Wise words from 100+ years ago.

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understanding_bees 

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= = = Installment 9 = = =

THE HONEY BEE.

A SHORT SUMMARY AS TO THE REASON WHY IN QUESTION AND ANSWER.


Q. Why is it a barbarous and suicidal practice to smother Bees?
A. Because all useless destruction of life is barbarous and cruel, the honey being as easily taken without the sacrifice. It is suicidal because you destroy that life on which the profits of the following year so much depend.

Q. Why is it better to keep a few large densely-populated hives, rather than a multiplicity of small weakly ones?
A. Because it has been found by experience that large communities of Bees are far more industrious, and that a stock of 40,000 Bees in one hive will store far more honey than the same number in several hives. Densely-populated hives consume but little, if any, more honey in the winter than weakly swarms; an increased temperature is also obtained to resist the cold of winter, and that all-important element, early swarming, is secured thereby.

Q. Why are early second swarms, as a rule, to be preferred to first swarms, to retain as stock for winter?
A. Because second swarms are always governed by a young queen. First swarms are always led away by the old queen; and where first swarms are preserved, year after year, as future stocks, and as the same old queen leads off the first swarm, year after year, there is danger that the queen may die in the hive at a time when there may be no eggs in the cells to enable the Bees to hatch out a successor, in which case the entire community will perish.

Q. Why are late second, third, and fourth swarms, as well as "maiden" swarms, objectionable?
A. Because, in the first place, such swarms are usually late and weak, and issue at a time when the summer is nearly gone, and they can do little more than form a few empty combs in their new hives. The stocks, or mother hives, are much weakened by the loss, and the yield of honey greatly reduced thereby.

Q. Why is the yield of honey from most straw hives so miserably small?
A. Because, in the first place, the ordinary straw hive is too small, and incapable of holding a large quantity of honey. It is also too small to hold sufficient comb to enable the queen to deposit her eggs. But small as these hives are, they are seldom half-populated, the result of which is but little comb is built, but few Bees bred for want of comb and Bees to hatch them, and but little honey is collected, from the scarcity of Bees that can be spared to gather it, the few there are being required to hatch out the brood.(19)

Q. Why is Bee-keeping a particularly suitable occupation for cottagers and people of small means?
A. Because it can be followed without involving any cost, and but little trouble and attention.
A cottager with 10 square yards of garden is in as good a position to gather as large a harvest of honey as a nobleman with his 10,000 acres.

Q. What is the best cure for the sting of a Wasp or Bee?
A. First remove the sting, and then apply a solution of extract of lead (liquor plumbi) to the wound, and in a few minutes all pain and inflammation will cease.

Q. Which is the best aspect for Hives?
A. South-east or south-west; all Hives facing due south should be sheltered from the rays of the noon-day sun.

(19) Perhaps there is no Bee-keeper who is better acquainted with straw hives than Mr Pettigrew. What does he say? “The great bulk of straw hives of English make are exceedingly small and ill-made, and are really not fit to be used as Bee-hives; comparatively, they are not worth one shilling the dozen

With respect to straw hives possessing any superior advantage over wood hives, I may quote that celebrated Bee-keeper, Gelein, whose experience extended over sixty-five years. He says, “It is commonly supposed Bees thrive better in straw hives, because the straw absorbs the moisture, etc. For my part, I perceive no difference. The Bees are careful enough to varnish over the interior of straw hives with a coating of wax, or rather propolis, and this varnish is so thick that no moisture can penetrate between the cords of straw. Wooden hives will all absorb a certain content of moisture, and experience has shown me it is a matter of indifference which are employed, except as to the price”.

“Wooden hives”, says Henry Taylor, “are more durable, less liable to harbour vermin, and better adapted, from their square form, for the convenient arrangement of comb, besides admitting of windows". - Taylor on Bees. The celebrated Dr Bevan and Mr Nutt both favour wooden boxes.

