Front Cover
 Queen rearing
 Honey bees and their products

Group Title: Bulletin. Florida Department of Agriculture
Title: Beekeeping in Florida
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00003040/00001
 Material Information
Title: Beekeeping in Florida
Series Title: Bulletin. Florida Department of Agriculture
Physical Description: 43 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Wilder, J. J
Publisher: Dept. of Agriculture
Place of Publication: Tallahassee Fla
Publication Date: 1940
Subject: Bee culture -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by J.J. Wilder.
General Note: Title from cover.
General Note: "June, 1940."
General Note: Includes index.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00003040
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltqf - AAA3481
ltuf - AME6679
oclc - 41213332
alephbibnum - 002441469
 Related Items
Other version: Alternate version (PALMM)
PALMM Version

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
    Queen rearing
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
    Honey bees and their products
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
Full Text

Bulletin No. 6 New Series June, 1940


In Florida



State of Florida
NATHAN MAYO, Commissioner


Nathan Mayo, Commissioner of Agriculture


q~ .


Showing Part of a Large Apiary in Palmeito, Near Tampa, Florida,



lu rG:k
bh~:, i:r;

,,... \.

NW'.Y L*
E~Rf l-.ffff l' ~-: "


THE many requests for information received by the
State Department of Agriculture have shown that a
large number of people are interested in the possibili-
ties of beekeeping in Florida. Requests have been received
not only from people residing in Florida, but also from
people living in many other states. A number of the people
are interested in beekeeping in Florida merely as a pastime
-an activity at which they can enjoy their spare moments.
Others, however, are interested in beekeeping because of
financial returns, either as a sideline or on a large commer-
cial scale.

It is for such beginners in beekeeping that this bulletin
is written. The author, Mr. Wilder, has had many years'
experience with bees in practically all sections of Florida,
and at the present time he owns about 10,000 colonies of
bees. He is, therefore, unusually well qualified to inform
the prospective beekeeper in Florida as to the best pro-
cedure in beginning his apiary.


Beekeeping in Florida

NE of the first apiaries of any consequence in the State
was established on the Florida East Coast on the
west side of the Halifax river, where the city of Day-
tona now stands. This apiary was established in 1872 by a
New York company which was in that section producing
lemons and oranges. The production of lemons, oranges
and honey made a very good combination. The company
would come southward during early fall in time to gather
their fruit and honey. After spending a few months in
Florida, they would sail back to New York City in the
spring with a cargo of Florida fruit and honey. This prac-
tice excited considerable attention around New York as well
as in certain Florida towns.

Probably the next apiary of any importance was started
near the city of Wewahitchka in Gulf county by Mr. S. S.
Alderman, who also grew oranges along with the produc-
tion of honey. Just a little later Mr. W. S. Hart, located
at Hawks Park in Volusia county, began producing honey
and fruit in like manner.

This early development of beekeeping in Florida took
place between 1872 and 1888. There was not much to
Florida at that time. The pioneer beekeepers had a hard
time of it. They obtained their bees from the forest, lived
in remote sections of the country which could be reached
only by small vessels, and were seldom visited by those
from other parts of the country.

The success of S. S. Alderman and W. S. Hart soon
caused reports to be widely circulated that an average of
one barrel, or four hundred pounds, of honey per colony was
being secured in Florida. This report meant much to Flor-
ida in beekeeping, for almost at once people began to estab-
lish apiaries all over the State and to put in modern equip-
ment. Progress has continued down to the present time.

It is generally known among beekeepers in the south-
east that Florida has a black bee which has thrived in the
forests of the State for many years. These bees still exist
in the State and can be found in the large cypress timber


1'.wp-I rI Ij I


Apiary nrar Weahitehki in the Tupelo section,


of the Everglades, the Okeefenokee swamp, and the heavy
timbered sections in the western part of the State. Just
when or who brought the first bees to Florida is not known.
On this subject, Mr. Jas. I. Hambleton, apiculturist of the
United States Department of Agriculture, writes: "The
most authentic record states that the black or German bees
were introduced into West Florida not later than 1763. In
all probability the honey bee occurred in East Florida be-
fore that, as black bees were introduced in New England
as early as 1638. William Bartram, describing a journey
taken in 1773, says that honey bees were numerous all
along the Eastern Continent from Nova Scotia to East
Florida. He further states that honey bees were common
enough in forests so as to be thought by the inhabitants to
be natives of this continent."

The movements of this wild bee in Florida are quiet,
and no bee is as busy on flowers as it is. The activity of
these bees is far beyond the common bees. and they are very
cross and quick as lightning to sting. When a tree contain-
in.g these bees is cut, they act about like hornets disturbed
from their nest. They produce a large amount of honey
per colony, yet they do not seem to adhere at all to the idea
of being domesticated. They are not contented to live in
hives and will desert them time and time again for the
forest. Only in a small measure do they adhere to our
modern methods of handling bees. The bees are also so
furious that they are not desirable to have around a farm.
The very presence of a human being seems to completely
demoralize them. In many cases the comb they build has
irregular cells, yet they cap their honey beautifully white,
and it is of good flavor like that produced by other bees.

The Italian and Caucasian are the more domesticated
bees, and these two races predominate in the commercial
apiaries of Florida. The Italian is particularly desirable
for the production of extracted honey, while the Caucasian
excels in the production of comb in shallow frames or sec-
tio:s. Many small beekeepers in the State still keep the
black or German bee, but the two races just mentioned are
much more prolific and desirable for the many different
honey flows.


k; ':: ir

ItR~V%~ I i



Saw FaImctto, Good Bce Pastunc ~Iwi in Bloom,



This question can readily be answered. "Bees may be
kept in Florida anywhere you live, or are moving to."
There are no barren spots in Florida so far as beekeeping
and honey production are concerned. This does not mean
that all sections of Florida afford good bee pasture at all
seasons of the year. It does mean that there is no large
area in the State but what at some time during the year
will furnish bee pasture. One must be careful, though, to
see that the hives are placed in some thinly shaded place
where they can be properly watched and taken care of.
Should one be going into beekeeping on a commercial scale,
it is necessary, of course, to consider transportation, the
kind of honey plants that are available, etc.


