Amos Ives Root.

The A B C and X Y Z of bee culture; online

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to the hive. Such a hive has about the
equivalent capacity of a twelve-frame Lang-
stroth, regular depth. The Dadants have
always insisted that their ten-frame Quin-
bys, when compared with the ten - frame
Langstroths, averaged up year after year,
would give far better results, both in honey
and in economy of labor. This opinion is
not based on the experience of two or three
years, but on a period covering a good many
years. The large hives, they claim, swarm
less, produce more honey, and winter better.
If I am correct they do not, at their home
yard at least, have to exceed two per cent of
swarming, and their average has been main-
tained year after year. Apparently the col-
onies in these large hives have very little de-

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sire to swarm ; but when they do swarm the
swarms are enormous. In regard to this
point, in an article that was published in
Gleanings in Bee Culture, Nov. 1, 1898, C. P.
Dadant says :

Don't understand me to say that, with large hives,
you will have no swarms, for this is incorrect; but
if you want to prevent swarming, to the greatest
possible extent, you must, first of all, have large
hives. Other things are required, such as the re-
moval of tlie excess of drone combs, plentiful venti-
lation, a supply of surplus combs, etc.; but the sine
qua non, in our eyes, is large hives.

With a little care it is not difficult to keep swarm-
ing down to such a point that the natural swarms


can do till we give her a large hive and a
large frame. Again, in one of their articles
for Oct. 1, 1898, in Gleanings in Bee Culture,
Mr. C. P. Dadant says :

With the large hives we found queens that had a
capacity of 4600 eggs per day. Exceptions, you will
say ? Certainly, but it is a very nice thing to give a
chance for those exceptions. And I hold that you
can not do this as fully with a two-story eight-frame
hive as with a hive that may be enlarged, one frame
at a time, till it contains all the room that the queen
may need. Your eightrframe hive gives her too
much room at once when it is doubled in size. If
the season is a little cool, there is a chance of delay-
ing the breeding by chilling the combs. The bees
will then concentrate themselves upon the brood

DADANT-QUiNBY HiVE.—From ""Langstroth on the Honey-Bee, Bevised,'' by iJadunt,

will barely make up for winter losses. In our case
we find it insufficient, and we resort to artificial
swarms or divisions, which we find much more sat.
isfactory, for we can breed from the queens that we
prefer, and, at the same time, keep our best colonies
for producing honey. Every practical bee-man will
agree that it is the large colonies that grive the large
crops, whatever may be his opinion as to the size of
hive needed.

But if we mu8t have swarms, with large hives they
will be large, take my word for it.

The Dadants have claimed that the ordi-
nary eight and ten frame hives are not large
enough for good prolific queens ; that a
brood-frame of Langstroth depth is too shal-
low ; that we never know what a good queen

and keep it within narrow limits, for the queen will
seldom go out of the cluster to lay.

As to the matter of wintering, these jum-
bo hives seem to offer exceptional advan-
tages. Mr. Dadant, in one of these arti-
cles, says :

The facts I base myself upon are those that we
have seen under our own eyes, of the better success
for winter of the large deep hive. . . We have
thus stronger colonies for winter, which is in Itself
a great advantage, as the number of bees has much
to do with their ability to keep warm, and their abil.
ity to retain the heat has also much to do with their
honey consumption. A weak colony suffers much
from the cold, and is compelled to eat more. . .
But to me the greatest advantage of the deep large

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frame is in the greater ease the bees have In reaoh-
iag* the honey and in keeping in a more compact


The Dadants have a considerable follow-
ing in their vicinity; and in France the
Dadant-yuinby has come to be almost the
standard hive. But it should be remember-
ed that the Dadants are extracted - honey
men ; and in France liquid honey has rather
the preference. There can be no sort of
doubt that these large hives, for extracted
honey, have some advantages over the small-
er ones; but when it comes to the production
of comb honey, then there is a question, and
a big one too - i8 such a large hive as good as
a smaller one ? In some localities the bees
might fill only a brood-nest in such a hive ;
whereas if a shallower one were used, like
the Danzenbaker or Heddon, the available
comb space below would be filled with
brood ; and the honey, when it did come in,
and what little there was of it, would be
forced into the supers. In the selection of a
large hive, then, a good deal depends on the
locality, and whether one proposes to run for
comb or extracted honey.


