~i s&1 D. Haynie-Milledge Mur
qr~ FloridaAgriculturaJ extension Sevtc "' -... -
nstitute of Foo d "~nd Agricultural kcic .es" -,
SUivf sity of Florida, Gainesville-
MILLEDGE MURPHY, and JOHN D. HAYNIE
Professor of Entomology and Extension Apiculturist
Bees in History ............. 3 Location of Apiary ................12
Races of Bees ......... 4 How to Start With Bees ..........15
The Colony ......................... 5 Apiary Operation ...... .... 16
Nectar-Producing Plants ........... 8 Enemies of Bees ... 28
Beekeeping Equipment.... 10 Beekeeping Organizations ..30
Books and Journals .... .. 31
Honey bees are valuable to Florida farmers not only for
the honey they produce but more so for their service in pollinat-
ing crop flowers. It is estimated that more than 10,000 Floridians
keep bees and annually harvest an average of 20,000,000 pounds
of honey. Florida normally ranks second or third in the United
States in honey production.
In gathering nectar and pollen honey bees visit several plants
on one trip, thus helping to pollinate many plants that otherwise
might not produce fruit or seed in abundance. They are par-
ticularly important with legumes, watermelons, cucumbers and
many other vegetables and fruits. It is estimated that their
pollinizing services are worth at least 20 times as much as their
honey production. Growers often pay beekeepers to place hives
in their crop fields.
In almost every section of Florida honey bees can be kept
easily and usually will produce from 5 to 10 gallons of honey
per hive each year. Some sections of the state have sufficient
nectar-producing plants to support hundreds of colonies in one
location, making possible commercial beekeeping.
A few colonies of bees can provide a wholesome sweet for
home use. As the beginning beekeeper grows in knowledge and
skill he can increase the number of his colonies until he has a
considerable sideline or goes into commercial beekeeping.
Beekeeping is not difficult and its principles can be learned
by anyone. However, the production of honey, like the produc-
tion of most agricultural crops, requires close attention and a
thorough knowledge of proper methods. The successful beekeeper
must be a keen observer and base his operations on his obser-
A revision of Bulletin 151.
Fig. 1.-Actual size of individual bees. Left to right: Worker, queen, drone.
Anyone interested in keeping bees would do well to read a
good book on the subject and subscribe to a bee journal, noted
at the end of this circular. Bee supply catalogs will aid the be-
ginner in becoming familiar with parts of the hive and beekeep-
ing equipment. Visits to nearby apiaries will enable him to learn
the general routine and to gain confidence in handling bees.
This bulletin is intended to provide basic information about
beekeeping. Those who have questions not answered here will
find a list of references in the back of the bulletin, or they may
write the Agricultural Extension Service in Gainesville.
BEES IN HISTORY
Primitive man became interested in bees as a source of sweet-
ning and has kept bees since before recorded history began. In
ancient times honey was the principal sweet. Honey and beeswax
were used for medicinal purposes. The wax also was used to
make candles, for writing tablets, for mummifying the dead and
for dozens of other purposes. Importance of honey is attested
by such Biblical references as "a land flowing with milk and
honey." As early as 3,000 B.C. Egyptians floated rafts contain-
ing "bee logs" down the Nile River as the season progressed to
take advantage of a succession of honey flows.
Beekeeping has made its greatest advancement since 1851.
In that year the first of four significant developments was dis-
covered, when an American, Rev. L. L. Langstroth discovered
the bee space, the basic principle of the modern moveable frame
hive. Prior to this date to examine a colony it was almost neces-
sary to bring about it's complete destruction. The next develop-
ment was wax foundation perfected by Johannes Merhing in
Germany in 1857. In 1865 Major Franz von Hruschka made the
first honey extractor. It was not until 1889 when G. M. Doolittle
of New York put together many ideas into a workable system
of producing queen bees. These four developments have made
possible the large apiaries of thousands of colonies with large
yields of honey. Throughout the world where beekeeping is a
successful operation, the principles of management made pos-
sible by these men are used.
In 1913 A. B. Marchant of Apalachicola, Florida and a bee-
keeper in Mississippi advertised package bees for sale. Each
year 350,000 pounds of bees and many thousands of queen bees
are sold throughout the United States and Canada by southern
Honey bees were first brought to the United States in the
17th century. They were brought to Florida by early Spanish
priests who kept them for both the honey they produced and
the wax, which was used to make candles for church services.
