass-plates. Eight squares of glass, each
ten inches and a half by ten inches, fastened with putty into this
frame-work,--that is, two squares into each wing, will complete the
glass-hive; which, when placed upon the top of the pedestal, and made
steady by an axis fixed at the central point of the upper frame, and
turning in a socket under the ball, constitutes _an observatory-hive_.
Confined as is the space between the glass-plates in each wing, they
being but an inch and three-fourths apart, there is, nevertheless, room
enough for the construction of one comb; and space for more than one comb
would spoil it as an observatory-hive: and, though each wing may appear
to be but small, there are upwards of 760 cubic inches of clear space
in the hive. It is so constructed that plenty of light and the utmost
transparency are afforded for observing and minutely examining the Bees
and the works of the Bees in all their stages. Indeed the grand object
of this contrivance is--to expose to view the labours of the Bees in the
inside of their hive; and as the machine may be moved round at pleasure,
not a Bee can enter it, without being observed, nor can a single cell be
constructed in secret. I will only add--that the appearance of the Bees
in this hive is beautiful, and excites admiration and surprise,--nay,
is capable of enlivening the drooping spirits of the most desponding
apiarian; for who can view the Queen of the hive constantly laying her
eggs, and, by so doing, constantly propagating her species, and her
thousands of loyal subjects, whose indefatigable labour in all its
parts is so conspicuous, without experiencing sensations of the purest
pleasure,--nay, more of gratitude to God for his goodness to man!

It has been suggested to me by some ingenious friends--that a couple of
magnifying glasses set in the doors, and some mechanical contrivance to
open a part of the roof by simply pulling a cord, and to throw a proper
light upon the four wings of the hive, would be a great improvement;
because, by these means, or by some such means as these, the opening and
shutting of the doors would be rendered unnecessary,--and, because the
Bees and their curious works would be more interesting by being viewed
through magnifying glasses,--and because the exterior appearance of the
whole concern would be more handsome. Without the slightest hesitation
I admit--that, to those persons to whom expense is no object, the
mode of examining the observatory-hive would be improved by some such
arrangements as those just mentioned; but _the hive itself would not be
improved in the least_,--it would remain just as it was before these
costly additions, whether ornamental, or useful, or both, were made to
its covering only--_not to the hive_.

The following cut will, in some degree, represent and tacitly explain an
observatory-hive, fitted up in this way.



This operation may be performed in various ways, and almost at any time
during the summer months, by an experienced apiarian. I will content
myself with describing _how_ it may be done most easily, if not most
scientifically, by any person possessed of courage enough to operate at
all among Bees. It is as follows:

When your Bees swarm from a cottage-hive, take it (the swarm) into a
common hive in the usual way 7 place it in a cool, shaded situation, and
let it remain there until the evening; and even then attempt no further
operation, unless the Bees be all settled and quite still. When they are
all within their hive, peaceable, and retired, as it were, for the night,
you may suddenly strike them from their hive upon a clean, white sheet,
spread over a table prepared and ready for the purpose, and within the
space occupied, or rather--enclosed, by four bricks placed edgewise. Upon
these bricks place your glass-hive as expeditiously as possible with its
entrance just over the Bees. Then envelope your hive with a cloth so as
to darken its interior, and, lastly, throw the corners of the sheet over
the whole. This done, the Bees will presently ascend into the wings of
the hive. When they are all safely lodged in it, you may carefully remove
the sheet and the other coverings; and, having securely made up the
entrance into the winter-pavilion, then place the stocked hive upon its
pedestal, and the Bees will be ready to commence their labour the next

At the latter end of August invert the parent-hive from which the swarm
issued, and place it in the octagon-box (g.) below the summer-pavilion.
Take out the plug that is between the two hives, that is--open the
passage into the winter-hive, and you will have accomplished the union
of the two families: they will join or unite, and thenceforward continue
to labour as one family. By this movement you give to your Bees a
winter-residence, secure from all enemies, which are numerous at this
season. And so well-stocked will the winter-hive be, that an early swarm
from it, for the observatory-hive, the following season may reasonably be

The honey may be taken from the e. e. glasses, placed upon the arms of
the summer-pavilion so easily, by turning round the loose boards under
the glasses, that further explanation is unnecessary. The machine itself
will point out to the perfect stranger the proper method of doing it.



Fumigation is a rather portentous word; but, as soon as I shall have
explained for what purposes, and in what manner, I occasionally make use
of it, it will be totally divested of all deadly signification. In my
practice it is not a Bee-destroyer, but a Bee-preserver;--when resorted
to by me it is never carried, nor intended to be carried, to suffocation:
but, in the operation of uniting weak swarms or poor stocks with more
wealthy and prosperous ones--which I consider to be a meritorious and
most humane practice,--when it is necessary to examine the state and
condition of even a populous colony, should unfavourable symptoms as
to its healthiness or its prosperity manifest themselves,--when it
is known, or but suspected, that there are wax-moths, mice, spiders,
or other Bee-enemies lodged in a hive, which the Bees of themselves
cannot dislodge nor get rid of; and which, if not got rid of by man's
assistance, would soon destroy almost any colony,--when Bees and their
works (for I never transfer the former without transferring an ample
sufficiency of the latter at the same time) are to be taken out of a
decayed straw-hive, in order to be put into a more substantial one, or
into collateral-boxes, which I hold to be the best of all hives,--and on
innumerable other occasions, it is absolutely necessary _to subdue Bees_
so far as to render them incapable of using that formidable, venomous,
little weapon, with which Providence has armed them, and which generally
dreaded little weapon they can use so dexterously, before we can operate
upon them for their own good. By means of a very simple apparatus, which
may be called _a fumigator_, and which is a contrivance as novel and as
useful in the management of Bees, as any of my hives or other inventions,
_Bees may be totally subdued without being injured in the slightest
degree, and dealt with as if they had neither stings nor wings_.

I beg, however, to re-state distinctly--that, in taking off a box or a
glass of honey, _no fumigation whatever is necessary_, or ever practised
by me. It is only in cases such as those just enumerated that I have
recourse to it; but in no case for the destruction of Bees. Fumigation,
therefore, in my practice, is not suffocation.

The following figure is a representation of a fumigator, which a brief
explanation will render intelligible.


This useful article consists of a square top-board upon which is placed a
straw-hive (E.) so as to show an open, circular space under the hive and
through the square board into the bag below. I need hardly observe--that
the straw-hive is no part of the fumigator, but is here represented as
standing upon it in order to exemplify its use. The top-board is of
inch-deal, and is nineteen or twenty inches square. A round piece is cut
out of its centre of not more than thirteen inches in diameter--that
being something near to, or perhaps rather more than, the inside diameter
of a common hive--so that a hive will stand upon the wooden circumference
of the part left, without there being any ledge inside, that is--any part
so enclosed by the hive as to catch and detain the falling Bees. From the
upper-edge of this circle is suspended a bag, a yard in length, made of
glazed calico, the bottom-part of which draws round the rim of a shallow,
funnel-shaped, tin Bee-receiver, which Bee-receiver is about ten inches
across at the top, and its lower part, or neck (D. or F.) is three inches
and a half in length, and its throat (if I may so term it) is nearly
three inches in width. To fit this neck, which is thickly perforated
for the purpose of admitting fresh air, when fresh air may be required,
is a close lid, just like that of a common, tin canister, to hold up the
fumigated Bees, and also to stop the ventilation when not wanted. C. is
the fumigating-lamp with a perforated top through which the fume ascends,
and is made conical, so that a fumigated Bee in its fall cannot rest upon
it and be thereby scorched or injured, as would inevitably be the case
were this top flat. The tie (B.) closes the bag and keeps every Bee above
until the lamp and every thing below be adjusted, and it is _then_ to be
untied. The fumigator is here represented as standing upon three legs
made fast to the top-board by small bolts, as at A.; but it is quite as
convenient in practice, and more portable, if, instead of these legs, it
be made like a common scale with a cord from each corner, which may be
gathered into a small iron-hook, and thereby suspended from the branch of
a tree, or from any other convenient place, when used. The lower part of
the bag is represented as being transparent, but that is done purposely
to show how the lamp is placed inside when prepared for operation.

By persons inexperienced in such matters it may be thought to be
an extraordinary feat to unite the Bees of one hive with those of
another---to bind, as it were, the legs and wings, and pro tempore, to
render useless the sting of every individual Bee, until such union be
effected. Nothing, however, is more easy; nor is any part of apiarian
practice attended with more pleasing consequences to the operator, or
with more important and beneficial ones to the Bees themselves. When in
a state of temporary intoxication from the fume made to ascend through
the perforated tin (C.) into their hive, these beautiful insects are
perfectly manageable,--perfectly harmless.

This intoxicating fume is caused by introducing into the fumigating-lamp
a piece of ignited vegetable substance, called puck, puckball, or
frog-cheese, or, most commonly, _fuzzball_. It is a species of fungus,
or mushroom, and is plentiful enough in the autumn in rank pastures
and in rich edishes. Shepherds, milk-maids, or country-school boys are
well acquainted with them,--know very well where to find them,--and
for a mere trifle will easily pick up as many of them as will supply
the demands of twenty apiarians. They are frequently as large as a
man's head, or larger. In 1826 I had an unripe, white puckball, which
weighed ten pounds. When ripe they are internally of a brown colour,
and turning spongy and powdery become exceedingly light, and are then
properly _fuzzballs_. For the substance of the following directions
respecting the preparation of fuzzballs for Bee-fumigation, and for its
application to that occasionally necessary purpose, I have no hesitation
in acknowledging myself to be indebted to Thorley's treatise on Bees--no
mean authority on such a subject.

When you have procured one of these pucks, put it into a large piece
of stout paper,--press it down therein to two-thirds, or, if you can,
to one-half, of its original size, and then tie it up closely,--and,
lastly, put it into an oven sometime after the household bread has been
drawn, that is, when the oven is nearly cool, and let it remain there
all night, or, until it will hold fire and smother away like touch-wood,
i. e. burn without kindling into flame. In this state it is fit for the
fumigating-lamp, and may be used in the manner following, when the union
of two stocks is the apiarian's object.

Take a piece of this prepared fungus, as large as a hen's egg, (it is
better to have too much of it than too little to begin with) ignite one
end of it with a candle, and then put it into the fumigating-lamp,--next
fix the lamp in its socket over the Bee-receiver, and place the whole
inside the bag, as shown in the plate, and untie B--the fastening round
the middle. In a very short space of time the Bees in the hive placed
upon the top-board (which is necessarily the first thing to be attended
to in every operation of this kind) will be totally under your control.
The operator should be particularly careful to close every vacancy,
however small, that there may happen to be between the top-board and the
edge of the hive, by tying a cloth round it--the hive--as soon as ever it
is placed upon the board. This precaution will prevent the escape of any
of the fume, and will also prevent the Bees from annoying the operator
during the time he is making the arrangements necessary previously to
every fumigating process.

In the course of a minute or very little more you will hear the Bees
dropping like hail into their receiver, at the bottom of the fumigating

When the major part of them are down, and you hear but few fall, gently
beat the top of the hive with your hands, in order to get as many down
as you can. Then, having loosened the cloth, lift the hive off and set
it upon a table, or upon a broad board, prepared for the purpose, and
knocking the hive against it several times, many more Bees will fall
down, and perhaps the Queen amongst the rest; for, as she generally
lodges near the crown of the hive, or is driven thither by the fume, and
surrounded and protected there by the other Bees to the very last, and
as long ever they have the power loyally to cling round her, she often
falls one of the last. If the Queen is not among the Bees on the table,
search for her among the main body in the Bee-receiver; first, however,
putting them upon the table, if you discover her not before lying among
the uppermost Bees therein.

During this search for the Queen, or with as little delay as possible,
you, or some one for you, should be proceeding in a similar manner with
the Bees in the other hive, with which those already fumigated are to be
united. As soon as the Bees of the hive last fumigated are all composed
and quiet, and you have found and secured one of the Queens, you may put
the Bees of both hives together into an empty one, for the purpose of
mingling them thoroughly together, and of sprinkling them at the same
time with a little ale and sugar; this done, put them and _one only_ of
the two Queens among the combs of the hive you intend them to inhabit,
and gently shake them down into it. When you have thus got all the Bees
of your two hives into one, cover it with a cloth and closely bind the
corners of that cloth about it, and let them stand during that night and
the next day, shut or closed up in this manner, so that a Bee may not get
out; but not so close as to smother them for want of air.

In the evening of the following day, having previously removed the hive,
containing your united-stock, to its proper stand, viz. that which it
had occupied before the operation, loose the corners of the cloth and
remove it from the mouth of the hive, and the Bees will, with a great
noise, immediately sally forth; but being too late to take wing, they
will presently go in again; and remain satisfied in and with their new
abode--new at least, to one-half of them, and new to the other half also
when transferred into a fresh hive, or into boxes.

But in taking away the cloth discretion and caution must be used, because
the Bees will for some time resent the affront put upon them by such to
them, no doubt, offensive treatment.

The best time of the year for unions of weak stocks with strong ones
is in autumn, after the young brood are all out--in the latter part of
August, or any time during September: but for removals of stocks from
straw-hives into boxes, the best time is early in the spring before
the eggs of the Queen have changed and quickened into larvæ,--I will
say--in the month of March; and if the weather is cold, it is advisable
to perform the operation in a room where the temperature is about 60
degrees. For if Bees are displaced, that is--taken from their hive, in
a cold atmosphere, it is but rarely that they recover from the effects
of the fume so as to marshal themselves into working order in a box or
new hive. But this they can do, and will do most effectually, under this
agreeable temperature. As twelve hours are sufficient for the Bees to
regain their former independency in their new domicil, you may place them
at the end of that period on their summer stool, and they will work, as
soon as the weather will permit them, as if they had never been removed
from their former hive, nor in any way disturbed.

The great number of operations of this kind, which I have performed
before hundreds of admiring and gratified spectators, chiefly of the
higher ranks of society, renders it almost unnecessary for me to
observe--that once being present at and witnessing it, will convey a more
perfect idea of the whole performance than any written description of
it can give. If, however, any gentleman, or other apiarian friend, who
has not yet seen the performance of this operation, should be desirous
of witnessing it, the author will freely undertake that, or any other
Bee-service in his power, by which he can oblige, assist, or instruct him.

The same degree of precaution is not necessary on the removing of the
Bees of a cottage-hive on my principle; it is only requisite in the
particular case of joining or uniting two or more hives together,
that such nice management need be observed. And certainly the more
expeditiously the whole is performed, the more pleasing will be the
result of the operation, and the more certain of success.

I will conclude this subject with an anecdote:--In the year 1828, I
was engaged by the Honourable Lady Gifford, of Roehampton, to unite the
Bees of two hives; and as the operation was novel to the spectators,
who on that occasion consisted principally of the branches of that
worthy family,--when I had drawn the Bees from the cottage-hive and they
were all spread on a white cloth, and every eye was anxiously intent
upon discovering the Queen-Bee, there was some trouble in finding that
particular Bee; even I myself--an old practitioner--had overlooked
her; and having occasion to leave the table and my fumigated Bees
surrounded by my young Lord and Lady Gifford, and by the rest of her
Ladyship's family, her infant son, in the arms of his nurse, eagerly
called out--"Mamma, mamma, what is that?" Hearing the child's animated
expression, I returned to the table, and instantly beheld and caught the
Queen of the Bees,--and her actually pointed out by an infant not three
years of age. Is there any excuse then for not knowing the Queen-Bee?
And, as a true description of this Bee and of the office she fulfils
in the hive, will be given in the course of this work, accompanied
with a plate of her and also of the other Bees, I trust my Bee-friends
will not hereafter allow a child of only three years of age (although
that child was the son of a late Attorney-General,) to excel them in
this particular point of apiarian knowledge, which is not only highly
interesting, but very useful to the operator, when uniting stocks, or
transferring Bees from one domicil to another. Never shall I forget the
look of satisfaction that beamed on the countenance of the affectionate
mother. To see each of her eight amiable children around the table with
her Ladyship, minutely searching every little cluster of Bees, in order
to give the first information of the Queen, was a lovely sight; but to
hear her infant son proclaim, as it were, the Queen of the Bees, by
pointing his little, delicate finger to the object of his curiosity, and
exclaim--"Mamma, mamma, what is that?" was most gratifying even to me.
Well might the little naturalist inquire--"what is that?" when he was in
the presence of royalty, and pointing to one of the most extraordinary
monarchs in the world, while I myself--an old practitioner, had not
previously observed her. Be it so, I acknowledge my oversight in this
instance, and feel it incumbent on me to give the merit of the discovery
to him, to whom on that occasion it was so justly due.



Having gone through the explanation of my different hives,
and of all my Bee-machinery, I will, previously to entering upon other
matters, here state my objections to the piling of Bee-boxes one upon
another, which is sometimes, and not improperly, called--_storifying_. It
is also termed super-hiving, nadir-hiving, or centre-hiving, according
to the place occupied by the added box: if an empty box be placed
upon a stocked one, it is _super-hiving_;--if put _under_ such box,
it is _nadir-hiving_;--and if introduced _between_ two boxes, it is
_centre-hiving_. But with whatever term dignified--not to say--mystified,
it amounts to, and in effect is--_storifying_. From an old book in my
possession I find--that in 1675 a patent was granted to John Gedde,
to secure to him for a term of fourteen years the advantages of his
invention of boxes for storifying; so that it is at least of a hundred
and sixty years' standing. After Gedde it was successively adopted and
encouraged by Rusden, Warder, and Thorley, and has been the fashionable
or fancy practice down to the present day; for it is a mode of managing
Bees that has been recommended by some modern authors,--principally, if I
mistake not, by Dr. Bevan; and it is practised by some Bee-masters, who,
I am told, consider it to be the most humane mode, and the only humane
mode of managing Honey-Bees. I have no wish to depreciate the inventions
and labours of others, nor to offend any man, and particularly that man
who has exerted himself so much to better the condition of the Honey-Bee.
If he has been mistaken in the means to be employed to gain so desirable
an end, and in my humble opinion he certainly has been mistaken, every
praise is due to him for his good intentions.

