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Old Silas Hiving Bees.
WHAT HE EXPECTED, AND WHAT HE DIDN'T.
The old gentleman's name is Silas, and that of his eldest son is George; his wife's name is Matilda, and his three pretty daughters are named Helen, Alice and Susie; there is a little Silas, too, and an other boy whose name is too queer to mention.
The bees had alighted in a great bunch, as large as a half-bushel measure, on the limb of a peach tree in the yard. A table is placed under the overhanging limb, spread with a clean white cloth, and the hive placed thereon.
Then one of the boys, one that is good for nothing else, is sent into the tree to sever the limb; the limb comes down slowly and easily, and the old gent below, dressed in a great coat, buckskin gloves, cowhide boots, and a bed quilt tied around his neck and face, slyly manipulates a twig from the tree, and in two minutes has safely coaxed every bee into the hive, during all of which time Matilda and Helen and Alice and Susie pound the bottoms out of just four tin pans; little Silas does his prettiest yelling, while the boy with the queer name is just old enough to slip behind the house and wait for the thing to come to a point. That is the way the thing ought to have gone off; but that isn't the way it did. Silas, the elder, was very comfortably bundled up for so warm a day, and he had his suit well arranged, only he forgot to tie the strings around the bottom of his pants.
The bees had settled on the limb of a peach tree, and Silas, when his table and white cloth and his hive was all ready, commanded:
"Now, George, grab that old rusty saw and climb; I guess you can cut that small limb off easy enough."
George was just home from a six month's term of school, and he felt a great tenderness for his father, and would have gone through a patch of thistles bare foot to please the old gent, and yet he had a particular dread for the "business end" of a bee, and particularly of such a crowd of them. But he obeyed, and began to fiddle away cautiously upon the particular limb. One little bunch of bees dropped off and were caged; another, and another small bunch dropped, and the prospect seemed good, when suddenly an old honey-maker appeared, who had been in the business, and soared upward. George shut up one eye quick, gave one terrific surge on the old rusty saw, got out of that tree at one jump and his anxious mother caught a glimpse of him as he flew round the corner of the barn twenty rods away.
But poor old Silas! The bees came down and he thought the bunch was as big as a hay-stack now. They did not go into the hive, but they went through his overcoat and bed-quilt as if these had been only mosquito bars, and they climbed up his pants legs, and the old gent danced as he had never danced before; and he slapped his legs, as he had never allowed any one else to slap them, and his voice towered high above the clatter of the tin pans and the shrieks of little Silas as he yelled:
"Throw water on me! throw water on me! soak me, wet me down!"
He rolled three or four times over in the grass, and sprang up, shouting, "slap me! slap me! can't you slap me?" in the midst of which little Silas crept up behind his infuriated papa and dealt him a lively one with a shingle; but poor little Silas landed the next second against the milk-house, for his pa took him and his shingle for a thousand bees, and gently brushed them off.
Oh, the agony of that three minutes jig! He appealed to his wife.
"Matilda, for heaven sake, bring me another pair of pants, won't you!"
But these things don't last always, any more than any other happiness, and after a few minutes the old gent came limping out of the cellar with the pants on that Matilda brought him, feeling much easier, but certainly much fatigued, just as George got back from the barn and the boy with the queer name slipped around the corner of the house. Both boys were anxious to know how matters stood, and asked:
We have given the comb foundation a pretty thorough trial, and I must say it pleases us highly. Have 4 tbs. of it in our hives now, and it makes just as pretty, stright worker as ever gladdened the eyes of a bee-keeper. At first we put in too much of it, filled the frame too full, and the weight of the bees sagged it so that it would roll up an inch or more on the bottom bar, and the cells towards the top were all twice as long as wide. That was in the strongest stocks, but in the lighter ones and less bees they built it out straight as a board. The only fault we find with it is there isn't enough of it. We want more but can hardly spare "ye stamps." I think we shall want a good many pounds another season.
