CHAPTER IV Edit
THE INHABITANTS OF THE HIVE
ONE of the remarkable peculiarities of bees, which is also shared by other social insects, as ants, wasps and termites, is that there are three distinct kinds of individuals in the community. For, in addition to the males and females, which are the reproducing members of the colony, there is a third class which performs the labours of the community. The females, of which there is usually only one in a colony, are known as queens; the males as drones; and the labourers as workers. (Plate V.)
THE QUEEN (Plates V. VI, VII)
The bee-queen is the acme of a long line of com- munistic development. It is little wonder that those men of ancient times who observed her, and the attitude of the other bees toward her, regarded her as regal and called her queen. But she is a much more important element in the perfect commune than a mere sovereign, since she is the actual mother of her subjects.
Too much care cannot be shown in the selection of the queen, or mother of the bee-colony. Her blood is their blood; her faults are their faults; her weak- nesses are their weaknesses. Any apiarist is likely to have had two colonies side by side, perhaps each equalling the other in amount of brood and number of bees, and one may have produced five dollars' worth of honey in a season, while the other did not produce half of that; and the queens alone caused this discrepancy. One produced energetic, capable offspring, while the progeny of the other were un- enterprising. The offspring of one were perhaps sweet-tempered and obliging, and those of the other, cross and cranky. Thus it is all-important to give the colony a good mother. A queen, to be perfect, should be well-bred, handsome and strong, and capable of laying from two to three thousand eggs per day during the height of the season, and espe- cially should she have offspring possessing a kindly disposition.
The laying queen is a very graceful insect; her body is long and pointed, and extends far behind the tips of her closed wings. Svelte is a graphic word applied to her figure by the Spectator; just a glance at her reveals her splendid physical develop- ment and proves her a queenlier bee than those that gather around her. It is a sight that makes men feel how very limited is their knowledge of any other world than their own to see the queen bee, surrounded by her ring of attendants, each with head toward her, as if she were the centre of a many-rayed star.
The development of the queen from the egg has ever been a most interesting and, at the same time, a most puzzling subject for investigation on the part of the scientists; even now after a century of study her growth is as miraculous as ever; and the problems in physiology that lie as yet unsolved in her development will keep many an investigator busy in the future.
When a colony is queenless, and has young brood or unhatched eggs, it makes haste to develop new queens; not one alone, but several, since it cannot afford to put its "eggs all in one basket." At the height of the honey season, every day that a colony is queenless means two or three thousand less bees than should be present to make it successful in securing the harvest. (Plate V.)
In developing a queen the bees usually proceed as follows: They select the important egg, which differs in no wise from any other worker egg, and destroying the partitions between its cell and two adjoining cells, give it more room. In order to make the royal apartment of good size a projection is built out over this large cell. This is made of thick wax and ornamented on the outside with hexagonal fretwork, as if it were to be the basis of comb with small cells. It seems as if the hexagonal pattern were in the bee brain and must be expressed, whether it be of any use or not. As soon as the little white larva hatches from the egg, it is fed on the regular larval food. Royal jelly is a food developed in the head glands of the workers; and when it is the fate of a bee larva to develop into a worker, it is fed with this food for three days, and then it is weaned by having other food substituted; but the queen larva is fed with it during her entire development, and there- by her reproductive organs are stimulated and fully developed, which is not the case with the workers. Think how much farther advanced are the bees than we, since, by giving the proper food, they are able to develop and fit each class of citizens to dothe work required of it in the social organisation !
The queen larva is fed for five days on this most nourishing food, and then her cell is sealed. Within this cell the royal princess is for the first time self- dependent, and weaves about herself a silken cocoon and changes into a pupa. When she issues from this state she waits a little until she "finds herself," and then starts to cut an opening in the cell. She is a good mathematician, and with her jaws, cuts a circle very accurately, usually leaving it hinged like the lid to a pot. Professor Kellogg tells us that some- times when she cuts this door, the workers do not wish her to come out. They accomplish their pur- pose by carrying wax and pasting it over the opening as fast as she cuts it, at the same time quite devotedly feeding her through a small crevice. But if they wish her to come out, they rush to assist her, and perhaps for two or three days before she issues, make the wax thin where she is to cut. It usually requires sixteen days to develop a queen from the egg to the adult.
