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

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greater, as it should be, than the average weight of
the bees in flask B, or unloaded bees. The difference



between these two weights gave me the average
amount of honey carried by that lot of bees.

Mine are Italian and hybrid bees, but I made no
attempt to determine the difference in the amount
carried by the different swarms or breeds. I kept
no record of the swarms except that I guarded
against going to the same hive for a second lot of
bees. A considerable difference does appear, but
probably that arises in part from the abundance or
scarcity of the honey on that particular day on
which the colony was visited. My aim was to secure
reliable results, as nearly as possible, representing
the average amount of honey carried by bees.

Tlie following is the result of weighing several
hundred each, of the returning and outgoing bees.
The smallest number of bees necessary to carry one
pound of honey, as shown by my results, is 10,164 ;
or, in other words, one bee can carry the roJ« (one
ten thousand one hundred and flfty-fourth) part of
a pound of honey ; and the largest number, as shown
by the results, required to carry a pound is 45,642;
and the average of all the sets weighed is 20,167.
Perhaps, then, it is approximately correct to say
that the average load of a bee is ^ohea (one twenty
thousandth) of a pound; or. In other words, if a col-
ony has 20,000 bees in it, and each one makes one
trip a day, they will add the pound to their stores.
Of course, not all the bees in a colony leave the
hive, the nurses remaining at home, hence necessi-
tating more trips of those which do "go afield."

I also repeated my observations of two years ago
on the weight of bees, and found that my numbers
ran from 3680 to 6495 in a pound, and the avera^
about 4«00, the same as in my former test. I like-
wise secured the following on the weight of drones:
Of a dozen or more weighed, the largest would re-
quire 1H08 to make a pound, and the smallest 2122,
or an average of about 2000 drones in a pound, over
against nearly 5000 workers. B. F. Koons.

Agricultural College, Storrs, Ct., Sept. 3, 1895.

In a nutshell, and speaking in round
numbers, we may say that it takes 4500 bees
to make a pound ; and that, while 10,000 bees
may carry a pound of nectar, twice that
number, or 20,000, is probably more nearly
the average. During basswood bloom, the
first figure should be considered as the near-
er correct one because the bees drop down
at the entrance ; and from almost all other
sources of nectar the twenty- thousand mark
is the one to accept.

Let us now look at these interesting fig-
ures in another way : A bee can carry half
its weight in nectar; and perhaps, under
certain circumstances, a trifle more ; but,
generally speaking, one-fourth its weight is
the amount. A single strong colony has
been known to bring in a trifle over 20 lbs.
of nectar from basswood in one day ; * but
usually four or five pounds is considered a
remarkably big day's work. If we figure that
there were, say, in the first instance (20 lbs.
per day), 8 lbs. of bees, there would be 36,000

♦ We had one colony that brought in over 43 lbs. in
three days; and Dooiittle 60 lbs. in the same lime
from basswood.



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WHITEWOOD.



bees. If 20,000 of these were field-bees (es-
timating 10,000 necessary to carry a single
pound of basswood nectar), those bees must
have made forty trips. On the same basis
of calculation, a colony of equal strength
that brought in 6 lbs. would make one-
fourth as many trips, or an even ten. This
would leave for each trip one hour for ten
hours ; or, in the case of 20 lbs. a day, twen-
ty minutes.

Both Profs. Gillette and Lazenby, the for-
mer of the Col rado Experiment Station and
the latter of the Ohio Experiment station,
conducted a series of experiments which
closely approximate figures of Prof. Coons,
so that we are sure that they are correct.

WXSAK COLONIES, TO STRENGTH-
EN. See Uniting, sub-head Alexan-
der Plan ; also 2»i uclei.



no longer, but a man of 40, or would be in a
few months more. I might get up to that
first limb : after a good deal of kicking and
pufling, I got up there. The next was a
harder pull yet; but soon the limbs were
thicker, and finally I began to crawl up-
ward with about as much ease as our year-
and-a-half-old baby goes upstairs whenever
she can elude matenial vigilance. Up, up,
I went, until, on looking down, I really be-
gan to wonder what that blue-eyed baby and
her mamma would do should my clumsy
boots slip, or a dead limb break unexpected-
ly. Now I was in the very summit of the
tree, and, oh what a wonderful beauty I saw
in those tulip - shaped blossoms that peeped
from the glossy-green foliage all about me 1
No w^onder there was a humming. Bumble-
bees, gaudy-colored wasps, yellow Italians,
and last, but not least, beautifully plumaged



leaf, bud, and blossom of the WHITEWOOD, OR TULIP-TREE.