Last year I got ten four-frame nuclei with dollar queens from J. Oatman & Co., Dundee, Ill. They built up into ten good strong stocks; wintered tip top, two lost their queens in the spring. Two of them have now increased to three swarms each, two others into two swarms each, and the rest have helped hugely by brood and bees to build up new stocks. Have just got another dollar queen from the same gentlemen, and I must say without any exception, they are the quitest, prettiest bees I ever handled, and every queen a pure one. I raise all my queens from my "Dundee No. 4;" $25 would not buy her.
WM. M. KELLogg.
Oneida, Ill, July 25, 1876.
Los Angeles B. K. Meeting.
The Bee-Keepers' Association met at the ranch of Mr. A. J. Davidson on July 15. President Bruck called the meeting to order.
The minutes of the last meeting were read and approved.
Mr. Davidson read a report from the committee on sale of honey. Also a letter from J. S. Harbison in regard to the same matter in San Diego. He stated that he had letters from the principal bee-keepers in San Bernardino and Ventura counties, who expressed themselves willing to co-operate with us.
REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE. DAVIDSON'S APIARY, July 15, 1876. Mr. President, and Members of Los Angeles B. K. Association.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:-In pursuance of a motion passed by our honorable body, appointing a committee to confer with beekeepers in this and adjoining counties, for the purpose of securing a fair price for our products, we report the following:
We have received favorable answers letters written to some of the principal producers of honey in San Bernardino and Ventura counties, in which they promise co-operation, as individuals, and would try to effect an associated action. All, as far as heard from, including representative men in this and San Diego counties, realize the justice and importance of our movement, as it will protect not only the producing class, but also the dealers in honey. We are advised by San Francisco dealers, that producers are very much to blame in our present demoralized market in that city, by ordering forced sales while it is out of season for its sale; and also by sending to parties who, by inexperience, are not informed as to this fact, and have consequently sacrificed their consignments. Our local home markets have been effected in a similar way to that of San Francisco, and all of these will act and react so that our Eastern markets will be affected in like manner, according to the well-known laws of trade.
We are also in possession of facts which show clearly that the crop of this season is not large, and if properly offered for market and in the right season, there will not be enough to supply the markets that should depend upon us for this useful article of food. These, with many other reasons that could be adduced, lead us to advise patient adherence to plans that accord with the spirit of the resolution which called into existence this committee. L. S. BUTLER, Com.
It was moved and adopted that the committee ascertain the charge for a store room in Los Angeles, find a competent person to take charge of and grade honey, and ascertain what his remuneration will be for grading and for selling and shipping honey from this store room.
It was moved and adopted that a competent person be appointed to proceed to San Francisco to urge upon the honey dealers the necessity of co-operating together, of holding the honey until the demand is such that a fair price can be obtained, and to induce them to make advances to producers who may be in need thereof, without sacrificing the honey at a low, non-paying figure.
Mr. A. J. Davidson was appointed agent, and agreed to start as soon as he received $25 to defray his traveling expenses.
day in September. The invitation was accepted. The Association tendered thanks to Mr. Davidson for his hospitality.
Four new members joined the Association.
The meeting then adjourned to meet at Leck's hall on the third Saturday in August. W. MUTH-RASMUSSEN,
It was resolved that a collection be taken of voluntary contributions for this purpose.
Mrs. B. Richardson invited the Association to meet at her place on the first Satur
For the American Bee Journal.
The killing of queens by introducing is a curse as heavy to the buyer of queens as to the seller. For this killing can happen without the control of the bee-keeper, and, of course, he accuses the sender of having furnished him with a black or hybrid queen instead of the imported or tested one paid for.
I see in the AMERICAN BEE JOURNAL for July the directions given by Nellis Bros. for introducing queens, and want to make a few remarks on this question.
