« AnteriorContinuar »
The returns of the yield of honey are very imperfect, as few bee-keepers have kept an account of the yield of their hives. The product of the past season has been less than usual. The late spring and frost, and the scorching heat of the summer, ruined the forage of the bees, and many colonies were unable to obtain honey sufficient for their winter supply, and, unless fed during the winter, will perish. This has been the case principally with the black bees. The Italians, notwithstanding the unfavorable season, were able to gather a supply of honey sufficient for themselves and to yield their owners a small surplus. The average yield of honey throughout the United States is 22.8 pounds per hive. The average price is twenty to twenty-five cents per pound. Honey for market purposes is generally stored in small boxes or supers, about five inches square. This brings the highest market price. The honeycomb taken from the common box live or “gum” is necessarily in a broken condition, and does not present to the purchaser so clean and inviting an appearance, and hence commands a lower price.
Twenty pounds of honey being required to make one pound of wax, the economy of saving and utilizing combs is rendered evident. In order to accomplish this saving, a honey-emptying machine has been invented, and has now been so simplified in its construction that it is within the reach of all. By this machine honey is emptied, by centrifugal motion, out of the combs, leaving them in a sound condition, so that they may be inserted again, and used for years in succession, thus effecting a great saving in the consumption of honey, and giving the market a purer article than when rendered by heat..
The reports upon the production of wax are still more imperfect than those on honey. The yield is principally derived from hives that are 6 brimstoned" in the fall, or from old combs that are unfit for use. The demand for wax is always greater than the supply, especially in regard to bleached wax, and it always commands a good price. Little or no attention has been given to this branch of agriculture.
The provident economy of the German makes this apparently trivial item yield a good return. The German apiarian never goes to his hives without having by him a small box or dish in which he carefully deposits every particle of wax, however small, which may be taken from the hives, and also all the droppings. Thus, at the end of the season, a considerable amount of wax has been saved, which in this country is not only wasted but permitted to lie about the apiary and become the breeding place of moths and a source of foul-brood. The bee-keepers of America should profit by this hint, and avert injury and loss. The average price is thirty cents per pound.
Nine-tenths of the bee-keepers of the United States pay no attention whatever to wintering their bees. The hives are permitted to remain on their summer stands, with the exception, perhaps, of a slight shed for a covering. They are thus exposed to all the variations of temperature and the inclemency of the weather. The result of this neglect is that many hives perish annually, and those that survive are so weakened that they are unable to recruit till the honey season is passed.
To make bee-hiving successful, it is necessary to have strong swarms early in spring. This result can be obtained only by careful and judicious wintering. The object sought in wintering bees is to maintain in the hive throughout the winter a uniform temperature, which will keep the bees in a continuous semi-dormant state. This uniformity of temperature is obtained in several different ways—by protecting the hives on their summer stands, or by removing them to rooms or places prepared for them. Hives may be protected on their summer stands
First. By plastering up all the cracks and openings, except the entrance, with mortar and surrounding the sides of the hives with straw. This can be done only with common boxes or gums.
Second. By placing the hives in a shed, closed on all sides except the front, where the covering extends to within three feet of the ground. A correspondent in Pennsylvania states that he has wintered successfully in this manner one hundred colonies.
Third. By surrounding the hive with a dead-air space, thus preventing outside influence. A frame of light boards is made to surmount the hive on its four sides, leaving an inch or more space between the hive and frame, which space is filled with some good non-conducting material, as sawdust, dry leaves, &c. The honey-board is removed and straw or corn-cobs placed on the combs beneath the car. This plan has been saccessfully adopted by a number of bee-keepers.
Some apiarians winter their bees with considerable success on their summer stands, by simply giving them thorough ventilation. Mr. John T. Rose, of Petersburg, Monroe county, Michigan, says in regard to this method : “I winter them on their summer stands, and seldom lose a swarm. I bore in the side of the frame hive an inch hole, three inches from the top, in the middle of the hive lengthwise, and worm an inchsquare stick through the combs for winter passages; make a frame the size of my hive, three inches deep, without top or bottom, remove the honey-board, and set the frame on the top of the hive, and fill it with dry corn-cobs; put on the cap, and they are safe."