The great objection to straw hives is the very perishable nature of the material, and its aptitude to harbour vermin, besides being cumbersome and unsightly. Well-made box hives are everlasting in wear, are extremely handy, can be made to occupy little space, fitting into one another. Some of the most practical and experienced Bee-keepers in my neighbourhood agree with me in thinking box hives preferable to straw. They are every year becoming more general.
 

understanding_bees 

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= = = Installment 10= = =

Part Two contains:


- Woodcut Illustrations of all the best Hives in general use, including the "American Nest Hive", "Woodbury", "Stewarton", "Octagon", "Sherrington", "Palace Prize Cottager's", "Improved Straw Skip”, etc.

- Honey Extractor, Feeding Troughs, Drone Traps, Comb Knives, etc, described and illustrated.

- Particulars respecting the Uniting of Swarms, the "Driving" and "Shaking" of Bees from a full hive into an empty one; the Fumigating and Chloroforming of Bees, to avoid destruction of life, etc.

The two Parts, under one cover, post free, 1 shilling 1 penny, or other works advertised on the back of cover. Address, Kinnard Edwards, Burbage Hall, Hinckley, Leicestershire.

NOTICE

Since this Hand-book on Bees first appeared, now some five years back, the Author desires to say that he finds it necessary to qualify certain of his figures and statements made herein.

1st—As regards Wooden Hives in general, and the " American Nest Hive " in particular, he no longer considers it a sine qua non (an essential condition; a thing that is absolutely necessary) that such Hives should be used, especially by Cottagers. Any well-made Straw Hive or Skep of sufficient size is in practice as good, if not better, than any Wooden or Bar Frame Hive.

2nd – The selling price of Honey is placed at too high a figure, unless the quantity to be disposed of is very limited. Large quantities of Honey seldom command now a higher price than 8 pence to 9 pence per pound, this will somewhat reduce the stated profits of Bee-keeping. Bee Keepers, who possess large number of stocks, should not expect to realize a higher average annual profit on each hive of more than £2, although in exceptionally good seasons this may be doubled.

Those who are unable to procure cheap well-made Hives, either of Wood or Straw, as well as Bee-feeders, Comb Knives, and other necessary appliances, can be supplied with the names of several dependable makers, by application to the Author, KINARD EDWARDS, Burbage Hall, Hinckley.

= = = = = =

LONDON : N. J. JOHNSON, PRINTER, 121, FLEET STREET.

"KEEP BEES! KEEP BEES!"

PART TWO


-Patterns of the best and most approved form of beehives

-Honey extraction, drone and bee traps, feeders, etc

-Concluding with remarks on the uniting of swarms, and the chloroformng, “driving", and "shaking" of bees.

By Kinard B. Edwards.
 

understanding_bees 

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= = = Installment 11= = =

THE AMERICAN NEST HIVE.


These hives are circular in form, of American construction, and are exported into this country, and sold at about half the price that would be necessary if they were made here. They are by far the cheapest and best general hives that can be used, where profit (rather than amusement and observation) is the chief object in Bee-keeping; and being no more expensive than the common straw “skep", are far more durable. Each set or nest of hives, contains four in number, each fitting closely one into the other. These four hives may be either used as four stock hives, or, better still, as two stock hives; the two smaller ones being used as supers or under-hives, as described in Figures 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. A Bee-feeder is specially constructed and adapted for these hives; it is placed on the top of the hive (see Figure 1), and the Bees pass into the feeder through two slits, which are made in the crown board. A set or nest of these hives cost one guinea; they are made of best American pine, varnished on the outside, with double iron hoops (lacquered). They are neat in appearance, besides being economical and durable. In construction they are very similar to the nests of washing tubs, which have of late years been so largely imported into this country. The combs are extracted from these hives in the same way as from the old-fashioned straw “skep", by the use of the comb knife.

BOX HIVES.

Figure 7 illustrates " Nutt's " Collateral hive. It is made of wood, and has three compartments, the centre, and one on each side. The centre is the stock, and the Bees are admitted into the side hives by withdrawing a zinc slide. A super (B) is also placed ever the stock, and the Bees may be either admitted first into this or into either of the side hives (C C). This hive may also be made to accommodate three swarms, one being placed in each compartment, and a super similar to B being placed over the ventilators (D D), which are previously removed. These hives require thorough ventilation in the winter, as well as a warm cover.

