SI r H. rid In Ltrr
WHO WABS THE FIRST ARCHITECT?
* A *
"' --, -
*- ,:,.4,; -" 'X q.
TH~E COTTAGER'S TREASURE
._ .... ". .
THE FIRST ARCHITECT?
BEES AND BEE-HIVES.
"For ages Alan has praised the toiling Bee,
As primal type of skilful indury :
We boastful may our sumptuous pil s erect,
But learned we not of her, ler the First Architu I "
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROWC
"EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.
WHO WAS THE FIRST ARCHITECT?
"wi'J rf WALTERS and his son were sitting in
i -d their garden one fair summer afternoon
with the leafy shelter of a fine tree
above them, and the landscape of a joy-
S ous country round them, when Charlie,
who had long been contemplating the
noble, stately tower of the village church on the
neighboring hill, suddenly exclaimed, What
great architects there must have been in the old
days, papa !"
"Yes, indeed, men who built out of a genuine
love of their art, and a spirit of devotion, putting
their best powers into all their work, and allow-
ing of nothing mean, shabby, or superficial."
6 THE GREAT BUILDINGS OF ROME.
"Do we know the names of any of the great
"Do you mean of Greece and Rome? "
Only of a very few; but we know them by
their handiwork. We know there were famous
men in the days of old, from the famous monu-
ments they have left behind them."
Oh, tell me, papa, the names of some of these
famous monuments! "
What! do you expect me, as I lie here, on
the greensward, this beautiful noon, enjoying the
fragrance of the flowers, and the insect murmur
in the air, to recall to my memory the great edi-
fices of ancient Greece and Italy,-to say nothing
of the immense structures raised by Medians,
Chaldeans, Assyrians, and Egyptians? "
"No, papa, but just tell me a few."
"I should think that you yourself could tell
me the names of many. Do you not remember
the sublime Capitol of Rome, elevated on one of
its highest hills, and serving both as a palace and
a fortress ? Do you not remember the rich pillars
and lofty roof of the Temple of Jupiter Capito-
linus ? Shall I recall the Ionic portico of the
Temple of Saturn; the beautiful Arch of Septimius
THE TEMPLE OF THE GODS. 7
Severus; or the still more beautiful arch which
commemorated the victories of Vespasian and
Titus? Above all, do you not recollect the Colis-
eum-that gigantic amphitheatre which, if stones
could speak, would strike horror to your heart
with its tales of bloodshed and human suffering ?
Then, there was the Pantheon, the Temple of all
the Gods, which a great poet has thus de-
'Simple, erect, severe, austere, sublime,-
Shrine of all saints, and temple of all Gods,-
From Jove to Jesus-spared and blest by Time;
Looking tranquillity, while falls or nods
Arch, empire, each thing round thee, and man plods
His way through thorns to ashes-glorious dome !
Shalt thou not last? Time's scythe and tyrants' rods
Shiver upon thee-sanctuary and home
Of Art and Piety-Pantheon pride of Rome !'"
"Bravo, papa! What a good memory you
must have exclaimed Charlie. "And now tell
me of Greece and its wonders."
Most of the finest buildings of Greece were
centred in Athens; Athens, one of those cities
which human history and human genius seem to
have made immortal; which, in spite of political
decay, in spite of the ravages of fire and sword,
in spite of the ignorant fury and greed of plunder
of barbarian conquerors, must always make a last-
ing impression on the imagination of men. As it
8 THE GREAT BUILDINGS OF ATHENS.
has been very well said, a thousand years unfold
about it their wondrous glories; art, science,
literature, the heroic deeds and heroic thoughts
of heroic spirits, clothe it with associations of un-
dying interest; and the pilgrim paces its way-
worn streets with an emotion of awe and tender-
ness, as if he walked in the very presence of the
Immortals. But I am talking, as people say,
above your head, Charlie."
Oh no, papa; I understand you thoroughly!"
Well, I will just name some of the finest edi-
fices of Athens. The great Acropolis, for instance,
which was wholly composed of marble; the Tem-
ple of Victory; the Erechtheum and the Pan-
droscion, as they were called; and the grand Temple
of Minerva, or the Parthenon. But I may speak
of the Temple of Jupiter Olympius, upwards of
350 feet long, by 150 broad; of the Temple of
Theseus, supposed to have been erected a few years
after the victory at Marathon; and of that ele-
gant octagonal or eight-sided monument, long
erroneously known as the 'Lantern of Demos-
They must have been great men who con-
structed these magnificent structures "
"Not greater, I think, than those to whose
~ I1~I1~P~U~U, ." ,_
L ;l,,' ,j "
THE -IV ICL= T'- GADN
10 INSECTS AS ARCHITECTS.
genius we owe the cathedrals, abbeys, palaces,
bridges, and the like, of modern Europe."
"I suppose'we don't know the name of the
first architect," inquired Charlie.
"No, indeed. I suppose the designer of the
'Tower of Babel was one of the earliest members
of the 'profession,' but, assuredly, his name is not
recorded. Yet I forget : the first of all architects
was an insect, and we do know its name."
"Nonsense, papa! an insect an architect! I
should like to see a specimen of his architec-
"Well, so you can. There are, at least, four
specimens-and four excellent specimens-in our
"I have looked all round," said Charlie, and
can see none; I am confident, papa, you are play-
ing off one of your jokes upon me."
No, indeed. I maintain that the first archi-
tect was the Bee; and that a bee-hive is, in its
way, as fine a specimen of architecture as the
Parthenon at Athens, or Pantheon at Rome."
A bee! cried Charlie; who would ever
have thought of a bee as an architect ? I never
"You should say, she."
A MASTER OF HIS PROFESSION. 11
"Well, she, then-did aught but yield honey,
which she stored up in a lot of cells."
"True; and I am prepared to prove to you
that these cells are built and arranged on the
true principles of architecture, and that the bee is
fully entitled to all respect and consideration as
"If you will prove your statements, papa, I
will listen gladly ; and I will afterwards treat
the bee with much more esteem and admiration."
"You will find, then, from what I shall tell
you, that we may learn many very valuable les-
sons if we deign to study the habits and manners
even of insects. In God's work, believe me, there
is nothing useless, nothing profitless, nothing which
does not tend to the edification of man. We say,
12 AN INSECT MANUFACTURER.
'Only a beetle ; only an ant; only a gnat;' giving
no heed to the marvellous organization of these
apparently insignificant insects. Why, the great-
est painter that ever lived never matched the
brilliant wings and shade of the beetle; the
greatest inventor whose name is recorded in the
annals of science never produced such a wonder
of mechanism as the flying apparatus of the gnat.
The truth is, we have copied many things from
the insects; they have directed us in the way we
"Yes, we have learned from the wasps to make
"And the silkworm has taught us to manufac-
ture silk. In fact, as a trustworthy writer says,
it can never be too strongly impressed upon a
mind anxious for the acquisition of knowledge,
that the commonest things by which we are sur-
rounded deserve the most minute and careful at-
tention. It is in these commonest things that
God is most clearly seen. When we stand aston-
ished before the glories of the aurora borealis, or
gaze in wonder at the lofty peak of a snow-
crowned" mountain, it is well to remember that
though they vividly illustrate the grandeur of
God, they do not so clearly show his infinite
PROOF OF THE DIVINE WISDOM. 13
wisdom, his adaptation of means to ends, his
extraordinary foresight, his boundless love, as
the insect that lives its little life on a blade of
i __ : -1- .
