Amos Ives Root.

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

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where they would be chilled to death.


Put them safely out of the way of bees,
either in tight hives or in a bee-proof room ;
and if you have not bees enough to cover
them by the middle of June, or at such a
time as you shall find moth- worms at work
among them, be sure that all the combs are
spread at least two inches apart, as recom-
mended in Bee-moth. Now, whatever oth-
er precautions you take, you must look after
these empty combs occasionally. They are
very valuable, and must not be allowed to
be destroyed. A very good way to keep
them is to put them in empty Dovetailed
hives, piled one over the other. This keeps
them perfectly protected, and yet you can
quickly look them all over as often as once
a week at least, until they are used. But,
suppose they do get moldy, or full of worms,
what then ?


The directions so far given apply particu-
larly to localities that are subject to zero
weather at times, that have more or less of
snow, and, during the greater portion of the
year, a large amount of frost in the ground,
extending down perhaps two feet.

Where bees can fly almost every day in
the year, and for ten months in the year
can gather a little honey or pollen, outdoor
wintering in single-walled hives is recom-
mended. Double- walled hives would do no
harm, and might, during the coldest of the
weather, save a little brood ; but it is doubt-
ful whether the added expense for the extra
walls and packing will compensate for the

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possible slight loss of brood and bees during
a few cold days. While I would recommend
single hives for the southern portions of our
country, and for some parts of the West, I
would always urge that the same be located
in an inclosure of trees— a tight high board
fence, a hedge fence, or any thing in the
way of buildings that will afford a wind-
break against the prevailing winds. The es-
tablishing of windbreaks is one of the most
important requisites in either the northern
or southern portions of the country.

While it is no great trick to winter bees
in such localities as are found in Florida,
South Carolina, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia,
Alabama, Southern California, yet one must
be careful to see that his bees do not run out
of stores, as it seems to be a generally
acknowledged fact that bees wintered in
the South consume a much larger percent-
age of stores, according to the size of the
colony, than those in the North. Those in
cold climates are compelled to contract into
a very small ball for the purpose of concen-
trating the animal heat ; and while in that
condition they go into a sort of semi- dormant
state, during which they consume a compar-
atively small quantity of food . On the other
hand, bees in the South, especially in the
warmest portions, will have access to all
parts of the hive, will be rearing more or
less brood, and, as a consequence, when
natural flora does not secrete nectar they
will be liable to run short of stores, and
starve. To the Southlander let me urge
that the greatest danger is starvation, and
the next greatest is more or less of robbing
during a dearth of honey. Indeed, all things
considered, I believe Southern bees require
more watching than those of the North.

In localities like Virginia, Tennessee, and
other States lying in about the same lati-
tude, it might be advisable to use double-
walled hives; but we do know that the
majority of bee - keepers in that latitude
winter their bees successfully in single-
walled hives ; but I believe it is the general
practice to place on top of the hive a super
containing chaff, leaves, planer-shavings, or
some good warm packing-material ; then if
the colony is not very strong it is advisable
to place a chaff division-board on each side
of the cluster. In all cases the bees should
not be given a larger cubic capacity than
they can comfortably fill with bees spread
out as they usually are on a day when the
temperature is not below 70 F.

In Colorado it is customary to winter in
single-walled hives. A shallow cap or tray

containing an inch or so of packing is placed
on top of the hive. Very often, for further
protection, a sort of shed or roof, with its
back to the prevailing winds, is built over a
row of hives. The Colorado bee-keepers are
troubled some with sandstorms, and with
fierce piercing winds ; and while the tem-
perature may go down below zero, it is not
likely to remain so for more than a few
hours, when one extreme will be changed
for a temperature of 60 or 70 F., and the
bees flying. For such conditions double-
walled hives, and an excess of packing-
material, has been found to be not at all

In the foregoing pages, under the general
subject of Wintering we have spoken of
the quiescent state or sleep into which bees
go when the wintering conditions are ideal.
In this state there is a sort of semi-hiberna-
tion during which the bees seem merely to
exist. With no activity the consumption
of stores is very light. As the reader may
wish to pursue this subject a little further
we have thought best to take it up, as it may
help to solve some of the wintering prob-
lems, and, perhaps, possibly lead to some
good results from an economic point of view.