Despite the fact that honey bees have been kept by man for
thousands of years, these highly specialized insects have not
become domesticated. They can live with or without the help
RACES OF BEES
All honey bees in the United States belong to the same spe-
cies, but there are several races within the species. Each race
is named for the country from which it originated.
Germans.-For over 200 years until the late 1800's, Germans
were the only race of bees in the United States. They are small,
black, quick to sting, very susceptible to European foulbrood, and
do not protect their hives against the wax moth as well as most
other races. They have been largely supplanted by other kinds.
Italians.-The Italians were imported from Europe in 1860
and are now the most popular race in this country. The first
three segments of the abdomen of these large bees are yellow.
A light strain of Italians developed in this country has the entire
Gentle and easy to handle, Italians resist European foulbrood,
build fine queen cells, keep the hive clean and protect it from the
wax moth, winter well, and are not bad about swarming. The
three-banded Italian strain has proven to be an exceptionally
good honey producer.
Caucasians.-This race of dark bees, sometimes called moun-
tain grays in this country, is one of the most gentle honey bees
known. The Caucasians defend their hive well against robbers,
seldom enter the wrong hive, winter well and cap their honey
cells white. However, they have several characteristics which
some beekeepers do not like. They build excessive burr and brace
combs underneath the frames on the bottom board and may
practically seal the entrance during the winter. Their dark color
makes it difficult to find the queen when requeening colonies.
Carniolans.-Native to Yugoslavia, Carniolans are gray-black
in color, large, gentle and good honey gatherers, but swarm ex-
cessively. They build numerous queen cells, and cap their honey
white. They are not commonly kept in this country.
Bees are gregarious insects and a colony is one of the most
highly developed social organizations in the animal world. It is
composed of three different types of individuals-the queen, the
worker and the drone or male. Each type is different in size and
development and performs its own particular function.
The period required for the brood to develop will vary slightly
with weather conditions, but is approximately as follows for the
three types of bees:
Days as Egg Days as Larva Days as Pupa Total Days
Queen 3 51 71/2 16
Worker 3 6 12 21
Drone 3 61/2 141/ 24
Queen.-The queen bee, mother of the colony, is characterized
by large size, wings that cover approximately half her body and
an abdomen longer than that of either the worker or the drone.
She leads a queenly life, being fed from larva to death largely on
royal jelly, a glandular food produced in the head of worker bees.
The queen, beginning from a fertilized egg, develops in a large
cell resembling a peanut. This cell is especially constructed to
open downward rather than to the side of the comb, as do the
cells of workers and drones. Abundant feeding of a larva from
a fertilized egg on royal jelly in the special queen cell produces
Within six to eight days after emerging from her wax cell
the queen mates with a drone in mid-air. After mating with
about four or five drones, she returns to the hive. From two to
Fig. 2.-Queen cells, shaped somewhat like a peanut and hanging down-
ward, may be found around the edge of the brood comb in preparation for
swarming when the colony becomes crowded.
five days after mating she starts laying eggs and never mates
again. Often she lays as many as 3,000 eggs in a single .24-hour
Normally there is only one queen to a hive. The existence of
the colony depends upon her ability to lay eggs. Although she
may live as long as six years, it is considered a good beekeeping
practice in Florida to replace the queen every year. A young
queen in the spring of the year builds up the colony quickly and
has a tendency to reduce swarming.
It is a good practice to obtain the queen from a queen breeder,
rather than depend on the bees to raise one themselves.
It requires four weeks for a queen to develop and begin egg
laying and another three weeks for her first offspring to emerge
from the brood combs. Some brood should be raised by the colony
all year, even during the winter. Field bees are dying every day
and it is important that more be produced to replace them if the
hive is to survive.
Workers.-These female bees with undeveloped sex organs
comprise the largest group within the colony. A good hive should
have at least 30,000 workers. As their name implies, they do the
work of the colony. They feed the larvae, clean, guard and venti-
late the hive, and gather pollen, nectar, water and propolis. Under
abnormal conditions, when a queen fails in egg laying or when
the colony is queenless, workers may even lay unfertilized eggs
which develop into drones.
The average life of the worker bee is about six weeks during
the main honey flow. They literally work themselves to death,
dying when their wings wear out. However, worker bees pro-
duced in late fall, due to reduced field activity, normally live until
the following spring.
Drones.-The drone or male bee develops from an unfertilized
Fig. 3.-The queen (center) is easily recognized by the long, tapered
abdomen and shiny thorax
C~~ -.c-, ii
egg which is deposited by the queen in a large cell in the comb.
