Apicultura Wiki




WHERE nature makes the hive, bees are known to thrive in a remarkable degree. On examining the hollow of a tree, such as bees select for their residence, we find it almost invariably deep from top to bottom, in proportion to its width, varying in diameter from ten to fifteen inches, while the height varies from two to five, or more feet. The space at the top commences in a point, and gradually widens downwards till the largest diameter is reached ; this is then continued for some distance, and not unfrequently terminated in a point like the top. The entrance is through a hole caused by the rotting of a limb, or by the bill of the woodpecker. From three to eight gallons of honey are usually obtained from a single bee-tree, indicating a capacity varying from two thousand to four thousand cubic inches. There are instances where as high as fifteen gallons have been obtained, but they are rare ; double this amount has been frequently reported as found, but in the absence of proof I will not vouch for its correctness.

That so large a quantity of honey as is sometimes found, should ever be stored by a single swarm, and succeeding generations, within the, same habitation, seems at first sight to be in direct opposition to the known law of the honey bee, viz : that but one queen is ever tolerated in a hive, and consequently there being a limit to the number of workers in each. It is however only in a habitation shaped as we find it in a hollow tree that such large accumulations of honey are ever made ; the reason is plain. A swarm of bees when clustered in their hive, whether it is full of comb or not, will always assume a globular form, or as nearly so as the shape of their habitation will allow ; this holds good as well while in their winter cluster as when building combs ; consequently if the diameter of a cluster is equal to that of their habitation, they are then able not only to better regulate and economise their native heat, but to exclude and guard against the intrusion of enemies. Commencing to build combs at the top of the cavity as they invariably do, they work them downwards, and as fast as any portion is sufficiently advanced, it is immediately occupied either with brood or stores.

As each generation of brood emerges from the comb, a portion of the vacancies are reoccupied with stores. Thus, the process of building and filling is continued through each succeeding season of flowers. The bees preferring always to cluster amidst and embracing the lower portions of their combs, they are in a position to guard their accumulated stores without any bees clustering on the upper portion of them. Thus an amount of honey is frequently accumulated that is utterly impossible to be made in a habitation of large diameter, whether it is deep from top to bottom or low and shallow. It is true, that a habitation like the hollow tree, laid on its side, would in some measure compensate for height ; but the increased bottom surface, always difficult to clean, will, wherever moths abound, eventually preclude their use. Low, shallow hives, which compel the cluster of bees to be flattened, thwart their instinct, and cause a waste of animal heat which often retards their progress and increases the mortality. Another advantage possessed by the tree is the lining, composed of dry, decayed wood, which is a non-conductor; this is surrounded by a wall of green wood, covered with bark, under which the life-giving sap flows ; such a combination insures an evenness of temperature not attainable by art. " No heat can ever injure the texture of the comb, neither are the bees liable to be caught in a position to starve while plenty of food remains in the hive, as is frequently the case in the States where cold winters prevail, and the hives are made low and flat.


