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HEAD OF THE DRONE.
ITALIAN QUEEN. are the eggs from which young bees are to be produced. If found in the coarser cells which measure four to the inch a drone or male bee will be hatched.
The drones are not believed to be of any use in the hive, unless they are sometimes useful in keeping up the animal heat, but it
The workers are undeveloped females, and they are rightly named, as they do all the work, cleaning the hive, feeding the young, building the combs and gathering the honey and pollen.
If an egg be found in a queen cell, or if an egg is laid in a worker cell and the cell much enlarged, the larva being bountifully fed, a queen will be produced.
The queen is the only fully developed female in the colony and in general only one will be found in each hive. She is rightly named by the French, the mother” bee, as she is the mother of all; her only business being to lay eggs, and during her time of laying, which is most of the year, she does not even feed herself, but is fed from time to time by the workers.
The three kinds of bees are readily distinguished by their general form, and the magnified cut of a head of each, given herewith, will show differences not so readily noticed without the aid of the microscope.
HEAD OF TIIE WORKER. The mandibles or biters are different and the eyes of the drone occupy most of its head. The eye of the bee is compound, being made up of a great number of single eyes, and in the forehead of each will be seen three single eyes. These three single eyes are round, and the facets or little eyes in the compound eyes are six sided, probably on account of their compression by the surrounding facets.
For the American Bee Journal.
In a paper published in THE AMERICAN BEE JOURNAL for July, page 188, Mr. Geo. Thompson urges the importance of looking more to the drone, as a means of improving the Italian bee. His conclusions are proper enough for him to maintain, and would probably do but little or no harm were it not for two reasons, which impel me to claim some space in the JOURNAL, for the purpose of showing their fallacy.
First. He supports his theory by quotations from Dzierzon, Berlepsch, Vogel, and Langstroth, which are, to some extent, in point. Now I assume that the opinions and theories of any and all of those eminent apiarians are valuable, just in proportion as they are the result of actual experience and careful observation; and to no greater extent. If those men have shown how, and especially why we should, as Berlepsch says, “constantly endeavor to presevere and breed from the finest, that is, the most brightly colored drones," then we should, at least, test the matter thoroughly before rejecting their theories. But if experience teaches us that "brightly colored drones” are not a test of their purity, then we should not hesitate to reject their theories as readily as if it was the whim of the veriest novice in bee-keeping. My experience is that Italian queens that produce pure worker progeny, and whose daughters are of uniform color, invariably produce drones of a uniform color, but not as a rule of the bright shades-not "brightly colored drones." "I can see but very little difference in the shade of the drones produced from over thirty pure Italian queens; while queens which are hybrid, although from pure mating their worker progeny may appear pure, are more likely to produce
brightly colored drones." Those that are not pure, and that have mated with black drones, almost invariably produce finely marked, bright drones.
A friend of mine, who is surrounded by black bees, introduced three or four queens, which I removed in 1874 on account of mating badly, and I never saw a finer lot of drones than he has from the daughters of the queens I gave bim; while the drones of the old queens are not unusually, bright. Another instance:-In May, 1875, I sent a colony of bees, whose queen had mated badly, to a friend who was surrounded by black bees. It swarned twice, and as her worker progeny was hybrid, so was her queen progeny. They in turn mated with black drones. The drone progeny of those young queens, produced this year, are very bright-the whole abdomen being of a bright golden hue. Would these be proper drones for bee fathers? Certainly they would if "bright colored drones” are the only ones to breed to, to insure pure Italian bees. If the color is not a test in one instance, can it be relied upon in any case?