Drone cells measure four to the inch of comb, when the larva are
fully developed the drone cells are capped with a dome of wax,
and are usually found near the bottom of the brood frame. The
drone is large and stubby and has eyes that cover the top of his
head. His sole duty is to mate with a queen, after which he dies.
The drone is a strong flier, which aids him in overtaking the
queen for mating.
A normal colony contains from 200 to 300 drones-many
times the number needed. (Combs with too many drone cells
should be culled from the brood nest.) Drones are heavy food
consumers and often are fed by the workers. The workers drive
the drones from the hive at the end of the honey flow or during
the fall. In weak and queenless colonies drones may be allowed
to remain throughout the winter.
Although there are many flowering plants in Florida, only a
few are useful for commercial honey production. Some plants
Fig. 4.-A good queen lays her eggs in a solid pattern over the brood comb.
produce nectar in one section of the state but not in another.
If no bees are located in the general area where you expect to
place your hives, it would be well to check for nectar-producing
plants. If not enough plants are available, blooming at different
times, to maintain the colony all year, it will be necessary to
move the colony to better pasture.
The type of nectar the bees gather influences the flavor and
color of honey. Honey is usually marketed under the name of the
principal flowering plant from which it is produced, such as
orange blossom, tupelo or palmetto honey. Most of Florida's
honey is produced from blossoms of citrus, saw palmetto, Ilex
gallberryy), partridge pea, tupelo, mangrove, seagrape, thistle,
pennyroyal, snow vine and summer farewell. Clovers are not too
plentiful in Florida, but are good nectar plants where they are
found. Bees placed permanently in a citrus grove must be near
the edge, close to other nectar plants blossoming during summer
and fall, otherwise they will starve and the colony die out.
For best results the apiary should have numerous honey
Fig. 5.-Drone or male cells (indicated by pointer) are large and rounded.
Combs with this many or more drone cells should be removed from the hive.
plants within a radius of a mile and a half, even though bees
will fly farther than that when necessary.
The modern beehive, invented in the United States in 1851
by L. L. Langstroth, has made possible the present-day bee-
keeping industry. This hive allows for easy examination of the
queen, the young developing bees and the stores of honey and
pollen, giving the beekeeper a chance to obtain maximum returns
from his investment through giving better and more intelligent
care to his bees.
The 10-frame Langstroth hive is almost universally used by
beekeepers and is recommended for beginners. Each colony will
need a hive body for rearing brood and storing honey and pollen.
A queen excluder to keep the queen in the brood nest, and shal-
low supers will be needed for each colony for the storage of sur-
It is necessary to have a smoker to quiet the bees when open-
Fig. 6.-Florida's principal honey-producing plants include Ilex (gall-
berry) (below), and citrus (orange blossom), tupelo and saw palmetto
blossoms (top to bottom on next page).
ing the hive and a hive tool to separate the hive parts. Burlap
bags, rotten wood and pine straw and other fuels which burn
cool are all good materials to burn in the bee smoker. The hive
tool is a piece of flat steel 10 inches long, curved at one end and
straight at the other. It is used to pry hive bodies and frames
apart and scrape propolis and wax from hive parts.
Wear white or tan non-woolen clothing while working with
bees. Dark or woolen clothing tends to irritate them. Beekeepers
wear veils to protect their faces. Some beginners wear gloves,
but these are usually discarded, since they tend to impede the
LOCATION OF APIARY
The best site for bees is away from the paths of people or
farm animals and near good honey plants. When bees are car-
Fig. 7.-For successful beekeeping the beginner needs this equipment.
Shown on top of the hive is the hive tool, bee brush, bee veil and smoker.
Hive parts from top to bottom: cover, shallow super, queen excluder, deep
super or brood chamber and bottom board. Leaning against the hive is a
deep frame containing wired foundation. A Boardman feeder is shown at
the entrance of the hive.
trying nectar they fly low and anyone in their path in front of
the hive may be stung. This low-flying area extends for a num-
ber of feet in front of the colony. However, anyone can pass
safely within five or six feet to the rear of the hive with little
risk of being stung.
Several factors should be considered in selecting an apiary
site. A good location should include the following: a good source
of nectar and pollen, a supply of fresh, good water and air drain-
age and if possible some shade.
All colonies should be placed on stands from 8 to 18 inches
above the ground to protect them from ants, toads and skunks.
A good hive stand can be made from two large concrete blocks.
A wooden stand large enough for two colonies with a space be-
tween to place supers when working either colony is ideal. If
Fig. 8.-Good brood combs are necessary for successful beekeeping.