My first objection to the piling system is--because it occasions a
great deal of extra trouble, labour, and inconvenience to the Bees, and
consequently prevents their collecting so great a quantity of honey and
wax as they will do where they are not subjected to these drawbacks. And
where, I would fain know, is the humanity in increasing and obstructing
the labours of these indefatigable, little insects? Is it not inhumanity
to force them to deposit their treasures in a garret, two or three
stories high, when a far more convenient store-room may be provided
for them on the first floor? Let not, then, the piling advocate of the
present day any longer recommend this faulty practice, nor erroneously
contend that the elevating of boxes one upon another, is the best and
only way of ensuring an abundance of honey and wax. But fairly to get
at the merits--not to say--demerits of this practice, I will examine it
a little in detail. First, then, the piling practitioner puts a swarm
of Bees into a box, which I will call box A. This box, if prosperous,
of course soon becomes a pavilion of nature,--that is, it soon contains
quantities of brood-comb, young brood, larvæ, and embryo Bees in various
stages of existence. It is allowed to stand alone until it be filled, or
nearly filled, with the Bees' works. It requires no great skill to know
that the contents of box A. at this period are as just described. When
nearly full it is placed upon another box (B.) to prevent what is called
the maiden-swarm. This box, like box A. is quickly filled with combs: the
Queen too follows her labourers and progressively lays her eggs even to
the lowest edges of the combs. Of course box B, like box A. soon contains
quantities of brood. The second box (B.) gets full just as the first did,
and as a cottage-hive does--not with pure honey, but with brood, pollen
or farina, and other substances, as well as with honey; in short, there
is no provision for, nor means of, dividing the works of the working
Bees from the works of the Queen-Bee; consequently they become, as _of
necessity_ they must become--one promiscuous mass. The brood continues
to increase and occupies that part of the box which should be of pure
honey and wax. This goes on until more room is wanted; and _then_ it
is that the two full boxes (A. and B.) are exalted and placed upon the
third and last box (C.) This, however, does not mend the matter; but,
as will be seen presently, it does occasion a great deal of additional
labour and inconvenience to the Bees. In the meantime they carry on their
works of nature and of art--they construct new combs and store some of
the cells with honey, and the Queen lays her eggs in others, just as in
the other boxes. The fact is--the three boxes soon become as one: they
soon become and continue to be of one temperature,--the same compound
of the old hive,--the brood-cells are intermixed with those containing
honey,--wreaths of pollen are: in every pile,--and animated nature is
everywhere peeping from the waxen cells, in which nothing but pure honey
should have been deposited. But this is not all, nor the worst part;
though bad enough, if _purity of honey_ be any consideration.

It is a fact known by me and by every one at all experienced in the
management of an apiary, that no sooner are the combs in box CL got
into a state of forwardness--it would be saying rather too much to
say--completed, than numbers of working Bees are, as it were, struck off
their work there, and set about removing all superfluities and nuisances
from the combs lately filled with young brood in the uppermost box
A. Every cell in those combs that has been the nest and nursery of a
young Bee they cleanse thoroughly and repair, where repairs are needed,
preparatory to its being made a receptacle for honey, or for the other
treasures brought from the field. At this time, that is--as soon as the
combs are free from the first brood, the uppermost box is nearly empty,
instead of being full: it contains _empty combs and Bees, but little or
no honey_. Here then the Bees are subjected to that extra labour and
inconvenience which form my first objection to the piling-plan. From
the entrance into box C. through box B. and up into box A. the way, to
a loaded Bee, is neither short nor pleasant; it is a labyrinth beset
with difficulties and obstructions, in surmounting which much of that
time is occupied which would otherwise be more profitably, and we may
suppose--far more agreeably employed, in passing from flower to flower,
and in culling their various sweets. Any person, it may be presumed,
would rather set down a heavy load on the ground-floor than have to tug
it up two or three long flights of stairs, and through intricate, winding
passages, and be jostled and impeded and pushed about, and perhaps
backward every now and then, by countless crowds of busy men, unceasingly
hurrying up and down and passing and re-passing the burdened man in every
direction. And is it not comparatively the same with Bees going through
boxes C. and B. up into box A.? I maintain that it is so,--and that Bees
in piled-boxes lose much time in performing the unnecessary, climbing
labour, imposed upon them by their unskilful masters.

The natural consequence of this--I repeat--_unnecessary_ waste of their
time, must not be placed to the account, or laid to the instinct of the
Bees; for of all creatures in the world, Bees perhaps work with the
most extraordinary celerity. The beautiful piles of honey, and _when
unobstructed_, the regular movements of these wonderful insects, are
admirably scientific and correct. The consequence, namely, a deficiency
in the quantity of honey and wax, is chargeable solely to the account of
the unskilful manager.

At length the time arrives when the three piled-boxes are, or are
supposed to be, well stored,--and when a part of the Bees' treasure is to
be taken as a remuneration for the _care_ and trouble of the proprietor.
Let him then put on his grotesque Bee-dress, and booted up to the middle
and gloved to the very elbows, let him proceed to take the uppermost box.
He divides it from that on which it stands, that is--from box B. by a
slide or a divider of some sort prepared for such an operation, or in
any way he pleases, for that I leave to him. Well, he succeeds in getting
off his prize; not, however, without the destruction of a considerable
number of Bees: for _to presume_ that he is acquainted with my easy mode
of taking away a box, would be to presume too much; I therefore allow
him a Bee-dress at once, and have accoutered him in the best way I can
for his arduous undertaking. The box, then, is off. He turns it up and
examines it, and to his great disappointment, he finds that the combs
are discoloured, that each pile of the expected treasure contains parts
of the young larvæ, and that there is much pollen commingled with the
other substances in the box; in short, he finds that the whole is dirty
and filthy in appearance; and that he has destroyed a part of the most
valuable brood for another year. And, if instead of box A. he take box
B. he will fare little, if any better; nay, he will in all probability
destroy a greater quantity of brood: and in box C. he cannot expect to
find more than half-filled cells, or empty combs. Such are the fruits and
profits of the piling system of Bee-management. There are Bee-masters
resident within twenty miles of the good town of Spalding, and in many
other places that might be mentioned, who know that the foregoing account
is true, _lamentably true_: but, until such practitioners are sensible of
the faultiness of their system of Bee-management, it would be folly in
me to appeal more directly to any of them for a confirmation of what _I
know_ to be the truth. How, I would ask, can the Bees' sweet treasures
be divided from their other work, if there be no means of varying and
regulating the temperature in their hive? Without the aid of ventilation
it is, in my opinion, impossible; but with it, it is perfectly easy,
perfectly safe, and not at all distressing nor even unpleasant to the

Before I take my leave of the piling or storifying practitioner, whom I
consider, as perhaps he may consider me, to be very, very imperfect in
the management of Bees, I feel it to be my duty to my readers, and of
course to the piling Bee-master, if he should vouchsafe to me a reading,
to record a few other facts that bear strongly against the piling
practice--facts derived from long and attentive observation of the nature
and habits of Honey-Bees. Twelve years' steady practice and constant
attention to the movements of these ingenious insects are the foundations
I have to build upon. Besides I have proofs, well-authenticated,
indisputable proofs, of the abundant produce of honey having been taken
from collateral-boxes, and that of very superior quality too; which honey
I take from the Bees as being a superabundant store, and not as a part,
the taking away of which has any tendency to weaken, or in any way to
injure, the prosperity of the colony from which it is taken. But what
do we behold when a box is taken from a storied pile?--what that in the
least deserves to be termed humanity? Do not a thousand murders stare us
in the face? Why should the operator be veiled and muffled up and made
sting-proof, if no conflict was expected--if no deeds of violence were
anticipated? But violence is anticipated, and practised too, to such
an extent that it is no uncommon occurrence for the Bees that escape
destruction to desert the other boxes altogether. This ends one part of
the business.

And these objections against the practice of storifying boxes will, I
trust, induce the reflecting, ingenuous reader to turn his attention
to the importance of ventilation in collateral-boxes. By regulating
the interior temperature of the hive, suitable and generative heat
is confined to the pavilion, that is--to the mother-hive, which heat
causes the Queen to propagate her young in the pavilion--this being
the middle-box, and near the entrance, a great advantage is thereby
afforded to all the Bees passing in and out, that fully demonstrates the
necessity of their labours being assisted in the breeding-season, _and
not obstructed_.

It is the heat which causes the working-Bees to deposit their pollen
in the immediate vicinity of the seat of nature. This pollen, which is
called by some writers Bee-bread, is gathered and deposited for the
special purpose of supporting the young larvæ, while helpless insects,
or babies, as it were, in the hive. Combined with heat, it is this
material which discolours the much admired works of the Bees; it is this
which also makes the wax and honey yellow: besides where this pollen is
deposited by the Bees, there, or in that part of the hive, will the Queen
lay her eggs,--and there of course propagate her species. And as animal
nature advances to perfection, so rises the interior temperature of the
hive, until an almost suffocating heat obliges the Bees to leave their
home. This heat extends itself to the most remote parts of their domicil;
and were it not for the influence of ventilation in the end-boxes, a
discolouration of their beautiful works would also be extended through
the hive, and the Queen would lay her eggs promiscuously as she does in
the cottage-hive. But this mischief is corrected by ventilation: can then
any reasonable man deny its powerful and useful effects in the management
of Bees?

The Queen-Bee is but seldom seen by the most acute observer; she loves
to propagate her young in secrecy, at the regular temperature of the
hive at her own birth. If she can possibly avoid it, she will not lay
her eggs where man can overlook and examine her movements; consequently
the ventilation in the side-boxes prevents her extending her works of
nature beyond the limits of her native hive. As soon as she feels a
cooling change of temperature, she immediately withdraws to her native
clime, and leaves her working subjects to store the beautifully white
combs with the purest crystal sweet. Bat, were the Queen permitted, as
she is in the piling system, as well as in the cottage-hive, to follow
her subjects through the whole hive, with one and the same temperature
throughout, she would most certainly propagate her young just as she does
in the piled-boxes. In that case there would be no advantage derivable
from the purity of the honey. Again, on my plan, the middle-box is so
situated that the Queen in it is placed conveniently to superintend her
labourers; her eye can behold them in the throngest of their labour,
being so near the well fortified entrance of her pavilion. In such a
favourable situation, she can view the movements of her subjects, and not
a moment need be lost, because all their streets and passages are short.
The direct ascent to the top of one of my boxes is not quite eleven
inches, and with a middle-sized bell-glass superadded, it does not exceed
eighteen inches; so that in one day, when the honey-dew is plentiful,
ten thousand Bees will gather more treasure than three times that number
on the piling system, in which the Bees are compelled to mount up to the
Babylonian height of Thorley's fourth box.

These (partly repetitions of what has been stated before, I am aware,)
are conveniences which collateral-boxes possess, and which _do not
belong to piled-boxes_. In piled-boxes Bees are subjected to unnecessary
labour, which is so far a waste of time. From piled-boxes not nearly
the quantity of honey and wax is procured, that may be procured from
collateral-boxes,--nor is that deficient quantity of a quality at
all comparable with the other. In managing piled-boxes many Bees are

These are my objections to that system of Bee-management; and I put it
to every person who has practised storifying to say whether they are not


     L. Bennett and Co. Typ. 10, Guilford Place, Spa-Fields, London.

                               THE APIARY

              At the most noble the MARQUIS of BLANDFORD'S,

                DELABERE PARK, PANGBOURN, (near READING,)




Having stated (in page 144) that "I have well-authenticated,
indisputable proofs of the abundant produce of honey having been taken
from collateral-boxes, and that of very superior quality too," I could,
in support of this statement refer the reader to a great number of my
apiarian friends, a bare catalogue of whose names would fill several
pages of this book. But as the best proofs of the merits, advantages, and
practicability of anew system, are in its established success, I will
select one instance, and have great pleasure in referring to that of the
apiary established on my principles, at the seat of my noble patron--the
Marquess of Blandford, at Delabere Park, near Reading. Situated in a
part of the country most abundantly favoured by nature,--effete with
every variety of Bee-herbage, and with every local advantage combined
in its favour, the noble Marquess has prosecuted his apiarian pursuits
with a spirit of liberality and enterprize redounding to his credit, and
well meriting the success which has equalled my own as it has his most
sanguine expectations. I do not consider that I can introduce this better
to the notice of my readers, than by transcribing the account of a visit,
that was paid to it by my intelligent friend Mr. Booth, the Lecturer on
Chemistry, and which appeared in the _Stamford Mercury_ of July 26th,
1833. It is as follows:--

      "To the Editor of the Mercury.


"From the interest you appear to take in whatever relates to the
extension of Mr. Nutt's invaluable system of Bee-management, and the
prompt attention you have given to former communications on the subject,
I am induced to detail the successful results of that system in the hands
of the Marquess of Blandford, who has gone most extensively into the
subject, and with an ardour and enthusiasm second only to that of the
intelligent inventor. As I had the permission of the noble Marquess to
make my observations, so I am enabled to make reference to his Lordship
for the accuracy of my statements, and I am only fulfilling' the wishes
of the noble Lord, in making these details as extensively public as
possible, for the information of those who are interested in this most
important, though long neglected branch of rural economy.

"His Lordship's park is most pleasantly situated near the beautiful and
romantic village of Pangbourn, in Berkshire, and the choice of situation
for the apiary is most excellent. It is at the top of a tower[E]
forty-six feet high, situated in the midst of a wood, and commanding a
most extensive view of the surrounding country, including Hampshire,
Berkshire, Wiltshire, and Oxfordshire, the face of nature being clad in
an almost endless variety of fertility, and old Father Thames gently
meandering through the valley, formed by the distant hills which bound
the scene, affording but few prospective traces of the immense physical
developments of his powers, which render him, truly, the monarch of
rivers. At the top of this tower his Lordship possesses four colonies in
collateral-hives, and one inverted-hive, all of which have been started
since April 1833. In the collateral-hives the labours of the Bees have
been highly successful. From one colony has already been taken a box
containing thirty pounds of honey; whilst another box and three small
glasses, which cannot together contain less than forty pounds, are quite
ready for taking, and which will afford the sum of seventy pounds, and
this without infringing on the quantity necessary for the winter support
of the Bees. The thermometer in the collateral-boxes did not exceed 70
degrees, whilst in the air it was at 64. A most remarkable contrast
was afforded by the superior quality of the honey in the end-box and
that of the 'pavilion of nature:' the superiority of the former was
most evident. Mr. Smith, the keeper, who quite follows in the steps of
Mr. Nutt, informed me that the average quantity of honey produced from
a cottage-hive, upon the old principles, does not exceed from thirty
to forty pounds; whilst, but in one case, did he ever obtain from a
hive, enlarged by eking, the amount of fifty pounds. It is extremely
satisfactory and fortunate, that, for the sake of reference, Mr. Nutt's
system has fallen into such good hands, as both his lordship and the
keeper appear as devoted to the subject, as they have been happy in their
results. For young beginners the results reflect great credit.

[Footnote E: Vide, plate at the head of this chapter.]

"I am not able to speak much regarding the progress of the
inverted-hives, of which his lordship possesses two; the one being at
the top of the tower and the other situate on the lawn, at the back of
the house; the former containing twenty-three glasses and the latter
thirty-three. The latter is really a magnificent construction--an
ornamental appendage such as the gardens of few noblemen can boast. The
Bees had, in each, filled all the intermediate parts betwixt the hive and
the glasses, and were just then commencing their labours in the latter.
Next summer his lordship will, I anticipate, reap a glorious harvest
both from these, and his collateral-hives, which are getting into prime
condition for the winter.

"I have troubled you with these details because they relate to facts,
and a publication of such facts is all that is required to introduce
this admirable system of Bee-management into universal practice. To
what extension it may be brought, it is impossible to state, but these
results most strongly impress upon others of the nobility to 'Go and
do likewise.' The mantle of the warrior has indeed fallen upon the
philanthropist in the person of the heir to the title and fortunes of
a Marlborough; and let the example but be extended, and the practice
inculcated amongst our rural population, and, whilst it will greatly
conduce to their advantage, we need no longer look to France or Italy
for a supply of treasures, which our own country and peasantry can so
efficiently produce. Nothing could possibly more advance these objects,
than the formation of an Apiarian Society, which should offer premiums
and prizes to the most successful competitors; and I do hope that for
the sake of humanity as well as philanthropy, and when I see the long
and noble list of names which dignify Mr. Nutt's patronage, I shall not
be deceived in my anticipations of the speedy formation of a society,
established for such laudable purposes.

        Yours, &c.

          Abraham Booth,

                 Lecturer on Chemistry.

  "Reading, July 22d, 1833."

