Information about bee culture


Material Information

Information about bee culture
Physical Description:
11 p. : ; 26 cm.
United States -- Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration, Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine
Place of Publication:
Washington, D.C
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Bee culture -- United States   ( lcsh )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
federal government publication   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references.
General Note:
Caption title.
General Note:
"E-276, Revised ; May 1951."

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 030269027
oclc - 778684598
System ID:

Full Text
May 1951 E-276, Revised

United States Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Research Administration
Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine


Most persons appreciate that the only source of honey and beeswax
is the honey bee. Few realize, however, that, although this insect in
the United States produced in excess of 200 million pounds of honey and
4 million pounds of beeswax annually, these are merely by-products, and
that its principal role is in the pollination of some 50 agricultural
crops for the production of seed and fruit. 'Vliile many other insects
are of value as pollinators, their numbers have been so depleted in the
course of agricultural development that they can no longer be relied
upon. In practically all agricultural areas honey bees are now the most
numerous flower-visiting insects. The transfer of pollen from flower to
flower is so essential that beekeeping must be carried on to maintain a
profitable agriculture.

Many persons own bees, but not enough keep bees efficiently or
make beekeeping a specialty. Efficiency in beekeeping is based upon a
thorough knowledge of the life and behavior of bees, the proper use
of equipment, and careful attention to marketing problems.

This circular lists various publications giving information on bee
culture, including those issued by the Department of Agriculture and
its various agencies, State cooperative publications, and books and
journals on beekeeping. It also lists the bee supply houses and bee-
keeping organizations. In addition, the beekeeping activities of the
Department of Agriculture are outlined and a few paragraphs giving
advice to beginners in beekeeping are included. If your beekeeping
questions are not answered in this and other Department publications,
the Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine will be glad to render
further assistance. Address all inquiries to Division of Bee Culture.
Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, Md.


A limited supply of some of the following publications is available
for free distribution. However, all are obtainable by purchase from the
Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington 25,
D. C., or can be consulted in libraries. Do not send money or any other
kind of remittance for publications to the Division of Bee Culture.


Farmers' Bulletins: Cents

961, Transferring Bees to Modern Hives.................5
1713, Treatment of American Foulbrood..................5


386, The Wax Moth and Its Control....................5
392, Diagnosing Bee Diseases in the Apiary.............5
554, Honey and Pollen Plants in the United States.....10
650, Factors Affecting Usefulness of Honey Bees
in Pollinatiorn.................................i0
702, Productive Management of Honey Bee Colonies
in the Northern States........................llu
876, Use of Honey Bees in Alfalfa Seed
Production.. ............ ...... s o ......... In press

Technical Bulletins:

656, Cost of Producing Extracted Honey in California..10
716, Investigations of the Physical and Chemical
Properties of Beeswax.....*.***.. .. ******.***.5

Leaflet 113, Honey and Some of Its Uses.....................5

The following publications of the Bureau of Entomology and
Plant Quarantine are obtainable without cost from that B&reau,
Washington 25, D. C., or from the Division of Bee Culture.

E-297, List of Dealers in Beekeeping Supplies, Package
Bees, and Queens.
E-531, The Use of Pollen Traps and Pollen Supplements in
Developing Honey Bee Colonies.
E-536, The Role of Pollen in the Economy of the Hive.
E-584, The Dependence of Agriculture on the Beekeeping Industry.
E-693, Two-Queen Colony Management.
E-749, Bee-Gathered Pollen in Various localities on the
Pacific Coast.
E-763, Tests with DDT on Honey Bees in Small Cages.
ET-250, A Manual for the Artificial Insemination of Queen Bees.
ET-289, A Portable Field Cage
ET-291, Thresher and Separator for Red Clover Seed Samples.



The following State publications, reporting investigations in
cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture, can be
obtained from the indicated State Agricultural Experiment Station or
consulted in libraries:

Costs and Practices in Producing Honey in Oregon, by A. S. Burrier,
Frank E. Todd, H. A. Scullen,and William Ui. Gorton. Oregon
Agricultural Experiment Station, Bulletin 362. 1939.

Growing Alfalfa for Seed in Utah (contains section on pollinating
insects by G. E. Bohart, G. F. Knowlton, W. P. Nye,and F. E. Todd).
Utah Agricultural Experiment Station, Circular 125. 1950.

The Distribution of California Buckeye in the Sierra Nevada in
Relation to Honey Production, by George H. Vansell, William G.
Watkins, and L. S. Hosbrook. California Agricultural Experiment
Station. 1940.

Nectar and Pollen Plants of Oregon, by H. A. Scullen,and George H.
Vansell. Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station, Bulletin 412.

