Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Where the Honey-Bee Lives...
 Curious Structure of the Bee -...
 The Young Bee - Drones - Tongue...
 Pollen - Propolis - Division of...
 The Hive - The Honeycomb
 Death of a Queen Bee - Care of...
 Swarming of the Bees
 Neatness of the Bee - Ventilation...
 Sting of the Bee - Anger of Bees...
 Age of Bees - Their Flight - Bee-Hunt...
 The Care of Bees - Wax - Honey...
 Back Cover

Title: The hive and its wonders
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00002152/00001
 Material Information
Title: The hive and its wonders
Physical Description: 126 p. : ill. ; 15 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Cross, J. H
Davison (Firm) ( Binder )
Religious Tract Society (Great Britain) ( Publisher )
Knight and Son ( Printer )
Publisher: Religious Tract Society
Place of Publication: London
Manufacturer: Knight and Son
Publication Date: [1853]
Subject: Bees -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Bee culture -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Christian life -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Embossed cloth bindings (Binding) -- 1853   ( rbbin )
Davison -- Binders' tickets (Binding) -- 1853   ( rbbin )
Bldn -- 1853
Genre: Embossed cloth bindings (Binding)   ( rbbin )
Binders' tickets (Binding)   ( rbbin )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Funding: Brittle Books Program
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00002152
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002225009
oclc - 05317594
notis - ALG5281
 Related Items
Other version: Alternate version (PALMM)
PALMM Version

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front cover 1
        Page 3
    Title Page
        Page 4
    Table of Contents
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Where the Honey-Bee Lives - Honey-Guides
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Curious Structure of the Bee - The Queen - The Drones - The Workers
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
    The Young Bee - Drones - Tongue of the Bee - Pasturage of the Bee
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
    Pollen - Propolis - Division of Labour Among the Bees
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
    The Hive - The Honeycomb
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 61
        Page 62
    Death of a Queen Bee - Care of the Young
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
    Swarming of the Bees
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
    Neatness of the Bee - Ventilation of the Hive - Enemies of the Bee
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
    Sting of the Bee - Anger of Bees - Attack of Missionaries by Wild Bees
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
    Age of Bees - Their Flight - Bee-Hunt - Transportation of Hives - Bees in Australia
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
    The Care of Bees - Wax - Honey - Instinct of the Bee
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
    Back Cover
        Back cover 1
        Back cover 2
Full Text



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F' rF' LONDON: (| 11

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Where the Honey-bee lives-Honey-guides..... 7

Curious Structure of the Bee-The Queen-The
Drones-The Workers ..................... 17

The Young Bee-Drones-Tongue of the Bee-
Pasturage of the Bee ...................... 27

Pollen-Propolis-Division of Labour among the
Bees ..... .............................. 35

The Hive-The Honeycomb ................ 43

Wax-makers-Building of the Comb-Bees' Store-
ells and Cradles ......................... 52


Death of a Queen Bee-Care of the Young ..... 63

Swarming of the Bees...... ................ 72

Neatness of the Bee-Ventilation of the Hive-
Enemies of the Bee ...................... 84

Sting of the Bee-Anger of Bees--Attack of Mis-
sionaries by Wild Bees................. 91

Age of Bees-Their Flight-Bee-hunt-Trans-
portation of Hives-Bees in Australia..... .. 104

The Care of Bees-Wax-Honey-Instinct of the
Bee .................................. .. 116



THE honey-bee is a well-known insect.
Far and wide the pleasant hum of its busy
wings has been heard, and sweet flowers


in almost every land bend their heads
beneath the weight of its light footsteps,
as it gathers its sweet store. It is one of
the most curious of all the insects, and is
of interest to us on account of its skill
and industry, as well as the benefits which
it bestows on us by its honey and wax.
Many, too, are the leasons which we may
derive from the bee: indeed, in some
eastern lands, its name is debLwah, that is,
"she that speaketh." Rightly, then, have
learned men, in almost every age, thought
this little insect to be worthy of much
Aristotle and Pliny, who lived two
thousand years since, and many in modern
times, have studied its habits. We read
of one person who, several hundred years
ago, gave up nearly his whole life to the
care of bees. Another is said to have
spent his days in the forests where the
wild bees made their homes, in order to
observe all their ways with the greatest
care. But the most remarkable writer on
bees was M. Huber, a blind gentleman,


who in his studies had the assistance of a
A very large number of books have been
written about the honey-bee. It has been
said that no nation of the earth has had
its history so often written as this little
The bee, or "honey-fly," as it was for-
merly called in England, was well known
in ancient times to the people of the land
of Canaan. Honey and the honey-comb
are often noticed in the Scriptures, and
were among the luxuries of the earliest
times. Judea is many times called a "land
flowing with milk and honey;" and though
this no doubt refers to the richness of the
country in general, yet the honey and milk
spoken of must have been found in abun-
dance, and been highly valued by the
people. Honey was among the articles sent
by Jacob as a gift to the governor ot
Egypt, Gen. xliii. 11, and also by David
to his friends, 2 Sam. xvii. 29. Wild
honey formed part of the food of John the
Baptist in the wilderness, Matt. iii. 4, and


was obtained from wild bees: and nearly
all bees are wild in the east. They were
numerous, and formed their combs in any
convenient place that offered-in the trees
of the forests, or holes of the rocks. In
these places were often found the richest
honey-combs. Thus the Israelites were
sometimes fed "with honey out of the
rock." Honey was used at their meals,
with butter or milk, as a pleasant article
of food. The honey-comb, cut in slices,
with bowls of milk and cream and boiled
rice, is served up to strangers and visitors
at the present time by the Arabs, as Judea
still preserves its character for an abun-
dant supply of honey.
We are told, that, in some parts of
India, the forests swarm with bees, and
large combs are seen hanging from the
trees full of honey. They appear to be
very common throughout every part of
Africa. On the western coast, near the
river Gambia, the natives formerly paid
much attention to the care of the bees.
They had hives made of reeds and sedge,



shaped like baskets, and hung on the
outer boughs of the trees. The bees took
possession of these hives, and built their
combs in them. In some places, they
were hung so thickly, that they looked, at
a short distance, like large fruit on the
In South Africa, a party of Hottentots,
who were in company with some travellers,
once took several pounds of good honey
from a hole which had been the dwelling
of a little weasel. In the same country,
the bees are often found occupying the
nests or hills built by the white ants,
when deserted, and left empty by them.
The bees, in their wild state, seem not
very particular in choosing a place for
their homes; or, perhaps, if they cannot
find such a one as they like, they take the
best they can get, and are satisfied with it.
It is not always easy to discover the
natural hives of wild bees. There are,
however, two or three active little guides,
which are of great service to those who
are in search of honey. One of these,

-- I


found in South Africa, is a bird called
the honey-guide. It is about the size of
a chaffinch, and of a light grey colour.


Mr. Cumming, in his "Adventures in
South Africa," thus describes the curious
habit of this bird: Chattering and twit-



tearing in a state of great excitement, it
perches on a branch beside the traveller,
endeavouring by various wiles to attract
his attention; and having succeeded in
doing so, it flies lightly forward in a wavy
course in the direction of the bees' nest,
alighting every now and then, and looking
back to ascertain if the traveller is follow-
ing it, all the time keeping up an incessant
twitter. When at leng~i it arrives at the
hollow tree, or deserted white ant's hill,
which contains the honey, it for a moment
hovers over the nest, pointing to it with
its bill, and then takes up its position on
a neighboring branch, anxiously awaiting
its share of the spoil. When the honey is
taken, which is accomplished by first
stupifying the bees by burning grass at
the entrance of their nest, the honey-bird
will often lead to a second and even to a
third nest. The person thus following
it generally whistles. The wild bees of
Southern Africa exactly correspond with
the domestic garden bees of England. They
are very generally diffused throughout
c 18


every part of Africa, bees-wax forming a
considerable part of the cargoes of ships
trading to the Gold and Ivory coasts, and
the district of Sierra Leone, on the western
shores of Africa."
This singular bird, perhaps, finds itself
unable to make war with the bees, or to
get at the honey without more powerful
help, and is thus led to invite the assist-
ance of man.
A little quadruped, called the honey-
rattel, is equally clever in finding out the
hidden nests, and in guiding the hunter
to their sweet stores.
Having briefly noticed where the honey-
bee lives, we shall proceed to describe its
form, senses, food, mode of life, and many
other curious particulars; in all of which
we shall see the proofs of the wisdom and
goodness of God, the Creator of all things,
who gave to this little insect the skill to
contrive, and the power to construct its
comb, and carry on its labours, whether
in holes of the rocks or trees, or in the
convenient hive. And as we mark the






form of its body, so curious in all its parts,
we shall perceive how well adapted each is
to the use for which it was intended. The
largest and most powerful animals in the
world,, the huge elephant, the patient
camel, or the noble horse, are not more
remarkable, as the work of the Creator,
than the little bee. When we look upon
these, and all his works, we feel that,
though they speak not in words, they yet
seem silently to declare to every one,
"God made us: he is almighty in good-
ness, in wisdom, and in power."
God is indeed to be seen in the smallest
of his works in creation. But we rise
higher in knowledge when we learn his
character as made known in the sacred
Scriptures. It is there we behold his
amazing love in the gift of a Saviour, that
sinners might be pardoned. Happy are
those who are taught this heavenly know-
ledge, and who, through faith, receive
Christ as their Redeemer. There are
many who are unlearned in the wonders
of this world, but who have been made


"wise unto salvation" by the enlighten-
ing grace of the Holy Spirit. The one
kind of knowledge is desirable, and should
be sought after; the other is all important,
for without it we are lost.



