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L L Langstroth
Langstroth on the Hive and the Honey-Bee


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Produced by Steven Giacomelli, Constanze Hofmann and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at pgdp (This file was produced from images produced by Core Historical Literature in Agriculture (CHLA), Cornell University)


So work the Honey Bees.

Creatures that by a rule in Nature, teach

The art of order to a peopled kingdom.-Shakspeare.]

[Illustration: Worker. Drone. Queen.

The above are a very accurate representations of the QUEEN, the WORKER and the DRONE. The group of bees in the title page, represents the attitude in which the bees surround their Queen or Mother as she rests upon the comb.]


A Bee Keeper's Manual,





Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1853, by L. L. LANGSTROTH, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.


<p>PREFACE.</p><br />

This Treatise on the Hive and the Honey-Bee, is respectfully submitted by the Author, to the candid consideration of those who are interested in the culture of the most useful as well as wonderful Insect, in all the range of Animated Nature. The information which it contains will be found to be greatly in advance of anything which has yet been presented to the English Reader; and, as far as facilities for practical management are concerned, it is believed to be a very material advance over anything which has hitherto been communicated to the Apiarian Public.

Debarred, by the state of his health, from the more appropriate duties of his Office, and compelled to seek an employment which would call him, as much as possible, into the open air, the Author indulges the hope that the result of his studies and observations, in an important branch of Natural History, will be found of service to the Community as well as to himself. The satisfaction which he has taken in his researches, has been such that he has felt exceedingly desirous of interesting others, in a pursuit which, (without any reference to its pecuniary profits,) is capable of exciting the delight and enthusiasm of all intelligent observers. The Creator may be seen in all the works of his hands; but in few more directly than in the wise economy of the Honey-Bee.

"What well appointed commonwealths! where each

Adds to the stock of happiness for all;

Wisdom's own forums! whose professors teach

Eloquent lessons in their vaulted hall!

Galleries of art! and schools of industry!

Stores of rich fragrance! Orchestras of song!

What marvelous seats of hidden alchemy!

How oft, when wandering far and erring long,

Man might learn truth and virtue from the BEE!"


The attention of Clergymen is particularly solicited to the study of this branch of Natural History. An intimate acquaintance with the wonders of the Bee-Hive, while it would benefit them in various ways, might lead them to draw their illustrations, more from natural objects and the world around them, and in this way to adapt them better to the comprehension and sympathies of their hearers. It was, we know, the constant practice of our Lord and Master, to illustrate his teachings from the birds of the air, the lilies of the field, and the common walks of life and pursuits of men. Common Sense, Experience and Religion alike dictate that we should follow his example.


Greenfield, Mass., May 25, 1853.



Deplorable state of bee-keeping. New era anticipated, 13. Huber's discoveries and hives. Double hives for protection against extremes of temperature, 14. Necessary to obtain complete control of the combs. Taming bees. Hives with movable bars. Their results important, 15. Bee-keeping made profitable and certain. Movable frames for comb. Bees will work in glass hives exposed to the light. Dzierzon's discoveries, 16. Wagner's letter on the merits of Dzierzon's hive and the movable comb hive, 17. Superiority of movable comb hive, 19. Superiority of Dzierzon's over the old mode, 20. Success attending it, 22. Bee-Journal to be established. Two of them in Germany. Important facts connected with bees heretofore discredited, 23. Every thing seen in observing hives, 24.


BEES CAPABLE OF DOMESTICATION. Astonishment of persons at their tameness, 25. Bees intended for the comfort of man. Properties fitting them for domestication. Bees never attack when filled with honey, 26. Swarming bees fill their honey bags and are peaceable. Hiving of bees safe, 27. Bees cannot resist the temptation to fill themselves with sweets. Manageable by means of sugared water, 28. Special aversion to certain persons. Tobacco smoke to subdue bees should not be used. Motions about a hive should be slow and gentle, 29.


