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taken with an insect net. One should avoid grasping them in the hand, as the powerful proboscis is capable of inflicting a sharp sting.
But little is known respecting the preparatory stages of these Asilus flies. The larvæ are footless and live in the ground and such as are known are strangely enough vegetable feeders. The larva of the Silky Asilus (Asilus sericeus, Say) was discovered by Dr. Harris, feeding upon the roots of the rhubarb plant. C. V. RILEY.
For the American Bee Journal.
"Ox-Cow" Queen Bees.
MR. EDITOR:-I was a keeper of bees,and not without enthusiasm, for some 18 years, from about the year 1840. I read every book on the subject that I could obtain, and most earnestly and carefully studied the ways and habits of this fascinating insect, in my dozen hives. Much less was then known than now, and the hives then used were less favorable to the investigator than those with the movable frames, now affording so satisfactory facilities to the apiarian student and manipulator. Nevertheless, something was learnt by use of book and hive, and the experience of others, and I ventured, after a while, to write and deliver a lecture on the "Habits and Management of the Honey Bee." Among the places at which it was read was the Representative Hall of the State House in Boston, before the Mássachusetts State Agricultural Society, a portion of the lecture being devoted to the anomalous, but now universally known fact, that bees when deprived of their queen or mother-bee will, by some process or means as yet unexplained, so operate upon a worm or larva, that left untouched, would become a worker, or barren female, as to render her organs of reproduction fertile, the change produced even affecting her shape and size, as well as her after habits of life.
A writer in the Maine Farmer made a report (though with some inaccuracies) of my remarks, calling them "new, interesting, and instructive," but very soon afterwards the editor of a Portland, Me., paper, under date of April 11, 1842, assailed both lecture and lecturer with a savagely severe and denunciatory criticism, calling the former "a bungling piece of nonsense, of a contemptible sort, and full of absurd statements," and declaring the latter to be "wholly ignorant of the subject upon which he undertook to enlighten others." Specially severe was he upon my statement that a queen bee can be manufactured out of the worm of a working bee or neuter. "The thing is as impossible," he added, "as it would be to make a cow out of an ox," and "nothing can exceed the contemptible folly of book-worms in the silly stories of the ancients about making queen bees out of workers." What ancient writers treat of this subject the critic did not say. I made no reply to this onslaught, preferring to be guided by Solomon's advice (Prov. xxvi. 4), and to let time determine truth.
This reminiscence came to my mind as I stood, a few days since, in the apiary of Mr. H. Alley, in Wenham, Mass., and witnessed the wonderfully skilful and truly scientific operations of this most expert bee-keepHe makes a business of breeding queens, selling them when ready for mar
ket, and sending them in little boxes adapted to the purpose, to purchasers in all parts of the country. He and many other apiarists are actually accomplishing the thing declared to be "as impossible as to make a cow out of an ox." He has, this very centennial year, sent to customers more than 750 of these " ox-cow" queens, and will sell more before the close of the season.
As is well known, the Italian bees, imported into the United States about 15 years since, are the favorite of very many of the present bee masters. They were not known here in my bee-keeping days (1840 to 1858), we having the English bee imported by the early colonists, a much more pugnacious insect, and said to be less accumulative of honey than the Italian, while the Italian queen is said to be more prolific of eggs.and therefore a hive of Italian is more densely peopled than a hive of English bees.
I well remember how difficult it was, in former days, for those who knew only the English bee, to understand the poet Virgil's description of the queen, he, however, erroneously calling it the king. I translate the passage from his Fourth Georgic: Glowing with YELLOW Scales and DAZZLING hue,
His body marked with GOLDEN bands we view
If safe this King, one mind abides in all-
Dissolve all bonds, nor are a nation more.