Hibernation was exploited about 20 years
ago, and it was generally decided, and right-
ly, too, that bees did not hibernate in the
ordinary sense of the term (see Armrican
Bee Joumul for 1885). But they do go into a
quiescent state when the temperature has
been lowered ; and this state is somewhat
analogous to the torpor experienced by some
animals in a state of true hibernation. A
hibernating animal enters into a sort of
sleep, diuring which no food is taken, and
respiration is considerably reduced. Dr.
Marshall Hall has stated that " respiration
is inversely as the degree of irritability of
the muscular fiber." If the respiration is
reduced without this irritability being in-
creased, death results from asi)hyxia.
Hibernation is usually induced by cold;
and the animal under its influence attains
nearly the temperatiure of the surrounding
atmosphere. But the hibernating animal
can not resist any amount of cold, although
its capacity for doing so varies according to
the animal. Some animals bury themselves
in holes, like snakes and frogs ; others, like
the bear, crawl under a pile of leaves and
brush where they are still further covered
with snow. Thus buried they will go all
winter without food or water ; but there is a
waste of tissue. Fish may be encased in ice

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and still live, it is said. A lively frog may
be dropped into a pail of water four or five
inches deep, and exposed to a freezing tem-
perature. Indeed, there may be a thin coat-
ing of ice formed over the animal. The
next morning, that frog, though stiff and
cold, can be warmed up into activity, but a
solid freezeup will kill the animal.

Flies, as is well known, will secrete them-
selves in window-frames and other hiding-
places, subject to cold atmosphere, for weeks
at a time, and yet on exposure to warmth
they will revive. As is well known, also.

The strange part of it was, that the queens
went on laying normally when put back in
the hives, instead of laying drone eggs as
we expected. Just what the temperature
to which these bees were subjected was I
can not say — probably something below 40
and something above 35, for the doors of the
refrigerator were frequently oi)ened, and the
ice was constantly melting.

During the past winter, when a cold snap
came on, the temperature going down to
zero, we i)ut out some cages of bees, expos-
ing them to the cold wind, which was then


ants have been repeatedly dug out of logs,
frozen solid — in fact, fairly enveloped in
frost ; yet on exposiure to warmth they will
come to. Some hibernators can endure a
freezing temperature, while others, like the
bear, woodchuck, and the like, can not.
Other very interesting incidents may be
taken from natural history; but the purpose
of this article is to consider whether bees go
into a quiescent state that approaches hi-
bernation, in which there is low respiration
and a small consumption of stores.

Two or three years ago we put a number
of cages of bees with some queens (laying
the cages down on cakes of ice) in a re-
frigerator. The bees were chilled to abso-
lute stiffness. Every day we would take out
a cage, and each time the bees would revive,
including the queen. This thing was con-
tinued for several days, and yet the bees
would " come to" each time.

blowing a pretty good gale, when the tem-
perature was 5 above zero. We had expected
that the bees possibly might be able to sur-
vive the shock for a number of hours, and
yet revive ; but 20 minutes of zero freezing
was sufficient to kill them outright. If we
had taken the bees and gradually acclimatiz-
ed them to the cold, first subjecting them to
40, then to 35, and gradually down to the
zero i)oint, they would possibly have with-
stood the shock better.

When the weather warmed ui) a little we
took several cages of bees and buried them
in the snow, leaving with them a thermom-
eter so that we might know the absolute
temj.erature. We went out and got a cage
of bees about every two or three hours, and
we found that we could revive them without
difficulty; but at the end of 24 hours the
bees, when they '' came to, " seemed some-
what the worse for the exj erience. The

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temperature in the snow played around the
32 mark. But the experiments conducted
during the sunmier would seem to show that
bees might stand a temperature of 38 for a
number of days.

We know it to be an absolute fact that the
bees on the outside of a ball or cluster, in
the case of an outdoor-wintered colony, will
often be chilled stiff while those inside will
have almost a blood temperature. It has
occurred to us that, during very severe
weather, the inside bees may be gradually
replaced by those within the cluster ; for we
know there is a constant movement of the
cluster. Experiments show that a bee that
has been starved will not stand as much cold
as one that is well filled. Bee-keepers who
have had any experience in wintering out-
doors know how repeatedly thay have taken
clusters of bees that seemed to be frozen
stiff, yet when warmed up before a good fire
would revive and appear as lively as ever.

