The American Bee Journal, Vol. VI, No. 4, October 1870
AMERICAN BEE JOURNAL.
EDITED AND PUBLISHED BY SAMUEL WAGNER, WASHINGTON, D. C.
AT TWO DOLLARS PER ANNUM, PAYABLE IN ADVANCE.
Vol. VI.OCTOBER, 1870.No. 4.
Origin of Honey Dew.
In No. 11 of the Bienenzeitung for 1870, theBaron of Berlepsch urges bee-keepers to makediligent observations, to ascertain the origin ofhoney dew. I have for many years given specialattention to the subject, as it is one of great interest,not only to bee-keepers, but also to pomologists.My observations fully corroboratethe remark of the Baron, that honey dew occurs,in most cases, independently as a vegetableexcretion, and only occasionally as the productof aphides. On last Sunday, June 19th, I had anopportunity to assure myself definitely of thecorrectness of this position. On that day, asearly as seven o’clock in the morning, I receiveda visit from Mr. Heuser, of Westom, one of theintelligent apiarians who compose the AhrweilerAssociation for Bee-culture. While we sat conversingabout bees, a lad came to inform us thathe had, the evening before, seen a fine swarmclustered on a large pear tree. We naturallyhastened to the spot, but found that the swarmhad already decamped. A loud humming amongthe branches, however, led us to suppose theremight be a hollow limb somewhere, into whichthe bees had retreated, and friend Heuser wasinduced to climb up in search of it. He foundnone, but observed a multitude of bees busily engagedlicking up the honey dew with which theleaves of the tree were covered—being evidentlyan exudation, for on the most careful examinationwe could not find a single aphis, though onthe morning of the next day thousands of aphideswere observable there.
It remains for me to mention the state of theweather at the time, for according to my observationsthis chiefly conditions the production ofhoney dew. On Saturday, June 18th, the weatherwas oppressively hot. Towards evening thewind began to blow from the northwest; andthe night was cool, though without dew on thegrass. This necessarily checked the circulationof sap, which I regard as the primary cause ofhoney dew, for I may state explicitly that Inever saw any, except when hot days were followedby a sudden and great reduction of temperature.The same observation was made, manyyears ago, by an aged bee-keeper in Niederheckenbach,who, whenever he notices in summer asudden change of weather, at night, from greatheat to cold, will rise at three or four o’clock inthe morning and close the entrances of his hives;as he is firmly persuaded that the honey dewcertain to come, will be injurious to his bees. Imust confess that honey dew has not alwaysproved beneficial to our bees. In some casesthey seemed to be sickened by it, and to remainso for nearly a week, as indicated by their inabilityto fly. This was more especially the caseat an apiary which I had in an oak forest, wherebark was largely stripped and dried for tanners’use. I am unable to account for the occurrence,and must leave chemists to determine whetherthe consumption of tannin had aught to do withit. Whenever honey dew occurs in my neighborhoodagain I will strip leaves from varioustrees affected by it, and send them for examinationto Dr. Keermrodt, of Bonn, the chemist ofthe Agricultural Experimental Union of theRhine province.
The views of Prof. Hallier, that the honeydew produced by aphides is of great practicalaccount in bee-culture, I am not prepared to endorse.During the summer of 1869 I was astudent in the Pomological Institute at Reutlingen,and very seldom saw a bee on any twigcovered with aphides, yet we were there sorelyannoyed by those parasites. Even now, I amcompelled to use soapsuds, &c., to rid my plantsof these unwelcome visitors, yet I have neverseen a bee among them.
Your readers will probably be interested inlearning the views of two of the most eminentpomologists, regarding the origin of honey dew.
Court-gardener Jager, of Eisenach, writes asfollows to Regel’s Garden-Flora:—“Accordingto my observations, honey dew is much morefrequently exuded from the leaves of plants thanproduced by aphides. I regard honey dew, inmany cases, as a segregation of the saccharineportion of the juices of plants, which these are thenno longer able to excrete out of their organism bymeans of the blossoms. I was led to adopt thisview by repeatedly observing that linden trees sokept under by pruning that they never blossom,excrete such a superabundance of honey dewthat such as is not gathered by insects, dripsfrom the leaves to the ground, and is often collectedon boards and bottled. Linden trees74which are allowed to blossom, do indeed likewiseproduce honey dew; but I have never seen it ontrees that bloomed profusely, and as I live in themidst of lindens, I have the best opportunitiesfor observation.”
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by Samuel Wagner, in the office of the Librarian of Congress, atWashington.
Next, my own respected teacher, Dr. Lucas,of Reutlingen, remarks, in a note on the foregoingpassage—
“This observation of our esteemed friendJager certainly deserves attention. Whether heis entirely right or not, is to me not altogetherclear. I have seen honey dew indiscriminatelyon young trees and on old of various kinds; butalways only after we had several successive hotand dry days, followed by dewless nights. It isvery probable that then the juices of plantsbecome more concentrated, and thus more highlycharged with saccharine, in so much that dropsof liquid sweet may exude through the pores ofthe leaves, and that then the aphides will quicklyresort to the tables thus ready decked for them,and multiply with almost incredible rapidity, isa natural phenomenon observable in the case ofother insects also. But that the aphides are theoriginators of the honey dew, as many forestersand others maintain, can certainly not be acceptedas correct and true.”
