Apicultura Wiki

Corresponding Secretary of the California State Agricultural Society.
Embellished with Eighty Illustrations




Frontispiece BEE TREE.
  • PLATE I, p. 47, fig. 1. Represents the Queen, life size, and fig. 2,magnified.
  • PLATE I, p. 47, fig. 3. Drone, life size, and fig. 4, magnified. fig. 5. Worker, life size, and fig. 6, magnified. fig. 7. Anatomical view of Worker. fig, 8. Worker magnified, showing wax exuding from the rings of the belly.
  • PLATE I, p. 47, fig. 9. Legs of Worker loaded with Pollen. fig. 10. Section of Brood Comb.
  • PLATE II, p. 64, fig. 11. Section of Comb containing Broodof Dronelaying Queen.
  • PLATE III, p. 77, fig. 12. Section of Comb containing Brood of Fertile Worker.
  • PLATE IV, p. 110, fig. 13. Bee-moths, or Millers.
  • PLATE V,^>. 112, fig. 14. Worm Gallery on surface of Brood Comb. fig. 15. Worm Gallery, separate.
  • PLATE VI, p. 112, fig, 16. Worms at different stages of growth. fig. 17. Pupa and Cocoon of Moth. tig. 18. A mass of Cocoons.
  • PLATE VII, p. 135, fig. 19, Vertical section of Straw Hive, with Combs.
  • PLATE VII, p. 135, fig. 20. Cross Section of Straw Hive with Combs.
  • PLATE VIII, p, 137, fig. 21. Cross Section of Square Box, with Combs.
  • PLATE IX, p. 145, fig', 22. Frame of Huber Hive. fig. 2& HuberHive,
  • PLATE X, p. 146, fig. 24. Be*van' Bee Be*, fig. 25. Sevan's1 Bee Box storing
  • PLATE XI, p. 147, fig. 26. Munn Hive.
  • PLATE XII, p. 149, fig. 27. Langstroth Hive.
  • PLATE XIII, p. 150, fig. 28. Front view of California Hive*'/
  • PLATE XIV, p. 151, fig. 29. Rear view of California Hive.
  • PLATE XV, p. 152, fig. 30. Side Section view of California Hive.
  • PLATE XVI, p. 152, fig. 31. Stile or side of Hive, separate.
  • PLATE XVII, p. 153, fig. 32. Front Board of Hive, separate. fig. 33. Sill of Hive, separate.
  • PLATE XVIII, p. 153, fig. 34. Parts composing Comb Frame.
  • PLATE XIX, p. 153, fig. 35. Gauge for nailing the Comb Frames together.
  • PLATE XX, p. 154, fig. 36. Comb Frame. fig. 37. Parts composing Section of Honey-box.
  • PLATE XXI, p. 154, fig. 38. Gauge for nailing the Section of Honeybox together.
  • PLATE XXII, p. 155, fig. 39. Section Honey-box and Section. fig. 40. Chamber Floor. By using canvas or paste-board for this purpose instead of wood, less animal heat would be absorbed, and larger honey-boxes can be used if desired.
  • PLATE XXIII, p. 16, fig. 41. Front view of Improved Chamber Hive.
  • PLATE XXIV, p. 156, fig. 42. -Side view of Improved Chamber Hive.
  • PLATE XXV, p. 156, fig. 43. -JJear view of Improved Chamber Hive.
  • PLATE XXVI, p. 156, fig. 44. Chamber Floor of improved Chamber Hive.
  • PLATE XXVI, p. 156, fig. 45. Honey-box.
  • PLATE XXVII, p. 157, fig. 46. Storifying Hive.
  • PLATE XXVIII, p. 183, fig. 47. Bee Shade. Washing
  • PLATE XXIX, p. 185, fig. 48. Roll of Cotton Stuff on fire, the smoke of which is used to conquer Bees.
  • PLATE XXIX, p. 185, fig. 49. Wing. fig. 50. Pocket Knife. fig. 51. Carving Knife. fig. 52. Queen Cage. fig. 53. Tool used for cutting Comb, etc. fig. 54. Tool used for cutting Comb, etc.
  • PLATE XXX, p. 199, fig. 55. Hive with Collateral Honey Box and Ventilating Block separate.
  • PLATE XXXI, p. 239, fig. 56. Swarms of Bees.
  • PLATE XXXII, p. 248, fig. 57. Swarm Net aflixed to Hive to catch a Swarm.
  • PLATE XXXIII, p. 249, fig. 58. Hiving Swarm from the Net.
  • PLATE XXXIV, p. 264, fig. 59. Queen Nursery.
  • PLATE XXXV, p. 266, fig. 60. Queen Nursery with Queen Cells complete.
  • PLATE XXXVI, p. 267, fig. 61. Section of Comb with Queen Cells as built on side of Worker Comb.
  • PLATE XXXVI, p. 267, fig. 62. Queen Cell as built on edge of Comb.
  • PLATE XXXVII, p. 268, fig. 63. Queen Cell as destroyed by Queen. fig. 64. Queen Cell, separate.
  • PLATE XXXVIII, p. 268, fig. 65. Comb with Queen inserted.
  • PLATE XXXIX, p. 269, fig. 66. Hive from which a Colony has been separated.
  • PLATE XL, p. 270, fig. 67. Hive containing Colony.
  • PLATE XLI, p. 270, fig. 68. Comb containing Mature Brood, also Queen Cell inserted.
  • PLATE XLII, p. 293, fig. 69. Driving Bees from Hive. fig. 70. Transferring Comb.
  • PLATE XLIII, p. 294, fig. 71. Fitting Comb to Frame. fig. 72. Frame for receiving Comb.
  • PLATE XLIV, p. 306, fig. 73. Feed Box.
  • PLATE XLV, p. 381, fig. 74. Italian Queen. fig. 75. Italian Drone.
  • PLATE XLVI, p. 401, fig. 78. Nest of Stingless Honey Bees.
  • PLATE XLVII, p. 413, fig. 79. Fumigator." "fig. 80. Wire Cylinder." " fig. 81. Roll of Cotton Stuff prepared for burning in Fumigator.