The right start in beekeeping means much toward suc-
cess. At the very beginning the apiary site should be se-
lected, and this done with great care and consideration.
Bees should never be kept near stock where there
would be danger of horses. cattle, hogs, etc., being stung
by them. As a rule, all animals understand to stay away
from bees, and they will usually do this if they have their
freedom. The apiary should be far enough away so that
there will be no danger of either man or animals being
stung, yet it should be near enough to the house so that it
can be closely watched. It is advisable for someone to
visit the bees rather often, for bees will soon become famil-
iar with people who pass by. After the bees become famil-
iar with people, there is no danger of a volunteer attack of
the bees or any stings from just passing among the hives.
The location should be thinly shaded, but never should
there be a dense shade overhead. A dense shade will cause
the hives to be more or less damp. especially during rainy
weather, and this is detrimental to the bees. The dampness
also causes the hives to decay more rapidly. No shade at
all would be preferable to a dense one.
The first colony of bees should be placed in the site
selected. As fast as an increase is made, the hives should
be lined up about four feet apart so as to give sufficient


Another botanical paradox of Florida is this shrub-like tree
which grows with its feet in salt water (marshes) and produces
large quantities of one of our most delicious sweets.



room to work around each. The rows of hives should be
at least ten feet apart so that if necessary a truck may
pass between the rows. It is best to let the hives face
southward, although southwest or southeast will do. It is
necessary to place the hives on stands some twelve or
eighteen inches high so that the ground about them can be
kept free of litter and vegetation.
As soon as there are a few hives in the apiary, a suit-
able. neat, small honey house or room should be erected
close by the side of the apiary. It is preferable to locate
the honey house on the side of the apiary nearest the resi-
dence so that it may be visited without passing among the
bees. The honey house may serve as a workshop as well
as a packing and extracting room when the honey crop is
ready. Honey is to be kept in this room and only enough
carried to the residence for a meal or so at a time. Honey
tends to toll in bees and other insects and often makes a
rather messy job to keep clean. The honey house is the
place for it and it can be readily removed when needed for
the market or table. An extractor, uncapping tank, storing
tank, and a large work table on which to pack the honey
are needed in the honey house.


There are bees in every nook and corner of Florida, and
one should have no trouble in obtaining a start almost at
his very door. It is not necessary to send north or west
for bees, as they can be obtained in Florida. Bees in Flor-
ida are inspected as to disease by authorized State inspec-
tors, and they will see to it that the bees are free from
disease. When bees are secured from outside the State, it
is impossible to know just what one is obtaining, and it
may later be discovered that the bees are diseased.
As already stated, it is advisable to obtain pure Italian
or Caucasian stock, and possibly better than either is the
Caucasian-Italian stock crossed. The bees purchased should
be in either eight- or ten-frame modern standard size hives.
If one expects to produce extracted honey, the ten-frame
hives and pure Italian bees are recommended. If one ex-
pects to produce chunk honey or comb honey in one-pound


CORAL VINE (Antigonon)
A distant cousin of northern buckwheat-much liked by the bees.
In larger plantings would help beautify our roadside fences, and
produce another distinct honey. The same can be said of several
other ornamental honey plants: Assonia, Yucca, Vitex.


~ c~..- ~.,
- .. -. .:



sections, bees in eight-frame hives should be secured. It
is preferable to get either Caucasian-Italian or Caucasian
stock for producing chunk or comb honey, as these two
varieties are about the best comb builders and they cap
their honey beautifully white.

For each hive, three regular shallow extracting supers
should be purchased if one is going to produce either ex-
tracted or chunk honey. If comb honey in sections is to
be produced, then two supers are all that one needs. The
best equipment obtainable with full sheets of foundation
in all frames and sections should be used by all means.
One must see that all hives and hive parts are properly
set up according to instructions given in the bee supply
catalog. If this is not done, it will be found out later, much
to one's sorrow.

The yield of honey per colony will vary for different
sections of the State. The variations will depend almost
entirely upon the supply of honey plants in each section.
The State as a whole will probably average from 50 to 70
pounds of extracted honey, although there are a number
of localities that will average up to 100 pounds of extracted
honey per colony. A few exceptional areas may be found
where the average is as high as 200 pounds of extracted
honey per colony.
To express it in another way. it may be said that in
the tupelo gum region of West Florida the average per
colony is about 100 pounds of extracted honey; in the part-
ridge pea region, about 60 pounds per colony; and in the
saw palmetto region, about 50 pounds per colony. The sun-
flower region as a rule gives the best yields, sometimes
averaging as much as 200 pounds of extracted honey per
colony. Then in the black mangrove region the average is
often around 150 pounds per colony, while in the gallberry
region the average may be as low as 40 pounds of extracted
honey per colony.


Whether an apiary has one colony or fifty colonies. the
beekeeper should know how to properly grade and pack
honey even for his own table, and especially all he expects
to put on the market. The surplus honey should never be
put up in just any kind of container, but it must be correct-
ly put up in good honey containers.

TI TI iCyrillai

A shrub or tree of swamps of North Florida, with an exquisite
bloom much adored by the bees. The honey is light and mild.

Honey produced in Florida, as a rule. has a good flavor
and good color. Sometimes. however, it is a little thin in
body even after it has been left in the care of the bees
until it is well capped over. The bees cap the honey when
it is finished, but as a rule they do not do this until they
have given it the body they intend it to have. One should


remember that honey, when first gathered, is nothing but
sweet sap of the honey plants. thin. void of flavor, and
quick to ferment until well evaporated.

At the present time the demand is greatest for honey
put up in retail containers. The one-pound square jars
have been found most suitable for the best grades of both
chunk and extracted honey. The two and one-half-pound
cans are best for grades just a little off in color. The next
size is the regular five-pound honey pail. Syrup pails will
not do as they are too thin and frail, and the friction top
does not drive in sufficiently tight to remain and not leak.
The off-grade extracted or comb honey can be put up in
regular honey pails or in two and one-half-pound glass jars.

Extracted honey should be well strained before it goes
into the storage tank. It should be allowed to remain there
for several days so that gravitation will clear all matter
from the honey, then it can be drawn off into the containers
and sealed up at once. All packages can be neatly labeled
under your own signature. together with the guarantee and
net weight.

