Amos Ives Root.

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

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overstocked, with the result that bee-keeper
No. 1 has his average per colony cut down
very materially. There is only a certain
amount of nectar in the field to be gath-
ered ; and if all the colonies get a propor-
tionate share, then bee-keeper No. 2 prac-

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tically robs bee - keeper No. 1 of a large
percentage of honey that he would have
obtained had not some other bees been
brought into the locality to divide the
spoils. But there is no law against such a
procedure, and the only protection that the
original squatter has is the unwritten moral
law that is observed among the better class
of bee-keepers, to the effect that no one
should locate an apiary so close to one of his
neighbors that he will rob that neighbor of a
certain amount of nectar in the field which
is his by priority of location. In a good
many localities in and about Colorado, I am
sorry to say that the unwritten moral law is
only loosely observed. Locations that once
afforded an average of 100 or 150 pounds
per colony now afford, owing to this spe-
cies of overstocking, only about 50 or 75

On the other side, on this question of pri-
ority of right it may be said that the first-
comer bee-keeper has in no sense leased,
bought, or borrowed the land growing the

plants from which the nectar is secreted ;
that any one and every one has a right to
the product from the flowers. Legally the
second comer has just as much right to the
field as his neighbor.

I will not attempt to draw out any fine
moral distinctions that may be involved in
this question, any more than to state that,
if a bee-keeper has by luck, careful observa-
tion, or at great expense, discovered a local-
ity that yields large amounts of honey, he
ought to be left in the peaceful enjoyment
and free possession of his discovery, to the
extent that no one else should locate an
apiary nearer than a mile and a half from
any of his apiaries ; and right here it seems
to me the principle of the golden rule ought
to be used to settle such little problems ; for
it is practically certain that bee-keeper No.
2, who comes into an already occupied field
to divide the profits, would not regard with
very much favor such action on the part of
another if he were in the position of the one
having the prior rights.


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(Sabal chamerops) is fre-
quently an excellent yielder of good honey,
but only on the peninsula of Florida. There
are numbers of these trees in the CaroliDas
and Georgia, but not in sufficient numbers
to be valuable to the bee-keeper. There are
two other palmettos in Florida which yield
honey— the creeping palmetto (Sabal Adan-
sonii) and the saw palmetto (Sabal serenoa)^
also a creeper. The leaves of the latter are
very sharp, and serious impediments to
walking through the woods in some parts of
Florida, hence the popular name. In some
seasons a very heavy honey-yield is obtained
from the Florida palmetto, and the quality
is considered high by connoisseurs.

The palmetto grows to a height of 70 feet
or more in South Florida, where it succeeds
best, and where, too, the landscape is great-
ly beautified by the presence of many speci-
mens of it. It generally blooms in June,
just before the rainy season, sending out
great racemes of creamy-white flowers that
form a mass four to seven feet long and two
feet wide.

The honey can scarcely be distinguished
from that collected from black mangrove,
and it frequently happens that both flower
simultaneously, and the bees, therefore, mix

PASTKEN0OSNESZ8. In the great
majority of cases the sex cells disintegrate
unless they unite with the products of the
opposite sex of the same species; but in
many cases in the animal kingdom cells are
given off from the ovary, which, without
fertilization, are able to undergo develop-
ment. That these cells are true eggs is evi-
dent from their origin, appearance, behavior,
and fate, and the only difference between
these eggs and eggs requiring fertilization
is that the former are able to divide and grow
without receiving the stimulus given by the
male sex cell. To this phenomenon the
name ** parthenogenesis " is applied.

The word parthenogenesis (virgin develop-
ment) was flrst used in this sense by Profes-
sor V. Siebold in his classic paper, ** Par-
thenogenesis in Lepidoptera and Bees,'' in

However, earlier writers described the
phenomenon under various other names.

In 1745 Charles Bonnet described the par-
thenogenetic development of plant- lice; and
Prof. Oscar Hertwig, the great German
embryologist, designates this work as mark-
ing one of the milestones in the history of
the science of development.