Now we know that the poet's king is a queen, or more truly a fertile mother-bee, and taking the Italian bee, of which Virgil wrote 2,000 years ago, she has a yellow body and not a black one like the ordinary queen of the English and American hives. I was very much rejoiced when I first saw an Italian queen, seeing by the facilities afforded in Mr. Alley's apiary more queens in a single hour than I had seen in all my own bee-keeping experience. It was a real apiarian revelation, and I only regretted that it had not come to me at an earlier day, when fitting boys for college, I encountered this description by Virgil, then wholly obscure and inexplicable. I do not now recall any explanation of the difficulty by any annotator of the Georgics, even Martyn, the learned Professor of Botany in the University of Cambridge (England), in his admirable translation (1740-41), being wholly silent on the subject. Now Virgil's description is intelligible, as well as wholly accurate. HENRY K. OLIVER. Salem, Mass., Aug. 29, 1876.
For the American Bee Journal.
A Visit to a Michigan Bee-Keeper.
I arrived at Dowagiac and enquired for Mr. H's apiary. On my arrival there I was met by Mr. H., and was made welcome, as soon as he found I was interested in bees. By the way, Mr. H. is "chock full" of bee notions and has some new and grand schemes for bee-keeping, which from his extensive experience he is confident will become universally adopted very soon. I remarked you have a fine apiary here, Mr.
H. Oh yes, I used to think so, but since I have perfected my new scheme for beekeeping, I intend disposing of all of my old fogy "fixins," such as movable comb hives, honey boxes, Italian bees, section boxes, frames, honey extractors, wax extractor, etc. Why, just come over here and see my new hives and ground for my new apiary. I went and remarked, why, Mr. H. you are returning to the old box-hive system. No, sir, do you not see this hole in the bottom of the hive? Now that just fits on the top of that stake-placing the hive on top of a stake about two feet from the ground. You see that forms a pivot and the hive turns on that, so the entrance always faces the sun. But, Mr. H., how is that done? Do you not see I have this large box nailed fast to the top of the hive? Oh, yes, I suppose that is for surplus honey. Mr. H.-no; I fill it with dirt and plant sunflowers in it. They face the sun in the morning and move around until sunset, thus keeping the entrance facing the sun all day.
suppose that row of post-holes running past the ash-house is for putting up a fence to protect your bees? Mr. H.-No; they are my sulphur pits for taking up bees in the fall, and that little house is where I keep my brimstone. I don't intend to fence in my apiary with a board fence; do you not see I have planted out a lot of hollow trees? As soon as they get large enough I intend to throw away my box hives and keep bees more natural. But do you not think those trees too close to each other? Mr. H.-Yes; but you see I will have to cut some every fall for honey. and that will thin them. How can you sell bees if you have them all in trees? Mr. H.-I will cut up the hollow trunks of the trees I "fall," make gums of them; and use them for swarms to sell. Do you see I will grow my own hives in that way? Do you not mashi your honey in "falling" your trees? Oh, yes; but honey is not worth much now: one pound of wax is worth three of honey; so I just put it all into a kettle, boil it and the wax all raises to the top, I let it cool, lift off the wax and dip out the honey which is thick honey, not thin, sour, extracted stuff, worse than sorghum syrup. Thus ended a very pleasant visit with Mr. H.
A CANADIAN BEE-KEEPER.
priving them of the fruits of years of toil.
Did you ever see an individual, engaged in any branch of business, no matter what, throw his influence in favor of our governments-national and state-opening in every town in our country a business in direct opposition to that in which he is engaged? For instance, did you ever see a man engaged in the grocery business who would be willing to have the Government start a grocery store in his town? I think not. It is not human nature. But laying aside the fact that the above publication advocates this idea, let us look a little farther, and we find men engaged in bee-culture who, unlike the grocerymen or dry-goodsmen or any other man, will urge upon clergymen, and upon widows, and in fact upon men and women of all states and conditions in society, the necessity of engaging in beeculture if they would line their pockets with greenbacks and heap up riches against the day of governmental bee-culture. But we find almost invariably that such men have some kind of a patent or other that they wish to dispose of, and the more men and women they can prevail upon to enter the lists as bee-keepers, the more they will realize from the sale of their patents.