It is generally advisable to put up some of the honey
with comb and some without comb. One can often sell ten
times as much packed comb and extracted honey together
as straight extracted honey alone. Many people want comb
in their honey in spite of whatever they may think best.
In packing comb cut from the regular shallow frames along
with extracted honey, one must be careful to put in as
large pieces as possible and never chip up or put up little
trimmings. It is desirable to let the honey appear in as
large pieces as possible. These pieces should be suspended
so that they will stand up: they should not be put in flat,
for honey naturally looks better from an end view than
from a side view. One must remember to cut out only
tender young white comb and to place the fancy crop in
glass containers.


- ~ i'

A -

GALLBERRY IInkberryi illex glabral
The berry itself may taste like gall and look like ink, but the
bee takes wondrous Nature while at her best and gathers for her
human friends from the chasteness of the bloom, one of the four
finest honeys of Florida.


It is a well known fact that practically all the ex-
tracted honey on the market is blended (not compoiiunded
from several sources. Blending is done for several reasons.
First, it makes a better table article because the flavor of
blended honey is a combination (of the flavors of several
different kinds of honey. As most people are aware, the
flavor of honey is governed by the plant from which it is
made, so that blended hi;lne combines the different flavors.
All real honey lovers will agree on this point. The honey
may be blended just as it comes from. the extractor. or on
the table when cutting the comb.

Blending honey h,.is refere:r, only to tihe very best
honey" and not to anly of inferimr quality. A poor grade
should never be in a blend. or it will ruin all. It is better
to put the cheap honey lp se paratel y and sell as such. This
applies to both the co! dr ind fl.ir t "of hon,, e. Sonmc poor
honey has a fine color. and s ta' ',.liv ine lhcit v h:is poor
color. It is seldom if ever advisable to blend dark honev
with light, or honey of poor fla' ,Ior with tha t f good flavor.
but a blend should alwa\vs be with honey ot similar color
and quality of flavor.

The blending of honey is Iparticularly important in
Florida because there ;;ar a gLret:i main kinds of hlonlev
coming along during the season. (ften onerl honeyH flow
comes in very close behind another flow. and this happens
so frequently that there is very little honey produced in
Florida which is pure as to source. It is all bhle:ded more
or less by the bees themselves, for sometimes a single
conmb will contain three ot four different kinds of honIey.

Blending honey not only makes it a better table article.
but the greatest advantage is that it stays granulation.
Much of the Florida honey. especially that p reduced in the
southern part of the State. will granulated. The honey in
the western part of the State, particularly in the great
White Tupelo (;um region, does not granulate easily. If -I
large percent of non-granulating honey is blended with the
honey that granulates, then granulation is stayed, often
indefinitely even on the northern markets. There is enough
non-granulating honey produced in Florida, if properly
blended with the granulating honey, to keep all in a liquid


Florida therefore has the opportunity to put up honey
in its natural state that will keep without granulating,
which eliminates the necessity of heating the honey to
make it keep. Honey that is sold with the guarantee that
it will not granulate is more in demand, for no honey
buyer outside of a bottler wants table honey to turn to
sugar or candy.

To those less informed, the winter care of bees in an
almost tropical country like Florida seems of little im-
portance, and perhaps is far less important than in other
parts of the country. Some special care, however, is needed
by bees during the winter months even in Florida.
During the first part of the winter, the bees should be
looked over carefully and even the queens and their work
of egg-laying noted. Some honey is generally coming in
at this time, as the weather is usually still warm enough to
allow the bees to work. The first part of December is the
most opportune time to make the examination because old
and failing queens may be easily detected at such time by
the strength of the colonies and size of the brood nest. A
good queen at the beginning of the winter season should be
laying well with plenty of young bees in the colony; if this
is not the case, then the bees should be re-queened.
While the cover is off nnd the queen's progress being
noted, it is advisable to see about the stores in the super
just above the brood nest. This super should be full or
nearly so of sealed stores. The bees may not draw very
heavily on the honey the first part of the winter, but the
latter part they will because they are rearing so many
young. The cover to the hive should be a good one that
does not leak, and the bottom board must be sound. It is
also important to see that the hive is on a good foundation.
The colony with a good queen and plenty of stores is
ready for the winter and will need no further care or atten-
tion until spring. Plenty of stores :bo-e a good queen is
highly important; otherwise losses from starvation are
almost certain, or the colony will be too vwe-kened from lack
of honey to keep up the raising of young bees. One must
net forget that bees will perish during cold w;-ather even in
Florida where winters are short and gencr.'lly mild. unless
they are given sufficient c:,re.



The question is often asked. "Can I keep bees in Florida
and have a honey flow the year around?" The idea is to
have a honey flow twelve months in the year, taking honey
off, packing, raising bees and queens, etc., the year round.
As a general rule. however, nowhere in Florida can one
depend upon such a condition year after year. All of Flor-
ida is subject to cold snaps. light frost, and once in a while
freezes, which to a large extent play havoc with vegetation.
This would mean disappointment to the beekeeper who is
expecting to run his honey extractor or pack honey every
month in the year. Some years this can be done, but years
when light frost and freezes come around this cannot be

From coast to coast across the peninsula for about one
hundred miles, taking in the section where Lake Okeecho-
bee lies, there are large areas of pennyroyal. a winter-
blooming honey plant that gives a good and reliable flow
of nectar from the time the goldenrod ceases to bloom on
through the winter months until citrus begins to bloom.
This is ideal for honey production, bee and queen raising,
but even here this is interfered with by sharp cold snaps.

Through the section just mentioned, the average per
colony is far greater than elsewhere in the State. This is
simply because there are more honey plants and a nearer
perpetual honey flow with only a few days intermission
from one to another. This section embraces, of course, a
large area in the extreme southern part of the State. Honey
extractors can be seen running in various places through
this section during November. December. January and Feb-
ruary. Often the number of bees will increase during these
months, and queen bees reared and mated.