Is made by cutting the trunk of a hollow tree in lengths, usually two or three feet long, after removing the rotten wood, either by burning or the use of a gouge ; a piece o board is nailed on one end, holes are bored through the middle, and sticks inserted to sustain the combs while being built ; notches are cut in the lower edge, and -an inch hole bored midway to the top for egress and ingress. After a swarm is hived, it is either set on a board or stand, and generally suffered to remain without further attention till fall. A plan frequently adopted to obtain honey is to remove the lid, smoke the bees downward, and cut out a quantity of honey ; if too much is taken, the bees die of starvation during the winter. The most common plan, however, is to consign the whole swarm to the sulphur pit, and take all their stores. The latter method is also mostly used to obtain the honey from straw hives. The use of the gum has generally been attended with good success, which is attributable to its shape ; many eminent apiarists bear testimony to the superiority of deep hives over those that are low and of large diameter Mr. Langstroth amongst the number but while he candidly admits this superiority, as is shown by the following quotation from his valuable work on the honey bee, yet he willingly sacrifices it for what he seems to think of more importance, viz : a wider top surface in which to place store honey boxes. Whether this is an absolute gain at any time, or will hold good in a majority of cases, remains unsettled in the minds of most beekeepers. The only plan will be for each one to determine for himself, and practice accordingly. " A hive tall in proportion to its other dimensions, has some obvious advantages ; for as bees are disposed to carry their stores as far as possible from the entrance, they will fill its upper part with honey, using the lower part mainly for brood, thus escaping the danger of being caught in cold weather, among empty ranges of comb, while they still have honey unconsumed. If the top of this hive, like that of an old fashioned churn, is made (on the Polish plan) considerably smaller than the bottom, it will be better adapted to a cold climate, besides being more secure against high winds. Such a hive is deficient in top surface for the storing of honey in boxes, and it would be impossible to use frames in it to any advantage ; but, to those who prefer to keep bees on the old plan, one of this shape, made to hold not less than a bushel and a half, is decidedly the best." Mr. Quinby recommends to make hives, " say, twelve inches square inside, by fourteen deep. I prefer this shape to any other, yet it is not all-important. I have had some ten inches square by twenty in length ; they were awkward looking, but that was all ; I could discover no difference in their prosperity. .Also, I have had them twelve inches deep by thirteen square, with the same result. Hence, if we avoid extremes, and give the required room, the shape can make but little difference."

Although he (Quinby) says " the shape can make but little difference," yet he directs a particular size and shape as preferable ; he also practices as he teaches, which says more than the mere utterance of theory. The attention of English apiarists has lately been drawn to the bee practice of those countries, (Russia, &c.) by the work of a Pole, which issued fromthe press not a year ago. Mr. Dobiogost describes the hive of his country as being three and a half to five feet in height, about eight inches in diameter at top, increasing downwards gradually to twenty inches or more at bottom, all inside measure ! This is indeed a large hive. It is a fact, however, that such are the dimensions of the hives commonly in use in Poland ; and it is also a fact, that large as they are, they yet contrive to swarm with as much regularity as the hives in use among us, while the parent stock remains vigorous, notwithstanding, for many years together. Mr. Dobiogost assures us that an apiary containing a hundred stocks of this size, will throw off about one hundred and fifty swarms every spring, each of such formidable power that it resembles a small cloud when hovering in the air. It seems to us almost incredible that hives of such dimensions should throw any swarms at all. In opposition to the general belief among us, the author seems to attribute this circumstance to the fact that, on the first establishment of these stocks, four times as many bees are put into them as we are in the habit of hiving together."[1]


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.


Have been used from a very remote period, and with less change of style than any other agricultural implement. They are still extensively used in many parts of Europe ; but in the United States they are fast passing away, being supplanted by those made of wood. Plate vn, fig. 19, shows a straw hivef full of comb, cut through the center from top to bottom, at right angles with the comb, the edge only being seen. They are shown to be straight and .of remarkably even thickness. The cause of this regularity is at once apparent : commencing to construct comb at the top of the hive, where a space only large enough for the foundation of two combs exists,J they extend them downwards, and as the space widens, the foundations of other combs are laid at each side, and all are carried down uniformly. Thus, straw hives as well as the cavities of trees, terminating in a cone, are found to have remarkably uniform comb, there being but a slight curvature near the edges. Plate vn, fig. 20 represents a cross section of the above straw hive. As the combs extend downwards, the cells near the edge of each are lengthened and filled with honey. This causes the adjoining comb to diverge from a straight line. The cells at the edge of this comb are lengthened in like manner, causing the third comb to diverge still farther but without lessening the breeding capacity. Thus it will be seen that the bees invariably diverge their combs from a straight line, by placing ttrood in one part and stores in another of the same comb. It has been supposed that the reason why bees in straw hives wintered better and increased faster than in those constructed of other materials, was their non-conducting properties. This is doubtless true in part, but quite as much is due to the regularity of the combs, and to concentration of heat, whereby breeding and the building of comb is greatly facilitated.