Now this it seems to me is all wrong. By far the greater number of apiarians in the country are not interested either directly or indirectly in these patents and should not be made to suffer for it.
The demand for honey is not at present equal to the supply and consequently low prices prevail. What will be the condition of things when our Government starts a bee shop in every field, and but one in fifty are prevailed upon by our enterprising patent venders to embark in an enterprise in which it is all income and no outgo according to their showing.
Now I do not wish to be understood as throwing a wet blanket upon the ardor of any one who is about starting in the business. Such will find in time that every cloud has its dark side as well as its silver lining; but if any individual, of his own free will and accord, and in the presence of certain facts which he will find out sooner or later, wishes to embark in the business, I can bid him God speed, but would for his own good say, "Don't believe all the good things you hear of it. Every business has its ups and downs, and if you will pay close attention to our bee journals I think you will find as many downs as ups recorded by men far advanced in the science too. It is not all gold that glitters." I think I may say of myself, and I don't want to seem egotistical, that I have in the main been successful, but where one has succeeded hundreds have failed
Take an apiary properly located and handled by a man who understands his business and there is a fair chance of success, but the man who without any practical knowledge of the business embarks largely in it will probably be obliged to step down and out before he realizes any of the profits said to accrue to those who have but to start and be made happy.
San Jose, Ill.
O. W. SPEAR.
[We hardly suppose that any one contemplates the plan of having the Government
establish apiaries in all the towns of our country for the purpose of supplying those
towns with honey or bees. There are, however, certain kinds of aid that the Government can give to different industries that will be of benefit to them. The proprietors of a steamboat line on the Mississippi would hardly feel themselves benefited by the establishment of a rival line owned by the Government, but would be very glad to have the Government interest itself to improve the navigation of the river. Farmers do not object to the experimental gardens at Washington, and an experimental apiary established at one or more points would hardly lower the price of honey very materially, bee-keepers themselves having the full benefit of all experiments made. Just now, it would be quite convenient if the Government would import and try any new varieties of bees which private enterprise have as yet left untried on account of the expense. We confess, however, that we do not feel very sanguine about any great help from the Government, and, indeed, we do not think much aid is needed, but we do believe that a little intelligent assistance might be productive of good.-ED.]
For the American Bee Journal.
Prevention of Swarming.
MR. NEWMAN:-The JOURNAL is received promptly at the beginning of the month; by the way the advent of THE AMERICAN BEE JOURNAL is looked for with more interest than that of all the others combined, as the editor is not interested in the sale of all kinds of new-fangled bee fixtures, to worry the small change and the patience out of the poor innocent bee-keepers. When we lost Mr. Wagner we mourned him as one whose place to us would never be filled, but the more we know of Mr. Newman the more we feel that Mr. Wagner's mantle has fallen on worthy shoulders. This with the idea that you are the editor of the AMERICAN BEE JOURNAL as we have recently seen no other name to fill that post.