This is perhaps the most favored area in Florida for
beekeeping in all its branches. Pennyroyal is the greatest
yielder during these months, yet there are other honey
plants that come along and bloom during the same period
which add greatly to the flow of honey and abundance of


Common Name

1. Saw Palmetto

2 Bc! Mangrove

:. Whitl Tupelo Gum

4. Partridge Pea

5 Gallberry

6. Wild Sun Flower

7. The Summer Fair Well

8. The Wonder Honey
, Back Tupelo Gum

Botanical Name

Serenca serrulata iMichx,
Avicennia nitidia, Jacq,

Syssa aquatic L,

:hamaecrista spp,

!lex glabra iL, A. Gray

Hlianthus spp,

iihnistera pinnata
Walt,i Kuntze

? ntstemon Pentstemon
1 L, Britton
\'ysa biflora Waltl.

Months of Year in Bloom Localities Where Found

May and June

June and July

April and May

June, July, August and
April and May

November and December

September and October

Practically all over the
Around ocean's edge from
New Smyrna to Tampa
Alone, rivers and overflow
land in western part of
Throughout sand ridge sec.
Throughout flalwoods sec.
Southern part of State,
principally around Lake
On light, sandy, well drain.
(d soil throughout the

April, May, June and July Along the coast around
Apalachicola Bay,
March and April Along streams in the west-
ern part of the State.

10, Spring Ti Ti

11. Pennyroyal

12. Cabbage Palietto

13. The Pepper BM\sh

14. Mexican Clover

15. Goldanrod

16, The Snow Vine

17, Gopher Apple

18. Blackberry
19, Chinkapin

Cyrilla parritolro R.f,

Barl, Small

Sl1l Poal1rro Woll.' o
& S.

Cjerllir aliifolia I.

Ri'lardia scabra Sr. Hil.

S;irlogn slit,

Willugbrorl r srican L.,
Calysahalanrus 'i liiiell.:~

Rrhos spp.
S1P:1' .1 sp.
Citrir spp.

iFebruary and March

Deember, January and

1, July

July and August

July, Algust and Septem-

Oi'ob:r and Nonvmber



April and May

April and May
.Lrchl and April

In western part of Statei
alt:g small streams and
a.1 hrads.

Sorutlern part of the State,

:AIcng the coast, through
the hammocks and along t
Lh lakes,
I:,i'.gliout flatwoods sev-

In many cultivated fields
ilcIugh;lt the State,
Thiouighout the Stae,

Wesirn part of the State,
TIhrrghouo, sand ridge see-/D
lion, r

All over tile Stae.
North and West Florida.
Throughout Central and
Suth Florida with Sat-
st:as in North and West


The surplus honey of any colony can be removed at any
time, but beyond this no honey should be taken. Because
one sees blooming flowers almost twelve months in the year
around over Florida is no reason why they are real honey
plants and the bees can gather honey from them. There-
fore, sufficient honey should always be left for the bees to
live on.
It is important to keep a close watch on the bees so
that they will not have any more storing room than needed.
The bee moth will actually eat up the comb in a normal
colony of bees if there is so much storing room that the
bees cannot properly care for the hive by crawling over it
and removing the eggs or tiny larva of the miller that lays
the eggs. It is a common sight, and not a good one, to see
a hive of bees with the combs all destroyed in the top by
the moth. Bees should have only the proper amount of
room at all times, but most particularly at times when there
is no honey flow and breeding may be at a low ebb. A close
watch must be kept on the bee moth or it is apt to cause
great loss of comb.
When a honey flow starts, it is necessary to look out
for super room and keep just enough storing room ahead
of the bees so that they can fill up all supers by the end
of the honey flow. Too much would be detrimental and
not enough would be a loss. To this end every colony should
be watched closely and visited every week to see that all
are kept supplied with storing room. When the honey flow
goes off, then all the surplus honey can be removed, packed,
and placed on the market. One super, however, must be
left full or nearly full of stores for the use of the bees.

All modern hives have loose hanging frames in which
the bees build the comb, live and rear their young. Every
colony should be examined carefully every week, or at least
every few weeks. Each comb in the bottom story of a
hive should be examined to see whether there are enough
brood eggs of the queen and a sufficient amount of honey.
If there is no honey in the super, it is necessary to
supply a frame of honey from some heavy hive. If there
are not as many bees in some colonies as in others, one may


take a frame of capped brood from one of the strongest
and best colonies and place it in the weaker colony. In this
way the weaker colonies can be built up. If no brood is
seen or the colony is growing very weak, the hive may have
a poor queen or none at all. Such colonies should occasion-
ally be given a frame of brood in all stages of development,
which will enable them to grow stronger and raise a queen
from the brood given them. Or, in the meantime, one may
order a queen and introduce her into the colony, which may
often save a colony from a downward drift or perhaps a
total loss.
Frame manipulation is of the greatest importance in
beekeeping, for right here the wheel of fortune in beekeep-
ing may turn. This is particularly outstanding in changing
combs as just mentioned above.

It is not customary even among beginners and small
beekeepers to allow the bees to swarm naturally, as much
better results are obtained when the swarming is controlled
by the beekeeper. The operations of increasing colonies
and controlling swarming are both done with one stroke.
When a very strong, heavy populated colony of bees is prop-
erly swarmed once each season, that colony and the one
made from it are both cured of the swarming fever for the
The strongest colonies should be divided up into equal
parts, in the early part of the year, some three or four
weeks before natural swarming time. This means taking
from the old hive one-half the bees, one-half the brood, one-
half the comb, and one-half the honey. As the hive is being
divided, one should look for the queen. The frame of comb
on which the queen is found should be put with the half
that is to make the new hive. The bees in the old hive can
raise themselves a new queen, although it is often preferable
to buy a queen for the queenless half.
The operation is not a success unless the queen is put
with the new stand, because if the bees that are carried
away to a new stand find themselves queenless, they will
boil out of the hive, pry about looking for the queen, and
invariably go back to the old stand in an effort to find
their mother. This depopulates the newly made hive, but
if the queen is there the bees will not leave her. The old

Frame Manipulation


half of the hive will have no idea where their mother has
departed to and will at once set out to raise another, or will
readily accept a new queen if one is introduced.