When a queen issues from her cell, she is light- coloured and, as her body is not yet distended with eggs, it is scarcely larger than that of one of the workers. Sometimes she chooses to stay in her cell for a day or two after it is opened. When she
PLATE VI. (Original, drawn by A. G. Hammar. 1 ) d, head of drone ; g, bead of queen ; w, head of worker ; x, ventral surface of worker showing plates of wax.
PLATE VII. Legs and antenna of the honey-bee (original drawn by A. G. Hammar). A , outer surface of hind leg showing the nine segments and claws ; fb. the pollen basket of tibia ; S, inner surface of part of hind leg ; ivp, wax- pincers; pc, pollen-combs ; C, inner surface of part of hind leg of queen ; /), inner surface of part of hind leg of drone; E, part of middle leg of worker: /, spur; /.part of fore leg showirg the antenna cleaner a; G, part of antenna, showing sense-hairs and sense-pits.
comes out, she runs about over the comb, taking exercise on her own royal legs, and perhaps taking a little honey out of the cells on her own account; especially does she hunt for other queen cells, for she has no wish to share her duties or honours with another. If she finds such a cell, she usually makes a hole in its side, and in some way, she stings to death the hapless princess within. Some observers claim that she merely takes the initiative, tearing down the wall of the cell, and the bees finish by tearing it down as they would any broken comb, and destroy the inmate in the process. If, in her prome- nade, she discovers another full-grown queen, a contest ensues; it is a duel to the death and the weapons are stings, which are kept sacred for this special occasion. It is interesting that the queen reserves her weapon for her peers, and never attempts to sting workers, and may be handled fearlessly by the bee-keeper. As the plate armour of the bee is so arranged that the sting may enter in only at certain spots, this duel resolves itself into a fencing match, until one thrusts her weapon into some vulnerable portion of the other. One morning we found fifteen dead queens outside of one of our hives; a grim tribute to the prowess of the queen within, and quite as much a tribute to our carelessness in letting so many queens be developed uselessly.
The belligerent attitude of the queens toward each other seems to have been so strong an emotion that a voice has been developed to express it, and is eloquent with rage and fear. This note must be heard to be understood; as nearly as I am able to spell it, it is "tse-ep, tse-e-e-ep, tse-e-ep, tsep, tsp, tsp, ts," in a sort of diminuendo. She makes the noise when she discovers another queen cell; if there is within this cell a full-fledged queen, she pipes back, but it sounds quite differently and the note is more like "quock, quock." This piping of queens is especially evident before an after-swarm is to issue. The queen will also pipe when the bees gather about her and try to ball her, which is often the fate of a new queen introduced into a colony not ready to receive her. In this case the note is one of righteous anger at the indignity to her royal person. She makes this piping with some vocal instrument, not well understood. Her wings vibrate tremulously while she is piping, but she can pipe quite as vociferously after her wings have been entirely cut off.
After she has made good her title to empire, the queen thinks about marriage; some warm day she will run out of the hive to see how the world looks, and especially to determine beyond doubt upon just what point of the universe her own hive is situated. The first flight of the queen bee is very pretty to see. She makes many graceful circles about, and plays in the sunshine as if she were thoroughly enjoying herself. When she finally leaves the hive to find a prince, she makes several little dttours, always coming back so that she can commit to memory, beyond peradventure, the home place, and then off she goes in the sunshine to find her lover. Unfor- tunately she is not discriminating in the matter of love, and any sort of a prince, however lowly, is acceptable. Thus does many a fine, highly bred queen return to her hive, to bestow upon her progeny the undesirable traits of some low-bred drone. This is one reason why it is so difficult to keep an apiary of pure blood; and these mesalliances of queens are a source of much tribulation to the bee-keeper. She returns from her wedding journey with a part of the reproductive organs of her mate in her possession, often still visible, but soon after withdrawn into her body. With the sperm cells now under her control, she will fertilise the eggs of perhaps a million workers, more or less, which she may mother during her life of three or four years.