But there is one very important feature in
favor of the Dadant hive, or, in fact, any
large hive ; and that is, the reduction or al-
most entire control of swarming. There has
been no satisfactory method proposed to ac-
complish this result with the single-story
eight-frame Langstroth when run for the
production of comb honey ; and a great
many give up the problem, stating that it is
better to let the bees swarm once, and then
somehow afterward control the after -
swarms, arguing that more actual comb
honey will be produced from the parent col-
ony and its swarm than where other meth-
ods are employed. But if swarming is to be
allowed, what is to be done at outyards V If
an attendant has to be constantly on hand
during the swarming part of the day, it
means a big expense, and this might, in a
poor season, balance the entire proceeds of
the honey crop. If, on the other hand,
swarms are allowed to go to the woods, then
there is a loss. It is true that swarms will
not escape if the queens' wings are clipped ;
and to a very great extent clipping does pre-
vent this waste.* But better— far better-
is it to take away the desire for swarming

• See Clipping Queens* Winos to Prevent
Swarming, under head of Queens and Swarming.

altogether, if it can be done. In the produc-
tion of extracted honey, at least, the Da-
dants have demonstrated that, with their
large hives, they have practical control of
swarming, because their hives are so large
that the bees and the queens rarely feel
cramped for room. But Mr. Dadant argues
that he would use large hives, even if he
were running for comb honey ; for with a
division - board he can reduce the brood-
chamber to any size desired. And then if
he has a prolific queen that can fill a whole
Quinby hive he is that much ahead, because
the colonv has more working bees to its size
than a smaller one ; and there is no use in
denying the fact that these jumbo colonies
have a certain vim and energy— a day-after-
day " stick-to-it-iveness " — that we do not
find in the smaller ones. Personally 1 believe
in large colonies ; and I am hopeful that the
time will soon come when we shall learn
how to make these big colonies produce
comb honey as well as, at the same time, re-
main practically non-swarmers ; but at the
present time (Aug., 19U7) the shallow hives,
Langstroth or Danzenbaker, has the gener-
al preference for comb honey; and this pref-
erence seems to cover nearly all the terri-
tory in the northern portion of the country
—the territory where the main honey supply
is almost entirely from clover and bass wood.


I have experimented a little with two col-
onies in eight-frame Langstroth hives tiered
one above another, raising brood in both
bodies. When we have a good queen, such
colonies in such double chambers grow to
be tremendously strong, and they show less
inclination to swarm— no sort of doubt about
that ; and, what is more, in a few instances
I have placed comb-honey supers on top of
these same colonies, and had them fill two
and three supera. But in a majority of cases
the colonies will not be strong enough to fill
two stories and go into the supers besides ;
so, after getting the colonies up to good
strength, and just at the approach of or dur-
ing the honey-flow, I take away one story
and place on one or two comb-honey supers.
Such a large force of bees, of course, rush
right into them ; and if there is any honey
in the fields the supers are filled and com-
pleted in short order. I have thus far suc-
ceeded in getting stronger colonies in this
way than in a single eight-frame brood-nest
alone. By thus breeding in double stories,
and having prolific queens, or, perhaps, what
may be better, working colonies on one

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eight-frame full-depth story, and one eight-
frame half -depth story, I can get the bees
into the sections at once. For particulars
regarding this last, see the Barber plan
spoken of under CJobh* Honey.


Their size renders them both heavy and
unwieldy. They cost more money — about
twice as much if made as shown in the en-
graving of the Dadant hive. It is difficult,
in the first place, to get good clear lumber
wide enough to make these deep hives ; and
then when they are made, and are full of
bees and honey, it is not practical to move
them about much. The Dadants, for in-
stance, leave these large hives on their
stands all summer and winter, both at the
home and out yards. They find it more
practical to do so ; and even when winter-
ing on their summer stands in single-walled
hives, their loss, I believe, just about equals
the slight increase they ha e in swarming.