In view of the experiments we have thus
far conducted, it would apjiear that bees
might be able to stand a temperature of 40,
or slightly below that, for a number of days;
that if a warm spell does not come within a
week, or perhaps less, those bees in their
chilled condition will starve to death. But
if it warms up, the cluster will unfold and
the bees will take food, when they will be
ready for another " freeze. ' ' The author has i

repeatedly seen clustei*8 of bees, after a pro-
longed zero spell, lasting a couple, of weeks,
that were stone dead; but the honey had
been eaten from all around them wiihin a
radius of an inch or more. If a zero spell
of weather continues more than a week or
ten days, we always find some of the weaker
colonies frozen to death in the spring.

There are a few interesting phenomena in
connection with chilled bees, their quiescent
sleep, their low respiration, their light con-
sumption of stores, that simulates a condi-
tion of semi hibernation. The bee in a
chilled condition can go only a few days
without food, while a bear, a true hibema-
tor, may go all winter. When the tempera-
ture of a bee-cellar goes up to 60 or 60 the
bees are active. Their resi)iration is normal.
They must have ventilation, or die in large
numbers. If we can maintain a tempera-
ture down to 45, with slight variation, there
is a state of sleep where the respiration is
very low, food consumption slight, and con-
sequently fresh air is not needed, or not more
than what will percolate through the walls
of the repository. • ..

There is i practical side to this matter;
for if we can induce semi-hibernation or
torpor we cut down the consumption of

keeping FOR Women.

X Y Z.

ZYXOOOFA. This is the scientific name
of the genus to which the carpenter bees be-
long. Of course they do not gather honey,
but we frequently receive large bees from
readers which they suppose are some giant
form of our own honey-bees. The largest
an4 finest looking bees in the world belong
to the genus Xylocopa, There are possibly
10,000 species of bees in the world, of which
only eight are regarded as Apis, The latter,
though small and humble-looking, occupies
the top of the class on account of its higher

TBUSiODir - DITOOB ( Virgilea 2Wea) .
This is an excellent honey-bearing tree quite
common in Virginia and adjacent States
It bears a profusion of white pea-shaped
blossoms in June which the bees eagerly

rifle for their sweets. It is one"of the hand-
somest and finest American trees for lawn
purposes, and grows readily over a large
territory. It is of moderate growth, with a
broad, rounded, compact head, making it an
excellent shade tree. It is closely related to
the elms.

ZHf O, Perforated. See Drones.

ZTOZA B&SVZrOUCA (Sargent) the
scientific name of huajilla (which see).
There are other zygias^ probably most of
them being equally useful honey-plants in
the southwest of this country and in north-
em Mexico. When the semi-arid regions of
the Southwest are more settled by thrifty
northern men we shall probably hear more
about this genus of trees. It is closely re-
lated to the Lngtcood genus.

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Doolittle's Review and Comments on the ABC Book

In 1880 we employed Mr. G. M. Doolittle
to go over the ABC book carefully, that
he might point out its faults and add such
suggestions as his large experience might
dictate. He did this ; and his remarks are
of so much value that we have added them
here. Where obvious errors were pointed
out, of course nothing remained but to cor-
rect them, and so these points need not be
given here. In the edition for 1891 we em-
ployed him to go over it all again. In some
cases I have answered his obi actions, but
generally he has either given his indorse-
ment or added some hint or fact not in
the body of the book. To these of course
we make no answer. The figures at the left
correspond to the small superior figures in-
terspersed here and there in the body of the
work. The figure at the right gives the
page from which the comment is taken,
and to facilitate reference to point at issue.
Where we differ the reply is put in brack-
ets, and signed either '' A. I. R." or " E. R."

8— page 1. Bees that work hard all day. In my
opinion, do not "parade" about the entrance at
nl^ht. This Is left for the goiards to do. These
gruards i>erform no duty except to look for intru-
ders, while they are sot apart for this work. These
ffuurds are of tlie age of from ^ to 30 days, accord-
ing to the belief of one who has scrutinized closely.