THE honey-bee has six legs and four wings.
Its body is thickly covered with close-set
hairs, each hair, as seen through a powerful
microscope, being feather-shaped, having
a stem with branches springing from it.
From each side of the head rises a long
horn, called an antenna, or feeler. These
antennae, or feelers, are the seat of the
sense of touch in the bee, and perhaps of
smell, as they have been observed to use
them as if they were trying the quality or
odour of flowers; but learned men are not
agreed on this point. Their sense of smell
is certainly very acute.
One of the most curious parts of the
bee is the eye; it has been termed "a
world of wonders." It consists of a large
S2 17


number of facettes; that is, small pieces,
each having a distinct surface, and when
all are joined together, the eye appears
like a large cut diamond. Little hairs
protect the facettes from injury and dust.


A bee has two large eyes-one on each
side of the head; and on the top of the
head are three small eyes, or, as they are

Honey-bees never live by themselves,
but always in a family or society. The
wild bees are obliged to take care of

themselves, and provide a place for their
own dwelling; but very convenient hives
are built for the domestic bees, where


called, coronets," and by others, stem-


they find shelter and a comfortable home.
Hives are made of straw, boards, or glass:
the city of the bees is built within the
hive. Here we must look for their cun-
ning work-the streets, the houses, the
palaces, which they contrive.
The family, or society, in each hive is
always composed of three classes of bees:
the queen, the drones, and the workers.

The queen is the mother, as well as the
sovereign, of the hive. In shape she is
more slender than the other bees; her
body is much longer, and tapers gradually
to a point. Her legs are longer than
theirs, but they have no "baskets." Her
wings are much shorter, reaching but little


more than half the length of her body.
She is armed with a bent or curved sting,
but she does not often use it. The colour
of her back is dark brown, but the under
part of her body is bright orange.
The queen bee does no work, and she is
treated with the greatest respect and at-
tention by all the other bees. If she is
killed, or by any accident they are deprived
of her, they appear to be entirely without
comfort: they leave their work, and seem
to lose all interest in their labours for a
The drones, or males, are the largest of
the bee family; they are nearly twice as
large as the workers. Their bodies are
thick and clumsy, and covered with hairs
much more closely than the other bees.
The head of the drone is large; so are its
eyes; and its wings are very large, and
quite as long as its body. The drones
have no sting, nor have they any basket
on their thighs. They make a loud droning,
or dull humming noise. One of our poets
calls the insect the lazy yawning drone;"


and hence, too, those who live in idleness
S are sometimes called drones.

The workers are the smallest bees of
the hive. They are "busy bees" indeed,
doing the work for all the rest. They
collect the honey and pollen, (or fine
powder found on a part of most flowers;)
they build the waxen cells, take care of
the young, and defend the hive, so far as
they are able, from enemies of every kind.
The worker bee has a long, slender
trunk or tube, with which it gathers the
honey from the flowers; and its hinder
legs are furnished with brushes and bas-
kets, to collect the pollen and carry it
safely to the hive. No other bee has


these baskets but the worker bee. It
converts some of its honey into poison,

which it uses when it stings. Its means
of defence, or sting, is so strong that it
will pierce through a thick leather glove.
See Chap. x. for an account of this sting.
The office of the queen bee is to lay
eggs in the cells prepared by the workers
for that purpose. These cells differ in
size or shape, as they are intended to
contain eggs which are to become drones,
or those that are to become workers. The
royal cell, or that of the queen, is quite
different from either. It is something
like a pear in shape; the upper, or largest
part being fastened to the edges or sides of
the comb; the smaller end, where the


mouth or entrance to the cell is placed,
always hanging downwards.
The queen begins to lay the eggs early
in the spring-a single one only in each
cell. The number laid is increased as
the weather becomes warmer. The eggs
remain for full three days, and then a
little worm is hatched in the bottom of
each cell. These worms, or larve, as they
are called, open wide their mouths for food,
and their wants are attended to by a part
of the workers, called nurse bees, who
feed them with a mixture of bee-bread,
honey, and water, which they make into a
kind of jelly. When the worm is nearly
full-grown, its food is put directly into its
mouth by the nurse bees, very much as
old birds feed their young. This is
done for five or six days. They then
make a covering for each cell, and seal it
over. This lid or covering is very different
from that which the bees place over the
honey-cells. The honey-lid is of the purest
wax; but the lid which closes the cells
containing the young is made of wax and


pollen mingled together,and dark in colour.
As soon as the little worm is sealed up,
it begins to wrap round itself a'cocoon, or
silken shroud, much like that of the silk-
worm. This expands, fills the cell, and
makes it smooth and soft. While hidden
in this covering it is called a chrysalis,
and sometimes it is termed a pupa;* and
this is the second change through which
it passes. Here the little creature rests,
seeming to have no life or powers of any
kind, until the appointed time for it to
break from the confinement of its shroud
and of its cell, and to come forth, entering,
as it were, upon a now life. It is now a
perfect bee; and, from its place of rest,
as a poor lowly worm, it sails into the air,
and enters upon new scenes and new
The singular change through which each
little bee passes-the worm wrapped in its

The word chrysalis denotes that it is of a golden
yellow colour; and pupa signifies that the insect is
wrapped in swaddling clothes, like an infant, or an
Egyptian mummy.
D S5


shroud, shut up from the air and light, in
a torpid, death-like state; then bursting
its enclosure, and rising upward, on its
light wings, a new and beautiful creature
-these things, so remarkable, bring to
our minds thoughts of great interest to
ourselves. We must each lie down in the
lonely grave, our bodies must crumble
into dust, and we be forgotten. But is
.this the end of our being? Oh no! the
day will come when all the dead shall hear
the voice of the Son of man, and shall
come forth. Thejarth and the sea shall
give up their dead. Then death shall be
swallowed up of life. The children of
God, who by the grace of the Holy Spirit
have believed in Jesus, shall be clothed in
the beautiful and spotless robe of Christ's
righteousness, and the day of their happi-
ness and glory shall begin.
The stars shall dim their brightness;
And, as a parched scroll,
The earth shall fade-yet still shall live
Th' undying human soul.





THE little bee seems to enjoy the life

which the Creator has given it. As soon

as it can use its wings, it appears to know


U j
LLi --


what its duties and labours are to be for
the rest of its life. For a day or two
after it comes from its cell, the young bee
is pale in colour, feeble, and unable to fly.
But it soon gains strength, walks about
upon the comb, seeks for the door of the
hive, and prepares to go abroad, and to be
useful. Within two days of its breaking
from its little cell the young worker bee
is engaged in collecting honey. From
that hour it is never idle. It seems never
to tire, but is constantly busy and happy.
The idle people are the unhappy people;
and those are the drones of society who
do not love to work. It is well, too, for
the young to form habits of industry from
their earliest years.
"Look now abroad. All creatures see,
How they are fll'd with life and glee;.
The little bees among the lowers
Have labour'd since the morning hours."
The drones of the hive are the males of
the bee tribe; they have a short life. They
are born, and die; and this is nearly all
of their history. Their name is given


them from their lazy habits, and because
they live on the labours of others. When
they are only a few months old, the work-
ing bees either kill them with their stings,
or drive them out of the hive to perish.
Before the attack begins on the part of
the working bees, the drones seem aware
of their danger, and are seen running
about the hive in great fear. Those which
can, make their way to the front of the
hive, where severe struggles take place;
but though the drones are the largest
bees, yet being without stings, they are
soon overcome and pierced to death by the
workers. The dead bodies of the slain may
often be seen, toward the close of summer,
scattered thickly around the door of their
The active working bee has plenty to
do. It does not seek its own enjoyment;
it is content to labour for the good of the
society to which it belongs. But how is
the little creature furnished for its work ?
One of the principal things she has to do
is to collect the pure fluid called the
D9 29


