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1. Preface | 2. Advertisement | 3. Introduction | 4. Tamed or Domesticated | 5. Queen Drones Workers | 6. Comb | 7. Propolis | 8. Pollen | 9. Advantages improved hive | 10. Protection Temperature | 11. Ventilation | 12. Swarming Natural | 13. Swarming Artificial | 14. Enemies and Diseases | 15. Loss of the Queen | 16. Union Transferring Starting up | 17. Robbing | 18. Feeding | 19. Pasturage | 20. Anger Sting Dress Instincts | 21. Pictures | Online Books Home | Admin

9. Advantages improved hive



In this chapter, I shall enumerate certain very desirable, if not
necessary, qualities of a good hive. I have neither the taste nor the
time for the invidious work of disparaging other hives. I prefer
inviting the attention of bee-keepers to the importance of these
requisites; some of which, as I believe, are contained in no hive but my
own. Let them be most carefully examined, and if they commend themselves
to the enlightened judgment and good common sense of cultivators, let
them be employed to test the comparative merits of the various kinds of
hives in common use.

1. A good hive should give the Apiarian a perfect control over all the
combs: so that any of them may be taken out at pleasure; and this,
without cutting them, or enraging the bees.

This advantage is possessed by no hive in use, except my own; and it
forms the very foundation of an improved and profitable system of
bee-culture. Unless the combs are at the entire command of the Apiarian,
he can have no effectual control over his bees. They swarm too much or
too little, just as suits themselves, and their owner is almost entirely
dependent upon their caprice.

2. It ought to afford suitable protection against extremes of heat and
cold, sudden changes of temperature, and the injurious effects of

In winter, the interior of the hive should be dry, and not a particle of
frost should ever find admission; and in summer, the bees should not be
forced to work to disadvantage in a pent and almost suffocating heat.
(See these points discussed in the Chapter on Protection.)

3. It should permit all necessary operations to be performed without
hurting or killing a single bee.

Most hives are so constructed that it is impossible to manage them,
without at times injuring or destroying some of the bees. The mere
destruction of a few bees, would not, except on the score of humanity,
be of much consequence, if it did not very materially increase the
difficulty of managing them. Bees remember injuries done to any of their
number, for some time, and generally find an opportunity to avenge them.

4. It should allow every thing to be done that is necessary in the most
extensive management of bees, without incurring any serious risk of
exciting their anger. (See Chapter on the Anger of Bees.)

5. Not a single unnecessary step or motion ought to be required of a
single bee.

The honey harvest, in most locations, is of short continuance; and all
the arrangements of the hive should facilitate, to the utmost, the work
of the busy gatherers. Tall hives, therefore, and all such as compel
them to travel with their heavy burdens through densely crowded combs,
are very objectionable. The bees in my hive, instead of forcing their
way through thick clusters, can easily pass into the surplus honey
boxes, not only from any comb in the hive, but without traveling over
the combs at all.

6. It should afford suitable facilities for inspecting, at all times,
the condition of the bees.

When the sides of my hive are of glass, as soon as the outer cover is
elevated, the Apiarian has a view of the interior, and can often at a
glance, determine its condition. If the hive is of wood, or if he wishes
to make a more thorough examination, in a few minutes every comb may be
taken out, and separately inspected. In this way, the exact condition of
every colony may always be easily ascertained, and nothing left, as in
the common hives, to mere conjecture. This is an advantage, the
importance of which it would be difficult to over estimate. (See
Chapters on the loss of the queen, and on the Bee Moth.)

7. While the hive is of a size adapted to the natural instincts of the
bee, it should be capable of being readily adjusted to the wants of
small colonies.

If a small swarm is put into a large hive, they will be unable to
concentrate their animal heat, so as to work to the best advantage, and
will often become discouraged, and abandon their hive. If they are put
into a small hive, its limited dimensions will not afford them suitable
accommodations for increase. By means of my movable partition, my hive
can, in a few moments, be adapted to the wants of any colony however
small, and can, with equal facility, be enlarged from time to time, or
at once restored to its full dimensions.