W UlTJEIlXrOOD (Liriodendron Tulip-
ifera). This is often called the tulip-tree, I
suppose from its tulip-shaped flowers.

After writing the foregoing, I concluded
I did not know very much about the white-
wood, especially the blossoms. So T travel-
ed off into the woods. At length I found a
tree, but there were only buds to be seen,
not blossoms. It must be too early in the
season; but, hark! whence come those
sounds of humming - birds and humming
bees? Whence, too, comes that rare and ex-
quisite perfume? I looked higher, and, away
in the misty top of the tree I thought I dis-
cerned, by the light of the setting sun, mul-
titudes of bees flitting about. Oh that I were
just up there I I looked at the rough trunk
of the tree, and meditated that I was a boy



humming-birds, were all rejoicing in a field
of sweets. Every now and then one of the
latter paused before my very face, and, as
he swung pendulously in mid air, winked
his bright little eyes, as much as to say,
'^Why, what on earth can you be doing away
up here in our domain?"

I picked off the great orange-colored, mot-
tled blossoms, and looked for the honey."* I
presume it was the wrong time of day to ex-
pect much; but the inside of those large pet-
als seemed to be distilling a dark kind of
dew that the birds and insects were licking
off. It tasted to me more like molasses than
honey. In the cut our engraver has tried
to show you what I saw in the tree-top.

As the sun had gone down, I commenced
in a rather imdignified way to follow suit.



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WILLOW.



wid, after resting a little, limped home.
Although I was stiff and sore, I carried an
armful of whitewood blossoms to surprise
the good folks who, probably, had never
dreamed of the beauties to be seen only in
the tree-tops.

Our friends in the South have a great deal
to say about what they call "• poplar honey;"
and, if I am correct, the poplar is the same
tree which we call whitewood. It blossoms
with them in April and May. I know what
time it blossoms here, for I thought about
its being the 27th of May, when sliding
down out of that tree. Shortly after, I
received some bees from G. W. Gates, of
Bartlett, Tenn, The combs were filled and
bulged out with a dark honey, such as I
have described, and the bees had built fins
of snow-white comb on the cover of their
shipping-box. From this I infer the honey
must be yielded in great abimdance in those
localities. I have seen it stated that the
large flowers sometimes yield a spoonful of
honey each. As the tree is often used for
ornament, I make the following extract from
Fidler^s Forest-Tree CuUurist:

LIRIODENDRON TULIPIFEBA (Tlilip-trte, WhUtWOOdJ.

Leaves smooth, on slender petioles, partially
three-lobed, the middle one appearlner as though
cut off ; flowers about two Inches broad, bell-shaped,
grreenlsh yellow, marked with orangre; seeds winged,
in a largre cone-shape cluster which falls apart in
autumn. The flgrure shows a single seed
as it appears when separated from the
mass. It blooms in May and June, and
the seeds ripen in late summer or earl}-
autumn, and should be sown as soon as
ripe, in good, moderately dry soil. They
may remain in the seed - bed two years
if desirable, but should receive a slight
protection the first winter; tree of large
size, sometimes 130 feet high, with a very
straight stem; wood light color, greenish
white, soft and light, not hard enough to
receive a polish. It is much used in cabinet work,
and for making panels for carriages, and for any
inside work where toughness or a hard surface is
not required. There is perhaps no native wood that
will shrink more in seasoning than whitewood, for
it not only shrinks sidewise, but endwise as well;
but when once thoroughly seasoned, it remains
fixed, and does not warp or twist like many of the
hard and tough kinds of wood. There is also much
difference in character of the wood coming from
different sections of the country, and mechanics
who are conversant with the various kinds and lo-
calities will readily tell whether specimens came
from the West or East. The latter is of a light
greenish color, grain not so smooth and soft, and
sometimes rather tough. The wood is but little
used, except for the purposes mentioned above*
consequently it is only large trees that will be of
much value. It is one of the most beautiful
ornamental trees we possess, growing in a conical
form, and producing an abundance of its beautiful




tulip-shaped fiowers in spring. The roots are soft
and sponge-like, and it requires great care in re-
moving to insure success.

