The American Apiculturist. Vol. III. No. 6, June 15, 1885 A Journal Devoted to Scientific and Practical Beekeeping
The American Apiculturist.
A Journal Devoted to Scientific and Practical Beekeeping.
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Published Monthly.S. M. Locke, Publisher & Prop’r.VOL. III.WENHAM, MASS., JUNE 15, 1885.No. 6.
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BEEKEEPING AS A PURSUIT.1
By Arthur Todd.
This subject may be regardedfrom two standpoints—that of theman who, with income assured fromother sources, pursues beekeepingfor its pleasure; and that of theman who, wishing to increase hisslender income, or actually makean income, turns to beekeepingwith a view to profit on the capitaland labor to be invested. But, asto the latter are denied none of thepleasures enjoyed by the former, itis from the latter standpoint alonethat I shall review the subject.
Beekeeping is, strictly speaking,a branch of agriculture, and manya farmer is to-day getting a greaterreturn from his investment in beesthan that received from any of hisother stock; but right here I saythat beekeeping as a pursuit hasto-day become a “specialty.” Theman who enters upon this pursuit(leaving the question of capitalaside) must be one endowed withphysical and mental ability; a manwith open eyes and ears, oneready for emergencies, prompt to dowhat is necessary at once, and onewho is not easily discouraged.
The physical ability is requiredbecause beekeeping demands realhard work—yes, back-aching work—notsuitable to the sick ladiesand gentlemen so often ill-advisedto go into beekeeping. The mentalability is required to keep thebeekeeper abreast of the times andits rapidly changing conditions.Beekeeping is now a science, astudy, and the conditions whichgovern one season, or colony ofbees, will be completely changedfor the next. Every stage in thelife of a colony of bees requires tobe understood. There must be no“guessing,” and this will bring usto the cultivation of the habit of122observation, and a disposition tohear all that one can upon the specialsubject.
Emergencies will occur needingheroic treatment, but the beekeeperwith mind and hand trained by experienceand thoughtful considerationof his “specialty,” will risesuperior to any occasion, and whendiscouragement comes, as it inevitablywill, in the words of the immortalLongfellow, “He will looknot mournfully into the past, itcomes not back again, but wiselyimprove the future for it is his.”
Pleasure and profit go hand inhand, as a rule, in this specialty,although the former is not unalloyedby a liberal application of the“business end” of the little busybee, and the latter by a recurrenceof poor honey seasons. In natureare found both the beautiful and thesublime; in the hive both areconstantly under the beekeeper’seye, teaching him to look withamazement from “nature up to nature’sGod.” As he views his hiveand sees the city grow, and populationincrease, the waxen walls, andstores well filled, the free-born citizenhurrying to and fro, each withhis special task, outside of thethoughts of profit will come to themost unimpressionable, thoughts ofwonder and admiration for theworks of that great Architect of theuniverse who said, “Let there belife and there was life.”
The profits of beekeeping arewhat? To many a one they holdout the hopes of “the gloriousprivilege of being independent;”and to obtain these profits the specialist,gifted with the requisitemental and physical qualities, mustbe “the right man in the rightplace.” He must have hives of themovable-frame order. Moses Quinbywrote thus, in 1858: “There isnot the least doubt, in my mind,that whoever realizes the greatestprofit from his bees will have toretain the movable combs in someform;” and who of us will gainsaythis to-day? Out of the many stylesof movable-comb hives now in existence,the beekeeper will selectone best fitted for the business inwhich he means to engage, be itthe production of comb or extractedhoney, queen-rearing, bee-selling,or a combination of all.
The specialist who intends torear bees for sale will do well toemploy that hive which will takethe size and style of frame mostin use in the district in whichhe resides. Interchangeability ofparts is a grand secret of success,and the beekeeper who can sell acolony of bees, or buy a colonywell knowing that each and everyframe is usable in his own or hisneighbors’ hives, has made a stepin the right direction. The mainpoints in a good hive are, “Simplicityof construction, combiningplenty of bee-space with perfectease of manipulation.”
The race of bees will next engagethe specialist’s attention. Studyand experience, and also the actualline of business engaged in, willbest decide this point. The black,the Italian, the Syrian, the Cyprian,and the Carniolan, alike have theirvotaries. At present, for all purposes123of sale and honey-gathering,the Ligurian or Italian-Alp bee isthe principal one in demand; butthe very best race of bees will affordbut little profit unless thequeens are carefully looked after.As fast as signs of senility appear,these should be removed and theirplaces supplied by younger andmore vigorous queens. The apiaristfor profit should not only rearqueens, but know how, when andwhere to replace them. He shouldalso know the requisites of a goodqueen, and how to judge of herprogeny.
Pasture to the beekeeper is everything;if that be poor, his returnswill be poor; hence heshould carefully examine his location.Districts vary greatly intheir flora, and by a careful studyof this question before locating,disappointment will be avoided.The beekeeper should be a walkingcalendar of the flora of his neighborhoodfor miles around, then, asthe honey comes pouring in, hecan tell its source and label it accordingly.This knowledge willenable him to build up colonies,and follow the old advice, “Keepyour colonies strong;” so thatwhen the honey does come, there arebees to gather it in.
The management of bees keptfor profit will vary according tothe object of the beekeeper, whetherit be the production of honey orthe rearing of bees or queens. Inrunning for honey alone, we havethe swarming and the non-swarmingmethods. The experiences ofgood bee-men are so diversifiedthat one is reminded of the old saying,“when doctors differ, the patientdies.” The bee-man muststrike out his own line of actionsuitable to his own special circumstances.In running for extractedhoney, swarming is, to a great extent,controlled, for “Poverty makethhumble;” but I insist that thegood bee-man will know the conditionof each hive, and act accordingly.
