Unformatted text preview: So work the Honey Bees.
Creatures that by a rule in Nature, teach
The art of order to a peopled kingdom.
Shakspeare. The above are very accurate representations of the Queen, the Worker
and the Drone. The group of bees in the title page represents the
attitude in which the bees surround their Queen or Mother as she rests
upon the comb. LANGSTROTH
ON THE HIVE AND THE HONEY-BEE,
A BEE KEEPER'S MANUAL,
BY REV. L. L. LANGSTROTH. NORTHAMPTON:
HOPKINS, BRIDGMAN & COMPANY.
1853. Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1853 by
L. L. Langstroth,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts. Mise au format pdf pour
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by Jean Fontayne Non commercial No changes PREFACE
This Treatise on the Hive and the Honey-Bee, is respectfully submitted
by the Author, to the candid consideration of those who are interested
in the culture of the most useful as well as wonderful Insect, in all the
range of Animated Nature. The information which it contains will be
found to be greatly in advance of anything which has yet been
presented to the English Reader; and, as far as facilities for practical
management are concerned, it is believed to be a very material advance
over anything which has hitherto been communicated to the Apiarian
Debarred, by the state of his health, from the more appropriate duties
of his Office, and compelled to seek an employment which would call
him, as much as possible, into the open air, the Author indulges the
hope that the result of his studies and observations, in an important
branch of Natural History, will be found of service to the Community
as well as to himself. The satisfaction which he has taken in his
researches has been such that he has felt exceedingly desirous of
interesting others, in a pursuit which, (without any reference to its
pecuniary profits,) is capable of exciting the delight and enthusiasm of
all intelligent observers.
The Creator may be seen in all the works of his hands; but in few more
directly than in the wise economy of the Honey-Bee.
“What well appointed commonwealths! where each
Adds to the stock of happiness for all;
Wisdom's own forums! whose professors teach
Eloquent lessons in their vaulted hall!
Galleries of art! and schools of industry!
Stores of rich fragrance! Orchestras of song!
What marvelous seats of hidden alchemy! How oft, when wandering far and erring long,
Man might learn truth and virtue from the BEE!”
Bowring. The attention of Clergymen is particularly solicited to the study of this
branch of Natural History. An intimate acquaintance with the wonders
of the Bee-Hive, while it would benefit them in various ways, might
lead them to draw their illustrations, more from natural objects and the
world around them, and in this way to adapt them better to the
comprehension and sympathies of their hearers. It was, we know, the
constant practice of our Lord and Master, to illustrate his teachings
from the birds of the air, the lilies of the field, and the common walks
of life and pursuits of men. Common Sense, Experience and Religion
alike dictate that we should follow his example.
Greenfield, Mass., May 25, 1853. CONTENTS CONTENTS.
INTRODUCTION — CHAPTER I.
• Deplorable state of bee-keeping. New era anticipated, 13.
Huber's discoveries and hives. Double hives for protection against
extremes of temperature, 14.
Necessary to obtain complete control of the combs. Taming bees. Hives
with movable bars. Their results important, 15.
Bee-keeping made profitable and certain. Movable frames for comb.
Bees will work in glass hives exposed to the light. Dzierzon's
Wagner's letter on the merits of Dzierzon's hive and the movable comb
Superiority of movable comb hive, 19. Superiority of Dzierzon's over
the old mode, 20.
Success attending it, 22.
Bee-Journal to be established. Two of them in Germany. Important
facts connected with bees heretofore discredited, 23.
Every thing seen in observing hives, 24. CHAPTER II.
• Bees capable of Domestication. Astonishment of persons at their
Bees intended for the comfort of man. Properties fitting them for
domestication. Bees never attack when filled with honey, 26.
Swarming bees fill their honey bags and are peaceable. Hiving of bees
Bees cannot resist the temptation to fill themselves with sweets.
Manageable by means of sugared water, 28.
Special aversion to certain persons. Tobacco smoke to subdue bees
should not be used. Motions about a hive should be slow and gentle, 29. CONTENTS CHAPTER III.
• • •
• The Queen Bee. The Drone. The Worker, 30.
Knowledge of facts relating to them, necessary to rear them with profit.
Difficult to reason with some bee-keepers. Queen bee the mother of the
Importance of queen to the colony. Respect shown her by the other
bees. Disturbance occasioned by her loss, 32.
Bee-keepers cannot fail to be interested in the habits of bees, 33.
Whoever is fond of his bees is fond of his home. Fertility of queen bees
under-estimated. Fecundation of eggs of the queen bees, 34-36.
Huber vindicated. Francis Burnens. Huber the prince of Apiarians, 35.