This is simple and easy when everything is in readi-
ness, and it can best be done late in the afternoon by those
inexperienced in the operation. The bees will thus be given
over night to satisfy and content themselves, while if done
in early morning there will be a turmoil all day among the
two divisions, the bees on the old stand looking for their
mother and the bees on the new stand making their new
home. Before this is done, a new empty hive for each
colony must be properly prepared, and the frames should
contain full sheets of foundation or ready built comb.

When the division is made, there should be four or five
frames in each hive of ready built comb containing brood
and honey. This is supplied when the division is made,
but a space should be left without any comb on one side of
each of the hives. The frames containing full sheets of
foundation from the newly prepared hive should be inserted
in these spaces. One frame containing foundation can be
placed right in the middle of the ready built combs in each
of the divisions. This will give the bees some comb to build
and they will start at once to draw out the foundation. As
fast as they draw it out, the queen will fill it with brood
and one will soon have solid slabs of brood.

On every visit, a frame of foundation should be inserted
in like manner until a full set of combs are drawn out, then
all one has to do is to keep the bees properly supered and
two hives rather than one will be making the honey.

Increases during any time of the year can be made in
like manner, but only with strong, heavy colonies. The
weak colonies and those of medium strength naturally have
a struggle to exist, and to divide them would mean disaster
and great loss.

To become successful in beekeeping, one must study
the nature and habits of the honey bee in order to learn
the best methods of bee culture. An effort should be made


to learn about the plants upon which the bees feed. A
number of good books are available on bee culture, which
can be obtained at a reasonable price. There are also a
few monthly publications on bees that contain valuable in-
formation. Whenever possible, the prospective beekeeper
should visit one or more progressive beekeepers in the lo-
cality in which he intends locating and watch the methods
of handling bees. The more information one can secure,
and the better it is applied, the greater will be the chances
for success.

Queen Rearing

By ROMB:RT E. FOSTER. Apiary Inspector

In order to rear queens successfully, one must he
thoroughly familiar with the methods used by the bees
themselves. A considerable length of time should be spent
in studying the bees, and reading available literature on
this subject.

In nature, there are three conditions under which bees
rear queens. These are: Emergency, supersedure, and

EMF;RGENCY: A colony of bees will sometimes lose their
laying queen. It may be that the beekeeper accidentally
kills her in handling the brood frames, or she dies from
some cause. This makes it necessary for the bees to raise
another queen. They do this by selecting several worker
larvae which are not over three days old and feeding them
abundantly with a rich food known as royal jelly. They
also build special cells around these larvae when resemble
a peanut hanging down on the side of the comb. After
feeding these larvae for about five days from the time they
hatched from the eggs, the bees seal the cells, and the lar-
vae spin their cocoons. They change into pupae and, in
about eight days after they are sealed, they emerge from
the cells as perfect queens. In the case of an emergency,
the bees usually select quite a number of larvae and make a
number of queen cells. The first queen to emerge goes over
the combs of brood and tears down the other cells. It
sometimes happens that there will be several q'weens em ,rge
about the same time, but. after they are a few hours old,
they will fight until there is only one left. Six to eight days
later, the virgin queen flies out of the hive and mates with
a drone, is fertilized, and returns to the hive. In two or
three days she takes up her duty of laying eggs.

SUPERSEDURE: After a queen mates with drone, she
can lay fertile or infertile eggs at will. The fertile eggs
hatch worker larvae, and the infertile eggs hatch drone lar-
vae. When a queen begins to fail on account of old age, or
some other cause, she gradually loses her ability to lay fer-
tile eggs. Some colonies of bees seem to notice this as soon


as the queen commences to fail, and they start queen cells,
usually one or two, and the queen lays eggs in these cells.
When these eggs hatch, the larvae are fed more abundantly
with royal jelly than in the case of an emergency. The
energy of the entire hive is put into raising this queen,
therefore, the result is a very fine queen. This young queen
will often be found laying right along with the old queen,
her mother. Later on she supersedes her mother as qoeen
of the hive.

SWARMING: When there is nectar coming in abund-
antly, and the hive is full of brood a-'d bees, some colonies
will prepare to swarm. A colony of bees about to swarm
usually make a large number of queen cells, and the queen
will prepare to swarm. A colony of bees about to swarm will
brood, there is a large number of nurse bees in the hive.
and this makes it possible for the colony to furnish the
larvae in the queen cells with an abundance of royal jelly.
The result of all this care and abundant food, is a queen of
better quality than in the case of an emergency. When
the first queen cell is sealed, the swarm usually leaves with
the old queen. The first virgin queen which emerges de-
stroys the rest of the queen cells.

Rearing a limited number of queens: There are a
number of methods which may be employed by a beekeeper
who has just a few colonies he wishes to requeen. Sealed
queen cells taken from a colony that has just swarmed may
be used to requeen other colonies where the queens have
been killed or removed. Five or six days after being sealed,
these cells may be cut out with a sharp knife and placed in
holes cut in the comb of the colony to be requeened, or if
there is only one cell on a frame of brood, the whole frame
may be exchanged for a frame from the queenless colony.
It is not necessary to remove the adhering bees from the
comb which has the cell. If one wishes to remove the bees,
it is best to brush them off the comb and not shake or jar
them off, as shaking or jarring the queen cell may injure
the young queen. In cutting the queen cells out, it is ad-
visable to cut clear through the comb about one inch on all
sides of the cell so as not to injure the cell. It is advisable
to remove the queen from the colony one wishes to requeen
24 or 48 hours before putting in the queen cell. This gives
the bees in the colony time to learn that they are queenless,
and they will accept the new queen cell more readily.


Perhaps a better way to get queen cells is for the bee-
keeper to select his best colony and remove the queen. This
colony will proceed to make a number of queen cells, and
five or six days after they are sealed, they may be used in
the same manner as the cells from the colony which had
swarmed. This method makes it possible for the beekeeper
to improve his bees by raising queens from his best colony.
If one wishes to keep the queen taken from the best colony,
she may be placed in another hive with one or two frames
of brood and the adhering bees. This will be a good start
in building up another colony. In doing this it is advisable
to give her a frame or two of honey as well as the brood.