8. It should allow the combs to be removed without any jarring.

Bees manifest the utmost aversion to any sudden jar; for it is in this
way, that their combs are loosened and detached. However firmly fastened
the frames may be in my hive, they can all be loosened in a few moments,
without injuring or exciting the bees.

9. It should allow every good piece of comb to be given to the bees,
instead of being melted into wax. (See Chapter on Comb.)

10. The construction of the hive should induce the bees to build their
combs with great regularity.

A hive which contains a large proportion of irregular comb, can never be
expected to prosper. Such comb is only suitable for storing honey, or
raising drones. This is one reason why so many colonies never flourish.
A glance will often show that a hive contains so much drone comb, as to
be unfit for the purposes of a stock hive.

11. It should furnish the means of procuring comb to be used as a guide
to the bees, in building regular combs in empty hives; and to induce
them more readily to take possession of the surplus honey receptacles.

It is well known that the presence of comb will induce bees to begin
work much more readily than they otherwise Would: this is especially the
case in glass vessels.

12. It should allow the removal of drone combs from the hive, to prevent
the breeding of too many drones. (See remarks on Drones.)

13. It should enable the Apiarian, when the combs become too old, to
remove them, and supply their place with new ones.

No hive can, in this respect, equal one in which, in a few moments, any
comb can be removed, and the part which is too old, be cut off. The
upper part of a comb, which is generally used for storing honey, will
last without renewal for many years.

14. It ought to furnish the greatest possible security against the
ravages of the Bee-Moth.

Neither before nor after it is occupied, ought there to be any cracks
or crevices in the interior. All such places will be filled by the bees
with propolis or bee-glue; a substance, which is always soft in the
summer heat of the hive, and which forms a most congenial place of
deposit for the eggs of the moth. If the sides of the hive are of glass,
and the corners are run with a melted mixture, three parts rosin, and
one part bees-wax, the bees will waste but little time in gathering
propolis, and the bee-moth will find but little chance for laying her
eggs, even if she should succeed in entering the hive.

My hives are so constructed, that if made of wood, they may be
thoroughly painted inside and outside, without being so smooth as to
annoy the bees; for they travel over the frames to which the combs are
attached; and thus whether the inside surface is glass or wood, it is
not liable to crack, or warp, or absorb moisture, after the hive is
occupied by the bees. If the hives are painted inside, it should be done
sometime before they are used. If the interior of the wooden hive is
brushed with a very hot mixture of the rosin and bees-wax, the hives may
be used immediately.

15. It should furnish some place accessible to the Apiarian, where the
bee-moth can be tempted to deposit her eggs, and the worms, when full
grown, to wind themselves in their cocoons. (See remarks on the

16. It should enable the Apiarian, if the bee-moth ever gains the upper
hand of the bees, to remove the combs, and expel the worms. (See

17. The bottom board should be permanently attached to the hive; for if
this is not done, it will be inconvenient to move the hive when bees are
in it, and next to impossible to prevent the depredations of moths and

Sooner or later, there will be crevices between the bottom board and the
sides of the hive, through which the moths will gain admission, and
under which the worms, when fully grown, will retreat to spin their
webs, and to be changed into moths, to enter in their turn, and lay
their eggs. Movable bottom hoards are a great nuisance in the Apiary,
and the construction of my hive, which enables me entirely to dispense
with them, will furnish a very great protection against the bee-moth.
There is no place where they can get in, except at the entrance for the
bees, and this may be contracted or enlarged, to suit the strength of
the colony; and from its peculiar shape, the bees are enabled to defend
it against intruders, with the greatest advantage.

18. The bottom-board should slant towards the entrance, to assist the
bees in carrying out the dead, and other useless substances; to aid them
in defending themselves against robbers; to carry off all moisture; and
to prevent the rain and snow from beating into the hive. As a farther
precaution against this last evil, the entrance ought to be under a
covered way, which should not, at once lead into the interior.

