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FREQUENT allusions bave been made to the importance, for various reasons, of breaking up stocks and uniting them to other families in the Apiary. Colonies which in the early Spring, are found to be queenless, ought at once to be managed in this way, for even if not speedily destroyed by their enemies, they are only consumers of the stores which they gathered in their happier days. The same treatment should also be extended to all that in the Fall, are found to be in a similar condition.

As small colonies, even though possessed of a healthy queen, are never able to winter as advantageously a%^rge ones, the bees from several such colonies ought to, lM put together, to enable them by keeping up the necessary supply of heat, to survive the Winte/ on a smaller supply of food. A certain quantity of animal heat must be maintained by bees, in order to live at all, and if their numbers are too small, they can only keep it up, by eating more than they would otherwise require. A small swarrn will thus not unfrequently, consume as much honey as one containing two or three times as many bees. These are facts which have been most thoroughly tested on a very large scale. If a hundred persons are required to occupy, with comfort, a church that is capable of accommodating a thousand, as much fuel or even more will be required, to warm the small number as the large one. If the stocks which are to be wintered, are in the common hives, the condemned ones must be drummed out of their old encampment, sprinkled with sugar-water scented wilh peppermint, or some other pleasant odor, and added to the others, (see p. 212.) The colonies which are to be united ought if possible, to stand side by side, some time before this process is attempted. This can almost always be effected by a little management, for while it would not be safe to move a colony all at once, even a few yards to to the right or left of the line of flight in which the bees sally out to the fields, (especially if other hives are near,) they may be moved a slight distance one day, and a little more the next, and so on, until we have them at last in the desired place.

-. As persons may sometimes be obliged to move their Apiaries, during the working season, I will here describe the way by which I was able to accomplish such a removal, so as to benefit, instead of injuring my bees. Selecting a day, I moved, early in the morning, a portion of stocks. A considerable number of bees from thesS^Bfetties, returned in the course of the day to the familiar spot; after flying about for some time, in search of their hives, (if the weather had been chilly many of them would have perished,) they at length entered those standing next to their old homes. More of the strongest were removed, on the next pleasant day: and this process was repeated, until at last only one hive was left in the old Apiary. This was then removed, and only a few bees returned to the old spot. I thus lost no more bees, in moving a number of hives, than I should have lost in moving one : and I conducted the process in such a way, as to strengthen some of my feeble stocks, instead of very seriously diminishing their scanty numbers. I have known the most serious losses to result from the removal of an Apiary, conducted in the manner in which a change of location is usually made. The process of uniting colonies in my hive, is exceedingly simple. The combs may, after the two colonies are sprinkled, be at once lifted out from the one which is to be broken up, and put with all the bees upon them, directly into the other hive. If the Apiarian judges it best to save any of his very small colonies, he can confine them to one half or one third of the central part of the hive, and fill the two empty ends with straw, shavings, or any good non-conductor. Any one of my frames, can, in a few minutes, by having tacked to it a thin piece of board or paste-board, or even an old newspaper, be fashioned into a divider, which will answer all practical purposes, and if it is stuffed with cotton waste, &c., it will keep the bees uncommonly warm. If a very smalt colony is to be preserved over Winter, the queen must be confined, in the Fall, in a queen cage, to prevent the colony from deserting the hive. I shall now show how the bee-keeper who wishes to keep a given number of stocks, may do so, from that number the largest quantity of surplus If his bees are kept in non-swarming hives, ne may undoubtedly, reap a bounteous harvest from the avails of their industry. I do not however, recommend this mode of beekeeping as the best: still there are many so situated that it may be much the best for them. Such persons, by using my hives, can pursue the non-swarming plan to the best advantage. They can by taking off the wings of their queens, be sure that their colonies will not suddenly leave them; a casualty to which all other non-swarming hives are sometimes liable; and by taking away the honey in small quantities, they will always give the bees plenty of spare room for storage, and yet avoid discouraging them, as is so often done when large boxes are taken from them. (See Chapter on Honey.) By removing from time to time, the old queens, the colonies can all be kept in possession of queens, at the height of their fertility, and in this way a very serious objection to the non-swarming, or as it is frequently called, the storifying system, may be avoided. If at any time, new colonies are wanted, they may be made in the manner already described. In districts where the honey harvest is of very short continuance, the non-swarming plan may be found to yield the largest quantity of honey, and in case the season should prove unfavorable for the gathering of honey, it will usually secure the largest returns from a given number of stocks. I therefore prefer to keep a considerable number of my colonies, on the storifying plan, and am confident of securing from them, a good yield of honey, even in the most unfavorable seasons. If bee-keepers will pursue the same system, they will not only be on the safe side, but to determine which method it will be best for in order to make the most from their bees. As rule, the Apiarian who increases the number of his colSffies, one third in a season, making one very powerful swarm from two, (See p. 211,) will have more surplus honey from the three, than he could have obtained from the two, to say nothing of the value of his new swarms. If, at the approach of Winter, he wishes to reduce his stocks down to the Spring number, he may unite them in the manner described, appropriating all the good honey of those which he breaks up, and saving all their empty comb for the new colonies of the next season. The bees in the doubled stock will winter most admirably ; will consume but little honey, in proportion to their numbers, and will be in most excellent condition when the Spring opens. It must not, however, be forgotten, that although they eat comparatively little in the Winter, they must be well supplied in the Spring; as they will then have a very large number of mouths to feed, to say nothing of the thousands of young bees bred in the hive. If any old-fashioned bee-keeper wishes, he can thus pursue the old plan, with only this modification ; that he preserves the lives of the bees in the hives which he wishes to take up; secures his honey without any fumes of sulphur, and saves the empty comb to make it worth nearly ten times as much to himself, as it would be, if melted into wax. Let no humane bee-keeper ever feel that there is the slightest necessity for so managing his bees as to make the comparison of Shakespeare always apposite: " When like the Bee, tolling from every flower The virtuous sweets ; Our thighs packed with wax, our mouths, with honey, We bring it to the hive ; and like the bees, Are murdered for our pains." While I am an advocate for breaking up all stoc] cannot be wintered advantageously, I never single bee should be killed. Self interest alike forbid the unnecessary sacrifice.