DIFFERENT KINDS OF BEES.
"They have a king, and officers of sorts:
"Where some, like magistrates, correct at home;
Others, like merchants, venture trade abroad ;
Others, like soldiers, armed in their stings.
Make boot upon the summer's velvet buds;
"Which pillage they, with merry march, bring home
To the tent-royal of their emperor;
Who, busied in his majesty, surveys
The singing masons building roofs of gold;
The civil citizens kneading up the honey
The poor mechanic porters crowding in
Their heavy burdens at his narrow gate;
The sad-eyed justice, with his surly brow,
Delivering o'er to executors pale
The lazy yawning drone."--SHAKSPEARE.
EFORE I begin to speak about the ar-
chitecture," said Mr. Walters, I must
S first describe the architect."
"All the animal world, as I suppose
you have learned, is divided into fami-
lies or orders, named after certain peculiarities
which belong to all the members of any one order
NUMEROUS SPECIES OF BEES, 15'
or family. Now, there is an order called Hymen-
optera-an order of insects-whose wings, as the
name indicates, are made of membrane; and to
this order belong the Bees. And then, as the
female bees are mostly furnished with a sting,
they are included in a sub-section of this order-
Aculeata, armed with a lance. Formerly, bees
were comprehended in the genus Apis-"
"Latin for bee, papa."
Quite right;-in the genus Apis, but now
they are divided into many genera, while the
names Anthophila, or 'flower-loving,' and Melli-
fera, or 'honey-bearing,' are given to the numerous
family which they constitute. No fewer than two
hundred and fifty species of bees are found in
various parts of Great Britain; and all these, when
in a perfect state, feed chiefly or altogether on
saccharine juices, such as the 'honied stores' of
flowers; while the young, or larvae, are fed with
the pollen, or dust, of flowers; and a paste, called
bee-bread, composed of pollen and honey."
"Well, I have heard of many varieties of
bread-wheaten, barley, rye, rice, and fancy-
bread-but bee-bread, I don't believe any con-
fectioner or baker sells it! "
He does not know the receipt, Charlie Now,.
16 A QUEEN'S LIFE AND REIGN.
confing myself to the common, or, as it is gen-
erally styled, the Hive-Bee,* whose ways and
habits have been carefully studied by Huber and -
other illustrious naturalists, it appears that each
community of bees consists of from 10,000 to
60,000 members: of these one is a perfect female,
and the mother or queen bee; from 600 to 2000, at
certain seasons, are males;
and the remainder are
Workers, or neuters.
"The entire period of
1.. l, the life and reign of the
queen is calculated at
-about two or three years.
CYLINDER. During this period, it can-
not be said that she performs any good work for
the welfare of her realm, other than increasing its
population. When she issues from
the egg she is, like the rest of her
sisterhood, a helpless and an ugly
grub; yet you can plainly tell that
she is destined for a favoured life,
OCTAGON. from the fact that her birth-chamber
is of larger dimensions, is vertical in position, and
is shaped more like a cylinder than an octagon. She
FED ON ROYAL JELLY. 17
is thus provided with sufficient room for the due
growth and expansion of all her members, as she
advances towards maturity; and to hasten this
growth and expansion, her nurses and future sub-
"-jects supply her with an abundance of the richest
and most nourishing food; not the simple bee-bread,
of which I have already spoken, and which is con-
sidered sufficient for common bee-infancy, but a
rare and rich preparation compounded from flowery
juices, and called 'royal jelly,' because reserved
expressly for royal nutriment. Thus spaciously
lodged and delicately fed, the favoured grub, when
arrived at full growth, spins within her cell a
silken shroud; therein changes to what is called
a nymph or pupa; and thence, in due time, issues
forth in all her dignity of majestic size, in all the
resplendency of her golden-ringed body-suit, the
more conspicuous for the scantiness of her gauze
drapery,-those filmy wings in which alone her
outward gifts, instead of surpassing, are inferior
'to, those of her subjects."
"It seems," said Charlie, reflectively, "a fine
thing to be a queen."
"Well, now let us turn to the bee-worker, who,
on emerging from her egg, finds herself inhabit-
ing one of the hexagonal or six-sided cells, of
18 ABOUT THE DRONES.
which the hive is in the main composed. The
shape and proportion of the cell, as well as the
quality of her bee-bread, seem purposely calcu-
lated to diminish her growth; but they in no wise
deteriorate her working faculties."
"What about the males, papa? Have you
nothing to say in their favour? "
"These are the drones; and I can't say much
in their favour, because they never do much to
Working. Male. Femle.
deserve it. Their existence is a very joyous one
between April and August, during which time
they participate in, or contend for, the royal
graces, and are supported at the cost of the bee-
workers; but when the queen has finally chosen
her partner or partners from them, the bee-
workers fall upon the rest, and sweep them away
in one general massacre.
Such are the three orders, or degrees, which
exist in the great bee community."
THE WAX-POCKETS. 19
Yes : the queen, the workers, the drones.
But you have told me nothing about their stat-
ure or appearance. How shall I know one from
the other ? "
"Well, listen: the worker is about half an
inch long, and about one-sixth of an inch broad,
at the upper part of the abdomen. The antenna,
or feelers, are twelve-jointed, and each terminates
with a kind of knob. The abdomen consists of
six joints, or rings; and under the scaly cover-
ings of the four middle ones are situated the
"Wax-pockets," exclaimed Charlie.
"So they are called; because they are the
organs in which the secretion of wax takes place.
At the extremity of the abdomen is situated the
sting, which is straight. The lower joint of the
hind tarsi, or ankle, if I may so call it, is widened
until it forms a basket, fit for the reception of
the pollen collected from the flowers by the hairs
which thickly cover the little creature's legs."
"And what about the drones? "
"These are the male bees, and, unlike the
males in most communities, do no work at all.
They are called drones, from the peculiar noise
they make in their flight; are much larger
20 THE PERFECT FEMALES.
than the neuters or workers, and thicker in pro-
portion. The antennae, or feelers, are provided
with an additional joint. The eyes are remarka-
S< A / j blylarge, and meetupon
S' the crown. Observe:
-' neithermales nor queens
S-- have wax-pockets, nor
S pollen baskets; their
legs are less hairy;
and the queen bee's
/ sting is not straight, but
A DRONE RF.. curved.
"Of the perfect females it may be said that
they are much larger than either the workers or the
S males; they are also easily
.-' r known by the yellow tint
LEG AND TARSUS OF DRONE BE. of the under part of the
body, and by the extreme shortness of their wings,
which, instead of extending to the extremity of
the abdomen, leave some of its rings uncovered.
Such being the different inhabitants of a bee-
hive, I shall now proceed to give you a sketch of
their characteristic habits, and then of the build-
ing, outside and inside, which they construct with
so much architectural skill."
GENERAL SKETCH OF THE HABITS OF BEES.
"Many-coloured, sunshine-loving, spring-betokening bee !
Yellow bee, so mad for love of early-blooming flowers!
Till thy waxen cells be full, fair fall thy work and thee,
Buzzing round the sweetly-smelling garden-plots and flowers."
f ]H-I E life of the mother or queen bee," said
s1'. Mr. Walters, "is mainly occupied in
S laying eggs to increase the popula-
F ; ^ tion of the hive. This increase,
"though varying according to the state
of the weather, is, on the whole, very rapid-
sometimes at the rate of 300 eggs in a day,
or in the later spring months of 1000, or even
2000. The increase, however, is not continuous.
Under certain conditions, which I shall duly de-
scribe to you, a grand emigration, or, as it is
called, swarming, takes place, and new bee-
colonies are established.