19. The bottom-board should be so constructed that it may be readily
cleared of dead bees in cold weather, when the bees are unable to attend
to this business themselves.

If suffered to remain, they often become mouldy, and injure the health
of the colony. If the bees drag them out, as they will do, if the
weather moderates, they often fall with them on the snow, and are so
chilled that they never rise again; for a bee generally retains its hold
in flying away with the dead, until both fall to the ground.

20. No part of the interior of the hive should be below the level of the
place of exit.

If this principle is violated, the bees must, at great disadvantage,
drag their dead, and all the refuse of the hive, _up hill_. Such hives
will often have their bottom boards covered with small pieces of comb,
bee-bread, and other impurities, in which the moth delights to lay her
eggs; and which furnished her progeny with a most congenial nourishment,
until they are able to get access to the combs.

21. It should afford facilities for feeding the bees both in warm and
cold weather.

In this respect, my hive has very unusual advantages. Sixty colonies in
warm weather may, in an hour, be fed a quart each, and yet no feeder be
used, and no risk incurred from robbing bees. (See Chapter on Feeding.)

22. It should allow of the easy hiving of a swarm, without injuring any
of the bees, or risking the destruction of the queen. (See Chapter on
Natural Swarming, and Hiving.)

23. It should admit of the safe transportation of the bees to any
distance whatever.

The permanent bottom-board, the firm attachment of the combs, each to a
separate frame, and the facility with which, in my hive, any amount of
air can be given to the bees when shut up, most admirably adapt it to
this purpose.

24. It should furnish the bees with air when the entrance is shut; and
the ventilation for this purpose ought to be unobstructed, even if the
hives should be buried in two or three feet of snow. (See Chapter on

25. A good hive should furnish facilities for enlarging, contracting,
and closing the entrance; so as to protect the bees against robbers, and
the bee-moth; and when the entrance is altered, the bees ought not to
lose valuable time in searching for it, as they must do in most hives.
(See Chapters on Ventilation, and on Robbing.)

26. It should give the bees the means of ventilating their hives,
without enlarging the entrance too much, so as to expose them to moths
and robbers, and to the risk of losing their brood by a chill in sudden
changes of weather. (See Chapter on Ventilation.)

To secure this end, the ventilators must not only be independent of the
entrance, but they must owe their efficiency mainly to the co-operation
of the bees themselves, who thus have a free admission of air only when
they want it. To depend on the opening and shutting of the ventilators
by the bee-keeper, is entirely out of the question.

27. It should furnish facilities for admitting at once, a large body of
air; so that in winter, or early spring, when the weather is at any time
unusually mild, the bees may be tempted to fly out and discharge their
fces. (See Chapter on Protection.)

If such a free admission of air cannot be given to hives which are
thoroughly protected against the cold, the bees may lose a favorable
opportunity of emptying themselves; and thus be more exposed than they
otherwise would, to suffer from diseases resulting from too long
confinement. A very free admission of air is also desirable when the
weather is exceedingly hot.

28. It should enable the Apiarian to remove the excess of bee-bread from
old stocks.

This article always accumulates in old hives, so that in the course of
time, many of the combs are filled with it, thus unfitting them for the
rearing of brood, and the reception of honey. Young stocks, on the other
hand, will often be so deficient in this important article, that in the
early part of the season, breeding will be seriously interfered with. By
means of my movable frames, the excess of old colonies may be made to
supply the deficiency of young ones, to the mutual benefit of both. (See
Chapter on Pollen.)

29. It should enable the Apiarian, when he has removed the combs from a
common hive, to place them with the bees, brood, honey and bee-bread, in
the improved hive, so that the bees may be able to attach them in their
natural positions. (See directions for transferring bees from an old

30. It should allow of the easy and safe dislodgement of the bees from
the hive.

This requisite is especially important to secure the union of colonies,
when it becomes necessary to break up some of the stocks. (See remarks
on the Union of Stocks.)