The construction of my hive is such, as to permit me to transfer bees from the common hives, during all the season that the weather is warm enough to permit them to fly ; and yet to be able to guarantee that they will receive no serious damage by the change. On the 10th of November, 1852, in the latitude of Northern Massachusetts, I transferred a colony which wintered in good health, and which now, May, 1853, promises to make an excellent stock. The day was warm, but after the operation was completed, the weather suddenly became cold, and as the bees were not able to leave the hive in order to obtain the water necessary for repairing their comb, they were supplied with that indispensable article. They went to work very busily, and in a short lime mended up their combs and attached them firmly to the frames. The transfer may be made of any healthy colony, and if they are strong in numbers, and the hive is well provisioned, and the weather is not too cool when the operation is attempted, they will scarcely feel the change. If the weather should be too chilly, it will be found almost impossible to make a colony leave its old hive, and if the combs are cut out, and the bees removed upon them, large numbers of them will take wing, and becoming chilled, will be unable to join their companions, and so will perish. The process of transferring bees to my hives, is performed as follows. Let the old hive be shut up and well drummed* bees, if possible, be driven into an upper box. If leave the hive of their own accord, they elves, and when it is ascertained that they are they can help it, not to be tenants at will, the upper box must be removed, and the bees gently sprinkled, so that they may all be sure to have nothing done to them on an empty stomach. If possible, an end of the old box parallel with the combs, must be pried off, so that they may be easily cut out. An old hive or box should stand upon a sheet, in place of the removed stock, and as fast as a comb is cut out, the bees should be shaken from it,

  • Instead of using sticks, I much prefer to make Lthe drumming with the open palms of my hands.