THE following treatise is not designed to supersede or supplant the numerous and valuable works upon the same subject which have already been given to the public ; but, like each of them, to add something to the stock of general knowledge, and illustrate and enforce some particular points in the important science of Bee-Keeping. It has been the endeavor of the author, as far as possible, to shun all theorizing, and confine himself to a practical application of those scientific principles which experience has taught him to be the true basis of success in all laudable undertakings.

The following pages are the result of the author's personal attention to the Apiary in all its details, through a period of nearly twenty years, during which time he has spared neither time, labor nor money to supply himself with all the published writings, and a knowledge of all the practical facts pertaining to the culture of the Honey Bee. Wherefore, he hopes that his book may be received as it is intended as a reliable directory for those who wish to learn the science of Bee-Keeping, or the daily,' practical workings of the Apiary. He claims no literary merit for the work ; strictures, therefore, upon this department, can inure to the benefit of the author in but avery limited degree ; but npoe the subject matter of the work he invites the most thorough criticism.

Having been compelled to write in the midst of other absorbing labors, freedom from errors cannot be anticipated ; if, however, one of these errors should be found in a failure to give due credit to authors whose works have assisted me, I beg pardon in advance ; for I have, in all cases, intended to give such credit ; and in this connection, my sincere thanks are due to the authors of " The Honey Bee," by Betao, Quimby's "Mysteries of Bee-Keeping Explained," Langstroth's " Hive and Honey Bee," Jaeger's " Life of North American Insects," and many individuals of practical experience, for facts and information ; in the latter connection, I am especially indebted to 0. C. WHEELER, Corresponding Secretary of the California State Agricultural Society.

Hoping that the reader may find as much profit in the perusal, as the author has in the preparation of the work, it is cordially submitted to a generous public, by J. S. HARBISON.



In the absence of historical data concerning' the origin and history of the noney bee, we are compelled to rely upon well known collateral facts, and the inevitable deductions of analogy ; yet these often Constitute evidence as strong, and produce convictions as clear as the most direct and positive testimony. Should we assume that this most useful and exemplary insect was among the "Living Creatures 11 made by Deity prior to the creation of man, the following arguments come to our support, unbidden as sidereal luminaries to the relief of night clear as a vernal stream, leaping from its snowy source, down the mountain's side resistless as the ocean's swelling surges:

1st, Otter .classes of creatures, not as important to the supply of human wants, and the .early interests of man, were certainly among the labors of the original " six days."

2d. The fact just stated, aside from their excellence, per se, proves that this insect was of sufficient importance to have been one of the very early subjects of creative genius and power.