To the above very able and explicit description, and which is to me
the more interesting because not written by a _practical_ apiarian, I
have nothing to add, but that it has met the cordial approbation of his
Lordship, whose still more recent and continuous success has confirmed
him in the practicability and value of my system.

The sketch which precedes this account was taken for the purpose by
his amiable Countess, whose kind solicitude for the welfare of the
industrious and valuable little insects, to which so much of my attention
has been devoted, and approbation of my exertions, have not been amongst
the least valued of my rewards and consolations.



That branch of natural history which treats of INSECTS is
called entomology. And Linnæus, the celebrated naturalist and botanist,
and the father of the classification of animated and vegetable nature,
has divided insects into seven orders; the fifth of which is termed
hymenoptera, and includes all those insects that have four membranous,
gauze-like wings, and that are furnished with a sting, or with a process
resembling one. To this class the Honey-Bee belongs. It has, however,
been so repeatedly described by naturalists and by apiarian authors, that
it would be difficult to say any thing respecting it as an insect merely
that has not been said before. It is, moreover, so universally known,
that it may seem to be a superfluous undertaking to attempt to describe
it at all. As, however, my little work might be deemed to be imperfect
without some account of it, I will present to my readers the substance
of what appears to me to be a condensed, well-written article on the Bee.
It is from Watkins' Cyclopædia.

There are, he says, and I believe it, fifty-five species of Bees. The
general characteristics of the Bee are these:--its mouth has two jaws
and a proboscis enfolded in a double sheath; its wings are four, the
lower or under pair of which is smaller than the upper pair; in the anus
of the female and working Bees is a concealed sting. Of the fifty-five
species the HONEY-BEE--classically, or at any rate entomologically--apis
mellifica, is the most interesting and important, and that with which I
am directly concerned. Of this Bee there are three kinds--the Queen, the
drone, and the working Bee; it is no more than justice to the draughtsman
and to the engraver to say, the following are beautiful representations,
except the head of the working Bee, which is too round.


  Fig. 1. represents a Drone.
   --  2. ---------- a working Bee.
   --  3. ---------- a Queen Bee.

The _Drones_ are larger than the others; their heads are round, eyes
foil, and their tongues short; they are also much darker and differ
in the form of the belly; they have no sting, and they make a greater
noise in flying than the common Bees. Generally speaking, they are
found in hives from the beginning of May to the middle or latter end of
July: sometimes they may be seen earlier, especially in good stocks;
and sometimes their destruction does not take place till the middle
of August, or even later. They neither collect honey nor wax. It has
been supposed that their office is to impregnate the eggs of the Queen
_after_ they are deposited in the cells; but according to Mr. Bonner
this _supposition_ is a mistake. In this I agree with him, and beg to
remark--that in no case is a supposition a proof. Bonner says that the
Queen lays eggs which produce young Bees without any communication with
the drones. He supports this position by the statement of several very
exact experiments. In this opinion he is supported by the respectable
evidence of Schirach. On the mysterious subject of the Queen's
impregnation I am inclined to coincide in opinion with Huber, whose
multiplied observations, and various and curious experiments, do render
it highly probable that the Queen is impregnated by the drone, not whilst
in the hive, but whilst flying in the air: but of this debatable subject
more by and by.

The QUEEN-BEE is easily distinguished from other Bees by the form, size,
and colour of her body. She is larger, longer at least, and her wings are
shorter in proportion to her size than those of other Bees. The wings of
drones and of common working Bees cover their bodies, but those of the
Queen scarcely reach beyond the middle. Her hinder part tapers more than
the corresponding part of other Bees, and is admirably adapted for the
purpose of being introduced into the cells to deposit her eggs, which she
does without being incommoded by her wings, as she no doubt would be,
were they long in proportion to the length of her body. Considering then
the office she has to perform, the shortness of her wings and the length
and tapering of her body are alike conveniences to her; her belly and
legs are yellower, and her upper parts darker than those of other Bees.
Though furnished with a sting, she very rarely uses it, and will bear
being handled without being provoked. A young Queen is smaller than a
full grown one. When three or four days old she is quick in her motions;
but when impregnated she becomes heavy. The common or working Bees have
the faculty or instinctive power of raising a Queen-Bee, when they are
in want of one, from an egg in a common cell. To do this, they choose a
common cell in which is an egg, and inject a thick, white, liquid matter
from their proboscis, they then build on the edges of that particular
cell and enlarge it; on the fifth day the royal maggot appears in the
form of a semicircle, in which form it swims in the midst of the matter
in the cell; and on the seventh day it is sealed up. During which period
the embryo Queen undergoes various metamorphoses. On the fourteenth or
fifteenth day afterwards it comes forth a perfect Queen-Bee. Schirach has
discovered a method of multiplying Queen-Bees to almost any extent, and
consequently of making artificial stocks. This can only be successfully
accomplished when there are in a hive eggs, nymphs, and little maggots
two or three days out of the cell, that is, when there is in a hive
young brood in these three different stages of existence. When a Queen
dies and the Bees are left without the means of raising another, that
is--when there are no eggs nor young brood of a proper age in the hive,
the Bees cease working, consume the honey, fly about at random, and if
not supplied with another Queen, soon dwindle away; but if supplied
with a new Queen, they revive, and exercise their labour with new and
increased activity. The Queen is, as it were, the very soul of the hive.
It has been computed that the ovary of the Queen contains above 5000 eggs
at once, and that in the space of two months she may produce 10 or 12,000
Bees. I am inclined to think that this computation is too-limited: from
what I have witnessed in my observatory-hive this summer (1832), I am led
to conclude that a fertile Queen is capable of laying far more than the
beforementioned number of eggs in the space of two months.

The _working Bees_ are considerably smaller than either the drones or
the Queen. They, like the others, have four wings, which enable them to
fly with heavy loads. They have six legs, of which the two foremost are
the shortest, and with these they discharge themselves of their loads.
The two last or hindmost are the largest, and on the outside of the
middle joint of these is a cavity in which the Bees collect the materials
for wax, which materials they carry home to their hives; this hollow
is peculiar to the working Bee. Each foot terminates in two hooks. The
honey-bladder is of the size of a small pea, and very transparent. The
sting is horny and hollow, through which the poison is ejected. The wound
inflicted by it is mortal to many insects; and instances are not wanting
of horses and cows having been stung to death by Bees. When the sting is
left in the wound, and being barbed it commonly is left there, the Bee
that loses it dies in consequence.

With regard to the age of Bees, the drones have a short life, being
destroyed annually by the working Bees; these--the workers--are supposed
by some to live but one year, but others are of opinion that they live
several years: those of them that escape a premature death will live, if
I mistake not, three or four years, or even longer. I once clipped one
of the wings of a Queen so that I could identify her, in case I should
ever meet with her again: I then returned her to her hive, and had the
good fortune to see her several times afterwards during three successive
years. Of course she lived more than three years. What became of her at
last I do not know; nor whether she may not still survive I do not know.
If, however, working Bees be as long-lived as Queen-Bees, and I think
it will be difficult to assign a good reason why they should not, they
may live to be three or four years of age, and perhaps more than that.
The ample provision they make for life seems to me to be a _natural_
indication that they expect at least to live to have occasion for it.
Sometimes fierce, destructive battles take place between the Bees of
different hives in an apiary, and when the Queen of one hive is killed,
the war ceases, and the surviving Bees of the two hives unite and become
one peaceable stock.

Some apiarians have obtained an extraordinary command over Bees,
particularly Mr. Wildman, who could entice a whole swarm to settle
just where he pleased--on his chin, on his head, on his hand, or on
any particular branch of a tree; but these feats, so surprising to the
beholders, he effected, as any other dexterous person may, by getting
possession of the Queen-Bee, and placing her where he intended the Bees
should settle; for it is a well-ascertained fact, that such is the
attachment of Bees to their Queen, that they will congregate around her,
and, as far as they can, protect her in whatever situation they find her.
Were the attachment and _allegiance_ of all subjects to their legitimate
sovereigns thus true and powerful, it would, as Sterne says, be something!

In working the Bees are said by some, whose sayings are perhaps more
fanciful than correct, in the following instance at least;--it has,
however, been _said_--that in working the Bees form themselves into four
companies, one of which roves the fields in search of materials for the
hive, another is employed in laying out the bottoms and partitions of the
cells, the third in smoothing the inside from the corners and angles,
and the fourth in bringing food for the rest. According to this account
some are labourers, others are builders, others finishers, and others
purveyors. As there is no difference in the formation of the workers, I
see no reason for assigning them any particular task or sort of work,
nor do I think the allotment of labour just mentioned rests upon any
other foundation than that of vague conjecture. Their diligence, however,
and activity, are so great, that in a favourable day they will make
cells which lie on each other, sufficient to contain some thousands of
Bees. To keep their habitations--their hives, close and tight, they make
use of a resinous gum, which the ancients called, and which is still
called--_propolis_. This substance is at first soft and pliable, but
becomes firmer every day; when it has acquired its proper consistency,
it is harder than wax and is an excellent cement. They guard against the
entrance of ants and other inimical insects into their hive, by gluing
or filling up with this propolis the smallest inlets; and with it they
fasten the edge of their hive to its floor in a very secure manner. Some
Bees stand as sentinels, and mount guard, as it were, to prevent the
intrusion of strangers and enemies. But if a snail, or other reptile, or
any large insect, forces its way into the hive, they first kill it, and
then coat it over with propolis, to prevent being annoyed by the noisome
smell, or by the maggots which might proceed from its putrefaction, if
left to putrefy. Bees can perceive the approach of bad weather; for
when black clouds are in the sky indicating rain, they immediately hurry
home with the greatest speed; and when to the eye of man there is no
visible token of a sudden shower or other immediate change from fine
weather to foul, Bees are aware of it, and by their sudden, hurried
return to their hives, are the first to prognosticate a change as near;
nor, often as I have observed them, have I ever found them wrong in this
respect. The manner in which Bees rest when they settle, after having
swarmed, and frequently in the hive also, is by collecting themselves
into a cluster and hanging to each other by the hooks of their feet.
When the weather has been warm I have frequently seen them, presently
after being admitted into an end-box, hang in catkins or ropes: this
they no doubt do to cool themselves the more. To view the Bees suspended
from one another in these single ropes is a natural curiosity well worth
attention. The flight of Bees when swarming is singularly rapid and most
extraordinary: during some minutes after having risen into the air, they
dart across each other in every conceivable direction, wheel round and
shoot through the merry crowd again, again wheel round and again dart
through; and notwithstanding the very limited space within which they
confine their gambols on these occasions, they never seem to come in
contact or to clash with each other; though animated and excited to a
degree of apparently frantic ovation, I never have observed one Bee fall
foul of another, and this it is that strikes me as being wonderful. The
balls attached to the legs of Bees returning to the hives, consist of
a powder gathered from the stamina of flowers, not yet brought to the
state of wax. The Bee, when it enters the cup of the flower, rolls itself
till its whole body is covered with the yellow farina that is therein.
It then brushes off this powdery farina with its hind legs, and kneads
it into two balls or small pellets, loaded with which it returns to the
hive. Bees powdered all over with farina may frequently be seen entering
their hive: the Bees thus covered carry their loads upon their whole
bodies, without the labour of packing them upon their thighs. Probably
when farina is collected in the immediate vicinity of their hives, Bees
may have the wisdom (I know not what else it can be properly called) to
save themselves the labour of brushing and making it into pellets. Some
authors hold that this substance is eaten by degrees, and being digested
in the body of the Bee, that it becomes wax,--or that by some peculiar
process it certainly is converted into wax,--and that when there is a
superfluous quantity of this undigested, or unmanufactured matter, it is
laid up in store, and is called _Bee-bread_. For my part I am of opinion
that farina is stored up purely as Bee-bread and food for the young
brood, and that _it enters not into the composition of wax_. The material
of which wax is formed I take to be quite distinct from farina--a
material of a different nature.

The following account of a working Bee appeared in the Farmers' Journal
some time ago, I subjoin it, because, in some respects, it is more
particular than that just given; but in one thing it is deficient--it
makes no mention of the eyes--the two luminaries or lights of the body.
The eyes of Bees are of an oblong figure, black like jet, transparent and

BEE, says the Farmers' Journal, a small and well-known insect, famous
for its industry. This useful and laborious insect is divided by two
ligaments into three parts or portions,--the head, the breast, and the
belly. The head is armed with two jaws and a trunk, the former of which
play like two jaws, opening and shutting to the right and left; the trunk
is long and tapering, and at the same time extremely pliant and flexible,
being destined by nature for the insect to probe to the bottom of the
flowers, through all the impediments of their chives and foliage, and
drain them of their treasured sweets: but were this trunk to be always
extended, it would prove incommodious, and be liable to be injured by a
thousand accidents; it is therefore of such a structure, that after the
performance of its necessary functions, it may be contracted, or rather
folded up; and besides this, it is fortified against all injuries by
four strong scales, two of which closely sheath it, and the two others,
whose cavities and dimensions are larger, encompass the whole. From the
middle-part or breast of the Bee grow the legs, which are six in number;
and at the extremity of the paws are two little hooks, discernible by the
microscope, which appear like sickles, with their points opposite to each

The wings are four, two greater and two smaller, which not only serve to
transport them through the air, but, by the noise they make, to give
notice of their departure and arrival, and to animate them mutually to
their labours. The hairs, with which the whole body is covered, are of
singular use in retaining the small dust that falls from the chives of
the flowers. The belly of the Bee consists of six rings, which slide over
one another, and may therefore be lengthened or contracted at pleasure;
and the inside of this part of the body contains the intestines,--the
bag of honey,--the bag of poison,--and the sting. The office of the
intestines is the same as in other animals. The bag of honey is
transparent as crystal, containing the sweet juices extracted from the
flowers, which the Bee discharges into the cells of the magazine for the
support of the community in w inter.

The bag of poison hangs at the root of the sting, through the cavity of
which, as through a pipe, the Bee ejects some drops of this venomous
liquor into the wound made by the sting, and so renders the pain more
excessive. The mechanism of the sting is admirable, being composed of two
darts, inclosed within a sheath that tapers into a fine point, near which
is an opening to let out the poison; the two darts are ejected through
another aperture, which being armed with several sharp beards, like those
of fish-hooks, are not easily drawn back again by the Bee; and indeed she
never disengages them if the wounded party happens to start and put her
in confusion; but if, when stung, one can have patience to continue calm
and unmoved, the stinging Bee clinches those lateral points round the
shaft of the dart, by which means she recovers her weapon, and gives less
pain to the person stung.


The poisonous liquor which the stinging Bee infuses into the wound causes
a fermentation, attended with a swelling, which continues sometimes
several days; but that may be prevented by immediately pulling out the
sting, and enlarging the puncture, to let the venomous matter have room
to escape.

Many nostrums have been recommended as cures--_infallible cures_, of
course--for the sting of a Bee, a few of which I will just mention;
premising, however, that I myself never make use of any of them; for,
if by chance a Bee happens to sting me, which is very rarely indeed
the case, though I never so much as cover my face, nor even put on a
pair of gloves, when operating among thousands and tens of thousands of
Bees, I extract the sting instanter, and never afterwards experience the
least pain, nor suffer the slightest inconvenience. But, if the sting be
suffered to remain in the flesh, during a few seconds only, it is not
very easy to stop the inflammation and to allay the pain. An onion cut
horizontally into thin slices, and pressed closely to the wounded part,
and renewed at short intervals, has been accounted a good application. If
the part stung be first well-rubbed with one of those slices, that would
perhaps have a soothing effect. The juice of the plantain is also said to
be a specific; olive oil is another; so is common salt; so is laudanum;
so is spirits of hartshorn; so is a solution of sal ammoniac; and so is
chalk or whitening.

The DOCTOR (and who so likely to prescribe properly for the case
as the Doctor?) says[F] "common whitening proves an effectual remedy
against the effects of the sting of a Bee or wasp. The whitening is to be
moistened with cold water, and immediately applied. It may be washed off
in a few minutes, when neither pain nor swelling will ensue."

[Footnote F: See "The Doctor," page 15.]

In "The Apiarian's Guide, by J. H. Payne," published since the first
edition of this work, I find the following novel mode of treatment
recommended as "almost a perfect cure," and which is said to be "as
immediate as it is effectual." "The method I (J. H. Payne, Esq.) have
of late adopted, by which the pain is instantly removed, and both the
swelling and inflammation prevented, is to pull out the sting as soon
as possible, and take a piece of iron and heat it in the fire, or for
want of that, take a live coal, (if of wood the better, because it lasts
longer) and hold it as near to the place as I can possibly endure it, for
five minutes; if from this application a sensation of heart (quere heat)
should be occasioned, a little oil of turpentine or goulard cerate must
be applied.

"I have found the quicker the application, the more effectual the

[Footnote G: See the Apiarian's Guide, pp. 58, 59.]

Pressure with the hollowed end of a small key, or with a pencil-case, is
practised by some unfortunates, and is said to check the circulation of
the poison.

This last mode of treatment--i. e. pressure with a small key, or
pencil-case--the smaller the better--is the simplest, and, if
_immediately_ adopted, is I believe the very best: but its efficacy
depends upon the instant application of the key or pencil-case to the
part stung, by which the poisonous matter is not only prevented from
being absorbed into the system, but the puncture is laid open, and the
virus thereby expressed and entirely got rid of more readily than by any
other means.