The question is often asked, "Is white-
wood good for bee-hivesV" It may do for
sections and brood-frames, but it is very un-
satisfactory for hives, for the reasons given
in this extract.

WlhLOVI [Salix,) As I have had
little or no experience with this shrub,
and as it does yield honey and pollen in
some localities, I can do no better than to
copy an article with the engravings, from
the pen of G. M. Doolittle, as given in
Gleanings in Bee Culture, p. 486, Vol. XVII.:

Among the pollen-bearers we have several kinds
of what is known here as "pussy willow " (SaZir)
which put out their blossoms quite irregularly.
Some are a month earlier than others, and some of
the buds on the same bush are ten days later than
others. The kinds which seem to attract the bees
most are the black willow, upon which the kilmar.
nock is budded, and those which produce a long
cone-like fiower similar to the black wiUow, the ac-
companying cut giving a fair representation of the
latter, a week or so after it is through blossoming
and has partially gone to seed. From these two
kinds the bees obtain large quantities of pollen, but,
so far as I can ascertain, no honey. As this pollen



PU88Y WILLOW.

comes the first of any which we have which amounts
to any thing, I esteem it of great value to the bees.
Skunk-cabbage gives pollen a little earlier, but we
do not have enough of it to amount to much, com-
pared with what these willows give. The flowers are
of a rich orange color, and consist of a center out of
which spring hundreds of little thread-like filaments,
upon which the pollen is supported. It is very in-
teresting to see the bees work on these flowers, as
you can see their motions so plainly, for the tree or
bush does not grow so high but that some of the
lower limbs are about on a level with the eye. Here
is a peculiarity of the willows, for all those in thia
section which give pollen grow in a bush form, while
all of those which yield honey grow to be quite
large trees, often reaching six feet in circumference.



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WILLOW.



462



WILLOW-HERB.



The pussy willow naturally gi-ows ou low swumpy
ground; but with a little culture to start, it will grrow
readily on dry grround. They grrow readily from cut-
tlngrs put in the ground in early spring, as do all of
the willow tribe. The above are often set down as
*' honey-plants;" but according to Quinby and my
own observation, they produce no honey. As they
grow very plentifully about here, I have had much
observation regarding them. To be sure, the bee is
continually poking its proboscis into the blossoms,
the same as they do when sucking for honey; but
after killing many bees and dissecting them, I have
been unable to find the least bit of honey in their
sacs. This way, if used when the bees are at work
on any of the honey-bearing flowers, never falls to
reveal honey accumulating in their sacs.

HONEV-PRODDCERS.

Of these we have three kinds— the golden willow,
the white willow, and the weeping willow, and they
are of value as honey-producers In the order named,
although the weeping willow blossoms about three
days earlier than the others. This would make It of
more value to the bees, even did It not yield honey
quite so profusely. If there were enough trees to
keep the bees busy ; but as there are very few trees



seen glistening in the morning sun, by holding the
blossom between you and that orb, while the trees
resound with that dull busy hum, so often heard
when the bees are getting honey, from morning till
night. As this is the very first honey of the season,
I consider It of the greatest of value to the bees, for
the brood Is now crowded forward with great
"vim," which brood gives us the bees which work on
the white clover, while the honey often helps very
greatly in piecing out the depleted stores of the hive.
These willows blossom a little In advance of the hard
maple, and hold nut as long as they do; and from the
fact that, when I kill a bee at work on these willows
I always find honey in its sac, while when I do the
same with a bee which is at work on the maple I
never find any honey, I have been led to think that
perhaps those reporting honey might be mistaken,
and that the honey really came from the willows.
Again, maple blossoms only every other year with
us, while the willows never fail; and I have noticed
for years that I got fully as much honey in the
years when the maples did not bloom as I did the
years when they did. From the few trees along a
small creek near here, my bees frequently make a
gain of from six to ten pounds of honey while the
willows are in bloom, and one season they made a
gain of 15 pounds. This present spring some of my
best colonies gained 8 pounds, while on apple-bloora
they did not get more than a living, with apple-or-
chards white with bloom all about. The honey
from the willow is quite similar to that from the
apple-bloom, and of a nice aromatic flavor. As the
willows give the first pollen, and also the first hon-
ey each season, it will be seen what a great help
they are to all who have them in profusion near
their bees. The only drawback there is, is in the
weather often being unfavorable, for I do not think
that more than one year in three gives good weatlier
all through the time the willows are in blossom. So
far as I know, honey and pollen are always present
in the respective kinds when they are in bloom; but
the trouble is, that it is so cold, rainy, cloudy, or
windy for the bees to get to the trees so much of the
time, at this seiison of the year, that honey or pollen
from this source is not at all certain.
Borodino. N. Y. G. M. DoOLirTLE.