"Respecting the males, I must add to what I
22 A BEE-SWARMING.
have said before, that their only known use is to
assist the queen in peopling the hive; and after
the swarming season is over, the great majority
of them are slain in cold blood by the workers,
as if the latter were afraid they might consume
too much of their winter store.
The greater part of the workers themselves do
not live out a twelvemonth; but the queen bee's
existence often stretches beyond a period of three
"Now, Charlie, we will suppose that you and
I are wandering, one bright warm night in May,
in the vicinity of a bee-hive. To our surprise,
instead of the stillness which generally prevails
at night, there is a loud commotion; sounds fall
upon our ears as if the interior of the hive were
the scene of a sudden tumult. And these sounds
continue throughout the night, and throughout
the next morning, and even into mid-day. They
are indicative of a swarming or emigration, and
lo, about noon, forth rush the body of emigrants,
either preceded or followed by their queen.
Leaving them settled for a while on a neighbour-
ing bough, you and I return to the original
hive. Here tier upon tier of six-sided cells hang
suspended from the roof, most of them occupied
TRUTH STRANGER THAN FICTION. 23
as the sleeping-nests of the industrious workers,
the nurseries of the infant bees, and as store-
houses for honey and bee-bread. But no one is
asleep. The departure of the queen bee has left
the little state without a head; and like the
House of Commons without a Speaker, the con-
tinuity of its business has been interrupted. To
gather up the broken reins, the remnant left in
the hive proceed, like the House of Commons, to
choose a new ruler."
"Oh, go on, papa!" exclaimed Charlie; "this
is better than a fairy tale."
"I should think so, for truth is stranger than
fiction. Well, among the mass of six-sided cells
which chiefly compose the hive, you would per-
ceive, on a glance into the interior, some half-dozen
oval chambers, each thrice the size of a common
cell, and these are-what ?"
Of course, the royal nurseries."
Yes ; and within these 'waxen palaces' have
been for some weeks carefully fostered, in differ-
ent stages of growth and development, some half-
dozen princely infants, for one of whom the royal
crown of Bee-land is intended."
"But for which one ?" inquired Charlie. "How
do the bees determine ?"
24 FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED."
We shall see. After waiting a while, with
a patience never exhibited by human subjects,
the bees are gratified by the emergence of a royal
lady, full-grown, ripe, and mature, from one of
PORTION OF HIVE, SHOWING THE ROYAL AND ORDINARY CELLS.
the royal chambers. It is a case of 'first come,
first served.' The bees salute her with a loud
hum of applause and congratulation. The queen
is ready to assume her royal state; but there is
many a slip twixtt the cup and the lip. Behold I
A DEADLY DUEL. 25
another would-be queen issues from another royal
chamber, and catching a glimpse of her rival,
flies straight against her in a fury of royal rage.
"What poet could fitly sing the combat that
now ensues? Head to head, chest to chest,
they grapple and they struggle, and each has
only, dragon-wise, to curve her tail and fix her
venomed dart, and both, like the celebrated Kil-
kenny cats, will then fall victims to the mutual
But lo at this critical moment, as if stricken
simultaneously with panic fear, they part, and
recede from the deadly and too equal combat.
Hitherto the spectators have been looking on
inactive, but not mute, for they have maintained
a ceaseless hum; but now that the royal warriors
seem abashed, the hum swells into a tremendous
roar. A few individuals, darting from the crowd,
dare to seize upon the retreating queens and stay
their flight, who, aroused by this indignity to a
fresh access of rage, burst from their subjects'
hold, and renew the fierce encounter. The issue
does not long remain in suspense; for now one of
the queenly warriors, stronger or more skilful
than her sister, rises above her, seizes a scanty
wing, and inflicts a mortal sting on her unpro-
26 A SANGUINARY SOVEREIGN.
tected body. Then she quickly withdraws her
fatal weapon, while the hapless rival, after a brief
"And is all this true ?" said Charlie, fixing on
his father a gaze of wonder and admiration.
"Actually and positively true. And what
think you is the next task of the victor? She
approaches the royal chambers where still repose,
unconscious, the four remaining nymphs or larve
of regal lineage. She tears aside from the
entrance of each the silken hangings which
partially protect it, thrusts through the aperture
her poisoned dart, and, one by one, slays each
probable rival. In this cruel work her subjects
are pleased participants; for no sooner does she
abandon the scene of each successive assassination,
than they drag from it the corpse she has left
behind, and hasten to conceal the evidence of her
"We are told that it seems essential to the
well-being of a hive that only one sovereign
should be acknowledged, on the principle of
Alexander the Great, that two suns cannot shine
in one hemisphere. On this single sovereign, as
the universal mother, the parent and populator of
all the hive, depends not only the prosperity, but
MANUFACTURING A QUEEN. 27
the very existence of the state. Moreover, with-
out a queen to guide or accompany the swarm,
no emigration could take place. Hence, to guard
against risk of accident, it is necessary to keep up
a surplus supply of royal nymphs. But it will
sometimes happen that, notwithstanding all their
care and forethought, a hive finds itself bereft of
its sovereign, and without any successor to take
"What is to be done then, papa? Do they
elect one of themselves ?"
No; one of the most extraordinary of natural
phenomena then takes place. Having lost their
sovereign, the bees set to work to make another."
"What! to make, to manufacture another ?
Oh, surely you are joking !"
"Nay; I speak but the plain unvarnished
truth. After devoting some few hours to decor-
ous lamentation, they suddenly address them-
selves to the task of destroying-I mean, appar-
ently destroying their beautiful little city.
Several parties here and there attack the six-
sided houses, hastily toppling down their waxen
walls, without any regard to the young which
lie slumbering in happy ignorance. Of these un-
happy little ones, perhaps four or five in number,
28 THE BEES AND THEIR MATERIALS.
the destroyers sacrifice all but a single nymph;
and then, indeed, they lavish on this chosen object
an amount of affection which almost compensates
for the cruel slaughter of their kin. By pulling
down the cells on either side, they convert the
little nursery into a spacious palace-chamber,
which allows its occupant unlimited space for
growing; and there she lies for about ten days,
being assiduously crammed meanwhile with 'royal
Well," said Charlie, "I call that a new way
of making a queen. But go on, papa. I hope
you are not tired, for I am not."
I think the next point to be discussed is this,
Whence do the bees obtain the materials for their
wax and honey? Look
S- .. at these little creatures
J now softly humming
round us, and flying
from flower to flower
with what appears to
C. be an indefatigable
"curiosity. They are
BES". at work, we know, but
they wisely make a pleasure of their work,
and each little adventurer roams about in the
THE POLLEN, OR DUST. 29
sunshine with a sense, I think, of positive enjoy-
"'Hot midsummer's petty crone,
Sweet to me thy drowsy tone,
Telling of countless sunny hours,
Long days and solid banks of flowers;
Of gulfs of sweetness without bound,
In Indian wildernesses found;
Of Syrian peace, immortal leisure,
Firmest cheer, and bird-like pleasure.
Wiser far than human seer,
Seeing only what is fair,
Sipping only what is sweet,
Thou dost mock at fate and care,
Leave the chaff and take the wheat.'