31. It should allow the heat and odor of the main hive, as well as the
bees themselves, to pass in the freest manner, to the surplus honey

In this respect, all the hives with which I am acquainted, are more or
less deficient: the bees are forced to work in receptacles difficult of
access, and in which, especially in cool nights, they find it impossible
to keep up the animal heat necessary for comb-building. Bees cannot, in
such hives, work to advantage in glass tumblers, or other small vessels.
One of the most important arrangements of my hive, is that by which the
heat ascends into all the receptacles for storing honey, as naturally
and almost as easily as the warmest air ascends to the top of a heated

32. It should permit the surplus honey to be taken away, in the most
convenient, beautiful and salable forms, at any time, and without any
risk of annoyance from the bees.

In my hives, it may be taken in tumblers, glass boxes, wooden boxes
small or large, earthen jars, flower-pots; in short, in any kind of
receptacle which may suit the fancy, or the convenience of the
bee-keeper. Or all these may be dispensed with, and the honey may be
taken from the interior of the main hive, by removing the frames with
loaded combs, and supplying their place with empty ones.

33. It should admit of the easy removal of all the good honey from the
main hive, that its place may be supplied with an inferior article.

Bee-Keepers who have but few colonies, and who wish to secure the
largest yield, may remove the loaded combs from my hive, slice off the
covers of the cells, drain out the honey, and restore the empty combs,
into which, if the season of gathering is over, they can first pour the
cheap foreign honey for the use of the bees.

34. It should allow, when quantity not quality is the object, the
largest amount of honey to be gathered; so that the surplus of strong
colonies may, in the Fall, be given to those which have not a sufficient

By surmounting my hive with a box of the same dimensions, the combs may
all be transferred to this box, and the bees, when they commence
building, will descend and fill the lower frames, gradually using the
upper box, as the brood is hatched out, for storing honey. In this way,
the largest possible yield of honey may be secured, as the bees always
prefer to continue their work below, rather than above the main hive,
and will never swarm, when allowed in season, ample room in this
direction. The combs in the upper box, containing a large amount of
bee-bread and being of a size adapted to the breeding of workers, will
be all the better for aiding weak colonies.

35. It should compel, when desired, the force of the colony to be mainly
directed to raising young bees; so that brood may be on hand to form new
colonies, and strengthen feeble stocks. (See Chapter on Artificial

36. It ought, while well protected from the weather, to be so
constructed, that in warm, sunny days in early spring, the influence of
the sun may be allowed to penetrate and warm up the hive, so as to
encourage early breeding. (See Chapter on Protection.)

37. The hive should be equally well adapted to be used as a swarmer, or

In my hives bees may be allowed, if their owner chooses, to swarm just
as they do in common hives, and be managed in the usual way. Even on
this plan, the great protection against the weather which it affords,
and the command over all the combs, will be found to afford great
advantages. (See Natural Swarming.)

Non-swarming hives managed in the ordinary way are liable, in spite of
all precautions, to swarm very unexpectedly, and if not closely watched,
the swarm is lost, and with it the profit of that season. By having the
command of the combs, the queen in my hives can always be caught and
deprived of her wings; thus she cannot go off with a swarm, and they
will not leave without her.

38. It should enable the Apiarian, if he allows his bees to swarm, and
wishes to secure surplus honey, to prevent them from throwing more than
one swarm in a season.

Second and third swarms must be returned to the old stock, if the
largest quantities of surplus honey are to be realized. It is
troublesome to watch them, deprive them of their queens, and restore
them to the parent hive. They often issue with new queens again and
again; and waste, in this way, both their own time, and that of their
keeper. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." In my hives,
as soon as the first swarm has issued, and been hived, all the queen
cells except one, in the hive from which it came, may be cut out, and
thus all after-swarming will very easily and effectually be prevented.
(See Chapter on Artificial Swarming, for the use to which these
supernumerary queens may be put.) When the old stock is left with but
one queen, she runs no risk of being killed or crippled in a contest
with rivals. By such contests, a colony is often left without a queen,
or in possession of one which is too much maimed to be of any service.
(See Chapter on the Loss of the Queen.)