The Beginner Beekeeper in Louisiana, by E. Oertel. Louisiana State
Department of Agriculture and Immigration. Ed. 2, 1947.

Honey Bee losses as Related to Crop Dusting with Arsenicals, by S. E.
McGregorp A. B. Caster, and Marvin H. Frost, Jr. Arizona Agricultural
Experiment Station, Technical Bulletin 114. 1947.

Beekeeping near Cotton Fields Dusted with DDT, by S. E. McGregor and
C. T. Vorhies. Arizona Agricultural Rxppriment Station,
Bulletin 207. 1947.

Pollen and Neotar Plants of Utah, by George H. Vansell. Utah
Agricultural Experiment Station, Circular 124. 1149.

Other information available from various agencies in the Department
of Agriculture is indicated below:

Semi-monthly Eoney Report, This report, issued on the 1st and 15th
of each month, gives quotations on honey and beeswax, the condition
of bees and honey plants, data on imports and exports of honey,
and other pertinent information relating to the marketing of honey
and beeswax. Copies are available without cost through the
Production and Marketing Administration, Washington 25, D. C.


Production Statistics. Honey and Beeswax Production, 1950. Gives
statistics on the number of colonies, and production of honey and
beeswax. Available without cost from the Bureau of Agricultural
Economics, Washington 25, D. C. A report on the number of queen
bees and pounds of package bees shipped in 1950 is available from
the same source.

United States Standards for Grades of Extracted EHoney Effective
SAoril 16S. 1951. Send request to Pro.essed Products
Standardization and Inspection Division, Fruit and Vegetable Branch,
Production and Marketing Administration, Washington 25, D. C.

Honey Diversion Prgaam. Payments of 3 3/4 cents per pound are made
on honey sold by packers or dealers to manufacturers for use in
approved new outlets. FuRirther information available from the
Fruit and Vegetable Branch, Production and Marketing Administration,
Washington 25, D. C.

Honey Export Subsidy Program. Payments of 4 1/2 cents per pound, or
up to 50 percent of the f.a.s. price or of the domestic market
price, are made to exporters for honeys meeting set specifications.
Information available from fruit and Vegetable Branch, Production
and Marketing Administration, Washington 25, D. C.

Honey Price Suport Program. The Agricultural Act of 1949 makes honey
price support for beekeepers mandatory at levels ranging from
60 to 90 percent of parity. The 1951 program provides for the
support of most flavors of honey meeting U. S. Grade C specifications
at 10.1 cents per pound delivered in 60 pound containers to
packers.* Most of the honey acquired by the Department is utilized
in school lunch and institutional feeding outlets. Inquiries on
this subject should be addressed to fruit and Vegetable Branch,
Production and Marketing Administration, Washington 25, D. C.

Honey-Marketing Cooperatives Information obtainable from Farm Credit
Administration, Washington 25, D. C.

Motion Picture Film. "The Realm of the Honey Bee." This is a four-
reel film showing the life history and behavior of the honey bee.
It is replete with close-ups of bees gathering nectar and pollen,
performing the "food dance," and driving out drones and robber bees.
It shows how bees sting, and also records a fatal encounter between
rival queens. The film closes showing how honey is removed from
the hives and prepared for market, and a few of the ways in which
honey can be used. Copies of this film in 35-millimeter width may
be purchased through the Motion Picture Service, Office of
Information, U. S. Department of Agriculture, 'Washington 25, D. C.
Copies of 16-millimeter width may be purchased direct from United
World Film, Inc., 1445 Park Ave., New York 29, N. Y.


Slidefilms. The following slidefilms, produced for the Departmernt
Agriculture, are available from Photo Lab, Inc., 3825 Georgia
Ave., N. W., Washington 11, D. C., at the prices Indil-Hte-;

151, The Anatomy of the Honey Bee
171, Diagnosis of Bee Diseases in the Apiary
346, First Lessons in Beekeeping
616, Transferring Bees to Movable-Frame Hives


$ .50





Co W. Aeppler Co....................,.....
Dadant and Sons..,..............,..,.........
Diamond Match Co.............................
Walter T. Kelley Co..........................
Leahy Manufacturing Co......,,................
G. B. Lewis Co................................
August Lotz Go....*..*..o..*.,*****.,..,......
Marshfield Mfg. Co., Inc......................
Fred W. Muth Co...............................
A. I. Root Co................................
Williams Brothers Mfg. Co....................
A. G. Woodman Co........,...,................
Superior Honey Co...........o...........,.,.

