I .i ..... < I
STAT" I-LAN BO30ARD
September 1948 E-276, Second Revision
United States Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Research Administration
Bureau of Entomology and Plant (uarantine
INFORMATION ABOUT BEE CULTURE
Most persons appreciate that the only source of honey and beeswax
is the honey bee. Few realize, however, that, although this insect in
the United States produces in excess of 200 million pounds of honey and
4 million pounds of beeswax annually, these are merely by-products, and
that its principal role is in the pollination of some 50 agricultural
crops for the production of seed and fruit. While many other insects
are of value as pollinators, their numbers have been so depleted in the
course of agricultural development that they can no longer be relied
upon. In practically all agricultural areas honey bees are now the most
numerous flower-visiting insects. The transfer of pollen from flower to
flower is so essential that beekeeping imist be carried on to maintain a
Many persons own bees, but not enough keep bees efficiently or
make beekeeping a specialty. Efficiency in beekeeping is based upon a
thorough knowledge of the life and behavior of bees, the proper use
of equipment, and careful attention to marketing problems.
This circular lists various publications giving information on bee
culture, including those issued by the Department of Agriculture and
its various agencies, State cooperative publications, and books and
journals on beekeeping. It also lists the bee supply houses and bee-
keeping organizations. In addition, the beekeeping activities of the
Department of Agriculture are outlined and a few paragraphs giving
advice to beginners in beekeeping are included. If your beekeeping
questions are not answered in this and other Department publications,
the Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine will be glad to render
further assistance. Address all inquiries to: Division of Bee Culture,
Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, Md.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE PUBLICATIONS
A limited supply of some of the following publications is available
for free distribution. However, all are obtainable by purchase from the
Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington 25,
D. C., or can be consulted in libraries. Do not send money or any other
kind of remittance for publications to the Division of Bee Culture.
Farmers Bulletins: Cents
961, Transferring Bees to Modern Hives........................5
1713, Treatment of American Foulbrood................**...***.5
386, The Wax Moth and Its Control.............................5
392, Diagnosing Bee Diseases in the Apiary*....o...****.....oo.o5
554, Honey and Pollen Plants in the United States..*****..........*10
650, Factors Affecting Usefulness of Honey Bees in
Pollination..... .........***...**.6 e. ...,............10
702, Productive Management of Honey Bee Colonies in the
Northern States..........**...........****.......... .10
Technical B lletins:
656, Cost of Producing Extracted Honey in California*******.........*lO
716, Investigations of the Physical and Chemical Properties
of Beeswax.o... ..oe. o.o...., o ....66666660 o6o.5
Leaflet 113, Honey and Some of Its Uses....... .....................
The following publications of the Bureau of Entomology and Plant
Quarantine are obtainable without cost from that Bureau, Washington
25, D. C., or from the Division of Bee Culture.
E-297, list of Dealers in Beekeeping Supplies, Package Bees,
E-495, Brief Presentation of the Characteristics, Contamliants,
Processing, and Uses of Beeswax.
9-531, The Use of Pollen Traps and Pollen Supplements in Develop-
ing Honey Bee Colonies.
E-536, The Role of Pollen in the Economy of the Hive.
E-584, The Dependence of Agriculture on the Beekeeping Industry.
E-693, Two-Queen Colony Management.
E-749, Bee-Gathered Pollen in Various Localities Oa the Pacific
ET-250, A Manual for the Artificial Insemination of Queen Bees.
Other information issued by various bureaus in the Department of
Agriculture is indicated below:
Semimonthly Honey Report. This report, issued on the 1st and 15th of
each month, gives quotations on honey and beeswax, the condition
of bees and honey plants, data on imports and exports of honey,
and other pertinent information relating to the marketing of honey
and beeswax. Copies are available without cost through the Production
and Marketing Administration, Washington 25, D. C.
Production Statistics. Honey and Beeswax Production, 1947. Gives sta-
tistics on the number of colonies, and production of honey and
beeswax. Available without cost from the Bureau of Agricultural
Economics, Washington 25, D. C. A report on the number of queen bees
and pounds of package bees shipped in 1947 is available from the
United States Standards for Grades of Extracted Honey, effective
March 15, 1943 Copies are available without cost through the
Production and Marketing Administration, Washington 25, D. C.