upon the sheet; a wing or anything soft, wilt often be of service in brushing off the bees. Remember that they must not be hurt. If the weather is so pleasant that many bees from other hives, are on the wing, great care must be taken to prevent them from robbing. As fast therefore as the bees are shaken from the combs, these should be put into an empty hive or box, and covered with a cloth, or set in some place where they will not be disturbed. As soon as all the combs have been removed, the Apiarian should proceed to select and arrange them for his new hive. If the transfer is made late in the season, care must be taken, of course, to give the bees combs containing a generous allowance of honey for their winter supplies ; together with such combs as have brood, or are best fitted for the rearing of workers, All coarse combs except such as contain the honey which they need, should be rejected. Lay a frame upon a piece of comb, and mark it so as to be able to cut it a trifle larger, so that it will just crowd into the frame, to remain in its place until the bees have time to attach it. If the size of the combs is such, that some of them cannot be cut so as to fit, then cut them to the best advantajg||||nd after putting them into the frames, wind some the upper and lower slats of the frame, combs in their place, until the bees can If however, any of the combs which do not fit, have no honey in them, they may be fa tened very easily, by dipping their upper edges into melted rosin. When the requisite number of combs are put into the frames, they should be placed in the new hive, and slightly fastened on the rabbets with a mere touch of paste, so as to hold them firmly in their places ; this will be the more necessary if the transfer is made so late in the season that the bees cannot obtain the propolis necessary to fasten them, themselves.

As soon as the hive is thus prepared, let the temporary box into which the bees have been driven, be removed, and their new home put in its place. Shake out now the bees from the box, upon a sheet in front of this hive, and the work is done; bees, brood, honey, bee-bread, empty combs and all, have been nicely moved, and without any more serious loss than is often incurred by any other moving family, which has to mourn over some broken crockery9 or other damage done in the necessary work of establishing themselves in a new home ! If this operation is performed at a season of the year when there is much brood in the hive, and when the weather is cool, care must be taken not to expose the brood, so that it may become fatally chilled.

The best time for performing it, is late in the Fall, when there is but little brood in the hive ; or about ten days after the voluntary or forced departure of a first swarm from the old stock. By this time, the brood left by the old queen, will all be sealed over, and old enough to bear exposure, especially as the weather, at swarming time, is usually quite warm. A temperature, not lower than 70°, will do them for if exposed to such a temperature, they will if taken from the bees.

of the best time for performing this operation, done at any season of the year, when the bees can fly without any danger of being chilled, and I should not be afraid to attempt it, in mid-winter, if the weather was as warm as it sometimes is. Let me here earnestly caution all who keep bees, against meddling with them when the weather is cool. Irreparable mischief is often done to them at such times; they are tempted to fly, and thus perish from the cold, and frequently they become so much excited, that they connot retain their faeces, but void them among the combs. If nothing worse ensues, they are disturbed when they ought to be in almost deathlike repose, and are thus tempted to eat a much larger quantity of food than they would otherwise have needed. Let the Apiarian remember that not a single unnecessary motion should be required of a single bee : for all this, to say nothing else, involves a foolish waste of food. (See p. 116.) In all operations involving the transferring of bees, it is exceedingly desirable that the new hives to which they are transferred should be put, as near as possible, where the old ones stood. If other colonies are in close proximity, the bees may be tempted to enter the wrong hives, if their position is changed only a little ; they are almost sure to do this if the others resemble more closely than the new one, their former habitation. If will be often advisable, to transport to the distance of one or two miles, the stocks which are to be transferred ; so that the operation may be performed to the best advantage. In a few weeks they may be brought back to the Apiary. In hiving swarms, and transferring stocks, care must be taken to prevent the bees from getting mixed with those of other colonies. If this precaution is neglected many bees will be lost by joining other stocks, where they may be kindly welcomed, or may at 910^* be put to death. It is exceedingly difficult, to tell Ij^re nand, what kind of a reception strange bees will meet with, from a colony which they attempt to join. In the working season they are much more likely to be well received, than at any other time, especially if they come loaded with honey: still new swarms full of honey, that attempt to enter other hives, are often killed at once. If a colony which has an unimpregnated queen seeks to unite with another which has a fertile one, then almost as a matter of course they are destroyed ! If by moving their hive, or in any other way, bees are made to enter a hive containing an unimpregnated queen, they will often destroy her, if they came from a family which was in possession of a fertile one! If any thing of this kind is ever attempted, the queen ought first to be confined in a queen cage. If while attempting a transfer of the bees to a new hive, I am apprehensive of robbers attacking the combs, or am pressed for want of time, I put only such combs as contain brood into the frames, and set the others in a safe place. The bees are now at once allowed to enter their new hive, and the other combs are given to them at a more convenient time. The whole process of transferal need not occupy more than an hour, and in some cases it can be done in fifteen minutes If the weather is hot, the combs must not be exposed at all to the heat of the sun.