On page 210 you ask me to tell what means, if any, I use to have so little swarming in such strong stocks. That is a very difficult question to answer so as to make it intelligible to the great mass of readers. If I were to say that it is more in luck than any thing else, perhaps it would be nearer the truth. Still there are facts and causes when combined that will to a very great extent prevent swarming; while there are other causes that I believe are sure to raise the swarming fever. First then we will take the preventives. I consider shade all important, the shade of large trees is best, if we haven't those we must arrange artificial shade. When bees select a home naturally I believe they generally choose a tree in a shady spot, or if it is not shaded it is high up in the air away from the reflected heat of the earth. By the way, has any one ever known a colony of bees in such a position to swarm out of their tree when they had room to build comb below the cluster? I think the idea entirely opposed to nature of placing bees out exposed to the full rays
of the sun and the reflected heat of the earth, hence I have adopted this season the stand two feet high, as described in Hunter's Manual, and think I will save more bees from toads and skunks than I will ever lose from dropping on the ground, and don't have to break my back in stooping to handle brood and boxes. Ventilation is important, hence I make the entrance of all híves 4 inch high by 12 inches wide, with ventilator for hot weather same size at the back; or if side-box hives they have wire cloth ventilating holes under the back boxes-these hives have their entrance at the side of the comb, under the front boxes. Wire cloth ventilators in such a position will seldom be glued up, while if under the brood they will generally be waxed up tight. The entrance stick is simple and cheap, and closes up to 3 inches wide or o a single bee, and 3 inch high for fall and spring when there is danger of mice getting
Plenty of box room is important, as close as possible to the brood and with free access (plenty of large holes in the boxes) to the boxes. The side-box hives, or those that take both side and top boxes, have swarmed less than the top-storing hives this season, because we could give the bees more box-room. As it was impossible to get more than two tiers on a hive at one time, as the bees would generally climb up and finish the upper box before commencing on the lower one, and as the side-box hive takes two tiers on top, it had the advantage, and hence_bee-keepers say this is a side-box year. But taking one season with another, I consider the top storing hive the best as it takes less labor to run it. Tiering up is important to prevent swarming, as it gives room just where it is most needed and will be the soonest used, and I wish to say here that I consider it would have been an utter impossibility to have run my bees with as little swarming as I did this season without tiering up. It is important not to use too large a brood chamber. The hives with large brood chambers generally swarm soonest with me, generally use frames 10x17 inside for side-box hives, and 8 frames 84x17 for top storing hives. It is very important to prevent swarming that bees should be wintered so as to come out strong and healthy and breed up early without dwindling so as to take advantage of the first yield of honey and go into boxes before hot weather, and once in the boxes, with our system of tiering, we can keep them right at it, so that the most of thein will never have time to get up swarming fever, provided the yield of nectar is good and continuous, and this latter is the most important point of all, without which all the others are nix. To have it just right, the flow of honey must be abundant and come right along without a break, with occasionally a shower to keep the honey from getting too thick, as they will make wax much faster on thin honey than on thick.
The wintering and breeding up in spring can all be done satisfactorily by packing with buckwheat chaff, after the plan I described in the Bee-Keepers' Magazine for Dec., 1875, provided the bees are in frames nearly or quite 17 in. long, and they have healthy diet. In frames 12 to 14 in. long they generally dwindle more or less with me. One of the most prolific causes of rais
ing the swarming fever, that has fallen under my observation, is disturbance or handling brood in swarming time. This work of handling brood should all be got along with before June and after the boxes are put on, the brood nest should not be disturbed till after swarming time, unless they should swarm out. Another cause of swarming is spreading the brood nest in May by inserting empty combs between the brood. If stocks are prolific they should be strong and early enough to spread their own brood as fast as necessary. If an empty comb is inserted between brood in such a stock they will fill it with eggs in 24 hours, and it will all hatch at once, making too many bees of the same age, thereby crowding the hive and getting up the swarming fever in consequence. Another cause of swarming that we can't control is an unsteady yield of honey caused by bad weather confining the bees to the hive several days at swarming time, they fill the hive with brood and feel their crowded condition. To recapitulate, preventivesshade, ventilation, abundant box room, tiering up, small brood chamber, early breeding and steady yield of nectar. Causes of swarming fever disturbance by handling brood in swarming time, too much spreading of the brood nest in May and June, and bad weather causing an unsteady yield.