"You will remember that I have described the
bee's thigh as loaded with a kind
of pannier or basket, into which,
when she meets with a suitable
flower, she brushes off the pollen
or dust; and having sucked in a
full store of 'nectared sweets,' she
makes her way, as straightly and
as'swiftly as an arrow, to her busy
"Having arrived at the gate,
and been examined by the sentinels, -.
she passes into the interior, and '.
immediately presents to the queen, L"o O A BEE
as an act of homage, a portion of her honey. She
30 MAKING BEE-BREAD."
then puts aside a little for her own use, and the
remainder she deposits within one of the store-
cells set apart for this purpose. Her next step
is to get rid of the contents of her pollen-basket.
This flower-dust, or flower-farina, after undergoing
a certain process, of which swallowing forms a
part, becomes the 'bee-bread' of which we have
already spoken, and the most valuable nutriment
of 'bee-existence,' especially before the stage of
maturity is reached. After being swallowed, it is
probably administered at once, like 'golden syrup,'
to some of the baby occupants of the nursery
cells; or, if more has been collected than im-
mediate need requires, this, like the honey, is
first diluted and packed, and then laid up for
We have seen, to use the language of an agree-
able writer, how our most industrious gatherer
has brought home her share of pollen, or 'bee-
bread,' and honey, or 'bee-wine ;' but where is
her portion of wax-of that all-precious material
in which both the bee-bread and the bee-wine are
so carefully preserved ?
"On this occasion, having given away all her
honey, she can make no wax ;-a lesson that we
should be just before we are generous.
HUNTER'S OBSERVATION. 31
"Long ago not one of the observers of bees, or
keepers of bees, could have told you why a bee
without honey could not contribute wax, though
the answer to the question could now be given
by almost any school-boy."
"Not by me, papa."
"That is your own fault, for not having read
more, or kept your eyes open. The opinion for-
merly held was, that humble-bees, and all bees,
either collected their wax ready-made from the
flowers, or manufactured it from the pollen which
they stored up in their thigh-basket. That there
was a mistake here-that the chief foundation of
wax could not be pollen, because of the varied
colour of the latter-was first observed by the
great anatomist, John Hunter. Huber and
others, starting from this observation, and making
numerous experiments, found that bees which
were fed entirely upon honey and sugar, and
deprived, at the same time, of all opportunities of
collecting pollen, succeeded nevertheless in con-
structing their honeycombs and wax; though
without the 'bee-bread' made from the flower-
farina, or pollen, they were wholly unable to feed
"Hence this result follows: that honey, or
32 WHAT IS PROPOLIS ?
sugar, and not pollen, is essential to the manu-
facture of wax-a secretion which, exuding from
the rings of the bee's stomach, is sometimes visible
in the form of scale.
"But besides the pollen and the wax, the
vegetable world furnishes the bees with yet
another material for their architectural works.
This substance is called propolis, from two Greek
words signifying 'before the city,' and is so called
because it is chiefly applied externally, and to the
outworks of the waxen edifices. It consists of a
brown resin, collected from trees producing a
certain kind of gum. The bees in collecting it
make free use of their thigh-baskets; but to
avoid their movements being impeded by so ad-
hesive a substance, they knead it up, and render
it more tenacious, before transferring it to their
"With this propolis all accidental holes and
crevices are filled up, and the honeycombs,
originally of the purest white, are carefully
'Now, is not all this very wonderful, my boy ?
How is the bee taught to collect this pollen, and
this honey, and this propolis; and how does it
acquire a knowledge of the purposes to which
DIVINE ORIGIN OF ANIMAL INSTINCT. 33
each should be devoted ? Let me quote you
some fine melodious and sensible lines of Prior.
He exclaims :-
"Tell me, ye studious, who pretend to see
Far into Nature's bosom, whence the bee
"Was first informed her vent'rous flight to steer
Through trackless paths and an abyss of air?
Whence she avoids the slimy marsh, and knows
The fertile hills where sweeter herbage grows,
And honey-making flowers their opening buds disclose?
How from the thickened mist and setting sun
Finds she the labour of her day is done?
Who taught her against-winds and rains to strive,
To bring her burden to the certain hive?'
"There can be but one answer, Charlie, what-
ever the presumptuous ingenuity of man may
endeavour to devise. The knowledge, instinct,
intelligence-whatever you choose to call it-of
the bees, as of other insects, must have had a
divine origin, must have sprung from God."
How wonderful are all thy works, O God !"
exclaimed Charlie, in a reverent voice, and with
Mr. Walters rested a while, and then re-
During cold weather bees appear to lapse into
a semi-torpid condition, and consume much less
food than at other times. Their respiration is
conducted by means of trachece, or air-tubes, and
31 ENEMIES OF THE BEES.
its activity is greater or less according to the
insect's greater or less activity.
It may well be deemed an extraordinary fact,
says a writer, that among the enemies of our
skilful and industrious little architects are to be
counted certain species of moths, which, despite
the danger lurking in the stings of the bees, enter
the hives and deposit their eggs. After these
are hatched, they feed upon the combs. Mice
sometimes nibble their way into the hives in
winter, and destroy and pillage uncontrolled.
"Bees are not wholly of a pacific nature.
Their wars are frequently of a most desperate
character. When one community is attacked
by others, it will offer a gallant resistance, and
does not yield until overcome by numbers. The
weaker hives are very much exposed, in the
sweet spring-time, when flowers are few, to these
"Here their delicious task the fervent bees
In swarming millions tend; around, athwart,
Through the soft air the busy nations fly,
Cling to the bud, and with inserted tube
Suck its pure essence, its ethereal soul;
And oft, with bolder wing, they soaring dare
The purple heath, or where the wild-thyme grows,
And yellow load them with the luscious spoil "
""iW that I have described to you the'
t architects, their manners and customs,
and the materials they work with, I am
naturally led to consider the kind of
S edifice they erect. For our knowledge
of its skilful arrangements we are indebted more
to the perseverance of Huber, the naturalist, than
to all the observations of his predecessors. Nor
have succeeding students added much to the in-
teresting and valuable details which he collected.
When bees begin to build a hive, they divide
themselves into bands, one of which has to gather
36 BEGINNING THE TASK.
and produce the materials; another works them
up, and forms them into a kind of outline of the
dimensions and partitions of the future cells; and
a third brings provisions to the labourers, who are
unable to leave their work. But, according to
Mr. Rennie and other observers, no distribution
of food is made to those whose task of collecting
propolis and pollen calls them to the field. It is
presumed they will attend to their own wants.
Nor is any allowance supplied to those who
initiate, as it were, the architecture of the cells.
Their province is very troublesome, because they
are compelled to level and extend, as well as to
cut and shape the wax to the required form and
dimensions; but, after awhile, they complete
their task, and retire to the fields to regale them-
selves with food, and to refresh themselves with
a sense of unrestrained liberty and pleasure. But
their successors have to draw their mouth, their
feet, and the extremity of their body, several
times over the entire surface of their work; and
as they never desist until the fatiguing occupation
is at an end, they frequently require refreshments,
for which purpose waiters are always in attendance
with a sufficient supply. The worker, when
hungry, bends down his trunk before his purveyor,
HUBER'S EXPERIMENT. 37
to intimate that he fain would eat. Immediately,
the other opens his bag of precious honey, and
allows a few drops to trickle out. The brief
repast over, back goes the labourer to his toil,
and with his feet and body repeats the same
motions as before.
Now, observe, Charlie, the book I have beside
me,-and which induced me at the outset to talk
upon this particular subject,-is Huber's great
book on Bees. Let me read to you his minute
account of the various operations undertaken and
carried through by our little architect in the
erection of a hive.