Are made of boards, the capacity and shape according to the fancy of the builder. The Box Hive is managed in the same manner as the "bee-gum." Holes may be made in the top of either, and surplus honey boxes placed over them ; a cap or cover may be placed over these, making it, practically, a chamber hive.[2]


PLATE VIII, p, 137, fig. 21. Cross Section of Square Box, with Combs.

The Chamber Hive differs from the box in having a chamber floor placed usually about two-thirds of the distance from the bottom to the top, making a> chamber above in which to place surplus honey boxes. Access is had to the chamber (for the purpose of supplying or removing boxes) by means of a shutter or door made to cover one side of it ; holes are made through the chamber floor for the bees to pass into the honey boxes.

The principal advantage which the above class of hives possesses is cheapness. There are disadvantages, among which are the following : First, the comb is not convenient of access, and is beyond control. Second, the comb is almost always built very irregularly. This irregularity is occasioned by the broad, even surface to which they are compelled to attach their combs. While a majority of swarms build their combs sufficiently regular to insure a reasonable degree of thrift, there are others that build them so irregularly as to be totally worthless as stock hives. To illustrate this matter more clearly, the reader is referred to plate vni, fig. 21, which represents a case of this kind. The hive was a common box thirteen by fourteen inches square and twelve inches high, all inside measure.

A large, first swarm was hived within in the month of June, being well provided with wax as well as abundance of pasturage ; the bees forming a cluster extending over the whole top of the hive (but without guides to direct the course of their combs) commenced at the same time to build combs in two places, which we will suppose Y and Z. As the queen was unquestionably in that portion of the cluster commencing to build at Y, the bees constructed a number of the first combs of worker cells ; while at Z, store combs only were built. All combs marked A represent worker cell, B drone cell, and C and D store combs, part of the latter being worker and part drone, but having the cells lengthened and considerably curved upwards. The combs being started in two places[3] and at nearly right angles, with less than one-half of them suitable for rearing brood, they never increase sufficiently in numbers to enable them to swarm, neither will they be likely to fill surplus honey boxes. Such a hive, if left to remain, will frequently live for years without affording its owner any profit. The remedy in such case is either to transfer the bees and suitable combs to new hives, or prune out the objectionable combs.


Is made in two equal parts, similar to a common chamber hive divided vertically. Narrow slats are fastened at intervals on the open sides of each of the parts, and are temporarily attached together in the same position by means of hooks. When both of the sides are full of bees and comb they are separated, and empty, parts of the same size attached to each of the full ones. This plan has succeeded in some instances, but much oftener has resulted in failure.


Palaces and apartments capable of holding hundreds and even thousands of pounds of combs and honey have often been tried, but owing to causes previously shown, they have mostly resulted in failure.


In these forests (Loanda) we first encountered the artificial bee-hives so commonly met with all the way from this to Angola. They consist of about five feet of the bark of a tree fifteen or eighteen inches in diameter. Two incisions are made right round the tree at points five feet apart, then one longitudinal slit from one of these to the other ; the workman next lifts up the bark on each side of this slit, and detaches it from the trunk, taking care not to break it, until the whole comes from the tree.
The elasticity of the bark makes it assume the form it had before ; the slit is sewed or pegged up with wooden pins, and ends made of coiled grass rope are inserted, one of which has a hole for the ingress of the bees in the center, and the hive is complete. These hives are placed in a horizontal position on high trees in different parts of the forest, and in this way all the wax exported from Benguela and Loanda is collected.