Biologists have of late achieved the miraculous in being able to stimulate the unfertilised eggs of sea- urchins and starfish, so that they will develop. The queen bee is able to do this with her own eggs. When the time comes for drones to be developed, she lays unfertilised eggs, which, unfailingly, produce the drones. If our poor human queens possessed this power of producing male heirs at will, much trouble would have been saved to many of them and, to some of them, their heads. However, the perfect socialists do most things better than we.
As soon as the queen returns from her honeymoon, which is usually taken from eight to ten days from the time she issues, she acts decidedly like a business person. She runs about on the comb, pokes her head into a cell to see if it is all ready, and then, turning about, thrusts her abdomen in and neatly glues an egg fast to the bottom. When the honey season is at its height, she works with great rapidity; some- times she lays at the rate of six eggs per minute, often laying three thousand or twice her own weight of eggs per day. She is a wise queen, however, and has in mind the dangers of overpopulation. When there is much honey brought in, and the swarrffmg season is at hand, she enlarges her empire rapidly; but when there is little honey, she keeps the amount of brood down to what can be cared for. Whether this question of limiting the population is decided by the queen, or whether she simply acts in response to the food given her by the workers, is a question not yet settled. However this may be, it is certain that Malthusian doctrines are rigorously and suc- cessfully practised by the perfect socialists of the hive.
Sometimes when the honey flow is very great an intoxication of work seems to possess the colony. The bees, coming in from the field, will drop the honey anywhere, and the queen, agitated by the general spirit of the hive, will drop her eggs every- where; and the poor, overworked, bee housekeepers have to pick up the honey and store it in the cells, and pick up the eggs and glue them fast to the cell- bottoms.
THE DRONE (Plates V, VI, VII)
Of all the denizens of the hive the lot of the drones is the least enviable. That one may surely fulfil the destiny as king father, many are born, only to be slain when the honey harvest runs low, and mean- while they are denied all interests in the business of the colony except that of pensioners upon its bounty. And he, the fortunate one, who lives his life to its fullest measure and becomes queen consort must in the end lose his life for love and die, heart- lessly abandoned by her whom he sought and won.
In appearance the drone differs much from the queen and the worker; he is broad, and the rear end of his body is so blunt that it looks almost as if it had been cut off with shears. He is made for a life of idleness; his hind legs bear no pollen baskets, so he could not fetch and carry if he would; his tongue is so short that he must needs eat from honey stored in a cell or be fed by his sisters, since he could not possibly extract nectar from a deep flower; nor is there any occasion that he should hang suspended weary hours for the secretion of wax, since he has no wax glands. His special accomplishment is his buzz, which is of extraordinary calibre and sonor- ousness. So fierce and loud is this, the song he sings when on the wing, that the novice feels inclined to retreat before him. But this music is undoubtedly meant to attract a queen to his vicinity, and is by no means a sound of menace; he is a burly, good- natured fellow, who is obliged to express himself in this rather coarse song. The term "good natured" is applied to him, not because we are certain that his temper is sweet, but because he has no means of expressing ill temper should he experi- ence it, since niggard nature has given him no sting.