GOLDEN WILLOW.

of this kind about here there is not enough to make
any account of. None of the three willows men-
tioned here give any pollen that I ever could dis-
cover, for none of the bees at work on these trees
ever have any pollen in their pollen-baskets. If
there is any species of willow which yields both hon-
ey and pollen, I am not acquainted with it. The
flowers are similar to those which grow on the birch
and poplar, being of a long tag-like shape, as large
as a slate pencil, and from one to two inches long.
Those on the golden willow are the longest, and
yield honey abundantly.

The engraving presented herewith so nearly rep-
resents the golden willow that any one should know
it in connection with its yellow bark, which dis-
tinguishes it from the other kinds of honey-yielding
willow, as all of the rest, so far as I know, have a
lightrgreen bark. When these willows are in bloom,
and the weather Is warm, the bees rush out of their
hives at early dawn, and work on it all day long as
eagerly as they do on clover or basswood. The blos-
soms often secrete honey so profusely that it can be



IXniAOIXr-BaiLB. often called fire-
weed, sometimes Indian pink, and rose bay.
The scientific name is Epilohium angustifo-
Hum, Its growth is confined to the lumber-
ing regions of Northern Wisconsin, Minne-
sota, Michigan, Canada, Washington State,
and Maine, over those areas that have been
burned over by forest fires, and hence the
name ''fire weed." After the fires it seem.s
to spring up spontaneously, monopolizing
the soil to itself. Sometimes it grows in
territories never devastated by fire.

It is a handsome plant having a beautiful
pink bloom ; usually has only a single stalk,
and grows from two to six feet high. The
flowers are of a dark pink, and arranged in
clusters around the stalk. As the season
advances, the first bloom goes to seed ; and
as the stalk extends upward, more blossoms
appear, so the plant keeps in bloom from



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WILLOW-HERB.



July till frost. Thus appear on each stalk
buds, blossoms, and seed-pods at one and
the same time.

Willow-herb, or fireweed, yields quanti-
ties of white honey. Some of it is so light-
colored as to be actually as clear and lim-
pid as water, and the flavor is simply su-
perb—at least so I thought after eating some
at one of the Michigan conventions which I
attended at Grand Rapids. Mr. Hutchinson
styles it the whitest and sweetest honey he
ever tasted, and says the flavor, while not



the oldest inhabitants in the vicinity where
it grows.

Mr. Hutchinson estimates there are thou-
sands of acres in Northern Michigan where
this plant grows, with no bees to gather its
delicious nectar. But this condition certain-
ly can not exist long ; for when one can pro-
duce anywhere from 100 to 125 pounds of
comb honey per colony, the unoccupied
fields will soon be covered by bee-keepers,
after the manner of the rush of the gold-
seekers to the Klondike.



WILLOW-HERB AND ITS HOME (FROM THE BEE-KEEPEIiS' REVIEW).



very pronounced, is suggestive of spiciness.
The quality of the honey, its unfailing sup-
ply from year to year, that it follows right
after clover and basswood, and blooms from
then on till frost, make it one of the most
valuable honey -plants known. Unfortu-
nately its growth is confined almost exclu-
sively to the regions where forest fires occur.
But fortunately those bee-keepers who are
situated in its vicinity are enabled to secure
immense crops of fine white honey. Anoth-
er remarkable feature of the plant is, it yields
every year— at least so continuously that a
failure has scarcely been known, even by



For the fine illustration accompanying
this, I am indebted to the editor of the Bee-
keepers'' Review, The picture was taken when
the willow-herb was out in all its glory. In
the background appear the straight black
shafts of dead pine-trees that stand out
alone as the only survivals of their class
from the fires. While we can not but de-
plore the loss of the pines that furnish the
only timber fit to make hives of, we can re-
joice that they have been displaced by so
valuable a honey-plant.