39. A good hive should enable the Apiarian, if he relies on natural
swarming, and wishes to multiply his colonies as fast as possible, to
make vigorous stocks of all his small after-swarms.

Such swarms contain a young queen, and if they can be judiciously
strengthened, usually make the best stock hives. If hived in a common
hive, and left to themselves, unless very early, or in very favorable
seasons, they seldom thrive. They generally desert their hives, or
perish in the winter. If they are small, they cannot be made powerful,
even by the most generous feeding. There are too few bees to build comb,
and take care of the eggs which a healthy queen can lay; and when fed,
they are apt to fill with honey, the cells in which young bees ought to
be raised; thus making the kindness of their owner serve only to hasten
their destruction. My hives enable me to supply all such swarms at once
with combs containing bee-bread, honey and brood almost mature. They are
thus made strong, and flourish as well, nay, often better than the first
swarms which have an old queen, whose fertility is generally not so
great as that of a young one.

40. It should enable the Apiarian to multiply his colonies with a
certainty and rapidity which are entirely out of the question, if he
depends upon natural swarming. (See Chapter on Artificial Swarming.)

41. It should enable the Apiarian to supply destitute colonies with the
means of obtaining a new queen.

Every Apiarian would find it, for this reason, if for no other, to his
advantage to possess, at least, one such hive. (See Chapters on
Physiology, and loss of Queen.)

42. It should enable him to catch the queen, for any purpose; especially
to remove an old one whose fertility is impaired by age, that her place
may be supplied with a young one. (See Chapter on Artificial Swarming.)

43. While a good hive is adapted to the wants of those who desire to
enter upon bee-keeping on a large scale, or at least to manage their
colonies on the most improved plans, it ought to be suited to the wants
of those who are too timid, too ignorant, or for any reason indisposed,
to manage them in any other than the common way.

44. It should enable a single individual to superintend the colonies of
many different persons.

Many would like to keep bees, if they could have them taken care of, by
those who would undertake their management, just as a gardener does the
gardens and grounds of his employers. No person can agree to do this
with the common hives. If the bees are allowed to swarm, he may be
called in a dozen different directions, and if any accident, such as the
loss of a queen, happens to the colonies of his customers, he can apply
no remedy. If the bees are in non-swarming hives, he cannot multiply the
stocks when this is desired.

On my plan, gentlemen who desire it, may have the pleasure of witnessing
the industry and sagacity of this wonderful insect, and of gratifying
their palates with its delicious stores, harvested on their own
premises, without incurring either trouble or risk of injury.

45. All the joints of the hive should be water-tight, and there should
be no doors or slides which are liable to shrink, swell, or get out of

The importance of this will be sufficiently obvious to any one who has
had the ordinary share of vexatious experience in the use of such

46. It should enable the bee-keeper entirely to dispense with sheds, and
costly Apiaries; as each hive when properly placed, should alike defy,
heat or cold, rain or snow. (See Chapter on Protection.)

47. It should allow the contents of a hive, bees, combs and all, to be
taken out; so that any necessary repairs may be made.

This may be done, with my hives, in a few minutes. "A stitch in time
saves nine." Hives which can be thoroughly overhauled and repaired, from
time to time, if properly attended to, will last for generations.

48. The hive and fixtures should present a neat and attractive
appearance, and should admit, when desired, of being made highly

49. The hives ought not to be liable to be blown down in high winds.

My hives, being very low in proportion to their other dimensions, it
would require almost a hurricane to upset them.

50. It should enable an Apiarian who lives in the neighborhood of human
pilferers, to lock up the precious contents of his hives, in some cheap,
simple and convenient way.

A couple of padlocks with some cheap fixtures, will suffice to secure a
long range of hives.