nectar of flowers. This affords the bee
its chief store of honey. If we examine
the long tube of the honeysuckle, we find
that it contains this food of the bee. But
the bee can obtain it, drawing the sweets
from the flower for the usi of the hive,
without destroying, or injuring in the
least, the bright blossom where it was
"Thus daily her task she pursues,
And pilfers with so much address,
That none of the odour they lose,
Nor charm by their beauty the less."
She only takes that which is useless to
others, and even then she is deprived of
her hard-earned store to feed those who
covet her honey.
The bee has a most remarkable tongue,
given her for this very purpose. It is
long and quite flexible. It is not a tube
through which the honey passes, nor a
kind of pump to draw it up. It consists
of five branches, four of which serve as
sheaths, and from which is darted a centre-
piece like a brush. With this brush she



laps or rubs off the ..
nectar of the flow-
ers, and passes it
intoher mouth. She
keeps it folded up,
or unfolds it very
rapidly, at her plea-
sure; she pushes it
forward, either in a
curve or straight
line, and darts it
into every part of
the flowers where
honeyis tobe found. TONGUE OF A BEE.
Look at the active little insect as she
alights upon an open flower! The blossom
trembles upon its slender stem as she
touches its soft leaves. The hum of her
wings ceases, and her work begins. In
an instant she unfolds her tongue; she
extends it to its full length, then shortens
it again, and passes it over both the upper
and under surface of the beautiful petals,
that she may wipe off from them all their
nectar. All this time she keeps herself in


constant motion. The nectar thus lapped
out of the nectary of the flower is con-
veyed to her honey-bag or crop, until this
small deposit, by a secret process, becomes
changed into pure honey. When she has
completed her lading, she returns to the
hive to dispose of it. The quantity brought
each time in the honey-bag is about the
size of a pea. The curious little bag in
which she carries her treasure, is entirely
distinct from the stomach of the bee.
When the bee arrives in the hive, she -
selects a cell already containing some
honey, and pierces a hole in the crust
formed on its surface, dropping from her
mouth the honey which she has just
brought home, and closing up the opening
in the crust, leaving it quite covered. A
single cell will hold the contents of many
honey-bags. The honey intended for daily
use is easy of access; but that which is
stored up for winter and early spring is
placed more out of the way, and each cell
is carefully sealed with a waxen cover.
The bees do not gather this sweet nectar


from every flower. Some of the most
lovely of the ornaments of the garden, the
roses, pinks, and carnations, afford them
little or no supply, and tulips are hurtful
and deadly; while from the more humble,
fragrant plants, as the sweet marjoram,
sage, and rosemary, they collect the finest
and most delicate nectar, which soon be-
comes honey. In the early part of the
season, the bee resorts to the catkins of
the willow, poplar, and hazel trees, and
begins to collect its sweets. As the season
advances, when the apple-trees are loaded
with their fragrant blossoms, or when the
air is perfumed with the richness of the
white clover, then they are active and
busy indeed.
Of sunflowers, hollyhocks, white lilies,
lemon-thyme, coltsfoot, and the white
nettle, bees are very fond. But they much
prefer to have everything on a large scale,
and whole fields of clover attract them
more than single plants, even of the finest
flowers. Their practice is, when collecting
honey, to adhere to the same species of


flower on which they first alight. They
do not fly from the apple-tree to the clover,
and thus mingle the nectar of the different
plants; but from each single excursion
they return to the hive with that which
they have procured from one kind of
Although the busy bees are usually so
cautious, they have been known, yet very
rarely, to collect honey of a poisonous
nature. Some persons are said to have
lost their lives at New York, many years
ago, from eating wild honey which it was
supposed had been collected by the bees
from the flowers of a kind of wild laurel.
Perhaps it was not easy for them to pro-
cure a plentiful supply of food, when they
were thus tempted to partake of that
which rendered their honey injurious for
the use of man. It is not known that
this honey was hurtful to the bee itself.


AN important part of the bee's labour is to
gather pollen from the flowers. Pollen is
a fine powder found on the tops of the
little stems which grow in the middle of a
flower. Some have thought that the bee
collects pollen from the flowers accident-
ally, while it is in search of honey. Quite
the contrary is the fact. The bee, while
in search of nectar, does not collect pollen.
It goes in search of pollen specially, and
also for nectar. When the pollen of the
flower is ripe, and fit for the use of the
bee, there is no nectar; when there is
nectar, there is no pollen fit for its use in
the flower. The pollen dust the bee care-
fully wipes off with the brushes of her legs,
and then kneads it into little balls. The


pollen, when thus kneaded, is called bee-
bread. Mixed with a very small portion
of honey, it forms the food with which the
young worms, or bees, are fed in their cells.
Let us look at another

with which this little in-
sect is furnished. In
the middle of the hind
pair of the bee's legs
there is formed a kind
of basket surrounded by
strong thickly-set hairs.
Whatever the bee places
HI LEG OF THI BEE. in these baskets is pre-
vented from falling out by the hairs or
bristles around the edge. Into each of
these she puts the little balls of pollen,
and conveys them to the hive as safely as
the eggs bought at market are carried
home in our baskets.
As the little bee returns with its load,
it is sometimes met at the entrance of the
hive by the nursing bees, who relieve her
at once of a part, or of all that she has


brought home; or she enters the hive, and
walks about for a few moments, always,
whether standing or walking, beating with
her wings and making a noise, as if to call
her companions around her. Three or
four bees, or frequently many more, go to
her, and begin to lighten her load, each
taking small pieces in their mouths, and
carrying them away. Whatever is col-
lected more than is wanted for present use
for food, they pack most curiously in the
cells. As each cell is filled, they cover it
over with a kind of varnish, or propolis,
(which we describe on the next page,) to
make it air-tight, and preserve its con-
tents from injury.
In the spring of the year, when the bees
first begin their work, scarcely a single
labourer will be seen returning to the hive
without these balls of pollen in its baskets.
The balls are always of the same colour as
the anther-dust of the flowers from which
it is collected, most commonly the various
shades of yellow, pale greenish yellow, r
deep orange. As the bee visits but one
i 87


species of flower on each journey from the
hive, the different kinds of pollen are never
mixed, but the balls are of. one colour.
The bees choose the morning for collecting
this dust, probably because the early dew
enables them the better to mould it into
little balls.
There is a gummy substance, called
propolis,* of which the bees make much
use: it is of a reddish-brown colour; it is
soft, will pull out in a long thread, and has
a fragrant smell. The bees obtain it from
various trees, and carry it home in their
baskets. The leaf-buds of the poplar, the
pine, the birch, and the alder all yield a
gluey gum-like juice of this description.
The propolis, or, as it has been called,
"bee-gum," is used by the insects to stop
up every crack and crevice in the hive,
through which cold, or wet, or any enemy
might enter, to fix their combs to the sides
"The term propoli is derived from the Greek,
and digniles 'before the city,' bees having been ob-
served to make ue of it in strengthening the outworks
of their city."-Dr. Beam on the Honey Bee.


and roof, and also to varnish the cell-work
of their combs.
The bees do not confine themselves, in
their excursions, to the gardens and fields
immediately around the hive; but, if at-
tracted by the scent of honey, they fly off
a great distance from their home. They
fly very rapidly, probably at the rate of
twenty miles an hour, and pass in and
out of the hive, on their journeys, many
times in a day. In pleasant weather, the
number that return to a well-filled hive
with their burden is often a hundred in a
minute. It is said that a hive containing
a family of ten thousand workers will col-
lect, in one season, upwards of fifty pounds
of bee-bread, besides their stock of honey,
the propolis they gather, and the attention
they give to all the pther work of the hive.
The bees of the same family are said
never to disagree, and none meddle with
what does not belong to them; each attends
actively and quietly to its own work.
Those that collect food from abroad, those
that store it safely within, those that


polish the rough work of the cells, and
those that wait or guard, are attentive to
maintain the order and happiness of the
whole hive. At the same time, they are
kind to each other, and always willing to
share with each other the fruit of their
May we not look upon the little bee as,
in these things, affording an example to
each of us P Are all these good habits
observed by us in our families, and do we
consider the wants and the happiness of
those whom we love, as placed much in
our care? PWe may go to the bee, as well
as to the ant, and learn lessons of true
The bee wastes nothing of the materials
for her work, or of the time granted her to
labour; but goes on to lay up a store of
provisions for a time of need, rather than
to enjoy in idle pleasure the sunny day
and the present hour. We should never
let plenty tempt us to be wasteful and
extravagant; and, especially, we cannot
value too highly the time present as a


means of improvement: it is all that is
ours. The season of youth is to the young
as the early spring-time and the bright
days of summer to the bee. Youth is the
favourable season for gaining knowledge;
but let the young remember that it is
swiftly passing away.

Come, Honey-bee, with thy busy hum,
To the fragrant tufts of the wild thyme come,
And sip the sweet dew from the cowslip's head,
From the lily's bell and the violet's bed.
Come, Honey-bee,
There is spread for thee
A rich repast in wood and field;
And a thousand flowers,
Within our bowers,
To thee their sweetest esence yield.