"That he might watch these operations, he took
a large glass vessel, shaped like a bell, and glued
thin wooden slips to the arch at intervals, because
the glass itself was too smooth for the bees to
support themselves upon it.
"Into this glass bell was introduced a swarm,
consisting of some thousand workers, several
hundred males, and a fertile queen, who soon
ascended to the top. Those first gaining the
slips fixed themselves there by their fore-feet;
others, scrambling up the sides, joined them, by
holding their legs with-their own, and they thus
formed a kind of chain, fastened by the two ends
38 THE INDUSTRIOUS WORKERS.
to the upper parts of the receiver, and served as
'adders or a bridge to the workers enlarging their
CLUSTERl OF BEES
number. The latter were united in a cluster,
hanging like an inverted pyramid from the top
to the bottom of the hive.
NATURE OF THEIR WORK. 39
The country affording but little honey, Huber
provided the bees with syrup of sugar in order to
quicken their work. They crowded to the edge
of the vessel which contained it; and having
satisfied themselves, returned to the group. A
general repose now prevailed, while the nurse-
bees set off into the country on a foraging expedi-
tion. Returning loaded with pollen, they kept
guard at the mouth of the hive, cleansed it, and
closed up its edges with propolis. For about
fifteen hours the wax-workers remained motion-
less-the curtain of bees, consisting always of the
.same individuals, assured the observer that none
replaced them. A few hours afterwards, it was
discovered that all these individuals had wax
scales under the rings; and next day this
phenomenon was still more general."
"Wax scales, papa? Oh, you spoke about them
before," said Charlie.
The bees on the outside of the cluster now
changed their places, and by so doing displayed
their bellies more distinctly. Owing to the pro-
jection of the wax scales, the rings seemed edged
with white. In several places the curtain of bees,
as I have called it, was, completely rent, and some
degree of commotion was noticeable in the hive.
40 AN INGENIOUS LABOURER.
Convinced in his own mind that the combs
would originate in the centre of the swarm, Huber
directed his whole attention towards the roof of
the glass. Just at this time a worker separated
himself from one of the festoons of the cluster,
and, with his head, drove away the bees at the
beginning of the row in the middle of the arch,
turning round and round until he had cleared a
space an inch or more in diameter, in which he
might move freely. Then he took up his position
in the centre of the clearing.
"The worker, with the pincers at the joint of
one of the third pair of his limbs, seized a scale
of wax projecting from a ring, and brought it
forward to his mouth with the claws of his fore-
legs, when it appeared in a vertical position.
Then, with his claws, he turned the wax in every
necessary direction; the edge of the scale im-
mediately broke up, and the fragments, accumu-
lating in the hollow of the mandibles, issued
forth like a very narrow ribbon, impregnated
with a frothy liquid by the tongue. The tongue
itself assumed the most varied shapes, and went
through the most complicated operations, being
sometimes flattened like a trowel, and at other
times pointed like a pencil; and, after imbuing
DUCTILITY AND TENACITY. 41
the whole substance of the ribbon, pushed it for-
ward again into the mandibles, whence it was
drawn out a second time, but in an opposite
At length the bee applied these particles of
wax to the vault or roof of the hive, where they
stuck through the saliva in them, communicating
at the same time a whiteness and opacity pre-
viously wanting. I suppose, Charlie, that the
object of this process was to give the wax that
ductility and tenacity belonging to its perfect
state. By the way, what is the meaning of those
two hard words, ductility and tenacity?"
Oh, we say a substance is ductile when it
can be moulded into a particular shape; and
tenacious when it keeps that state, unless some
outward force be applied to it."
Quite a learned definition! Well, the por-
tions not yet applied the bee separated with his
mandibles, and made what use of he pleased.
Then he treated a second and a third scale in the
same elaborate manner, and yet, the work was
only planned out, as it were; for this busy worker
did nothing but accumulate the waxy particles
together. The bee, having thus completed his
particular task, retired among his companions.
4 LIVE AND LEARN."
Another, with wax under the rings, succeeded
him; suspended himself to the same spot; with-
drew a scale by the pincers of the hind-legs;
passed it through his mandibles; carried on his
fellow-worker's work-only he took care to make
his deposit in a line with the former, and to
unite their ends. Now came forward a third
worker, who reduced some of the scales to paste,
and placed them near the materials accumulated
by his companions, but not in a straight line.
Another bee, apparently sensible of the defect,
removed the misplaced wax, and carrying it to
the former heap, deposited it there, exactly in
the prescribed order and direction."
"Well, that's what I call ingenuity! These
bees are far cleverer fellows than I had any
Live and learn, Charlie. Keep your ears
and eyes open, and be always on the watch to
pick up knowledge. A grain per day, and you
have a heap of three hundred and sixty-five grains
per annum !
"The result of all the operations which I have
described was the production of a rugged surface,
hanging down from the arch, without any par-
ticular angle or definite shape, or any trace of
BUILDING A CELL. 43
cells. I can only sketch it out to you as a wall
or ridge, running in a straight line, and without
the slightest bend or curve, two-thirds of an inch
in length, about two lines high, and declining
towards the extremities. Sometimes, however,
the wall is from an inch to an inch and a half in
length, the form being always the same; but
the wall is never of greater height.
Such is the mode in which the bee-worker
lays the foundation of her cell.
"We have now to ascertain, Charlie, in what
way she builds it up; how she raises on this
foundation a satisfactory superstructure. To
arrive at this information, I must again avail
myself of the patient and ingenious experiments
He caused a box to be made, twelve inches
square and nine deep, with a movable glass lid.
Combs, full of brood, honey, and pollen were then
collected from another hive, and being cut into
pieces twelve inches long and four deep, they
were arranged upright at the bottom of the box,
at the same intervals as the insects themselves
usually leave between them. The upper edge of
each was covered by a slip of wooden lath. Huber
did not think it probable that the bees would
44 ACTIVITY OF THE NURSE-BEES.
attempt to found new combs on the glass roof of
the box, because its smoothness prevented the
swarm from adhering to it; so that, if disposed
to build, they could do so over the slips resting
on the combs, which left a vacant space five
inches high above them. As was foreseen, the
swarm with which this box was peopled established
itself among the combs below. The activity of
the nurse-bees was then observable. They scat-
tered themselves about the hive, feeding the
young grubs, clearing out their lodgments, and
adapting it for the proprietors. It would seem
that they considered the combs, which were
roughly cut to fit the bottom of the box, and in
some parts damaged, in great need of reparation,
for they immediately commenced the work. They
beat down the old wax, kneaded it between their
teeth, and thus formed materials fit for binding
and consolidating the combs. Huber describes
himself as astonished beyond expression to see
such a multitude of workers employed simulta-
neously in labours to which it did not appear they
should have been called, at their coincidence, their
zeal, and their prudence.
But it was still more wonderful, he says, that
about half the population took no share in the
THE FOUNDATION LAID. 45
proceedings at all, but remained motionless, while
the others were so industriously occupied. This
motionlessness, however, was not for nothing!
They lay still, gorged with the honey put within
their reach; in this condition they remained for
twenty-four hours, until the wax had formed
under their rings, and was ready to be put in
operation. To the great satisfaction of the
experimentalist, a little foundation-wall soon
began to rise on one of the slips prepared to
"At first this foundation was very small, but
as the work required, it was gradually enlarged.