Accidents may sometimes happen, and the most cautious and humane apiarian
may occasionally receive a sting; but gentle treatment does not irritate
Bees; and when not irritated they have no disposition to use their



Notwithstanding the most persevering attention of Huber and
of other ingenious apiarians, and notwithstanding the experiments
and expedients had recourse to, to discover the secret, it is still
doubtful--it is still undiscovered, in what precise way the Queen-Bee
becomes impregnated. No one has ever yet witnessed the fact of her
copulation with a drone, either in the hive or elsewhere,--in all
probability no one ever will be witness to it; consequently the
contradictory conclusions apiarians have come to on this subject are
unsatisfactory, because unsupported by sufficient and convincing proofs.
Huber, after having made a variety of observations and tried numberless
experiments to get at the fact, gives it as his opinion--that the
impregnation of the Queen is accomplished by her intercourse with the
drone during a flight in the open atmosphere; but modestly states that
he never witnessed the act of copulation. On this last point I entirely
coincide with him, and firmly believe that no man ever yet has been
present to confirm the supposed fact; neither can any person deny the
possibility--not to say--the probability of such an union. On the other
hand, Mr. Huish is an advocate for the drones in another way, stating
them to be the male Bees, and that they fecundate--_not the Queen_, but
all the eggs of the Queen, produced by her, the year in which the drones
are brought into existence. But Mr. Huish has nowhere stated, in his much
admired treatise on Bees, what fecundates those eggs of the Queen which
are produced by her in the absence of the drones. It is well-known that
those eggs do well and come to perfection, long after the drones have
ceased to exist in the hive. _Eggs are laid and matured into Bees when
there is not one drone in the hive._ This, therefore, is an argument in
favour of Mr. Huber's opinion--namely--that the Queen once impregnated
remains so during her life,--and that, as the Queen lives some years,
the drones are called into being to fecundate the young Queens, brought
into existence for purposes that will be noticed in the next chapter.
Neither should we overlook the singular services of the short-lived
drones in other circumstances of the colony; for most essential is their
presence in the hive during the months of May, June, and July. Do we
not in those months behold the extraordinary rapidity with which the
working Bees leave their hive in search of materials for their various
works? So indefatigable are these admired insects, after enriching their
commonwealth, that in the time of honey-dews, scarcely a mechanical
labourer is left in the hive. Now, were it not for the drones--those
large bodied Bees--what would become of the young larvæ then in
existence? It would undoubtedly perish. No sooner, however, is this busy
season at an end, than the total destruction of the drones takes place;
but not until the animal heat which the drones impart to the hive has
accelerated the production of the young Bees, and added thousands of them
to the mother hive.

It is not possible that the drones can influence the impregnation of
the Queen's eggs, particularly those eggs which are produced after the
total destruction of the drones, which generally takes place in August,
and sometimes in the latter end of July. These later eggs are hatched,
and brought to a state of perfection by the crowded population of the
hive at that period: for a sufficient number of common Bees, that is--a
well-populated hive, will always bring to perfection the Queen's eggs
that have been deposited in the cells, after the total destruction of
the drones. This seems to prove, that there is some probable truth in
Huber's opinion respecting the agency of the drones in the procreation of
Bees, by their sexual union with the Queen. Though I was once inclined
to differ in opinion with Huber on this subject, and even went so far
as to venture to say with Huish, and in Huish's own words--that the
Queen knows not coition, and that she is both virgin and mother,[H] from
what I have seen in my observatory-hive this summer (1832) I am led to
doubt the accuracy of that remark, and am disposed to lean to Huber's
doctrine, and to think, that there _may be_ more truth in his experiments
than has hitherto been awarded to them: in short, I see no objection to
Huber's theory, although there is no direct proof of the copulation of
the Queens with the drones. All apiarians allow that there are male and
female in a hive or stock of Bees;--all admit--indeed, it is impossible
to deny---that Bees _do increase and multiply_ at a prodigious rate,
and so fulfil the Divine injunction; the only question to be solved is
this--_How_ is the Queen-Bee impregnated? This secret in nature--if
those matters, or natural operations which we cannot clearly explain,
which, though in themselves sensible and gross, may, nevertheless, be too
subtile, too refined, for our obtuse understandings to comprehend, and
for our dull faculties to investigate,--if these may be called secrets in
nature, there is a secret of this description respecting the sexual union
of Queen and drone Bees, or, at any rate, respecting the manner of the
impregnation of the Queen-Bee. I condemn no man who differs from me on
this nice subject, as I have no direct proof, either that Huber is right,
or that Huish is wrong, in their surmises relative to this disputable
matter. Individually they are men deserving the highest respect; their
labours and perseverance to throw light upon this mystic branch of
apiarian science deserve the utmost praise; as also do the labours
of the learned and ingenious Dr. Bevan, whose treatise on Bees I have
read with much pleasure; and have occasionally referred to, and shall
again make use of it, in this my humble attempt. We have all exerted
our best abilities to become the favourites of our patrons and friends.
How much each of us deserves the honours conferred on us, is best known
to those who have been most benefited by our unceasing endeavours to
improve and extend apiarian science. My great object is--not to dispute
with the naturalist, the philosopher, or with the apiarian, _how_ the
Queen-Bee becomes impregnated: because, be that as it may, it is, no
doubt, consistent with the law of nature,--it is, no doubt, a part of
that all-prevailing law; and though hitherto undiscovered,--hitherto
"one of nature's gambols with the human mind," I do cherish strong hopes
that the observatory-hive I have constructed, will on some auspicious,
future day, disclose such facts as will set the matter at rest for ever:
my great object at present is--to endeavour to improve the culture of
Honey-Bees, and to lay before my readers _practical_ instructions for the
more humane, and more profitable management of those interesting, little

[Footnote H: See Huish on Bees, page 13.]



In the last chapter we were at sea without a compass by which
to steer our course aright,--with two pilots on board, 'tis true; one
of them a foreigner, _experienced_ beyond most other men, though aged,
and infirm, and defective in his eyesight, but willing, nevertheless,
nay--anxious to conduct us to our wished-for haven; the other, though not
inexperienced, less practised, it is thought, in voyages of discovery,
and more venturesome than his senior in the office, contending that the
respectable, old gentleman had put us on a wrong tack,--that we were in
a wrong latitude,--that our reckoning was incorrect, and even making
merry with the old man's infirmities. Perplexed, and doubting in whom it
is most reasonable and safest to confide, we seize the helm ourselves
and make to the nearest shore, and luckily land on terra firma--terra
cognita, and are now approaching a _field_ with every corner of which
we are thoroughly acquainted. But metaphor apart, lest we should not
properly sustain it.

There is but one reigning Queen in a colony of Bees at one time: but
previously to swarming, royal-cells are constructed, and provision made,
for ensuring a successor to the Queen that leads the swarm and emigrates,
when the too-crowded population, and over-heated temperature of the
hive, render such emigration necessary. That it is the old Queen that
leaves the hive with a swarm I am well convinced, notwithstanding what
some apiarians assert to the contrary. To satisfy myself on this point,
I have sometimes in the evening of the day on which a hive has swarmed,
at other times on the second, and at others on the third day after
that event, put the parent-stock under, or rather, I may say--_over_
fumigation, dissected and examined the combs and Queen-cells minutely,
and the Bees also, and whenever I did find a Queen, she was invariably
a young one; but, instead of a Queen, I have more frequently found a
royal-cell just ready to give birth, as it were, to a successor to
that that had left the hive; and in general there are several of these
royal-cells containing embryo Queens, in different states of forwardness:
so that it seems, Bees have an instinctive foresight which leads them
to provide against casualties, for they are generally provided with the
means of bringing forth _supernumerary Queens_, that in case the first
that comes forth should prove steril, should be defective, or in any way
unfortunate, or unfitted to assume the sovereignty of the hive, there
may be others ready to burst into being, and remedy the misfortune that
would ensue, were there but one chance of a successor, and were that
one chance to prove abortive. But no sooner is a young Queen enthroned,
as it were, and established in the government of the hive than the
supernumerary ones, in whatever stage of existence, are all discarded,
and cast out of the colony, Mr. Porter, of Cowbit, has this year (1832)
picked up eight of those discarded, virgin Queens, together with the old
Queen, which last was sorely mutilated, _but not killed_--she alone was
cast out alive, the others had been killed: these nine supernumerary
Queens were all cast out of one fine colony of Bees in the course of two
successive days. That colony is a remarkably prosperous one, _and has not
swarmed_. I myself have observed no fewer than twenty-four supernumerary,
virgin Queens that were cast out of one of my stocks; and that stock is
flourishing, and _has not swarmed:_ and my respected friend, Mr. Salmon,
of Stokeferry, informs me that he once collected upwards of thirty of
these young Queens; whether his stock swarmed or not I am unable to
state positively, but presume it did not; for, generally speaking,
when supernumerary, virgin Queens are cast out of a colony, it may be
considered as an indication that that colony is not only prosperous, but
that swarming is not contemplated--in fact, is abandoned for that season.
The question then is--how are Bees to be managed, in order that they
may be induced to rid themselves of these supernumeraries? The relation
of the following practical lesson will both answer the question, and
exemplify and confirm the foregoing remarks.

It has already been related (in pages 62-66) that in 1826 I forced a
colony of Bees to swarm,--that I returned that swarm to its parent-stock,
and managed so as to prevent its swarming in future,--and that two
royal nymphs were cast out on that occasion. To prove whether I could
not accomplish the same object, and prevent swarming altogether, I had
recourse to the following experiment.

On the 26th of June, 1827, at one o'clock p.m. the thermometer, in one
of my colonies of Bees, suddenly rose to 96. The progressive rise and
constantly high temperature in that colony, during the evening and night,
together with the extraordinary weight of the hive, induced me to suspect
that swarming, if not prevented, would shortly take place. Not, however,
perceiving any of the symptoms that usually precede the immediate act of
swarming, I suffered matters to go on until the 6th of July, on which day
the thermometer stood at 102. The drones came out and sung their merry
tune; and during the whole night the temperature of the colony continued
to increase. On the next day unequivocal symptoms of swarming presented
themselves. These urged me to push my experiment to the highest pitch of
proof; I therefore went on narrowly watching and ventilating this stock,
until the 10th of July, when, in spite of my endeavours to keep down the
temperature by _merely ventilating_ the thermometer was standing at 112,
consequently I concluded that it was high time to lay this prosperous
colony under contribution; and in the evening of that day, I took from
it a beautifully finished glass of honey, as pure as the crystal stream;
its weight was sixteen pounds. I continued ventilating the side-boxes,
and placed an empty bell-glass upon the middle one, from which I had just
before taken the full one, I then withdrew the dividing-slide, and the
Bees immediately entered the glass, and began their works in it, and in
four days filled it with comb, and partly filled the cells with honey. On
the sixth day after those operations had been performed, a continuance of
the former temperature demonstrated to me the necessity of taking away a
side-box. I did so, and found its weight to be no less than sixty-five
pounds. On removing the box of honey, I replaced it with an empty one;
and on drawing up the tin-slide, in order to admit the Bees into the
empty box, to my great gratification I found the thermometer standing at
82 in that box, and in the space of five minutes the other collateral-box
was under the same agreeable temperature. By this continued ventilation,
within the short space of twenty-four hours afterwards, I ascertained the
following important fact,--viz.--that no sooner did the Queen-Bee feel
the agreeable change that had taken place in the interior of her domicil,
than the royal nymph was dislodged from its cell, and by the Bees brought
out of the pavilion, and laid lifeless on the front-board.

This fact taught me by experiment, that the reigning Queen would very
soon, from real necessity, have been compelled to leave the now discarded
nymph to take possession of the hive.

The Queen, owing to the excessive and daily increasing heat of the
hive, would have left her wealthy colony--would have been compelled to
leave it--had not the ventilation, and the enlargement of her domicil,
prevented the painful necessity of her so doing. This, I think, proves
the truth of the observation--that it is the old Queen which leaves, when
Bees are compelled to swarm; but, if not, the following experimental
operations have demonstrated the fact. I have united many swarms, and
every sovereign Bee I have been under the necessity of making a captive,
has invariably been an old one.

On the 25th of June, 1828, I took up a parent-stock, four days after
it had thrown off a swarm, and there found only the royal nymph within
its cradle--_there was no Queen left in that stock, save the one in
embryo_--the old Queen had gone with the swarm. This lesson caused me
to carry my experiments farther. Having taken up the parent-stock, as
just stated, I united all the working Bees of that stock to those of the
swarm already mentioned, and I also put the young larvæ found in the
parent-stock, to the now united-stock; I then placed the intended royal
species--the nymph already mentioned--with the remainder of the young
brood, in one of the collateral-boxes, and immediately let the odour of
the stock through the communicating slide. To my great satisfaction I
discovered the willingness of the old Bees to bring to perfection the
young they had been compelled to leave in their former domicil. The royal
nymph, however, was an exception; she alone was instantly dragged from
her cell, and cast out of the hive.

This confirmed the proof of the important fact gained the preceding
year,--namely--that ventilation and the means of dividing the treasures
of the Bees, by taking off a glass or a box of honey,--or, if necessary,
by taking off both a glass and a box, set aside the necessity for
swarming. On all occasions, under this practice, a proper temperature
may be supported in a colony; and in all critical points, by a just
observation of the state of the thermometer, Bees may be relieved and
assisted, and all the mischiefs attending the old mode of management
may be guarded against and prevented. For when adequately relieved
and properly assisted, they proceed to rid the colony of all embryo
Queens, which would only become so many supernumeraries in a hive
where the reigning Queen is fertile, and the necessity for emigration
is superseded. But, unless Bees could be made to understand that
accommodation will be extended to them at the proper time, they, guided
by _their_ sense of their situation--not by ours--naturally and wisely
provide _their own means_ of relieving themselves; and in so doing
frequently bring forth what afterwards become supernumerary Queens,
which are invariably destroyed and cast out of the colony, as soon as
the Bees are sensible that they have no occasion for them. And, whenever
a royal nymph or a virgin Queen is thus cast out, swarming need not be



Neglected generally, as is the management of Bees by their
cottage possessors, there is no part of it less attended to, nor more
slovenly performed, when performed at all, than that of feeding. The
cottager commonly takes up, as he terms it, his best hives for the sake
of the treasures they contain, or are supposed to contain. This is
destroying Bees because they are rich! He also takes up the lightest and
poorest--of course the late swarms--and those that are the least likely
to live through the winter; because if he get from one of these but two
or three pounds of honey, though he seldom gets so much, and a few ounces
of wax, he thinks that that is all clear gain: and, if he get neither
honey nor wax, he, at any rate, gets rid of the _expense_ and _trouble_
of feeding _his good-for-nothing swarms_, which, in his opinion, however
fed, would never come to any good. A pennyworth of brimstone will do
the job at once, and is more easily paid for than a pound of sugar, and
after that another, and perhaps another. Such is the reasoning, and
calculation, and cruel practice of the generality of cottage Bee-keepers!
Such is the destruction annually dealt out to hundreds of poor swarms,
and thousands and millions of _poor_ Bees!! I do from my heart pity
and deplore the untimely fate of these suffocated, innocent, valuable
insects. To destroy Bees because they are rich is a _barbarous_ practice,
and ought by all means to be discountenanced and discontinued;--to
destroy Bees because they are poor and may need support, is cruel---is
inhuman--is shocking, however little may be thought of it by those who
still adhere to this practice. Even with the common straw-hives, this
terrible havoc among poor stocks and late swarms might be prevented,
if they, who happen to have them, would so far improve themselves in
the practical management of an apiary, as to be able to fumigate, and
to take such Bees out of the hives containing them, and to join them
to their richer stock-hives, in the latter end of August, or any time
in September. This is by far the best plan that can be adopted with
poor hives; and there really is no difficulty in the operation. This
strengthens the population of rich stocks, and causes them to swarm
early in the ensuing spring, _it preserves the Bees_, which is of
itself, independently of the advantages accruing from it afterwards, a
consideration that never should be lost sight of,--it leaves the contents
of the fumigated hive, as absolutely in the possession of the Bee-owner,
as if the Bees had been suffocated and destroyed,--and in most cases it
entirely does away with the necessity of feeding. I confess I should
rejoice greatly, and flatter myself that every friend of humanity would
rejoice with me, to see this mode of disposing of weak hives universally
adopted; because, it may be presumed, that the next step in the way of
improvement would be to take away the superabundant treasure of the Bees
and _still preserve them_.

Notwithstanding, under certain circumstances it will always be necessary,
and judicious in Bee-masters, to have recourse to _feeding_. If, for
instance, after an early swarm is put into a hive, or into a box, two or
three or more cold, ungenial days should follow, and more particularly if
those days should happen to be rainy also, by feeding such a swarm you
will assist your impoverished labourers, not only with _necessary food_,
but with materials and treasure, which, unfortunately for them, they
cannot at such an unfavourable juncture get abroad to collect elsewhere.