Come, Honey-bee, to our woodlands come;
There's a lesson for us in thy busy hum:
Thou hast treasure in store in the hawthorn's wreath,
In the golden broom and the purple heath;
And flowers less fair
That scent the air,
Like pleasant friends, drop balm for thee,
And thou winnest spoil
By thy daily toil,
Thou patient, and thrifty, and diligent Bee.
aX2 41


We may learn from the Bee the wise man's lore,
" The hand of the diligent gathereth store;"
She plies in her calling from morn till night,
Nor tires in her labour, nor flags in her flight:
From numberless blossoms of every hue,
She gathers the nectar and sips the dew.
Then homewards she speeds
O'er the fragrant meads,
And she hums, as she goes, her thankful lay :
Let our thanks, too, arise
For our daily supplies,
As homeward and heavenward we haste on our way.



THE hives of various kinds, of different
size and shape, which we provide for the
use of the bees, are not quite necessary to
their labours. They could do without all
that we do for them, as we see in the case
of the wild bees, which build their nests
in a hollow tree, or any other place they
like, where they could find room. But we
are very willing to furnish them with a
home, neat and pretty in appearance, and
convenient in arrangement, in order that
we may obtain in return from them the
sweets they prepare so skilfully. Hives
are now so contrived that honey may be
taken from the bees without killing them to
obtain it. The practice of destroying them
is now not so common as it used to be.


The inside of a bee-l e contains many
wonders; it is a city ( a small scale,
with its regular street and dwellings,
built on the most perfect plan that could
possibly have been conf .ved for the use
of the inhabitants. Some of these build-
ings are store-houses for food; in some,
the bees live; and a few, more spacious
than the rest, are the cradles of the queens,
or mothers of the hive. What could you
have more ? But the material of which
this city is built is one which man, with
all his skill and his knowledge, knows not
how to produce; and the city itself, the
wisest builder among us could not have
planned with more wisdom. Yet this is
the work of a society of curious insects;
and all the wonders which they perform
we cannot fully understand, with all the
powers of reason which we enjoy. God,
who careth for the raven, and heareth its
cry for food, careth also for the little bee.
From Him also came all our gifts; we have
received from the same kind hand every-
thing we call our own. Here, we are on


a level with the inferior creatures of his
power; but oh, how raised above them in
the possession of the soul, in the gift of
eternal life!
A piece of honeycomb is a flattish cake,
composed of two ranges of cells backed
against each other, with a partition be-
tween, which is the floor of each range.

The cells stand side by side, the two
ranges in the same piece of comb thus
opening exactly opposite to each other
into the streets running between the


combs. A well-filled hive contains many
of these ranges or combs.
The combs are about half an inch apart,
leaving the passage or "street" between
wide enough to allow two bees to work on
cells opposite to each other at the same
time, if necessary, and to pass each other
freely. There are, also, openings left
through different parts of the combs, form-
ing shorter streets, or cross-cuts; others
are a kind of highways or roads, conneet-
ing remote parts of the hive, and for the
bees to save their time in going round.
"Thus nimbly do they ply their twinkling feet,
Stretch out the softened mass, and form the street
With many a cross-way path, and postern gate,
That shorten to their range the spreading state."
The shape of each
cell in the comb is
that of a hexagon,
as it is called, having
six equal sides. No
other shape would
do nearly so well to
I save room, to give


the greatest strength, and save the wax
used in building the cells. Their sides
fit into each other as no other shape
If the cells had been
quite round, which seems
best suited to the shape
of the insect, there would
have been room wasted in
joining them together, as
may be seen by comparing this figure with
that given above, which is the real shape
of the cells. Formerly biscuits for ships'
crews were made round, and thus much
room was taken up in the stowage; but a
lesson has been learnt from the honey-bee,
and they are now made of the shape of its
cell, six-sided, by which room is gained in
packing or stowage.
Another important saving of wax, as
well as room, is gained by making one
common partition serve as the floor for
two ranges of cells. Had they been formed
in single ranges only, opening but on one
side, and streets between, more room


would have been required, and more ma-
terial for building.
Each cell would be weaker, too, had it
stood alone and separate from other cells;
while all are strengthened by their close
union. Both the sides and bottoms of the
cells are so thin, as that three or four are
equal only to a sheet of common writing
paper; and as walls so thin would be
crumbling and breaking at the edge, from
the passing in and out of the bees, they
make a ledge or border round each cell at
least three times thicker than the sides.
If we examine the floor of these cells,
which is the division between the two
ranges of cells in the same cake of comb,
we shall find it not flat, or a straight line,
but the floor of each cell has three sloping
sides, meeting in a point in the centre.
The bottom of a cell in one range of combs
is not, therefore, the bottom of the cell on
the opposite side of the comb, but portions
of three cells on one side meet in the
centre of the other. Thus the bottom of
each cell rests against the point where


The cells of the honeycomb are used
for storing honey and bee-bread, and for
cradles for the young bees. The cells in
which the workers are reared are begun
first: they never vary in size. They are
smaller than those for the drones. The
drone-cells are generally placed in the
middle or sides of the comb, seldom in the
upper part. The royal
cells for the queens are
built last of all. Of
these there are usually
four or five, and some- 4
times ten or twelve, in
a hive. When a queen
has come forth, the cell
is partially eaten away
by the bees, and reduced ROYAL CELL.
in size, so as to resemble an acorn-cup in
shape, and they neatly fill up the space
with a row of common cells, that no room
may be lost.
Now, let us again remember the good-
ness of God in so singularly endowing the
little bee with such wisdom and skill.
G 61


S"We watch for the light of the morning to break,
And colour the eastern sky
With its blended hues of saffron and lake;
Then say to each other, Awake! awake!
For our winter's honey is all to make,
And our bread, for a long supply.'

"And off we fly to the hill and dell,
To the field, to the meadow, and bower,
To dip in the lily with snow-white bell,
To search for the balm in its fragrant cell,
The mint, and the rosemary flower.

" While each, on the good of her sister bent,
Is busy, and cares for all,
We hope for an evening of heart's content,
In the winter of life, without lament
That summer is gone, or its hours misspent,
And the harvest is past recall."




THE attention of the bees to the queen of
the hive is very singular. As she moves
about the hive with a slow and dignified
step, the worker-bees turn their heads
respectfully towards her, like so many
courtiers in the presence of royalty.
Wherever she goes, they clear her path,
or form a circle round her, as a sort of
body-guard. When she rests from her
labours, they approach her with respect,
lick her face, offer her honey, and render
her. every mark of obedience.
When a queen dies, or when she is
removed from the hive, the bees do not at
first seem to perceive it, and continue
their labours as usual. But in a few
hours they become disturbed near the


spot which the queen had occupied: the
movement soon spreads, and many of the
bees leave their work, forsake the young,
and run hither and thither in great alarm.
As the bees meet each other in the hive,
they stop and cross their antenna, or
horns; those who first heard the sad story
of their loss seem telling the other bees,
by gently tapping them with these slender
but wondrous parts of their bodies.
Thus the tidings circulate till the whole
hive is in confusion. The workers run
over the combs, and against each other in
hurry and disorder, rush to the entrance
of the hive, return and spread themselves
around, then go out again, and again
return. The hum within the hive becomes
mournful, and thus it continues for several
hours. At length they begin to be quiet
once more : they now return to their work,
and soon take steps to repair their loss.
If a stranger queen from another hive
is given to the bees in a shorter period
than twelve hours after their loss, they
will not receive her as their sovereign,


but treat her as they would a stranger at
any other time; but if twice that number
of hours have passed by since they lost
their queen, and a new one is intro-
duced, it is singular that they seem then
to have forgotten their former queen so
fgr as to be willing to adopt another.
The moment this stranger is placed
upon a comb, the workers who are near
first touch her with their little horns, and
then pass them all over her body, when
they retire and give room to others, who
salute her in the same manner, and give
her honey to eat. All then beat their
wings at the same time, and range them-
selves in a circle round her. A general
agitation seems to pass through the hive;
many others draw near, touch the stranger,
offer her honey, and fall behind again, all
continuing to shake their wings. At last
she moves, and the circle opens to let her
pass; then they follow her, and soon she
appears the acknowledged queen in all
parts of the hive. It is related by Dr.
Evans, that he once observed a queen bee
G2 65


lying on some honeycomb, in the act of
dying. Six bees, with their faces turned
towards her, gently fanned their wings,
and held their stings unsheathed, like
sentinels with fixed bayonets. He offered
to these guardian bees some honey, but
they were so taken up with the care of
their dying queen, that they would not
touch a drop. The queen shortly died;
and on the day after her body was found
still guarded by the faithful attendants,
who refused from that time all honey,
gradually pined, and in three days their
dead bodies lay by the side of their queen's.
The worms from which the queens come
are hatched successively one at a time;
and, unless they are needed to lead out
swarms, the workers keep them in con-
finement in their cells, (covering them
with lids of wax,) to prevent them from
killing each other, or being killed by the
reigning queen. As they must be fed,
a small hole is made in each waxen lid,
through which the captive queen thrusts
her tongue and receives her food from the