These large frames are n >t nearly as easy
to manipulate as the shallow Langstroth. It
takes longer to get them out of the hive, and
during the operation there Is more danger
of killing bees. The Dadan:s and others
who use the Quinby find it necessary to use
another size frame that they call their shal-
low, or half-depth, 6|xl8i, for extracting.
These are placed on top of the brood-nest,
and are tiered up one, two, three, or four
high. One is led to wonder why a compro-
miee between a deep Quinby and these ex-
tracting -frames would not be better— a
frame adapted for breeding as well as for
extracting — as, for instance, one like the
Langstroth ; then when one wants a large
hive he can tier up one brood-chamber on
top of the other.


It was suggested by A. N. Draper, of Up
per Alton, 111., one of Mr. Dadant's follow-
ers, in order to reduce cost, that, instead of
making a hive after the Quinby dimensions,
and after the Dadant pattern, the former be-
ing odd-sized and the latter expensive to
construct, a hive be constructed after the
pattern of the regular ten-frame Dovetailed,
having Langstroth dimensions save in the
one measurement— that of depth. He would
add to the hive and frame 2i inches. As the
Dadants ordinarily use nine frames in their
Quinby hives, ten frames 2i inches deeper,
with Langstroth top-bar, would give the
hive equal capacity. Such a hive would
take regular Langstroth ten-frame bottom-

boards, cover, supers, honey-boards, winter-
cases— in fact, every thing adapted to the
regular ten -frame Langstroth Dovetailed
hive. As the ten-frame hive is one of the
standards, it seems reasonable to suppose




that, if the large hive is really better, such a
hive would be more simple, and cost less,
than to adopt regular Quinby-frame dimen-
sions, and make the hive as the Dadants
show it in the illustration. Indeed, I have
been told that the Dadants would favor such
a hive rather than the one they have adopt-
ed, if they were to start anew. Your supply-
dealer will make the brood-chamber for about
25 per cent more than the regular ten-frame
Langstroth Dovetailed ; the super, covers,
and bottom-boards would, of course, cost no
more. Where one by reason of locality or
preference desires such large hives, the
Jumbo ten-frame Langstroth of extra depth,
suitable for taking standard ten-frame fix-
tures and fittings, would be the hive to se-


By referring to the illustration of the orig-
inal Langstroth hive on page 283, and also
to the illustration of the Dadant hive, page
242, one will see that they have cleats or
rims limning clear around the hive near the
toi) edge. These serve the double purpose
of supporting the telescopic covers and of
affording convenient handles by which to
lift the hives; but on account of the ex-
pense, these cleats ninning around the hive
were in later years abandoned, and hand-
holes made by means of a wabble-saw, were
used. But these hand-holes, while very
neat and cheap, did not begin to afford the
excellent grip that one secures when getting
hold of a seven-inch cleat. But a far better
arrangement than either is a combination of
cleat and hand-hole, as shown in the second
illustration of the Dovetailed hive on page

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234. A short strip of i-inch molding is nail-
ed just above the hand-hole so that the fin-
gers get a double grip. In the accompany-
ing diagrams the reader will see the advan-
tage of this arrangement. Referring to the
diagram at D, when one lifts by the hand-
holes alone he lifts by the tips of the lingers
only; and when the hive is heavy, the strain
on the fingers is severe and often painful.
But if he can get the greater part of the
weight oh the middle joints of the fingers,
as shown at A, and on a rounding edge, he
can lift all his back will stand. The cleat
alone would not give room enough for the
fingers to permit of the grip on the middle
joints, as shown at A ; but when the side of
the hive is recessed by the hand-hole, it al-
lows of the fingers being shoved to a point

to get the best possible grip. If one expects
to use heavy hives, then he needs some such
arrangement as this. The cost is insignifi-
cant, and the advantage great.