Oconomowoc, 'is.
Hamidlton, 111.
Chico, CaLif.
Paducah, Ky.
Higginsville, Mo.
Watertovm, WVis.
Boyd, Wis.
Marshfield, Wis.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Medina, Ohio
Portland, Oreg.
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Ogden, Utah and
Los Angeles, Calif.

See also: List of Dealers in Beekeepinig Supplies,
Package Bees, and Queens. U. S. Bur. Ent.
and Plant Quar. E-297.


Books for sale by bee supply houses (see above) and Loc1w{ (Ialers.
Prices are approximate. Some of these book, may be in cu r pr.1bl c lilr".-7,

Beekeeping Management for Honey and Wax F, du ction:

ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture (I95)... *. I. & L. R. .YOCT..
Alien Latham's Bee Book (1949)...,,..*Alen Latham....
Backlot Beekeeping (1949).....,...... H. Pease..o,...
Beekeeping for Beginners (1949)....*....G. H. C 'e, Jr...
Beekeeping (1928).....................E.F. Pillips......
Beekeeping in the South (1920)....*....Kennith Eawkins..,,o
Beeswax (1951).......................H. Ih* oot......,...

.1.*- a



Dadant System of Beekeeping (1932).....C. P. Dadant........ $1.00
First Lessons in Beekeeping (1943).....C. P. Dadant........ 1.00
Five Hundred Answers to Bee Questions (1942).Geo. S. Deluth .50
Hive and the Honey Bee (1949)... .. ***. .Roy A. Grout....... 4.00
Honey Getting (1948)...................E.L. Sechrist...... 1.00
Honey in the Comb (1951)...............Carl E. Killion..... 3.00
How to Succeed with Bees (1930)........Atkins and Hawkins.. .55
Langstroth on the Hive and Honey Bee (1927).C. P. Dadant... 2.00
Living from Bees (1946)..*..............rank C. Pellett.... 2.50
Outapiaries (1919).....................M.G. Dadant........ 1.00
Productive Beekeeping (1923)...........Frank C. Pellett.... 3.00
Starting Right with Bees (1945)... ..H. G. Rowe..*........* .75

&yeen Rering:

Better Queens (1949)...................Jay Smitb........... 4.00
How to Grow Queens (1938).****.............Walter T. Kelley.... .50
Practical Queen Rearing (1945).........Frank C. Pellett.... 1.00
Queen Rearing Simplified (1923)........*Jay Smith........... 1.25
Queen Rearing (1946)...................L. E. Snelgrove..... 5.00
Queen Rearing (1950)..................J.Eckert &
H. Laidlaw.......... 2.50


American Honey Plants (1947)...........Frank C. Pellett.... 6.00
Anatomy and Physiology of the Honey Bee (1925).R. E.
Snodgrass... 3.50
Beekeeping as a Hobby (1941)..........Kyle Onstott........ 2.00
Beekeeping for Pleasure and Profit (1943).Addison Webb..... 2.00
Bee Hunting (1908).....................John R. Lockard..... .50
Bees, Their Vision, Chemical Senses, and Language
(Translation 1950) Karl von Frisch..... 3.00
Bee Venom Therapy (1935)...............Bodog F. Beck (M.D.) 5.00
City of the Bees (1949)................frank S. Stuart..... 3.00
Following the Bee Line (1931).... *.....**Josephine ]orse..... 1.00
Golden Throng (1940)...................Edwin Way Teale..... 5.00
History of American Beekeeping (1938)..Frank C. Pellett.... 2.50
Honey and Your Health (1944)...........B. Beck & D. Smedley 3.00
Honey Plants of North America (1926)...John H. lovell...... 1.50
Life of the Bee (1904).............e..Maurice MIaeterlinck. 3.00
Mystery of the Hive (1923).............Eugene jvrardo...... 2.50
The Bee Hunter (1949)..................George Harold Edgell 2.50



The following are issued monthly at about $1.50 to $2.00 per year:

American Bee Journal, Hamilton, Ill.
Beekeepers' Magazine, Lansing, Mich.
Bees, Hapeville, Ga.
Gleanings in Bee Culture, Medina, Ohio
Modern Beekeeping, Paducah, Ky.


American Bee Breeders Association-J. F. McVay, Secretary-Treasurer,
Jackson, Ala.

American Beekeepinig Federation-Clenn 0. Jones, Secretary, Atlantic,
Iowa. A national organization of beekeepers comprised of
State and county beekeepers' organizations and individual
beekeepers. Annual dues $5.00.

American Honey Institute---Mrs. Harriett M. Grace, Director,
Commercial State Bank Building,; Madison, Wis. An organization
sponsored and supported by bee-supply companies, beekeepers'
organizations, and individuals. Its purpose is to give
publicity to honey through demonstrations, lectures, radio
talks, honey recipes, and other literature.