I wintered 20 stocks in a bee house and 18 in packing boxes out-doors; those in the boxes eat less honey and lost less bees than any I ever saw wintered, although 8 of them were light stocks made up from queen rearing nucleus. My first swarm was from one of those. Still I can succeed with the house apiary, have wintered in it for 3 years without losing a stock, and have wintered in packing boxes for two years without loss, and think they breed up faster early in the latter. Through the summer season I expect to get about ten stings in the bee house to one out-doors, that will be about the average where these large, non-swarming stocks are used, as boxes cannot be handled in the bee house with anything like the facility that they can out-doors, where you can get at your hive on all sides. Had five stocks to swarm from the bee house, six if we count one that lost the old queen and swarmed out when the 'young queen came out for her bridal flight; and had 5 to swarm from the 18 out-doors. Í boxed the 38 stocks and two swarms and have made an increase of 4 to the present time. The 40 stocks averaged about 100 fbs. of white comb honey, that is finished and taken off, and there was a good deal left in an unfinished condition, some of it nearly finished. They got through on the white the 25th of July, from that time to Aug. 5th they did nothing apparently but kill drones. They are now working slowly on buckwheat, but if this heat and drouth holds, as the appearance indicates, it will be a short job.
Took 46 finished boxes (our boxes weigh when finished nearly 4 lbs.) from the best stock; they have 20 on the hive, some nearly full of comb and some partly sealed. From some have taken from 30 to 42 finished, and from others less. Two that lost their queens in June, I managed to keep along by giving them brood from those that swarmed out, so they finished about 70 lbs. each, but had to extract their brood combs once. Some think it better to hive the swarms and put on boxes, thinking they will get more honey from the two than
from one on the non-swarming plan, accordingly I hived my first swarm on June 12th, put on the boxes the 13th, and they took right hold. About 5 days from the 12th gave them 4 combs with brood from another stock; gave unfertile queen to old stock, took 13 finished boxes from swarm and 10 from old stock, making 23 in all, of course I have another stock, but had enough before. J. P. MOORE. Binghampton, N. Y., Aug. 9, 1886.
[Many thanks, friend Moore, for so full and satisfactory a reply to our inquiry. Some of your suggestions are quite new to us. In this connection it may be well to mention that the late Adam Grimm made a strong point of ventilation at the time of working in boxes. His plan was to put on boxes that did not entirely cover the frames and then block up the back end of the
The many kind words spoken of our JOURNAL are very grateful, but please don't judge too uncharitably those editors who are interested in the sale of articles that come in the line of bee-keeper's supplies. We think some good, at least, is done by it, and can only wish that all editors who are interested in such sales may be honest enough to recommend only that which is good, whether it may be to their own private interest or not. It seems almost a matter of necessity that the publisher of a bee-keeper's medium shall do more or less toward providing for the wants of his patrons, as constant calls are made upon him to accommodate in that way, and we think it rather fortunate for THE AMERICAN BEE JOURNAL that the publisher and editor are not one and the same person; as the publisher, Mr. Newman, may do what he pleases toward furnishing supplies (and sometimes he has done so at a loss to himself) without in the least influencing any opinions expressed in these columns editorially. The long experience of Mr. Newman as a publisher gives him an advantage that he would not have if he had spent all his time working among bees or writing editorials.-ED.]
For the American Bee Journal.
There has been a great deal said of late about artificial comb or comb foundation. I have never seen a sample of it, but from what I have been able to gather from the discussions, I have come to the conclusion that the most useful and practical comb foundation is a simple wax comb guide, say one inch deep, and full length of top bar to be pressed in place by a die worked by a suitable ever. I think such a machine could be constructed at a trifling cost, and be made a source of profit both to the manufacturer of the machine and to the apiarist,
who by the use of the machine would be able to start all the combs for the bees exactly in the centre of bar, and straight.
I make the above suggestions hoping that some of our bee-men who have the time and talent, will give it a trial and report results. If such a machine comes into use I want one, for I am of the opinion that with such guides very little care will be required to ensure straight combs. J. W. DUNN. Corpus Christi, Tex.. Aug. 21, 1876.