"Narrow hives for experimental purposes, with large glazed doors on each side, have been used by amateur apiarians for many years. That of Reaumur was too wide : it allowed the construction of two combs parallel to each other. This form is unfavorable, as it precludes all observation of the proceedings of the bees in the interspace between the combs, Bonnet recommended a hive, the doors of which should be only so far asunder as to allow the building of one comb between them. This suggestion was successfully adopted by Huber ; and to prevent the bees from building short transverse combs, instead of a single one parallel to the sides of the hive, he laid the foundation himself, by fastening a piece of empty comb to the ceiling of the box.

" The hive in which Huber conducted his first experiments, had only an interspace of an inch and a half between the glass doors, so that the bees could not cluster upon the surface of the comb, and yet had room to pass freely over it. Mr. John Hunter recommended the diameter of these narrow hives to be three inches and the superficies of the sides of sufficient size to afford stowage for a summer's werk. Mr. Dunbar, with his mirror hive, constructed somewhat like Huber's, has been able to make some interesting observations on the economy of the bee. The distance of his glass doors from each other is an inch and two-thirds, the height of the hive about eighteen inches, and the width about two feet. Across the center of the mirror hive, he introduced a light frame, which, though apparently dividing the hive into four compartments, allowed the bees a free passage; the light was excluded by a pair of folding shutters on each side.

" Mr. Dunbar hived a small swarm in one of these narrow boxes in June, 1819 ; the bees began to build immediately, and he witnessed the whole of their proceedings, every bee being exposed to view. The narrowness of their limits constrained them from the very commencement to work in divisions, so that four separate portions of the comb were begun and continued, nearly at the same time. " But this arrangement did not sufficiently employ these industrious creatures ; for, contrary to their usual mode of building, which is from above down wards, they laid two other foundations of comb upon the upper parts of the cross sticks. The bees now wrought upwards and downwards at the same time, till the originally separate portions were united and became one comb. For want of proper precautions, the family perished during the intense cold of January, 1820. 0n the 25th March following, Mr. D. introduced another family into the same unicomb hive ; and as early as the 27th he saw the queen laying the eggs of workers. This second, family found plenty of honey and farina in the hive, left by its former tenants. Other particulars, upon the same unquestionable authority, will be found in the chapters to which they belong.

Huber carried the principle of these experimental hives still further ; he joined several of them together with hinges, which were so constructed as to admit of easy removal, and as the frames, or leaves, as Huber called them, were not glazed, they afforded a free communication with each other.

It has been said that Huber borrowed from the Candiotes the first idea of his leaf hive. These descendants of a highly intelligent people, without being aware of the principle of their proceeding, continued the practice of their ingenious predecessors in so far as simply surmounting their hives with loose bars can be considered as a continuation of it; and are thereby enabled occasionally to raise artificial swarms, and sometimes to practice partial deprivation in a very easy and simple manner ; but there is much of casualty in their proceedings, and little of science for, in answer to inquiries which I have repeatedly instituted through the medium of persons residing in the islands of the Archipelago, I have learned that the attainment of either of the advantages referred to is liable to great uncertainty ; the mere removal of loaded combs among the Greek apiarists so far from being at all times a simple and easy process, to use the language of one of my informants, often involves «a very delicate and difficult operation».

" Huber extended and rendered the system more complete ; probably approximated it more nearly to that of its ancient Greek inventors. These experiments, however, of Mr. Golding, myself, and others already detailed, have shown that this hive admitted of still further improvements ; the leaves were too narrow to be applicable to all purposes, and the hive, altogether, has been so much simplified by Mr. G., that I shall confine myself to a description of the particular form and dimensions which he has adopted. The general width of the leaves should be an inch and five-eighths, but slightly varying in the same proportion. The exterior dimensions of this hive are one foot, two and a half inches high, by one foot, one inch deep ; the width will depend on the number of leaves the number usually employed is eight. The perpendicular bars at the front and back converge at the bottom towards each other, so that at the top the interior of the hive, from front to back, measures eleven inches ; at the bottom only ten inches. The upright pieces are, of course, kept in their positions by having the top pieces tenoned into them, and are further held together by a small cross bar, also tenoned into them about half an inch or an inch from their lower ends, so as to allow a free passage for the bees beneath. A series of these leaves being placed in juxtaposition, secured at the front by shifting butthinges, and at the back by hooks and eyes, and having a glazed door, covered by a shutter at each end, constitute what I think will be found to be an improved modification of the hive of Huber.