Meantime, the workers excavated on one side a
hollow, of about the width of a common cell, and
on the opposite surface two others of somewhat
greater elongation. The middle of the single cell
corresponded exactly to the partition separating the
latter; the arches of these excavations, projecting
by the accumulation of wax, were converted into
straight ridges; whence the cells of the first row
were composed of five sides, considering the slips
as one side, and those of the second row of six
sides.-Hand me that stick, Charlie. Now, on
the ground here, I will draw three diagrams, to
explain the enlargement of the foundation-wall,
46 SHAPE OF THE CELLS.
and the early operations in the erection of the
_.r ,cells. Do you see, Charlie ? "
S' Yes, papa, and I understand."
The structure of the interior
ENLARGED FOUNDA- of the cells, apparently, was de-
rived from the position of their
t' respective outlines. The bees
possessed, most unquestionably, a
",l, remarkable delicacy of feeling, and
OELLS hence they directed theirteeth prin-
COIMM.CED. cipally to the place where the wax
was thickest; that is, to the parts
SIl. I' where, on the opposite side, other
"1 i0' workers had strengthened it, and, in
CELLS their turn, commenced excavating.
COMMENCED. "Thus it came about, that owing
to the manner in which the excavations were op-
posed to each other, those of the second row, and
all subsequent, partially applied to three cavities,
were composed of three equal diamond-shaped
lozenges. I may here remark, that each part of
the labour of bees appears the natural result of
what has preceded it. Therefore, as Huber dis-
tinctly asserts, chance has no share in these ad-
But now, quitting for awhile M. Huber's ex-
ARRANGEMENT OF THE COMBS. 47
periments, I will endeavour to describe briefly
- the general mode of formation of the cells.
The combs of a bee-hive are
parallel to each other, forming ;.o
vertical strata of about an inch i.
in thickness, with an interval of 1Qii L ,
nearlyhalf an inch between them. Cj
The cells, therefore, are nearly UI .. Q
horizontal, but with a slight in-
clination or dip towards the IT
centre of each comb. The
workers first begin at.the central CELLS OF A BEE-HIVE.
comb, and then, in succession, those next to it
on either side; the combs being lengthened and
enlarged, when necessary, according to the order
in which they were made. In each comb there
are two sets of cells-that is, one on either side;
and it has been put forward as an illustra-
tion of the perseverance and energy of bees, that
a piece of comb, fourteen inches long by seven
inches wide, and containing about four thousand
cells, has been frequently constructed in four-
and-twenty hours. Most of the comb consists
of cells adapted for the lodgment of breeding
workers; the remainder is allotted to the drones.
When the principal breeding season is over, the
48 THE BEES AT WORK.
cells of some parts of the comb are often lengthened,
to fit them for the reception of honey; or combs
of greater thickness, with longer cells, are con-
structed for this special purpose; the mouth of
TIHE BEES AT WORK
each store-cell, when completely filled with honey,
being sealed or covered with wax.
"The bee's cell is a hexagon, or six-sided figure.
Now, for reasons which you would hardly under-
THEY PRODUCE A MASTERPIECE. 49
stand, this hexagon is a far more useful figure for
a bee's cell than triangle, square, or circle. It
affords the greatest strength, and necessitates the
least waste of space. But the entire construction
of the hive is a masterpiece of intelligence, and
demands our wonder, our admiration, and, I had
almost said, our awe.'
Would you a miracle of labour see,
Come, watch the progress of the Mason-Bee !
Ambition surely fires his little breast,
As he achieves his well-shaped, clay-built nest."
THINK," said Mr. Walters, I have now
gossiped long enough. Afternoon is
waning into evening, and we must
"both stand in need of refreshment and re-
pose. But before we go in-doors, I would
like to say a few words about other bees than the
hive or common bee, with which we are all so
familiar, and whose ingenuity and fancy you have
now begun to appreciate; and briefly -trace the
operations of such industrious workers as the
mason-bee, the carpenter-bee, the upholsterer-bee,
"A writer who is deserving of every confidence
justly remarks, that it would not be easy to find
a more simple and, at the same time, ingenious
THE FIRST MASON. 51
specimen of insect architecture than the nests of
those species of solitary bees-meek, solitary
bees, which do not live in
vast communities like the /
common bee which are
called Mason-Bees. It was
Rdaumur who, amazed by
the close resemblances be-
tween the proceedings of TILE MA.ON-BEE.
insects and some of our human industries, first
applied to bees, and wasps, and caterpillars, names
indicative of the character of their work. And
surely, since the mason-bee builds his nest with
such materials as sand, earthy substances, wood,
and chalk, he may be considered to have a right
to his name."
Oh yes; but instead of the First Architect,
let us call him the First Mason."
"Rennie tells us, in his valuable work on
'Insect Architecture,' that on the north-east
wall of Greenwich Park, at a height of four feet
from the ground, he once discovered the nest of a
mason-bee, formed in the layer of cement between
two courses of bricks. Externally, you saw only
an irregular cake of dry mud, which looked as if
a handful of wet road-stuff had been removed
52 THE MASON-BEE.
from a cart-rut, and daubed against the wall;
but, on closer inspection, you found that the
NEST OF THE MASON-BEE.
SECTION OF NEST.
cake contained a larger number of stones than
usually occur in the mud of cart-ruts. There
was also a circular hole on one side of it which
HOW SHE BUILDS HER NEST. 53
attracted attention, for it indicated the perforation
of some insect. When examined, this hole was
found to be the mouth of a cell about an inch
deep, exactly of the form and size of a lady's
thimble, finely polished, and of the colour of
plaster-of-Paris, though stained in various places
"This cell was empty; but when the cake of
mud was cleared away, another revealed itself,
separated from the former by a partition about an
inch thick. Here lay a winged bee-a bee which
had just emerged from the larva or nymph state,
and assumed her wings. Probably the one which
had tenanted the adjacent cell had already found
its little pinions, and flown away rejoicing in its
novel freedom of existence.
The way in which the mason-bee builds her
nest is this: she seeks a supply of suitable
material-let us say, a bank of clay by the
margin of a stream-and proceeds to cut out a
pellet, or tiny fragment; which, after carefully
kneading, and moistening with her saliva to
render it more tenacious, she carries off to the
spot where she has selected to build her domicile.
She applies pellet upon pellet, occasionally intro-
ducthg a small pebble, until she has constructed a
54 A CAUTIOUS BEE.
kind of egg-shaped nest, within which she forms
The very different behaviour of the bee at the
clay-bank, and when building her nest, struck
Mr. Rennie as not a little remarkable. When
digging and preparing the clay, she showed no
alarm at his approach; the work went on as
regularly as if he had been at a distance; and
though he was standing close to the hole, his
presence did not scare away the bee on her
return for fresh materials. But if he stood near
the nest, or even in the road by which the bee
flew to it, she turned back, or made a wide
circuit immediately, as if to lure him from the
neighbourhood of her little home. She would
even turn back when her observer was at such a
distance that it could scarcely be supposed she
was jealous of him; but, mayhaps, she had de-
tected some prowling ferocious insect, watching
her flight with designs upon her provision for
her future progeny.
"It is in instances such as these, says Mr.
Rennie,-and this is the lesson, Charlie, I want
you to learn,-instances which exhibit the adapta-
tion of an instinct to circumstances, that our
reason finds the greatest difficulty in explaining
WHENCE COMES INSTINCT. 55
the governing principle of the minds of the in-
ferior animals. The mason-bee builds her nest
by an invariable rule; the model is in her mind,
so to speak, as it has been in the mind of her
race from their first creation : they have learned
nothing by experience. But the mode in which
they accomplish this task varies according to the
situations in which they are placed. They ap-
pear to have a glimmering of reason, employed as
a help to, and an instrument of, their instinct.
