Page images
PDF
EPUB

Letter from Bohemia.

A letter from Rudolf Mayerhoffer, Esq., editor of the Bienenvater, at Prague, Bohemia, Austria, states that the general meeting of bee-masters at Bohemia was held in Tetschen on Wednesday, Sep. 6th; and the meeting of the German bee-masters was held at Breslaw on Sept. 14th. He wishes that American apiarists could have had on exhibition there some of the products of their apiaries. He remarks that honey boxes are unknown in Austria and Germany.

He states that the French say that Americans do not believe in, or use movable combs to any great extent, and asks if this is so. It may surprise some of our readers to know that among French apiarists there are two schools, the mobilistes and the fixistes, the former advocating movable and the latter fixed combs. In this country a bee-keeper who should use anything but movable combs would be considered very much behind the times or in some way very peculiar. If there is, in this country, any man who is keeping bees to any extent without using movable frames, he is certainly not widely known among the fraternity. It would be somewhat natural that this should be so, as movable frames in their present practical form were the invention of an American-the Rev. L. L. Langstroth whom apiarists, the world over, delight to honor.

The Value of Italians.

Moore's Rural New Yorker endorses an article written by a correspondent of the London Journal of Horticulture, in which the writer speaks in not very flattering terms of the Americans as exaggerating the value of the Italians or Ligurians. He says:

"And even in America, in a convention of bee-keepers, the question of the superiority of Ligurians was discussed by the most able men of that country; and, so far as I could judge, the bulk of disinterested evidenee was not in favor of Ligurians, and objections were made by honest men to their bee journals being edited by dealers or interested parties.

"I am visited by respectable bee-keepers from all parts of the country, and those who keep Ligurians, as well as those who live where they are kept, tell me that they are no better than common bees. I am not prejudiced against them in any way, and shall be pleased to see evidence of their superiority from any trustworthy quarter; but nothing but facts are admissible as evidence. When these are produced I will speedily rid my garden of lazy bees, as my object in bee-keeping is profit. We shall be abundantly gratified if satisfactory evidence be presented to the readers of this journal

and the bee-keepers of Great Britain that a superior bee is among us. In my search for evidence of the superiority of Ligurian bees I have been unsuccessful for ten years."

We are aware that exaggerated statements have been made as to the value of Italians, and will humbly receive whatever reproof our English cousins may choose to give us for our tendency to brag. But we are surprised that a paper for which we have so high estimation as we have for the Rural New Yorker should virtually endorse the statement that Italians are no better than black bees. If in any convention the matter was discussed by the most able men of this country, and the bulk of disinterested evidence was not in favor of Italians, then we failed to read aright the reports.

The editor of this journal is interested in the Italians only so far as he is interested in getting stock that will give him the best yield, he having only honey to sell, but he would pay a very high price for an Italian queen rather than keep only black bees. We feel safe in making the assertion that not one in a hundred of the intelligent beekeepers of this country who have tried the Italians, would be willing to go back to the common black bees.

If there were no other advantage but the single one of keeping the hive free from the moth, this would be enough to place the Italians far above the blacks.

Advice to Beginners.

Beginners in bee-culture, who desire to read up in the literature of bee-keeping,are earnestly advised to obtain the first Volume of THE AMERICAN BEE JOURNAL. This volume is worth five times its price to any intelligent bee-keeper. It contains a full elucidation of scientific bee-keeping, including the best statement extant of the celebrated Dzierzon theory. These articles run through all the numbers, and are from the pen of the Baron of Berlepsch. We have a few copies to dispose of at the following low prices: in cloth boards, $1.25; in paper covers, $1.00, postpaid.

Many of our best apiarists say they would not sell their back volumes of THE AMERICAN BEE JOURNAL for ten times the sum they cost, if they could not replace them. They are exceedingly valuable alike to beginners and more advanced apiarists.

The Abbott Pocket Microscope, advertised on another page, is an instrument of great usefulness for examining flowers, seeds, plants, insects, etc. It is in a convenient form for carrying in the pocket and thus be ready for use on any occasion when wanted. We will send this microscope to any address by mail, post-paid, upon receipt of the manufacturer's price, $1.50.

Biographical.