Second.-Mr. T. insists that the male bee should be looked to as much as the female. He says: “Let me draw your attention to the fact that cattle and fowl breeders give as much, if not more heed to the male, and
they are very successful in their operations." Why select "cattle and fowls" only, unless he intends to term “cattle" to include all domestic animals, which I think he did. But let us take him literally, and see if the parallel exists between cattle breeding and bee breeding. In the first place, in cattle breeding, the male as well as the female has a sire. This is not trite of the bee. In the second place, if the breeder wishes beef, he has the muscular developments of both male and female to guide him in his selections. In this no parallel exists in the honey bee. If he desires milk, he must, in selecting the males, select only from breeds that are the best milk producers, must be controlled by the qualities of the mother and ancestors; just as in getting good honey-gathering bees. The stock breeder looks to the male for the reason that in it, as a general rule, he can see the qualities which he most desires, while the bee-breeder cannot see a single quality in the drone which he would desire to perpetuate, unless it be the color. The queen should be healthy and prolific, and from the best honey-gathering stocks. The bees should be good honey gatherers, and it is desirable that they be docile, and bright colored, at least wiform in color. The drones should be of stocks possessing the qualities desired and that is all that can be attained. If bees are pure I find no difficulty in their disposition. If they are a cross with the black bee I always find them allied closely in temper to the hornet. The disposition will call attention to impurity where the eye will not detect it, save in the queen progeny.
If so much depends upon the color of the drone, then my friend Thompson should be very careful in selecting not to get those which evince any irritability of temper, lest by mating with a queen of a cross breed she might produce bees that would be a terror to the nations. He should select only large, lusty, fat drones (good feeding develops the finer qualities) and make a specialty of taking those (if honey is his object) which have an ability to gather in" the largest amount of honey in the shortest space of time, and if the color is all right we may look for results.
J. E. RICHIE. Lima, O., Aug. 16, 1876.
For the American Bee Journal. Alsike Clover as a Honey Plant. DEAR EDITOR:-As you desire the experience of your readers with alsike clover as a honey plant, I will say, I have tried it on a stiff clay soil and it has not given satisfaction, and I much prefer white clover; in fact the alsike soon disappears and the white clover takes its place. It may do on wet bottom land. It is certainly a fine honey plant, and by sowing every year would produce a fine crop of honey, but the white clover is as good and holds its own from year to year without re-sowing.
My bees are now gathering honey from honey-dew, and are filling up rapidly. This is the first honey-dew we have had this season. I am glad you are calling the attention of bee-keepers to the importance of cultivating honey-producing plants. To be successful in bee-keeping we must have pasturage for our bees. If all our beekeepers would plant linn, poplar, tulip, and
sumac, and cultivate the various shrubs and honey plants, there would be less grumbling about bad honey seasons. If we would, I am satisfied we could have a honey harvest from the time fruit blossoms appear until frost. A bee farm with all the various honey-producing trees and shrubs and plants, would, if properly cared for, furnish a succession of flowers from April to Nov. In Southern Kentucky we cannot depend on the natural honey resources.
If we would make bee-keeping pay, and I am well satisfied we can do it, then let every man who can, plant and cultivate the best honey plants he can obtain, and success will crown his efforts; thousands of pounds of honey will then be gathered where bees scarcely make a living now. A friend of mine told me a large limn tree would afford from 10 to 15 gallons of honey; and linn will grow on any soil, if properly cared for.
N. P. ALLEN. Smith's Grove, Ky., Sep. 12, 1876.
[Reports about alsike clover are conflicting. While some report a failure others are loud in its praise. Of the latter class is one who writes to the Maine Farmer and calls himself a “Practical Agriculturist.” He says that he has given this species of clover a trial. He began ten years ago, and sowed five pounds of seed on half an acre of land in the spring, and he had a good stand of grass in the fall. The next year he produced two loads of hay and 100 pounds of seed. The second year the yield of hay was the same, and 165 pounds of seed. Its superiority over red clover was such that he did all his seeding with it up to the present time.
We should be glad to have others give us their experience with it.-Ed.]
It would pay our apiarists to procure seed of the most common species of wild aster which grows in the middle southern States. We suppose, then, that our hives are fairly supplied with honey this fall, yet, to be sure each hive should be examined, and any that may be deficient, supplied by feeding honey or white sugar syrup, or by giving them combs full of sealed 'honey. While there are many expensive styles of feeders, simply a shallow pan set in the cap or top story of the hive will answer every purpose.