Just one hundred years later the late
Johannes Dzierzon, of Carlsmarkt, Germany,
put forth the theory that the drone or male
bee is produced from an egg which is not
fertilized. This work, published in the
Eichstadt Bienenzeitung^ may well be looked
on as the starting-point of the theory of
parthenogenesis, since it started a very im-
portant discussion, and marks the beginning
of a host of work along similar lines. Dzier-
zon based his views on the following facts
observed by him and since confirmed by
many others: 1. An unmated queen occa-
sionally lays eggs, but these produce only

2. Workers, under certain peculiar circum-
stances, lay eggs, and these develop only into
drones. Worker bees have never been known
to mate.

3. Old queens may exhaust their supply
of spermatozoa received in mating, and
thereafter produce only drones. As the
supply diminishes they lay an ever increas-
ing percentage of drone eggs.

While this theory is based on the work of
Dzierzon, it must not be forgotten that its
establishment is due in no small part to the
researches of ftofessors Leuckart and Von
Siebold, of Germany.

The facts brought out in an examination
of this work have an important bearing on
the practical work of the apiary, and it is
necessary for the queen-breeder, at least,
to know the ftf)plication. If, for example, a
Cyprian queen is mated to an Italian drone,
the resulting workers are a cross between
the two races, or Cyprio-Italians. Any
queens reared from this colony are also
Cyprio-Italians; but the drones of this cross-
mated queen are pure Cyprians, the Italian
drone in the cross having no influence on
the male offspring of the Cyprian mother.
If, therefore, but one purely mated queen is
obtained, her daughters produce pure drones,
regardless of mismating, and the race may
be established in an apiary.

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The conclusion frequently drawn from
this theory is that the queen can voluntarily
control the sex of an egg by withholding or
allowing its fertilization. It is sometimes
further held that all eggs in the ovary are
male, and the sex is changed by fertilization.
These conclusions are not based on observa-
tion, and proof is entirely lacking. In a
statement of the theory, therefore, it is nec-
essaiy to stick to known facts.

The Dzierzon theory has been combated
by many different scientists, most recently
by Dickel, a German bee-keeper with scien-
tific aspirations. While the theory has been
somewhat modified by recent work, it re-
mains the prevalent view to-day, and Dickel
has generally received the condemnation
which he so richly deserves.

Parthenogenesis occurs in many other or-
ders of both plants and animals, and a com-
parison of the various results is most inter-
esting. Merely to cite some cases for com-
parison: In the bee, only males are produced
parthenogenetically; in certain lepidoptera,
only females are so produced; while in
plant-lice and certain small Crustacea, both
males and females are produced from unfer-
tilized eggs. Ants were formerly supposed
to have a parthenogenetic development iden-
tical with that seen in the honey-bee; but
more recent work makes this doubtful as a
general statement. The silkworm is occa-
sionally parthenogenetic.

PEDDLZNa HONEY. See Honey-ped-
dling ; also see Extracted Honey.

PEPPEB-TAEE (Schintis molle). From
Peru. This is really not a pepper- tree at
all. Its flowers and the honey have a pep-
pery flavor however, and the seeds resemble
pepper. It is a magnificent shade-tree and
in California has been very largely planted.
The honey is thick and dark, but it serves a
very useful purpose in helping the bees to
tide over bad times without feeding. It is
under a ban now, as it is supposed to harbor
injurious insects, but it seems probable
these pests would still exist even if all pep-
per-trees were destroyed.


FBACSZiXA (P. ianaceiifolia) has been
boomed as a honey and forage plant in Eu-
rope, being introduced there from Califor-
nia. Some, however, deny, its value as a
forage- plant, and not till 1904 did any Cali-
fomian even mention it as such. There is
no question, however, that it is a honey-
plant of the first rank, having a blue flower
much resembling heliotrope, the beauty of

which makes it worthy of a place in the
flower-garden, where the bees may be found
on it in great numbers.

PICKLED BROOD. See Diseases of

POISONED BROOD. See Fruit-blos-

POISONOUS HONEY. There are cases
on record, apparently authenticated, that
seem to show that honey gathered from
flowei s of plants that are in themselves poi-
sonous is also poisonous either to human
beings or to the bees themselves, or both.
Xenophon tells how in the memorable march
of the ten thousand Greek soldiers to the
se.i, some of them were taken seriously ill
from eating poisonous honey. The facts
are so carefully and minutely recorded as to
leave no doubt of the honey-poisoning.