He is always a clumsy chap, as awkward as his queen is graceful; but he can scramble out of the way with astonishing celerity when a murderously inclined sister attacks him. The time when he shows his princely qualities is when he is flying, for his wings are large and strong and carry nmi easily several miles if he needs to travel so far to win his lady. In his physical makeup he is a fine example of a purely feminine product; for the drone is a very perfect creature, even if he is reared from an unim- pregnated egg. His magnificent compound eyes almost completely encircle his head, nearly meeting at the top, and thus crowding his simple eyes down into his "forehead." And such eyes as these mean something surely, for they are developed that he may be better able to see his heart's desire from afar. He also has marvellous antennae, the nine distal joints of which are completely pitted with smelling organs. The reason for this is that his queen has a fragrance all her own, sweeter to him than the attar of roses, and thus he is equipped, as Cheshire has proven, with thirty-seven thousand eight hundred nostrils, in order to detect the perfume of her royal person at a distance. (Plate VII, G.)
The life-history of the drone after he hatches from his unfertilised egg is much like that of other bees, except that for him is provided a cell larger than that of the worker; he hatches from the egg about three days after it is laid, and during the week following he is carefully attended by the nurses who feed him on the rich chyle food at first; after four days they give
him some undigested pollen, a food not granted to the larvae of the workers. At the end of a week his cell is sealed over with a cap that looks more like the crown of a derby hat than a cap, so spherical is it. Cheshire has shown that this cap is an especially fine example of engineering, being girdered by six struts of wax, the apex of the dome being not a sky- light exactly, but rather a ventilator for the admission of air. (Plate VIII.)
It has been a question of much dispute whether the workers inspire the queen to drone-raising through building drone comb, or whether she takes the initiative in the matter. Certain it is the bees seem to love to build drone comb, perhaps because it is more easily constructed and requires less wax. It is also a fact that the queen prefers the worker cells, and in the spring or fall when there is little honey coming in, the queen will voluntarily pass drone comb, leaving it empty, and lay eggs in the worker cells, so she evidently knows her own mind. Some- times when reduced to dire extremity the queen will lay worker eggs in the drone cells, but she does not do this unless the openings of the cells have been previously constricted by the bees. Sometimes also when the conditions are abnormal the queen will lay drone eggs in the worker cells and from these will be developed runty drones, which seem of little account. However, such conditions as these are very unusual.
When the drone is twenty-four days from the egg he cuts a circular lid out of the cap of his cell, and crawls out into a hazardous world. After a fortnight or so of moving about the combs and eating his fill he goes out of the hive and tries his wings. This he does on some pleasant day, abo%t noon or a little after. As soon as he is sure of himself, he makes his flight longer, and the length of his journeys may only be guessed at. When he meets the queen they unite at once in the air, and after this they fall to the ground and she frees herself by tearing off and hold- ing within herself the generative appendages of her dying consort.
In every hive are developed thousands of these princes royal, who are maintained at the expense of the colony until the dawn of that fatal day when the honey crop runs short; and then an unhappy ex- perience lies before these useless brothers of the reigning house. Then their sisters chase them out of the hive apparently attempting to sting them, and, changed to furies, bite off their wings and harry them until they give up, great helpless creatures that they are, and fulfil their final destiny, which is to die for the sake of the colony.
Even the drone eggs, larvae, and pupa? are not exempt on this appointed day of execution, but are ruthlessly killed, and their remains thrust forth from the hive. If conditions should change and more honey be made, a reprieve to the unhappy drone may be granted, for the length of his life is measured by the food supply. Any time during the summer when the bee-keeper finds the workers attacking the drones he may be very sure it means that the honey crop is exhausted.
Our pity is usually much more excited for the fate of the drone than for that of the busy worker, which dies from overwork at the end of a few 7 weeks ; and this is undoubtedly because the death of the worker seems voluntary, while the drones are mani- festly murdered. Once we witnessed the slaughter of the drones in an observation hive, the entrance of which was too contracted to allow 7 the bodies of the drones to pass. For several days the bloody-minded workers spent their energies in tearing their wretched victims limb from limb, and carrying them out in sections. Below a small crevice at the bottom of the hive we found a row of disjointed legs, wings and antennas from the mutilated drones, while the heads and broken bodies were thrown out of the front of the hive.