The method proposed by Mr. Nellis will do if the queen to be introduced is on hand. But suppose she is ordered from a beebreeder, and that from some cause or other she does not come when expected; or that she arrives dead. Then this method is at fault. Therefore it cannot be relied on in every case. Especially this removing of the queen, 7 or 9 days beforehand can not do for us importers. Each invoice of bees from Italy remain from 22 to 31 days en route. We cannot tell in advance the precise time of the arrival, and take out the queens in advance; besides, some invoices contain a good many live queens, while others very few. The second and third invoices that we received from Italy this season had only six queens alive out of 44; the fourth and fifth had 43 out of 44. So it would have been an impossibility to have taken out the queens to be replaced by the imported ones, before knowing the number of queens alive, and the imported queens are tired when they arrive, so tired that a delay of a day, sometimes of a few hours, causes the death of one or two queens.
But this is not all. By the method of Mr. Nellis you have to cut all the queen cells which have been made during the 7 or 9 days of the queenlessness of the colony. In very strong colonies to find every queen cell is very difficult. If you miss one your queen will be killed. I know of several bee-keepers who have had their queen superseded in that way. While others were not aware of the fact and accused their senders of having sent a hybrid queen instead of a pure or tested queen, when the change had happened in their own apiary without their knowledge of the fact.
Is it not more expedient and more safe not to remove the queen to be replaced, before the queen to be introduced is on hand, and to put in the hive the queen caged for 36 or 48 hours, taking care not to disturb the bees and not to let any robber introduce itself in the hive when you liberate her?
Out of 54 imported queens introduced this spring in our apiary by this method, we have lost but one, who was sick and died a few days after her introduction. The only bad chance that we have encountered with this way of introducing, as is related in the
AMERICAN BEE JOURNAL for March, 1876, page 69, is that it sometimes happens that there are two queens in the hive; the one remaining caused the death of our queen. We have had in our apiary and at one of our neighbors a few similar instances, but they are of rare occurrence.
Parasites on Bees.
The Rural World reports that at the last meeting of the St. Louis Academy of Sciences, Prof. C. V. Riley, the President, read a communication from G. W. Barnes, of San Diego, Cal., in relation to parasites found upon bees in that State. The parasite was described as the color of a flax seed and easily distinguished by the naked eye. It appears usually under the wing of the bee, and adheres with considerable tenacity. It occasionally crawls all over the bee, and is quite agile in its movements. The bees afflicted with the vermin become agitated and move rapidly over the comb, frequently dying of injuries. The parasites were first noticed there last year, and have again appeared this season, giving considerable trouble in large apiaries. Specimens of the insects afflicted accompanied the letter, and Prof. Riley said the parasite was the larva of the blister beetle. It was well known that these larvæ attach themselves to bees and were thus carried into the hive, where they usually left the grown bee and attacked the larvæ. Prof. Riley had not before heard that these insects injured the fully developed bees. The information was valuable, if reliable.-Rural New Yorker.
From the Los Angeles Herald.
The Successful Apiarist.
We often hear of men who, by their labor, courage and coolness, have distinguished themselves in battle, and thereby won the plaudits of their countrymen. Their efforts In life are pronounced a decided success. The agricultural press gives, from time to time, accounts of farmers who, commencing in life with little or no capital, have by economy, perseverence and industry secured for themselves and their posterity broad, fertile acres and beautiful homes. They, too, have been successful. And that there are those who have been eminently successful in our favorite pursuit of bee-culture is well attested by accounts previously published in our journals. The successful beekeeper, who is he, and what are the rules he adopts as a guidance for his actions? These are the questions we wish to consider, and in so doing we shall submit general principles only. In the first place, he is a person of energy, perseverance and intelligence. He obtains all the information he can in regard to his pursuit, by reading the experience of others and comparing it with his own. He accepts nothing as a fact until it has been demonstraed by experiment to be such, and in giving others advice he relates only what he knows to be reliable. He knows at all times the exact condition of his bees, and does not leave them to take care of themselves. They receive all needful care and attention, at the proper time. His hives are of a uniform size, and, of course, contain the movable
frames. His bees are not allowed to overswarm, and thus become a prey for the moth, but are strong in numbers at all times and seasons of the year. To secure this result, he uses the mel-extractor freely, keeping the brood combs clear of honey in the working season. He rears his queens from his best and purest stock of Italians, mating them with drones reared from good honeyproducing stocks, being careful to avoid "In and in" breeding. His hives, if wintered out of doors, are protected from cold and dampness. And finally, he is an enthusiastic lover of his little pets, and studies their nature and habits with commendable zeal. Many there are who are about to engage in bee-culture for the sole purpose of making money thereby. And this they expect to do with but little expenditure of time, labor and capital. Let all such persons remember that those who succeed in any busines, are the ones that engage in it from a love of the pursuit, and are willing to devote their best energies to it, with a determination to master every difficulty, and excel in every undertaking. HERBERT A. BURCH.