Dr. Leidy's curious dissections, 37.
Wasps and hornets fertilized like queen bees. Huish's inconsistency, 38.
Retarded fecundation productive of drones only. Fertile workers
produce only drones, 39.
Dzierzon's opinions on this subject, 40.
Wagner's theory. Singular fact in reference to a drone-rearing colony.
Drone-laying queen on dissection, unimpregnated. Dzierzon's theory
Dead drone for queen, mistake of bees, 43.
Eggs unfecundated produce drones. Fecundated produce workers;
theory therefore, 44.
Aphides but once impregnated for a series of generations. Knowledge
necessary for success, Queen bee, process of laying, 45.
Eggs described. Hatching, 46.
Larva, its food, its nursing. Caps of breeding and honey cells different,
Nymph or pupa, working. Time of gestation. Cells contracted by
cocoons sometimes become too small. Queen bee, her mode of
Drone's development. Development of young bees slows in cool weather
or weak swarms. Temperature above 70 deg. for the production of
young. Thin hives, their insufficiency. Brood combs, danger of
exposure to low temperature, 49.
Cocoons of drones and workers perfect. Cocoons of queens imperfect,
the cause, 50.
Number of eggs dependent on the weather, &c. Supernumerary eggs,
how disposed of, 51.
Queen bee, fertility diminishes after her third year. Dies in her fourth
Drones, description of. Their proper office. Destroyed by the bees.
When first appear, 53. CONTENTS •
• None in weak hives. Great number of them. Rapid increase of bees in
tropical climates, 54.
How to prevent their over production. Expelled from the hive, 55.
If not expelled, hive should be examined. Provision to avoid "in and in
Close breeding enfeebles colonies. Working bees, account of. Number
in a hive, 58.
All females with imperfect ovaries. Fertile workers not tolerated where
there are queens, 59.
Honey receptacle. Pollen basket. The sting. Sting of bees, 60.
Often lost in using. Penalty of its loss. Sting not lost by other insects.
Labors of workers, 61.
Age of bees, 62.
Bees useful to the last, 63.
Cocoons not removed by the bees. Breeding cells becoming too small
are reconstructed. Old comb should be removed. Brood comb not to be
changed every year, 64.
Inventors of hives too often men of "one idea." Folly of large closets for
Reason of limited colonies. Mother wasps and hornets only survive
winter. Queen, process of rearing, 66.
Royal cells, 67.
Royal Jelly, 68.
Its effect on the larvæ, 69.
Queen departs when successors are provided for. Queens, artificial
Interesting experiment, 72.
Objections against the Bible illustrated, 73.
Huish against Huber, 74.
His objections puerile. Objections to the Bible ditto, 75. CONTENTS CHAPTER IV.
• Comb. Wax, how made. Formed of any saccharine substance. Huber's
High temperature necessary to its composition, 77.
Heat generated in forming. Twenty pounds of honey to form one of
wax. Value of empty comb in the new hive. How to free comb from
eggs of the moth, 78.
Combs having bee-bread of great value. How to empty comb and
replace it in the hive, 79.
Artificial comb. Experiment with wax proposed, 80.
Its results, if successful. Comb made chiefly in the night. 81.
Honey and comb made simultaneously. Wax a non-conductor of heat.
Some of the brood cells uniform in size, others vary, 82.
Form of cells mathematically perfect, 83.
Honey comb a demonstration of a "Great First Cause," 84. CHAPTER V.
• Propolis or Bee Glue. Whence it is obtained. Huber's experiment, 85.
Its use. Comb varnished with it. The moth deposits her eggs in it, 85.
Propolis difficult for bees to work. Curious use of it by bees, 87.
Ingenuity of bees admirable, 88. CHAPTER VI.
• • • Pollen or Bee-Bread. Whence obtained. Its use. Brood cannot be raised
without it. Pollen nitrogenous. Its use discovered by Huber, 89.
Its collection by bees indicates a healthy queen. Experiment showing
the importance of bee-bread to a colony, 90.
Not used in making comb. Bees prefer it fresh. Surplus in old hives to
be used to supply its want to young hives. Pollen and honey both
secured at the same time by bees. Mode of gathering pollen, 91.
Packing down. Bees gather one kind of pollen at a time. They aid in the
impregnation of plants. History of the bee plain proof of the wisdom of
the Creator. Bees made for man, 92.
Virgil's opinion of bees. Rye meal a substitute for pollen. Quantity used
by each colony, 93. CONTENTS • Wheat flour a substitute. The improved hive facilitates feeding bees
with meal. The discovery of a substitute for pollen removes an obstacle
to the cultivation of honey bees, 94. CHAPTER VII.