Organizing Honey-Marketing Cooperatives in Wartime. Farm Credit
Administration, Miscellaneous Report 79. Copies can be obtained
from the Farm Credit Administration, Washington 25, D. C.
Motion Picture film. "The Realm of the Honey Bee." This is a four-
reel film showing the life history and behavior of the honey bee.
It is replete with close-ups of bees gathering nectar and pollen,
performing the "food dance," and driving out drones and robber bees.
It shows how bees sting, and also records a fatal encounter between
rival queens. The film closes showing how honey is removed from
the hives and prepared for market, and a few of the ways in which
honey can be used. Copies of this film in 35-millimeter width
may be purchased through the Motion Picture Service, Office of
Information, U. S. Department of Agriculture, Washington 25, D. C.
Copies in 16-millimeter width may be purchased direct from Castle
Films, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York 20, N. Y.
Slidefilms. The following slidefilms, produced for the Department of
Agriculture, are available from Photo Lab, Inc., 3825 Georgia Ave.,
N. W., Washington 11, D. C., at the prices indicated:
151, The Anatomy of the Honey Bee. $ .50 l.00
171, Diagnosis of Bee Diseases in the Apiary. .55 -
346, First Lessons in .Beekeeping. .50 -
616, Transferring Bees to Movable-Frame Hives. .50 1.00
COOPERATIVE STATE PUBLICATIONS
The following State publications, reporting investigations in
cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture, can be
obtained from the indicated State agricultural experiment station or
consulted in libraries:
Costs and Practices in Producing Honey in Oregon, by A. S. Barrier,
Frank E. Todd, H. A. Scullen, and William W. Gorton. Oregon
Agricultural Experiment Station, Bulletin 362. 1939.
The Distribution of California Buckeye in the Sierra Nevada in Relation
to Honey Production, by George H. Vansell, William G. Watkins, and
L. F. Hosbrook. California Agricultural Experiment Station. 1940.
The Beginner Beekeeper in Louisiana, by E. Oertel. Louisiana State
Department of Agriculture and Immigration. Ed. 2, 1947.
Nectar and Pollen Plants of Oregon, by H. A. Scullen and George H.
Vansell. Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station, Balletin 412.
Honey Bee Losses as Related to Crop Dusting with Arsenicals, by S. E.
McGregor, A. B. Caster and Marvin H. Frost, Jr., Arizona Agricultural
Experiment Station, Technical Bulletin 114. 1947.
The following are issued monthly at about $1 to $2 per year:
American Bee Journal, Hamilton, Ill.
Beekeepers' Magazine, Lansing, Mich.
Gleanings in Bee Culture, Medina, Ohio
Modern Beekeeping, Paducah, Ky.
Southern Beekeeping, Hapeville, Ga.
BOOKS ON BEEKEEPING
Books for sale by bee supply houses (see p. 5) and book dealers.
Prices are approximate. Some of these books may be in your public library.
How to Grow Queens (1938)..***.........*...Walter T. Kelley....... .50
Practical Queen Rearing (1945).......**..Frank C. Pellett....... 1.00
Queen Rearing Simplified (1923)........Jay Smith.............. 1.25
Beekeeping Management for Honey Production:
ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture (1948)......A. I. and E. R. Root...$2.50
Beekeeping (1928)......................E. F. Phillips...,..... 4.00
Beekeeping in the South (1920).........*ennith Hawkins........ 1.00
Dadant System of Beekeeping (1932)...*..C. P. Dadant......,... 1.00
First Lessons in Beekeeping (1938).....C. P. Dadant........... 1.00
Five Hundred Answers to Bee Questions (1942).Geo. S. DeLluth... .50
Hive and the Honey Bee (1946)..........Roy A. Grout........... 4.00
Honey Getting (1947)...................E. L. Sechrist......... 1.50
How to Succeed with Bees (1930)........Atkins and Hawkins....* .55
Langstroth on the Hive and Honey Bee (1927%C. P. Dadant......, 2.00
Living from Bees (1946)................Frank C. Pellett....... 2.00
Outapiaries and Their Management (1919).M. G. Dadant........., 1.00
Productive Beekeeping (1923)...........Frank C. Pellett....... 3.00
Starting Right with Bees (1945)........H. G. Rowe (revised by
E. R. Root)00............ .50
American Honey Plants (1947)..........Frank C. Pelletto......