Wilson H. Andrews

Was born near Lebanon, Wilson County, Tennessee, October 15th, 1830. He was raised at farm work and held by his father till in his 21st year, when he left the farm and went to school and taught school alternately till 1856, keeping about even in financial matters. On the 3d of September, of that year, he married Miss Sarah A. Green, also of that county. He then entered the law school in Cumberland University at Lebanon, where he graduated June 28th, 1858.

On the 18th of the following August he left his native State to seek his future in the State of Texas, soon arriving at the town of McKinney, in the county of Collin,

Jours

Texas, without money. He resumed teaching and continued one year, then began the practice of law, at which he did well for that country and time. In 1862 he was elected District Attorney for his judicial district, and in 1864 was re-elected. On the 10th of July, 1870, he was appointed Judge of the 11th judicial district of Texas, which he held till the 17th of April, 1876, giving general satisfaction. He has resumed the practice of the law.

Langstroth, from whom he purchased an Italian queen, but the fates seemed to decree that none should get through aliveboth parties worked faithfully till May, 1870, before success crowned their efforts, and a fine queen was received alive. Mr. A. had paid out up to that time, $48.50, and the trouble and anxiety of Mr. L. must have been worth five or six times the price of the queen-$10.

He

As soon as Judge Andrews acquired sufficient means he began to show great zeal for agricultural and horticultural pursuits, and soon became quite an amateur. gives much attention to the cultivation of grapes, Jersey cattle and Italian bees, hence his place is called, "wine, milk and honey," but another word is necessary to give a correct idea of his place, to wit: lard, as he has had unequaled success with the Chester White pig.

In the year 1866 he began bee-culture with the Langstroth hive and black bees, he read all the works on bee-keeping, and in 1868 got up a correspondence with Mr.

In September, 1870, Judge A. got a queen from Mr. H. A. King, of New York, brought by hand of a friend-Mr. Z. E. Ranney; she bred some three, some two, some one, and some no yellow band workers, but the black bands of all her workers had a very unusual quantity of hair on their edges and it was as white as cotton, that with a jet black head made them very beautiful, especially those that had all black bands.

He has bought thirty-one tested Italian queens from the best of breeders, but

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

thinks he never got but four pure ones, for which he accounts on the score of "fashionable Italians." He prefers to darken them to his own taste, as it takes but little of the smut to do on his, but he holds that about 7-8 and 15-16 Italian, if the taint comes on the mother side, are better for box honey than pure Italians, or lower grade Italians, or blacks. He does not believe that "the matter of color can be overdone," but does believe that color affords the only infallible test of purity of Italians.

In 1869 he adopted the American hive, slightly modified, of which he now has 212, filled mostly with pure Italians, but the others with what he calls smutty or fashionable bees.

Judge A. never cultivated bees for profit till 1875, and most of the labor in his apiary has been done by others under his direction. In 1875 he got about 6,000 pounds of honey, which netted him about 184 cents per fb. This year he has not had a pound of surplus and the honey season is past. He attributes the failure to the wet weather in May, June and July. W. R. GRAHAM.

Correspondence.

For the American Bee Journal.

Bee Notes from Central New York.

I am here to take care of them, when I am gone and the bees fall in other hands, I do not expect them to do as well, unless my youngest son had care of them; he understands them very well.

I was unexpectedly called upon the other day to go and look over a farmer's bees, ten in number of hives, he told me they were not doing anything at all, that they were all black or the old kind of bees. On looking them over I saw that he had a miserable lot of queens, some so old that they produced but few eggs, like an old hen that had scratched up the things in the garden for the last six years, meaning they were nearly so old as the old hen; and some little inferior looking queens that I should judge were from third and fourth swarms, which the old man admitted. I have not kept any black bees for some years and was somewhat surprised to see the difference in gathering honey between the Italians and the little blacks. I prevailed on the old man to destroy a couple of his poorest old black queens and introduce two Italian queens, no matter of whom he bought them. I named a few reliable queen breeders, such as Mr. Hetherington, Mr. Root, on the Mohawk, and Mr. Nellis at Canajoharie. He wanted to know if he could get them for 25 cents a piece. I told him not to impose upoa them so as to ask them to let him have them for one-tenth their value. I saw at once that a dollar looked larger in his eye than the hind wheel of a wagon, but he was willing to admit that the best wheat he ever raised came from the Mohawk flats. I then asked if he paid the price they asked for the seed. He said yes, then why not pay the price for the queens? That was a sticker for the old man. I told him I would introduce them for him free of charge. I discovered he was a little tight, but had not drank enough to make him liberal-hearted. I got into my wagon to go home, when he called me back and had concluded to have me furnish a couple of queens for him if I would let him have thein cheap. I introduced two for him the forepart of June. About a week ago I visited the old man and opened the hives the queens were put in. He was surprised to see how much more honey they had gathered than the little blacks, in fact they were consuming the honey they gathered from clover and other flowers to feed their brood, the dry weather had told too plainly on the blacks.