From the American Agriculturist for Aug. Bee Notes.
As the honey yield draws to a close, which, in most sections, will be during this month, care must be taken to avoid too many partly filled boxes. Beginners are apt to continue to supply the place of full boxes with empty ones too late in the season. Instead of this, the number of boxes should be diminished, and in some cases those colonies which work in boxes most rapidly, should finish such as are partly filled by those that work less freely. Box honey that has been removed from the hives, and packed away as directed in the July notes, should be examined occasionally, and if the moth-worm is found in any, they should be either removed, or the boxes placed in a tight box, and fumigated with brimstone. Such boxes should be placed by themselves for home use, and when honey is taken from them for the table, all places disturbed by the worms can be cut away. A correspondent asks how the worms could get into his boxes, as he sealed them up tight when taken from the hive. The eggs were deposited in the boxes while on the hive, and sealing up closely aids the progress of the worm, by retaining the heat. Worms are seldom found in boxes, except such as contain bee bread.
In most sections swarms will not issue later than this month. Each swarm should be examined to ascertain if it has a laying queen. Young queens are liable to be lost, when sometimes a swarm has no means of rearing another, and unless another queen is supplied, or brood from which, to rear one is given, the colony will soon be worthless.
On page 254, of the July No., under the head of "Among the Farmers," your correspondent asks a plain, practical question, and justly heads his remarks, Wasted Sweets."-"Why is it that we have no more bees?" is a question that claims the attention of every farmer. In attempting to give some of the reasons why so few bees are kept by farmers, I shall differ somewhat with your correspondent. If all who have attempted bee-keeping had been success
ful, the number of colonies throughout the country would be far greater than at present. The real answer to the question is, that the advance that has been made in bee-culture during the past few years, is not generally understood. The foremost reason that would be given by the inexperienced, would no doubt be the fear of stings. Were the present facilities for subduing bees, and the ease of ample protection properly understood, the fear of stings would become one of the least hindrances to bee-culture. Again, many farmers, as well as others, would keep a few swarms, if it were not for the idea that they must be watched during swarming time, and thus interfere with their general business. This belongs with many other absurdities of old time bee-keeping. Your correspondent speaks of the ease of preventing loss of swarms. If he means glass during winter and spring, I think he is in error. This is the knotty point of bee-keeping. Not that the loss may not be prevented in a great degree, but he should have said, with earnest care and attention. He suggests that it is not safe to move bees less than three miles. Many can testify to having moved them one mile, and even less, with entire satisfaction.
I am aware that in urging all to investigate the interests of bee-keeping, I expose myself to criticism. We are told by those interested in the production of honey, that in so doing we are working against our own interest. I can hardly believe their view correct, and if it were, we should hardly be justified in remaining silent, while, as your correspondent truly says, "forage for bees abounds, and acres of honey are hardly sipped." Let me urge then that the readers of these notes procure some standard work on bee-culture, and learn for themselves what, as the late M. Quinby expressed it, "they are losing, not for the asking, but for the taking." Besides it is an interesting pursuit, so much so, that if those who study it never keep a bee, it will be time well spent to learn their natural history.
Let me not be understood as conveying the idea that it is a business in which any one can be successful without persevering study and effort, and if one engages in it extensively, he will find plenty of hard work. Bee-keeping as an exclusive business, and the care of a few as amusement or for home supply, involve altogether different methods of handling and practice. While few are adapted to pursue bee-keeping on a large scale, almost any one can succeed with a few colonies.
