1867 - An Old Beekeeper. How to Manage the Honey Bee in New Zealand - [Front matter]

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  1867 - An Old Beekeeper. How to Manage the Honey Bee in New Zealand - [Front matter]
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THE author of the "Bee-keepers' Manual" says that he was disgusted with the few miserable straw hives or skeps which are to be seen in every part of Great Britain, enveloped during the winter season in filthy rags, or covered with turf, or shut up in a little wooden hovel, which have more the appearance of pestilential prison-houses than the comfortable abodes of a refined and busy population. This awakened his sympathy for the poor bee, and it at once occurred to him to write a treatise on their management. Our reasons for compiling this work are of quite a different character.

As a branch of colonial industry, requiring not much capital, and but very little time and attention, our object is to encourage country settlers to take to beekeeping as a matter of profit, for the country seems peculiarly well adapted for it, the native trees, shrubs, and flowers, giving a constant succession of bee-food nearly all the year round.

We have made our instructions as plain and practical and in as few words as possible, telling the best and easiest way of accomplishing the several operations connected with the craft.

Mr. Cotton treats the matter of hives lightly, and seems to think that almost anything will do, while in England, at the present day, this is considered of great importance, there having been much controversy, talking, and writing on tho subject. What we consider the

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best hives we have described at page 21; the Cottage Hive, which may be made either of wood or straw, can be maintained at any temperature, and you may take honey from it nearly all the year round. At page 23, we also describe the celebrated Stewarton Hive--it is much talked about, and extraordinary quantities of honey seems to have been got from it; this hive should be ordered from a competent tradesman, and it should be well and carefully made; these are the two best hives of the present day.

We have to thank Mr. David Hay and Mr. H. J. Hawkins for the very great assistance received from them. They have advised and assisted us throughout, and, in a great measure, the work embodies their experience in bee-keeping in New Zealand. Mr. Hawkins, after examining the printed sheets, says, with regard to moving bees a short distance, say from two to four miles, he merely closed the entrance with a bit of paper, and tied the bottom board securely to the hive. He also says:-- At page 18, the "The Times Bee-Master" is reported to say that bees never touch double-flowers, and that though the hedge rose and sweet-briar are favourites with the bees, they never alight on the magnificent and deliciously perfumed varieties of the rose. These remarks are altogether opposed to experience--many kinds of double-flowers are visited as freely by the bees as are the single varieties of the same kind, viz., the fuchsia, balsam, hollyhock, &c.; and I think I may safely state that any kind of double-flower that will produce seed will be found to yield food for the bees. In opposition to the "Times Bee-Master," I must state that the bees have a great partiality to the rose, both in its single and double state; and as a proof of this, it may frequently be seen, before the bud is expanded,

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forcing its way to the centre between the unfolding petals, and I have frequently cut buds of some of the more open varieties, such as Safrano, General Jacqueminot, &c., and carried them some distance with the bee in the centre. Judging, from the number of bees to be seen and heard around a bed of sorrel when in flower, I conclude it is their favourite plant; still I cannot conscientiously recommend its culture, even to beekeepers.

It is stated at page 18, that bees will eat sugar in every form. Wasps will; but it must be partially dissolved before bees will consume it. The opinion of naturalists (page 19) that bees when foraging confine their operations to single species of flowers I believe to be also erroneous. In the spring such would probably be the case, as a bee alighting upon, say, a peach tree in full bloom, would have no occasion to wander farther for its load, and consequently the pollen would be all of one color; but such is not the case in autumn when flowers are scarce. Then the bees have to fly from one species of flower to another; and should they confine themselves to one species, which they do not, the pollen of the different varieties of that species often varies in color with the color of the flowers; the pollen from a white fuchsia being very different to that from a crimson variety. Bees may be seen now (June) when the weather is favorable, collecting "honey all the day from every opening flower." In connection with Swarming and Hiving he says: I procured my first bees in the following manner:-- A swarm was discovered on the branch of a tree hanging over a precipitous side of a gully from whence it was impossible to hive them in a box. I therefore made a rough sort of hoop of a piece of supple-jack and placed it in the mouth of a bag; the

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bag was then fastened to the end of a pole and held under the hanging swarm; with another long pole the branch was struck or violently shaken by my companion which caused the bees to drop into the bag, from which they were immediately shaken into a box procured for the purpose. The box was then turned over and left on the ground with the bag by its side, that the bees that were adhering to it might join their companions, and in the evening when the bees were quietly settled, the box was carried home. Of other swarms discovered in the bush, I have always found it more convenient to take them in a bag and thus carry them home, than to carry a box to the swarm.

On the general management of bees I can offer no remarks. The book will, no doubt, be found sufficient, and I believe many settlers will be glad to begin bee-keeping when they find from this Handy-book how easy and simple is the management, and how much pleasure and profit it will bring.

Belvidere Fruit Nursery, North Shore.

The PUBLISHER will be glad to receive hints and suggestions from the experience of settlers on the management of Bees.


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Bee Houses, how to make them - - - - 12

Bees' Enemies in New Zealand - - - - 54

Bees' Sting, how to cure - - - - - 54

Bell Glass or Super, how to use - - - - 44

Bottled Beer, how to make from honey - - 62

Cottage Hive, how to manage - - - - 21

Driving Hives or Stocks - - - - - 47

Feeding Bees in winter - - - - - 52

Ginger Wine, how to make from honey - - 62

Hives, their form and material - - - - 19

Honey and Wax for domestic purposes - - 55

Honey Bee, how to manage - - - - 10

How to convey a swarm to a distance - - 13

How to take Honey from a hive - - - 34

Mead or Hydromel, how to make - - - 59

Miscellaneous Hints on Bee Management - - 66

Profits of Bee-keeping - - 46

Position of the Hives - - - - - 11

Boyal Mead, how to make - - - - 61

Sack Mead, how to make ----- 62

Second Swarms ------ 32

Sermon on Bees, by Dr. Cumming - - - 63

Stewarton Hive, how to manage - - - 23

Swarming, the act of, described - - - 27

Swarming and Hiving - - - - - 24

Swarming, how to prevent - - - - 51

Uniting Hives or Stocks - - - - 47

Vinegar, how to make, from honey - - - 62

Water for bees - - - - 53

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Therefore doth heaven divide
The state of man in divers functions,
Setting endeavour in continual motion;
To which is fixed, as an aim or butt,
Obedience: for so work the honey bees,
Creatures that, by a rule in nature, teach
The act of order to a peopled kingdom.
They have a king, and officers of sorts:
Where some, like magistrates, correct at home;
Others, like merchants, venture trade abroad;
Others, like soldiers, armed in their stings,
Make boot upon the summer's velvet buds;
Which pillage they with merry march bring home
To the tent royal of their emperor;
Who, busied in his majesty, surveys
The singing masons building roofs of gold,
The civil citizens kneading-up the honey;
The poor mechanic porters crowding in
Their heavy burdens at his narrow gate;
The sad ey'd justice, with his surly hum
Delivering o'er to executors pale
The lazy yawning drone. I this infer,--
That many things, having full reference
To one concent, may work contrariously;
As many arrows, loosed several ways,
Fly to one mark; as many ways meet in one town;
As many fresh streams ran in one salt sea;
As many lines close in the dial's centre;
So may a thousand actions, once afoot,
End in one purpose, and be all well borne
With defeat.

SHAKSPERE. Henry V. Act i. Scene 2.

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