The plan which has proved most successful and economical is that of wintering bees in a room or cellar prepared for the purpose. The apartment must be dark, dry, and of a low uniform temperature, not falling below 320 and never exceeding 400 Fahrenheit. Bees thus located consume one-third less honey and come out in the spring strong and healthy. Care must be taken to give the hive placed in cellars proper ventilation; otherwise the most disastrous results will ensue, the bees becoming restless, consuming honey, and leaving the hives, and thus perishing in the room. Mr. R. Dart, of Wisconsin, says: “My bees are wintered in a dry cellar, thirty-two by thirty-six feet, holding one hundred swarms. I carry them into tho cellar the first of December and bring them out during the month of March, on warm, sunny days. I pack them closely on benches in the cellar, leaving the box and working-holes open, and see that all the swarms have honey enough to support them until taken back to their summer stands. I visit them but once a month, and see that they are not disturbed. When breeding commences, the last of February, I change the air in the cellar every night. By this management I do not lose a single swarm through the winter. Many of my swarms did not consume six pounds of honey while in the cellare last winter." Bees wintered on their summer stands will consume through the winter thirty pounds of honey, while those wintered in cellars will consume but little over six pounds per hive, thus effecting a saving of twenty-four pounds to the hive, giving, in an apiary of one hundred colonies, 2,400 pounds of honey, which, at twenty cents per pound, would amount to $180, a sum suffi. cient to pay for the building.
North of forty degrees of latitude it is necessary to give winter protection, if bees are to be kept with profit. The cellar or root-house can generally be used for storing the colonies. Henry C. Blynn, Columbia County, New York, states that he is building a wintering house, with triple walls all around, filled with straw and sawdust, the whole two feet thick, and then clapboarded on the outside of the studding. The greatest attention is paid to wintering bees in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota, where they could not be kept without protection, except at continual less. It is to be hoped that the bee-keepers will begin to pay more attention to this important subject. It would annually effect a saving of thousands of pounds of honey.
In the South the winters are so mild that the bees need little or no protection during that season. They need, however, protection in the summer from the hot rays of the sun. This is accomplished by placing the hires under sheds or large trees. The greatest attention should also be given to ventilation, in order to prevent the heat from melting the combs.
Rev. J. V. Allison, of Ogle County, Illinois, writing in reference to burying bees, says: “This season a neighbor, who keeps no bees, told me that, when living with his father, some twenty years since, he and his brothers were going to take up a stock late in the fall; as an experiment, they drummed the bees out into an empty hive, and with them clustered in the top, buried the hive in the ground so deep that there were six inches of dirt over the top of it, and they left it thus buried till the following April. When brought out of their winter quarters the bees, he said, were alive, and, after warming up, flew freely: but having nothing to eat, and not being fed, they died in the course of three days." Can this be true? We give it as a singular case.
The returns show that this contagious disease is not extensively prev. alent in the United States. It has, however, made its appearance in various portions of many States: in Floyd County, Georgia; Fayette and Hancock Counties, Illinois; Anne Arundel County, Maryland; Winona and Wright Counties, Minnesota; Clark County, Missouri; Iredell, Caldwell, Columbia, Currituck, and Herford Counties, North Carolina; New York, Schenectady, and Montgomery Counties, New York; Cumberland, Jefferson, Luzerne, Washington, and Warren Counties, Pennsylvania; Richland County, South Carolina; Milwaukee and Walworth Counties, and Sullivan Township, Wisconsin; and Hartford County, Connecticut.
Putrid foul-brood is a disease which attacks the young brood of the bive, showing itself fully after the larvæ have been sealed up. It may be known by the viscous, gelatinous, and yeast-like appearance of the decomposing brood, the unpleasant odor arising from the hive, and by the sunken covers of the cells. The cause of foul-brood has been, until recently, involved in doubt, but late discoveries in Germany have thrown much light upon its origin. Mr. Lamprecht alleges that he has discovered the cause of the disease. His theory is this: “The chyme, which the workers prepare from honey and pollen by partial digestion, and with which the larvæ are fed, contains a nitrogenous, plastic, formatiré substance, from which all the organs and tissues of the larvæ are derived and composed * * ; and precisely because of this its complicated composition it is peculiarly susceptible of rapid decomposition when exposed to air and moisture; that is, to undergo fermentation and putrefaction. It is hence obvious that pollen, even though having undergone ruly a partial decomposition, must affect the bodies of bees and larvæ
differently from what it did or would do in its natural condition; and there is no longer a doubt that it is from pollen, thus partially decomposed, that the foul-brood originates. That it can readily undergo decomposition is manifest. Moisture, emanating in part from unsealed honey, and in part from the perspiration of the bees, becomes condensed in the live from external cold, and in the fall and toward spring it is frequently found hanging in drops on the combs, just as we find it condensed on the windows of our dwelling-houses. If one of these drops falls into a cell containing pollen, decomposition of the latter speedily commences, and is then communicated by the bees to the pollen in the other cells; and the cause of foul-brood is hence abundantly present in a hive thus circumstanced.”