Figure 8 represents one of 'Neighbour's pedestal box or case hives, together with super and cover. Both stock and super have windows for observation; also a thermometer.

Figure 9 illustrates the Stewarton Hive. As will be seen from the sketch, it is octagonal in shape, formed of four or more boxes placed one above the other, on the storifying plan. Each stock box has nine fixed bars, whilst the honey box has only seven, the former being deeper than the latter. As the Bees fill one box with honey they are admitted into one placed either above or below, by withdrawing the slides, as shown in the illustration. One objection to this form of hive is the liability of the slides to become fixed so firmly by the Bees as to make them immovable. These hives, although still popular hi some districts, are being rapidly superseded by the movable bar. and frame hives. The price commonly charged for a set, as per illustration, is from 20 to 25 shillings, including floor-board.

Figure 10 illustrates the Crystal Palace Prize Cottage Hive. This hive is made of wood, nailed at the corners, and fitted with movable bars for the depriving system. It is roughly made, and of very light material, enabling it to be sold at a price so low as 6 shillings and 6 pence, including cover and floor-board.

STRAW HIVES.

Figure 11 illustrates the ordinary old fashioned skep or straw hive, fitted with a hole in the crown to enable the Bees to be fed; or a second and smaller hive being placed over it to act as it super.

Figure 12 illustrates one of Pettigrew's improved flat-topped hive, to enable an adapting-board being placed upon the hive, to carry the super. These hives vary in diameter from 15 to 20 inches and 9 to 12 inches in depth. Two skewers or round strips of wood are usually pushed through straw hives to sup-port the combs. The price of straw skeps vary from 2 shillings to 6 shillings each, depending on the size and materials used. Those plaited with split cane being the best and most durable, as well as the most expensive; the common skep is usually fastened with either twine or split briar. The chief objection to straw hives is their extremely perishable nature, as well as the difficulty in fitting hives of this material with movable bars for the depriving system. Combs are extracted from these hives by the aid of tha common comb knife.

Figures 13 and 14 illustrate Neighbour's Improved Cottage Straw Hive, price £1 15 shillings. As will be seen, they are made of straw, and the stock chambers are fitted with windows for observation. Bell glasses are placed upon these hives, for depriving the Bees of their honey without destroying then,. The height of the larger hives is 24 inches, and the diameter 15 inches. Stands are also made for these hives, price 10 shillings and 6 pence. The covers may be used as supers by those who object to the use of bell glasses.

Figure 15 illustrates the Sherrington Hive. This hive has undergone considerable improvements of late, and is largely used owing to the low price at which it is supplied. It is the cheapest straw hive made on the movable - bar depriving system. It is fitted with ten frames, and measures 14 inches square by 12 inches deep, the price being 16 shillings. This hive is the invention of the Rev. J. W. Goddard.
 

understanding_bees 

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= = = Installment 12= = =

HIVE AND BEE FEEDER.


Figure 16 illustrates a ten-bar Woodbury Hive, with floor and crown-board. The sides and top are of straw, neatly plaited between the framework. This is an admirable make of hive, but somewhat expensive, and, not being weather-proof, requires either a cover or the 'protection of a Bee-house. The “Woodbury" may be said to be the mother of the very many bar-frame hives that have been introduced into this country of late years.

Figure 17 illustrates the American Nest Hive Bee-feeder. The syrup is poured into the centre compartment (B), which contains a perforated zinc float to support the Bees as they consume the syrup. The Bees enter the feeder through slits in the crown-board, and pass up and down the side of the feeder (C). There is a double cover, one a glass slide (A) and zinc cover (D), which shuts in the top of the feeder, as shown in the cut. These feeders are supplied with the hives at 3 shillings and 9 pence each.

BAR FRAME HIVES.