But, as I have said before, who implants in
them this instinct, or this glimmering of reason ?
There can be but one answer, Charlie: a divine,
a supernatural, a creative Power-the Power
which we love, worship, and glorify, as-GOD."
.~ ,, '.' 'i '
" ^^^ROM the mason-bee I turn to the Car-
Spenter-Bee (Xylocopa lapensis) a beauti-
ful South African genus. The process
by which she constructs her nest is as
curious as it is ingenious; and, more-
over, it is as nicely calculated as if it were re-
gulated by exact scientific principles.
\ "The bee, having selected
a suitable piece of wood, such as
a branch or the trunk of an
old and decayed tree, or a post
THE CARPENTER-BEE. which has seen many days and
has lost its original strength, she bores in it a
circular hole about an inch and a half in
length, which is large enough to permit her to
pass. Having got as far as this, she suddenly
turns off at an angle, and drives her tunnel
THE CARPENTER-BEE. 57
parallel to the grain of the wood-that is, in the
same direction that the grain runs-for some six
or seven inches. In carrying out
this work, she wastes none of the
chips and fragments, but lays
them aside in some secure place,
sheltered from the wind.
The tunnel is now complete.
Upon what does our Xylocopa i,
next employ herself? She is
fatigued, and wants rest; but
she seeks that rest, as all wise
men should seek it, in change
of employment. She goes in I
search of flower-farina and honey.
With these she accumulates a
tiny heap at the bottom of her
nest, and upon the top deposits
"So far, so good. But the GALLER.IE FORMED BY
little insect knows her work is THE CARPENTER -BE
not done, and proceeds to build over the egg a
vault or ceiling, which is intended to form the
floor of another cell. For this purpose she
resorts to her supply of chips, and fixes them
in a ring above the heap of pollen, cementing
58 EXCAVATING A TUNNEL.
them together with a glutinous substance, sup-
posed to be secreted by herself. Inside this ring
she places another, and inside the second a third ;
and so she proceeds, until she
has built up a nearly flat ceiling
of consecutive rings-the thick-
ness of the whole being equal to
about the thickness of a penny.
The number of cells constructed
FLOOR OF THE CELL. by the same insect is very vari-
able; but the average seems to be seven or eight
in each tunnel, and certainly the bee excavates
more than one tunnel. As
II i1t Lb tunnel, taken as whole,
S :-::,eeds a foot in length,
i' anj'l is wide enough to
'|.Iihnit the passage of its
'' widle bodied builder, the
S---- ount of labour performed
NETS OF THE CARPENTER-BEE. is certainly wonderful. And
what are the bee's instruments ?"
Her feet and her jaws, I suppose."
"No, her jaws alone! with these she drives
twelve inches deep into the solid wood.
But there are several other carpenter or
wood-boring bees, of which I should like to speak
WITH WHAT IMPLEMENTS. 59
to you. One of them, the Willow-Bee (Megachile
Willoughbiella), or Rosecutter-Bee, as it is some-
times called, is very frequently met
with in our country. Her building '
operations are characteristic. She
begins by boring a hole of proper TOOLS O THE
size in some old tree-generally a CARPENTER-BEE.
willow; and when she has completed it, she goes
off to a rose-bush, or a 'gold-dropping laburnum,'
and here selects a particular leaf, out of which her
sharp jaws quickly cut a semi-circular piece. As
she supports herself, meanwhile, on the very piece
of leaf she is cutting, she would fall to the ground
along with it, did she not take the precaution of
balancing herself on her wings for a few moments
before the last cut is made.
With her prize firmly held between her jaws,
she flies away to her nest, and binding the leaf
into a kind of curve, presses it into the interior.
Off she goes for another leaf, and, returning,
thrusts it inside the former. This process she
repeats until she has formed a small thimble-
shaped cell, at the bottom of which she deposits
an egg and some bee-bread. Then she constructs
a second cell; and then a third; and so the work
goes on, until she has formed a series of cells,
60 THE LEAF-CUTTING BEE.
each about two inches deep. It is said that when
the cells are originally made, the natural elasticity
of the leaf renders them firm; and that, in a few
,r *(- ..
MEGACHILE WILLOUGHBIELLA (LEAF-CUTTING BEES).
days, they grow so solid and stiff, that they can
be removed from the nest, and freely handled
"Bravo, old Xylocopa !" exclaimed Charlie.
A PITH-BORING BEE. 61
"Perhaps the work of a pith-boring bee, called
Hylceus dilatatus, is more curious than anything
I have yet described. This ingenious creature
will make use of a hollow stem or stalk, like that
of the hemlock, if she can get hold of a suitable
one; otherwise, she scorns delights, and lives
laborious days in excavating a burrow of the size
she needs. Other bees of this order may be
found inside the dry twigs of the garden rose, and
bramble, and plants of a similar character-even
in the reeds and rushes which flourish on the
margin of stream, pond, or river. 'If,' says a
good authority, 'if at the cut end of a branch a
round hole be found in the pith, the observer may
be sure that a nest of some kind is within. Gene-
rally, on carefully laying the branch open, there
appears a whole series of cells, one above the
other; and in such a- case, the cells which are
furthest from the aperture always contain the
larvse of the female insects, those nearest the
entrance being the males.'
"Let me quote from the same authority a still
more interesting passage:-
"He says that the nests found in the bramble
not seldom contain the larvae of the Osmia leuco-
62 NESTS IN THE THATCH.
Two crack-jaw words, papa !" exclaimed
Charlie ; "Osmia leu-co-me-la-na !"
"Well, if the name be hard of sound and long
to spell, the insect designated by it is both pretty
and little. It is scarcely more than a quarter of
an inch in length, is black in colour, with a very
glossy abdomen, and has a white, downy look
about the legs. Five or six cells are made in each
branch, and the perfect insect appears about the
month of June.
Other bees of this genus show much ingenuity
in saving themselves labour. And yet they are
not idle; they can work as well as any of their
kind, when they feel that there is a necessity for
them to do so. But, apparently, they have dis-
covered the truth that needless labour is as great
a folly as waste of time. The smaller species are
very fond of making their cells inside straws, and
.a thatched roof often contains thousands of nests,
which are unsuspected by man, and only dis-
covered by the tomtits and other birds, whose
sharp eyes soon detect the hidden insect, and
whose ready bills pull the straw out of the
thatch and pick the larvTe from their cells.