The discovery of Dr. Preuss, an eminent physician and mycologist, is that a microscopic fungus, Cryptococcus alvearis, developed from fermenting matter, feeds upon the young larvæ, and thus causes foul-brood; and that by means of the numerous sporules of the fungus, the disease is spread through the hive, and finally through the apiary. To show the character of this microscopic pest we quote the following from the article of Dr. Preuss, published in the Bienenzeitung, and translated by Mr. T. W. Woodbury:
“The foul-brood fungus, which I have named Cryptococcus alvearis, belongs to the smallest of the fungoid forms. It is round and dustshaped, and has a diameter of do millimeter, or 105 line; consequently 1,095 can lie side by side within a Rhenish line, but within a square line, 1,095 x 1,095, that is, 1,199,825, or, in round numbers, 1,200,000. The cubic line, according to this, would contain 1,440,000,000,000 fungi, and a cubic inch of foul-brood, which consists of 1728 lines, would contain 2,488,320,000,000,000. If we reckon, further, that a cubic inch of comb contains 50 cells, the contents of each would be 49,766,400,000,000; in round numbers, fifty billions; or, deducting one-fifth for wax, forty billions of fungi."
There is no cure for this disease when it has once obtained headway. Destruction of the bees and honey and thorough purification of the hive is the only remedy to prevent the spread of the disease. As a means of preventing the disease, Dr. Preuss gives the following directions: Feed no fermenting honey; feed no meal, especially when the hive is threatened with disease; destroy carefully every particle of dead and moldering matter; and avoid weakening bees during the brooding seasons, so that they will not be able properly to maintain the heat necessary for the development of the brood.
With the light now thrown upon the nature of this disease by these recent discoveries, bee-keepers may be able to conquer the contagious malady whenever it makes its appearance.
THE DISEASE OF 1868.
During the past season a disease suddenly appeared in Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee, sweeping away whole apiaries. So quiet were its operations that the bee-keepers became aware of its existence only by the disappearance of their bees. The hives were left, in most cases, full of honey, but with no brcod and little pollen ; the whole appearance of the hive causing the casual observer to suppose that the bees had “emigrated;" but close observation showed that they had died. We give a number of accounts from various correspondents, principally from Indiana and Kentucky, where this disease first raged.
Jesse R. Newson, Bartholomew County, Indiana, says: “With an
experience of twenty-five years, I have not seen so disastrous results among bees as in the present year. We generally feel that all is well with our bees, if they have succeeded well in laying up a winter supply of food. I have lost nineteen stands since the first of November; in some of them as many as forty pounds of honey were left, looking very pice, and tasting as well as any I ever saw; no sign of moth or anything wrong that I could see. The bees seem to die without a cause. The stand twenty years old is yet living. We find in nearly every stand plenty of food, but what ails the bees? What the remedy? If something is not done to stop this fatality, this pleasing and useful pastime will be taken from us, and our tables will be robbed of honey."
A. Leslie, Pike County, Indiana, says: “Nearly all our bees have died in this county, perishing mostly in November, supposed to be for want of bee-bread."
S. G. Bates, Boone County, says: “The mortality among the bees this winter cannot be accounted for, since they have plenty of food. Out of twelve hives I this day took three hundred pounds of honey; not a young bee to be found; the comb clear and healthy. My opinion is, that the queen, from some reason, not having deposited eggs, is the cause of their death."
T. J. Connett, of Austin, Scott County, Indiana, says: “There is a disease prevailing to an alarming extent among our bees this fall that is entirely new, nobody being able to find any cause or remedy. Old and substantial swarms die, leaving the hive full of honey and bee-bread. Full three-fourths of the swarms are dead, as far as I have heard from them."
J. N. Webb, Newcastle, Henry County, Kentucky, says: “There were no swarms last spring, so far as is known. The bees, however, continued to work and lay up their stores until some time in August, or early in September, when, to the consternation and utter surprise of the beeraiser, they were all found to have died. Many swarms left well-stored stands of excellent honey, amply sufficient to carry them through the winter; and what is more strange, comparatively few of the bees were found dead at the hives. What was the cause of the wholesale destruction of this useful and interesting insect, dying in the midst of plenty, away from its hive, we cannot understand. Up to the time when the discovery was made, no frosts had come, no atmospheric change had taken place, out of the ordinary course, and in fact nothing to which it may have been rationally attributed.”
T. Hullman, jr., of Terre Haute, Indiana, writes as follows: “In September last, when the first cold weather set in, my bees began to die. First, I found in one of my best stands, with all the frames full of sealed honey, and some honey in boxes, the bees all dead. After that the bees began to die in all my stands, mostly pure Italians, and some hybrids. First, about one-third of the bees would be found dead; next, I would find the queen lying dead before the hive; and in about a week more, the whole colony would be found dead in and around the hive. Sometimes the queen would live with a handful of bees. The hives were full of honey, gathered the latter part of the season; and the smallest had enough for the bees to winter upon. In this way I have lost forty stands, and have now only fifteen skeleton colonies, which I think will also perish before spring. At first I thought I was the only victim, but I have ascertained that all the bees in this neighborhood have died, and as far as thirty miles north and eighteen south. Yesterday I saw a letter from Kentucky, from a man who thought his bees had stampeded in the same manner as mine, to the hive of mother-earth. Some colonies had broods,