Mohawk, N. Y.
L. C. ROOT.
Mix a quart of extracted honey with half a pound of powdered white sugar, half a pound of fresh butter and the juice of two oranges or lemons. Warm these ingredients slightly, just enough to soften the butter, and then stir the mixture very hard, adding a grated nutmeg. Mix in gradually two pounds or less of sifted flour, make it into a dough just stiff enough to roll out easy, and beat it well all over with a rolling pin; then roll it out into a large sheet half an inch thick, cut it into round cakes with the top of a tumbler dipped frequently in flour, lay them in shallow tin pans slightly buttered, and bake them.
I have been greatly interested in what has been said for and against Ligurian bees, and the conclusion that I have come to is that First, there must be a profit in keeping Ligurians for sale, to self in swarms, or to sell queens for ligurianising other swarms; Second, that they are no better honey-producers than the common bees; and, Third, that therefore, to those whose aim is profit by means of honey, it is a loss to invest in Ligurian bees. These conclusions have been arrived at in various ways. So many of the evidences in favor of Ligurians came from parties who had them to sell, that I could not think their evidence was of a disinterested kind. Then 1 was greatly astonished that last year no one accepted the competition proposed by Mr. Pettigrew, who advocated the British bee; and, again, your correspondent "B. & W., who otherwise appears favorable to the Ligurian makes this important statement: "I must acknowledge that I am far from satisfied that the common English bee is not in every way as profitable as the Italian bees. I have now had them for many years." Mr. Pettigrew has the warmest thanks of many. He has fought unflinchingly on behalf of the English bee, and thereby deterred those whose aim was profit from incurring needless outlay in buying bees which, after all that has been said in their favor, have so little proof of their superiority as swarmers or honey gatherers.-London Cottage Gardener.
[Is it possible that the different bee-keepers of England are all agreed on the equal value of the common black bee with the Italian, except those who have Italian bees or queens to sell? We would like to ask the British Bee Journal what proportion of those who keep bees for the profit of the honey prefer the black bee? Brother Abbott, please tell.-ED.]
From the Los Angeles Herald.
A Nut for Bee-Keepers to Crack.
It is, we believe, generally conceded by all, or nearly all, of the leading apiculturists that the fertilization of queens in confinement is numbered among the impossibilities, or, at least, has proved a failure so far. We are not among the doubting; we believe it can be done and has been done. Now for the facts. While examining a colony of bees in the Los Angeles Apiary one month or six weeks since, we noticed a young Italian queen that had just emerged from her royal birth place with only one wing and a small stub of the other. We at once called the attention of the proprietors of the apiary to the fact, who, after a brief consultation, decided to supplant her at once with a fertile one, as she would never be able to fly, and consequently would never become fertile. We urged them to let her remain a few days and see the result, to which they consented. In about one week we examined and found she was yet unfertile. It was then decided to let her remain still longer. In eight or ten days after she was again examined with
like result. It was then determined by one of the proprietors, who was present, to at once dispatch her. As she was a fine looking queen we interceded in her behalf, when she was turned over to us. We at once placed her in an ordinary sized queen cage, with a single Italian drone, and placed the cage on the top of the frames in a queenless hive. Next morning, on examining the cage, we found the drone dead. We then liberated the queen, and in about four days she commenced laying, and is now a prolific queen, raising brood abundantly. Now, the query is, did she become fertile in the cage or in the hive?-for she cannot fly. The proof is clear to us that it took place in the cage, or in the hive, and if so there is no doubt in our mind but what fertilization can be accomplished in confinement. N. LEVERING.
Our Letter Box.
La Salle Co., Ill,, Aug. 4, 1875.—“My bees are now at work on catnip."
H. L. BRUSH.
Bonham, Texas, July 25, 1876.-"Bees in Northern Texas have done very poorly this season. Too much rain."