[We think after you have seen them you will prefer inch strips of the foundation as guides, if you do not prefer using more.ED.]
For the American Bee Journal
S. W. Ohio Bee-Keepers' Meeting
The second meeting of the South-Western Ohio Bee-Keepers' Association met in Lebanon, O., Sept. 9, 1876.
The discussion of questions and a general exchange of ideas was the principal feature of the day. One member wished to know the name of a plant he found in his neighborhood, on which the bees worked from early in the morning till after sundown. Upon examination several pronounced it to be Carpenter's Square, and all agreed that it was a very valuable honey plant.
The question was then asked, “Will it pay to use the extractor?" Those that had tried it were much in favor of it, while others had seen it used and thought it a good thing.
"What is the best method to get worms out of box honey?" was then asked. Some of the sufferers had tried examining it where it was in small frames, while others had tried brimstone, having to use it 2 or 3 times, if used immediately after smoking the honey would taste of it, but the taste would soon pass off.
"How do worms get into the boxes?" was then asked. One member had seen moths in the tops of the hives; one thought the eggs were carried in from the flowers; another thought the bees carried them there on their feet from where they were laid on the bottom board. A temperature of 18 deg. above zero was said to be low enough to kill them.
In preparing bees for winter, some fed when necessary a syrup of sugar and water in the proportion of about 8 lbs. of sugar to 2 gallons of water; one used molasses, and another had tried Sorgo molasses, but without success.
The best protection of the bees, was for the most part, some absorbing material on top, while some put an extra box around the hive and packed straw in the space between; one was intending to use Finn's patent hive.
Several had tried wintering in the cellar-temperature a few degrees below 40-but most of them thought out-door wintering best for this climate. A few remarks were then made on introducing queens to hives with fertile workers. One plan was to remove the hive to a new place and let the bees all fly back to the old stand, and as the fertile workers would remain they could be destroyed and the combs be returned to the bees, when a cell or a frame of brood could be given them. One member had been very
I have a plan for transferring that differs from any I have read of, and I will give it to you. There is no patent on it that I know of. Instead of splints or twine or thorns I use wire staples and find them very convenient and about as cheap as anything. I have a pair of nippers with a cutter in them, I just take a small wire and cut off pieces the proper length to make the staples about two inches long and just wide enough to go over the frame. Bend them in shape with the nippers, have a lot of these ready, and when I get the comb fitted into the frame just slip on as many of these staples as necessary and the work is done. Try it anybody who will and you will find that it beats splints, twine, or thorns all hollow. JACOB COPELAND. Posey Co., Ind., Aug. 16, 1876.
Mo. Valley Bee-Keepers' Meeting.
We have just received from the Secretary, Mr. W. G. Smith, the following report of a meeting held last May, from the columns of a St. Louis paper:
The Missouri Valley Bee-Keepers' Association met at the office of the state board of agriculture in the Insurance building, corner of Sixth and Locust Sts.
The Hon. John Monteith was invited to preside in the absence of the president of the association-Lieut.-Gov. Colman.
After the reading of the minutes of the last meeting by the secretary, W. G. Smith, and the disposal of some other business, the chair called on the gentlemen present to give statements of their experience in beekeeping.
He said he had seen a number who intended to be present at this meeting, but he supposed in consequence of the lateness of the season and the few bright days for business they had been detained at home; another reason was that the day was devoted to school meetings throughout the State.
Mr. Albert T. Williams, of St. Charles, stated his experience with bees. It had been a poor season for bees, but his success in wintering was rather good. He wintered his bees in the cellar, and for saving honey it was economy. He would not allow any obnoxious substance in the cellar, such as cabbage, nor anything sour like a barrel of vinegar. He had about 100 colonies of bees. He kept the Italian bee and had no use for other kinds. He procured the Italian bee 6 years ago. He raised bees solely for the the honey, and was not a queen maker. In the process of substituting the Italian bee he removed the old queen and placed the