3d. Man's primeval state very strongly called for perhaps absolutely demanded just such an article as the honey bee would produce.

4th. To have neglected to provide a creature so easy of production, so important in the scale of being, and above all, so very essential to the comfort of man, " for whom all things were made," would have been totally discordant with the well known principles of universal Divine benevolence.

5th. History testifies positively to the existence and working of the bee, within a comparatively short time after the general creation.

6th. History neither records, mentions or makes the remotest allusion to any subsequent act of creation, either of this or any other creature, save woman the "better half" of man himself.

7th. Both the laws of physiology and the principles of analogy forbid the conjecture that it may be a hybrid race, resulting from the intercommunication of some two other preceding species.

8th. There was no law, physical, moral or divine, to interfere with or to preclude such a creation, among the labors of that great fundamental " week"

9th. Since we know that the Creator did prepare a garden with blooming flowers and ripening fruit, for the sustenance and the pleasure of man, to which He introduced him on the very morning of his creation ; and since honey was so important to man's comfort and happiness, we have not only no reason to doubt, but the strongest possible reasons for believing that He also provided this fundamental saccharinum, prepared in nature's own refinery and that our first parents actually found "honey and the honey-comb" in the garden, among " the good thing's of God," which everywhere greeted their first morning stroll through the avenues of Paradise.

It is certain that no song of birds in Eden's bower could surpass the mellifluous hum of the bee ; no sportive gambol, circling flight, or sudden dart, or graceful curve of sparrow OB the wing, could equal the grace and beauty, the action and the science of her aerial sports or daily duties; nor could the combined aroma and symmetrical form of the thousand paradisian flowers compare with the sweetness of her honey, and the garniture of her store-house. Hence, no portion of the garden, which Adam was directed to "keep and dress," could have presented greater attractions to his attention, or stronger claims upon his care and protection.

Sugar, separated from its source, and prepared for tise by the hand of man, is of recent origin ; but honey " was of old," among the first of good things, among the best of first things the one, a creation of God ; the other, an invention of man the one had entire dominion for thousands of years ; the other has enjoyed partial sway in very modern times.

Nor was this busy collector of nature's sweetest products left, like many of the other classes of unintelligent creatures, towithstand the changes of a precarious world alone. Man came to her early protection from danger, and her aid in toil ; he built her a house to exclude the cold, break the winds and shelter from the storm. Thus, her divinely appointed protector became at once her patron and a pensioner upon her bounty. Man's early companion and blessing, she repaid his care by soothing the sorrow of his apostacy, sweetening the cup of his bitterest woe, and restoring the vigor of his toil-worn frame.

In view of her relations to human weal, she was furnisheda niche in the house of Noah and his family, during the three hundred and seventy days' voyage from the former to the latter world ; and was, during this protracted confinement, the object of as anxious daily care as the most^delicate or superb animal intrusted to the keeping of the patriarch of the deluge.

Nor did she fail, under the fostering care of her protector after the flood, to fulfill the divine behest, " multiply and replenish the earth ;" for we find, at an early subsequent day long before the captivity in Egypt that honey was considered not only an important article of commerce, but one of the " best fruits of the land,"[1] and fit to be made an offering to a king, whose favor might be life whose frown must be death.

This plenteousness is more than asserted; it is illustrated when the sacred penmanf associates it with " milk," and " butter," and "fat of lambs," and " wine ;" and also whenj as dropping like rain, lying upon the ground in the comb. Another, with the pen of inspiration^ makes it as common as " flour," and " oil," and " bread ;" and another, still,|| connects it with "locusts," which were frequently so plenty as to eat up "every green thing," and when in flight to obscure the light of a noon-day sun ; while the oft-repeated expression of various contributors to the sacred volume is, that the land of Canaan "flowed with milk and honey."

Divine wisdom has also brought to view the power and importance of the honey bee, by a variety of strongly expressive allusions. In one place [2] it is said, " They compassed me about like bees ;" and in another,ff " The Amorites * * * came out against you, and chased you as bees do, and destroyed you."

Honey was also considered a great delicacy. Was a king to give a sumptuous repast, or a queen invited to a special banquet ? was an exhausted soldier to be revived, or an invalid prince to be nourished ? honey was an universal accompaniment of the most nutritive and costly articles of harmless diet.