Apiary Inspectors of America-F. L. Thomas, Secretary, Texas
Agricultural Experiment Station, College Station, Tex.

Bee Industries Association-Alan Root, Chairman, A. I. Root Co.,
Medina, Ohio. Representing supply manufacturers.

Honey Bee Improvement Cooperative Association-Charles A. Reese,
Secretary, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. A non-
profit organization to promote the distribution of improved
strains of the honey bee.

National Honey Association--Frank L. Swanson, 1028 Third St.,
Council Bluffs, Iowa. Representing commercial bottlers of honey.

Southern States Beekeepers' Federation-L. A. M. Barnette, Bellaire,
TeX. An organization of honey producers, shippers of
package bees, and queen breeders devoted to the interest of
beekeeping in the Southern States.

State Beekeepers' Organizations-A beekeepers' association exists
in practically every State. Information about such associations
can usually be obtained through your State Department of
Agriculture of your Agricultural College or Experiment Station.



Research work on beekeeping and insect pollination is centered in
the Division of Bee Culture, Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, Md.
xArizona--Southwestern States Bee Culture Laboratory at Tucson.
Frank E. Todd, in charge. Cooperating with the Agricultural
Experiment Station of the University of Arizona.

_,alifornia--Pacific States Bee Culture Laboratory at Davis. Geo. H.
Vansell, in charge. Cooperating with the California Agricultural
Experiment Station, the University of California, and the Oregon
Agricultural Experiment Station.

Ll-'-a.--Southern States Bee Culture Laboratory, University Station
at Baton Rouge. Warren Whitcomb, Jr., in charge. Cooperating with
the Lou'siana Agricultural Experiment Station and the University
:i" ITjisiana,

:;'ar ^---Headcuarters, Division of Bee Culture, Bureau of Entomology
e.d 7l-Jnt Quarartine, Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, Md.
.*". I. Hambleton, in charge.
Lr.I---Legume Seed Research Laboratory., Columbus. A. W. Woodrow is
_rn charge of the insect-pollination phases. Cooperating with
the Ohio State University and Ohio Agricultural ZExp" --nt

Queen-rearing yard on Kelleys Island. V. C. Roberts, in charge.
Cooperating with the Honey Bee Improvement Cooperative Association.

-regD ---Sub-laboratory at Corvallis, H. A. Scullen, in charge.
Co-prorating with Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station and the
Oregon State Agricultural College.

j.ah--- I.ime Seed Pesearch Laboratory, Logan. George E. Bohart is
in charge of the insect-pollination phases. Cooperating with the
Utah Agricultural College and Utah Agricultural Experiment Station.

Wisconsin..----North ".-,tral States Bee Culture Laboratory at Madison.
C. L. 7 1-rar, in ch.arge. Cooperating with the Wisconsin Agricultural
Experiment Stati .n and the University of Wisconsin.

Wyoming---Intermoi_itain States Bee Culture Laboratory at Laramie.
A. P. St'irtevant, in charge. Cooperating with the Wyoming Agricultural
Experiment Station and the University of Wyoming.



Beekeeping is a specialized industry requiring fundamental knowledge
of bee behavior and a genuine liking for handling bees. Locating colonies
close to available sources of nectar is important, since to insure good
crops the bees should be within flying range, that is, within 1 or 2
miles, of an abundance of nectar-secreting plants. Good beekeeping
locations are found in practically every State, so that the selection
of apiary sites resolves itself into choosing locations itihere nectar-
secreting plants occur in profusion and where living conditions are

With proper experience and a liking for bees, a person in a favorable
location can obtain from beekeeping a return that compares favorably with
that from most agricultural pursuits. Beekeeping, however, can easily
become a profitless undertaking, and to avoid this we advise beginners
not to invest heavily. Practical knowledge gained through a season's work
with an experienced beekeeper should be invaluable to a beginner. If a
person cannot spend time with a beekeeper, the next best thing is to
acquire two or three colonies and do the best he can. A number of State
educational institutions offer resident or correspondence courses in

A common method of starting a colony is to purchase a package of
bees, preferably 3 pounds, with a queen and to install this package in a
hive equipped with frames containing full sheets of brood foundation.
Instructions for installing usually accompany the package.

If established colonies are purchased, they should be (1) in modern
hives, (2) acquired from a reliable beekeeper, and (3) accompanied by a
certificate of inspection to insure freedom from disease.

The best time to begin beekeeping with either package bees or
established colonies is in the spring, when fruit trees are in bloom.