51. A good hive should be protected against the destructive ravages of
mice in winter.

It seems almost incredible that so puny an animal should dare to invade
a hive of bees; and yet not unfrequently they slip in when the bees are
compelled by the cold to retreat from the entrance. Having once found
admission, they build themselves a nest in their comfortable abode, eat
up the honey, and such bees as are too much chilled to make any
resistance; and fill the premises with such an abominable stench, that
on the approach of warm weather, the bees often in a body abandon their
desecrated home. As soon as the cold weather approaches, all my hives
may have their entrances either entirely closed, or so contracted that
a mouse cannot gain admission.

52. A good hive should have its alighting board constructed so as to
shelter the bees against wind and wet, and thus to facilitate to the
utmost their entrance when they come home with their heavy burdens.

If this precaution is neglected, much valuable time and many lives will
be sacrificed, as the colony cannot be encouraged to use to the best
advantage the unpromising days which so often occur in the working

I have succeeded in arranging my alighting board in such a manner that
the bees are sheltered against wind and wet, and are able to enter the
hive with the least possible loss of time.

53. A well constructed hive ought to admit of being shut up in winter,
so as to consign the bees to darkness and repose.

Nothing can be more hazardous than to shut up closely an ill protected
hive. Even if the bees have an abundance of air, it will not answer to
prevent them from flying out, if they are so disposed. As soon as the
warmth penetrating their thin hives tempts them to fly, they crowd to
the entrance, and if it is shut, multitudes worry themselves to death in
trying to get out, and the whole colony is liable to become diseased.

In my hives as soon as the bees are shut up for Winter, they are most
effectually protected against all atmospheric changes, and never
_desire_ to leave their hives until the entrances are again opened, on
the return of suitable weather. Thus they pass the Winter in a state of
almost absolute repose; they eat much less honey[12] than when wintered
on the ordinary plan; a much smaller number die in the hives; none are
lost upon the snow, and they are more healthy, and commence breeding
much earlier than they do in the common hives. As some of the holes into
the Protector are left open in Winter, any bee that is diseased and
wishes to leave the hive can do so. Bees when diseased have a strange
propensity to leave their hives, just as animals when sick seek to
retreat from their companions; and in Summer such bees may often be seen
forsaking their home to perish on the ground. If all egress from the
hive in Winter is prevented, the diseased bees will not be able to
comply with an instinct which urges them "To leave their country for
their country's good."

54. It should possess all these requisites without being too costly for
common bee-keepers, or too complicated to be constructed by any one who
can handle simple tools: and they should be so combined that the result
is a simple hive, which any one can manage who has ordinary intelligence
on the subject of bees.

I suppose that the very natural conclusion from reading this long list
of desirables, would be that no single hive can combine them all,
without being exceedingly complicated and expensive. On the contrary,
the simplicity and cheapness with which my hive secures all these
results, is one of its most striking peculiarities, the attainment of
which has cost me more study than all the other points besides. As far
as the bees are concerned, they can work in this hive with even greater
facility than in the simple old-fashioned box, as the frames are left
rough by the saw, and thus give an admirable support to the bees when
building their combs; and they can enter the spare honey boxes, with
even more ease than if they were merely continuations of the main hive.

There are a few desirables to which my hive makes not the slightest
pretensions! It promises no splendid results to those who purchase it,
and yet are too ignorant, or too careless to be entrusted with the
management of bees. In bee-keeping, as in other things, a man must first
understand his business, and then proceed on the good old maxim, that
"the hand of the diligent maketh rich."

It possesses no talismanic influence by which it can convert a bad
situation for honey, into a good one; or give the Apiarian an abundant
harvest whether the season is productive or otherwise.

It cannot enable the cultivator rapidly to multiply his stocks, and yet
to secure, the same season, surplus honey from his bees. As well might
the breeder of poultry pretend that he can, in the same year, both raise
the greatest number of chickens, and sell the largest number of eggs.