Since these combs will be used for years, they should be built as strong as
possible. Use wood glue when assembling frames. Horizontal wires add
strength and help support the comb. A wiring board is a great help in
making the wires taunt before being nailed into place.
more than two colonies are placed on a stand the beekeeper jars
and disturbs the other colonies before he is ready to open them.
This makes it more difficult to work the colonies.
Colonies usually are faced south or east, to avoid the cold
Fig. 9.-The tight horizontal wires are pressed into the wax foundation
with a spur embedder. To get good drawn comb the frame with foundation
should be placed in the super directly above the brood nest during a honey
northwest wind in winter and to allow sun to shine on the bottom
board. Bees are more active when placed in the sun.
It is advisable to treat the hive stand with a good wood pre-
servative such as 5 percent pentachlorophenol to prevent decay
organisms from penetrating the lumber. This material, as well
as other wood preservatives, can be purchased at lumber yards
or hardware stores.
HOW TO START WITH BEES
For success in beekeeping, bees should be kept in hives with
removable frames, so brood and bees can be examined when
necessary and frames of honey can be removed when filled.
The beginner should start with not more than three or four
colonies. When he learns how to handle bees and is sure that he
will enjoy working with them, he can increase the number of
colonies. One can start in beekeeping by buying a complete colony
from a beekeeper, buying a package of bees, catching a stray
swarm or transferring bees from an old bee tree or bee gum to
a standard hive.
Established Hive.-The most satisfactory way to start bee-
keeping is to go to a nearby beekeeper and buy an established
colony. The beekeeper will go through the colony and show you
how to work the bees. The colony obtained should have at least
eight frames covered with bees and the queen should be laying
a solid brood pattern on five or six frames. The hive itself should
be of sound material and of standard 10-frame size. The bees
should be of a good strain and gentle. When one desires addi-
tional colonies this colony may be divided during a honey flow to
make two. (See discussion on making increase).
Packages.-If you wish to start with package bees you can
find the addresses of package bee producers in any good bee
magazine. All leading bee strains are sold in this manner. Direc-
tions for installation into the hive will come with the package.
It is advisable to order your package to arrive during a honey
flow. Otherwise, feeding the new colony will involve much time
Swarm.-In catching a swarm, have a hive containing frames
and foundation ready for the bees. If the bees are hanging on
a low limb, cut the limb and gently carry it to the hive and place
it across the entrance. Soon the bees will start moving into the
hive. If the queen enters the hive the swarm will usually stay;
otherwise they will fly away. Progress of a colony can be ob-
served from the beginning if started with a swarm or package
Transferring.Bees.-Transferring bees from tree cavities and
old box hives should be left to the more experienced beekeeper.
Even he may lose the colony after it has been transferred. Trans-
ferring should be done only during a good honey flow, so the bees
can overcome the shock of replacing brood in the combs and re-
Whether the apiary consists of
principles of operation will apply.
few hives or many, the same
Frequent observation of the
Fig. 10.-Starting with a package of bees. Drawn combs or frames with
foundation are placed in a deep super with a Boardman feeder installed in
the entrance. Next remove the can of sugar water from the shipping cage.
Place queen cage between new or drawn combs. Pour some bees from the
package over the queen cage, and cover. Four or five days later check the
hive for the queen, remove the shipping cage and add the other frames.
hives, particularly in spring, is essential if the beekeeper is to
know the condition of the colonies and be able to do the things
necessary to keep the colony in top shape. Probably in no other
phase of agriculture is proper management more essential.
Opening the Hive.-It is necessary to open the hive when
examining the bees or taking off honey. The best time to make
this examination is during the middle of the day when the sun
is bright and the temperature is fairly high. Always approach
the hive from the side or rear. When their line of flight in front
of the hive is blocked the bees are likely to sting accidentally.
With a well lighted bee smoker direct three or four puffs of
smoke into the entrance of the hive. With the hive tool pry
open the cover and send two or three puffs of smoke across
the top of the frames. As you remove supers from the hive or
the bees cover the top of the frames, blow a few puffs of smoke
across the tops of the frames. Smoke causes bees to engorge
Figure 11.-Before you open a hive, first smoke the entrance with three
or four puffs of cool smoke. You should approach the hive from the side
or the back and be sure to direct the smoke into the entrance.
Figure 12.-After the entrance is smoked, the cover should be pried
open and at the same time two or three puffs of smoke should be directed
under the cover. Next remove the cover and start examining the frames.
with honey, making them easier to handle. However, excessive
or hot smoke irritates bees, causing them to sting and be dis-
agreeable. All movement while working bees should be slow and
deliberate. Quick, sudden motions may cause them to sting.