• Fifty-four Advantages which ought to be found in an improved hive,
Some desirable qualities the movable comb hive does not pretend to! Is
the result of years of study and observation. It has been tested by
Not claimed as a perfect hive. Old-fashioned bee-keepers found most
profit, &c. Simplest form of hive, 112.
Bee culture where it was fifty years ago. Best hives. New hive is
submitted to the judgment of candid bee-keepers, 113. CHAPTER VIII.
• • • • • •
• Protection against extremes of Heat, Cold and Dampness. Many
colonies destroyed by extremes of weather. Evils of thin hives. Bees not
torpid in winter. When frozen are killed, 114.
Take exercise to keep warm. Perish if unable to preserve suitable
degree of warmth. Are often starved in the midst of plenty. Eat an
extra quantity of food in thin, cold hives, 115.
Muscular exertion occasions waste of muscular fiber. Bees need less
food when quiet than when excited. Experiment, wintering bees in a
dry cellar, 116.
Protection must generally be given in open air. None but diseased bees
discharge fæces in the hive. Moisture, its injurious effects. Free air
needful in cold weather, with the common hive, 117.
Loss by their flying out in cold weather. Protection against extremes of
weather of the very first importance. Honey, our country favorable to
its production. Colonies in forests strong. Reasons for this,
118. Russian and Polish bee-keepers successful. Their mode of
Objection of want of air answered, 120. CONTENTS • •
• • • Bees need but little air in winter if protected. Protection in reference to
the construction of hives. Double hives, preferable to plank. Made
warm in winter by packing. Double hives, inside may be of glass, 121.
Advantages of glass over wood, 122.
Advantages of double glass. Disadvantages of double hives in spring.
Avoided by the improved hive, 123.
Covered Apiaries exclude the sun in spring. Reason for discarding
them. Sun, its effect in producing early swarms in thin hives. Protected
hives fall for want of sun. Enclosed Apiaries, nuisances. Thin hives
ought to be given up, they are expensive in waste of honey and bees,
Comparative cheapness of new and old hives, 125.
Protector against injurious weather. Proper location of bees.
Preparations for setting hives, 126.
Protector should be open in summer and banked in Winter. Cheaper
than an Apiary. Summer air of Protector like forest air. In winter
uniform and mild, 127.
Bees will not be enticed out in improper weather. Secures their natural
heat. Dead bees, &c., to be removed in winter. Temperature of the
Importance of the Protector. Its economy in food, 129. CHAPTER IX.
• • Ventilation. Artificial ventilation produced by bees. Purity of air in the
Bad air fatal to bees, eggs and larvæ, 131.
Bees when disturbed need much air. Dysentery, how produced. Post
mortem condition of suffocated bees, 132.
Great annoyance of excessive heat. Bees leave the hive to save the
comb. Ventilating instinct wonderful, 133.
Should shame man for his neglect of ventilation. Comparative expense
of ventilation to man and bees, 134.
Importance of ventilation to man. Its neglect induces disease, 135.
Plants cannot thrive without free air. The union of warmth and
ventilation in winter an important question. House-builder and stovemaker combine against fresh air, 136.
Run-away slave boxed up. Evil qualities of bad air aggravated by heat.
Dwellings and public buildings generally deficient in ventilation.
Degeneracy will ensue, 137. CONTENTS • •
• • Women the greatest sufferers. Necessity of reform, 138. Public
buildings should be required to have plenty of air. Improved hive, its
adaptedness to secure ventilation, 139.
Nutt's hive too complicated. Ventilation independent of the entrance,
Hive may be entirely closed without incommoding the bees. Ventilators
should be easily removable to be cleansed. Ventilation from above
injurious except when bees are to be moved, 141.
Variable size of the entrance adapts it to all seasons. Ventilators should
be closed in spring. Downing on ventilation, (note,) 142. CHAPTER X.
• • •
• Swarming and Hiving. Bees swarming a beautiful sight. Poetic
description by Evans. Design of swarming, 143.
The honey bee unlike other insects in its colonizing habits. It is chilled
by a temperature below 50 deg. Would perish in Winter if not
congregated in masses. Admirable adaptation, 144.
Swarming necessary. Circumstances in which it takes place. June the
swarming month. Preparations for swarming. Old queen accompanies
the first swarm. No infallible signs of 1st swarming, 145.
Fickleness of bees about swarming. Indications of swarming. Hours of
Proceedings within the hive before swarming. Interesting scene. Bells
and frying-pans useless, 147.