A quart or so of food may be poured in just at dusk, and shavings or cut straw scattered on the surface to keep the bees from drowning. In order to estimate correctly the quantity of honey in a hive it will be necessary to examine each comb separately or to weigh the whole together and then deduct the weight of the bives as well as something for the weight of the bees, combs and pollen. The easiest way I found is to ascertain by weighing the amount of honey which a comb of average thickness will contain, and from that estimate the amount in each hive. Of course an allowance must be made for the weight of the combs, especially if old, and the pollen they may contain. A little practice will enable one to judge quite accurately by simply lifting one comb after another from the hive, how much honey it contains. There ought to be not less than thirty pounds to each stock that is to be wintered on the summer stand; for in-door wintering twenty pounds will suffice. My experience has convinced me that, other things being equal, those stocks that have a superabundance of honey are much more apt to prove the paying stocks during the next year, than those that have to be fed any time after November or even than those that have just enough to carry them through until spring flowers appear. Forty or fifty pounds then would be preferable to thirty. "In examining the combs it is well to cut one or two small holes near the center of each to serve as winter passages for the bees ; and, if possible, arrange the combs in such a manner as. to leave some empty cells or such as contain brood near the centre of the hive. The brood soon hatches, and in cold weather the bees crawl into these empty cells and being densely packed between the combs the whole mass is enabled to keep up the necessary heat of the hive. It is the natural disposition of the bees to store their honey in this shape, that is, over and around the brood nest; but during a good yield of honey late in the season they fill and seal all the combs to the bottom. "When this occurs the bees, being separated by the cold sheets of honey are liable to perish before empty cells are obtained. The remedy is to use the extractor on the central combs, removing only a portion of the honey from each. We suppose then that one of the conditions upon wliich successful wintering depends is present, namely: an abundance of honey.
The second point to be mentioned is that the hive should be well stocked with bees. Carefully lift the cover or turn the hive up some cool morning and if the cluster occupies five or six spaces call the stock fair. Yet “the more the merrier,” and safer, too.
Our third point is, every hive should have a good queen, one that has shown no signs of failing and is not past her third season.
Special repositories with thick walls like those of an ice-house are often constructed for wintering purposes. Dry cellars are
From the Michigan Farmer. The Wintering of Bees. Jack Frost has already tinted the maples an elms with red and yellow; even our gorgeous fall flowers, golden rod and the asters are fast fading: These sharp mornings with now and then a chilling breeze remind us of the colder times we may soon expect and for which provision must now be made. Among other things we must not forget our little pets-the bees. They have labored unceasingly whenever they could find anything to do, and have given us a generous supply of delicious nectar with which to grace the tea-table and tempt the palate, and in gratitude we should see that they are made as comfortable as possible during the dreary months of winter. Aside from this, it will not pay to neglect them, and it will pay to take good care of them.
The yield of honey from buckwheat this year has been quite good in inost portions of the State, and as a little has been added from the late wild flowers the hives must be well supplied for the winter. In sections where firewood is abundant, or certain species of golden-rod are plenty the hives are filled very full almost every fall. The asters which grow in our State are not the kinds which furnish the large yields of honey so often spoken of, so comparatively little can be counted upon from that source.
also devoted to the same purpose. These rooms should be dark, and, if possible, kept at a temperature of about 42 deg. F. The hives should be set in as soon as cool weather makes its appearance; and before the combs become frosty, the top of the hive may be removed and a blanket or straw mat laid on the frames.
If the stocks are populous, and have good queens and plenty of honey, and the hives can be properly packed I would rather have them remain on their summer stands. Make a box just the width and length of the hive and three inches deep and set the hive over it. This will give an air space below the combs and preclude the possibility of the freezing up of the entrance. If the hives are large so much the better. Place the eight or ten combs containing the winter's food near the center, and hang on each side a division board, made by nailing together pieces of lath with an even layer of straw between them; place above a cap or top story several inches deep, lay a quilt or straw mat across the tops of the frames, and pack chaff or cut straw over and around them very closely. The cover should not shut very tightly but should admit no water. If snow-drifts cover the hives, they will be much better off.
To sum up, then, the conditions for successful out-door wintering seem to be the following: Strong stocks, plenty of honey, good queens, large hives well packed above and at the sides with dry absorbing material, an air space of two or three inches below the combs, and a chance for the moisture caused by the heat of the bees to pass off very gradually without permitting any draft of air through the hive.
I have had stocks prepared in this manner that reared brood all winter and were in splendid condition for the next season's work. There will be no trouble about "springing” such stocks. When thus prepared I have never lost any colonies in wintering, but I have lost thein when they were placed in a cellar or buried in pits, or when they were neglected on their summer stands.