The wild honey in one or two of the South-
ern States, in a very few isolated localities,
is reported to produce sickness, and in
some instances this sickness is so sudden
and violent that it has given occasion for
alarm. In cert.^ln regions of Virginia, espe-
cially near Halifax Court-house, there is
grown in the moim tains, quite extensively,
mountain laurel. The bees are very fond of
it; and while it does not seem to aflfect
them particularly, it is dangerous to human
beings, or at least so reported. The plant
itself is an extremely distressing narcotic,
varying in its effects according to the quan-
tity taken into the stomach. Dr. Grammer,
of Halifax Court-house, reports that, during
the late civil war, himself and quite a num-
ber of comrades were poisoned from eating
honey from this plant. There was, he says,
a queer sensation of tingling all over, indis-
tinct vision, with an empty, dizzy fteling
about the head, and a horrible nausea that
could not be relieved by vomiting. This
lasted for an hour or so, and the effects did
not wear off for several days.

Another honey-plant from which the honey
is said to be poisonous is the yellow jasmine,
and it is found in certain localities in Geor-
gia, especially in the vicinity of Augusta.
The roots, leaves, and flowers are all highly
poisonous ; and Dr. J. P. H. Brown, a bee-
keeper, says the honey from it is also of like
character, as he knows of several persons
who came very near losing their lives by eat-
ing it. In his opinion bees do not work on
it from choice ; for when other bloom is
yielding honey at the same time, the jas-
mine flowei*s are seldom visited.

Notwithstanding these reported cases,

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Prof. A. J. Cook, of Pomona College, Clare-
mont, Cal., very much doubts whether the
honey from any plant is poisonous. Some
years ago some incidents were related where
bee-keepers had not only eaten of the honey
from poisonous plants, but ate of it quite
freely, without any ill effects. But the ques-
tion might arise as to whether they actually
ate of the honey from the plants in question,
or froTti some other harmless pla7its that were
in bloom at the same time. In a matter in-
volving severe sickness or possible loss of
life it would seem to be policy to err on the
safe side— that is, to let the honey from

about among the grains of pollen; and as the
pollen adheres to it and is from time to time
put away somehow, we are led to infer that
there must be something adhesive on it. I
believe the bee, when it starts out to gather
pollen, does carry some honey if it finds some
in the blossom. Well, we will suppose it
has moistened its long, flexible, brush-like
tongue with honey, has spread it out and
brushed it among the pollen-grains and then
—I rather think I shall have to give you
some pictures to explain what happens next-
The illustrations shown on the next page,
taken from Cheshire's Bees and Bee-keeping

YELLOW JASMINE {JoMmum odorotisstmum] ,

mountain laurel, yellow jasmine, and other
poisonous plants, entirely alone. If it does
not kill the bees, let them have it for brood-
rearing, but make no other use of it.

FOXASZV. Doubtless you have all
heard bees humming about hollyhock blos-
soms, but perhaps most of you have passed
on, thinking that it was nothing strange,
for bees are always humming about flow-
ers. Suppose we stop just a minute, and
look into the matter a little. The bee, al-
though on the wing, is almost motionless as
it hovers about the dust in the center of
the flowers, and, by careful watehing, we
may see that its tongue is extended to a con-
siderable length. Tliis tongue looks much
like a delicate pencil-brush as it sweeps it

show the leg of the bee. As these seem to
be as accurate as any thing that as yet has
been made, we have produced them here.

In a general way it will be noted that the
legs are covered with rough hairs, fringes of
coarser hairs, and short spines or combs.
These are located in the different parts of
the legs of the bees, and each set is designed
for a different purpose; ti, at A, shows the
pollen-basket on one of the hind legs. No-
tice that the joint at this point is hollow and
fringed on either side with coarse hairs or
spurs. The pollen, as fast as it is gathered
and made up into little pellets, is deposited
one at a time, forming one large loaf or pel-
let in the pollen basket, ti at A, but refer-
ence to this will be made a little later.
Just below the pollen-basket at it?p, in B, is

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shown a sort of jaw, or pincers. This is
said to be used to gather the thin plates of
wax that are secreted on the under side of
the body of the bee, and that the pincers
form them so that they can be handled by
the fore legs and deposited in the comb.