"A still further improvement was made in this hive by Mr. Dunbar. When closing the leaves, (after inspecting the interior) as those leaves were originally constructed, a few straggling bees were every now and then crushed between their edges. To obviate this, Mr. D. had those edges ploughed out through their whole extent, to within the eighth of an inch of their outsides, by which contrivance the bees are very effectually protected from injury. " By attaching a piece of comb to the top bar of each division, in the manner already described, the bees will be induced to construct their combs with such uniform regularity as to admit at any time of the opening of the hives to inspect the interior, or to remove an entire division when loaded with honey comb, or (if required for the purpose of observation or experiment) to take out an entire brood comb or any portion thereof, without at all interfering with the other combs of the hive, or materially disturbing its general economy. The leaves from between which a remove has been made, should be either brought immediately, but carefully, together, or have a spare supernumerary leaf interposed between them."


PLATE IX, p. 145, fig 22. Frame of Huber Hive.


PLATE IX, p. 145, fig 23. Huber Hive

Plate ix, fig. 22, represents one of the frames of the Huber hive. Fig. 23 is the Huber hive itself, composed of eight frames, and showing the hooks and eyes which secure it behind, each frame being secured in front by movable hinges. Each external frame must have a glazed door, covered by a shutter. These are not shown in the figtire. " It will be evident that the Huber hives here delineated are designed for an out-door apiary. For a bee-house or shed their construction may be simplified, particularly as respects the cappings, which are merely intended as protections from the weather."


Doctor Bevan recommends bee-boxes to be made " eleven and five-eighths inches square, by nine inches deep, in the dear. The sides of the boxes should be an inch thick, and have the upper edges of the fronts and backs rabbeted out half their thickness and half an inch deep, to receive a set of loose bars upon their tops, (see plate x, fig. 24) which should be half an inch thick, one and one-eighth of an inch wide, and seven in number. If the distances of the bars from ...


PLATE XI, p. 147, fig. 26. Munn Hive.

" Storifying means the piling of hives or boxes upon each other, (as shown in plate x, fig. 25,)[5] and preserving a free communication between them ; a methojd which enables the apiarian to take wax and honey without destroying the lives of the bees. " Attempts have been made to accomplish this ^object in different ways. Thorley, Jr., placed empty hives or boxes over full ones ; Wildman and Keys did the reverse ; White and Madame Vicat placed them collaterally. Aristotle, Pliny, and other ancient writers, speak of contrivances for taking honey, and inspecting the operations of the bees."


From a pamphlet entitled " A Description of the Bar and Frame Hive," invented by W. Augustus Munn, Esq., published in London in 1851, (a previous edition having been published in 1844) I have copied plate xi, fig. 26, which represents the Munn hive, together with a frame separate. The frame is made triangular, with a projection at either of the upper corners, as shown at e ; seven of these frames are suspended in the top of a triangular box, gains being cut to admit the projections of the frames to keep them properly spaced. Each frame is so contrived that it can be raised into an observatory frame, without the bees having liberty to annoy the observer. Although it might seem at first sight that this hive was only intended for making observations of the habits of the bee, yet there is no doubt of its having been used for all the purposes required of any hive. This I think is conclusively shown by the following extract, taken from the pamphlet above named: " The objects to be attained in the construction and management of an apiary, are to secure the prosperity and multiplication of colonies of bees, to increase the amount of their productive labor, and to obtain their products with facility, and with the least possible detriment to the stock. It is to the interest of the owner, therefore, that he provide for the bees shelter against moisture, and the extremes of heat and cold ; especially sudden vicissitudes of temperature, protection from their numerous enemies, every facility for constructing their combs and for rearing their brood, and that the hive should be so constructed as to allow of every part of the combs being inspected at any moment, and capable of removal when requisite ; and while attention is paid to economy, it should be made of materials that will secure its durability."