A third method of getting queen cells requires more
skill and work, but will produce more and better queen
cells. Select the best colony, and place an empty worker
comb in the center of the brood nest. Leave this comb
there for two or three days, or until the queen has laid a
large number of eggs in the cells. Remove it, however, be-
fore the eggs begin to hatch, since the object is to get the
bees to use very young larvae in raising queens. Then go
to a good strong colony and remove the queen and all
frames containing eggs or brood, but leave the combs of
honey and pollen. Give this colony the frame of eggs
taken from the best colony. These bees, being queenless,
will build a large number of fine queen cells on this frame
of eggs. A few days after these queen cells are sealed, they
may be cut out and used for requeening queenless colonies.

By using one of the described methods, it is possible
for the average beekeeper to requeen a limited number of
colonies. However, unless he is an experienced queen
breeder, and knows how and when to feed the bees, none of
the methods described should be used unless there is a
honey flow on.

In rearing queens on a large scale, it is necessary to
use what is known as the "grafting" method, and use nuclei
or mating boxes for mating the queens. As this method is
rather complicated, and requires the services of an ex-
perienced beekeeper, we will not describe it here, but advise
anyone who wishes to rear queens commercially to write to
the A. I. Root Company, Medina, Ohio, or Dadant and Sons,
Hamilton, Illinois, and procure literature on this subject.


Taking into consideration the very low price at which
good queens may be purchased at the present time, it is
doubtful if it pays the average beekeeper to try to raise
queens. There are beekeepers who for years have made a
business of raising queens, and who have studied out the
best methods in order to raise the best queens possible.
These men are in a position to rear better queens at less
cost than the average beekeeper.

transferr ring

In some sections of the state, there are quite a few
colonies of bees located in old gums, box hives, and cross
comb hives. In the districts where commercial beekeeping
is carried on extensively, most of the box hives have been
transferred to modern equipment, but it is possible to find
a few cross comb or box hives in all parts of Florida.

The keeping of bees in hives of this type is very un-
satisfactory for several reasons. It has been proven over
and over again that a colony of bees will make more honey
if located in a movable frame hive than it will in a box hive.
It is almost impossible to requeen a colony located in a box
hive, therefore, if a colony becomes queenless, which hap-
pens frequently, they will soon dwindle away and the larvae
of the wax moth destroy the combs. The greatest objec-
tion to the box or crooked comb hive is that it is a menace
to the bee industry from the standpoint of bee disease con-
trol. It is impossible to thoroughly inspect a box or
crooked comb hive. If a hive of this type became affected
with American foulbrood. they would die out, bees from
other colonies would rob the honey, and, in a short time,
these other colonies would show disease.

The best time for transferring bees from box hives to
movable frame hives is when the bees are gathering nectar.
If transferred at this time, robbing will be prevented, and
the colony will build up and become normal very quickly.

There are several methods of transferring bees from
box hives to movable frame hives. The quickest method,
and the one used most extensively, is the method of cutting
the combs out of the box hive one by one and fitting them
into the frames of the new hive.

Before the transferring is started, the operator should
obtain the tools and equipment necessary so that the work
may be done quickly. A basin or pail of water is necessary
in order to wash honey from hands and tools. Of course,
the new hive should be ready with frames. One should
have a ball of twine or some rubber bands for holding the


combs in the frames. Other tools, such as saw, hammer,
etc., for opening the box hive are needed, and a knife for
cutting out combs.

A box with an opening about the size of the inverted
box hive is needed, into which to drum the bees, and a hive
cover or bottom board on which the combs may be cut and
fited to the frames, should be provided.

When all has been made ready, a few puffs of smoke
should be blown in the entrance of the box hive. This will
cause the bees to fill themselves with honey. Move the box
hive away and place the new hive on the stand where the
box hive was, in order that the flying bees may enter the
new hive. Turn the box hive bottom up and place the box
on it in such a way that the bees will have easy access from
box hive into the box. Rap the sides of the box hive with
sticks hard enough to jar the combs, but not hard enough
to break them. The rapping should be regular and con-
tinuous, this will cause the bees to crawl up into the box.
The drumming or rapping should continue for about fif-
teen minutes, or until most of the bees have entered the
box on top.

The bees in the box may be dumped in front of the new
hive at this time, or they may be set aside in the shade
until the combs from the box hive have been transferred
into the frames and placed in the new hive. One side of
the box hive is now removed, exposing the combs. The
combs should be cut out one by one until the brood is
reached. As soon as possible a frame should be filled with
comb containing brood and placed in the new hive. This will
help to hold the flying bees which return to the new hive. To
fit comb into the frames, a piece of comb is laid on the cut-
ting board, the frame is placed on top, the comb is marked
with the knife around the inside of the frame, the frame is
removed, and the comb cut on the marks and fitted tightly
into the frame. The comb may be tied into the frame by
passing cord around and around the frame and comb, or
rubber bands may be used to hold comb in frame. Rubber
bands cut from auto inner tubes arc fine for this. As fast
as the frames are filled with comb, they should be placed
in the new hive. No drone comb should be saved, and it is
best to save only the worker comb which contains brood.
However, one should try to save enough of the comb con-


training honey to take care of the immediate needs of the
colony. Frames not filled with comb should be filled with
full sheets of foundation. If the bees in the box were not
dumped in front of the new hive, they should be at this

After transferring, everything should be cleaned up
thoroughly in order to prevent robbing. In a few days the
bees in the new hive will have the combs securely fastened
to the frames, and the beekeeper can open the hive and
remove the string or rubber bands.

Another method of transferring which takes longer
but avoids cutting the combs can be used in the spring at
the start of a honey flow. Remove one side of the box hive
and lay it down with the open side up. Place a hive body
containing frames of drawn comb, or full sheets of founda-
tion, over the exposed part of the box hive where the bees
are thickest, and place a cover on the hive body. A piece
of board should be placed over the exposed part of the box
hive not covered by the hive body. If the hive body is
wider than the box hive, strips of lath or thin boards should
be used to close all openings into the hive body, except
where it is in contact with the box hive. The hive body is
left in this position until the queen comes un from the box
hive and starts a brood nest in the hive body. As soon as
the beekeeper finds the queen on the combs in the hive
body, a queen excluder is placed between the hive body and
the box hive to keep the queen from returning to the box
hive. After twenty-one days, the worker brood in the box
hive will all have emerged and the box hive will contain
empty comb and possibly some honey. The box hive can
now be removed and broken up and the comb melted up into
wax. A regular bottom board should be placed under the
hive body in place of the box hive. Transferring by this
method is accomplished in much shorter time if drawn
combs are used in the hive body instead of full sheets of

If the box hive contains a strong colony of bees and
there is a fair honey flow, it is advisable to place supers on
the hive body even while it is on the box hive. This will
help to prevent the bees storing honey in the box hive.