Neglected bees apt to fly away in swarming. Bees properly cared for
seldom do it. Methods of arresting their flight when started, 148.
Conduct of bees in disagreeable hives, 149.
Why bees swarm before selecting a new home. They rarely cluster
without the queen. Interesting experiment, 150.
Scouts to search for new abodes. Scouts sent out before and after
Bees remain awhile after alighting. Curious incident stated by Mr.
Zollickoffer. Necessity of scouts. Considerations confirmed, 152.
Re-population of the hive, 153.
Inability of bees to find their hive when it has been removed. After
Different treatment to the cells of dead and living queens. Royal larvæ
sometimes protected against the queens. Anger of the queen at such
interference, 155. CONTENTS • •
• • •
• Second swarming, its indications. Time, 156. Double swarms. Third
swarm. After swarms seriously reduce the strength of the hive. Wise
After-swarming avoided by the improved hive. Impregnation of
queens. Dangerous for queens to mistake their own hives, 158.
Precautions against this. Proper color for hives. Time of laying eggs.
None but worker eggs, the first season, 159.
Directions for hiving. Hives should be painted and well dried. Bees
reluctant to enter thin warm hives in the sun, 160.
Management with the improved hives, 161.
Drone combs should never be used as guide comb. Pleasure of bees in
finding comb in their new quarters. Bees never voluntarily enter empty
hives. Rubbing the hive with herbs useless, 162.
Small trees or bushes in front of hives. Inexperienced Apiarian should
wear a bee-dress. Moderate dispatch in hiving needful, 163.
Process of hiving particularly described, 164.
Old method of hiving should be abandoned, 166.
Importance of speedy hiving. Should be moved as soon as hived.
Curious fact stated by Dr. Scudamore, (note), 167.
How to secure the queen. She does not sting. Hiving before the hives
are ready, 168.
Another method of hiving. Natural swarming profitable. Objections to
natural swarming. Common hive gives inadequate winter protection,
With it, the bees often swarm too much. With the improved hive this is
avoided. Disadvantages of returning after-swarms. Third objection,
inability to strengthen small late swarms, 170.
Evils of feeble stocks. Fourth objection, loss of queen irreparable. By
the new hive her loss is easily supplied, 171.
Fifth, common hives inconvenient when bees do not swarm. This
objection removed by the new hive. Sixth, the ravages of the moth
easily prevented by the improved hive. Seventh, the old queen, when
infertile, cannot be removed or replaced. Both can be done by the new
hive, 172. CHAPTER X.
(Two Chapter numbered X , by error of the press) CONTENTS • •
• Artificial Swarming. Numerous efforts to dispense with natural
swarming. Difficulties of natural swarming. First, many swarms are
Second, time and labor required. Sabbath labor, 174.
Perplexities to farmers. Third, large Apiaries cannot be established,
Fourth, uncertainty of swarming. Disappointments from this source,
Efforts to devise a surer method, 178.
Columellas's mode of obtaining swarms. Hyginus. Small success which
attended, those efforts, Schirach's discovery, 179.
Huber's directions. Not adapted to general use. Dividing hives in this
country unsuitable. Bees without mature queens make no preparation
to rear workers, 180.
Dividing hives to multiply colonies will not answer, 181.
Huber's hive even, inadequate. Common dividing hives unsuccessful.
Multiplying by brood comb in an empty hive, vain, 182.
Multiplying by removal and substitution useless. Mortality of bees in
working season, 183.
Connecting apartments a failure, 184.
Many prefer non-swarming hives, 185.
Profitable in honey but calculated to exterminate the insect. Improved
hive good non-swarmer, if desired. Disadvantages of non-swarming.
Queen bee becomes infertile. Remedied by the use of the improved
Practicable mode of artificial swarming, 187.
Bees will welcome to their hives strange bees that come loaded. Will
destroy such as come empty, 188.
Forced swarming requires knowledge of the economy of the bee-hive.
Common hives give no facility for learning the bee's habits. Equalizing
a divided swarm, 190.
Bees in parent hive, if removed, to be confined and watered, 191.
Bees removed will return to their old place. Supplying bees with water
by a straw. Water necessary to prepare food for the larvæ, 192.
New forced swarms to be returned to the place of the old one, or
removed to a distance. Treatment to wont them to new place in the
Bees forget their new locations. Objection to forced swarming in
common hives, 194.
Forced swarming by the new hives removes the objection. Mode of
forcing swarms by the new hives, 195.
Queen to be searched for. Important that she should be in the right
hive, 196. CONTENTS • • • •
• • •
Convenience of forced swarming in supplying ext...
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