All attempts to grow this plant out of its
native habitats have proven to be failures.



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WINTERING.



464



WINTERING.



If the reader has
been over faithfully what has been written
in the preceding pages he is nearly ready to
sum up the matter of wintering. Under the
head of Absconding Swarms, in the open-
ing of the book, and under the subject of
Uniting, he is cautioned against dividing,
and trying to winter weak colonies. See Ab-
sconding in Early Spring^ under the head
mentioned. In regard to keeping bees
warm through the winter with Artificial
Heat, see that head. Concerning the effect



without any warm days intervening, the in-
door or cellar plan of wintering bees is the
one usually followed. In other places, say
fifty or one hundred miles south of the great
lakes, or where there will be an occasional
warm day, say one or two a month in which
the bees may fly, the outdoor method of win-
tering in double-walled hives, or in single-
walled hives with winter cases, is the plan
generally in vogue. In all the Southern
States the plain single-walled hives are
warm enough without the extra protection.



A. B. MANUM 8 HOME APIARY IN WINTER.



of different kinds of food or stores on the
welfare of bees during winter, see Dysen-
tery, Feeding and Feeders, Candy
FOR Bees. On the subject of fixing the size
of the entrances, see Entrances to Hives,
Ventilation. Some very important infor-
mation is given under Entrances, and it
would be advisable for the reader to re-read
the article before he takes up the matter
further here. For a consideration of the
different sizes and shapes of frames for
wintering, see Hives. For the discussion
of double-walled or chaff hives, see Hives.

two methods of wintering bees.

There are two methods in vogue. One is
called the indoor and the other the outdoor
plan. As to which one the reader shall use
will depend entirely on locality. Where the
winters are extremely, cold, with continttcus
freezing weather prevailing through De-
cember, January, February, and March,



Indoor wintering in the colder localities
does not require double-walled hives or win-
ter cases ; but when the bees are set out in
the spring, some, sort of protection should be
provided. See Spring Management, in
its alphabetical order.

Although cellar wintering requires less
expensive hives, it involves more skill— es-
pecially so if the cellar or winter repository
does not afford all the favorable conditions.
Just what these are will be referred to later.
While the outdoor method, on the other
hand, demands double- walled hives, winter
cases, or something to protect the hives on
the summf r stands, it does not require that
degree of skill made necessary when the
bees are confined in the cellar. For that
reason the majority of beginners, especially
if the climate be not severe, are by all means
advised to winter outdoors.

With either the indoor or outdoor plan it
is fair to state that, after a very severe win-



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WINTERING.



ter in which the mercury plays below the
zero-point for weeks at a time, or if the
spring is very late, with a wann spell follow-
ed by a very severe cold one, losses are like-
ly to be heavy, even among the most ex-
perienced bee-keepers. But these losses can
to a very great extent be minimized, even in
bad years, providing one makes a study of
his locality, especially this general subject
of wintering. It will, therefore, be tlie
object of this article to set forth as nearly
as possible some of the difficulties to be en-
countered, in order that the reader may in-
telligently undertake the problem. It is well
to state, though, that the very severe winters
referred to do not occur more than once in
ten or twenty years, and for some reason the
entire year seems to be thrown entirely out of
balance ; but at all other times, if one follows
carefully the directions here given his losses
will not exceed ten per cent, and he may
keep them down as low as two percent.
Indeed, some have wintered their bees win-
ter after winter with a loss not exceeding
five per cent, if we throw out of calculation
the one year in ten that is abnormally severe.

OUTDOOR WINTERING. •

As this is a simpler and easier plan for
most beginners to follow, we will begin with
that, inasmuch as the principles involved
will help to lay the foundation for the more
difficult problem of indoor or cellar winter-
ing. The prime requisite for both methods
of wintering is a large force of young bees
reared during the latter part of summer or
early fall. A colony made up of old worn-
out bees with very little young life in it, no
matter how strong it may be, will be almost
sure to succumb before spring, or found to
be in such a weakened condition as to be
practically worthless. As a general rule, in
the Northern States brood-rearing will cease
right after the honey-flow. This is perfect-
ly normal if there be no late fall or summer
pasturage like buckwheat; but during the
latter part of August and the early part of



Online LibraryAmos Ives RootThe A B C and X Y Z of bee culture; → online text (page 72 of 80)