The hive tool is used to separate frames so they can be re-
moved easily by grasping them at each end. Remove the brood
frames very slowly. Do not roll or mash the bees while remov-
ing the frames. Usually the second frame from the outside is
pulled first to prevent injury to the queen, which is normally
near the middle of the hive. The first two or three frames re-
moved can be leaned against the hive body to make room for
easy examination of the rest of the hive. The frame contain-
ing the queen should never be placed out of the hive because
if the queen should drop to the ground, she might be lost and the
colony would be queenless. Always examine the frames by hold-
ing them directly above the hive. This allows any bees and nec-
tar which drop from the frames to fall into the hive. Place
frames back in their original position when closing the hive.
It is a good practice to push the frames together from each side
of the hive, leaving space for separating the frames at the next
Seasonal Management.-In the early spring, after a semi-
dormant period, bees begin to increase their brood nest. At
this time they use more honey than during the winter months.
To raise a pound of bees requires from 8 to 10 pounds of honey,
in addition to the necessary pollen. The beekeeper should check
his colonies at this time to make sure they have from 20 to 25
pounds of stored honey with which to raise brood before the
first honey flow.
It is advisable to check again six to eight weeks before the
flow to see if the colonies still have sufficient stores of honey
Fig. 13.-The hive cover is a good place to stack supers when they are
taken off the hive. Never put a super flat on the ground because sand and
leaves will get in the honey. A puff of smoke should be blown across the
frames as each super is removed.
S--- ----1-- W, A-
Fig. 14.-The queen excluder keeps the queen and drones in the brood
nest but allows the workers to enter the honey supers. (Not all beekeepers
use queen excluders, but they are desirable to have.)
and pollen. If these stores are insufficient, feed sugar sirup and
a pollen supplement.
Make sugar sirup by mixing equal parts by volume of sugar
and water. Feed it at the entrance to the hive in a quart-jar
(Boardman) feeder (Fig. 16) obtainable at bee supply stores.
The hive entrance should be reduced to two or three inches when
feeding to prevent other bees from robbing the hive.
Pollen supplement is made of 5 parts soybean flour and 1 part
brewer's yeast by weight. It can be obtained from most bee sup-
ply houses. Mix thoroughly and knead the pollen supplement
into a doughlike paste by adding sugar sirup. Place this inside
Fig. 15.-When examining brood frames slowly remove the second frame
from the outside first. This avoids injuring the queen, which is usually
near the middle of the hive.
Fig. 16.-A Boardman feeder is an easy way to feed colonies which
are weak when no honey plants are available. The entrance to the hive
must be restricted when feeding and the small opening should be away
from the feeder.
the hive on top of the frames above the brood nest. Place a piece
of wax paper on top of the pollen cake to prevent it from drying
out. If the colony has to be fed, it will take at least a gallon of
sugar sirup and a pound of pollen supplement to put it in good
condition. After feeding, check the queen to see if she is laying.
In the spring the queen should have five or six frames of
brood laid in a solid pattern with every cell filled and sufficient
bees to cover the brood and care for it. A queen laying in a
spotted pattern should be replaced. If it is too early in the
season to purchase a young queen, unite the weak colony with
a strong one by placing the weak colony on top of a strong colony
with two sheets of newspaper between. A colony with a poor
queen or queenless is an easy prey for ants and wax moths,
which can quickly ruin the combs and hive parts. The united
hive should be strong enough to prevent wax moth damage.
A strong colony of bees is the best protection against the rav-
Fig. 17.-Pollen is stored in the wax cells near the brood cells. Without
sufficient pollen the colony will not be capable of rearing brood.
Fig. 18.-When moving bees in cool weather the hive can be stapled
or strapped together and a folded piece of screen wire inserted into the
hive entrance. In hot weather the top of the hive should be screened to
ages of the wax moth. Later in the season when queens are
available the hives may be separated into two good colonies.
Moving Bees.-Colonies can be moved a few feet at a time
each day without disturbing bees returning from the field. If
longer moves are to be made, move the colonies at least a mile.
Bees are best moved after sundown or before daylight, when
most of them are in the hive. The entrance may be screened or
left open. However, it is advisable for the inexperienced bee-
keeper to screen his colonies before moving. Before attempting
to move a colony, fasten the hive parts together with two-inch
staples or straps, so they will not slip apart while in transit.