THE WORKERS. (Plate V. VI, VII.)
It is interesting to note that in the socialistic bee- community the work is carried on by unsexed females. It evidently has not been a part of the true economy of the perfect socialism to unite mother- hood and business life in one individual; therefore, a division of labour takes place. The queen mother is developed into a highly efficient egg-laying ma- chine, while all her worker sisters remain undeveloped sexually, and thus have time and energy to devote themselves to bringing up the young, keeping the house, getting the food, and administering the affairs of the body politic. Little wonder is it that the brain of the worker bee*^s much larger than that of the queen or drone, for she needs must exercise her mental powers far more than either. She is obliged also to pass through certain industrial stages in her development as a worker before she attains the full height of citizenship.
The life-history of a worker is usually as follows: The cell in which she is developed is the smallest of the comb, such as is ordinarily used for storing honey. She is not merely a fatherless creation, like the big drone, but hatches from an impregnated egg during the fourth day after it is laid by the queen mother. She is supplied with royal jelly, presum- ably the same as that which nourishes the queen larva, for about three days; afterward she is fed honey and digested pollen. This food is placed in the bottom of the cell, and the young larva floats in it and absorbs it through the body walls as well as through the mouth, which a little later she opens up pleadingly that it may be filled by the nurse bees. She grows like other infantile insects by shedding her skeleton skin as fast as she outgrows it; she does this with thoroughness, for she sheds the lining of the mouth, the gullet, the larger intestines and the tracheal tubes as well as the outside, this being a very thorough change of clothes, indeed; she does this about six times. Soon after she hatches she querls up in the cell, floating in her food, and at the end of four days' feeding she is a very fat, contented youngster. Six days from the hatching the nurse bees place over the cell, a cap which is made of wax and pollen, and admits the air freely. Then the young bee in the solitude of her own cell eats all the food that has been provided, spins about herself a cocoon of finest silk, which she weaves from a gland which opens in her lip; this is a very, very delicate cocoon, which remains in the cell as a lining, but so delicate is it that not until years have elapsed do the brood cells become contracted by these many silk wrappings of bees which have been developed in them. When the worker sheds for the last time her skeleton, she sheds the lining of the stomach and alimentary canal and all its contents, and changes to a pupa, which is a state of utter quiescence and during which wonderful changes take place 'in her anatomy. These changes which occur in the pupa are almost like new creation, for the legs, wings, an- tennae, and all of the other organs of the adult bee are developed from what was within the body of the footless, white grub.
Twenty-one days from the date of the laying of the egg, twelve days after the cell is capped, the worker bee sheds her pupa skin, pushes it behind her to the bottom of the cell, cuts a lid in the cap of her cell and pushes her way out, very likely after some friendly nurse has given her a little food to "stay her stomach." As she crawls out, she is a silvery-gray bee, as damp as if she had been out in a fog; no one hastens to greet her, or pays her the slightest attention, which is quite different from the case with the young ant, which is always fussed over and patted and petted by the nurses for some time after it emerges from the pupa skin. But the worker bee has to pat herself, and so she gives her face a rubbing, stretches and tries to straighten out her draggled clothing, and walks around trying to get acquainted as best she can with her sisters, who are too intent upon work to notice her. The first twenty-four hours of her life as a bee are spent orienting herself; but on the second day she learns to put her head down into the cells of unsealed honey and drink her fill. This is not a selfish and thoughtless act, for almost immediately she enters on her first duty, that of bee-nurse; and she must eat pollen and honey and digest them in order to make chyle for the bee brood, which she soon learns to care for most solicitously. It may be her lot to supply royal jelly to a queen cell and thus become a lady-in-waiting. In any event she very soon learns to be useful in many ways; she helps to build comb, and works very hard at capping the cells of the young bees when they are ready to pupate. She also helps to clean house if necessary, carefully removing all of the dirt and refuse at the bottom of the hive and dumping it out of the front door. During the extreme heat of the summer she must exert herself tremen- dously by fanning with her wings so that a draft may be set up in the hive for the sake of the bees as well as to ripen the honey in the uncapped cells. During very hot weather, when the bees hang out, some of these young workers may be seen fanning "for dear life" on the outside of the hive. Having more zeal than wit, they dance a little glide back and forth, and fan as if they thought they were really accom- plishing something.