There are other methods of transferring, but the two
given have proved to be the most successful.

How to Hive a Swarm of Bees

Swarming is Nature's way of increasing the number of
colonies of bees. When a colony of bees becomes crowded
in the hive, or, in other words, when their hive is full of
bees, brood, and honey, the brood nest becomes congested.
and the colony will cast a swarm.

A colony preparing to swarm will build a good many
queen cells. Shortly after the first of these queen cells are
sealed, a large part of the bees and the queen will swarm
out of the hive. These bees fly around in the air and in a
few minutes cluster on the limb of a tree or a bush near the
apiary. They will usually stay clustered for two or three
hours, and sometimes longer. However, there is no set rule
in regard to the length of time they will stay clustered.
Some swarms stay a few minutes, and others will stay until
the next day. It is advisable to hive a swarm as soon as
possible after they cluster. The bees in a swarm have their
honey-sacs filled with honey and seldom sting if hived soon
after clustering. If they stay in the cluster until the next
day, or longer, the bees use part of the honey and are more
inclined to sting. Sometimes, if the swarm has been clus-
tered for 24 hours or more, it is advisable to sprinkle them
with water or a very thin sugar syrup before hiving. This
will quiet the bees and make them easier to handle.

In preparing to hive a swarm of bees, it is advisable to
have a bee smoker handy and, if one is not accustomed to
handling bees, the face should be protected by wearing a
bee veil. A hive should be ready. This consists of a hive
body filled with frames containing full sheets of comb foun-
dation, a cover, and a bottom board.

If the swarm is clustered on a limb or bush where they
may be reached easily, place the hive on the ground close
to the swarm. Take hold of the limb or bush on which the
bees are clustered and, with a quick shake or jerk, shake
the swarm down on the ground in front of the hive, as close
to the hive entrance as possible. Drum or rap on the side
of the hive with a hive tool or jack-knife, and the bees will
march in like an army of soldiers.


As soon as the bees are all in or clustered on the hive,
they may be moved, hive and all, to the location where the
owner wishes to keep them. If one wishes to move a swarm
of bees after hiving it, it is advisable to move them the
same day they were hived. If they are left where hived for
several days and then moved, a good many of the bees will
return to the location where they were hived. If moved the
same day they will accept the new location.

If one has other colonies of bee:; in good hives, it is ad-
visable to take a frame of brood from one of the old colo-
nies, shake or brush the bees off so there will be no danger
of getting the queen, and put this frame of brood in the
center of the hive intended for the swarm, in place of one
of the frames of foundation. The frame of foundation
should be placed in the old colony in place of the frame of
brood taken away. This will help to persuade the swarm
to accept their new home.

If the swarm clusters on the limb of a tree where they
cannot be reached, it will be necessary to get a ladder or
climb the tree and cut the limb on which the bees are clus-
tered. The limb should be lowered to the ground very care-
fully in order not to dislodge the swarm.

Honey Bees and Their Products


It would seem that as old a subject as Honey Bees and
their products would have long since been exhausted and
nothing new could be said on the theme. But it seems that
no subject is really ever "worn out" as we never know all
about anything. The bee industry has been revolutionized
during the last fifty years.

Honey is the oldest of all the sweets used by man.
There seems to be no country that can claim to be the origi-
nal home of the honey bee. Different species were found
in practically all the inhabitable parts of the world. The
aborigines of Peru sacrificed honey to the sun. Stingless
honey bees of Brazil produced every variety of honey from
good edible kind to black and sour. No one knows who first
tasted honey and pronounced it good. Samson, the strong
man, made a riddle on honey he found in the skull of a
lion which he had slain. That riddle got him into trouble.
John the Baptist's food, we are told, was locusts and wild

The honey bee is quite a useful animal. He does no
damage to the plant from which he gets his product--he is
beneficial in his visits to flowers by carrying pollen and
aiding in fertilization of the seed germs-and he brings a
valuable product to the service of man. He is one creature
that seems to be miserable unless he is at work. His in-
dustry is his life.
The U. S. Department of Agriculture reports that the
average analysis of honey shows the following percentages
of elements.
W ater .................. 17.7
Laevulose .............. 40.5
Dextrose ............... 34.02
Sucrose ................. 1.9
Dextrin and gums ....... 1.51
A sh .................... .15
This leaves 21.92 percent unaccounted for. These per-
centages differ largely in different specimens analyzed.


Extraneous matter gets into some honeys, such as pollen
or peculiar substances that may be in the nectar as ex-
tracted from the flower.

All edible honeys are thought to contain vitamins A,
B and C-neither of which can be found in cane or beet
sugars, according to authorities on this subject. The pro-
portions of laevulose and dextrose vary greatly in differ-
ent flowers from which honey is obtained. A high per-
centage of laevulose prevents crystallization. The tupelo
of the southeastern states and the sages of California pro-
duce this kind of honey. The high percentage of dextrose
causes honey to crystallize quickly and is therefore less
desirable for keeping indefinitely and for shipping long

It remains for the physicians and dietitians of this gen-
eration to discriminate between the different sweets used
for food and classify them according to their food values
and dietetic qualities. Even honeys are not all alike in
content, flavor or appearance. The world today is so com-
pletely commercialized that one may look for a flare-up if
he says that one kind of sweet is better for the human
anatomy than another.

