The American Bee-Keeper, Vol. II, Number 3, March, 1892
THE AMERICAN BEE-KEEPER
VOL. II.March, 1892.NO. 3.
Hints to Beginners in BeeCulture.
BY H. M. DEWITT.
This is the month that we shouldbegin to feed and build up our bees,especially our weak colonies, and toget them ready for the honey harvest.Commence by giving them onehalf pint thin sugar syrup each day;do not feed them in the daytime, feedthem at night and they will have allthe feed taken down before the nextmorning. This will start them torearing brood rapidly and by thetime the honey harvest arrives theywill be strong and overflowing withbees ready for it. Make but a limitednumber of swarms and makethem strong and early. Late naturalswarms should be returned to the parenthive, about twenty-four hoursafter hiving them. The colonies thatwork freely on red clover should beused as breeders in preference toothers as the tongues of these beesare evidently longer.
The old queen always goes with thefirst swarm unless she is unable to fly.When making artificial swarms raiseyour queens and drones from the bestcolonies. A queenless colony willraise queens at once if it has larvaeless than three days old and thesequeens will hatch within 10 to 12days. If you give your bees a goodsupply of empty combs before the beginningof the honey crop and keepthem at work they will rarely swarm.But if they once find themselvescrowded and get the swarming fever,nothing will keep them from swarming.The honey harvest lasts but afew weeks, so you must be ready forit. “Make hay while the sun shines.”When hiving a swarm give them ahive full of worker comb, or combfoundation if possible, or else givethem narrow stripes for guides, butdo not give them a hive partly filledwith comb, as they would be sure tobuild a great deal of drone comb inthe remaining space.
BEE DIARRHEA, FOUL BROOD, ETC.
Bee diarrhea in the latter part ofwinter and early spring is a maladythat effects some apiaries. The beesdischarge their excrements over thehives and combs, producing a darkappearance and offensive odor. Thecause is either fermented honey, improperfood, long confinement, or toowarm and poorly ventilated quarters.Give them good capped honey and acleansing flight. If too cold for this34out-of-doors take them into a warmroom, make a box, with the front andtop made of wire cloth, or mosquitonetting, adjust it to the entrance, sothat the bees must enter it on leavingthe hive. This will usually prove aneffectual remedy.
Foul brood is the rotting of brood ina hive; the caps of the sealed broodappear indented and shriveled andthe larvae and young bees in unsealedcells become putrid, emitting a disgustingstench or smell. When thedisease has a firm hold, even thoughit may be possible to cure it, I wouldadvise the total destruction by fire ofthe bees, combs, frames and hives,with everything which might harborthe disease. In its primary stages itcan be cured in this way: With anatomizer spray the hives, bees, brood,honey and combs with a solution ofsalicylic acid, borax and rain water,repeated on the sixth day. Removethe diseased brood from the hive andgive them capped honey, if not toofar advanced this may give relief.
There is another plan, which is asfollows: Take a clean new hive withnew, clean frames, fill it withcomb foundation, take and runall the bees out of the diseased hiveinto the clean one, do this in the eveningand as soon as the bees are all inclose the entrance with wire cloth,keep them confined for forty-eighthours until they have consumed allthe honey in their sacks in buildingcomb. At the end of forty-eighthours open the entrance and let themfly if they wish, feed them a littlesugar syrup every night for about aweek, and if the honey season is over,or, if this is done during a dearth ofhoney you should feed them regularlyso as not to let them starve. I hadthe disease in my apiary the past seasonand this is the plan I used to cureit. My bees are as healthy now asas if they had never had it.
Sunny Side, Md.
[The instructions which friend Dewittgives in the first part of the foregoingarticle will apply this monthonly to the more southern localities.Here in the North the hives in manyplaces are still covered with snow andthe bees should not be disturbed untilspring has unmistakably arrived.—Ed.]
BY JOHN F. GATES.
The question has been asked “Arewe drifting from our moorings.”I used to think that we should not,but if all bee-keepers anchored to oneidea there would be no improvements.While it is safe to our own pockets tobe conservative, yet no class has donemore to advance the interests of thebee-keepers than those who experiment,and seem not to be satisfiedwith their present condition. Hadthe inventors of the Monitor beencontented with wooden war ships ourgreat American Republic would havebeen divided. Had we all been contentwith stage coaches where wouldour railroads have been? Had Edisonpreferred to sit at his telegraph instrumentwe should now be withouthis master ideas. This onward impellingforce in Americans has soughtout so many good things in the lastfifty years that I have not space totell them. Some rejoice in real improvements.Well, we can’t grind outout a grist of real improvements to35order. We have many discouragementsand losses before we succeed inturning out one. Many of these inventionsmust be tested by bee-keepersbefore a true verdict can be given,and we should all be willing to lend ahand to be one of the great jury inthe discussion of these cases as theyare brought before us by our leaders;the inventors. Yet while the testergoes hand and hand with the inventor,each watching the others movements,each helping the other to discoverand rectify mistakes. It is tootrue that many good inventions havebeen swamped and for years laid dormantwhen they might have been inuse, simply for the lack of wisdom toguide us to small experiments first.Yes, there seems to be too much rush,new things can’t be tested in a hurry.To change an average apiary all atonce to some new mode of management,or new style of hive, even if thehives were given to us, would be unwise.But add the cost of hives andfixtures which the change involveswith the loss which one is sure to meetwith for a time under any new arrangement,and can we wonder thatthere is so little confidence placed ininventions or the inventors. Stillhad we gone more slowly, tested morecarefully, and on a smaller scale andgiven ourselves more time to sum upthe evidence, no doubt many times ourverdict would bless instead of cursethe inventor. No doubt there are inventorswho abuse one’s confidence,but they too well have but littlechance to deceive us if we go slow.We can change too much, and againtoo little. I am aware that I havemissed some good opportunities bybeing a little too set in my ways, andI have had too little charity for improvements;medium ground is safeground on which to stand. Weshould watch the signs of the timesand not jump conclusions, nor bite atall that takes our fancy, nor kick atall that we despise, we ought alwaysto review, draw conclusions and watchvery closely what the mass of bee-keepersseem to favor, or decide upon.If we are good readers of indicationswe need never get left, and often cango across lots, thus reaching the headof the procession, but be sure we knowthe way across else better we hadgone around.