Until I had tested the feasibility of transferring bees from the old hives, by means of my frames, I felt strongly opposed to any attempt to dislodge them from their previous habitation. If they are transferred in the usual way, it must be done when the combs are filled with brood ; for if delayed until late in the season, they will have no time to laj p| a store of provision against the Winter. Who can lodH^irithout disgust, upon the wanton destruction of thousands c^rtieir young, and the silly waste of comb, which can be replaced Only by the consumption of large quantities of honey ? In the great majority of such cases, the transfer, unless made about the swarming season, and previous to the issue of the first swarm, will be an entire failure, and if made before, at best only one colony is obtained, instead of the two, which are secured on my plan. I never advise the transfer of a colony into any hive, unless their combs can be transferred with them, nor do I advise any except practical Apiarians, to attempt to transfer them even to my hives. But what if a colony is so old that its combs can only breed dwarfs ? When I find such a colony, I shall think it worth while to give specific directions as to how it should be managed. The truth is, that of all the many mistakes and impositions which have disgusted multitudes with the very sound of " patent hive," none has been more fatal than the notion that an old colony of bees could not be expected to prosper. Thousands of the very best stocks have been wantonly sacrificed to this Chimera ; and so long as bee-keepers instead of studying the habits of the bee, prefer to listen to the interested statements of ignorant, or enthusiastic, or fraudulent persons, thousands more will suffer the same fate. As to old stocks, the prejudice against them is just as foolish as the silly notions of some who imagine that a woman is growing old, long before she has reached her prime. Many a man of mature years who has married a girl or a child, instead of a woman, has often had both time enough, and cause enough to lament his folly.

It cannot be too strongly urged upon all who keep bees, either for love or for money, to be exceedingly cautious in trying any new hive, or new system of management. If you are ever so well satisfied that it will answer all jour expectations, enter upon it, at first, only on a small scale ; then, if it fulfills all its promises, or if you can make it do so, you may safely adopt it: at all events, you will not have to mourn over large sums of money spent for nothing, and numerous powerful colonies entirely destroyed. " Let well enough alone," should, to a great extent, be the motto of every prudent bee-keeper. There is, however, a golden mean between that obstinate and stupid conservatism which tries nothing new, and, of course, learns nothing new, and that craving after mere novelty, and that rash experimenting on an extravagant scale, which is so characteristic of a large portion of our American people. It would be difficult to find a better maxim than that which is ascribed to David Crockett; u Be sure you're right, then go ahead."

What old bee-keeper has not had abundant proof that stocks eight or ten years old, or even older, are often among the very best, in his whole Apiary, always healthy and swarming with almost unfailing regularity ! I have seen such hives, which for more than fifteen years, have scarcely failed, a single season, to throw a powerful swarm. I have one now ten years old, in admirable condition, which a few years ago, swarmed three times, and the first swarm sent off a colony the same season, AH these swarms were so early that they gathered ample supplies of honey, and wintered without any assistance ! I have already spoken of old stocks flourishing for a long term of years in hives of the roughest possible construction ; and I shall now in addition to my previous remarks assign a new reason for such unusual prosperity. Without a single exception, I have found one or both of two things to be true, of every such hive. Either it was a very large hive, or else if not of unusual size, it contained a large quantity of worker-comb. No hive which does not contain a good allowance of regular comb of a size adapted to the rearing of workers, can ever in the nature of things, prove a valuable stock hive. Many hives are so full of drone combs that they breed a cloud of useles consumers, instead of the thousands of industrious bees which ought to have occupied their places in the combs. It frequently happens that when bees are put into a new hive, the honey-harvest is at its height, and the bees finding it difficult to build worker comb fast enough to hold their gatherings, are tempted to construct long ranges of drone comb to receive their stores. In this way, a hive often contains so small an allowance of workercomb, that it can never flourish, as the bees refuse to pull down, and build over any of their old combs. All this can be easily remedied by the use of the movable comb hive.