A beginner's outfit may consist of the following items, although it
is suggested that catalogs from some of the bee supply houses be consulted
for comparable information.

1 10-frame hive, consisting of: 1 3-1b. package of bees with
1 bottom board queen
2 10-frame hive bodies complete 1 smoker
with frames and brood founda- 1 bee beil
tion 1 hive tool
2 to 4 shallow supers complete 10-15 lb. of granulated sugar
with frames and thin super 4 oz. of No. 28-gage wire
foundation Spur imbedder
1 outer cover and 1 inner cover


Such outfits, including a subscription to a bee journal, cost
approximately P20. The equipment can be varied, and more can be added
after a person has become experienced and learns how to manage large
colonies. The standard lO-frame hive is the type generally used in the
United States.

While factory-made equipment ordinarily gives the most satisfactory
results, some beekeepers prefer to construct their own beehives. If this
is done, it is a good plan to purchase or borrow a complete hive to use
as a model. It is essential that all dimensions be carefully adhered
to; otherwise the bees will build combs and add propolis where it is not
desired. Likewise careful construction is necessary so that all hive
parts are readily interchangeable.

The Italian bee is the kind recommended for the beginner in this
country. It is hardy, industrious, and fairly gentle, and can be readily
obtained in pure stock since it is the bee most commonly kept in the
United States.

You should consult your Agricultural College, State Department of
Agriculture, or Agricultural Experiment Station for information on State
beekeeping publications, extension work in beekeeping, inspection service,
good beekeeping locations, beekeeping associations, and the like.


1. Bees need an abundant store of honey (25 or more pounds during.
the active season and 50 to 60 pounds during winter), pollen, plenty of
room for brood rearing, a source of water, protection from the wind,
and exposure to sunlight.

2. Swarming results in the loss of honey, and therefore should be

3. There should be empty comb space in the hives at all times
preceding and during a honey flow. If every cell becomes occupied with
brood, pollen, or honey, the bees will swarm or stop working, in either
case causing a loss of honey if just before or during a flow.

4. For successful wintering a colony should have a young queen of
'..i.h producing stock, a large cluster of young, fall-raised bees, 60 or
more pounds of sealed hTney, and several combs containing large areas
of -*llkn. For these requirements a colony must have a 2-story standard
ve with a gross weight, in Octoberr, of about 130 pounds.

5. It iz, unprofit ale and, in. many States, illegal to keep bees in
1.- hive. or "!tuns."

6. It does not pay to cultivate any plant for bees alone. Nectar
resources may be improved, however, by planting such crops as sweet clover
on waste lands.

7. Starvation is one of the principal causes of unprofitable
beekeeping. If bees are short of honey stores, a syrup of two parts of
clean granulated sugar to one of water should be fed. Plan carefully
and avoid having to feed the bees by leaving them plenty of honey at all

8. Diseases of bees cause large annual losses of bees, honey, and
equipment. Beekeepers should learn to recognize the symptoms, particularly
of American foulbrood.


Although it is normal to find a few dead bees at the entrance of a
hive, the presence of large numbers should cause the beekeeper to examine
the colony for some abnormal condition. The presence of trembling or
paralyzed bees, or of bees crawling and apparently unable to fly, should
arouse suspicion. Two of the commonest abnormal conditions of adult bees
are poisoning by insecticides and Nosema disease. A laboratory diagnosis
can be made for Nosema disease and insecticide poisoning, although at
times a diagnosis of any abnormal condition of adult bees may require
actual observation of the colony affected.

In many parts of the country beekeepers suffer losses from American
or European foulbrood, the two most serious brood diseases. European
foulbrood can be controlled by proper corrective measures, but American
foulbrood, the more serious and prevalent of the two, requires a more
drastic treatment. The bees and combs of colonies infected with umerican
foulbrood should be burned.

Apiary inspection is a function of the States, and is maintained by
most State Departments of Agriculture, to which should be referred all
questions concerning apiary inspection, diagnoses, and proper methods of
control. As a service to beekeepers, however, the Division of Bee Culture
examines, without cost, samples of brood and adult bees. Reports of
these diagnoses are sent to the beekeepers and copies to the proper State
apiary officials.

For diagnosing brood diseases send a sample of comb about 4 by 4
inches containing the affected brood or brood remains. Avoid including
any honey if possible. For diseases of adult worker bees, send from 100
to 200 (preferably the latter) sick or dead bees. iail all samples in
a wooden or heavy cardboard box. Do not use tin, glass,. or waxed paper,
Address all samples to the Division of Bee Culture, Agricultural Research
Center, Beltsville, Mde


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