Many commercial beekeepers smoke the entrance of the hives,
quickly load the colonies on a truck and start the truck moving
as soon as possible. The smoke causes the bees to remain in
the hive until loaded and the jarring motion of the truck on
the road will cause them to stay in the hive until unloaded at
a new location. As soon as the new location is reached the col-
onies are smoked and quickly unloaded and placed on stands.
If the colony is extremely strong, the weather hot and the
entrance screened, there is a possibility that the bees will crowd
the entrance and cause the colony to suffocate. A screened
cover on a strong colony will permit proper ventilation, partic-
ularly if the hive has a screened entrance.
When to Add Supers.-When the honey flow begins place
supers of drawn comb or full sheets of foundation on the hive
as old ones are filled. If combs in the top story are being filled,
it is time to add a super. There should be ample room in the
brood nest and supers for normal bee activity at all times, as
this tends to prevent swarming. Under normal conditions the
honey will be completely capped in about two weeks and can
then be removed from the colony.
Summer is a good time to check the queen and replace her
if she is not laying a uniform brood pattern. If the colony has
poor, sagged combs with a large number of drone cells, now is
the time to remove them and replace with new frames or drawn
comb. The best way to get brood comb is to put frames with
full sheets of foundation directly above the brood nest during
a honey flow. Never put new frames of sheet wax foundation
Fig. 19.-When the queen is failing or you have undesirable bees, you
should requeen the colony. First, kill the old queen, then place the queen
in her shipping cage in the hive so the hive bees can eat through the sugar
candy to release her. A week later check to see if the queen is released, if
she is not, remove the wire screen and let her walk into the hive.
in the colony when the honey flow has stopped, as bees will par-
tially destroy it.
During fall, after the last honey flow, remove all surplus
honey from the colony, but leave one shallow super above the
brood chamber for winter stores. In Florida about 40 to 45
pounds of honey should be left in each colony, since this is cheap-
er and more practical than feeding sugar sirup in winter and
spring. Combs occupying the second story which are well filled
are usually sufficient to winter the colony.
During the winter months when there is little bee activity
the entrance should be reduced to help maintain heat in the
colony and to prevent mice damage to the brood combs. The
entrance is reduced with an entrance block so the opening will
be approximately one-half by three inches. Also, at this time
of the year, all supers with empty combs should be fumigated
and stored until spring. Instructions for comb fumigation and
storage are given on page 29.
Requeening.-In the South the queen lays during a much
longer portion of the year than in the Northern states, thus
wearing herself out sooner. When the colony has been estab-
lished for a year it should be requeened. This is best done dur-
ing the last honey flow of the Fall. Queens are cheaper at this
time of the year and requeening in the Fall assures the colony of
a young, vigorous queen the following spring to build up the hive
for the first honey flow.
When you are ready to requeen, purchase a queen of the de-
sired strain from a queen breeder (listed in bee magazines).
When the new queen arrives find the old queen and kill her by
pinching her head and dropping her on the bottom board of the
In Florida a good way to introduce the new queen during the
summer is to place the queen cage on the bottom board of the
hive, or in an opening near bottom of a frame (see picture 19)
after the old queen has been killed. Check the colony in five days
to see if the bees have released the new queen. If the cage is
empty, examine the brood frames for eggs. When eggs are pres-
ent the new queen has been accepted by the colony. The colony
should not be disturbed too much at this time. If the queen is
still in the cage, release the new queen directly on the brood
comb. Examine the colony again in seven or eight days to see
if the new queen is laying. Wait two or three weeks before dis-
turbing the brood nest again. If the new queen was killed by
the worker bees it will be necessary to order another queen at
once. The queenless colony should have a frame of unsealed
brood added before introducing the second queen.
Swarming.-The causes of swarming are not definitely known,
but it is thought that one chief cause is a congested brood nest,
and crowded hive. Swarming is nature's way of reproducing bee
However, swarming is not profitable for the beekeeper, since
Fig. 20.-An uncapping knife, bucket, and hand extractor is all that is
needed to extract honey from a few hives.
the swarm usually contains the bees that would have gathered
the surplus honey. Good beekeepers try to reduce swarming as
much as possible. Artificial methods of making increase are
better than trying to catch swarms.
Some aids in reducing swarming are: replace old queens with
young queens, allow plenty of space for the brood nest, provide
ample storage space in the honey supers, remove queen cells, and
give proper ventilation. All of these practices are important.