nurse-bees. While in this confinement,
she utters a low, complaining note.
While the workers thus prevent the
young queens from leaving their cells, if
they need a sovereign for their hive, or to
conduct a swarm, they always set free the
eldest first, and only one at a time. Pro-
bably they know their age by the noise
which these little creatures make while
they are covered up in their cells, this noise
becoming sharper and louder as they grow
older and increase in strength.
It is a remarkable fact, that, if the death
of a queen should occur, no eggs being
left in the royal cells, the bees can at once
supply her place, if she left worker eggs
in the cells, or their larva less than four
days old. To do this, they select one or
more from the young worker brood, and
make a royal cell or cradle for each, by
tearing down the partition between and
throwing three common cells into one,
afterwards making it larger and deeper.
The chosen grub is then plentifully fed
with the royal jelly, or the food of the


queens, which is much more sharp and
biting in taste than that given to other
bees. Thus cradled and thus fed, the
insect grows larger, and leaves its cell a
queen, although otherwise it would have
remained a common worker-bee. The
queen bee sometimes makes a clicking
kind of noise, which has been called the
voice of sovereignty." Huber, the natural-
ist, states that he has often heard it, and
noticed the singular effects of it. The
queen, crossing her wings upon her back,
utters her click, click," when the worker-
bees at once seem struck with fear, and
remain without any motion. This sound
is also used when she calls them to face
any enemy which attacks the hive; or if
about to lead out a new swarm, it is a
summons to follow her.
Sometimes a stranger queen enters a
hive, when the workers, who act as senti-
nels, fall at once upon her, seize her by
the legs or wings, and form a close circle
around her. Other bees from the inner
part of the hive soon come to their assist-

ance, and encircle the stranger queen more
closely, all with their heads towards her.
They thus keep her a prisoner, and often
till she dies from want of food.
The care of the bees for the young
brood is very great, and nothing awakens
their anger so much as to meddle with
them. In a new hive, they first prepare
the cells which are to serve as cradles for
the young; and they collect very little
honey till after they have laid up an ample
store of bee-bread for their food. By
watching them in the spring-time, they
may be seen constantly returning, one
after another, in rapid succession, alight-
ing on the board in front of the hive, their
baskets filled with the treasure they have
gathered by flying from flower to flower,
brushing from the stamens the soft dust,
and kneading it into balls. They quickly
deposit the contents of their baskets, and
go back for a new load.
This bee-bread is carefully stored up,
and kept until the eggs are hatched which
the queen bee has laid in the different


cells, when the little worms or larvae are
fed by those of the workers who are nurse-
bees. They put their heads into each cell
containing the young worms while they
feed them, and then pass on to the next;
others, coming by, look in, and, appearing
to see with a glance that all is' right, do
nothing unless they find a cell where
some food is needed. This food the nurse-
bees adapt to the different ages of the
young worms; and for the youngest it is
made very simple and insipid, as suited to
their taste.
Thus all are nursed and fed till they
are ready to spin their cocoons; and so
careful are the bees of the quantity of food
they give out, that not a particle is left
behind to be wasted when the young bees
come forth from their cells. We see,
from all this, that these little creatures
may well be called "busy bees," as they
are described in the following please~
"Thou wert out betimes, thou busy, busy Bee l
When abroad I took my early way;


Before the cow from her resting-place
Had risen up, and left her trace
On the meadow with dew so grey,
I saw thee then, thou busy, busy Bee !

" Thou wert alive, thou busy, busy Bee!
When the crowd in their sleep were dead;
Thou wert abroad in the freshest hour,
When the sweetest odour comes from the flower
Man will not learn to leave his bed,
And be wise and copy thee, thou busy, busy Bee!

"Art thou a miser, thou busy, busy Bee ?
Late and early at employ;
Still on thy golden stores intent,
Thy summer in heaping and hoarding is spent,
What thy winter may never enjoy:
Wise lesson this for me, thou busy, busy Bee!"


Tin bee of most consequence in all the
hive is, of course, the royal mother and
head of all, the queen. She is always the
leader of a new swarm. The swarming of
the bees is very singular. It occurs when
the bee family has become too large for
the hive. They then send off a colony to
seek a new home for themselves.
In the spring, when the weather begins
to be settled and warm, the first swarm
usually goes forth. The hive is then well
stocked with eggs, and is likely to become
crowded. If plenty of room is given to
the bees, they do not often swarm. The
best swarms are those which leave the
hive early in the season-as, if it is later
than June, they have not time to build


their comb, and to provide themselves with
sufficient food for the next winter; while
a strong, active swarm, going off early,
will make honey enough for the use of the
hive, and some to spare for the owner. A
common swarm consists of from 12,000 to
20,000 bees.
The first swarm of the season is led by
the old queen, after she has laid a great
number of eggs in the different cells of
the hive. When the young worms in the
royal cells are nearly ready to come forth
and appear in the hive, the queen-mother
leaves it, taking along with her a swarm.
More than one queen is never suffered to
live at the same time in the hive, and she
is really obliged, as it were, to leave her
old home. If she were to remain till the
young queens left their cells, none of them
would be saved; for she, having so much
more strength than they, would destroy
them as soon as they appeared.
After the old queen has conducted the
first swarm from the hive, the remaining
bees take particular care of the worms in
H 73


the royal cells, especially to prevent them
from leaving the cells as they are hatched,
except at intervals of several days. At
length, the female hatched from the egg
laid earliest leaves her cell, and at first
the workers appear to treat her with in-
difference. But she seems immediately
to feel the greatest anxiety to destroy
those who are her rivals, and she tries to
get at them in their cradles, but the
workers will not allow her. No sooner
does she approach than they bite, pull,
and worry her, till she is forced to remove;
and thus she goes from one royal cell. to
another, scarcely finding a place of rest
for a moment. She passes through the
different groups of workers very much
agitated, and at length a general confusion
takes place. In a few minutes notice
seems to have reached all the bees; the
young queen rushes towards the door, a
crowd follow after her, and the second
swarm passes out of the hive. The same
circumstances may even occur again, when
another queen is set at liberty, and a third


colony may go out from the old hive in
the same season. '
"See where, with hurried steps, the swarming throng
Pace o'er the hive, and seem, with plaintive song,
To invite their loitering queen-now range the floor,
And hang in cluster'd columns from the door;
Or now, in restless rings, around they fly,
Nor spoil they sip, nor load the hollow thigh:
E'en the dull drone his wonted ease gives o'er,
Flaps the unwieldy wing, and longs to soar."
Before the emigrant bees leave the
hive, they are busily engaged in eatig a
hearty meal, after which they do not
taste any more honey until safe in their
new home. A lively writer says of them,
"They never swarm without a good stock
of honey in their inside, to enable them
to make a fair start in their new house-
keeping." When they leave the hive, they
hover for a few moments arojud it, as if
to give time for all who wish to join them,
and then fly into the air. They do not
often rise very high, but most frequently
settle on the limb of some tree not far
from their old dwelling. On whatever
branch the queen chooses to alight, the


bees are sure to follow. There they are
soon formed into a cluster, hanging from
the bough in a most singular manner,
clinging to each other by their feet, with
their heads up. This living cluster looks
like a solid mass, of a dark brown colour,
usually about the size of the crown of a
man's hat, but its shape that of a cone
with its top downwards. If the queen is
safely with them, they soon become per-
fectly quiet in this spot; but if from any
cause she is separated from them, (as
sometimes happens,) they will search for
her, and if they cannot find her, they fly
about, and every bee returns to the hive.
This curious cluster of bees, their queen
remaining with them, will often continue
for hours clinging to each other and to
the branch of the tree where they have
settW; but sometimes not so long, par-
ticulasly if they have gone off from the
hive in the heat of the day. When they
have waited a certain time, if no attention
is paid to them, they will rise in a body,
and fly off to some distant spot, perhaps


to a wood if any is near, where they may
take possession of some hollow tree, and
make a home for themselves. It has been
computed that a single cluster, in some
instances, contains from 20,000 to 40,000
bees, all clinging to one another by the
claws of their feet.