So it is with some people, they would jump out of their shirt, if it was not buttoned tight around the neck, to pick up a cent, and not notice a dollar when it was within their reach, or would pay 25 cents for some little child's Sabbath-school paper, instead of paying two or three dollars for a good journal or family paper. The little Sabbath paper is all right in its place, so it is with little inferior queens as some bee-keepers save, although I must admit I have had good prolific queens from some small ones, but they are not always to be depended upon. If queen breeders, or farmers (I cannot call them queen breeders) would give a little more care and attention to their bees and not allow them to send out but one swarm to each hive, their bees would be stronger and do far better. My bees are doing well and I think they will as long as

I hear of complaints all around me that bees are not doing well. I called to see one man that had but five left last spring out of twenty last fall, he told me they died and had plenty of honey in the hives-old box hives. I asked to see the old hives. On examination it was plain to be seen that they had filled their brood comb all but a small circle, so there were but few bees raised late in the fall. His wooden boxes were ten inches high and narrow, he said they would not work in them. I told him they were not high enough, he ought to have had a length of stove pipe and put them on. I mention this to see how foolish some people are. There was a call again for frame hives and the extractor, and thinking and reading and having some peoples' thoughts go a little farther than beyond their own farm. One man told me he had good luck with his bees when his first wife was living but since she had died his bees had not done near so well. Perhaps his first wife held on the ax while he turned the grind stone. And so it is this day, some men are asking too much of their wives, to take care of the bees and the implements to be used on the farm. As quick as they miss the half bushel or any farm implement they rush to the house and ask the wife where it is. Now if any man wants to keep bees and profit by them, he must look to them often and as soon as he discovers anything wrong with a hive, if they do not do as well as the rest, open the hive and find out the trouble and apply the remedy and not let them take care of themselves.

There remains a great deal yet to be learned about the honey bee. There is a vast difference in the prolificness in queens. If you want your bees to do well you must have them strong, and a goodly number of them in each hive before the honey season begins, so they will get their share of the honey, that not so much of it is lost or gone to waste. Most of mine were strong by the 1st of May, and I did not even feed any meal or honey to stimulate them. My boys have already sold over 400 lbs. of nice clover honey and have over 200 fbs. to deliver tomorrow, Aug. 4. They are working finely on clover yet, that is sweet clover, the white clover is past for this season. Soon buckwheat will be on hand.

ABM. L. STANTON. Schoharie Co., N. Y., Aug. 3, 1876.

For the American Bee Journal.

King Birds.

In the July number you call for information relating to the king bird and its habits. As they are the worst enemy that I have to contend with in the bee business I will state some of their habits and my observations and treatment of the birds. They make their appearance here in the spring, about the 1st of June, and the middle of the month they commence to build their nests. Those in close vicinity to my apiary I tear down and destroy. I have the worst trouble with them when the young birds commence to fly. The old birds will bring them from a distance and locate them in the vicinity

of my hives to teach them to catch on the wing. Then I take my breech-loader and practice on the wing, too. I have killed and dissected them and found the honey bee in them. Their general habit is to sit on the top of some post or mullen stalk on the watch for the loaded honey bee on her bee-line for home. His sharp, quick eye is on her, in an instant he is in the air on the line, you hear his bill snap and the honey bee with her load of honey is no more. The honey bee when loaded flies lower and slower than one that is empty, consequently they fall a more easy prey to the birds.

My bees have done very well so far this summer. I get more honey in a dry, hot, than I do in a cold, wet, summer.

J. W. CONKLIN. Suffolk Co., N. Y., Aug. 8, 1876.

For the American Bee Journal.

Scraps from Illinois.