Nail-holes in garden walls are often filled with
cells; and so are the auger-holes in old rails
MORE ABOUT THE CARPENTER-BEE. 63
and posts, from which the wooden pins have
As thatched roofs are rapidly disappearing, and
our cottages and barns are being covered in with
tiles or slates, I often wonder what will become
of the numerous insects which have been accus-
tomed to live and work in the overhanging
"Now, what I have had to say about the car-
penter-bee, will fitly conclude with some judicious
remarks by Mr. F. Smith :-
"' One of these bees may be observed to alight
on an upright post, or other wood suitable for its
purposes. She commences the formation of her
tunnel, not by excavating down-
wards, as she would be incommoded I
with the dust and rubbish she re- 'i
moves; no, she works upwards, I ii
and so avoids such an inconveni-
ence. When she has proceeded i
to the length required, she pro-
ceeds in a horizontal direction to
the outside of the post, and then PU' OF THE CARPEN-
TER-BEE IN THEIR
her operations are continued down- NURSERIEs,
wards. She excavates a cell near the bottom of the
tube, a second and a third, and so on, to the required
64 LARVAE AND BEES.
number. The larvae, when full fed, have their
heads turned upwards. The bees which arrive at
their perfect condition, or rather those which are
first anxious to escape into day, are two or three
in the upper cells-these are males; the females
are usually ten or twelve days later. This is the
history of every wood-boring bee which I have
bred, and,' says Mr. Smith, 'I have reared broods
of nearly every species indigenous to this country.'"
v F _- --
" ITTT, papa, I don't think you have said,
".* j.i as yet, a word about the Humble-Bee,
S though a very jolly-looking fellow
"Then let us turn our attention to
him immediately. I suppose you know he is
longer than the common bee, that his body is
thicker and more hairy, that
the hairs are often arranged
in coloured bands, and that,
unlike the common bee, the
tibias of the hind-legs terminate
in two spines. Humble-bees, MALE HUMBLE-BEE
moreover, do not gather in such large communities
as the hive-bees; their nests seldom contain above
three hundred, and frequently not more than fifty
or sixty. Their females are not very prolific, and at
66 A WINTER SLEEP.
the approach of winter the whole community is dis-
solved; the males and workers die, and the females
r *^ -,r .. .- .
NESTS OF THE MOSIS HUMBLE-BEE.
sink into torpor, remaining in this condition until
the return of spring recalls them to their duties
ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THE HUMBLE-BE'S NEST.
as founders of new communities. Their nests-I
am speaking of our common English humble-bee,
THE HUMBLE-BEE'S NEST. 67
the bumbee or boom-bee of the Scotch-consist of
holes in the earth, a foot deep or more, with an
inner coating of wax, and a flooring of leaves.
Other species build them of wax among soft moss;
others conceal them among stones. As the family
increases in number, the homestead increases in
"On examining a humble-bee's nest, you will
find it closely resembling that of a wasp. Some
of the cells contain larvse; in others, which are
closely covered, lie the larve or nymphs in dif-
ferent stages of growth; while others, again, are
filled with a sweet-flavoured and sweet-scented
honey. Of this honey let me advise you, Charlie,
never to eat; for even if taken in very small
quantities, it will afflict you with distracting and
CELLS FROM A IiU1BLE-BEE S NEST.
OTHER KINDS OF BEES AND THEIR WAYS.
"0 beautiful bee-homestead! with many a waxen cell
Self-built--for hanging, so it seems-that airy citadel 1
An unbought blessing to man's life, which neither any hoo,
Nor axe, nor crooked sickle is needed to bestow;
A tiny vessel-and no more-wherein the busy bee
From its small body liquid sweets distilleth lavishly!
"Rejoice, ye blessOd creatures I regaling while ye rove,
Wing'd workers of nectareous food! on all the flowers ye love!"
( ^ l VERY curious species of solitary 'leaf-
..'", cutting' bees has been called the
Poppy-Bee (Osmia papaveris), be-
'' cause she adorns her cell with the
S rich scarlet hangings of the poppy.
"The cell itself consists of a hole
burrowed in a bank or heap of earth; it is gene-
rally about three inches deep, gradually widening
as it descends, until it assumes the form of a small
Florence oil-flask. The bee renders the interior
of this tunnel as smooth, polished, and uniform as
possible, so that it may be fitted for the reception
AN INSECT UPHOLSTERER. 69G
of the tapestry with which it is intended to be
"The insect-upholsterer, as she has been called,
betakes herself, so soon as her cell is complete, to
the nearest scarlet field-poppy, from which she
successively cuts off small oval pieces, seizes them
between her legs, and conveys them to the nest.
Beginning at the bottom, she lays down three or
four leaves, one upon another, and then decorates
the sides of her cell with two. If the piece
she has brought is too large to fit the place
intended, she cuts off what is superfluous, and
carries away the refuse. If you cut the fresh petal
of a poppy with a pair of scissors, you will see
how difficult it is to keep the piece so cut from
wrinkling and shrivelling; but the bee is able
to spread the pieces which she uses as smooth as
"Having thus tapestried her little apartment
with glowing scarlet, she fills it with the pollen
of flowers mixed with honey, to the height of'
about half an inch. In this accumulation of
provisions she lays an egg, and over the egg she
pulls the edges of her poppy-curtain. The upper
part is then carefully filled in with earth.
Rennie says, and very rightly, that it will,,
70 PREPARING A SUMPTUOUS CHAMBER.
perhaps, be impossible ever to ascertain, beyond
a doubt, whether the poppy-bee is induced to
select the dazzling petals of the poppy from their
colour, or from any other quality they may pos-
sess-such, for instance, as warmth or softness.
The great French philosopher, Rdaumur, thinks
that her choice is determined by the largeness and
flexibility of the poppy-leaves. Yet I would
presume to say, with Mr. Rennie, that it is quite
possible her eye may be gratified by the appear-
ance of her nest; that she may possess a feeling
of the beautiful in colour, as most birds do, and
may look well-pleased on the rich hangings of
the chamber prepared for her offspring.
'Why,' says Rennie, 'should not an insect be
supposed to have a glimmering of the value of
ornament ? Considering how little we know of
the way in which the inferior animals think and
act, what right have we to say that all they do is
for usefulness, and not for pleasure ? If a dog
howls at the sound of a bugle, is it not because it
offends its organs of hearing ?' "
And," interrupted Charlie, "if spiders come
forth from their dens at the sound of a flute, is it
not because the sweet music pleases their organs
of hearing ? "
THE TAPESTRY-BEE. 71
"Just so, Charlie; and why, then, may not a
bee feel gratified with the brilliant hues of her
scarlet drapery, because they relieve and refresh
her organs of sight? It seems to me that all
these inferior creatures work with far more in-
genuity and finish than are absolutely necessary
for their comfort or protection; and this circum-
stance alone would seem sufficient to prove that
they have something of taste to exhibit, which
produces in them an emotion of enjoyment.
"The tapestry-bee, however, satisfies herself
with ornamenting the interior only of the nest
which she forms for her progeny. She does not
commit the error of some human artists, and
lavish her embellishments where they are neither
needful nor becoming. She asks for elegance,
but she also demands security; and she does not
sacrifice the latter to the former. 'Here is not a
mansion rich with columns and friezes without,
but cold and unfurnished within, like the desolate
palaces of Venice.' It may be more justly com-
pared to an English mansion, whose exterior is
generally simple and unpretending, while the in-
terior is replete with every comfort and luxury.
At all events, the prudent bee covers her tapestry
quite round with the common earth; and then she
72 ONE GREAT FACT.
leaves her eggs enclosed in their cell of flower-
leaves, assured that no plunderer can be attracted
by any trace of her wonderful toil.
But now, Charlie, I have come to the end of
my 'tether;' in fact, I have wandered away from
the answer to my question, 'Who was the First
Architect ?' I have shown you the bee not only
as an architect, but as a mason, a burrower, a
carpenter, an upholsterer; plying her various
trades with an instinct and an ingenuity so re-
markable and so singular, that we are compelled
to admit they sometimes verge closely upon reason.
And, from first to last, I have endeavoured, my
boy, to impress upon you one great fact: that
this ingenuity, instinct, intelligence-call it what
you will-is the result of no chance, or scientific
development, or natural laws, but was originally
implanted in the insect's mind by that God whom
,all things in earth and heaven declare !"
A; \~~ -