Below these jaws, or pincers, at B, will be
found a series of combs, or spines, on the

of pollen dust are gathered into very small
pellets. These are then transferred from
the fore legs to the middle ones, and from
the latter to the pollen-pockets on the rear
legs. By watching closely one will see the
middle legs patting the pollen on the back
ones, making quite a loaf of bee- bread on
each leg.


inner side of the legs. On the same joints
of the other legs these seem to be absent,
and in their place long stiff hairs that seem
more to serve the purpose of a brush. When
the bee goes into a flower, especially one
with a narrow opening, the hair on the thorax
and on the head, as well as on the legs, seems
to become coated with pollen. This is re-
moved by the brushes and combs on the legs
of the bees. In some manner the combings

It is probable, also, that the tongue is an
important organ for gathering pollen-grains
as well as nectar, for it seems to be fringed
with fine hair on which pollen dust might
readily lodge. Just how the bee cleans its
tongue it is difficult to see; but the brushes
on the fore legs are evidently designed for
the purpose of rolling these grains off which
possibly contain a little honey or nectar. In
any event, they are transferred to the middle

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legs from the fore legs, and from the middle
legs to the pollen-basket in a way that leaves
sleight-of-hand clear in the shade unless one
watches the whole operation with a power-
ful glass. This transfer seems to go on in
the blossom and even after it is on the wing.
Dust the bee all over with flour and it im-
mediately begins the process of ''brushing
its hairs." It will rub the palms of its legs
and then begin the work of combing itself,
reaching with its middle and fore legs' over
its back and cleaning its antenna? with its
fore legs. All these maneuvers may take
place while it rests on some object or while
on the wing, but the bee is unable to reath
over its entire body, especially the top of the
back. After it enters the hive it is cleaned
by other bees, when after a little it will be
brushed and groomed, every particle of pol-
len having been removed.

If one desires to witness some of these
comical sleight-of-hand performances, for,
indeed, they are little short of real sleight-
of-hand, he only needs to dust a few bees
with common flour and then note what hap-

Eeference was made to the fact that the
bee cleans its antennae with its fore legs. If
these delicate organs of ^ense and hearing
be in any way impeded by a smearing of
pollen the bee is unable to communicate
with its fellows or perform satisfactorily the
functions of the hive. See Scent of Bees.
By referring to the large engraving at E,
there will be found a notch at a. Just over
this notch is a spur, or cap, v. The same
thing on a smaller scale can be seen at C.
This opening is fringed on the inside with
a row of hairs, an enlarged view showing at
F. It will be noted that this cleaner is locat-
ed, we might say, in the " elbow " of the fore
legs, and within easy reach of the antenna?.
If flour is dusted upon these organs the bee
will immediately slip this notch over the an-
tennae, push V over to place, cleaning every
portion of the antennee at two or three
sweeps. Some have thought that this same
device is used for cleaning the tongue in a
similar manner, but this is hardly probable.
The tongue, unless at the extreme end, is
too large to go in this opening. If it could
be used for cleaning the tongue the delicate
cleaner would become smeared with honey,
and thus it would appear that its primary
function as an antennae-cleaner would be

When a bee gets into the hive, if a young
bee, it has to go through with a series of re-
joicings—see Bees ; but if a regular laborer,

it proceeds at once, or at least as soon as it
has had a breathing-spell (for carrying large
loads of pollen is like carrying a hod of brick
to the top of a three-story brick building), to
deposit the pollen in the cells. This is done
very quickly by crossing its pollen - legs
while they are thrust to the bottom of the
cell, and then kicking the loads off, much
like the way in which our blue-eyed baby
kicks off her shoes when she takes a notion
to go barefooted.ft23 After the load is off , it
starts out again without paying any further
attention to the matter. The question keeps
coming up to me. Does the bee that brings
the pollen never stop to pack it in the cells
or digest it for the young larvae? I am
convinced that it usually does not ; but
where the hive is deprived of young bees, I
think almost any bee can do this work. If
there are plenty of young bees in the hive,
it probably concludes it has nothing fur-
ther to do with it.