Allow me, in conclusion, to request bee-keepersand pomologists to watch for the appearanceof honey dew on the occurrence of such weatherand temperature as above indicated, and to communicatethe result of their observations.
Löhndorf, June 22, 1870.
Profitable Bee-keeping.—Letter from England.
The following account shows the very greatadvantage in keeping bees on the humane andimproved system, over the old and barbarouspractice of the brimstone match, so clearly,that I send it for your readers to go and do likewise.
In the autumn of 1865, I was at the seaside onthe Lancashire coast, and found bees kept in thatneighborhood in the most primitive and bad wayI ever met with in any country. It was the systemthere to put the swarm in a large brownwicker basket, and at night to plaster a thin coatingof cowdung over the outside, and leave it inthis way all summer. I have frequently seen thebees coming out of holes all over the hive, fromtop to bottom, not being able to fill up all thenicks with propolis, and giving it up as a badjob; and if it was not a good district for honey,they would give up the ghost altogether.
When the bees give over working, the ownerplasters the hive with mortar, for the winter.The entrance is made three or four inches highfrom the cold slate or flag on which they placethe basket. When they take the honey, theysuffocate the bees with brimstone. Wasps oftendestroy the stock.
In my perambulations I called upon a personwho had kept bees for a number of years in theold way; but they had all died off except onestock. After talking with him for some time onthe humane and profitable management of hisbees, and showing him the great loss that he sustainedby murdering his poor bees, to say nothingof the ingratitude or sin in killing them after theyhad been laboring for him early and late all thesummer, and proved to him the very great advantagethe modern bar-frame (thanks to the Rev.L. L. Langstroth, the inventor) from which thehoney could be taken without killing a bee, andswarms made or prevented, as we liked. I showedhim that in fact, with these hives, he had the fullcontrol over his bees, and could make them doalmost anything he liked.
He asked me to get the man that makes myimproved bar-frame hives, to send him some;and I afterwards sent him information he wrotefor in several letters.
When I called on him last October, I foundtwenty stocks of bees in his garden, all verystrong, with plenty of honey to last them overthe winter; and he had sold nearly three hundredweight of honey, all of which he had takenthat year, without killing a bee. He has now gothis stock up to the number he intends to keep, sothis year he will work for honey; and if it is afavorable season, his bees will collect for him animmense store and make him a nice addition tohis income.
The same year that I called upon him, I calledupon his neighbor, a person much better off thanthe other, and he then had three stocks of bees.I advised him to adopt the more profitable andhumane system of management; but he did not;and when I called on him again last October, Ifound three weak stocks of bees in his garden,and he said he had taken no honey that year andgot very little the year before. I turned his hivesover and found an accumulation of wet filth anddirt, nearly an inch thick on the slate floors onwhich his hives were placed, and the bottoms ofthe combs all mouldy.
I told him if he had done as well as his neighbor,he should now have sixty stocks of bees inhis garden and have taken more than a thousandweight of honey that year. He is now, withothers in that district going to adopt the humanesystem of management, and I hope bee-murderhas forever disappeared in that locality, as Ialways find, when they see the loss to their ownpockets, it is the most convincing argument thatcan be used.
Newton Heath, near Manchester, England.
Bees sometimes abandon their hives veryearly in the spring or late in the summer or fall.They exhibit all the appearance of naturalswarming; but they leave not because the populationis crowded, but because it is either sosmall, or the hive so destitute of supplies thatthey are discouraged or driven to desperation.I once knew a colony to leave a hive under suchcircumstances, on a spring-like day in December!They seem to have a presentiment that theymust perish if they stay, and instead of awaitingthe sure approach of famine, they sally out tosee if something cannot be done to better theircondition.—Langstroth.75
A student in the Michigan Agricultural Collegehas invented a gate latch, for which he has received$10,000.
We find the above item in our exchanges.Assuming it to be true, we commend the goodsense of the student. If the usual results follow,the purchaser will either lose money by the operation,or will speedily sell “rights” to partieswho will lose money. We have no wish to discourageinventors, for they certainly are entitledto full reward for any improvements or discoveriesthey give the world. But we think it isclearly true that the great mass of inventors—especiallythose whose inventions relate to “littlethings,” or articles in common use—place toohigh an estimate on the value of their patentright, often holding it, waiting for better offersfrom manufacturers or purchasers of “territory,”until some one patents a better device for thesame purpose, when the first becomes useless ornearly so.
There are certain inventions of very great value,because they supply a want universally felt. Buteven in such cases it is rare that the original inventorsecures so high a degree of excellencethat some one else cannot improve on his device.He may, however, succeed in patentingsomething which subsequent inventors will haveto use, and for which privilege they must payhim. To illustrate: the plow is of almost universaluse, yet there are objections to the best plowthat has been or will be constructed. Supposesome one should invent an implement that wouldobviate all these objections, and do the work ofpreparing the soil for seeds better than any plowcan, and do this work quickly and cheaply.Such an invention would be of almost incalculablevalue, and