MR. EDITOR:-In reply to your query in regard to controlling swarming, I would say that I work exclusively for extracted honey, as do all of the bee-keepers in this place. I now have 20 very strong stocks-over 1,000 fbs. of honey in the hives-have sold 3 and bought one. Had 11 light stocks in the spring with not a pound of honey to go on when flowers began to come, but at swarming time my bees were very strong, as I had plenty of empty comb to work with. Have taken to date 304 lbs. of extracted honey, and with buckwheat just coming into bloom,heart's-ease (smartweed some call it), white clover, rape, and other fall flowers, we expect a good fall harvest.

I have heard, but have never known of an Italian swarm coming off without starting queen cells, and am still in doubt about a natural swarm coming off without it. Queen cells are sometimes so carefully concealed as to be hard to find except by careful examination.

"Is a wet season best for honey?" I answer yes, most assuredly, at least that is the case with us, for with a wet season we get a good crop of honey early as well as late in the season, while in a dry season we get no more honey than will keep up brood rearing, till the fall harvest. But our honey resources may be different from those of other localities. WM. M. KELLOGG. Oneida, Ill., Sept. 5, 1876.

For the American Bee Journal.

Marks of Prolific Queens.

Mr. EDITOR:-Please let me ask if there are any established points in Italian queens to indicate one as a prolific breeder any more than others, as all must know that some are better layers than others. I have had several queens that could not lay an egg for several weeks, although they tried hard to do so as they went through the motion very often. I also have had, and now have, one queen that lays eggs plentifully but none ever hatched. I want to hear through your paper what points, if any, are known that will show the superior qualities of laying capacity of one queen over another. I have thought that I have seen a difference in the make or shape of queens. as there are certain marks in cows that show a good milker and other marks to

show a good breeder, so with all domestic animals from a dog to a horse. Why not the same laws to govern bees? Now I don't want to puff my observations on the stature of queen bees but if they are new 1 am willing to give the same to any who are in want of them.

I also want to know if any one has observed any union of sex in one bee. On or about July 10th, 1876, I had a queen cell to hatch out in nucleus No. 13 but no queen there. I found a bee that was not a queen worker or drone, it had legs like a queen, head and wings of a worker and abdomen of a drone. I thought of caging it and sending it to you as a specimen of bees, as you are wanting such at your office, but I waited several days to watch her motion and see more myself. It had no sting, as I tried to make it show it, and see whether it would go out to meet the drones. About five days after it was hatched it was not in the nucleus. Whether it went to meet drones and was lost, or was killed for a drone I can't say. I will say that there were no drones in the nucleus and no drone cells. This bee was the size of a common drone in body but lacking in size of head and wings to be a drone, her motion on the comb was that of a worker. F. R. DAVIS. Noble Co., Ind., Aug. 7, 1876.

[We know of no special marks by which, at a glance, the prolificness of queens may be determined. If others do, we shall be glad to hear from them.-ED.]

For the American Bee Journal.

Another New Experience.

I believe it makes but little difference how long an individual may have been engaged in bee-culture, or however close attention he may have paid to the journals or to standard works on apiculture, he will frequently find his bees doing something he never heard or dreamed of. Here is a case in point.

About the first of August one of my best black stocks threw off a very large swarm. I was away from home at the time, but my wife, who is quite a bee-ist, took the matter in charge. The bees circled around a few minutes and then returned to the hive. On looking on the ground in front of the hive she found the queen, and taking her with about a quart of the bees, put them in a small nucleus hive and set them on a new stand a few feet off. In regard to this nucleus hive, more anon. I did not open the hive until about ten days after they had swarmed. I found considerable capped brood but no eggs and no larvæ, and no queen-lost I suppose in her flight to meet the drones-but in her place I found three queen cells, two capped and one just ready to cap. One of these looking somewhat suspicious. I picked the cap off and found it empty. The other capped cell I found suspended from the bottom of a piece of drone comb in the lower corner of the frame. It occurred to me from the fact that it was so near the bottom of the hive that the enclosed queen might have become chilled as we had had two or three quite cool nights. I opened it and found it as I expected—a queen nearly mature, but dead.

Now this drone larva must have been

[ocr errors]

some days old before the queen cell was constructed over it, and the question occurred to me, what would she have been had she hatched out; would she have been a drone-laying queen, or would she, as I think, never have become impregnated, and never have laid an egg that would hatch, or do such queens always die in the cell? I think I have seen such a statement somewhere. I need some light on the subject. The remaining queen cell I gave to a nucleus, but on opening the hive next day I found it destroyed. I substituted another from a nucleus Italian stock and it has given me a fine large queen.