Anatomy and Physiology of the Honey Bee (1925).R. E. Sri-iiJrass
Beekeeping as a Hobby (1941)***.*.....*...Kyle Onstott...........
Bee Venom Therapy (1935),.*... ,.....BEodog F. Beck (..)...
Golden Throng (1940).....*.............Edwin Way Teale...s....
Honey and Your Health (1944)...........Bodog F. Beck and
Honey Plants of North America (1926)...John H. Loveli.........
Life of the Bee (1904).................Maurice Maeterlinck...,
Mystery of the Hive (1923)***********.............Eugene Evrard..........
BEE SUPPLY HOUSES
C. W. Aeppler Co. ee eeeeeeeeeee
Dadant and Sons ..............
Diamond Match Co. ................... ..
Walter T. Kelley Co..........................
Leahy Manufacturing Co. ........*0...........
G. B. Lewis Co...............................
August Lotz Co........ .. ....
Fred W. Mauth Co..............................
A. I. Root Co. ..............................
Williams Brothers Manufacturing Co......
A. G. Woodman Co.. .. ......
Superior Honey Co. ....................... ...
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Ogden, Utah, and
Los Angeles, Calif.
See also: List of Dealers in Beekeeping Supplies, Package
Bees, and Queens. U. S. Bar. Ent. and Plant
ORGANIZATIONS IN THE BEEKEEPING INDL'STRY
American Bee Breeders Association--J. F. McVay, Secretary-Treasurer,
American Honey Institute--Mrs. Harriett M. Grace, Director, Commercial
State Bank Building, Madison, Wis. An organization sponsored and
supported by bee-supply companies, beekeepers' organizations, and
individuals. Its purpose is to give publicity to honey through
demonstrations, lectures, radio talks, honey recipes, and other
Apiary Inspectors of America--F. L. Thomas, Secretary, Texas Agricultural
Experiment Station, College Station, Tex.
Bee Industries Association--Alan Root, Chairman, The A. I. Root Company,
Medina, Ohio. Representing supply manufacturers.
National Federation of State Beekeepers' Associations---Glenn 0. Jones,
Secretary, Atlantic, Iowa. A national organization of beekeepers
comprised of State and county beekeepers' organizations and
individual beekeepers. Annual dues $5.00
National Honey Association--Frank L. Swanson, Secretary, 1028 3rd
St., Council Bluffs, Iowa. Representing commercial bottlers of
State Beekeepers' Organizations--A beekeepers' association exists in
practically every State. Information about such associations can
usually be obtained through your State department of agriculture
or your agricultural college or experiment station.
Southern States Beekeepers' Federation--N. C. Jensen, Secretary, Macon,
Miss. An organization of honey producers, shippers of package bees,
and queen breeders devoted to the interest of beekeeping in the
The Honey Bee Improvement Cooperative Association--Charles Reese,
Secretary, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. A non-profit
organization to promote the distribution of improved strains of
the honey bee.
U. S D. A. aEEKLE. IE. *C ,.;' .T
hebea-:'c. b w '.'r' "n LLe! e t'!.;i; ' L ,- U, .. t of '- '.r
is centered in thi- .jvi'.n of Bef I of .-.. of iJ.lu'' n
Plant QI..Lrcmi::e:. h.ij .!.:l. haori ha -. .. '. ... ic. ...
ie-'earch Crint -', j lt l b'/ -3 1 y!d. ua. .,j', i _., i .... c It
maintainn.. tbe fol.-oInnz field l-a:.oi a.ories:
ua.Lifovnia--Pacific States Bee Culture Laboratory at Davis. Geo. H.