The bees, before they leave the hive,
usually send scouts or spies before tlem,
to look out a new place for them. If this
11 2 77


has been selected at a distance from their
old home, they do not alight at all near,
but fly away so far that they are never
seen again by their owner. Their flight
is very direct, in a straight line, to the
point where they rest. But, in general,
their alighting place is near, and within
Reach. If it were not so, their future
labours might be all lost to man; but, in
kindness, the Creator has so ordered it,
that they are most frequently still detained
under his care that he may be profited by
their industry and skill.
Very often those persons who are in-
terested in the bees are watching their
motions at the time of swarming. If
on a bright sunny morning, very favour-
able for their work, they do not go out as
usual, but seem restless and uneasy, run-
ning about in every direction, or gather-
ing in clusters at the door of the hive, it
is likely that a swarm will soon leave.
This is not always the case, as the heat
may occasion the restlessness of the bees:
but, whea a general buzz or hum is heard


at intervals for several days from the hive,
and all within seems bustle and movement,
the bees are probably preparing for their
departure. They are then watched more
carefully than before. Immediately before
the swarming, a still louder hum is heard,
and then they rush suddenly to the outlet
of the hive, and depart.
If they settle on a tree near at hand, as
soon as it is perceived that they are quiet,
preparation is made to hive them. The
owner first gets ready a clean new hive,
then places a table, covered with a cloth
or blanket, under the limb of the tree
where they are clustering, and some skilful
person, not afraid of the little creatures,
takes up the empty hive, holds it bottom
upwards directly under the bees, and
shaking the bough a little, they nearly all
fall into it. The hive is then set down
upon the table, with one or more of its
sides raised on small blocks, to admit such
of the bees as are still outside.
Some persons prefer placing the hive
on the table with one side raised, and


shaking and brushing the bees on to the
table directly before it, when they soon
perceive it and enter it at once; or, if a
few take wing, or settle on the outside of
the hive at first, they return and follow
their companions. When nearly all appear
to have entered, the hive is removed to
the place it is to occupy, commonly ranged
in order with the other hives. The bees
are soon at home in their new dwelling,
and begin to prepare their wax, and build
their comb.
How remarkable is the change which
has now taken place in these curious
insects, by which they care not to return
any more to their former abode! Its
location is not altered. There it stands,
in the same spot: to us it appears un-
changed. Yet the little creature is never,
by any mishap, or mistake, or sudden
surprise, again led to enter its door. Its
new home has now all the attraction;
there is its queen, its family there, and
it has no further interest in its old


But the parent hive is not left empty
after the departure of the swarm. The
bees which emigrate are not always the
youth of the colony; many of these remain,
and others are hatched from the stock of
eggs of workers, which the queen has
always left in the cells. At the time
when the swarm went off, some of the
bees were abroad at their work, ranging
through the country, and these return in
the evening, and form, with those left in
the hive, a large family still. In two or
three days' time perfect order is restored;
the nursing-bees attend to their proper
business, taking charge of the young, and
watching the cells containing the future
Many villagers once supposed that a
noise called taking, or ringing, was useful
in leading the bees to settle. And even
at the present day there may sometimes
be seen a family of cottagers, who have
caught sight of a swarm of stray or wild
bees resting near their house-the mother
with a tin pan and large door key, smartly



knocking them together, whilst the chil-
dren join in the clamour by shouting with
their voices, in the hope of making the
bees settle in their garden, and thus become
their prize. This custom appears to have
existed in Greece more than two thousand
years ago; modern bee-keepers, however,
wholly discountenance it.
The bees are very careful not to leave
the hive in a swarm unless the sky is clear
and fine; a shower of rain will sometimes
keep them back for a whole day. They
seem to be able to foresee the state of the
coming weather. Dr. Evans says, "That
the bees can foresee bad weather is a fact
beyond denial, though how or in what
manner we cannot tell. We are often
surprised'to find, even with a promising
sky, their labours suddenly cease, and that
those who are abroad hurry home in such
crowds that the door is too small for their
admission. But, on strictly examining the
heavens, we may discern some small and
distant cloud, which increases, and soon
after descends in rain." They sometimes


wander far from home, and do not return
m the evening, which is a sure sign that
the next day will be fine.
Thus these little creatures become to
us weather-guides; and as such a modern
poet thus pleasantly addresses them:

Give thee good morrow, busy Bee!
No cloud is in the sky;
The ringdove skims across the lea,
The tuneful lark soars high;
Gay sunbeams fall on dewy flower,
Slight breezes stir the tree,
And sweet is thine own fragrant bower-
Good morrow, busy Bee I

Give thee good even, busy Bee!
The summer day is by;
Now droning beetles haunt the lea,
And shrieking plovers cry:
The light hath paled on leaf and flower,
The chill wind shakes the tree;
And thou, well laden, hast left thy bower-
Good even, busy Bee I




THE little bees are extremely neat in their
persons and in their houses. They remove
from the hive, as quickly as possible, all
dead insects, or anything of the kind which
is light enough for them to drag out with
their mouth. If they cannot remove it,


if still alive, they attack and stg it to
death, and then embalm it, covering its
body with propolis, (a gummy substance,
which we have described,) so that it can-
not become offensive.
A poor snail, with a shell on its back,
having crept into a hive early one morning,
crawled about for some time, till, at last,
by means of its own slime, it stuck fast to
a part of the hive. There the bees soon
found it: as it was so large they were not
able to remove it, and on account of the
hardness of its shell they could not destroy
it; so they formed a border of propolis
Sound the whole edge of the shell, fasten-
ing it securely and perfectly down, and
leaving the creature within to perish. In
another case, a poor mouse got into a hive,
and there died, probably stung to death.
To prevent the bad effects of the decay of
the dead body, the bees completely and
thickly coated it all over with this gum.
We here see their wisdom: where a small
quantity of propolis would answer the end,
they merely made a border; but in the
I 85


case of the mouse they knew it to be
necessary to bury it in this substance.
This attention to cleanliness is rendered
very needful for the bees, from the con-
fined space within the hive, and the mul-
titude of active laborious individuals it
contains. All the cracks or openings, too,
they have closed up with propolis, and
the door of entrance is very small. This
door, which is the only opening for the
admission of air, is often much filled up
by the bees themselves, in departing to
their work and arriving again at the hive
on their return. The air within is, of
course, affected by these things; but, in
order to prevent it so far as they can, and
to keep it sweet and clean, these little
creatures have a most remarkable contri-
vance. They cool themselves, and purify
the hive, in the sultry days of summer, and
even at other seasons, by the use of a fan.
To do this, they arrange themselves in
regular order, chiefly on the floor of the
hive. Here they stand in rows, extend-
ing from the front towards the back part;


some outside of the entrance, with their
heads turned to it; those within having
them always turned in the opposite direc-
tion. Each bee then unites its wings, by
the hooks at their extremities, into one
piece, and flaps them up and down as ladies
do a fan. The motion is so rapid that
the wings can scarcely be seen while it is
going on, and a pleasant buzzing sound
may be constantly heard by the listener
outside of the hive. When one set of
workers is tired, another takes its place;
and the current of fresh air thus brought
into the hive is so important to the family
of bees that without it they could not live.
The buzzing sound, as we have stated,
is chiefly made by their wings: this is
also known to us as their hum. It is pro-
duced by beating their wings more or less
rapidly against the air. The young reader
may have often whirled his toy called the
humer, and will understand how it is
that the bees make their pleasant sounds.
The honey-bee has manyenemies. Some-
times the birds find them out, and destroy


them for food, as they do many other
insects. The swallows come and pick them
up like grains of corn. The king-birds
will kill thousands of them in a season.
The spiders make sad havoc among them.
The little ants do them much mischief by
overrunning their hives; and the mice, in
the cold weather, when they are inactive,
will also attack them.
In South America, the creature known
as the kinkajou is a great destroyer of wild
bees, for the sake of obtaining the honey.
It is of the size of a cat, and is very strong
and active. Its long tongue is used to
suck the sweet stores of .the bees' nests.
The name of honey-bear has been given
to this animal.
The wasps, so bold and strong, in some
countries also commit great ravages upon
the bees. They are very fond of sweets,
and have much love for the honey of the
hive, and are so daring that they will
brave a great deal to fill themselves with
the rich feast. One wasp is said to be a
match for three bees; and the cunning


thieves have been known to drive away a
colony of the poor insects from their home,
then take possession of it, and eat all the
honey it contained.
But the most dangerous enemy of the
poor bee, in some countries, is the insect
called sometimes the wax-moth, and some-
times the bee-moth.
Another kind of moth, in some places,
troubles the bees. It is so large that it
has been taken for a bat; and, from its
great size, and from a certain mark on its
body, has been called the death's-head
hawk-moth. This moth has the power of
uttering a shrill mournful cry, which is
said to produce such an effect upon the
bees that they do not attempt to molest
it. To defend themselves from this crea-
ture, and keep it out of the hive, when
they are annoyed by it, they build up, at
the entrance, a thick rampart or wall of
wax and propolis. In this wall they leave
a passage just large enough for one or two
workers at a time to pass through, but
which the large moth cannot enter. Bees
IS 89


that have been robbed of their honey in
one year learn by experience to protect
themselves the next year, at the first sight
of their foe, and erect strong barriers and
walls for defence.
Surely the little bee is a wise and in-
genious builder; she may truly be called
a cunning architect, and a careful defender
of her work.
It would be well for us, if we were more
concerned not only to build well, and lay
up stores of wisdom and knowledge, but
to guard against our enemies. Many a
youth has begun to lay the foundation of a
pious and useful life; but his ever watch-
ful foes have come in an hour he least ex-
pected, and destroyed his hopes for ever.
Happy are those who, by faith, build on
the Lord Jesus as the foundation stone;
and making him their trust, increase in
grace day by day. Believing in him, and
following his example, they are safe.