L. M. LINDLEY.
Grant Co., Wis., Aug. 4, 1876.-"The honey crop has been very poor here for white honey. There is a great amount of white clover, but it seems to yield no honey, and the basswood blossoms were an entire failure. Fall flowers and buckwheat are in full bloom here now, and promise a fair crop of honey." B. KRONSHAGE.
Henry Co., Iowa, July 24, 1876.-"Bees are doing well. Some have made as much as 100 lbs. of box and small frame honey to the stand, but strange to say that ninetenths of them swarmed without starting queen cells. I think we had the Centennial swarm, as we had six of them come out at one time and all go together, one of them had an imported queen. We have had 42 natural swarms and saved all except oneit took Horace Greely's advice and went west." JOHN A. THOMAS.
Lucas Co., Ohio.-"On the Bay, July 24, 1876, I saw a king bird catch several bees. I shot him at 5 p. m., and send you with this the contents of his craw. On the 26th I shot another, send you also the contents of his craw. If they come to you as I put them in this letter, you will find two worker bees and two drones. They appear to have been swollowed whole. The bird is very destructive on bees. I have killed twelve this season; two of them were catching bees on the flowers at least 80 rods from any hive, on what some call the tony burr-the best honey plant from the last week of May to the middle of June that grows about here. NORTON CASE. [There might be some doubt about the first named mass being the remains of bees, but in the second case we think there can be no question about there being four bees among the mangled parts.-ED.]
Jefferson, Wis., July 31, 1876.-" Bees are doing poorly here. They will scarcely gather enough to winter on, if August does not make any better results. Buckwheat may do something; though there is but little raised here. I fear I shall not get an ounce of surplus. I enclose a bee that the bees have thrown out of the hive this evening. Its feet are very peculiar. What is the matter with it? WM. WOLFF.
[The feet have attached to them little yellow particles that have sometimes been mistaken for insects. These attachments have been got from the milk weed on which the bee has been working, and when its feet are so clogged that it can no longer climb in the hive, it is driven out. But few bees are ever lost by it.-ED.]
Knox Co., Ill., July 27, 1876.-"Bees have done well here all summer until last week, and even now the strong stocks are putting in some surplus. I had 9 stocks in spring and now have 23, besides selling two, and have taken 300 lbs. of extracted honey. The comb foundation warrants all you said in regard to it. I have a lot of it now with capped honey for about 3 inches at top and the balance is capped brood, and straight as a board, but you should give some directions far putting it in. A frame must not be filled with it, but leave about one inch at each side and use it only 6 or 8 inches deep, as it seems to draw down by weight of bees and also spreads laterally. We cannot say too much in its praise and I think it worth to bee-keepers $3 or $4 per fb., rather than let bees build all new. I had some of the foundation with brood in (that is, eggs) 24 to 48 hours after inserting it. I shall have to send you another order soon, as I shall need some more yet." I. W. CRAMER.
Coshocton Co., Ohio., July 26, 1876.- I owned bees ever since I was a little boy (I am now 54), all I knew about them was to brimstone them. I learned that from my father. I have two stands yet, one pretty good and one very weak. I was doing nothing for them and they were doing nothing for me. They did not swarm this last two years. Last fall an agent called with R. P. Starbuck's Union Bee Hive. He wanted me to buy one. I refused and told him it was a humbug. He went away and finally came around again and staid with me all night. Persuaded me next morning to buy one. That was Jan. 18, 1876. Transferred the best of the two and told me a little how to manage them. In two weeks the agent came again with the patentee. They transferred the other colony and told me how to feed and manage them. Mr. Starbuck advised me to send for THE AMERICAN Bee JOURNAL. That was the first I ever heard of it, so I got him to send for the JOURNAL. Mr. Starbuck told me how to make an artificial swarm. But I could not do it if it were not for the JOURNAL. But the JOURhelped me and I got it done first rate. On the 8th of July I undertook to make an artifical swarm. I never saw one made, but I had a piece of the JOURNAL in my head and got it done right, so I tried the second hive and to my great surprise each one cast a swarm-the first one in 12 days, the other one in 13 days. Good swarms they are and doing well. I am a thousand times thank