Vansell, in charge. CooperaLing "iwth the California .g-ricultural
Experimrent Station, t-he Universi.tr of 7 1 ro'r.4':t., ar, h 41C. 'r n
Agrimcltural Expe'ine-ibu Statinr -
iuisian>----Southern States Bee CSit-;.e L i',..:.ry, ,.,;,t-3.t Statinrr.
at Baton Rouge. Warren Whitcomb, fr,. in c-,arge, ( p..'LiLung -,itl.
the Iouisiana Agricult.,)ral Experient 5t.ti.:n ari tre un.v-: '-.ity ci'
Ohio---Queen-rearing yard on Kelley's island, O.io, VW. C. R.o'-erts,
in charge. Cooperating with The Honey Bee ...,p:'er:t jra..ve
Oregon--Sub-laboratory at Corvallls, Ore-on, H. A. Scllen, in 'are
Cooperating with Oregon Agricultural Experime=nt Sta-io.-, ani. C. : ..
State Agriailtural College.
Texas---Sub-laboratory at College Station, .j. S. E. n'o_, n
charge. Cooperating with Texas Agricult-jral- Experirtla Station,
Wisconsin-North Central States Bee C-lt'ire LUncrat..'y., UJn.vers:'ty of
Wisconsin at Madison. C. Lo Frraxr, in cha:T, -.-porati.ing with
the Wisconsin Agricultural Exper nme,-A S.*taL:,-, 1n, ".-C university y
Wyoming--Intermountain States Bee CuIture IAboratory, University of
Wyoming at Laramnie, A. P. Sturtevant, in charge. C&o'jerating with
the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station ar.d tho University of
In addition the Division of Bee Culture cooperates it, the Division
of Cereal and Forage Insects of the Bureau of Entomolog- ezi.l ".Lar4
Quarantine; the Bureau of Plant Industry, soils., and ... '.i ..ral .-.
neering; and State agencies in studying fact..rs aff riTc. the -*ro::J.t:.-'
of legume seed, particularly those concei'ned 7t.h i:- .:'-t "- ,i-r
The work is being done at the following field labrt. '
Ohio--Legume Seed Research Laboratory, Colum-in s, A., T'ood-)w i :L
charge of the insect-pollination phaas?,.: _. ,--
Ohio State University and Ohio Agr l',; 2 ; .-'At I ta*Lo
Utah--Legume Seed Research Laboratory, is ,
charge of the insect-pollination phases. Cooper-'it.ing S3,a..? ajenc-:,,:
Utah Agricultural College and Utah Agricu.itiraal Fxprp mert. etStaf.:i.
ADVICE TO BEGINNERS
Beekeeping is a specialized industry requiring fundamental knowledge
of bee behavior and a genuine liking for handling bees. Locating colonies
close to available sources of nectar is important, since to insure good
crops the bees should be within flying range, that is, within 1 or 2 miles,
of an abundance of nectar-secreting plants. Good beekeeping locations are
found in practically every State, so that the selection of apiary sites
resolves itself into choosing locations where nectar-secreting plants
occur in profusion and where living conditions are desirable.
With proper experience and a liking for bees, a person in a favorable
location can obtain from beekeeping a return that compares favorably with
that from most agricultural pursuits. Beekeeping, however, can easily
become a profitless undertaking, and to avoid this we advise beginners
not to invest heavily. Practical knowledge gained through a season's work
with an experienced beekeeper should be invaluable to a beginner. If a
person cannot spend time with a beekeeper, the next best thing is to
acquire two or three colonies and do the best he can. A number of State
educational institutions offer resident or correspondence courses in bee-
A common method of starting a colony is to purchase a package of
bees, preferably 3 pounds, with a queen and to install this package in a
hive equipped with frames containing full sheets of brood foundation.
Instructions for installing usually accompany the package.
The best time to begin beekeeping with either package bees or established
colonies is in the spring, when fruit trees are in bloom.
If established colonies are purchased, they should be (1) in modern
hives, (2) acquired from a reliable beekeeper, and (3) accompanied by a
certificate of inspection to insure freedom from disease.