The hives that I have thus far described
are what may be called single- walled hives ;
that is, the outer shell or case consists of
a single-board thickness of lumber. Such
hives, as a rule, unless as large as the Da-
dant, can not very well be wintered outdoors
on their summer stands. They either have
to be carried into the cellar at the approach
of cold weather, or else have to be put in
outside packing-cases, as the single walls
hardly afford sufficient protection to enable
the average colony to go through the winter
safely, or without great loss both in bees and
in stores. The poorer the protection, the
greater the consumption of winter food. A
colony poorly protected outdoors will prob-
ably consume twice as much as one ade-
quately protected.

In the South, of course it is not necessary
to carry the single -walled hives into the cel-
lar or winter repository ; but north of lati-
tude 40, hives of single - board thickness
either ought to be housed or protected with
winter - cases. Where one from choice or
necessity has to winter outdoors, what are
known as double - walled or chaff hives
should be used. These have the same Inside

dimensions as the single-walled hive, and
are generally made to take the same supers
and the same inside furniture. The first
double-walled hives that we used were two-


story ; but they were awkward and un-
wieldy things compared with the hives of
to-day. The one shown in the illustration
next following represents an eight-frame
Langs troth single- story double-walled hive ;
and as it represents the simplest form of
wintering hive, I will describe this only,
leaving the reader to adapt it to the d imen
sions of whatever frame he is using.


It can be made large or small ; so also the
distance between the walls may be increased
or diminished in accordance with the de-
mands of the locality in which one lives.
The outer wall consists of a shell of f-inch
lumber, locked at the corners. This outer
shell should be made just large enough to

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give two inches of space [between the walls
for packing material. In our locality a pack-
ing of two inches seems to answer very well.
The inner wall is simply a hive made of
I- inch lumber, and is let down in the outer

case, and secured to the same by means of a
water-table or picture-frame, as we may call
it, to shed water. Between the outer and
inner walls there is a boxed passageway, as
shown, for an entrance.

The raised projection of the water-table is
made to fit the upper story of an eight frame
Dovetailed hive, or any of the supers or cov-
ers of that hive ; and in summer the hive
may be tiered up as shown in the illustra-
tion next; and in winter it may be prepared
as described under Wintering, which see.

A t our own home apiary we prefer this
double-walled hive to the single because it


is nearly as light, and because, in our local-
ity, we can leave the colonies in these hives

winter and summer. There is no lugging
into and out of the cellar ; and after the col-
onies are fed up for winter the preparations
for their long winter's sleep and housing are
very short, occupying two or three minutes
to a hive. Then the double walls also afford
excellent protection in hot weather, in the
same way that the two walls and packing
material between the walls of a refrigerator
prevent a too rapid melting of the ice within.


We formerly used wheat or oat chaff ; but
as we could not secure this readily we grad-
ually began to use planer-shavings, which
we can get more easily. These, we find,
answer every purpose, and we now use them
exclusively. Forest leaves, if good and dry,
wonld doubtless do just as well, and would
have the advantage that they would make
the hive, when packed, lighter— that is, eas-
ier to lift and handle.

There are a great many who, having in
use a large number of single -walled hives,
prefer to winter on their summer stands, if
that can be done. For such there has been
devised a winter-case made of f-iuch lum-
ber, and just enough larger than the hive to
be protected to give one or two inches of
packing-space all around the hive. This is
placed over and aroimd the smaller hive,
tiie space at the bottom edges between it
and the inner hive being closed up with
4-inch cleats padded so as to fit the hive
closely, as shown in the diagram. Packing
material is then pomed in and around the
hive and on top, when the telescope cover is
placed over the whole.


Colonies in such packing-cases winter al-
most perfectly, and I have no hesitancy in
recommending them. But when it comes to
unpacking in spring, they are very inconven-
ient, to say the least. The packing material
has to be scooped out and poured into bas-

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kets, when the cover is removed to see if the
bees are alive. The loose stuff tumbles
down between the frames, much to the an-
noyance of the apiarist and discomfort of
the bees. For that reason we greatly prefer

Umu '^o"' , ^nnl fjf^ pj hnn I hnn

the regular double - walled hive pure and
simple. If the locality is cold enough to
warrant wintering in the cellar, I should, of
course, use single-walled hives exclusively.