THE QUEEN BEE. THE DRONE. THE WORKER, 30. Knowledge of facts relating to them, necessary to rear them with profit. Difficult to reason with some bee-keepers. Queen bee the mother of the colony-described, 31. Importance of queen to the colony. Respect shown her by the other bees. Disturbance occasioned by her loss, 32. Bee-keepers cannot fail to be interested in the habits of bees, 33. Whoever is fond of his bees is fond of his home. Fertility of queen bees under-estimated. Fecundation of eggs of the queen bees, 34-36. Huber vindicated. Francis Burnens. Huber the prince of Apiarians, 35. Dr. Leidy's curious dissections, 37. Wasps and hornets fertilized like queen bees. Huish's inconsistency, 38. Retarded fecundation productive of drones only. Fertile workers produce only drones, 39. Dzierzon's opinions on this subject, 40. Wagner's theory. Singular fact in reference to a drone-rearing colony. Drone-laying queen on dissection, unimpregnated. Dzierzon's theory sustained, 41. Dead drone for queen, mistake of bees, 43. Eggs unfecundated produce drones. Fecundated produce workers; theory therefor, 44. Aphides but once impregnated for a series of generations. Knowledge necessary for success, Queen bee, process of laying, 45. Eggs described. Hatching, 46. Larva, its food, its nursing. Caps of breeding and honey cells different, 47. Nymph or pupa, working. Time of gestation. Cells contracted by cocoons sometimes become too small. Queen bee, her mode of development, 48. Drone's development. Development of young bees slow in cool weather or weak swarms. Temperature above 70 deg. for the production of young. Thin hives, their insufficiency. Brood combs, danger of exposure to low temperature, 49. Cocoons of drones and workers perfect. Cocoons of queens imperfect, the cause, 50. Number of eggs dependent on the weather, &c. Supernumerary eggs, how disposed of, 51. Queen bee, fertility diminishes after her third year. Dies in her fourth year, 52. Drones, description of. Their proper office. Destroyed by the bees. When first appear, 53. None in weak hives. Great number of them. Rapid increase of bees in tropical climates, 54. How to prevent their over production. Expelled from the hive, 55. If not expelled, hive should be examined. Provision to avoid "in and in breeding," 56. Close breeding enfeebles colonies. Working bees, account of. Number in a hive, 58. All females with imperfect ovaries. Fertile workers not tolerated where there are queens, 59. Honey receptacle. Pollen basket. The sting. Sting of bees, 60. Often lost in using. Penalty of its loss. Sting not lost by other insects. Labors of workers, 61. Age of bees, 62. Bees useful to the last, 63. Cocoons not removed by the bees. Breeding cells becoming too small are reconstructed. Old comb should be removed. Brood comb not to be changed every year, 64. Inventors of hives too often men of "one idea." Folly of large closets for bees, 65. Reason of limited colonies. Mother wasps and hornets only survive Winter. Queen, process of rearing, 66. Royal cells, 67. Royal Jelly, 68. Its effect on the larvæ, 69. Swammerdam, 70. Queen departs when successors are provided for. Queens, artificial rearing, 71. Interesting experiment, 72. Objections against the Bible illustrated, 73. Huish against Huber, 74. His objections puerile. Objections to the Bible ditto, 75.


COMB. Wax, how made. Formed of any saccharine substance. Huber's experiments, 76. High temperature necessary to its composition, 77. Heat generated in forming. Twenty pounds of honey to form one of wax. Value of empty comb in the new hive. How to free comb from eggs of the moth, 78. Combs having bee-bread of great value. How to empty comb and replace it in the hive, 79. Artificial comb. Experiment with wax proposed, 80. Its results, if successful. Comb made chiefly in the night. 81. Honey and comb made simultaneously. Wax a non-conductor of heat. Some of the brood cells uniform in size, others vary, 82. Form of cells mathematically perfect, 83. Honey comb a demonstration of a "Great First Cause," 84.


PROPOLIS OR BEE GLUE. Whence it is obtained. Huber's experiment, 85. Its use. Comb varnished with it. The moth deposits her eggs in it, 85. Propolis difficult for bees to work. Curious use of it by bees, 87. Ingenuity of bees admirable, 88.


POLLEN OR BEE-BREAD. Whence obtained. Its use. Brood cannot be raised without it. Pollen nitrogenous. Its use discovered by Huber, 89. Its collection by bees indicates a healthy queen. Experiment showing the importance of bee-bread to a colony, 90. Not used in making comb. Bees prefer it fresh. Surplus in old hives to be used to supply its want to young hives. Pollen and honey both secured at the same time by bees. Mode of gathering pollen, 91. Packing down. Bees gather one kind of pollen at a time. They aid in the impregnation of plants. History of the bee plain proof of the wisdom of the Creator. Bees made for man, 92. Virgil's opinion of bees. Rye meal a substitute for pollen. Quantity used by each colony, 93. Wheat flour a substitute. The improved hive facilitates feeding bees with meal. The discovery of a substitute for pollen removes an obstacle to the cultivation of honey bees, 94.


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