Figures 18 and 19 illustrate the Carr Stewarton Hive, one of which is made of straw and the other of wood. They are similar in construction to the Woodbury Bar Frame Hive. The boxes may be either used as stocks, or as stock and super, one fitting on the other. Covers and honey boxes or supers are also made for these hives. Each box contains 1,000 cubic inches of space.

BEE TRAP AND EXTRACTOR.

Figure 20 illustrates a Bee Trap. By means of this apparatus the Bee master is able to empty his supers of Bees prior to their removal. The entrance into the super from the stock hive is first shut off, and the trap then placed against the outer entrance to the super; the Bees, finding themselves unable to return to the stock hive through the crown-board, make their escape through the trap into the open air, and are then unable to re-enter the super through the trap. This trap was invented by the late Mr R. Aston, and was exhibited at the Crystal Palace Bee Show. The price is 2s. 6d. each. There is but little difficulty in fitting these traps to any floor-boards that may be in use.

Figure 21 illustrates one of Starling's Improved Honey Extractors, price 50 shillings to 70 shillings. Any comb not exceeding 18 inches by 12 inches may be placed in the machine, and the honey forced from it by centrifugal force, and the comb left uninjured, enabling it to be returned to the hive to be refilled. There is great economy in the use of these extractors where many hives are kept; the yield of honey is prodigious.

HIVE AND DRONE TRAP

Figure 22 illustrates one of the " Carr-Stewarton " make of hive. It is made on the bar-frame depriving system, and contains two stock boxes awl one honey hex.

Figure 23 represents one of Aston's Drone Traps. This useful contrivance enables the Bee master to destroy the drones in his hive, without in any way inconveniencing the free working of the honey-gathering Bees. The bright sun attracts the drones into the perforated box, and they are then unable to find their way back.

DRIVING BEES

ON THE DRIVING, SHAKING, CHL0ROFORMING AND UNITING OF BEES.


Bees may be driven from a full hive into an empty one by either driving, shaking; or by chloroforming them. To "drive" Bees, take the full hive from which the Bees are desired to be driven, and turn it upside down, and place an empty hive over it; wind a cloth round the point of junction of the two hives to prevent any Bees escaping. Now commence to beat the under or full hive, either with the two palms of your hands or two sticks, creating as much noise within as possible; after about ten or twelve minutes' beating, the whole of the Bees will rise into the upper hive; it may now be removed to its stand, and the Bees will at once commence to build a comb. A bright, sunny day is the best time to operate.

To "shake" a swarm of Bees into an empty hive, take the full hive, in the middle of a bright day when the Bees are active, and, by the simple operation of giving the hive a violent jerk over the empty hive, the living contents will be forcibly ejected into the empty hive. To "unite" a swarm, it is necessary to pour a quantity of strongly-scented syrup over each swarm before throwing them together, this will make each swarm smell the same, and prevent their fighting.

To "chloroform" Bees, take one-sixth of an ounce of chloroform and place it upon a piece of linen in a saucer, after which, cover the saucer with a piece of perforated zinc or fine net-work. The moment the liquid is poured upon the linen, the hive must be raised from its stand, and placed over the chloroform, and pressed down tightly to prevent the escape of the fumes from below. In about ten minutes the whole of the Bees will fall from the combs on to the ground, stupefied; the combs may now be cut out, and the hive replaced over the Bees, and in a short time the effects will pass off, and the Bees will commence to creep back into the hive. In case of very large and strong hives, a quarter of an ounce will be necessary. There is, however, some risk in chloroforming Bees, the "driving" being far preferable.
 

Erichalfbee 

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Looking forward to reading his other book - the efficient management of pig manure heaps
Ah .........but what a lovely snapshot of past times
Who would have thought that such a bucolic activity would morph into what it has
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Ah .........but what a lovely snapshot of past times
Who would have thought that such a bucolic activity would morph into what it has
He wrote a few books about pigs, but his book on poultry management seems to be the most prolific.
 

Amari 

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An image was posted a few days ago, from an old book, “MY COTTAGE FARM”, by Kinard B Edwards.