These are nothing more nor less than
hives having glass sides and ends. They
usually have only one comb, so that both
sides as well as the ends of it can be readily
examined. Where there is more than one
comb the queen can not be readily found.

At exhibitions for the purpose of showing a
full- sized colony, an eight or ten comb glass
hive is often shown, as well as the one- comb
nuclei in glass. The super also has glass
sides and ends so that the work of the bees
on the combs in the sections can be readily
examined without opening the hive.

The hive shown in the illustration has
floor- boards and covers of wood. The cor-
ner-posts are U inches in diameter, having
longitudinal saw-grooves at the proper an-
gles to receive the glass — one at the end and
the Other at the sides. The ends of the
posts are reduced in diameter, leaving a
shoulder. These shanks are then set down
into lioles bored in the floor-board at the
right points. The glass is slipped into the
grooves in the post, when the frames are

supported on wire staples driven into the
floor-board. It would not be practicable to
use tin rabbets in a hive with glass ends, so
none are used. As the frames stand, they
are secured together at the top so as to hold
their position. Hoffman frames are emi-
nently well adapted to this purpose.

An observatory hive having fresh bees put
into it every week or two, and put in a gro-
cery window where honey is on sale, will do
much to stimulate the demand for honey.
When shown at county fairs they are the '
means of eliciting a great amount of interest
and questions. If the exhibitor hangs out
his business card, giving prices of honey-
genuine bee honey— he will do much to help
his trade. See Exhibits.

tive hives were simply the trunks of trees in
which bees were lodged, cut down, and car-
ried to the home of the bee-keeper. This
plan of bee-keeping is still practiced in some
parts of Europe, and is common enough in

FIG. 1. — THE 8TEWAKT0N HIVE, 1819 ; 81IALJ.OW-



Africa. The stingless-bee apiaries of South
America are made in this way.

The next step was to construct a cylinder
resembling the trunk of a tree, either of
wood or earthenware. In northern climates
straw came into use, but had to be fashioned
in the shape of a bell to make it easy of con-
struction. This is the kind of hive which
was so highly praised by poets, probably be-
cause it was the least practical. It has the
merits of extreme simplicity and cheapness.
Usually it had cross-sticks added inside to
keep the combs from falling out on critical
occasions. See Skeps.

Not all bee-keepers were satisfied with
these hives; and as early as the 17th century

Digitized by V^OOQlC




some few began to cast around for some-
thing better. Delia Rocca, who wrote a
book on bees in the 18th century, mentions
bar hives as in vogue in the Islands of the
Grecian Archipelago, where he lived for
many years. Such hives were known even
to the ancient Greeks. These were like a
large flower-pot with wooden bars on which
the bees were to fasten their combs. From
the shape of the hive it was practically im-
possible to cause a breakdown of these combs
except by heat.

The plan of a movable roof was another
step in advance, as it gave the bee-keeper an

there was in the Maraldi hive the important
idea of handling one frame at a time, and by
this means get a far better conception of
what was going on inside the hive. Huber
extended this idea by his improvement. Fig.
4, which came very near to the hanging
movable frame invented by Langstroth six-
ty years later.

To Huber belongs the credit of inventing
hives with movable frames*, and it was by
the use of these that he was able to make
the discoveries in apiculture which so aston-
ished and delighted the scientific world.
Huber invented these hives about 1789, or


Opportunity to add on a super to hold the
surplus honey where it should be, and re-
move the same at the end of the honey har-

Me we, in Great Britain, constructed hives
of wood on somewhat the same plan as early
as 1652, and these were giadually improved
by various inventors.

Maraldi, about the same era as Me we, in-
vented a single-comb obsei*vation hive made
with glass sides, which contained the germ
of the movable-comb frame. He allowed
too much space for one comb, and frequent-
ly the bees built their comb crosswise. Still

perhaps a little earlier. It has been con-
tended by some writers that Huber's hive

Online LibraryAmos Ives RootThe A B C and X Y Z of bee culture; → online text (page 37 of 80)