The young worker usually takes her first flight when she has had her wings for about a week; she runs out on the threshold of the hive on some pleasant afternoon, and may be easily recognised, as she is callowness incarnate. She runs around a little, giving the impression of holding on with all her six feet as if scared, and then she lifts herself gingerly to see whether she truly can use her wings; then she circles around in great joy and learns to know well the place where her hive stands. About a week later she goes out into the wide world to seek her fortune and is likely to come back with a little load of pollen on her legs. When she comes back thus laden she buzzes around before alighting, and then rushes into the hive excited and delighted with her achieve- ment, and as Mr. Root says so graphically, "tries her best, to show off." Soon after, she becomes a staid worker and plays her part in the economy of the hive by bringing in honey, pollen, and propolis, secreting wax if need be, ready to defend her colony at the cost of her life, and so courageous that she as readily attacks a man as a mouse. Later it may fall to her lot to become executioner of her brother drones, or to devote herself to the queen and help lead out the swarm; or, by some mysterious election of the hive, she may be sent as a scout to find a proper home for her queen and her colony after they have swarmed. She is at the height of her powers and usefulness when about a month old, and at that time she will do any of the duties of the hive which she deems necessary, even to helping the young bees in the housework. She still has all her fur and her wings are as yet whole; but if there is much to do she is untiring and unremitting in her labours and, with never a thought of self, wears herself out. Her old age is evident by the loss of the fuzz, which was the pride of her youth, and the segments of her body become bald and shiny. Then her hard-worked wings begin to fray at the edges until there comes a day when, out on her quest for food for the colony, the broken wings and tired muscles refuse to sup- port her, and she falls into the grass and dies; even then her last thought is not for self, but for the precious load which she struggles to carry home. Better thus for her to die in the field than to faint in the hive, for then do her vigorous sisters seize her and thrust her forth, and she falls into the refuse heap in front of the home, which she has so eagerly wasted her life to sustain. There is no gratitude and no pensioning in the bee-world; death and oblivion are meted mercilessly to the most ardent workers when they fail, for thus, and thus only, can the colony be kept strong. The individual is nothing in the perfect socialism, and the colony is everything; the treatment is Spartan, with none of the weakness which makes us keep alive the hopelessly insane, the idiotic, and the criminal.
THE LAYING WORKER
When the colony is queenless, worker bees may develop the ability to lay eggs. As they have never mated, they lay unfertilised eggs, which develop into drones, and thus stock the hive with these royal cumberers of the commune. It is interesting to note the difference in prejudices that obtain in the hive and in human society. In the latter we regard it as scandalous when the female, avoiding the duties of motherhood, goes abroad gathering honey and pollen at her own sweet will; but in bee society it is not merely a scandal, but a misfortune, when the worker bee has ambitions to be a mother. The lay- ing worker is a bee gone wrong and a menace -to the colony. At the same time she is a nuisance to the bee-keeper and great may be his tribulation before he is rid of her. As might be expected, she does not do her work well; she usually does not lay her eggs in regular order, as does the queen, but scatters them here and there and everywhere, and is quite likely to fasten them to the sides of the cells, instead of to the bottom. She lays her eggs sometimes several together in worker as well as in drone cells.
As a laying worker looks like any other worker, it is useless to try to find her. However, her presence may be detected by the irregular appearance of the brood, and especially by the high drone caps on the worker cells and, finally, by a superabundance of drones. To meet this difficulty, an ounce of preven- tion is worth several pounds of cure, and great care should be taken to prevent colonies from becoming queenless. In case, through carelessness, a colony is thus victimised it will usually refuse to accept a queen, though sometimes it may be induced to accept a capped queen cell. If this is not successful, the combs, with the bees adhering, should be removed to an empty hive nearby, placing a frame of brood containing a queen cell, if possible, and a frame or two of foundation in the old hive. The workers, coming back from the field, will enter their hive and the moved comb will soon be deserted by all except the laying worker; she, with her characteristic fatuity, will remain on the deserted combs, laying eggs until she dies of exhaustion. A surer remedy than this, but a more troublesome one, is to unite this colony with another, or to scatter the combs from the victimised hive, bees and all, among other colonies of the apiary; meanwhile giving the depleted hive a frame or two of good brood, with a queen cell, if possible, so that the bees that return to it will find normal conditions. What happens to the lay- ing worker when she finds herself in a colony with a queen, we do not know. Probably, if she persists in laying eggs, she is killed ; possibly she forsakes her evil ways, and returns to the straight and narrow path of respectable citizenship.
We do not understand why laying workers are developed. Some have claimed that too much royal jelly was given them when larvae ; and some, that after a colony is queenless, the jelly is fed to workers and thus develops them so they are able to lay eggs.
They appear among the Cyprian and Syrian bees more frequently than among the Italians.
RACES OF DOMESTIC BEES
Several races of the honey bee have been de- veloped in different countries. Some of these have been imported into the United States, and many experiments have been made to determine their relative values.
There were no native honey bees in North America north of Mexico, and the black or German bees were the first to be brought to this country by the pioneers. The wild bees which stock the woods of our country to-day are chiefly black bees, the descend- ants of swarms which have escaped from apiaries. For many years the black or German race was the only kind in general use here. Within recent years the eastern races of bees, Cyprians, Holy-Lands, or Syrians, and also the Egyptians and Carniolans and Italians have been introduced. Of all these, only the Italians have come into universal favour.
The Italians are the classic bees which were dis- cussed by Aristotle, and sung about by Virgil, who describes their bodies as "shining like drops of sparkling gold." The Italian worker has five yellow bands that mark the front portions of the five seg- ments of the abdomen which lie next to the thorax; the two posterior bands are made by yellow hairs and are therefore likely to disappear as the bee gets old and bald. But the three front ones are made not only by yellow hairs, but also by the yellowish transparency of the front part of each of the three anterior segments, or body-rings. As the segments of the abdomen telescope, more or less, these three yellow rings may not always be visible. Mr. Root's test is to feed the bee with honey until the abdo- men is distended and place her on a window pane. If three distinct translucent bands can be seen, the insect is a pure Italian. If only two bands are evident, she is a hybrid.
In comparison with the Italians the black bees are inferior in many particulars. Their only superiority is that their honey in the comb is a trifle whiter, and they are more easily shaken from the frames than are the Italians, and thus are sometimes preferred by the man who works for extracted honey. Their points of inferiority are their nervousness and irritability, their tendency to rob, their inability to cope with the bee-moth, and the difficulty with which the queen may be found.
The Italians are far more "civilised" than are the black bees, and seem willing to credit the operator with good intentions; they can defend themselves better from pests, their queens are more prolific and, on the whole, they are more industrious than the blacks, and having longer tongues than the blacks, they can get nectar from a wider range of flowers.
The hybrids are the result of crossing the Italians and the blacks. They are likely to be excellent honey-gatherers, but unfortunately they usually inherit the irritability of the blacks, which they express with the strength and energy inherited from the Italians. Therefore, they are not looked upon with favour. These unwelcome hybrids are likely to appear in any apiary, for, however pure the Italian queen, she is likely to mate with a black drone in almost any locality.