As special mention is made in the same work of Huber's leaf hive, and Golding's Grecian hive, as well as referring the reader to Dr. Bevan's " Honey Bee," for a description of all hives and boxes, it is evident that the author aimed to combine the good qualities of each, as well as to make new improvements.


The Langstroth hive, like the JIuber and Munn hives, is constructed on the movable comb principle ; but more properly combines the oblong bar frame, as originally used by Munn, with Sevan's bee-box, and other additional improvements, making it more simple and practical than either of its predecessors.


PLATE XII, p. 149, fig. 27. Langstroth Hive

Plate XII, fig. 27, represents the Langstroth hive, with a dead-air space between the inner and outer cases ; a frame is removed, and shown separately. The simplest form, however, is a single case or hive, without the dead-air space, made fourteen and one -eighth inches wide, eighteen and one-eighth inches long, and nine and seven-eighths inches high all inside measure. Ten frames, each seventeen and threeeighths inches by eight and five-eighths inches, with a projection of seven-eighths of an inch at each upper corner, to rest in the rabbets, are inserted into each case. It is intended that these frames are to be made " indiscriminately applicable to every box," or case. A honey-board, having apertures for the bees to pass through, is placed on the top of the case, and boxes for the reception of surplus honey are placed on the top of the board a cap is then put over these, making the hive complete. To remove a full frame, " the apiarist should gently push the third frame from either end of the hive a little nearer to the fourth frame, and then the second as near as he can to the third, to get ample room to lift out the end one, without crushing its comb or injuring any of the bees. He should take hold of its two shoulders which rest upon the rabbets, and carefully lift it, so as to crush no bees by letting it touch the sides of the hive or the next frame."


Plate xin, fig. 28, represents a front view of the California hive as arranged on the stand for the egress and ingress of the bees. H is a slide elevated three-eighths of an inch from the inclined bottom board A, forming a passage for the bees. The slide is held in its place by the wedges //. J. An aperture one and a half inches in diameter, used either as a passage for the bees, or to admit air. 8. Ventilating block, made five inches long, two and one-fourth inches wide, and one-half inch thick ; an aperture is made in one end, and a wire screen tacked over it ; on the side intended to be next to the hive, the wire should be sunk even with the surface of the block, to allow it to turn smoothly ; the block is attached to the hive by a screw in its center, forming a pivot, on which it turns, and in such a position that the aperture in the block will correspond with the one in the hive ; it will then admit air without allowing the bees to pass ; reverse the ends and the air is excluded, and by turning it half round, a passage is opened for the bees.


PLATE XIII, p. 150, fig. 28. Front view of California Hive


PLATE XIV, p. 151, fig. 29. Rear view of California Hive

K. Apertures in the sides or stiles X one seen and one unseen ; they are used for upward ventilation. L. Apertures the same as above, but made to admit air into the ventilating chamber. All the apertures in the hive and all the ventilating blocks are made of the same size. Z. Lid, attached by hinges x x to main front board W. Plate xiv, fig. 29, rear view, showing the hive open. D. A wire, to which is attached a curtain (7, which is used to prevent light passing from the ventilating chamber through the passage, admitting air to the bees. F. Cross piece, movable, for the purpose of examination and cleaning the hive, without removing the frames. n. Knob, projecting one-half inch, so as to touch the door when closed. Cr. eAn aperture one and a half inches in diameter, covered with screens, through which air finally reaches the bees.