To defend it from its enemies of every
kind, and to protect its home, the bee is
provided by its Creator with its powerful
sting. The honey is a treasure which
invites so many robbers, that its sting is
given it as a necessary protection.
The sting is placed within a horny
sheath, or scabbard, which ends in a sharp
point, and is so slit as to open and permit
the sting to be thrust out. The sting
itself consists of two small darts-one
rather longer than the other, very sharp
and barbed. In stinging, the sheath is
first pushed through the skin, and then
the longer dart into the flesh, in which it
is held fast by the barbs; the other dart
follows, and the whole sting is buried in


the flesh: poison is then poured through
the sheath into the wound, and swelling
and pain are produced.

The different parts of a sting, as shown
in our engraving, may be thus described:
i is the tube in which the poison is
secreted, and by which it is passed into


the bag b, from which it is carried into
another tube into the sheath; ee is the
outward sheath, shutting over the inward
sheath, 11; m n m are four cartilages,
or gristly substances, by which the sting
may be removed in different directions;
p p are two muscles to draw the sting
into the sheath; and d is the sting itself,
divided into two parts, and barbed at the
sides. What wonders are contained in
this curious instrument!
The poison is said to be so powerful
that a grain of it would kill a pigeon.
How strange that sweet honey should
be converted into poison! And yet this
is the fact. The bee thrusts her barbed
sting so violently into the flesh, that she
is generally unable to withdraw it. In
her effort to disengage herself the sting
is mostly torn from the body of the insect,
and causes her death. The poor bee is
angry, then, when she stings, but it is to
her own hurt-she seldom or never stings
again. What a lesson is this to us! A
hasty temper and resentful conduct are


not only unseemly, but are sure to bring
upon us sorrow and pain.
The honey-bee, however, rarely uses
her sting against any one unless she is
attacked, nor at a distance from her own
home. When flying abroad in the fields
and gardens, from flower to flower, she
will not hurt any living being. How
seldom are children stung. The cows,
feeding quietly, and any other creatures,
are out of danger, except when near the
hive. Surely, then, it is only for its own
defence, and the defence of its property,
that this little insect seems entrusted with
so terrible a weapon.
The bees will attack animals most
fiercely if they consider their hive in
danger. Horses left loose in the field
have sometimes strayed into the en-
closure, or upon the lawn, too near the
bee-hives, and by accident have pushed a
hive from its place, and have been stung
to death.
When the traveller, Mungo Park, was
on his perilous journey in Africa, his


servants, while searching for honey, dis-
turbed a colony of bees, who at once at-
tacked men and beasts, killing one horse,
and six asses, and putting all the rest to
rout. It is related that, in 1525, a mob of
riotous men went to a pious minister's
house in Germany, intending to rob it.
The minister tried to persuade them not to
do so wicked an act; but finding all his
appeals were in vain, he told his servants
to bring his bee-hives, and throw them
into the midst of the crowd. This was
done, and the little bees soon put all the
rioters to flight.
Bears are very fond of the wild bees'
honey, but they are much afraid of the
owners of the sweets. If the bees dis-
cover them near their homes, they chase
them at once, and the huge bears turn
cowards, and run away as fast as possible.
Those who keep bees have to be prudent
in undertaking to meddle with the hives,
or in disturbing the bees in their arrange-
ments. A young lady who was fond of
the care of the little creatures, and who


had no fear, as they had never molested
her, attempted one day to assist in raising
a hive from the bench on which it stood,
but, becoming alarmed, let go her hold
too soon, and it fell upon the board, no
doubt crushing some of the bees. A crowd
of the angry creatures poured out at once
from the hive, and, though she retreated
with all speed towards the house, they
followed faster than she could run, and
she received a great number of stings
upon her head and face, from which she
suffered most severely.
Dr. Bevan advises a person when stung
not to be startled or to touch the bee, but
to be quiet in the hope that the insect
may be able to withdraw the sting, by
which her life will be spared, and the pain
in the wound, much lessened. He also
recommends the application of spirits of
hartshorn as the best remedy for the relief
of the pain. The way to extract the sting,
if left behind, is to press a watch-key
exactly over the wound.
The bees are very much influenced by


kind and gentle treatment; as, on the
contrary, they are annoyed by teasing and
bad treatment. They are said to know
their master, and soon become familiar
with his children. Those persons who
have always shown kindness to them they
will permit to examine their hives, remove
them, and stay among them, at their
pleasure. Care, however, should be taken
not to breathe upon them, nor to buffet
and blow with the mouth if they come too
near the face.
Dr. Bevan, in his work on the Honey.
bee," (and to which we are much indebted
in compiling this work,) relates a curious
fact, which shows that bees are not so
ready to sting as some suppose. A gen-
tleman, wishing to dislodge a swarm from
the branches of an apple-tree, placed a
hive in the hands of a maidservant, who,
not being used to these insects, covered
her head and shoulders with a cloth to
guard her face. On shaking the tree, most
of the bees alighted on the cloth,and quickly
crept under it, covering the girl's neck,
K 97


and nearly all her face. Her master called
to her not to be afraid, and, in particular,
not to buffet or strike the bees. He then
looked for the queen, which he found, and
gently caught; but the bees did not follow.
There must then be a second queen, he
thought-and so there was. This he
secured also, and placed it in the hive, the
rest flocking after the queen in crowds,
till in two or three minutes not one bee
remained upon the young woman, who
was thus freed from alarm without feeling
the point of a single sting.
Bees have sometimes wars among them-
selves. A single bee will attack another
bee, or a whole swarm carry on a furious
battle with another swarm. These battles
are usually occasioned by the desire of
one swarm to take possession of some hive
which another has occupied before them.
If one of their queens should be killed in
the fight, they all leave off their quarrel-
ling, and unite together in a single swarm
under the surviving queen.
There are now and then, too, "corsair"


or robber bees, hungry and ill-behaved,
who, not having collected honey enough
for themselves, try to steal some from
their neighbours. But, owing to a wet,
cold season, or some other cause, the poor
bees who do this wrong are generally half-
starved for want of food to eat; and if
their owner would assist them in their
necessity, by placing a little trough of
honey or syrup before them for a few days,
they would soon leave off these pilfering
When a hive of bees are about to turn
corsairs or robbers, they send spies to
discover the strength of those they are
going to attack. A few of the spies for
some days dodge about the doors, trying
to get in, to obtain more knowledge of
the strength and riches; but they are
soon the objects of suspicion, and guards
are placed at the door to prevent their
entrance. The spies now return, and
next day bring up all their force. They
commence the siege, and a sad conflict
ensues, both within and without the hive.


The stoutest warriors make a desperate
attempt, and rush forward to seize the
queen, knowing that if they can kill her,
victory is sure. The rage and fight in-
crease, and death and pillage soon destroy
the stock. But if, at an early period of
the battle, the queen is slain, the rest of
the bees at once submit, join their forces
to the conquerors, and assist to carry their
own treasure to the hive of the victors.*
The character of the bee has not changed
with years of time. Moses refers to the
way in which bees are known to- pursue
their enemies, and to cause them to fly
before them, when, in the first chapter of
Deuteronomy, he is speaking to all Israel
on this side Jordan in the wilderness."
Describing their wickedness, and the ene-
mies which had been sent upon them, he
says, "And the Amorites, which dwelt in
that mountain, came out against you, and
chased you, as bees do, and destroyed you
in Seir, even unto Hormah."
In the spring of 1848, two valued mis-
Key's Treatise on Bees.