Different apiarians have adopted and recommended different ways of
feeding Bees, none of which, in my opinion, possess any great merit; in
order, therefore, to improve this part of Bee-management, my endeavours
have been directed to the contrivance and construction of a feeding
department; which is attached to my collateral-hives in so convenient a
manner, that I can feed my Bees, at any time when feeding is required--in
spring, in autumn, or in winter, without disturbing the position of the
hive, and without changing its interior temperature; which temperature
cannot be kept equable and comfortable, where a hive is frequently lifted
up from its stand, and its interior is suddenly exposed to the action of
perhaps an extremely cold atmosphere. Besides, a hive cannot be lifted up
without breaking the propolis by which it has been cemented all round
and made fast to its stool. In sharp, cold weather, disruption of the
hive from its stool is a serious mischief done to the Bees; because,
however carefully it maybe set down again, there will have been made many
vents and crevices between the edge of the hive and the stool, which
will occasion various currents of air, cold, frosty, or other--proper or
improper--to be continually passing through the lower part of the hive.
And should Bees be tempted by food, or urged by hunger, to descend into
these currents in sharp, frosty weather, but few of them will get away
alive; the keen air acting upon them whilst feeding, paralyzes and kills
them. I am an advocate for keeping Bees cool in winter--yes, _cool and
still also:_ let them not be disturbed nor disunited,--let them not be
forced nor tempted to (if I may so say) uncluster themselves. I have no
objection to a current of air passing through the lower part of a hive
in winter, _provided the Bees be not disturbed--be not exposed singly to
its nipping influence;_ but I strongly object to the feeding of Bees in
such currents, because, in that case, feeding is prejudicial to them.
The cottager seldom protects his hives in winter with any other covering
than that which a pot, called a pancheon, whelmed over each hive, forms;
capped with this unsightly piece of earthenware, his hives are exposed
to all weathers; consequently the less he disturbs them the better. He
therefore should give his weak stocks _a copious feeding_, in September
at the latest,--not molest them during the severity of winter,--but in
the spring, as soon as the Bees begin to make their appearance at the
mouth of his hives, introduce his wooden trough furnished with a _little_
Bee-sirup, and then close up the entrance,--withdraw the trough in the
morning, and return it replenished every evening, as long as feeding is
necessary. Tearing off a hive at Christmas, and scattering a few ounces
of brown sugar upon the stand, and then setting down the hive again,
deserves not the name of feeding; though it is all the bounty that is
bestowed on some stocks; and is even more than others are treated with.
It need not then be wondered at that so many stocks of Bees perish in the
winter, and in the spring of every year. _By judicious feeding, at proper
seasons, almost any stock of Bees may be preserved: by injudicious
feeding_, at an improper season, even good stocks--stocks that would
survive, if not fed at all, nor molested, during the depth and severity
of winter, may be seriously injured--may be totally destroyed. The
peasant Bee-keeper, however, does not often subject himself to the charge
_complimental_ of being accessary to the death of his Bees _through
mistaken kindness_.

The sum and substance of my directions, as respects Bee-feeding, are

1. In spring feed _sparingly_.

2. In autumn feed _plentifully_.

3. In winter _do not feed at all_.

4. Feed swarms, if unseasonable weather immediately follow the act of

5. Preserve the Bees of weak stocks, and prevent a great deal of the
necessity for feeding, by adding them to those that are rich and able
to support them. This last is the best and cheapest, nay--it is even a
_profitable_ method of feeding Bees.

Early swarming, where swarming is necessary as in the straw-hive
colonies, is of great advantage to the watchful apiarian, but not to the
inattentive and slothful manager. I have seen in a cottager's garden a
swarm of Bees on the 10th of May, which was considerably weaker in the
month of August, than was a swarm on the 10th of July, and that solely on
account of not being fed and properly attended to.

If early swarms are judiciously fed, and supported by a natural heat
within, they will be greatly benefitted thereby, and eventually prosper.

But, notwithstanding what has been already said, the cottager may
probably ask--"how can I feed my Bees without lifting up their hive?" I
again and again request him to examine my collateral box-hive; and he
will perceive that he may easily feed the Bees in his cottage-hive in
the same easy manner, if he have but ingenuity enough to attach a proper
feeder to the stool or floor of his hive.

Mr. Huish advises apiarians to make choice of a fine and warm day in
which to feed Bees, he says, the danger to be apprehended from the
change of the temperature in the hive will thereby be obviated. This, I
grant, is rational and humane, and in some degree a confirmation of my
already expressed opinion, respecting the mischiefs resulting from the
inconsiderate practice of exposing the interior of a hive to sudden
and extreme alternations of temperature. But it matters not what sort
of weather it may be, if my mode of feeding be adopted. I feed my Bees
in their native temperature, without disturbing them or exposing their
food to the temptation of robbers, which feeding in the ordinary way so
frequently encourages, during the spring and autumnal seasons; and it is
at these times that Bees stand in most need of assistance.

In the year 1828, I purchased a cottage-hive of a neighbour, it was
a large hive, and well-stocked with Bees, but extremely light; I was
fearful for the safety of its inmates, and, therefore, placed it over one
of my feeders; in order to give them support by feeding, I placed the
sirup intended for their food beneath the hive; but to my great surprise
the Bees refused to take the proffered bounty. I persevered in my
endeavours to induce them to feed for four days, but they would not touch
the well-intended boon: I therefore resolved to ascertain the cause of
their refusal, and on turning up the hive I discovered that thousands of
the Bees were in a dying state, I had the curiosity to take the whole of
them out singly. After several hours' particular attention and patient
search, I found the Queen was dead. I then united the weak, enfeebled
Bees to a rich stock, and they nearly all recovered their strength.
Their numbers greatly assisted in the labour of the hive to which they
were joined. Certain it is, that if any accident befal their Queen in
winter, it is total _ruin_ to that stock of Bees: where such a death is
discovered, feeding will avail nothing, the Bees dwindle away and perish.

Mr. Huish says--and he is perfectly correct in saying--that there are
some persons who defer the feeding of their Bees until the moment they
suppose that they may be in actual want. This is a most reprehensible
plan; for should feeding be too long delayed, the Bees will become so
weak and debilitated, that they will be unable to convey the food into
their cells: the food ought to be administered to poor stocks, three
weeks or a month before they may be supposed to be in actual want;
it will then be conveyed with the greatest despatch into the cells,
and the hive will be saved from a death of famine. He then goes on to
observe--that some apiarians conceive that the feeding of Bees in the
spring renders them lazy and inactive. On what this opinion is grounded
he is at a loss to conjecture, as must be every practical apiarian;
for it is in direct contradiction, not only to Mr. Huish's experience,
but also to that of many other apiarians. A little food granted to
a populous, and even well-provisioned box or hive in the spring, is
attended with very beneficial consequences. It diffuses animation and
vigour throughout the whole community;--it accelerates the breeding
of the Queen--and consequently conduces to the production of early
swarms, where room is not previously given in order to prevent swarming


Artificial food proper for Bees may be made by mixing _coarse_, raw
sugar, and good, sound ale, in the following proportions:--

To a quart of ale add a pound and a half of sugar, gently boil them, in
a sweet, well-tinned saucepan, over a fire clear from smoke, for five or
six minutes, or until the sugar be dissolved and thoroughly incorporated
with the ale; and, during the process of boiling, skim off the dross
that rises to the surface. Some persons boil these ingredients much
longer, and until they become, when cool, a thick, clammy sirup; this
not only diminishes the quantity of the mixture, but renders it rather
disadvantageous, to weak Bees in particular, by clogging and plaguing
them, if, as they are almost sure to do, they get their legs or wings
daubed with it. I prefer sirup in a more liquid state.

For spring feeding, I advise--that not more than a pound of sugar be put
to a quart of ale, or sweet wort, if it can be obtained, and that a small
quantity of common salt be added. By a _small quantity_ I mean--a drachm
or two at the most to a quart of the sirup. Salt, it has been said, is
conducive to the health of Bees, and the most efficacious remedy for the
dysentery, which sometimes affects Bees in the spring; therefore, it may
not be amiss to put a little salt into their food, by way of preventive,
rather than to have recourse to it afterwards as a remedy.

Speaking of the substances which are proper for the feeding of Bees,
Mr. Huish says[I]--"he is perfectly convinced that honey alone is very
injurious to Bees, as it in general gives them the dysentery." Whether
by this _extraordinary passage_ Mr. Huish has, or has not, subjected
himself to the lash of his own ridicule, it would be hypercritical and
unbecoming in me to determine. As an apiarian I respect him; in no other
character am I acquainted with him. His work on the management of Bees
I have read, and have derived information and occasionally assistance
from some of its pages. There are in it, nevertheless, several untenable
positions, of which I consider the above-quoted passage to be one: and,
if what he has remarked somewhat sarcastically, in a note at the foot of
page 31, be read in conjunction with this passage, it will be for the
candid reader, apiarian, or other, to decide whether Mr. Huish in propriâ
personâ does not, oddly enough, exemplify his own remark. It is there
said--that "there is no wonder in nature which an apiarian has not seen."
Professedly an apiarian himself, he must have seen some, at least, of
_the wonders in nature_, otherwise he never could have been "_perfectly
convinced_"--that honey--"_honey alone_"--the very substance which Bees,
guided by the instinct of their nature, collect with so much industry,
and store up with so much care, for their subsistence, should be "very
injurious to them, and in general give them the dysentery." From this
it seems that the substance, which is the natural food for one stock of
Bees, is physic for another, if not poison!! I cannot but express my
astonishment that a gentleman, so acute and experienced as Mr. Huish
undoubtedly is, should have asserted in the most unqualified manner--that
"honey alone is very injurious to Bees." Were this the fact, rich stocks,
and all stocks that subsist upon "honey alone" during winter, would "in
general" be affected with dysentery in the spring, which certainly is
not the case. "In general" rich stocks are healthy and strong in the
spring. Poverty is the predisposing cause of dysentery among Bees: a
regular supply of their natural--their peculiar food, does not induce
dysentery or disease of any sort. Had Mr. Huish analyzed the honey given
to Bees as food, and which induced dysentery, he would, I suspect, have
discovered that it was not "honey alone," but--_medicated honey_--_honey
and brimstone_, or honey strongly tinctured either with brimstone or
tobacco. That honey, tinctured with the pernicious qualities of those
substances, should have a laxative effect upon impoverished, debilitated
Bees, is no more than might be expected: but then it is not the honey
that has the "injurious" effect, but the essence of the brimstone or of
the tobacco that is administered along with it. What effect honey, that
has not been stoved and saturated with brimstone or with tobacco, may
have upon _weak_ Bees, when given to them for _spring food_, I pretend
not to determine, because I have never tried the experiment. But I do
say that before the arrival of spring, honey, that has been drained or
expressed from the comb, undergoes fermentation, and that fermentation
may, for aught I know, impart to it physical properties, which in its
pure, liquid, unchanged state, in the warm hive, it does not possess. I
am not chemist enough to venture to assert that it is so, but I think
it highly probable that fermentation may alter the properties of honey,
and perhaps may render it unwholesome to Bees. But fresh, unfermented
honey, even that in the blackest and oldest combs--the very refuse, and
all such as the cottage-housewife makes into common mead, if spread upon
large dishes and placed in an apiary, will be banqueted upon by the Bees
in the most eager manner, and is apparently much enjoyed by them. They
soon carry into their hives what they do not consume on the spot, and
suffer no inconvenience whatever from the treat. I have feasted my Bees
in this way scores of times, and esteem it the very best mode of autumnal
feeding, and the most profitable way of disposing of broken combs and
refuse honey. "Honey alone" is the natural food of Bees, and if given
to them pure and untainted, in its primitive, limpid state, so far from
being injurious, it is highly beneficial to them; of this I have not the
shadow of a doubt. For autumnal feeding, I prefer honey to all other
substances, and recommend it as the most proper food that can be given to

[Footnote I: Huish on Bees, page 272.]



From the account of the mode of supplying Bees with artificial
food, to the enumeration of such trees, plants, and flowers as are most
frequented by Bees, for the purpose of culling from them the various
substances, which their necessities, their nature, or their instinct
(which is a part of their nature) urge them to seek for, the transition
is so easy and natural--is so akin to the subject of Bee-feeding, as to
be rather a continuation thereof than a transition to a fresh one; I
therefore proceed to give a catalogue of those trees and plants which
afford pabulum for Bees. It is furnished principally from my own ocular
observation, and is partly collected from the observation of others,
whose curiosity has led them to pay attention to the subject, and to make
remarks upon it.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Alder-tree                  Celery
  Almond-tree                 Cherry-tree
  Althea frutex               Chesnut-tree
  Alyssum                     Chickweed
  Amaranthus                  Clover
  Apple-tree                  Cole or coleseed
  Apricot-tree                Coltsfoot
  Arbutus (alpine)            Coriander
  Ash-tree                    Crocus
  Asparagus                   Crowfoot
  Aspin                       Crown-imperial
  Balm                        Currants
  Bean                        Cypress-tree
  Betony                      Daffodil
  Blackberry                  Dandelion
  Black-currant-tree          Dogberry-tree
  Box-tree                    Elder-tree
  Bramble                     Elm-tree
  Broom                       Endive
  Bugloss (viper's)
  Buckwheat                   Fennel
  Burnet                      Furze

  Cabbage                     Goldenrod
  Cauliflower                 Gooseberry-tree

         *       *       *       *       *

  Hawthorn                    Mallow (marsh)
  Hazel-tree                  Marigold (French)
  Heath                       Marigold (single)
  Holly                       Maple-tree
  Holly-hock (trumpet)        Marjoram (sweet)
  Honey-suckle                Melilot
  Honey-wort (cerinthe)       Melon-tree
  Hyacinth                    Mezereon
  Hysop                       Mignionette
  Jonquil                     Nectarine-tree
                              Nettle (white)
  Laurel                      Onion
  Laurustinus                 Orange-tree
  Lavender                    Ozier
  Lemon-tree                  Parsley
  Lily (water)                Parsnip
  Lily (white)                Pea
  Lime-tree                   Peach-tree
  Liquidamber                 Pear-tree
  Liriodendrum, or            Peppermint
     Tulip-tree               Plane-tree
  Lucerne                     Plum-tree

       *       *       *       *       *

  Radish                      Tacamahac
  Ragweed                     Tansy (wild)
  Rasberry                    Tare
  Rosemary (wild)             Teasel
  Roses (single)              Thistle (common)
  Rudbechiæ                   Thistle (sow)
                              Thyme (lemon)
  Saffron                     Thyme (wild)
  Sage                        Trefoil
  Saintfoin                   Turnip
  St. John's wort
  Savory (winter)             Vetch
  Snowberry-tree              Violet (single)
  Stock (single)
  Strawberry                  Wallflower (single)
  Sunflower                   Willow-herb
  Sycamore-tree               Willow-tree

                              Yellow weasel-snout

       *       *       *       *       *

Of these some are valuable for the supply of pabulum they afford Bees
early in spring; as _the white alyssum, broom, crocus, furze, hazel,
laurustinus, mezereon, ozier, plane-tree, poplar-tree, snowdrop,
sycamore-tree, the willow-tree, &c._ Others again are valuable on
account of the lateness of the season that Bees derive assistance from
them; as _the golden-rod, heath, ivy, laurustinus, mignionette, ragweed,
&c._ Some abound with honey; as _borage, buckwheat, burnet, coleseed,
currant and gooseberry-trees, heath, leek, mignionette, mustard, onion,
thyme, the blossoms of apple, apricot, cherry, nectarine, pear, and
plum-trees, and the leaves of those trees remarkable for what is called
honey-dew, as the aspin, blackberry, laurel, laurustinus, lime, maple,
oak, plane, poplar, and sycamore-tree._ Among those that are rich in
pollen, may be classed--_the arbutus, ash, blackberry, box, chesnut,
cypress, elder, laurel, marsh-mallow, turnip, &c._

The cultivation of some of the most valuable of these is too-limited
to be particularly advantageous to Bees, as _alyssum, borage, burnet,
golden-rod, laurustinus, mezereon, mignionette, &c._ The most extensive
and lasting Bee-pasturage in this country is _clover, heath_, and
in my own immediate neighbourhood _mustard_. In short, every one of
the flowers, &c. mentioned in the foregoing catalogue, and others
innumerable, are in their turns resorted to by Bees, and of course are
more or less advantageous to them.



To excite our admiration of the industry and ingenuity of Bees,
we need only take into our hands a piece of _honey-comb_, and examine it
attentively. Its neatness, its beauty, its construction, the similarity
and exact proportion of its double web of cells, for a honey-comb is,
in fact, a web of cell-work on both sides, are most admirable, and
calculated to lead the contemplative mind from nature's work up to
nature's God.

When a swarm of Bees is put into a hive, or into a box, they immediately
set about constructing combs in it, and proceed in their building work
with a rapidity that is truly astonishing. The cells that are opposite to
each other are advanced alike: the work on one side is just as forward
and in the same state as that on the other side. In the cells first
finished the Queen begins to deposit her eggs. In an incredibly short
space of time, an immense number of cells is completed, and the Bees
store pollen, farina, or Bee-bread, (which are so many names for the same
substance) in some of those not already occupied by eggs, and in others
honey soon becomes visible: all is activity, industry, and apparently
happiness. But, to come to particulars:--

As Dr. Bevan, in the course of his _masterly_ chapter "On the
Architecture of Bees," has given an engraved representation of a piece
of honey-comb,--and as Mr. Huish also has given a somewhat similar
representation, but better than Dr. Bevan's, inasmuch as it is more
varied, and shows the royal-cells in their different stages to more
advantage, and the drone-cells likewise;--I cannot, perhaps, do the
_honey-comb_ so much justice in any way, as by presenting to my reader
a copy of Mr. Huish's piece of comb, which has been _greatly improved_
by the skilful hand of my engraver, and by giving along with it Dr.
Bevan's able description. Though after all, a piece of _real comb_, to
look at and examine, is more beautiful and far better than any engraving
possibly can be, however cleverly it may be executed: and therefore,
notwithstanding the plate, I would recommend it to my reader to procure
a piece of real honey-comb, and with it in his hand read the following
account, which is chiefly from Dr. Bevan's pen.