Knoxville, Tenn. FRANK BENTON.
as I wrote him to tell us "all about it." I have had better success with box honey this season. The way I fool them is this: When they swarm put them in an empty hive just beside their old one. When nicely at work, say in one or two days, give them their old combs and boxes and everything goes on as though nothing. had happened. I keep queen's wings clipped when swarm issues, watch her, turn old hive half way round and cover entrance, put new hive with one frame of brood close by old one with queen in front, when bees return release her, when all in, turn old hive to its former position; let them remain that way a day or two, then give them their old combs minus queen cells. I tried it on 6 or 8, and no failures, they worked in boxes as though nothing had happened.
If we can prevent increase, then we will have attained the four things for profit, viz: movable frames, Italian bees, honey slinger and no increase.
D. D. PALMER. Eliza, Mercer Co., Ill., Oct. 9, 1876.
[The above was all written on a postal card. Friend Palmer thinks printers have good eyes and magniflying ones, at that.ED.]
For the American Bee Journal. Sundry Observations.
For the American Bee Journal, Chips from Sweet Home. We started with 103 hives, increased to 175, got 1,920 lbs. box honey and 940 lbs. slung honey, and about 30 lbs. beeswax. In taking off our boxes we had 122 section boxes that were more or less filled, of the sections partly filled and not salable for comb honey, my wife slung out 200 lbs. Of the sections that were filled and capped nicely I filled 38 boxes, weighing 613 lbs., the empty combs are saved for next year's filling. I have 70 6-tb. boxes partly filled containing about 200 lbs., of which I cannot well make any use; this alone makes considerable difference in favor of the sections. This season was very favorable for swarming, and the forepart was favorable for honey, but the month-from Aug. 15 to Sep. 15—that we count on for honey was very wet, raining nearly every day, so our crop is quite short.
Here is an idea and plan to prevent swarming, or at least to do the next best, for which I am indebted to J. L. Wolfenden of Adams, Wis. I give it as he wrote to Gleanings and also on a postal card to me,
THE BEE MOTH. We never considered the moth-miller an enemy to bees. Whoever knew a hive of bees destroyed by these pests, unless the hive was first greatly reduced in bees?. It is only after a hive has become queenless that the bee moth gets control and destroys the combs. The moth worm does not like the taste of honey, and that part of the combs containing honey are the last to be eaten by them. Novices, as a general thing, get the idea into their heads, that the moth is in their hives, and they fear that they will soon lose them. All hives have more or less moth worms about them, but no strong stock of bees was ever injured by them.
Hives with “patent moth traps" attached to them are only got up to swindle the novice who does not understand the habits of the moth. All such clap-trap fixings are a perfect humbug. Of course if the miller can be destroyed they won't do any damage to even a queenless colony. Moth traps won't do much towards destroying them. At this age of movable comb hives no stock of bees need be destroyed by worms, and only a careless bee-keeper will permit such a thing to occur on his premises.
Last winter we read an article in a certain bee journal and the writer acknowledged that he had lost a hive by worms, and this writer has taken it to himself to teach other bee-keepers the art of bee-keeping, and I notice that there are several bee keepers who have had not over five years' experience, undertake the job to teach the same art. We old ducks must take a back seat and look on. Appearances about the entrance of the hive indicates what is going on in the hive. Most observing bee-keepers have no trouble in determining whether a hive is queenless or infected by worms without examining the combs. If a hive is known to have been queenless for a month of being looked upon with disfavor, should be recognized as evidently pure. 'I hope, however, that the above experiments will lead others to follow up the light theory with beneficial results.
A WISCONSIN BEE-KEEPER.
For the American Bee Journal. How Queens are sometimes Lost.
or longer, look out for worms if the weather is warm, in a short time, unless it is soon taken care of. Combs that are not wanted for immediate use should be fumigated with brimstone. It not only preserves the combs from the ravages of the moth and other insects, but it keeps them in their natural state from becoming mouldy, dry, and worthless. We usually fumigate them in this way: Take a large dry-goods box and pack the combs around the sides, leaving room in the centre large enough to adınit a good-sized stone. We heat the stone quite hot and place it in the box, then put roll brimstone on it and cover the whole thing up as tight as possible to keep the fumes of the burning brimstone in, and my word for it, no insect will ever touch those combs, and if there are any about it, it is sure death to them or to any eggs in them. Combs that have been laid up thusly one season are not worth much and we never use them. We prefer to have our bees make new combs, as bees work better in them.