sionaries in India were attacked by bees,
and nearly lost their lives. They had
gone on an excursion with a few pious
friends, and some pupils under their own
care, for the purpose of inquiring into the
natural history of the country. While
they were thus engaged, they were assailed
by a great cloud of wild bees. One of
the missionaries was the first of the com-
pany attacked, and, after trying in vain to
defend himself from injury, he sank upon
the ground, where he lay almost totally in-
sensible for nearly an hour, before he was
found by his friends, and relief afforded to
The other missionary, Dr. Wilson, at-
tempted to join his friend when he first
gave the alarm, and himself at once came
into contact with thousands of the enraged
insects. He says, "I sprang into a bush
for shelter; but there I got no covering
from their onset. In my attempt to free
myself from agony and entanglement, I
slid over a precipice, tearing both my
clothes and body by the thorns in the
K 2 101



rapid descent of about forty feet. From
the number of bees still about me, and
my inability to move from them, I had a
strong impression upon my mind, that,
unless God himself specially interposed in
my behalf, all my wanderings and journey-
ings must then have terminated, though
by the humblest agency-that of the
insects of the air. But God did save. I
had kept my hold of a blanket with which
I had gone to assist my friend, and this
now seemed a providential succour, for
with it my head was covered, and thus I
lay till the bees left me; when from the
poison of the numerous stings which I
had received, violent sickness came on, my
pulse failed, my heart fainted." Dr. Wil-
son was, after a search, found in his sad
position, and raised up from the place into
which he had fallen. He adds, "I have
known instances of natives losing their
lives by an attack of bees. The wild bee
of India is of a dark chocolate colour, and
more than an inch in length: it is one of
the same variety I have seen in the Holy



Land. 'They compassed me about like
bees,' is one of the striking figures of the
psalmist; and the illustration has now to
us a depth of meaning which we had never
before realized."
David is speaking of the attacks of the
wicked, and compares them to these fierce
little creatures, and the manner in which
they cluster upon the person who is the
object of their displeasure, and we perceive
how striking is the comparison. But he
also declares his confidence in God, and
that he will preserve his servant. "They
compassed me about like bees;" but "in
the name of the Lord I will destroy
Those who love and serve God may be
confident in the hour of the greatest dan-
ger, and even in the prospect of death.
Nothing can happen to them but what he
permits, and which shall be for their good.
For them "to live is Christ, and to die is



THE honey-bees do not live very long, even
when they are taken care of. The drones
live but a few months; the workers less
than a year; the queen longer than any
of the bees-some think two years, but
the exact length has never been certainly
These little insects are not active in the
winter; they sometimes appear to be
almost in a torpid state: but if the
weather becomes mild, and the sun shines
warmly upon the hive, they soon arouse
themselves, and are quite lively. They
are sometimes led, by the bright sunshine,
to come out of their hives in mid-winter,
and perhaps fly off into the air; and then


the cold north wind chills their limbs, and
they are not able to return to the hive,
but perish in the fields.
The flight of bees is very swift: they
not only beat the stage coaches, but even
the railroad; for they may be seen dashing
past the windows of the carriages, even
when the train is going at an express
speed. They have been known to cross
arms of the sea several miles wide in
search of food.
They have a dread of rain, and, if a
heavy cloud passes before the sun, they
often return home in great haste; but
when they continue their work till their
load is completed, and take the direction
in which their home lies, their course
towards it is as direct as the flight of an
arrow. Though their hives sometimes
stand in gardens surrounded by shrubbery,
yet, as they know the way, and return
with great speed, taking the shortest route
towards it, we must suppose that there
are marks guiding them which escape
our notice. Each bee will fly directly


to its own hive, though there may be
many others near resembling it in ap-
This well-known habit of the bee is very
useful to those persons who, in some parts
of the world, search for the hives of the
wild bee, and track her to her home in the
woods, to find her nest, and take away
her honeycomb. In order to do this, the
bee-hunter takes his stand somewhere
upon the broad plain, where the flowers of
the white clover and other rich blossoms
are opening in summer, provided with the
few articles he needs to entrap the un-
thinking bees. A wooden plate is set
down upon the ground, or on some smooth
old stump, and upon it a small piece of
comb containing honey; then watching
the bees closely, while thousands of them
around him are busy at work, he selects
one little insect, while lodged in the cup
of some bright flower, or sipping from a
head of white clover, and puts quickly
over it a small glass tumbler, which he
carries with him.


The little bee, thus disturbed, rises up
in the glass, and finds itself a captive
within it. The hunter, then placing the
tumbler on the wooden plate, with the
piece of honeycomb within its circle, and
covering the glass, so that the light cannot
enter it, the bee is soon attracted by the
honey, and begins to feed upon this new
treasure. When several bees have been
caught and imprisoned in the same way,
and have eaten their fill, one is suffered to
depart; and, first circling for an instant
around, it rises swiftly in the air, and
makes off, in a straight, or bee-line, as it
is called, to its home.
The hunter marks well the course it
takes, and then moving to the distance of
a few hundred yards from the spot, lets a
second bee fly, and then again a third, all
the time marking closely the direction of
their flight. If the bees take entirely
opposite directions, he supposes them to
have come from different hives; but if the
spot from which the first bee flew was
half a mile from that where the second


rose into the air, and they belonged to
the same hive, each would at once take
the course towards it in its own bee-line.
As they never cross each other's track, but
go straight to their home, these bee-lines
are sure to meet somewhere in the dis-
tance; and at the point where they meet
will be found a hive.
To track them on the line of their flight,
so as to judge of this point, is the hunter's
great care; and he rarely fails to find the
spot where, in some hollow, but not much
decayed tree, these busy creatures have
built their nest, and stored their sweets,
perhaps for years. To get at the honey
the tree must be cut down, and the poor
insects lose everything they possess, if,
indeed, they escape with their lives. Hun-
dreds of pounds of the most beautiful
honey-comb have been found within the
body of a single tree.
A popular writer* has given us an ac-
count of one of these bee-hunts. He
went with a party in search of a bee-tree.
Washington Irving.


"It was headed," he says, "by a veteran
hunter, a tall lank fellow in homespun
garb that hung loosely about his limbs,
and a straw hat shaped not unlike a bee-
hive; others followed with muskets and
axes. After journeying some distance,
they came to an open space on the skirts
of the forest. Here the leader halted, and
then quietly went to a low bush on the
top of which was a piece of honeycomb.
This was the bait, or lure, for the wild bees.
Several of them were there, collecting the
sweets, and then rose into the air. The
hunters watched them in the course they
took, and set off in the same direction,
stumbling over twisted roots, fallen trees,
with their eyes turned up to the sky. In
this way they traced the honey-laden bees
to their home, in the hollow trunk of a
blasted oak, where, after buzzing about
for a moment, they were seen to enter a
hole about sixty feet from the ground.
Two of the men now began to hew away
at the tree. The jarring blows of the axes
seemed to have no effect upon the busy
L 100


bees, as they kept arriving and departing,
little aware of the downfal now at hand.
Even when a loud crack was heard, they
still went on in pursuit of their work.
At length down came the tree with a
crash, bursting open from end to end, and
displaying all the hoarded treasure of the
insect community. One of the hunters
now ran up with a lighted wisp of hay as
a defence against the bees; but they made
no attack, and sought no revenge. They
seemed stunned, and, as though not aware
of the cause of the downfall, they crawled
and buzzed about the ruins. Every one
of the party, with spoon and hunting
knife, quickly began to scoop out the flakes
of honeycomb with which the hollow tree
was lined. Each was to be seen with a
rich morsel dripping about his fingers, and
disappearing as rapidly as a cream tart in
the hands of a schoolboy. Bees from
rival hives also arrived on eager wing, to
share in the spoil; while the poor pro-
prietors seemed to have no heart to taste
the nectar that flowed forth. They


wheeled about in the. air, in the place
where the tree had stood, and, at length,
as if aware of their ruin, they settled down
on a dry branch of another tree, and began
to bus forth doleful lamentations over the
downfal of their republic.
In places where the bee-hives are not
stationary during the season of flowers,
the instinct of the bee leads it always to
find its home. In some countries, it is a
common custom with the people to remove
their hives from one district to another,
that the bees may make a larger collection
of honey. In Lower Egypt, the flowers
do not bloom so early by several weeks
as in Upper Egypt, where the climate is
milder. About the end of October, the
hives are collected together from the dif-
ferent villages, numbered, marked with the
names of the owners, and placed in boats
prepared for the purpose. As many as
four thousand hives have been seen carried
along in this way at one time. The boat-
men take charge of them, and they are
conveyed slowly up and down the river


Nile, stopping a few days at a time, at
certain stages of the journey, where the
pasture for the bees is most plentiful-
the hives remaining in the boats. In
about three months, they are returned to
the place from which they had been
carried; the little bees having in this way
visited the sweet orange-flowers of the
country, the Arabian jessamine, and a
variety of other blossoms, repaying their
owners for their care of them with a
quantity of nice honey.
In Scotland, the shepherds receive
hives under their care, for the bees to
gather honey from the sweet heather
which blossoms on the mountains. When
the heather ceases to bloom, the richly-
stored hives are returned to their owners.
It has been calculated that the pastures of
Scotland could maintain as many bees as
would produce 4,000,000 pints of honey,
and 1,000,000 pounds of wax. How large
a supply from a little insect, to minister to
the wants and comforts of man! In France
the hives are shifted from place to place in


the woods, being placed on a kind of cart;
and at the proper season the honey is ob-
tained from them.

Until lately bees were unknown in
Australia. A gentleman who had noticed
this fact, when he visited England, obtained
L 2 113

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