A beginner's outfit may consist of the following items, although it
is suggested that catalogs from some of the bee supply houses be consulted
for comparable information:
1 10-frame hive, consisting of: 1 3-lb. package of bees with
1 bottom board queen
2 10-frame hive bodies complete 1 smoker
with frames and brood founda- 1 bee veil
tion 1 hive tool
2 to 4 shallow supers complete 10-15 lb. of granulated sugar
with frames and thin super 4 oz. of No. 28-gage wire
foundation Spur imbedder
I outer cover and 1 inner cover
Such outfits, including a subscription to a bee journal, cost
approximately $20. The equipment can be varied, and more can be added
after a person has become experienced and learns how to manage large
colonies. The standard 10-frame hive is the type generally used in the
While factory-made equipment ordinarily gives the most satisfactory
results, some beekeepers prefer to construct their own beehives. If this
is done, it is a good plan to purchase or borrow a complete hive to use
as a model. It is essential that all dimensions be carefully adhered
to; otherwise the bees will build combs and add propolis where it is not
desired. Likewise careful construction is necessary so that all hive
parts are readily interchangeable.
The Italian bee is the kind recommended for the beginner in this
country. It is hardy, industrious, and fairly gentle, and can be readily
obtained in pure stock since it is the bee most commonly kept in the
You should consult your Agricultural College, State Department of
Agriculture, or Agricultural Experiment Station for information on State
beekeeping publications, extension work in beekeeping, in2-c.'i >n service,
good beekeeping locations, beekeeping associations, and the Li.
CARDINAL POINTS TO BE OBSERVED IN KEEPING BEES
1. Bees need an abundant store of honey (25 or more p:inFds during
the active season and 50 to 60 pounds during winter), polle-., plenty of
room for brood rearing, a source of water, protection from the wind,
and exposure to sunlight.
2. Swarming results in the loss of honey, and therefore should be
3. There should be empty comb space in the hives at all times
preceding and during a honey flow. If every cell becomes occupied with
brood, pollen, or honey, the bees will swarm or stop working, in either
case causing a loss of honey if just before or during a flow.
4. Fbr successful wintering a colony should have a young queen of
high-producing stock, a large cluster of young, fall-raised bees, 60 or
more pounds of sealed honey, and several combs containing large areas#
of pollen. For these requirements a colony must have a 2-story standard
hive with a gross weight, in October, of about 130 pounds.
5. It is unprofitable and, in many States, illegal to keep bees in
box hives or "gums."
6. It does not pay to cultivate any plant for bees alone. Nectar
resources may be improved, however, by planting such crops as sweetclover
on waste lands.
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
3 1262 09236 7167
7. Starvation is one of the principal causes of unprofitable
beekeeping. If bees are short of honey stores, a syrup of two parts of
clean granulated sugar to one of water should be fed. Plan carefully
and avoid having to feed the bees by leaving them plenty of honey at all
8. Diseases of bees cause large annual losses of bees, honey, and
equipment. Beekeepers should learn to recognize the symptoms, particularly
of American foulbrood.
DISEuSES OF BEES
Although it is normal to find a few aead bees at the entrance of a
hive, the presence of large numbers should cause the beekeeper to examine
the colony for some abnormal condition. The presence of trembling or
paralyzed bees, or of bees crawling and apparently unable to fly, should
arouse suspicion. Two of the commonest abnormal conditions of adult bees
are poisoning by insecticides and Nosema disease. A laboratory diagnosis
can be made for Nosema disease and insecticide poisoning, although at
times a diagnosis of any abnormal condition of adult bees may require
actual observation of the colony affected.
In many parts of the country beekeepers suffer losses from American
or European foulbrood, the two most serious brood diseases. European
foulbrood can be controlled by proper corrective measures, but American
foulbrood, the more serious and prevalent of the two, requires a more
drastic treatment. The bees and combs of colonies infected with American
foulbrood should be burned.
Apiary inspection is a function of the States, and is maintained by
most State Departments of Agriculture, to -hich should be referred all
questions concerning apiary inspection, diagnoses, and proper methods of
control. As a service to beekeepers, however, the Division of Bee Culture
examines, without cost, samples of brood and adult bees. Reports of
these diagnoses are sent to the beekeepers and copies to the proper State
For diagnosing brood diseases, send a sample of comb about 4 by 4
inches containing the affected brood or brood remains. Avoid including
any honey if possible. For diseases of adult bees send from lOU to 200
(preferably the latter) sick or dead bees. Mail all samples in a wooden
or heavy cardboard box. Do not use tin. glass, or waxed paper. Address
all samples to the Division of Bee Culture, Agricultural Research Center,