The poster of this image, SteveG, very kindly sent to me a copy of all of the images of the relevant sections of this book. I have had some experience at republishing an old book, and spent some time cleaning up the images and submitting them to an OCR program which has converted the images into text. Even though OCR programs are able to do an impressive job, unfortunately they do not do a perfect job, and a lot of manual editing was still required.
= = = = =
When I attempted to post this story to the forum, a message was generated that it was too large. I will therefore submit in manageable chunks.
Thanks for posting this U_B. You're right to assume on Installment 8, that L = £. We old-timers (pre 1971) used Lsd as an abbreviation for pounds, shillings and pence, or for money in general, eg. 'I haven't got enough Lsd to buy that car'.
Derivation is from Roman currency; librae, solidi, denarii.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Librae Solidi Denarii it was the common currency Europe wide for centuries - introduced by Charlemagne of France, it was the Frankish silver standard. Embraced by the Ebglish and held on until decimalisation.
Pretty amusing really that our more dyed in the wool gammons now want to go back to it instead of that 'foreign stuff' :icon_204-2:
 

pargyle 

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Ah .........but what a lovely snapshot of past times
Who would have thought that such a bucolic activity would morph into what it has
Yes ... it's a historical document and an insight into some early beekeeping practice .. there are clearly things that are no longer relevant and as I said earlier, from the snapshit we were provided with originally, are contentious (to me at any rate !). A few principles endure but it's not a textbook for modern beekeeping and indeed, even at its last publication date, was probably past it best-by date.

Unfortunately, even in some modern beekeeping books we seem to be incapable of dumping the bad ideas and disproven 'facts' in favour of a more up to date outlook. In some respects nothing has changed ....
 

Amari 

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Yes ... it's a historical document and an insight into some early beekeeping practice .. there are clearly things that are no longer relevant and as I said earlier, from the snapshit we were provided with originally, are contentious (to me at any rate !). A few principles endure but it's not a textbook for modern beekeeping and indeed, even at its last publication date, was probably past it best-by date.
Rude again! ..... OP SteveG, 1km down the road from me will be quite hurt. He's a sensitive soul.....
 
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SteveG 

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My concern is the heading 'Wise words from 100 years ago' and then a paragraph which appear to exhort the beekeeper to maximise a honey crop at the lowest cost and by all means possible. It is incompatible with my ethos in keeping bees which is to work with them and avoid manipulations that force the colony to grow beyond their natural size. I'm not a beefarmer - few on this forum are - and to introduce a thread that appears to rail against what our bees would do within the normal scheme of things could lead some beekeepers, with less experience, to take the paragraph literally.

In the time it was written there were inefficiencies in cottage beekeeping and of course these practices (catch, grow, crop and destroy) could be improved upon at the time.. but modern beekeeping (in my opinion) has much to commend it ... I don't believe in artificially reducing the size of colonies any more than I believe in artificially seeking to increase the size of colonies. I've found that the healthiest colonies and those that perform well (across a whole range of attributes) are those that suffer less manipulation, less unseasonal feeding, that live primarily on their own forage and with a minimal amout of interference from the beekeeper. I'm NOT suggesting that bees should be left to their own devices and I'm certainly not keeping my bees as pets - they earn their keep - but that paragraph just does not sit well with how I think bees are best served by the beekeeper.
Good Morning,

Sadly busy with lambing and missed all the wonderful comments. However feel I should just reply to your question on title. They were wise words a 100+ years ago. that's it. Have a great season.
 

SteveG 

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Rude again! ..... OP SteveG, 1km down the road from me will be quite hurt. He's a sensitive soul.....
Good morning, your concern is kind. pubs are up soon and we can fix my sensitive soul.
 

pargyle 

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Rude again! ..... OP SteveG, 1km down the road from me will be quite hurt. He's a sensitive soul.....
Oops ... fumble fingers - or a freudian slip ? I don't think I can blame the autocorrect ! Sorry Steve ... should have read SNAPSHOT ...
 
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