WORKER BEES IN DRONE COMB. If Mr. R. R. Murphy will look over the back numbers of the JOURNAL, say 9 or 10 years ago, he will find a case reported by me of "worker bees in drone comb." We gave a stock of bees a large proportion of drone comb and fed them liberally, hoping thereby to compel the queens to lay some drone eggs. We examined the hive and found plenty of eggs in the drone combs, but when they hatched out they were all worker bees. We have no trouble now in getting all the drones we need.
SWARMING. Mr. Wm. Kellogg has his doubts about a hive casting a swarm without first starting queen cells.
During our experience we have known of a large number of such cases. We had one this last season come off and no cells were started, but the heat of August drove them out. This stock had a very prolific Italian queen, the largest one I ever saw. After I had hived the swarm, I examined the old hive and found no cells. In the course of a few days I removed a lot of cells and gave them a queen. This I could not do safely until they had made some cells.
H. ALLEY. Wenham, Mass.
Many colonies become queenless, with new beginners, during the spring and fore part of summer; and when the bee-keeper finds the queen is dead or missing and the workers are constructing queen cells, he concludes at once they are superseding their queens. If he knows the queen is young (being reared only the last season) he can give no reason for their supersedure, but if it is one that he bought, he is apt to wrongfully blame the queen-breeder for sending him an old queen instead of a young one, as he agreed to.
In 1865, Mrs. Tupper said: “ bees often destroy a queen for no apparent reason.' There is no doubt that there are some cases of bees superseding their queens; but they are few, compared to the number that become queenless. When I had but a few colonies of bees I was anxious for them to increase in number, and I would overhaul them often, and assist them in every possible way. I have often opened a hive and found all right, the queen laying splendidly and the colony increasing rapidly in numbers, but when I opened it again two or three days after, I found the queen dead and half a dozen to a dozen or more queen cells being constructed. This was apt to be the case with my breeding hive, as I usually looked at that the oftenest. In 1875 I found the cause of such destruction of queens.
It is (with laying queens) simply by overhauling the colony in cold unfavorable weather and during cold nights. Perhaps overhauling them during a drouth of honey might produce the same effect. Last year (1875) I found my breeding queen dead about the middle of May, and thought, of course, it must be that they were superseding their queen. As I had read about bees superseding old queens, I thought the queen breeder had got out of having one old queen die on his hands, though I bought her for untested in 1874. 1 then reared seven of her queens, but two of which ever became iinpregnated, being too early in the season. On the 13th and 14th of June, we had very cold mornings, but pleasant days. At noon on the 14th I opened a hive that I knew the queen would be one year old the 10th of August, and while holding the comb with the queen on it, and admiring everything that was going on, the queen passed through a small hole in the comb, and as she started through I saw a worker' seize hold of her. I then turned the comb round to see what the consequence would be, and found every worker near her was pitching into her and had her imprisoned in a moment. I then rescued her and caged her the same as introducing a strange queen. I then thought it must be the same influence the cold nights had on them, and to make a farther test of it, I went to a hive containing a fertile queen less than a month old. I looked the combs once over and failed to see the queen; I then handled the combs over the second
For the American Bee Journal,
Keeping Honey I put up six one-pound cans of beautiful linden honey, being careful to make it one homogeneous mass by stiring. It was taken from the combs by an extractor on July 20, and put into cans on August 1. The cans were placed respectively as follows: One in a dark dry cellar, one each under shades of red, yellow, green, and blue glass, and the sixth can in full light. On Nov. 8 the honey in the cellar candied to a white. Nov. 22 to Dec. 10, honey under colored shades candied, first in the red, next in the yellow, green and blue; while the honey in full light remained transparent until Janu. ary, when it soon candied after exposure to intensely cold weather. From my experience, an equal temperature would preserve certain kinds of honey, while other kinds would candy under almost any circumstance. I think that candied honey, instead