14— pagre 5. They wIU live 46 days, from three ex-

?>erlments I have tried. Again, under the most
avorable circumstances black or very poor hybrid
bees will live from the first of September till the
fourth of the next July. Augiist 9, J888, I intro-
duced an Italian queen to a colony of poorly marked
hybiid bees, and saw the first yellow bee hatched
Sept. I, although there were few yellow bees hatched
that fall. As tlie bees from this Italian queen were
very yellow, I took pride in showing them to many
who visited me the next year, so I kept more than
usual tnick of this colony. July 4, 1889, there were
at least lUOO hybrid bees in this colony; and as I had
no hybrid bees in the yard except those, they must
have been the same bees which were hatched the
August before.

15— page 6. Twice I have had drones live over the
winter, and that in hives which had good prolific i
queens. The season previous had been so prolific In
honey that the bees in a few hives seemed to have
no desire to kill ott the drones in the fall as is usual- •
ly done. The hum of these drones on warm days
during February and March was very pleasant to
hear, to say the least. When warm weather came
for good these old drones soon disappeared. From
this, and other facts which I will not take space to
relate here, I have an idea that drones will live
about as long as the workers under similar circum-
stances, unless their life is prematurely taken by
the workers.

19— page 11. Have you not made a mistake here
somewhere? During a heavy yield of honey, our
bees seem to be glad of a rest, and it takes at least
24 hours before our bees think of robbing, after a
full flow of honey. We have taken oflf honey after
a shower, as you speak of, when each bee was so
full of honey that, if soueezed a little, she would
throw the honey out on the tongue; and, if jammed
a little, the honey-sac (filled with honev) would
buist through the sides of the abdomen. After 24
hours has elapsed, or the season draws to a close,
we agree with all you say.

elapsed after the rain than what I have given, t
have noticed all you say, immediatelu after a very
heavy yield ; but so many others have spoken of hav*-
ing trouble in trvlng to extract, after a storm, that
1 can not but think my caution a wise one.— A. 1. R.

20— p. 15. I indorse all you say about being care-
ful about allowing bees to get a taste of honey
in times of scarcity, and know thal^ such '^ taste
often makes bees cross or angry: but bees are
often angered by some unavoidable accident,
when they will buzz about one's face for hours,
as you here describe. No matter what has caused
bees to follow any one about In this way, they
should at once be killed: for, according to my ex-
perience. If they are allowed to live they will
keep this up for weeks, or by spells as long as they
live, which nmkes them of little or no value as
honey^therers. Such bees are dangerous to have
arouna when friends come into the apiary, and for
this reason I always kill them, and so have no trou-
ble afterward till some mishap happens again. To
be always prepared for ^n emergency of this kind I
carry a little wooden paddle about with me in my
tool-box and seat, the center of which is composed
of wire cloth. This lets the air pass through the
paddle in striking at the bee, so it is a sure kill ev-
ery time; while If the paddle were made of whole
wood the air would often blow the bee to one side,
so that several efforts might be required before hit-
ling it.

28— p. 85. To this I say amen, after having tried
the matter only at a loss in every Instance.

31— p. 39, 41. During a period of 22 years I have nev-
er known basswood to fail to yield honey, the very
shortest season yielding three days, and the long^t
29. I place basswood at the head of all honey-pro-
ducing trees or plants as to yield. From it I once
obtained 66 lbs. in 8 days, from one hive. Taking the
world over, white clover may, as you say, vield
more honey than basswood; but no area or clover
can possibly yield the same amount of honey that
the same area of basswood will.

86— p. 48. Fou have not mentioned the begt way
to hunt bees; namely, that of going through the
woods on the first warm days of spring, while there
is still snow on the ground, and finding the " bee-
trees *' by listening for the humming of the bees on
their cleansing flight, and by seeing dead bees on
the snow, brought out In "house-cleaning." I once
found two In an hour In that way, and at another
time three in two hours and a half.