Ovid, Erie County, Pa.
What I Have Observed, Etc.
BY T. K. MASSIE.
In the last article I promised togive some evidence confirming myconclusions, but before doing so Iwant to say a word in regard to “largevs. small hives.” In the discussionof the subject in the different beejournals from time to time, I neglectedto note the size of the frameused by the advocates of a large hive,but I imagine they use a deeperframe than the “L,” and if so theyare evidently right in advocating alarge hive, for such a hive would bebetter proportioned, and would conformnearer to the natural requirementsof the bees than a small hivewith shallow frames.
In Gleanings for July 15th, page553, friend C. J. H. Gravenhurst, inspeaking of “handling hives insteadof frames,” hits on the same ideas givenin these articles in regard to the winterproblem. He tells us that the beeswinter better in the straw skeps than36they do in the movable frame hives,as made and used at present. This isbecause the bees in the skeps havetheir hives propolished overheadwhich prevents upward ventilationand keeps the bees dry. He also sayshe gets more honey with less laborand cost; then he shows how hesought to combine the skeps withthe movable frame hive, advocatingabout the same advantages that Ihave given in these articles.
But the most clinching argumentsin favor of doing away with the uselessHill device &c., is found in Ernest R.Root’s review of G. R. Pierce’s book,“The Winter Problem in Bee-Keeping,”which appeared in Gleaningsfor December 16, ’91, page 952. Mr.Pierce says the pollen theory is notthe cause of diarrhea; that diarrheain bees is caused by cold and lack ofstores, and is only intestinal catarrh.
Chaff cushions, or other porous materialover a sealed cover are all rightand serve a good purpose.
Mr. Pierce is a thorough advocate ofprotection and packing around thebees; but the cover must be sealed downthat no heat can escape into the packingabove. In the first of this seriesof articles I took this same position.I said “Therefore I have drawn theconclusion that a thin walled hive,protected by a movable winter case,and packed on all sides with a cushionmade of felt and filled with somenon-conducting material—one thatwill prevent all radiation of heat willbe best”—and, in substance, that wecould remove cases and packing onwarm days and have our hives purifiedby the sun and air and protect ourbees by wrapping them up with thewarm cushions and prevent the radiationof heat at night. In the secondarticle (See American Bee-Keeper,page 164) I said the “pollen” theory,and upward ventilation, cut no figurein the winter problem in my locality.Now if we place a thin board downsolid on the top bars of our broodframes early enough in the fall forthe bees to glue up the crevices andthus prevent all air currents frompassing up through our hives, weagain get even with our box hivebrethren, and when we prevent allradiation of heat by placing a cushionon top of this board, the same aswe do the sides. And further, inspring and early summer, when wegive our bees just the ventilation requiredby raising this board, we areanother long step ahead of them.
In the winter of 1891 I had The W.T. Falconer Manf’g.’ Co. make forme closed end frames with winterpassages through the top bars, andboards to be sealed down for the purposeof carrying out my plan as givenabove.
“Ernest” tells us of his experimentsin using thin boards and pieces ofglass imbedded with white lead paste,as it was too cold for the bees to sealthem down with propolis. Under theglass he placed a thermometer, which,when the weather outside in the windwas ten degrees above zero, registered45 to 50, and “the hive was perfectly dryinside.” These are valuable experimentsin the right line.
My ideas, as it is plain to be seen,were given to the public before friendPierce’s book made its appearance,and before “Ernest” tried any experimentson this plan.37
On page 592 of Gleanings, L. Stachelhausentells us that having foundout the advantages of closed endframes, he will use no other. Theclosed end frames have only to begiven a fair trial to prove their superiorityover all hanging frames. Allthe “rattle traps and nuisances” I havementioned in these articles will soongive way to something better andmore simple.
Friend Lowry Johnson also is ofmy way of thinking, as his article inthe American Bee-Keeper for December,’91, page 182, will show.Also Brother Quigley of the MissouriBee-Keeper, is advising his readersthat a board sealed down on top offrames is better for wintering thancushions next to the bees. See hisanswer to a correspondent to his paper,page 144.
These articles end here, but I wouldlike the opinion of the reader on thepoints taken in them.
Concord Church, W. Va.