Making Increase.-There are a number of ways to make in-
crease, the beekeepers' term for establishing new colonies. One
of the simpliest methods of increasing the number of colonies in
an apiary is to divide a strong hive during a honey flow by placing
half of the brood and adhering bees with a new queen in a new
Fig. 21.-When removing combs of honey from the hive, brush the bees
into the hive or at the entrance.
hive. Five frames of drawn combs or full sheets of foundation
can be placed in each hive to fill it to 10 frames. Obtain a mated
and laying queen for installation in the new hive when making
increase. (See discussion on requeening.) Leave the old queen
in the old hive.
When you have several colonies you can make a new one by
pulling one or two frames of brood and bees from each colony
and place them in a new hive with a new queen. This will not
weaken any one colony seriously.
Capturing swarms and introducing package bees (see dis-
cussions under preceding section, How to Start with Bees) are
other methods of making increase.
Comb or Liquid Honey.-Section comb honey, put up in small
wooden boxes (41/4" x 41/4"), is quite pretty and appetizing but is
very difficult to produce. One must have an unusually good honey
flow and good weather to produce it.
It is best for the beginner to use regular shallow frames in
supers above the brood nest, separated from the brood nest by
a queen excluder. Bees will produce approximately twice as
much honey in the shallow frames as in the small comb honey
sections. Swarming also is much more of a problem in comb
honey production than in the production of extracted honey or
bulk comb honey in shallow frames.
Honey removed from shallow frames can be cut out and used
as bulk comb honey or can be extracted from the comb by using
a honey extractor. The beginner will find bulk comb honey the
most satisfactory to produce and market. As his apiary grows
he may obtain an extractor for the production of liquid honey.
Removing Honey.-Probably the best way for the beginner
to remove honey is to take each frame out of the super, shake
off the bees just above the hive and brush off the remaining bees
with a fiber bee brush. By this method you can free a super
of honey of bees in one or two minutes.
The honey can then be removed from the frames for market-
ing as bulk comb or extracted honey.
Marketing Honey.-Honey can be marketed either whole-
sale or retail. The beekeeper with a few colonies will usually
find a retail market locally. Honey to be sold retail should be
packed in glass. Many beekeepers can dispose of their entire
crop at retail from a well located roadside stand on a much
traveled highway. When retailing honey the price should con-
form generally to retail prices in the community and should be
consistent with labor and expense involved.
Honey to be marketed wholesale should be packed in 60-
pound cans or 55-gallon barrels. More and more producers are
selling their honey crop cooperatively. A more orderly system
of marketing is maintained in this way throughout the year.
ENEMIES OF BEES
The honeybee in Florida is subject to two principal bacterial
diseases, American and European foulbrood, and two insect pests,
wax moth and ants.
American and European foulbrood, which are harmless to
man and do not affect honey for human consumption, attack
the developing brood. American foulbrood is by far the more
serious and will destroy every colony in the apiary unless stopped
early in its development.
Foulbrood is easily recognized. Numerous larvae and pupae
die and dry up and the diseased brood gives off a foul odor.
To prevent the loss of your hives to American foulbrood,
the preventive treatments using sulfathiazole or terramycin
twice a year is strongly recommended. A satisfactory mixture
is made by putting 1/4 cup of microfine sulfathiazole in 1
pound of powdered sugar. Another mixture, which is somewhat
Fig. 22.-In weak hives the wax moth can completely destroy the combs.
Systematic inspection for good queens and ample stores will prevent losses
of this kind. In winter extra supers should be stored with a few crystals
more expensive, but is also a treatment for European foul-
brood, is to put 1/4 cup of terramycin TM-25 into 1 pound
of powdered sugar. These treatments are applied at the rate
of 1/4 cup per hive and should be sprinkled on the top bars in the
brood nest. The best time for application is in the late summer,
August or September and again in early spring, around the
first of February, at least six weeks before the first anticipated
European foulbrood can usually be prevented by feeding ter-
ramycin once a year. It is best to treat European foulbrood
in the spring when you are treating for American foulbrood.
For this treatment you mix 1/ cup terramycin into 1 (one)
pound of powdered sugar and apply 1/4 cup per hive directly to
the top bars of the brood nest. If you suspect disease in your
colonies contact the Division of Plant Industry, Florida Depart-
ment of Agriculture, Gainesville, Florida and request they
inspect your bees, A sample of the suspected comb can be sent
to the USDA, Division of Bee Culture, Beltsville, Maryland
20705 for positive identification. They will advise you of their
findings in about ten days.