7. Sill let into the sides of the hives ; gains are cut into it, to admit the tenon of the comb frames K; gains are also cut in the front board TF", for the upper corner of the frame to rest in, as shown in plate XXXIX. kk. Glass frames, enclosing the main frames and surplus honey-boxes. T. Door, attached by hinges ; the hinges, both of the lid and door, should be narrow two-inch wrought butts ; ?/, hook (made of hoop iron) fastened to the door, so as to enter the staple 2, (also made of hoop iron) and hold the lid down. A button is attached to the upper corner of the door, and turns into a groove in the lid. There is also a button attached to the lower corner of the hive, so as to turn on the door ; these buttons serve to keep the hive closed. Plate xv, fig. 30, side section view. B. Ventilating chamber, being the space between the inclined bottom board A, and stand. E. Air passage, being a space of half an inch between the door and the inclined bottom A, curtain c, and cross piece F. K. Comb frame. L. Chamber floor. Plate xvi, fig. 31, represents one of the stiles. (There are two, a right and left.) The dimensions and position of each part are given. U. Gain one and three-eighths by one and threeeighths, and half an inch deep, for sill to rest in.


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.

V. Gain for receiving slide H. Scale one-eighth of an inch. Plate xvii, fig. 32, represents the front board W. Fig. 33, sill J. The dimensions and position of each part are given. Plate xvm, fig. 34, represents the parts composing the comb frame K. a and b are the vertical legs, eleven and seveneighths inches long, one inch wide and three-eighths of an inch thick. e is a tenon, one and three-sixteenths inches long by five-eighths inch wide. c is the top piece, eleven inches long by elevensixteenths of an inch square. Plate xix, fig. 35, represents a gauge on which to nail the parts composing the comb frame Ktogether. L. The base, twenty inches long, ten inches wide and one and one-half inches thick. M. The upright, twelve inches long, eleven and three-fourths inches high, and one and one-half inches thick. n is a batten forming a stop for the top piece c of the frame. o. A batten placed parallel with the first, and for the center bar of frame to rest against. P. Is a button to hold the top piece and center bar in place while the legs are being nailed to them. The leg a is nailed first, the frame is then turned and leg d fastened in like manner, a sixpenny nail is to be driven into the upper corner, and allowed to project three-fourths of an inch, as shown at f, fig. 36, in place of a tenon, as heretofore used. The projection of the nail is gauged by the button q. A nail (s, fig. 36) is allowed to project threeeighths of an inch, at the end of the center bar, on the same side and in like manner as the above, the projection of the nail is gauged by the button r. sss are boxes to hold the different sized nails. Plate xx, fig. 36, shows the comb frame Kcomplete. Fig. 37, shows the parts composing a section of the honey box, together with the dimensions of each part ; w the top piece, with comb guide v attached, x x the sides, and y bottom piece or diamond bar. Plate xxi, fig. 38, gauge for nailing the sections of honey box (e) together, made as follows : F. Base, one and one-half inch plank, twenty inches long and nine inches wide. Gr. Upright, six inches high, same length and thickness as the base. h. Place for nailing comb guide v in center of top piece w. (See fig. 37.) i. Place for nailing on the tins, sheet iron being underlaid to clinch the nails. jj. Gains for holding the sides (xx) while nailing the top piece to them. k. A jaw fastened by hinge I. m. Eccentric lever fastened by a pivot, and used to move the jaw to or from the section while nailing in the diamond bar y.

Plate XXII, fig. 39, represents a section honey box e, composed of square rings or sections (one of which is shown separately). The sections are held together by coupling straps (/) inserted into grooves cut in the sides. 1 1 are tins nailed on the sections to retain the coupling strap in its place. Fig. 40, honey-board or chamber floor L, (see plate xiv) made of five-eighths inch lumber, cut ten inches long, thirteen inches wide ; battens one and onehalf inches wide are nailed on the ends, to prevent warping, making it thirteen inches square. There are three apertures cut in its edges, through which the bees ascend to the honey boxes. It is placed in the hive so that one of the apertures is next to the front board, (TF") and one at "each side. The pieces cut out to form the apertures should be kept to close them when not in use.