Royal-cells in different states of forwardness, common-cells, and
drone-cells, are intended to be severally represented in this plate. The
ranges forming the upper half, and marked--a. are intended to represent
common brood-cells and honey-cells--most of them in an empty state. The
lower ranges, marked--b. are drone-cells, and are represented as closed
up, and as they appear when full of brood. Drone-cells, when filled
with brood and sealed up, present a fuller and more convex surface than
the cells containing common brood--these, that is--the cells containing
the brood that becomes working Bees, are sometimes flat and even, and
sometimes rather concave. The four large cells, attached perpendicularly
to the edge of the comb, and marked--c. d. e. f. are royal-cells in
different states of forwardness; that marked--c. is similar in size
and shape to an acorn-cup, and is supposed to be quite empty; that
marked--d. is in a more advanced state, and is supposed to contain
a royal embryo, in its _larva_ state: the royal-cell, marked--e. is
considerably lengthened, narrowed, and nearly closed, because the larva
it is supposed to contain is about to be transformed into a royal nymph,
in which stage of its existence, as it does not require the assistance of
nurses or common Bees, it is closed up entirely, as in the royal-cell,
marked--f. In this closed cell it progresses from nymph to Bee, and in
due time--that is, in about sixteen days from its being deposited as
an egg, it emerges a virgin Queen. When the temperature of a hive, or
pavilion of nature, is at a proper height--namely, between 70 and 80
degrees, sixteen days is the period nature requires for the production
of a Queen-Bee,--twenty-one for the perfection of a working Bee,--and
twenty-six for a drone Bee. But, as Dr. Bevan very justly remarks, "the
development of each species proceeds more slowly when the colonies are
weak, or the air cool,--and that when the weather is very cold it is
entirely suspended."

But to return from this short, though it is hoped, not uninteresting
digression, into which the explanation of the Queen-cells has led us.

"The combs of the Bee-hive comprise a congeries of hexagonal cells,
formed by the Bees, as receptacles for honey or for embryo Bees. A
honey-comb is allowed to be one of the most striking achievements of
insect industry, and an admirable specimen of insect architecture. It has
attracted the admiration of the contemplative philosopher in all ages,
and awakened speculation, not only in the naturalist, but also in the
mathematician: so regular, so perfect, is the structure of the cells,
that it satisfies every condition of a refined problem in geometry. Still
a review of their proceedings will lead to the conclusion, as Huber has
observed, that, "the geometrical relations, which apparently embellish
the productions of Bees, are rather the necessary result of their mode
of proceeding, than the principle by which their labour is guided." "We
must therefore conclude, that Bees, although they act geometrically,
understand neither the rules nor the principles of the arts which they
practise so skilfully, and that the geometry is not in the Bee, but in
the great Geometrician who made the Bee, and made all things in number,
weight, and measure.

"Before the time of Huber, no naturalist had seen the commencement of the
comb, nor traced the several steps of its progress. After many attempts,
he at length succeeded in attaining the desired object; by preventing
the Bees from forming their usual impenetrable curtain by suspending
themselves from the top of the hive; in short, he obliged them to build
upwards, and was thereby enabled, by means of a glass window, to watch
every variation and progressive step in the construction of a comb.

"_Each comb in a hive is composed of two ranges of cells, backed
against each other: these cells_, looking at them as a whole, may be
said to _have one common base_, though no one cell is opposed directly
to another. This base or partition, between the double row of cells,
is so disposed as to form a pyramidal cavity at the bottom of each, as
will be explained presently. _The mouths of the cells_, thus ranged on
each side of a comb, _open into two parallel streets_ (there being a
continued series of combs in every well filled hive). These streets are
sufficiently contracted, to avoid waste of room, and to preserve a proper
warmth, yet _wide enough to allow the passage of two Bees abreast_.
Apertures through different parts of the combs are reserved to form near
roads, for crossing from street to street, whereby much time is saved to
the Bees.

    These in firm phalanx ply their twinkling feet,
    Stretch out the ductile mass, and form the street,
    With many a cross-way path and postern gate,
    That shorten to their range the spreading state.


"_Bees_, as has been already observed, _build their cells of an
hexangular form, having six equal sides_, with the exception of the first
or uppermost row, the shape of which is an irregular pentagon, the roof
of the hive forming one of the members of the pentagon.

"There are only three possible figures of the cells," says Dr. Reid,
"which can make them all equal and similar, without any useless
interstices. These are--the equilateral triangle, the square and the
regular hexagon. It is well-known to mathematicians, that there is not a
fourth way possible, in which a plane may be cut into little spaces, that
shall be equal, similar, and regular, without having any interstices." Of
these three geometrical figures, the hexagon most completely unites the
prime requisites for insect architecture. The truth of this proposition
was perceived by Pappus, an eminent Greek philosopher and mathematician,
who lived at Alexandria, in the reign of Theodosius the Great, and its
adoption by Bees, in the construction of honey-comb, was noticed by that
ancient geometrician. These requisites are:--

"First, Oeconomy of materials. There are no useless partitions in a
honey-comb, each of the six lateral panels of one cell forms also one
of the panels of an adjoining cell; and of the three rhombs which form
the pyramidal base of a cell, each contributes one third towards the
formation of the bases of three opposing cells, the bottom or centre of
every cell resting against the point of union of the panels that are at
the back of it.

"Secondly, Oeconomy of room; no interstices being left between adjoining

"Thirdly, the greatest possible capacity or internal space, consistent
with the two former desiderata.

"Fourthly, Oeconomy of materials and economy of room produce economy of
labour. And in addition to these advantages, the cells are constructed
in the strongest manner possible, considering the quantity of materials
employed. Both the sides and bases are so exquisitely thin, that three or
four placed on each other are not thicker than a leaf of common writing
paper; each cell, separately weak, is strengthened by its coincidence
with other cells, and _the entrance is fortified with an additional
ledge or border of wax_, to prevent its bursting from the struggles of
the Bee-nymph, or from the ingress and _egress_ of the labourers. This
entrance border is _at least three times as thick as the sides of the
cell_, and thicker at the angles than elsewhere, which prevents the
mouth of the cell from being regularly hexagonal, though the interior is
perfectly so.

    On books deep poring, ye pale sons of toil,
    Who waste in studious trance the midnight oil,
    Say, can you emulate with all your rules,
    Drawn, or from Grecian or from Gothic schools,
    This artless frame? Instinct her simple guide,
    A heaven-taught insect baffles all your pride.
    Not all your marshall'd orbs that ride so high,
    Proclaim more loud a present Deity,
    Than the nice symmetry of these small cells,
    Where on each angle genuine science dwells,
    And joys to mark, through wide creation's reign,
    How close the lessening links of her continued chain.


"Having just adverted to the ingenuity of Bees in thickening, and thereby
strengthening the mouths of the cells, it may here be observed--that
_additional strength is also derived from the Bees covering the whole
surface of the combs, but more particularly the edge of the cells, with
a peculiar kind of varnish_, which they collect for the purpose. At
first the combs are delicately white, semi-transparent, and exceedingly
fragile, smooth but unpolished: in a short time their surfaces become
stronger, and assume more or less of a yellow tint. The deepening of the
colour of honey-combs has been supposed, by some, to be the effect of
age; and in part it may be: but it is principally owing to the coat of
varnish, with which the Bees cover them. This varnish strongly resembles
propolis, appearing to differ from it only in containing the colouring
material which imparts to wax its yellow hue. The source of this
colouring matter has not been discovered: it is insoluble in alcohol, but
the manufacture of white-wax shows that it is destructible by light. But
to return to the construction of the cell-work.

"_The pyramidal basis of a cell is formed by the junction of three
rhomboidal or lozenge-shaped portions of wax:_ the apex of the pyramid
being situated where the three obtuse angles of the lozenges meet. To
the exterior edges and angles are attached the six panels or sides of
each cell. The apex of each pyramidal bottom, on one side of a comb,
forms the angles of the bases of three cells on the opposite side, the
three lozenges respectively concurring in the formation of the bases of
the same cells. This will, I hope, explain what is meant by "each cell
separately weak, being strengthened by coincidence with others." The
bottom of each cell rests upon three partitions of opposite cells, from
which it receives a great accession of strength.

"As it is desirable that the reader should thoroughly comprehend this
subject, I will re-state it in other words. The partition which separates
the two opposing rows of cells, and which occupies, of course, the middle
distance between their two surfaces, is not a plane but a collection of
rhombs, there being three at the bottom of each cell: the three together
form in shape, a flattened pyramid, the basis of which is turned towards
the mouth of the cell; each cell is in form, therefore, a hexagonal
prism, terminated by a flattened trihedral pyramid, the three sides of
which pyramid are rhombs, that meet at the apex by their obtuse angles.

"The union of the lozenges in one point, in addition to the support which
it is the means of affording to the three partitions between opposing
cells, is also admirably adapted to receive the little egg and to
concentrate the heat necessary for its incubation.

"Each obtuse angle of the lozenges or rhombs forms an angle of about 110
degrees, and each acute one, an angle of about 70 degrees. Mr. Maraldi
found by mensuration that the angles of these rhombs, which compose
the base of a cell, amounted to 109 degrees and 28 seconds, and 70
degrees and 32 seconds: and the famous mathematician Koenig, pupil of
the celebrated Bernoulli, having been employed for that purpose by M.
Reaumur, has clearly shown, by the method of infinitesimals, that the
quantity of these angles, using the least possible wax, in the cell of
the same capacity, should contain 109 degrees and 26 seconds, and 70
degrees and 34 seconds. This was confirmed by the celebrated Mr. Mac
Laurin, who very justly observes, that Bees do truly construct their
cells of the best figure, and with the utmost mathematical exactness.

"The construction of several combs is generally going on at the same
time. No sooner is the foundation of one laid, with a few rows of cells
attached to it, than a second and a third are founded on each side,
parallel to the first, and so on, (if the season give encouragement to
the operations of the Bees,) till the hive is filled with their works;
the first constructed comb or combs being always in the most advanced
state, and therefore the first to be completed.

"_The design of every comb is sketched out, and the first rudiments are
laid by one single Bee._ This founder-Bee forms a block, out of a rough
mass of wax, drawn partly from its own resources, but principally from
those of other Bees, which furnish materials, in quick succession, from
the receptacles under their bellies, taking out the plates of wax with
their hind feet, and carrying them to their mouths with their fore feet,
where the wax is moistened and masticated, till it becomes soft and

    Thus filter'd through yon flutterer's folded mail,
    Clings the cool'd wax, and hardens to a scale;
    Swift, at the well-known call, the ready train
    (For not a buz boon nature breathes in vain)
    Spring to each falling flake, and bear along
    Their glossy burdens to the builder throng.


"The architect-in-chief, who lays, as it were, the first stone of this
and each successive edifice, determines the relative position of the
combs, and their distances from each other: these foundations serve as
guides for the ulterior labours of the wax-working Bees, and of those
which sculpture the cells, giving them the advantage of the margin and
angles already formed.

"The expedients resorted to by that ingenious naturalist, Huber, unfolded
the whole process. He saw each Bee extract with its hind feet one of the
plates of wax from under the scales where they were lodged, and carrying
it to the mouth in a vertical position, turn it round, so that every
part of its border was made to pass in succession, under the cutting
edge of the jaws; it was thus soon divided into very small fragments;
and a frothy liquor was poured upon it from the tongue, so as to form a
perfectly plastic mass. This liquor gave the wax a whiteness and opacity
which it did not possess originally, and at the same time renders it
tenacious and ductile. The issuing of this masticated mass from the mouth
was, no doubt, what misled Reaumur, and caused him to regard wax as
nothing more than digested pollen.

"The mass of wax, prepared by the assistants, is applied by the
architect-Bee to the roof or bottom of the hive, as the case may be;
and thus a block is raised of a semi-lenticular shape, thick at top
and tapering towards the edges. When of a sufficient size, a cell is
sculptured on one side of it, by the wax-working Bees, who relieve one
another in succession, sometimes to the number of twenty, before the
cell is completely fashioned. At the back and on each side of this first
cell, two others are sketched out and excavated. By this proceeding the
foundations of two cells are laid, the line betwixt them corresponding
with the centre of the opposite cell. As the combs extend, the first
excavations are rendered deeper and broader; and when a pyramidal base is
finished, the Bees build up walls from its edges, so as to complete what
may be called the prismatic part of the cell. Every succeeding row of
cells is formed by precisely similar steps, until there is a sufficient
scope for the simultaneous employment of many workers.

    These, with sharp sickle, or with sharper tooth,
    Pare each excrescence and each angle smooth,
    Till now, in finish'd pride, two radiant rows
    Of snow-white cells, one mutual base disclose.
    Six shining panels gird each polish'd round,
    The door's fine rim, with waxen fillet hound,
    While walls so thin, with sister-walls comhin'd,
    Weak in themselves, a sure dependence find.


"The pyramidal bases and lateral plates are successively formed, with
surprising rapidity; the latter are lengthened as the comb proceeds, for
the original semi-lenticular form is preserved till towards the last,
when, if the hive or box be filled, the sides of all the cells receive
such additions as give them equal depth.

"_The cells intended for the drones_ are considerably larger, and more
substantial, than those for the working Bees, and, being later formed,
usually appear near the bottom of the combs. Last of all, are built the
_royal-cells_, the cradles of the infant Queens: of these there are
usually three or four, and sometimes ten or twelve, in a hive, attached
commonly to the central part, but not unfrequently to the edge or side
of the comb. Mr. Hunter says that he has seen as many as thirteen
royal-cells in a hive, and that they have very little wax in their
composition, not one third, the rest he conceives to be farina. Such is
the genuine loyalty of Bees, that the wax which they employ with so much
geometric economy, in the construction of hexagonal cells, is profusely
expended on the mansion of the royal Bee-nymph, one of these exceeding
in weight a hundred of the former. They are not interwoven with them,
but suspended perpendicularly, their sides being nearly parallel to the
mouths of the common-cells, several of which are sacrificed to support

    No more with wary thriftiness imprest,
    They grace with lavish pomp their royal guest,
    Nor heed the wasted wax, nor rifled cell,
    To bid, with fretted round, th' imperial palace swell.


"The form of these royal-cells is an oblong spheroid, tapering gradually
downwards, and having the exterior full of holes, somewhat resembling the
_rustic_ work of stone buildings. The mouth of the cell, which is always
at its bottom, remains open till the maggot is ready for transformation,
and is then closed as the others are.

"Immediately on the emergence of a ripened Queen, the lodge which she
inhabited is destroyed, and its place is supplied by a range of common
cells. The site of this range may always be traced, by that part of the
comb being thicker than the rest, and forming a kind of knot; sometimes
the upper portion of the cell itself remains, like an inverted acorn-cup,
suspended by its short peduncle.

    Yet no fond dupes to slavish zeal resign'd,
    They link with industry the loyal mind,
    Flown is each vagrant chief. They raze the dome,
    That bent oppressive o'er the fretted comb,
    And on its knotted base fresh garners raise,
    Where toil secure her well earn'd treasure lays.


"In this mutilated state only, and not in the breeding-season, could Mr.
Hunter have seen this cradle of royalty; for he describes it as the half
of an oval, too wide and shallow to receive its supposed tenant.

"I have spoken of the perfect regularity in the cell-work of a
honey-comb;--particular circumstances, however, induce a departure from
this exactness: for instance, where Bees have commenced a comb with
small cell-work, and afterwards wish to attach to it a set of large
cells, as in the case of drone-cells being required to be appended to
workers'-cells. These deviations from the usual regularity renew our
admiration of Bee-ingenuity, though Reaumur and Bonnet have regarded them
as examples of imperfection. They effect their object by interposing
three or four series of, what may be called, _cells of transition_, the
bottom or bases of which are composed of two rhombs and two hexagons,
instead of three rhombs; the rhombs and hexagons gradually varying in
form and relative proportion, till the requisite size, namely, that of
the cells which they are approaching, has been attained.

"The same gradation is observed when returning to smaller cells. Every
apparent irregularity is therefore determined by a sufficient motive, and
forms no impeachment of the sagacity of the Bee.

"The common breeding-cells of drones or workers are occasionally (after
being cleaned) made the depositories of honey; but the cells are never
made so clean, as to preserve the honey undeteriorated. The finest honey
is stored in new cells, constructed for the purpose of receiving it,
their configuration resembling precisely the common breeding-cells: these
_honey-cells vary in size_, being made more or less capacious, _according
to the productiveness of the sources from which the Bees are collecting,
and according to the season of the year:_ the cells formed in July and
August vary in their dimensions from those that are formed earlier; being
intended for honey only, they are larger and deeper, the texture of
their walls is thinner, and they have more dip or inclination; this dip
diminishes the risk of the honey's running out, which, from the heat of
the weather, and the consequent thinness of the honey, at this season of
the year, it might otherwise be liable to do. _When the cells_, intended
for holding the winter's provision, _are filled, they are always closed
with waxen lids_, and never re-opened till the whole of the honey in the
unfilled cells has been expended. The waxen lids are thus formed;--the
first Bees construct a ring of wax within the verge of the cell, to which
other rings are successively added, till the aperture of the cell is
finally closed with a lid composed of concentric circles.

"The brood-cells, when their tenants have attained a certain age, are
also covered with waxen lids, like the honey-cells; the lids differ a
little, the latter being somewhat concave, the former convex. _The depth
of the brood-cells_ of drones and working Bees is about half an inch;
_their diameter_ is more exact, that of the drone-cells being three
lines[J] and one third, that of the workers two lines and three fifths.
These, says Reaumur, are the invariable dimensions of all the cells, that
ever were, or ever will be made.

[Footnote J: A line is the twelfth part of an inch.]

"From this uniform, unvarying diameter of the brood-cells, when
completed, their use has been suggested, as an universal standard of
measure, which would be understood, in all countries, to the end of time."

    While heav'n-born instinct bound their measured view,
    From age to age, from Zembla to Peru,
    Their snow-white cells, the order'd artists frame,
    In size, in form, in symmetry, the same.



BEES' WAX, in its strictest sense, _is a secretion from the body of the
Honey-Bee_, and is that peculiar substance or material with which Bees
principally construct their combs;--I say--_principally_, because the
foundation of every comb is _propolis:_ it is by this tenacious substance
(propolis) that combs are securely attached to, and suspended from, the
roof of a hive or a box,--and it is by this that they are firmly glued to
the sides, wherever they are made to touch them.

BEES' WAX, however, in the common acceptation of the term, is that
well-known, valuable article, obtained from honey-comb by the following

Having _drained_ all the honey from the combs, put them into a clean pot,
together with as much rain-water as will make them float; then simmer
over a clear fire until the combs be completely dissolved; and the wax
and the dross mixed with it will swim at the top of the water. Pour the
whole into a strong and tolerably fine canvas bag, made wide at the top
and tapering downwards to a point, in the form of a jelly bag. Hold this
over a tub or large vessel in which is a quantity of cold water. The
boiling water will, of course, soon drain through, and leave in the bag
the greater part of the liquefied wax commingled with dross. Have ready
then a piece of smooth board of such a length that, when one end of it
is placed in the tub of cold water, the other end may be conveniently
rested against, and securely stayed by your breast. Upon this inclined
plane lay your dripping, reeking strainer, and keep it from slipping into
the cold water by bringing its upper part over the top of the board so
as to be held firmly between it and your breast. If the strainer be made
with a broad hem round its top, a piece of strong tape or cord passed
through such hem will draw it close, and should be long enough to form
a stirrup for the foot, by which an additional power will be gained
of keeping the scalding-hot strainer in its proper place on the board:
then by compressing the bag, or rather its contents, with any convenient
roller, the wax will ooze through and run down the board into the cold
water, on the surface of which it will set in thin flakes. When this
part of the operation is finished, collect the wax, put it into a clean
saucepan, in which is a little water to keep the wax from being burnt to
the bottom; melt it _carefully_ (for, should it be neglected and suffered
to boil over, serious mischief might ensue, liquid wax being of a very
inflammable nature) therefore melt it _carefully over a slow fire_, and
skim off the dross as it rises to the top; then pour it into such moulds
or shapes as your fancy may direct, having first well rinsed them, in
order that you may be able to get the wax, when cold and solid, out of
them without breaking either the moulds or the wax: place them, covered
over with cloths or with pieces of board, where the wax will cool slowly;
because the more slowly it cools the more solid it will be and free from
flaws and cracks. You will thus have your wax in cakes, which may be
rendered still more pure by a second melting and moulding. If run into
very thin cakes, and afterwards exposed to the influence of the sun and
the air, frequently turned, and occasionally wetted, it will lose its
yellowness, and become beautifully white. This last process is called
_bleaching_; and, though more simple and practicable than that pursued
in establishments where large quantities of wax are bleached--where
bleaching wax is of itself a regular business--it may probably be
sufficient to answer all the purposes for which _white-wax_ is wanted in
private families. I have by me wax of my own bleaching that is equal in
whiteness and delicacy to any I have ever met with.

Good wax is a heavy, solid substance, of a deep yellow colour, has an
agreeable, balsamic odour, and possesses several medicinal and other
valuable qualities.

Combs that have never been filled, and those that have been filled with
honey only, afford the best wax. Of the former kind but very little need
ever be taken from Bees in collateral-boxes; and when any such combs are
taken, they may be far more advantageously disposed of than by being
melted down for the wax they contain.

Instead of crushing and melting all the combs of three or four hives
together, as is mostly done by cottage Bee-keepers, the fine, clean
parts should be separated from those that are discoloured, less pure,
and inferior, by reason of their age,--of having been brood combs,--or
of containing pollen, and should be melted first. By this very easy mode
of manipulation, the quantity of wax would not be lessened, and the
superior quality of the fine would command a price that would be an ample
remuneration for the additional trouble attending the management of it in
this way.

Should the preceding directions be thought to be tediously or
unnecessarily minute, my apology for making them so is--an anxious
wish on my part to render every thing relating to Bees clearly
understood--understood so as to be set about and properly managed by
persons who never before bestowed one thought upon the subject.



There is no part of Bee-management more utterly disregarded by
cottage-hive Bee-keepers than that which relates to a proper situation
for store-hives during winter. From whatever cause this inattention may
proceed,--whether from custom, ignorance, or prejudice, it is much to
be regretted; because nothing is so essentially conducive to the future
prosperity, and often to the very preservation, of a colony, as due
attention to its winter situation. Left, as stock-hives commonly are, in
their summer aspect, and to stand upon the very spot they have occupied
ever since the day of their existence as stocks,--with their entrances
wide open, just as they were in summer,--exposed alike to every change of
weather and to every attack of prowling enemies; or, if covered at all,
it is mostly with a rude coat of straw, or reed, or such material as
affords to mice, vermine, and various sorts of Bee-enemies, shelter and
concealment, and, in fact, encouragement to attack and destroy the hives.
Thus, neglected and unheeded, it is no wonder that so many stocks of Bees
perish in the winter and spring of every year; the wonder rather is that
any should escape.

Some apiarian authors are opposed to the confinement of Bees in their
hives, except when snow is on the ground: _then_, and _then only_, they
recommend the confinement of Bees as necessary for their safety. Now,
I would respectfully ask--if, in the North of England and in Scotland,
snow does not lie on the ground for weeks, and in some years for months
together? and I would ask further--if Bees can bear this confinement
with snow on the ground, why they cannot bear it when there is no snow?
They argue, however, in the face of this admission, that confinement
is injurious to Bees, and that a flight in the open air on a fine
day, if there should happen to be a fine day, in the depth of winter,
is beneficial to Bees, otherwise, they say, the Bees would not take
it. A mild, open winter, every body knows, renders unconfined Bees
poor--and when kept in a state of perpetual agitation and alarm by the
restless enemies that surround them and nestle in their straw covering,
and tempted by the faint, wintery sun-beams that gleam upon their
floor-board through the unclosed entrance of their hives, they will,
no doubt, sometimes sally forth. But what is the consequence? Hundreds
and thousands of them become paralyzed[K] and never return; and those
that do get home again have occasion for food: of course, the oftener
these winter flights take place, the more the population of the hives
they issue from is diminished, and the more pauperized that diminished
population becomes in consequence of such flights: whereas, if Bees
were confined, kept in darkness, or, at any rate, out of the influence
of the sun, kept dry, cool, still, and undisturbed, no such disastrous
consequences would ensue.

[Footnote K: In the 15th page of his "Apiarian's Guide," J. H. Payne,
Esq. says--"a Bee becomes torpid at a temperature of thirty-two
degrees"--Payne is an experienced apiarian. What credit then is due to
the anonymous critic, who in one of the weekly periodicals[L] has told us
that "Bees in a glass hive, exposed in the open air, when its temperature
was twenty degrees below freezing, instead of being in a state of of
torpor, continued very lively?!!"--Before yielding implicit credence to
this statement, it would be exceedingly satisfactory to be informed _how
long_ the Bees so exposed continued very lively.]

[Footnote L: _Mechanics' Magazine_, No. 564, p. 155.]

The following detail will show my readers the results of some
experiments, relative to the aspect and situation of Bee-hives during
winter; and whilst in some degree they corroborate the foregoing
observations, they may perhaps induce those, who are anxious for the
prosperity of their Bees, to submit to be taught a useful lesson
respecting the winter management of them.

In 1824 I had six cottage-hives, which had prospered well with me during
the summer of that year. In the autumn of the same year I resolved to
weigh those six hives, and to place three of them on the north side of
my house, and to let the other three remain in their summer situation.
The separate weights of my hives, in November of the year 1824, were as
under, viz.

No. 1.   35 lbs.   No. 4.   42 lbs.
    2.   38 --         5.   32 --
    3.   40 --         6.   37 --
        ---                ---
        113                111
        ---                ---

The first three of these Nos. viz. 1, 2, and 3, weighing together 113
lbs. remained during the winter in their summer situation: Nos. 4, 5,
and 6, weighing together 111 lbs. were removed to a cold dry place, on
the north side of my house. On the 26th of March, 1825, I again weighed
those six hives, and found their respective weights to be as follows, viz.

No. 1.  15 lbs.   No. 4.  37 lbs.
    2.  16 --         5.  27 --
    3.  19 --         6.  32 --
        --                --
        50                96
        --                --

So that the three hives, remaining in their summer quarters during the
winter, had decreased in weight just 63 lbs. being on an average 21 lbs.
each; while the three which had wintered on the north side of my house
had decreased only 15 lbs. being on an average only 5 lbs. each. This
gives an average difference of 16 lbs. a hive, between a proper and an
improper winter situation and aspect for Bees. It is lamentable to think
how many people lose their Bees, either from ignorance, prejudice, or
want of attention to this particular point--_a proper winter situation_.

I need scarcely relate to my readers, that the Bees which were placed
fronting, or open to the north, were the first that swarmed the next
spring. They swarmed in the month of May; while those hives that had
remained fronting, or open to the south, did not swarm until July; and
one hive (No. 2.) never swarmed at all during the season. At the latter
end of October, 1825, I again weighed my hives, and found them to be as

  No. 1.   28 lbs. Swarm from ditto 10 lbs.
      2.   22 --
      3.   30 --   Swarm from ditto 14 --
           --                       --
           80                       24
           --                       --

  No. 4.   44 lbs. Swarm from ditto 32 lbs.
      5.   43 --   Swarm from ditto 28 --
      6.   41 --   Swarm from ditto 30 --
          ---                       --
          128                       90
          ---                       --

Hence it appears that the three hives (Nos. 1, 2, and 3) that had never
been removed from their summer stands, were 33 lbs. lighter than when I
first weighed them, that is, on an average, 11 lbs. a hive; and even with
the weight of their two swarms added to them, there was a falling off in
the year of 9 lbs. or, on an average, of 3 lbs, a hive: whilst Nos. 4,
5, and 6, had gained 17 lbs. or, on an average, nearly 6 lbs. each; and
with the weight of their swarms added to them, they had gained 107 lbs.
or, on an average, nearly 36 lbs. a hive in the year.

I could carry this subject much further in my explanations, as I did in
my experiments, but it requires no facts in addition to those just stated
to explain the difference of aspect in the winter-season to Bees.

Every cottager must know that the richer his Bees are in spring, the
sooner they will swarm. Then, to make them rich, he must not neglect to
place his hives out of the influence of the sun during winter,--_in a
dry, cold, and quiet situation_. He will find by this practice, that not
more than five or six pounds of honey will be consumed by a good stock;
but if he suffer his Bees to remain fronting the south, they will in a
mild winter, if they survive it at all, become paupers before spring.

Now what is proper during the winter for stocks in common hives, is
equally proper for stocks in collateral-boxes, of which the middle-box
is the winter-pavilion or stock-hive. Long before winter all the Bees of
the most populous stock will draw into the middle-box and cluster round
their Queen; and when that is the case, the dividing-tins should be put
down, in order that all the Bees may be securely kept in the pavilion;
and previously to removing them from their summer situation, the entrance
should be carefully closed with a piece of wire-cloth, or perforated tin;
which, whilst it admits fresh air into the box, will keep the Bees within
and all their enemies without. It is hardly possible for the smallest
enemy to make its way into a box thus secured. A perforated tin may also
be put over the way down into the drawer. Towards spring this last may
be withdrawn, and the Bees, when they begin to revive, will soon rid
themselves of those that may have died in the winter, by carrying them
down into the drawer. Having made every necessary preparation, remove
your stocks to such a situation as that herein before recommended, and
there in quietude let them pass the dreary months of winter. I do not
advise that they be taken too early to, nor that they remain too long
in, their hibernacula: generally speaking, they may be removed towards
the latter end of November, and again in the third or fourth week of
February; but the Bees themselves, if duly observed, will be the best

This is _my_ practice, and it is also the practice of my apiarian friend
at Gedney-Hill, than whose, no stocks in this neighbourhood are more
healthy or much more prosperous.



The encouragement of any internal branch of industry, which
will supersede the necessity for the employment of British capital
in speculative adventures where no equivalent is returned, is in the
mind of every patriot a subject worthy of consideration. And that
the prosecution and encouragement of my system of Bee-management,
undertaken by those who are qualified by their means, abilities, and
powers of patronage, to set the example, and thereby influence others,
will effect this to a considerable extent, as far as the production of
honey and wax is concerned, will, I think, be sufficiently obvious to
those who have witnessed, or who hereafter may witness, the successful
results--the almost incredible quantity of these productions from my
apiary alone; or, leaving my apiary entirely out of the account, I will
venture modestly to assert, _that from any one set of collateral-boxes,
well-stocked and well-managed, the quantity and quality of honey that
may be annually taken, without either destroying or impoverishing
the Bees, must be seen to be believed; and being seen, will not be
disputed_. The exact amount annually paid to other countries for these
two commodities--honey and wax--I have not the means of ascertaining
with accuracy, but it is probable that it exceeds £350,000.--a sum
lost to this country, because, not only have we in the vegetable world
a profusion of these productions, that "waste their sweetness on the
desert air," but we have, or might have, if we would but encourage
them, the labourers necessary to collect them, and this too without the
deterioration of any other department of rural economy. Were Bee-colonies
multiplied to any thing like the number that the Bee-pasturage of
this country would support; were there, for instance, but one set of
well-stocked collateral-boxes on every square mile of England, Wales,
and Scotland,--or, to compute moderately, on every square mile of every
rural district of Great Britain, that is fertile in Bee-pasturage,--and
were the price of the finest box-honey reduced to a shilling a pound,
the annual _surplus_ produce of these colonies would realize a sum far
exceeding £350,000. which would be put into the pockets of, generally
speaking, an industrious and deserving part of the community--the rural
population, and a profitable remuneration given to them for their
indulgence and perseverance in a most rational pursuit, requiring but
trifling, and this only incidental attention. I know of no time more
proper for throwing out these hints than the present, when the subject of
_rural allotments_ excites, and that justly, almost universal attention
amongst those desirous of securing an industrious, prosperous, and
virtuous peasantry.

I do not presume to imagine that, antiquated as are the practices
hitherto so generally adopted, and so pertinaciously adhered to in
Bee-management in this country, and characterized as are these practices
by so many superstitious and irrational usages--I do not presume to
imagine that my system will, at once, up-root prejudices, dispel
superstitions, and be immediately and heartily adopted by the cottager.
The generality of apiarians have yet to be taught that _Bee-management is
a system;_--that it is something more than merely stocking a hive or box
with a swarm of Bees, and then leaving it to chance alone to prosper or
to perish; and, if to prosper, it is only until the time for its final
doom--the reckless destruction of every Bee--arrives. They have yet to
learn that the whole, or at least, the greater part of the contingencies,
to which Bee-colonies are subject, may be averted; that the casualties
of Bees are analogous to those of other descriptions of stock; and that,
if they would ensure success, or expect to derive profit from them, it
must be by attention to their domicils, to their protection from the
variations of climate and atmosphere, and from external enemies,--in
short, by proper management. If in many instances, the success of my
hives has been so unqualified and extensive, it has been because the
necessity for careful management has been impressed and adhered to,
and because Bees, in whose welfare their owners had been previously
uninterested, have been looked upon with some degree of attention, and
their labours facilitated and requited by timely administering to their
wants and comforts. In the same way, I believe, that by attention to the
observations contained in these pages, the cottagers' labours may be more
amply repaid, and that more honey may be obtained, even by their rough
practices; whilst this will be preparing them for the adoption of my
improved plans and gradually pave the way for its general introduction.
For this I more particularly refer to the preceding chapter, and to that
on Bee-feeding, i. e. chapters XIV. and XVII.

It has often been suggested to me, to point out _how_ the culture
of Honey-Bees might be more generally extended in this country, and
rendered more advantageous to the cottager than it has been hitherto.
As regards the extension of Bee-cultivation, I would observe, that if
those gentlemen, especially those gentlemen resident in the country, who
possess affluence, influence, and leisure, would undertake to promote
it--would set the example and keep Bees, their example alone would go
far to induce the cottager to keep them; and that, as other countries
boast, and that so usefully, their apiarian societies, the formation
of such a society, or societies, could not fail to be attended with
beneficial effects. Some feeble attempts, it is true, to establish such
a society have been made, but have proved abortive, whilst premiums on
the subject have been offered by other societies,[M] injudiciously, as
they have tended to perpetuate mistaken views, and to retard the progress
of more correct ones. I am not insensible of the extreme benefit which
has resulted to the different branches of industry, and to agriculture
and horticulture in particular, by well-regulated scales of premiums,
emulating to superiority and necessarily promoting a beneficial stimulus
in the different branches with which they are connected. And, in my
opinion, nothing would more easily tend to the inculcation of sounder
views of practice, than, if gentlemen, pursuing my principles, would
interest themselves in connecting with the objects of such associations
more generally, graduated scales of prizes, regulated by the quantity of
honey obtained from stocks, the prosperity of the hives afterwards, and
the state of the apiary generally, &c. Were they also to countenance the
plan of placing colonies under the care of labouring cottagers, giving
them premiums as an inducement to careful management, they could not
fail of conferring a benefit, by initiating them into the plans of the
system, as well as by more advantageously dividing the pasture of the
district among the different hives, and thereby rendering the labour of
their collecting the stores considerably less to the Bees. This would,
undoubtedly, effect much, but I know of no means so decidedly calculated
to foster and encourage the culture of Honey-Bees among all classes, and
more particularly among the population of rural districts, as apiarian
societies, formed for the express purpose of extending and improving the
cultivation and management of Honey-Bees.

[Footnote M: A premium was last year (1833) awarded by the Cambridgeshire
Horticultural Society, to a Mr. Widnal, for his exhibition of a glass of
honey. But whether the encouragement of Bee-culture be an object of that
very respectable society,--or whether the reward given to Mr. Widnal on
that occasion was a sort of bye-premium, bestowed for the gratification
of seeing a curiosity, it did not appear.]



In undertaking this work, as I originally did, at the pressing
solicitations of several of those Noblemen and Gentlemen, whose names
graced the list of the subscribers for the first edition, I had two main
objects in view; of which a full and particular explanation of the mode
of managing Honey-Bees, in my boxes and upon my principles, was one,--and
the other, which I do ardently hope will result from the adoption and
encouragement of my long-tried plan, is--the prospective improvement,
not only of the culture and condition of those ingenious, admired, and
most interesting little creatures, but also of honey and wax--the two
valuable articles which Bees, and Bees alone, afford us. To prepare
the way for the accomplishment of the latter of these objects, I have
exerted my best endeavours--I have spared neither pains nor expense,
to give minute, and, I trust, intelligible descriptions of all my boxes
and hives, of my Bee-machinery, and of every thing thereto pertaining;
which descriptions have been accompanied with such practical directions
and relations of experiments, as will, _if duly attended to_, enable my
Bee-friends to put their apiaries upon my _humane and profitable system
of management_. Therefore I do not think it is incumbent upon me to
proceed farther at present. I might easily double the size of my book,
by entering into and giving lengthy details of several matters relative
to Bees, which are not here so much as hinted at; such, for instance, as
the distance that they sometimes fly from their hives in quest of honey,
and the experiments that have been made to determine that distance;--the
nature of honey-dew, and how it is occasioned,--why it abounds on some
trees and plants, whilst others are entirely destitute of it,--whether
it be a natural exudation of the plants that afford it,--or whether it
be produced by the leaf-lice, called aphides;--why, if the impregnation
of a Virgin-Queen be retarded beyond a certain number of days after her
coming into existence, all the eggs she lays during her whole life,
should invariably produce _drones;_--the language of Bees, for Bees,
it has been held, have their peculiar language, though I profess not
to understand it, nor even to have studied it, my business being with
their _habits;_--the various diseases or maladies with which skilful
men assure us they are occasionally affected;--their senses, their
anatomy, and their instinct;--their affinity to the wasp;--exotic Bees
from those of Lapland to those of China; and from those of Siberia to
those of the Cape of Good Hope;--the stingless Bees of South America,
mentioned by Dr. Hancock, that from the luxuriant ever-blooming,
tropical plants and flowers, produce black wax;[N] what Aristotle hath
remarked on one subject,--what Pliny hath said on another,--what classic
Virgil hath so delightfully sung of the nature, economy, and management
of Bees in Italy,--what Gelieu in modest prose hath said of Bees in
Switzerland,--Huber and Reaumur in France, and a host of writers in
Germany, and in our own native England; what opposite opinions have
been entertained respecting honey; whether plants and flowers secrete
pure honey, or whether the saccharine matter culled from them undergoes
any percolating, rectifying, chemical process in the stomach of the
Bee.--I might observe, that the illustrious Hunter was of opinion that
it undergoes no change; although the no less illustrious naturalist
Reaumur, and the entomologists Kirby and Spence, imagine that some
change does take place before the honey is stored in the cells,--that,
as the nectarious exudation of plants is not of the same consistence as
honey from the hives, it is reasonable to suppose that it undergoes some
change _in transitu_ whilst in the body of the Bee; that, as far as my
experience has enabled me to make observations on this subject, I am
disposed to lean to the opinion of Reaumur, Kirby, and Spence, and to
ascribe the difference between honey in the nectarium of a flower or on
the leaf of a tree, and honey in the cells of a comb, to the absorption
of the volatile parts of the saccharine of the plants and flowers
whilst in the honey-bag; which absorption is aided and accelerated by
the natural heat of the Bee, and by which process honey is rendered of
uniform consistence, in the graphic language of my chemical friend--Mr.
Booth--I might exclaim, "How necessarily do the least valued products in
the economy of nature, eliminated in the most miniature laboratory of her
operations, confirm us in the belief of the existence, wisdom, and power
of nature's God--the Great Chemist--who has not only imbued matter to act
upon its fellow matter in the infinity of space, to produce an infinite
diversity of changes in the material world; but, within the small compass
of a Bee, has provided apparatus for certain changes to take place,
which are more elaborate, important, and complicated, than are produced
in the largest apparatus of the manufacturer! In this little insect
are performed all those chemical processes of life, by which nature is
kept in the equanimity and beauty of existence--here composition and
decomposition, solution and precipitation, sublimation, volatilization,
distillation, and absorption, through the agency of heat and attraction,
take place on the minutest matters, secreted by the plants and collected
by the Bees; and in the hive, by the concentration of their individual
efforts, is elaborated that immense quantity of those important products,
which constitute such useful commodities in the arts and economy of life."

[Footnote N: See page 11, antea.]

The discussion of some of these topics, and dissertations on others,
might be made amusing, perhaps interesting, and would, at all events,
swell the size of my book; but whether I should thereby enhance its
intrinsic merits (if intrinsic merit it possess) is more than I dare
venture to affirm. In short, these topics come not within my plan,--they
are foreign to it, and I gladly leave them to be treated of by others,
whose learning is mare able to cope with them, and whose taste may
direct them to such subjects. _I have withheld nothing that I deem to
be essentially necessary to the thorough understanding of my mode of
Bee-management;_ consequently, I anticipate that my two main objects
will eventually be attained--that Bee-culture will become a pleasing
and a profitable study--a source of instructive amusement and of profit
too,--and that our country will, at no great distance of time, be
everywhere studded and ornamented with neat, well-ordered apiaries. I
will, therefore, now close my present labours with a few miscellaneous
directions, chiefly recapitulatory, which, on account of their
importance, every apiarian should constantly bear in mind.

Have your Bee-boxes _well-made_, and _of good substantial materials_.
Strength and durability are of greater consequence than neatness,
though that need not be neglected--neatness and strength are not
incompatible--they may be combined.

Paint your boxes annually, when they are in their winter situation.

Make a clear ground or floor-way from the pavilion into each of the
end-boxes, by cutting away about two inches from the lower edge of each
of the corresponding ends, to the depth of half an inch; and make this
way or passage as near the front-entrance as it conveniently may be. This
convenience has been suggested to me _since_ the directions for making
collateral-boxes were printed, and I therefore mention it here as an
improvement, because such a way on the floor, and _without any climbing_,
will afford an additional accommodation to Bees on many occasions.

Boxes will not work Bees, neither will Bees work boxes to advantage,
unless due attention be paid to them--i. e. both to boxes and to Bees.

Situation is of prime importance: for summer it should be clear and open
in front of your boxes, and sheltered at their back by a north-wall or by
a thick hedge.

In summer let their aspect be south-east:--early in spring, and again in
autumn, due south is the best point to be in front: therefore, as spring
advances turn the front of your boxes eastward, and as summer declines
move them back again to their spring aspect; or, in other words, when
there is not more than twelve hours' sun, let the front of your boxes be
due south; and during the time that the sun is more than twelve hours
above the horizon, let it be south-east.

Always have the cheerful rays of the morning sun fall upon your boxes:
but contrive to throw a shade upon their front for a few hours in the
middle of the day, when the weather is very hot. Such a shade will be
grateful to your Bees.

Elevate your boxes twenty inches or two feet above the ground: and always
keep the grass or ground, under and near them, neat and clean, and
entirely free from all nuisances.

A constant supply of water in the immediate vicinity of your apiary
is highly desirable; if therefore you have not a natural supply of
that element, _so necessary for Bees_, contrive to let them have it
by artificial means--by placing it in or near your apiary, in large,
shallow dishes, or in wooden troughs, partially covering the surface with
reed or moss, and be careful to replenish them, so that your Bees may
always find it there.

Suffer not ants to burrow near your Bees. Ants are enemies to Bees, and
will annoy them, if they get among them.

Spiders also are Bee-destroyers; therefore, brush away their entangling
webs, whenever and wherever you find them about your boxes.

Fowls should not be permitted in an apiary.

Early in spring let the entrance be not more than an inch, and increase
it gradually to its full extent, as you find occasion: contract it again
towards the fall of the year; and, if the moths be troublesome in summer
evenings, nearly close it every evening; but take care to open it again
either early next morning, or as soon as the evening flight of the moths
is over. This attention is more particularly due to weak stocks, and
affords them great protection against the attacks of moths, which are
among the boldest, the most persevering, and, when once they have got
into a hive, most destructive enemies to Bees.

Destroy wasps and wasps' nests wherever you find them in the vicinity
of your apiary. The destruction of queen-wasps in spring is the
most effectual method of diminishing the number of these formidable
Bee-enemies; because the destruction of a queen-wasp in spring is
tantamount to the destruction of a whole nest afterwards.

Light in the domicil of Bees, if not actually prejudicial to them, is, at
any rate, displeasing to them; therefore, be careful never to expose your
Bees unnecessarily to its glare: never leave the window-doors open, nor
suffer careless visitors to do so.

My ingenious friend, the Rev. T. Clark, of Gedney-Hill, suggests the
propriety of recommending that the window-doors be _self-shutting doors_.
This, he says, may be done by fixing upon each door a light, easy
spring, similar to those made use of to shut doors in good houses; or
by a cord attached to each door, and passed through an eye, and over a
small pulley fixed to the side of each box; from the end of which cord
a weight of two or three ounces must be suspended. This weight, acting
upon the cord, will draw the little doors to the windows, that is, it
will shut them. The cords, eyes, and pulleys, he further says, may be so
arranged, that one small weight will keep all the hive doors, in a set
of collateral-boxes, closed and safe, and may be made to hang under the
floor. I have no hesitation in recommending his suggestion as ingenious,
practicable, and useful. The best security, however, after all, is that
afforded by lock and key, the key being in the constant possession of the

Ventilate your collateral-boxes and bell-glasses, when the interior
temperature is at, or above, 70 degrees.

Never irritate your Bees, nor offer any sort of violence or opposition to
them; and should an angry Bee or two at any time attack you, walk quietly
away, and leave them to settle into peace again.

On no account drive your Bees; it is a ruinous practice. With boxes,
however, I trust, it is impracticable, and totally superseded.

Never disturb, nor in any way interfere with, the middle-box.

_On no account destroy any of your Bees:_ independently of its cruelty,
it is an impolitic practice: it is like cutting down a tree to get at its
fruit, which may easily be gathered by less laborious and indestructive
means. Encourage your Bees,--accommodate them,--support them,--and _by
all means preserve them_; and, when seasons are favourable, they will
_richly_ reward you for your attention to them.

Always keep a cottage-hive, or single box or two, in your apiary, for the
purpose of having swarms from them, with which to stock empty boxes, or
to strengthen such stocks as may stand in need of additional numbers; and
proceed with such supplementary swarms as directed in pages 42-45.

Never impoverish your Bees by taking from them more honey than they have
to spare. Always suffer them to be in possession of a plentiful store.
Over-deprivation distresses them, and is no gain to the proprietor. Among
other reasons this is one for my repeated directions--not to touch the

Honey of the very finest quality may commonly be obtained from
collateral-boxes, as early in the season as the months of May and
June, without injuring the parent-stock in the slightest degree. The
enlargement of their domicil by returning an empty glass, or an empty
box, to the place from which a full one has been taken, is at this busy
period of their labour an accommodation to Bees, and is one great means
of preventing the necessity for their swarming, as it enables them to
continue their work at the time that there is the greatest abundance of
treasure for them in the fields, and when Bees in cottage-hives cannot
profit by it, owing to their want, not of inclination to gather it, but
of room in their hive to store it; they therefore swarm once, twice,
perhaps three times. What then can be afterwards expected from such
exhausted stocks but weakness and poverty? The more numerous the working
Bees are in any colony, the more honey they will collect, _provided they
have room wherein to store it_. Accommodate them, then, with convenient
store-room, and the more workers you have in your boxes the better. Up to
the middle of August you may, with safety, that is, without injury to the
Bees, take off glasses and boxes, as they become ready. _After that time_
it is advisable to have, and to leave, in every colony, honey sufficient
for the subsistence of the Bees until next spring; and should you take
off a full box, later in the season than the middle of August, instead of
emptying it of all its treasure, be content with a part of it,--take a
part, and _return a part--share it with your Bees, and let their share be
a liberal one_. As has been already enjoined--_on no account impoverish
them by over-deprivation_, at that precarious season especially. They
possibly may collect much honey after that time; if so, share with them
again; if not, have them rich from your first bounty.

When a box, well-stored with honey, is taken off, it is not an easy
matter to extract the first comb or two, without breaking them and
spoiling their beauty, besides shedding more or less of the honey;
therefore, be prepared with proper knives. Any common knife that has a
blade long enough, may serve to sever the combs from the sides of a box:
but, to cut them from the top, it is advisable to have an instrument,
which may be called a Bee-knife, of the following construction:--a
two-edged, lancet-shaped blade, two inches long and three-eighths of an
inch broad, having the hole, through which the rivet would pass to fix
it in a haft, drilled large enough to admit the end of a steel rod, upon
which it is to be well brazed or riveted: the other end of this rod may
be finished with a neat handle, leaving its clear length between the
contrate blade and the handle eleven inches--that being rather more than
the depth of my Bee-boxes. A knife of this description may easily be
passed between the combs, and is very convenient for cutting them from
the top of a box.

Whenever you have occasion to perform any operation among your Bees, be
provided with every requisite material, implement, &c. Have not any thing
to seek for, much less to get made, at the moment it is wanted: _that
moment may perhaps be a critical one_.

In September unite the Bees of poor stocks to rich ones; and now, or in
March, transfer stocks from straw-hives into boxes.

Previously to withdrawing the tin-divider, for the purpose of opening
the communication into an end-box, take off the end-box and dress its
inside with a little liquid honey; this will bring the Bees into it,
when, but for the honey, they would perhaps refuse to enter it; and at
that time close the ventilation. It is wrong to ventilate empty boxes,
because it drives the Bees into the pavilion: and it is a fact, that
they will swarm from the pavilion, rather than take possession of an
empty end-box, if its temperature be, and be kept, disagreeably cold,
by having the ventilation open at the very time it should be carefully
closed. This will both explain and remedy the difficulty, that some
apiarians complain of having experienced, in getting their Bees to take
possession of an empty box; it will also account for swarms sometimes
leaving the pavilion when there is no want of room: the fact is--that the
temperature of _that room_ is not agreeable to them: but it is owing to
the mismanagement of the apiator that it is otherwise than agreeable.

Whenever a box is taken off, be careful to open the perforations in the
cylinder-ventilator, many of which will be found sealed up with propolis.
These perforations may be cleared at any time, by introducing a piece of
wire with a sharpened point, turned so as to pick out the propolis; but
they are most effectually opened when a box is off.

Towards the latter end of November, or earlier, if the weather be
inclement and severe, remove your Bee-boxes to their winter situation:
this should be _dry, quiet, cool_, and _dark_, and place your boxes in it
so that they may front towards the north or north-east.

Guard and close the entrance with a piece of fine wire-cloth, of
Lariviere's patent tin, or of perforated zinc, (which is the best, on
account of its not corroding) made fast to the box, either of which
will confine the Bees within their domicil, admit plenty of fresh air,
and keep out inimical intruders. Thus prepared for winter, having every
tin and block in its proper place, _disturb your Bees as little as
possible_, and, come winter as it may, they will pass it in that state
of semi-insensibility, or torpor, which nature, or with reverence let me
rather say--nature's God has appointed for them.

Towards the end of February, or as soon as vegetation begins to make its
appearance, take your boxes from their winter to their summer stands,
and commence another course of attentions, observations, and humane
management, similar to that herein directed and explained. And, though
cases may arise, and difficulties occur in the course of your practice,
for the remedying of which no specific directions are, or can be, here
given, your own experience and progressive improvement in the pleasing
science of Bee-management, will lead you to adopt the proper mode of
treating the former, and the proper means for surmounting the latter.



       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber Note

Minor typographical errors have been corrected. Hyphenation standardized
to most utilized form herein.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Humanity to Honey-Bees - or, Practical Directions for the Management of Honey-Bees - Upon an Improved and Humane Plan, by Which the Lives of - Bees May Be Preserved" ***

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