A person ignorant of bees, must depend in a very great measure, on the honesty of those from whom he purchases them. Many stocks are not worth accepting as a gift: like a horse or cow, incurably diseased, they will only prove a bill of vexatious expense. If an inexperienced person wishes to commence bee-keeping, I advise him, by all means, to purchase a new swarm of bees. It ought to be a large and early one. Second swarms and all late and small first swarms, ought never to be purchased by one who has no experience in Apiarian pursuits. They* are very apt, in such hands, to prove a failure. If all bee-keepers were of that exemplary class of whom the Country Curate speaks, (see p. 33,) it would be perfectly safe to order a swarm of any one keeping a stock of bees. This however, is so far from being true, that some offer for sale, old stocks which are worthless, or impose on the ignorant, small first swarms, and second and even third swarms, as prime swarms worth the very highest market price. If the novice purchases an old stock, he will have the perplexities of swarming, &c., the first season, and before he has obtained any experience. As it may, however, be sometimes advisable that this should be done, unless he makes his purchase of a man known to be honest, he should select his stock himself, at a period of the day when the bees, in early Spring, are busily engaged in plying their labors. He should purchase a colony which is very actively engaged in carrying in bee-bread, and which, from the large number going in and out, undoubtedly contains a vigorous population. The hive should be removed at an hour when the bees are all at home. It may be gently inverted, and a coarse towel placed over it, and then tacked fast, when the bees are shut in. Have a steady horse, and before you start, be very sure that it is impossible for any bees to get out. Place the hive on some straw, in a wagon that has easy springs, and the bees will have plenty of air, and the combs, from the inverted position of the hive, will not be so liable to be jarred loose. Never purchase a hive which contains much comb just built; for it will be next to impossible to move it, in warm weather, without loosening the new combs. If a new swarm is purchased, it may be brought home as follows. Furnish the person on whose premises it is to be hived, with a box holding at the very least, a cubic foot of clear contents. Let the bottom-board*of this temporary hive be clamped on both ends, the clamps being about two inches wider than the thickness of the board, so that when the hive is set on the bottom-board, it will slip in between the upper projections of the clamps, and be kept an inch from the ground, by the lower ones, so that air may pass under it. There should be a hole in the bottom-board, about four inches in diameter, and two of the same size in the opposite sides of the box, covered with wire gauze, so that the bees may have an abundance of air, when they are shut up. Three parallel strips, an inch and a half wide, should be nailed, about one third of the way from the top of the temporary hive, at equal distances apart, so that the bees may have every opportunity to cluster; a few pieces of old comb, fastened strongly in the top with melted rosin, will make the bees like it all the better. A handle made of a strip of leather, should be nailed on the top. Let the bees be hived in this box, and kept well shaded ; at evening, or very early next morning, the temporary hive which was propped up, when the bees were put into it, may be shut close to its bottom-board, and a few screws put into the upper projection of the clamps, so as to run through into the ends of the box. In such a box, bees may be safely transported, almost any reasonable distance : care being taken not to handle them roughly, and never to keep them in the sun, or in any place where they have not sufficient air. If the box is too small, or sufficient ventilators are not put in, or if the bees are exposed to too much heat, they will be sure to suffocate. If the swarm is unusually large, and the weather excessively warm, they ought to be moved at night. Unless great care is taken in moving bees, in very hot weather, they will be almost sure to perish : therefore always be certain that they have an abundance of air. If they appear to be suffering for want of it, especially if they begin to fall down from the cluster,.and to lie in heaps on the bottom-board, they should immediately be carried into a field or any convenient place, and at once be allowed to fly: in such a case they cannot be safely moved again, until towards night. This will never be necessary if the box is large enough, and suitably ventilated.