37— p. 53. Not till the millennium dawns; for
there always will be careless bee-keepers, and trees
In the woods where moths enough will be bred
to remind the most thoroueh apiarist that ihey
still exist. I don't believe that apiary exist •< In the
world, wherein a pile of combs can be thrown to-
gether In a pile during the summer season and not
have them soon become a moth-nursery.

40— p. 58. With me the Camiolans are breeders
out of season, like the Syrians: hence they are poor
honey-gatherers. This, together with the Imperfeo-
tions which you have named, has caused me to get
rid of them entirely.

42— p. 68. You do not mention water as being
mixed with the honey and pollen for food. If water
is not mixed with this food, why is It so eagerly
sought in sirring and summer, and not atlOl In
warm d.iys In October and November? Now, I
claim that many things point to water being one
element in this food.

49— p. 88. If 1 understand you correct'y here, you
and I do not agree stall. I never pulled the blos-
soms from a head of red clover yet, but that there
was honey in them. But I have frequently found
the corolla so long the bee could not touch the

[I hardly think I have made a mistake in the mat- honey. I think there is nothing in the world that
ter, friend D.; but^ very likely, more time had secretes as much honey, year after year, as red clo-

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ver ; still, it is of little use except to the bumble-bee.
All that is lacking is a bee with a tongue long-
enough to gather or reach the honey. Wlil e length
of tongue is lacking, the red clover blooms and se-
cretes honey mostly in vain, so far as we and the
honey-bee are concerned. Why I say " mostly," is
because 1 believe f ullv 1000 pounds are secreted to
where one is gathered by the honey-bee.

60— p. 90. While the name ** mammoth " would de-
note that this kind of clover should have a larger
flower than the otlier red clover, yet 1 find that the
corolla is really shorter than that of the snmll kind,
hence the beea work on it to much better advantage.
Nearly all the red-clover honey I have ever obtained
came from the mammoth.

67— p. 113. I say, put the empty super on top every
time. Just as much honey can be obtained in this
way, and vou are not likely to get caught with a lot
of unflnLshed sections at the end of the season. Aft-
er a paity has tiered up three or four cases high,
and found nothing but partly filled sections in any
of them at the end of the season, as I have known
In several cases, he will be likely to put the empty
cases on top for ever afterward.

[The majority of comb-honey producers will not
agree with you. There are of course extremes both
ways, and the golden mean is better.— B. U.]

114— p. 2^7. Just because anybodv and everybody
can raise plenty of hybrids themselves, if they have
an Italian to start with; but if they have a queen
producing hybrid workers, they soon have nothing
but blacks.

150.— p. 826. If I am correct, basswood yields no
pollen at all. Elm, beech, and poplar trees, as well
as sorrel, buttercup, etc., among plants, yield large
quantities of pollen, but no honey.

151-p. 886. To Dr. Miller's 338 1 would add : That
depends. With me. when the dandelion, hard ma-

Ele, wild grape, and sorrel, are in blossom, at least
alf the bees going into the hives have loads of
pollen, while in the basswood-honey harvest, not one
bee in 2G0 has any pollen in its pollen-baskets.

161— p. 844. No. It is the cocoon which the queen
spins tnat is *^ugh and leathery." The material of
which the cell is made is little if any more tough
than that of the ordinary worker-cell. But here Is
a strange thing which I do not know that 1 have
ever seen mentioned : The worker larva, when she
spins her cocoon, attaches It to the bottom and sides
of the cell, so that., at the point where she bites off the
covering to the cell, there is little If any of the co-
coon; vrnlle the queen-larva spins her cocoon right
the opposite, having the thickest part of the cocoon
right where she must bite her way out, the bottom of
the cell having no cocoon in It whatever. Now, wheth-
er this Is brought about for the purpose of making it
hard work for a rival queen to Dite through the cell
when she wishes to destroy the Inmate, or wbether
it is done so that the queen larva ciin still partake
of the royal Jelly while she is spinning her cocoon, I
do not know ; but I do know that the facts regard-

ing the position of the cocoons in the different cells
are as above stated.

182— p. 846. The flrsMiatched queen is entlironed
as ** ruler " of the colony, so she is in no way molest-

Online LibraryAmos Ives RootThe A B C and X Y Z of bee culture; → online text (page 75 of 80)