Wax moths are found only in weakened hives or stored
combs. Take care at all times to keep colonies strong by hav-
ing good laying queens and ample stores. If you do this the
wax moth will cause little or no injury. The larvae of this pest
riddle the comb and leave silken tubes. The pupa or resting
stage is spent in a shallow cut made in the side of the hive or
The control of wax moths should be done by prevention
rather than treatment. Badly infested hives should be scraped
clean of comb and cocoons and the frames should be refitted
with full sheets of foundation before being given back to the
During winter months store empty supers with drawn comb
to prevent attack from wax moth larvae. An easy way to do
this is to place a cover on the ground and put a sheet of news-
paper over it. Place a super on the newspaper and sprinkle
over the frames 1 to 2 teaspoonfuls of paradichlorobenzene.
Then place another sheet of newspaper over the super and add
another super to the pile and repeat the treatment. Cover the
top super with a sheet of newspaper and then a hive cover. In
two weeks take down the pile and repeat the paradichloroben-
zene treatment to kill any young larvae which may have hatched
from the eggs. These two treatments two weeks apart usually
are sufficient to keep the combs in good condition during winter
Many beekeepers have a fumigating chamber for storing
combs. Paradichlorobenzene is satisfactory as a repellent when
used at the rate of 1 to 2 pounds per 100 cubic feet of storage
Ants are also enemies of bee colonies. If they are trouble-
some in your apiary dust the area around the hives with a 5
percent chlordane dust. Chlordane is very toxic to bees and
must not be used on or under the hive.
Chlordane is an insecticide which is poisonous and should be
handled with care. Read and follow the precautions given on
Locate all ant hills possible and treat by pouring a few table-
spoonfuls of this spray into each hill to eliminate the ant colony.
There are a number of beekeeping organizations in which
the beginning beekeeper would enjoy membership. These or-
ganizations have meetings at which beekeeping problems are
discussed and are also a means of making beekeeping friends.
Florida-State-Beekeepers' Association.-The State Associa-
tion holds one two-day meeting each year and a one-day meeting.
All beekeepers are welcome. Commercial, sideline, amateur and
hobbyist beekeepers enjoy friendly contacts at these meetings
and learn something of value.
When there is sufficient interest in one or more counties,
beekeepers find it beneficial to have local meetings. The State
Beekeepers' Association is made up of district associations. It
provides assistance for all beekeepers.
Those interested in beekeeping may contact or write the
County Agricultural Agent, who will supply information as to
how persons may attend beekeeping meetings and become mem-
Beekeepers' Institute.-A two-day beekeepers' institute is
held each year at one of the 4-H Club summer camps sponsored
by the Agricultural Extension Service. The purpose is to bring
to beekeepers the latest information and improved practices in
beekeeping. A small registration fee and the cost of meals are
the only charges for the institute.
National Beekeepers' Federation.-Beekeepers may be mem-
bers of their local organization, state association, the Southern
Beekeeping Federation and the National Beekeepers' Federation.
American Honey Institute.-The American Honey Institute
is the beekeepers' research laboratory on the use of honey. The
Institute promotes the use of honey in national advertisements
and with the use of their many printed bulletins on honey at cost
to beekeepers. The American Honey Institute is financed by
beekeepers and should have the support of as many beekeepers
Write Director, American Honey Institute, 33 North Michi-
gan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60601, for further information on
the use of honey.
BEE BOOKS, JOURNALS, AND FILMS
Root, E. R. ABC & XYZ of Bee Culture. A. I. Root Company, Medina, Ohio.
Grout, Roy A. The Hive and the Honeybee. Dadant and Sons, Hamilton,
The Dancing Bees. Karl von Frisch.
American Bee Journal, Hamilton, Illinois.
Gleanings in Bee Culture, Medina, Ohio.
See your county agents for films on beekeeping. Films are ordered
from the Agricultural Extension Service, IFAS, University of Florida,
Gainesville, Florida 32601.
The following films are available on bees to beekeepers:
The Language of the Bees ....... ... ................
Beginning Beekeeping ...............
Bees and Honey ....
Bees and Honey Land .....
Bees for Hire ..
Boys and Bees ..........
Pollination of Alfalfa by Honey Bees
Queen Rearing ..... ..
Tupelo Honey ..
Modern Bee Breeding
15 min, color
15 min. black & white
17% min. color
10 min. black & white
29 min. color
14 min. black & white
15 min. color
28 min. color
28 min. black & white
14 min. color
211/ min. black & white
This is a Revision of Bulletin 171
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN
AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida,
United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
Joe N. Busby, Dean