Seasonal Management of Bees and Beekeeping


Seasonal Management of Bees and Beekeeping

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by David Taylor (1860)

Summer Management

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

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

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

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

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

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

SONG OF THE BEES.

We watch for the light of the morn to break,

And colour the gray eastern sky

With its blended hues of saffron and lake;

Then say to each other, “

Awake, awake!

For our winter’s honey is all to make,

And our bread for a long supply.”

Then off we hie to the hill and the dell,

To the field, the wild-wood and bower;

In the columbine’s horn we love to dwell,

To dip in the lily, with snow-white bell,

To search the balm in its odorous cell,

The thyme and the rosemary flower.

We seek for the bloom of the eglantine,

The lime, pointed thistle, and brier;

And follow the course of the wandering vine,

Whether it trail on the earth supine,

Or round the aspiring tree-top twine,

And reach for a stage still higher.

As each for the good of the whole is bent,

And stores up its treasure for all,

We hope for an evening with hearts content,

For the winter of life, without lament

That summer is gone, with its hours misspent,

And the harvest is past recall!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Autumnal Management

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Winter Management

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Spring Management

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“”Thou wert out betimes, thou busy, busy bee!

When abroad I took my early way:

Before the cow from her resting-place

Had risen up, and left her trace

On the meadow, with dew so gray,

I saw thee, thou busy, busy bee!

Thou wert alive, thou busy, busy bee!

When the crowd in their sleep were dead

Thou wert abroad in the freshest hour,

When the sweetest odour comes from the flower;

Man will not learn to leave his lifeless bed,

And be wise, and copy thee, thou busy, busy bee!

Thou wert working late, thou busy, busy bee!

After the fall of the cistus flower;

I heard thee last as I saw thee first,

When the primrose free blossom was ready to burst;

In the coolness of the evening hour,

I heard thee, thou busy, busy bee!”

Southey.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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