Worse than all, it cannot furnish the many advantages enumerated, and
yet be made in as little time, or quite as cheap as a hive which proves,
in the end, to be a very dear bargain.

I have not constructed my hive in accordance with crude theories, or
mere conjectures, and then insisted that the bees must flourish in such
a fanciful contrivance; but I have studied, for many years, most
carefully, the nature of the honey-bee; and have diligently compared my
observations with those of writers and practical cultivators, who have
spent their lives in extending the sphere of Apiarian knowledge; and as
the result, have endeavored to adapt my hive to the actual wants and
habits of the bee; and to remedy the many difficulties with which I have
found its successful culture to be beset. And more than this, I have
actually tested by experiments long continued and on a large scale, the
merits of this hive, that I might not deceive both myself and others,
and add another to the many useless contrivances which have deluded and
disgusted a credulous public. I would, however, most earnestly repudiate
all claims to having devised a "perfect bee-hive." Perfection can belong
only to the works of the great Creator, to whose Omniscient eye, all
causes and effects with all their relations, were present, when he
spake, and from nothing formed the universe and all its glorious
wonders. For man to stamp upon any of his own works, the label of
perfection, is to show both his folly and presumption.

It must be confessed that the culture of bees is at a very low ebb in
our country, when thousands can be induced to purchase hives which are
in most glaring opposition not only to the true principles of Apiarian
knowledge, but often, to the plainest dictates of simple common sense.
Such have been the losses and disappointments of deluded purchasers,
that it is no wonder that they turn from everything offered in the shape
of a patent bee-hive, as a miserable humbug, if not a most bare-faced

I do not hesitate to say that those old-fashioned bee-keepers, who have
most steadily refused to meddle with any novelties, and who have used
hives of the very simplest construction, or at least such as are only
one remove from the old straw hive, or wooden box, have, as a general
thing, realized by far the largest profits in the management of bees.
They have lost neither time, money nor bees, in the vain hope of
obtaining any unusual results from hives, which, in the very nature of
the case, can secure nothing really in advance of what can be
accomplished by a simple box-hive with an upper chamber.

_A hive of the simplest possible construction_, is only a close
imitation of the abode of bees in a state of nature; being a mere hollow
receptacle in which they are protected from the weather, and where they
can lay up their stores.

_An improved hive_ is one which contains, in addition, a separate
apartment in which the bees can be induced to lay up the surplus portion
of their stores, for the use of their owner. All the various hives in
common use, are only modifications of this latter hive, and, as a
general rule, they are bad, exactly in proportion as they depart from
it. Not one of them offers any remedy for the loss of the queen, or
indeed for most of the casualties to which bees are exposed: they form
no reliable basis for any new system of management; and hence the
cultivation of bees, is substantially where it was, fifty years ago, and
the Apiarian as entirely dependent as ever, upon all the whims and
caprices of an insect which may be made completely subject to his

No hive which does not furnish a thorough control over every comb, can
be considered as any substantial advance on the simple improved or
chamber hive. Of all such hives, the one which with the least expense,
gives the greatest amount of protection, and the readiest access to the
spare honey boxes, is the best.

Having thus enumerated the tests to which all hives ought to be
subjected, and by which they should stand or fall, I submit them to the
candid examination of practical, common sense bee-keepers, who have had
the largest experience in the management of bees, and are most
conversant with the evils of the present system; and who are therefore
best fitted to apply them to an invention, which, if I may be pardoned
for using the enthusiastic language of an experienced Apiarian on
examining its practical workings, "introduces, not simply an
_improvement_, but a _revolution_ in bee-keeping."


[12] A writer in the New England Farmer for March, 1853, estimates that
the mild winter has been worth in the saving of fodder to the farmers of
New Hampshire alone, two and a half millions of dollars! By suitable
arrangements, bees even in the very coldest climates can have all the
advantages of a mild winter.

Does the flower make the honeybee or the honeybee the flower?