As far back as human records extend ; in as free and full expressions as human pen can give, testimony to the culture, the importance, and the value of the honey bee is universal and abundant. On every page of history we meet her name ; in every volume of political economy or domestic industry her diligence is the motto ; in the sweetest strains of Parnassus, her cheerful " hum " is the key-note everywhere, and at all times, her products have "lightened" the darkest hours of grief and sweetened the bitterest cups of human woe ; while her industry has both urged and inspired man to higher aims and nobler achievements.

So work the honey bees,

Creatures that, by a rule hi nature, teach

The art of order to a peopled kingdom,"

that philosophers have embellished their most brilliant attainments by the hues of her character, statesmen have given strength to empire by copying her colonial system, and warriors have become conquerors by emulating her courage.

While the ancients studied assiduously, and wrote voluminously upon the natural history of the honey bee, yet it is a strange fact, that after the first simple hive a home with one room, perhaps first used by the father of our race to convey a swarm with him to the wilderness when expelled from Paradise thousands of years passed without any known effort to improve the comforts of her house, or the facilities for economy in her products, by multiplying the number of apartments and introducing a system of ventilation.

Little as is now generally known of the economy of beekeeping, writers upon the subject have been far more numerous than on almost any kindred topic.

Democritus, who wrote upon this theme four hundred years B. C., had already been preceded by more than five hundred authors on bees and bee-keeping, among whom are several not unknown to fame in the world of letters. Those have been succeeded by a constellation of illuminating brilliants in each succeeding age ; generally teaching without first having learned, and always failing, in a greater or less degree, to afford reliable information and clear illustration to the reader and the learner. In tracing this line of authors on this subject for three thousand years, we find the names of Aristomachus, who made bees their character and habits his study for fifty-eight years ; Philistratus, who became so absorbed in the study that he retired to the wilderness and desert, and spent near a score of years in learning their nature and instincts, when untrammeled by man ; Aristotle, whose writings show the most perfect familiarity with the details of the apiary in his day ; Columella, who tells us that the Greeks were the first to turn the products of the bee to commercial account, and that the idea originated on Mt. Hymettus, after the return of Cecrops from Egypt to Attica ; Ceci, President of the Roman Academy of Sciences ; Madam Merian, who beautifully illustrates the metamorphosis of the insects ; Maraldi, who, in 1712, invented the glass hive, thus preparing the way for the experiments of Reaumer, Hunter, Schirach and Huber. There are also the names of Solin, Menus, John of Lebanon, Misland, Aristeus, Galen, Yarro, Aldrovandus, Yirgil, Monfet, Pliny, Boer, Wildman, Nutt, Cotton, Briggs, Bay, Willoughby, Liste, Butler, Purchass, Warder, White, Thorley, Keys and Bonner, (not given in chronological order, but as they occur to the mind at the moment of writing) and an almost endless host of others.

These writings are, at the present day, mostly unextant ; but were not unfrequently as grossly in error as Yirgil was when, in his Georgics, he favored the idea previously advanced, that bees originated in the putrid bodies of deceased animals an opinion, perhaps, traceable to the fact that a swarm was once found in the carcass of a dead lion.

In 1646, De Montfet published a treatise entitled "THE PORTRAIT OF THE HONEY FLY ITS YIRTUES, FORM, AND INSTRUCTIONS How TO REAP ADVANTAGES FROM THEM." Three years later, there was printed, at Antwerp, another work, under the title, "THE SPRING OF THE HONEY FLY, DIVIDED INTO Two PARTS, IN WHICH WILL BE FOUND A CURIOUS, TRUE AND NEW HISTORY OF THE ADMIRABLE AND NATURAL CONDUCT OF THE BEE, DRAWN SOLELY FROM THE HAND OF EXPERIENCE." But it was a century and a half later before Maraldi, Reaumer and Swammerdam, by their dissections and experiments, gave to the world the first true light upon the natural history of the honey bee.

They discovered the sex of bees ; and Schirach the fact that a queen can be raised by the workers, from a common egg, by constructing a peculiar cell and supplying appropriate food to the young larvae ; while Reims discovered the " fertile worker ;" all of whom were followed by that most wonderful experience.


  1. Gen. 43: 11. † Deut. 32 : 13, 14. ‡1 Sam. 14 : 25-30. Ezek. 16 : 13, 19. II Matt. 3: 4.
  2. Ps.ll8: 12. †† Deut. 1: 44.