I have frequently made a box for transporting new swarms, out of an old tea-chest. When a new swarm is brought in this way to its intended home, the bottom-board may be unscrewed, and the bees transferred at once, to the new hive ; (See p. 168.) In some cases, it may be advisable to send away the new hive. In this case, if one of my hives is used, the spare honey-board should be screwed down, and all the holes carefully stopped, except two or three which ought to have some ventilators tacked over them: the frames should be fastened with a little paste, so that they will not start from tbeir place, and after the bees are hived, the blocks which close the entrance should be screwed down to their place, keeping them however, a trifle less than an eighth of an inch from the entrance, so as to give the bees all the air which they need. I very much prefer sending a box for the bees : one person can easily carry two such boxes, each with a swarm of bees; and if he chooses to fasten them to two poles, or to a very large hoop, he may carry four, or even more. If the Apiarian wishes, to be sure the first season, of getting some honey from his bees, he will do well to procure two good swarms, and put them both into one hive. (See p. 213.) To those who do not object to the extra expense, I strongly recommend this course. Not unfrequently, they will in a good season, obtain in spare honey from their doubled swarm, an ample equivalent for its increased cost: at all events, such a powerful swarm lays the foundations of a flourishing stock, which seldom fails to answer all the reasonable expectations of its owner. If the Apiary is commenced with swarms of the current season, and they have an abundance of spare room in the upper boxes, there will be no swarming, that season, and the beginner will have ample time to make himself familiar with his bees, before being called to hive new swarms, or to multiply colonies by artificial means.

Let no inexperienced person commence bee-keeping on a large scale ; very few who do so, find it to their advantage, and the most of them not only meet with heavy losses, but abandon the pursuit in disgust. By the use of my hives, the bee-keeper can easily multiply very rapidly, the number of his colonies, as soon as he finds, not merely that money can be made by keeping bees, but that lie can make it. While I am certain that more money can be made by a careful and experienced bee-keeper in a good situation, from a given sum invested in an Apiary, than from the same money invested in any other branch of rural economy, I am equally certain that there is none in which a careless or inexperienced person would be more sure to find his outlay result in an almost entire loss. An Apiary neglected or mismanaged, is far worse than a farm overgrown with weeds, or exhausted by ignorant tillage : for the land is still there, and may, by prudent management, soon be made again to blossom like the rose ; but the bees, when once destroyed, can never be brought back to life, unless the poetic fables of the Mantuan Bard, can be accepted as the legitimate results of actual experience, and swarms of bees, instead of clouds of filthy flies, can once more be obtained from the carcases of decaying animals ! I have seen an old medical work in which Virgil's method of obtaining colonies of bees from the putrid body of a cow slain for this special purpose, is not only credited, but minutely described.

A large book would hardly suffice to set forth all the superstitions connected with bees. I will refer to one which is very common and which has often made a deep impression upon many minds. When any member of a family dies, the bees are believed to be aware of what has happened, and the hives are by some dressed in* mourning, to pacify their sorrowing occupants ! Some persons imagine that if this is not done, the bees will never afterwards prosper, while others assert, that the bees often take their loss so much to heart, as to alight upon the coffin whenever it is exposed ! An intelligent clergyman on reading the sheets of this work, stated to me that he had always refused to credit this latter fact, until present at a funeral where the bees gathered in such large numbers upon the coffin, as soon as it was brought out from the house, as to excite considerable alarm. Some years after this occurrence, being engaged in varnishing a table, and finding that the bees came and lit upon it, he was convinced that the love of varnish, (see p. 85,) instead of sorrow or respect for the dead, was the occasion of their gathering round the coffin ! How many superstitions in which often intelligent persons most firmly confide, might if all the facts were known, be as easily explained. Before closing this Chapter, I must again strongly caution all inexperienced bee-keepers, against attempting to transfer colonies from an old hive. 1 am determined that if any find that they have made a wanton sacrifice of their bees, they shall not impute their loss to my directions. If they persist in making the attempt, let them, by all means, either do it at break of day, before the bees of other hives will be induced to commence robbing ; or better still, let them do it not only early in the morning, but let them carry the hive on which they intend to operate, to a very considerable distance from the vicinity of the other hives, and entirely out of sight of the Apiary. I prefer myself this last plan, as I then run no risk of attracting other bees to steal the honey, and acquire mischievous habits.

The bee-keeper is very often reminded by the actions of his bees of some of the worst traits in poor human nature. When a man begins to sink under misfortunes, how many are ready not simply to abandon him, but to pounce upon him like greedy harpies, dragging, if they can, the very bed from under his wife and helpless children, and appropriating all which by any kind of rnaneuvring, they can possibly transfer to their already overgrown coffers! With much the same spirit, more pardonable to be sure in an insect, the bees from other hives, will gather round the one which is being broken up, and while the disconsolate owners are lamenting over their ruined prospects, will, with all imaginable rapacity and glee, bear off every drop which they can possibly seize.