The specialist is a man who reads,and although he may not get oruse a single one of the many traps,or patent articles now offered, heshould know all about them; forat any moment, what he has readabout these things may give himan idea, the successful carrying outof which may help him over a difficulty.The capacity of the beekeeperto attend to a certain numberof colonies, be it greater or less,will have a great influence on theprofits of the pursuit. As a pursuit,beekeeping should not be enteredinto without careful thoughtand consideration as to the capitalrequired, the location and the suitabilityof the employment to one’stemperament. To-day, before embarkingin the business, it is possiblefor the intending beekeeper toserve an actual and willing apprenticeshipin the yards of well-knownand successful bee-masters.I need dwell not upon the advantagesof this plan for they are obvious.
To the enthusiast with but smallexperience, I would say, “Goslow!” Read the good bee-literaturenow so easy to be obtained,124and never be above learning fromothers. Visit beekeepers whereveryou can enjoy the privilege, attendbee-conventions, and gradually astore of knowledge will be gatheredupon which you will draw withprofit later on.
Profitable beekeeping as a pursuitis, to my mind, the outcomeof the union of two great factors—“talent”and “tact;” for “talentis power, tact is skill; talent iswealth, tact is ready money; talentknows what to do, tact knows howto do it; talent makes the worldwonder that it gets on no faster,tact excites astonishment that itgets on so fast; talent may obtaina living, but tact will make one.Talent convinces, tact converts;talent is an honor to the profession,tact has the knack of slipping intogood places, and keeping them; itseems to know everything withoutlearning anything: it has no lefthand, no deaf ear, no blind side,with a full knowledge of the Pythagoreandoctrine, ‘that a manought rather to be silent, or saysomething better than silence.’”
I submit these remarks to myfellow beekeepers, being painfullyconscious of many shortcomingsfrom the high standard of excellencethat man should attend towho in these days goes into “beekeepingas a pursuit.”
By C. J. F. Howes.
To whom does the invention belong?From articles lately appearingin Gleanings in Bee Culture,and editorial comments thereon, Ithink there is a misapprehension ofwhat the above invention consists, orwhat it really is, and whose propertyit is. The above-mentioned articlesand editorials are, I feel, doing me aninjustice, and have a tendency, virtually,to rob me of all the benefits, tosay nothing of the “honors,” of thediscovery, which I had considered tobe my property.
As to what constitutes my invention,I will quote from my article inthe A. B. Journal, page 57, in replyto Mr. Heddon’s claim to the inventionof the frame illustrated in Gleanings,page 104.
“At the annual meeting of theSoutheastern Michigan Beekeepers’Association, held at Adrian, Mich.,Jan. 23, 1884, I exhibited samplesof a device for reversing brood-frames,which device, or plan, suspended theframe by strips of wood, or metal,which strips were pivoted to the centreof the end-bars, and extended upto the top of the frame, there formingprojecting arms to rest on therabbets, and allowing the frame torevolve on these pivots.
In describing the device beforethe convention, I distinctly claimedas my invention, the plan of suspendingthe frame between side-stripspivoted to the end-bars, as described.”
Previous to the illustration and125description of my device, all reversible-frameshad fixtures at both topand bottom; see Gleanings for 1882,page 71, also 1883, page 65, Burgess’device; 1884, page 155, Baldridge’sdevice; and 1884, page 332, Hetherington’sdevice. These attachmentswere entirely different in principlefrom the “Howes’ Supports.”No one had ever suggested revolvingthe frames on “centre pivots,” previousto the illustration, and descriptionof my frame in Gleanings for1884, page 156.
Soon after I began to manufactureand sell Howes’ Reversible Frameand Supports,—as advertised inGleanings, for 1884, page 285,—reversingdevices began to appear fromall quarters; both men and womenjoining in the scramble for the “honor,”if not for the profits of the invention;each one suspending the frameby “centre pivots,” as I had describedthem. Several used hoop-iron bentat a right angle to form projectingarm. (Prof. Cook at the Michiganconvention claimed to have triedthis plan, though a lady, I think, firstdescribed it in Gleanings).
Mr. Root has often, throughGleanings, acknowledged that thesedifferent devices are, practically thesame thing as the “Howes’ Support;”still he does not hesitate to manufacture,advertise and sell them, as ifthe invention was common property.(See editorial remarks in Gleanings;page 74, describing Mr. Nuzvinis’device; then Editorial in next number,page 104, on the same subject.)
I submit the question, in all seriousness.Does not this state ofthings justify anyone, in securing hisrights to the labor of his brain, by apatent, as provided by law? If a betterdevice, to secure the results aimedat, by reversing the brood-combs,shall be discovered, I shall be glad toadopt it, in my own apiary, and will,willingly, pay for the privilege. Untilthen, I request all to “please keepoff my preserve.”
Adrian, Mich., Feb. 7, 1885.
WHICH IS THE MOST PROFITABLERACE OF BEES.
By D. F. Lashier.
Which is the most profitable raceof bees regarding brooding, comb-building,honey-gathering dispositionand wintering qualities?
I have no desire to injure anyone’sbusiness and wish merely to bring tonotice a few facts which it seems tome to have been overlooked.
Perhaps a few notes founded uponyears of experience would not be outof place, especially as my motivesare entirely unselfish.
I commenced beekeeping in 1872with one colony of gray bees in a boxhive. I purchased this hive of aneighbor whose bees seemed to bevery hardy and gentle. They are ofuniform size and as large as any Italiansthat I ever have seen, evenwhen the latter were reared in combof their own building. I hive all mygray bees without any protectionwhatever and the same when looking126for queens, etc. With the Italiansthis would be perfect madness.2
Doubtless some will say “yourgentle