Now for that nucleus hive mentioned above. They went to work as any regular swarm should, until last week they left the hive very unceremoniously and after circling around a short time, returned to the hive. The next day they did the same thing again, and I then thought it about time to interfere. As soon as the bees were about all out I opened the hive and found brood in all stages of development down to the egg, and a few very uneasy young bees on the combs. I closed the hive again and waited for the bees to return, which they soon did. When they were about half in I saw the queen strike the bottom board and enter the hive, but they were uneasy during the remaining portion of the day, and in the evening I opened the hive again and found a queen in a hug. On looking over the combs I found another. I caged the hugged queen and gave her to the old stock that had cast the swarm, but the query is, where did that extra queen come from? as I have missed none from any of my stands. I thought she might have hatched from the cell that I found in the old stock capped but empty, but it seems hardly probable. O. W. SPEAR.

San Jose, Ill.

[Within ten days after swarming a queen would not generally be found in the old hive, unless a young one just hatched.

A drone larva in a queen cell will never develop anything but a drone, but such a drone never hatches out; always dying in the cell. A perfect queen may, however, be raised in a queen cell suspended from the bottom of a drone comb, as it by no means follows that a larva in such a cell must be a drone larva.

As to the extra queen in the nucleus hive, if the hive was empty when the bees were put in, a queen probably entered from some other hive or nucleus, or a miniature swarm may have entered from another nucleus.ED.]

For the American Bee Journal.

Bee Notes.

will yet be queenless, and as there are less drones flying now the queen will sometimes fail to mate. I give my stocks that have no laying queens some brood from another hive, this makes the matter doubly sure. Be careful about extracting from hives now, I do not extract any. As soon as the season closes, contract the entrance so that mice cannot possibly enter. They will now be in condition to leave till removed to their winter quarters. Much has been said, pro and con, as to the value of clipping the queen's wings. I clipped four choice ones this season. They have all been superseded but one, and their stocks persisted in hanging on the hive doing nothing till young queens were hatched, though there was plenty of room in the honey boxes. I have never clipped before and do not think I shall again. My bees have done well this season. Having sold all last fall, I began this year with four stocks from Rev. A. Salisbury, they have increased to ten and have made me something more than 400 fbs. of honey, of which 175 tbs. is box, balance extracted. J. V. CALDWELL. Henry Co., Ill., Sept. 1, 1876.

The season is now drawing to a close and it behooves us to look well to our pets-the busy little bees. They have worked hard for us all the long summer days and will now need attention to prepare them for the winter months. I always examine my stocks during this month, and before the honey season closes entirely. I do not believe in disturbing my bees after frosts come. Some hives that have swarmed late

[Is it at all certain that clipping the wings had anything to do with the queens being superseded? May they not have been old queens? We usually clip our queens as soon as they commence laying, and have no trouble about supersedure.-ED.]

For the American Bee Journal.

Bee-Killers-Asilus Flies.

To M. H. ADAMS, Fort Ann, N. Y.-The large two-winged flies which you have observed only within the last two years and which have the pernicious habit of killing bees, belong to an order of Diptera or twowinged flies, popularly known as robberflies, or Asilus flies. They may be readily recognized by the stout thorax, narrow, strongly-nerved wings, bristly-hairy facé and legs, and more especially by the long, slender abdomen tapering posteriorly to more or less of a point. There are several species all of which are, in the perfect state, fierce cannibals. Among these the Nebraska bee-killer (Trupanea Apivora, Fitch)-which derives its popular name from the State in which it was first captured-occurs very generally over the United States, proving in many localities very destructive to the honey bee. This fly is about 1% inches in length, of a yellowish brown or yellowish gray color with the head, thorax and legs clothed with bristly hairs. It preys almost exclusively upon the honey bee, pouncing upon the latter in the air with lightning-like rapidily and talighting with its prize upon a leaf or upon the ground, pierces the thorax with its strong proboscis and proceeds to suck out the vital juices.

A very similar, though somewhat larger, species occurs in Missouri, and probably throughout the West, viz., the Missouri beekiller (Asilus Missouriensis, Riley) which has the same rapacious habits and should be as mercilessly destroyed wherever found. These flies are so strong and swift of flight that it is difficult to capture them on the wing, but when they have settled with their prey they are less wary and may easily be

« PreviousContinue »