Plate XXIII, fig,, 41, represents a front view of the Improved Chamber hive ; b c apertures for ingress and egress. Plate XXIV, fig. 42, side view ; e ventilating apertures, and may also be used for egress and ingress. The dotted line / shows the position of the chamber floor. Plate XXV, fig. 43, rear view ; h the lid partially elevated, and i shutter partly turned down, showing the section honey boxes e e. Both the lid and shutter are attached by hinges, and when closed are held in place by fastenings j. Plate xxvi, fig. 44, chamber floor thirteen and one-eighth inches by thirteen and one-eighth inches. llll are holes for the passage of the bees ; m are comb guides, the under side of the floor being upwards. Fig. 45, honey box, (shown bottom upwards) made of three-eighths inch lumber, twelve and seveneighths inches long by six and one-fourth inches square ; either the sides or ends may be made of glass, as suits the convenience of the bee-keeper.


Plate XXVII, fig. 46, Storifying hive. The frames and their adjustments are the same as the California hive. It is made open at the bottom, the same as an ordinary chamber or box hive, and without chamber for surplus honey boxes. In this shape it is designed to be used as a hive on which to set any open bottom hive which is full and in need of additional room. When this is done at a time when pasturage is abundant, the bees proceed to fill it with combs. As soon as full, the top one may be removed for its honey, which may be strained from the combs, and the refuse given to the bees.

Two or more of these hives may be used, as shown in plate x, fig. 25 ; or honey boxes with caps may be placed on a single one, for the purpose of procuring pure surplus honey. As a cheap and universal hive for all purposes, this one possesses more advantages than any other of equal cost.

Hives should be made out of clear seasoned lumber, and the heart side outwards, which, in a great measure, prevents both capping and splitting of the different parts. The same remarks hold good in siding buildings, nailing on fence boards, etc., etcf It has been my aim in this chapter to trace the bee-hive through all the real improvements that have been made from time to time, thus affording each bee-keeper the means of selecting a hive that suits his fancy. It must be borne in mind, however, that uniformity in hives is a desideratum in bee-keeping. There are hundreds of hives that have, from time to time, been brought before the public, claiming to be new inventions and the ne plus ultra of improvements; they are, however, almost without an exception, mere variations from those I have described, or fanciful contrivances, that serve to confuse the beekeeper. A knowledge of the habits and wants of the bee, alone, can enable the apiarist to discriminate between the good and the bad, and will result in a more systematic and successful management of the apiary than has heretofore been attained.



  1. The Cottage and Farm Bee-keeper, by a country curate. Also called Skep ; is becoming obsolete in the United States. Although narrow-topped hives have been described as not affording top surface for store honey boxes, I have in many instances cut a hole in the top of the conical straw hive, and after adjusting a platform, placed two boxes of the usual size. The bees in all cases filled them as rapidly as those in wooden hives with large top surface. Hence the objection referred to is not so serious as would appear at first sight. This hive has been longer and perhaps more extensively used than any other, and will be perpetuated at least as an emblem of industry.
  2. This is the plan recommended by Mr. Quinby, in "Mysteries of Bee-keeping Explained."
  3. Combs are frequently built in different divisions, and if the combs in each are parallel one with the other and mostly worker cells, there is but little difference in their prosperity. In cold climates such hives generally winter the best.
  4. Dr. Livingstone's Travels and Researches in South Africa, January, 1854.
  5. I have seen plate x, with directions for making the " beeboxes," copied into various works, but called " Bevan's Crossbar Hive," as though it were a complete hive of itself, instead of part of a hive, as described by Bevan himself. He (Bevan) has thus (in my opinion) been misrepresented, as advocating small hives, whereas, it is shown, as in plate x, fig. 25, as well as implied throughout both of the chapters above referred to, that two or more of these boxes are always used in combination, as shown in the plate, thus making a hive even larger than I advocate.