After the pollen is dropped in the cells, it
will fall out if the comb is turned over; and
when the maples are first out in the spring,
I have heard and seen the pollen rattle out
like shot, in turning the combs horizontally
to look at the queens. Very soon after the
pollen is thus deposited, the nursing - bees
come and mash it down into a hard cake ; I
have not been able to discover how they do

The principal supply of pollen in our locali-
ty is from maple in the spring, and from com
in the latter part of simimer and fall.^M Al-
most all flowers that yield honey yield pol-
len also, to a greater or less extent, and
when the bee comes in laden with the one,
it almost always has some of the other.'^
Red clover yields a peculiar dark-green pol-
len that pretty surely indicates when the
bees are gathering honey from it. They oft-
en get a considerable load of honey, with
but a very small one of pollen ; but if you
did not notice very carefully, you would quite
likely declare that they had gathered no pol-
len at all.681 m

The pollen from com is generally gather-
ed early in the morning; when it is first
coming into bloom I have seen them start
out in the fore part of the day, much as they
do for a buckwheat-field.

For further information in regard to pol-
len in the hive, see Fruit-blossoms.


We are interested about pollen, because
bees can not rear brood without either it
or some substitute for it. Bees kept in

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confinement, and fed on pure sugar and
pure water, will thrive and void little
or no excrement; but as soon as pollen,
or food containing the farinaceous ele-
ment, is given them, their bodies will
become distended ; and instead of a trans-
parent fluid they will void a fluid of a
darkish tint which will soil their hives and
emit quite an unpleasant smell. I once kept
about 300 bees in a cage with a queen, and
gave them only pure sugar and water. They
built comb, and seemed quite contented, the
cage emitting no smell whatever. In order to
start brood-rearing I gave them some sugar
candy containing flour, and they got uneasy
very soon, and tried in vain to get out. At
this time the cage gave off quite an im-
pleasant smell, and so they were allowed to
fly. Had the pollen element not been given
them, I presume they would have stood the
confinement for a month or more. I once
wintered a fair colony of bees on stores of
pure sugar syrup, and when they flew in the
spring there was no perceptible spot on the
white snow about their hives. They had no
pollen, and, of course, no brood - rearing
could go on without it. A few years ago
I made some experiments with bees confined
in a large room under glass. As it was late
in the fall, after brood-rearing had ceased, I
did not know whether I should succeed in
starting them again. After feeding them
for about a week, eggs were found in the
cells, but none of them hatched into larvse.
A heap of rye meal was placed in the center
of the room near the feed, and anxiously I
waited to see them take notice of it. After
several days a bee was seen hovering curi-
ously about it. In breathless suspense I
watched it until it finally began to dip
its tongue into the heap, and then to pad it
on its legs. It carried home a small load.
I had the hive open, and the frame out, as
soon as it was among its comrades, and
watched the behavior of the rest while it
shook itself among them, until it depos-
ited its treasiu*e in a cell, and hurried away
for another load. Very shortly some of the
rest followed it, and buzzed about the
room until they found where it was loading
up, and soon they were at work on the meal,
as merrily as in the spring. Of course, the
eggs were very soon, now, transformed into
unsealed larvae, then into capped brood, and,
in due time, I had young bees hatched out
in the month of December.

By warming the room with a stove for sev-
eral days in succession, I found I could start
brood-rearing and pollen-gathering even in

the month of January. It may be well to
state here, that although I succeeded in
rearing bees in midwinter, as strong and
healthy, apparently, as those raised in sum-
mer time, the experiment was hardly a suc-
cess after all ; for about as many bees died
from what I suppose was the effect of con-
finement as were hatched out. It was a de-
cided success, in determining many un-
known points in regard to bees, aside from
the office of pollen ; and I presume, if it ever
should be necessary, we could overcome the
difficulties of flying bees imder glass. Un-
der the head of Fruit-blossoms will be
found further facts on this matter. See
page 222.


It has been known for many years, that in
the spring time bees will make use of the
flour or meal of many kinds of grain, and
many bee-keepers feed bushels of it every
season. The favorite seems to be rye ;
and, as the bees are apt to fall into it and

Online LibraryAmos Ives RootThe A B C and X Y Z of bee culture; → online text (page 50 of 80)