The general keeping of bees is a good thing economic-
ally, in spreading pollen and in furnishing honey for the
household. But the fact remains that the production of a
certain variety and quality in large amounts is the only
way to open up a sure market at a good price. Buyers of
large quantities of anything want to know that they can
depend on the source of supply to be ready when they want
it and in the quantities they want. This is the only way
they can build up a trade that continues from year to year.
The human taste is subject to cultivation and when cus-
tomers of dealers in honeys ask for a certain honey or syrup
they have cultivated their taste to that particular kind and
do not want to be put off with "something just as good."
If the orange honey producers were to advertise their honey
through some central office it would vastly increase the
market. The same is true of the tupelo honey or any other
good variety. Melilotus honey is of a kind and appearance
that appeals to hundreds of thousands, but it takes adver-
tising to create and hold buyers.


The State Department of Agriculture has nothing to do
with the supervising or inspection of bees or honey. That
comes under the jurisdiction of the State Plant Board. As
the extermination of plant pests is a Plant Board function
it has been construed that bee pests should come under the
same head.

I have no comparative figures of the value of honey
and molasses but the time was at the turn of the century
when honey exceeded in value the molasses in the United
States. Modern methods of refining and advertising arti-
ficial sweets have placed them far in the lead as food

Many physicians and dietitians are recommending
honey for arthritis and neuritis. It has proven to be effi-
cacious in many cases where all other remedies had failed.

Florida is a honey-producing state, largely because we
have an abundance of different nectar-producing flowers
and also because of the long season during which honey
can be gathered. I am of the opinion that the greatest
thing the honey-producers could do for their marketing ad-
vantage would be to organize and place a fund for the
judicious advertising of the distinct types, giving emphasis
to the distinguishing qualities of each.



Alachl m
Charlot t(
Gad d.-In
;A.lchr- I
Hill ,-hor(tuuh
Holme .
Indt(ian River
.Jack ont
I.1aFnl'a tt
Palm HBemch
St. Johnsl
St. Lulle
Santa Ro-a
Ci ollt


~ili itch



4 785


1 000


Value of production r(i'al 71.9'* ol :11mountl investe'd innuallY. Amnoiunt in-
vested 1i cI:lcul:teld ia $5.00 per -i t.ild. A eragc prlic of honey 1;- 10: per pound
Values ranivt' from 9 Ic to 14.4c per pound. A-\'ra;e product ion :3l 7 Plound-
per stand. No other inve.stente in .1agrcult-urce pays -o large a p.ir cent.


$ 2.130.00
7.875 00

925 00

12 (00
12 125.00
2 810 00
1.450 00
l.750 oil
1.925 00
1.455 00
4.685 00
215 00
6.250 00
3.640 00
2 305.00
255 00
560 00

1 450.00
1 100.00
1 875 00
35 00
1 110.00
5.000 00
16.910 00
2.060 00
1.080 00
15 ;.05.00
2. i85 00
2.220 00


1 19.357


31 790
15 965
123 750
21 375-
7 766
114 302
19 750
1 195
36 916
4 265

5 472
3 415



' 1.38001
566 K00


1.701 011
1.950 0(1
712 00
6(.097 0(0
36 00
1.084 00j
403 00
250 00
3.048 00
1 277 00
235 O(i

990 00
:3.275 041
5.500 00
12.058 00
1.580 01




Apiaries, beginning of
Apiary, honey house
Apiray, illustration of
Apiary, Illustration of

Bee. Caucasian 9
Bee. German 9
Bee, Honey 9
Bee. Italian 9
Beekeeping, early development
of 7
Beekeeping, success of -- 27
Bees, inspection of 13
Bee Record. 1937 table 41
Bees, benefits from ... 38
Bees. how to hive ....... 36
Bees, queen rearing 29
Bees. swarming to transfer ... 34
Bees, swarming in trees.... 37

Care of bees in winter ........ 20
Care of queens during winter 20
Caucasian ... ......... 9
Cell, queen .. .......... 31
Colonies, division of ............. 27-28

Development of beekeeping.
early 7

Emergency queens 29
Equipment for honey house.... 13

Facts about honey bees and
their products .......38
Feeding larvae 30
Florida. honey producing. 40
Foreword ..... 5

Grading of honey .......
Granulation of honey

Hives, supers for .. 15
Honey, analysis of 38
Honey. as medicine 40
Honey bee 9
Honey bees and their products 38-39
Honey, blending of 19
Honey flows 21
Honey, grading of ...... 16-17
Honey, granulation of .. 19
Honey house 13

Apiary, placement of hives 11
Apiary selection of site 11
Areas in Florida favorable to
beekeeping 21

Bees, stingless 38
Bees. swarming 25-28
Bees, time to hive swarm 36
Bees, transferring 33-34
Bees, types of 7- 9
Bees, where to keep them 11
Bees. where to obtain 13
Bees, wintering 20
Beginning of Apiaries 11
Black mangrove, illustration 12
Blending honey .. 19
Botanical n a m e s of honey
plants .. 22-23
Building honey trade .... 39

Colonies, increase of .....27-31
Congested brood nests 36
Containers for honey ....... 17
Coral vine, illustration ....... 14

Dextrose in honey
Division of colonies


Equipment for transferring 33-34
Extermination of pests 40

Frame manipulation ....... 24
Frame manipulation, illustra-
tion .. 2
Frames, replacing 37

16-17 Gallberry. illustration
19 German Bee

Honey. oldest of sweets .
Honey. marketing of
Honey. packing of
Honey, packed with comb
Honey plants in Florida.
Honey plants, table of
Honey. removal of .....
Honey. vitamins in
Honey yields -
How to start an apiary




Increasing colonies 27
Inspection of bees 13

Location, of apiary II
Lor'ation, of honey house 13

Manlipulation of frames 24
Methods of transferring 33-34

Obtaining bees 13

Packing honey with comb 17
Packing of honey 16-17
Perpetual honey flows 21

Queens, commercial dealers in 31-32

Rearing methods 30

Saw palmetto. illustration 10
Setting up of hive 13
Storing room 24
Success in beekeeping ...... 29

Table of honey plants 22-23
Table-Bee record 1937 41
Ti Ti-illustration 16

When honey plants in bloom 22-23

Yields of honey 15

Italian bee

ILocation. of honey plan ts

Moving HIved Bees

Place to keep bees
Plants. table of honey

Removal of honey

Supers for hive
Super room. care of
Swarming of bees

Transfer w 1 t hou t cutting
Types of bees

Wit.eriiig of bees





University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs