IT is the design of this chapter to direct the beekeeper to such a course of treatment as is best adapted to the wants of the bee during each particular month of the year.
The reader will bear in mind that the habits and instincts of the bee are the same in all countries and climates ; therefore the same system of management is applicable to all, being varied only to meet the difference in climate. In warm climates the summers are long, and in cold ones short, the winters being vice versa. This renders two courses in the same system of treatment necessary.
I therefore propose to give two series of monthly management, making the two points where I have had experience, the bases. Sacramento, California, will represent such portions of the States as have but little snow ; while western Pennsylvania, latitude 41 North, longitude 3 West of Washington, the field of my earlier experience, will represent those having cold winters, with frequent snows. In order to fully understand the following directions, the reader should first study the preceding chapters. I call attention first to the management adapted to a warm climate, which will apply to most parts of California and the Southern States.
SUITED TO WARM CLIMATES Edit
The bees are now (Jan. 1st) in a state of repose, and having had proper care in December, will require but little attention during this month. They should be permitted to fly occasionally, when the weather is sufficiently warm to guaranty their safe return. The hives should be examined, and all accumulations of filth, whether from dead bees or other sources, removed. This should be done so as to cause the least possible disturbance of the bees. By the last of this month they will commence to carry in pollen, and to breed. Should it be desirable to change the location of the apiary, this work should be done early in this month, before the bees have commenced to work ; for, if removed afterwards, many will return to the original stand and there be lost. Should there be many hives, and all are to be removed, let the preparations be made beforehand, and all removed at the same time, and the old stand taken down, so that the place will not be familiar to them. This will cause the bees to immediately return to their hive. But should a hive be removed to a short distance, and
another of the same appearance remain near the same spot, many of the bees will return and enter it, and remain, to the great detriment of the hive or hives from whence they came. Hives and honey boxes should be prepared in sufficient numbers for the supposed necessities of the season, before the labors commence.
The bees are now at work carrying home rich loads of pollen. The entrance of the hive should be opened just enough to permit the egress and ingress of the workers, without room for the convenient entrance of robbers. By the first of this month, (February) if the stock is strong and full of comb and stores, take out a side comb where fewest bees cluster (for directions see page 262) and plaCe it in any hive not full, or lay it away to be returned where needed ; now examine that adjoining, and if a portion of empty worker comb is found, place it next to that containing brood ; if no empty comb is found, and the bees are numerous, then place an empty frame next to the brood, but keep the latter compact ; the bees then construct comb for breeding, and in doing so, consume increased quantities of honey to enable them to elaborate the necessary wax, and the cells thus exhausted furnish room for more brood.
When a hive has not a large amount of honey, no combs should be removed till pasturage is abundant, as it would endanger the existence of the hive. At the time of rearranging the combs, be care- - ful to place the drone comb not yet occupied with young on the sides ; and where there are young drones found, let them be placed next a store comb on one side, and then move all the worker brood up to it, so that any new comb to be built will be adjoining worker comb, and more likely to be straight and filled with worker brood. A portion of the honey in the projecting or uneven combs should be uncapped. When a hive is found to be destitute of honey, or in danger of becoming so, supply it at once with combs from another hive. See Chapter xx, on Feeding. No hive should be condemned as queenless during this month, although no brood is found, unless there are other evidences, or a search proves it to be so. Yet the absence of brood is a just cause of suspicion, and the case should be watched, and a careful examination made from time to time till its condition is determined. When two hives are found very weak it will perhaps be profitable to unite them, in which case they should be removed at least a mile, and remain three or four weeks.
By the first of this month all hives should be actively engaged rearing young and collecting food for their maintenance ; in fact, some hives will have added largely to their members by this time, and hives not now found to have brood should be condemned as queenless, and either broken up or a fertile queen given to them ; using the precautions however, as given in Chapter xxvni, for Supplying Queens. The queen in this case may be taken from a hive, and a queen nursery formed for rearing others to supply colonies, which may be formed as early as the middle of this month, provided the drones have made their appearance in considerable numbers. Then on the tenth day from forming the nursery, take all the queen cells from the hive and return the queen that was taken away. Give one of the cells to the hive whence she was taken. The queen, during her ten days' residence, will have supplied a considerable amount of their comb with eggs, thus affording them profitable employment in rearing the young bees during the time that the young queen is becoming fruitful.
The remaining queen cells can be used to supply any colony that is destitute, or any new colony that may now be formed. Much of the brood in weak hives is lost by cold, wherefore no time should be lost in strengthening such so that they may rapidly increase without waiting for warm weather. There is sometimes difficulty in supplying small colonies with brood comb so as to have it exactly adjoining that which they already have.
To remedy this, take from the weak hive a comb or combs containing brood ; brush off all the bees before removing it ; then from a hive known to have a large quantity of brood, take one or two combs of mature brood, (according to the quantity of bees in the weak hive to cover the same) and brushing off all the bees, place in the weak hive whence the others have been removed, being sure to place store combs adjoining. Then cover the whole carefully with a cloth, to retain the animal heat. Now give to the strong hive the combs taken from the weak one, and the exchange (being no robbery) will essentially aid the weak without danger to the other. This plan of exchanging combs is efficient, and may be practiced with equal success throughout the breeding season. Each weak colony may be strengthened at any time by adding a single comb of mature brood, which is preferable to adding bees, unless they are young ones, and separated from the old as directed in Chapter XVII.
Feeding should be attended to during this month. In favorable seasons primary divides may be made, and queen nursery formed during the latter part of the month, and in some cases colonies can be formed to good advantage ; surplus honey boxes may also be put in such hives as are full, if it is intended to let the bees swarm in the natural way. The ventilation should be gradually increased as the hives become crowded and the heat increased.
The first swarms issue in the early part of this month, and towards the last of it many may be expected, calling for the close attention of the beekeeper. This is also one of the principal months in which to form artificial colonies ; primary divides are to be made at intervals, so as to supply embryo queens in numbers and at times to suit the condition of the stocks to be divided. The directions given in the Chapter on the Formation of Colonies will apply to this month, as well as to the three following ones.
This is one of the principal swarming months, and where this plan of increase is relied on, the bees require constant watching in order to secure the swarms as they issue from the parent hive. The formation of colonies, and the care required to build them up to that of good hives, should receive the careful and prompt attention of every bee-owner; nothing should be delayed to a later date that can as well be done during this month. Where hives have been allowed to store surplus honey, their boxes will have been filled by or before the close of this month.
The same directions given for May will apply to this month, except that as soon as the flowers fail, swarming ceases, and consequently the formation of colonies should be discontinued, unless liberal feeding is resorted to, or artificial pasturage be provided to fill the vacancy between the failure of wild flowers on the plains and the blooming of the cephalanthus, in July. See Chapter xx. The ventilating apertures should all be kept open at times when excessive heat prevails, and again contracted on the return of cold. Watch carefully for^nd summarily destroy every moth and worm that can be found ; in fact, this should also be attended to at all times, from early spring till late in the fall. See Chapter v, Bee-moth.
Swarming is mostly over by the first of this month, except in places where pasturage abounds and bees are not numerous..
But where cephalarithus abounds, the great honey harvest commences about the first of July. All colonies should be formed previous to this time and equalized, so as to insure the filling of their hives. During this and the following months, much care is necessary to so arrange the combs as to have them straight and uniform. Full hives, designed for the accumulatiou of surplus honey, should be supplied with boxes at once, and as fast as these are filled and sealed up, they should be removed and new ones substituted. The rays of the sun should be excluded from the hives with care, and a free circulation of air provided around all the hives ; in fact, the winds should have full sweep in every direction during the months of June, July, and August, or while the hot weather continues. Where pasturage is scarce, feeding will be required at intervals, through this and the following months, or until there is pasturage.
Swarming is mostly over previous to this month ; there are places, however, where occasional swarms come out during this month, but they are mostly grand or great grand swarms. In districts where pasturage abounds, there is as much honey gathered and stored in August as in any other month in the year.
The removal of fall boxes and supplying of empty ones should be promptly attended to, and continual care taken to so arrange the combs that new ones will be built in proper shape. All hives that are not strong should be made so without delay ; in fact, all equalizing should be completed by the last of this month. Colonies can be formed in this month to do well, where there are but few bees ; yet it will in most cases prove a loss in the end. It is much better economy to permit them to make honey for market ; they are then in superior condition to endure the winter, and in the spring, one such hive is worth as much as three weak ones ; the attention required is also much less for the former than for the latter. If possible, the apiary should be so managed that before the first of August all the hives should have their main apartments filled with comb ; for most of the comb built during the earlier portion of the season is constructed for brood, and hence will be straight and regular. And also, as is elsewhere shown, combs that have been used for rearing brood promote the health of the bees during winter. Another advantage gained by this plan of managing is, that most of the early constructed comb will be filled with honey during this and the preceding months. .This summer-made honey is usually of a much better quality than that made during the fall season ; consequently, is a more wholesome food for the bees.
All hives managed as above, usually have the spaces among the combs, as well as the intervening spaces next to the bottom board, literally full and crowded with bees. Such hives, if free from any taint of disease, are the standard of excellence : while colonies formed late in the season, or which as yet have not filled their hives, build their combs (if at all) in a crooked, irregular manner, and fill them with dark fall honey, which is unwholesome, it being one of the causes of dysentery among bees during the winter and spring. And again : such irregular combs cannot be used for breeding purposes to any advantage ; consequently, such hives, even if they do contain a numerous swarm, are inferior for all purposes, and hence are an uncertain investment. The directions given for September, in the following course of monthly management, will, in many localities, apply to this month ; while in others, it will apply to September, and even to October, in this course.
If the directions given for August management have been attended to, there is but little to be done during the present month, except to see that the hives are protected from the direct rays of the sun, to destroy moths, worms, and other enemies of the bees ; remove surplus honey, and insert empty boxes. If honey is still being gathered and stored, avoid, as much as possible, the opening and removing of the main frames ; in fact, they should not be removed at any time, unless positively necessary, until the following spring. (See directions for February.) Now is the time to procure materials for the manufacture of hives and honey boxes for the ensuing season. These should be made during the following months, when but little time is required among the the bees. With a proper attention to the economy of time, the apiarist finds more uniformity of employment and less seasons of haste more healthful exercise and less personal exposure to inclement weather than in almost any other pursuit.
As soon as the weather becomes cool, contract the entrances, so that no more room is left than affords a free passage for the bees ; additional air should be admitted through the ventilating chamber ; this serves to guard against the intrusion of robbers and other enemies. Such hives as are light, should now be fed enough to last them until the return of spring. Hives which have enough provisions to last them through the winter, should not be fed till they need it in the spring. The sun may be permitted to shine on the sides of the hive, to give additional warmth to the bees. Towards the last of this month, the roof should be taken down, and a covering placed directly on the top of the hive, and so fastened that the high winter winds cannot blow it off. These covers are to remain thus till the return of warm weather the following year, when they are again to be elevated. These covers will not need to be removed in ordinary seasons before the middle of April or the first of May, when they are again to be elevated, as shown in plate xxvni.
Bees have now closed their labors, both in the fields and in their hives, where they remain tranquil ; very few are rearing brood, and on applying the ear to the hive, scarcely any sound is perceptible. The temperature is suffered to fall to a much lower degree than at any other season, and they remain in a semidormant state. When the weather is warm, they arouse, and have a play once in every few days, especially just before or after a storm. Early in this month the hives should be prepared for winter, as follows : remove all the surplus honey boxes, whether full or not, and store them in a dry place, until wanted in the following spring ; the apertures in the honey-board are to be left open. Old clothes of any kind, dry moss, or other substance that will not be offensive to the bees, but will absorb a large amount of moisture, is to be placed loosely in the chamber, in such a manner that the steam passing up through the apertures, can pass through and be absorbed by the material. Whenever this becomes saturated, replace it with that which is dry. If there is still much moisture appearing in the main apartment, remove the honey-board entirely, and in its place cover with a cloth, and add dry material as before. The upward ventilating passages are to be kept open during the winter, and be partly closed when the chamber is cleaned out in the spring. The amount of air admitted below is governed by turning the slides on the sides of the hive, to admit air into chamber B. If one-half of each aperture is left open, it will afford ample air, unless the bees are excited by removal. The movable slide F is to be taken out, and the propolis that the bees have plastered over the wire screens covering the apertures G G, melted or scraped off, and the slide replaced. The curtain is used to exclude the light and the excess of moisture from reaching the bees. The entrances in front are to be entirely closed during the prevalence of cold, stormy, and windy weather ; but on the return' of warm days, they are to be opened, to permit the bees to fly out. But if this cannot be attended to, or if there is danger of neglecting to open the hives when it becomes necessary, it is better not to close them ; for it is better to lose a few from exposure, than to endanger the lives of the whole swarm. When the hives are properly prepared for winter, as above, great care should be taken not to jar or disturb them in any way, but to afford them the full benefit of their season of repose.
The hives having been arranged for the winter as directed in the previous month, all that is required during the present month is to see that they are kept dry, and that the bees have their liberty occasionally. If it is desirable to change the location of any hive, it may now be done keeping them closed, however, for about one week ; after which the bees will have less propensity to return to the original stand. The sun should be permitted to shine on the hives, as well as on the ground in front of them, during the fall, winter, and spring. Straw should be spread on the ground in front of the hives, to enable many exhausted bees, that would otherwise be lost, to regain their hive.
Too much caution cannot be observed to secure the bees from any excitement or interruption of their repose during this and the preceding month. Much of the care that should be given to bees requires but little time, if done at the right time ; and as the labor is light and sure to be well repaid, (if judiciously expended) it will readily be seen that pocket interest is one of the incentives to industry.
SUITED TO COLD CLIMATES Edit
The bees having received all due care and attention in the fall, to prepare them to endure the rigors of winter, we should find them during this month remaining within their hive happy and contented ; not dormant, nor in a half-benumbed state, as some suppose.
Any one can prove this, by opening a hive when the temperature is very low, even many degrees below zero. The bees will be found active and capable of flying instantly if introduced to a warm atmosphere. In fact, some will rush out and fly a few feet (when they drop dead) even in a cold, frosty atmosphere. Any that separate from the cluster at such times are lost ; hence the caution not to disturb them. It is the nature of the bee to fill its sac with honey whenever the hive is disturbed. Excitement or disturbance also induces them to consume more food, which, in turn, induces impatience to fly out when too cool for safety. Hence, it is apparent that the health and safety of bees are greatly promoted by being allowed to remain undisturbed during each period of cold weather. When the weather becomes sufficiently warm to allow them to fly and return with safety, they should be allowed to do so at any time of year. At such -times, the front slide should be raised, and all accumulations of dead bees and filth removed. * In keeping his hives dry, and in the manufacture of hives and honey boxes for the coming season, the apiarian will find full employment.
What has been said of January, applies equally to this month. No water* should be placed within the hive at any time, unless the bees are confined and forced to breed during warm weather. It is soon enough in the season for them to have water, when they can go forth and obtain it themselves.
- I am aware that Mr. Langstroth and others have attempted
to show that water is indispensable to the health of bees during the winter, as well as in the spring and summer. In this I differ with them, and will give my reasons. First: honey and pollen constitute perfect food for the bee ; they will even live for months on honey alone, though both seem required when rearing brood. Although commencing to breed in January, only a limited amount of brood is found till they commence flying out in the spring. This is as it should be, for if breeding is greatly extended at aa unseasonable time, much damage is liable to result from a sudden cold spell occurring. That bees will take water when placed contiguous to them, or even lick up the condensed moisture on the sides of the hive, is true; but that is no proof that they need it, for it is well known that this is their practice for removing liquid substances offensive to them. It is also well known that in a hive having proper ventilation, which will prevent the condensation of moisture on the sides, the bees remain dry and enjoy superior health, and are found to multiply more rapidly than if not well ventilated. And further : bees carry but a limited amount of water when they first gain their liberty in the spring, and thedemand for it gradually increases till the period of swarming, after which time the quantity rapidly diminishes, so that after the first of September but few bees are found to visit watering places. The different management of bees by different parties who shipped them from New York to California, is proof in point ; those who did not water or feed any during the voyage succeeded much better than those who did so regularly : this was the result as tried side by side on board ,the same ship.
In the absence of a natural brook or marsh, troughs, such as are recommended for promiscuous feeding, may be filled with water, at all times of spring and summer.
On the first, fine day (that succeeds each period of cold) when bees can fly out and return to their hives without being lost, the front slide H (see plate xin) should be taken out, and all dead bees removed.* The slide is immediately returned to its place, but elevated three-eighths of an inch to afford a free passage of the bees out and in. The aperture J is to be opened and kept so for the same purpose. Common hives are to be turned up and cleaned as above, and the apertures opened for the egress and ingress of the bees. The hives are to remain open as now arranged, as long as the weather remains warm ; but if cold returns, or severe winds prevail,, the entrances should be again closed or contracted, observing that the ventilating passages are open to admit sufficient air.
'Thus by timely attention the bees are preserved in a state of health, and the lives of many saved, at a time of year when they are particularly valuable. Less food is also consumed when kept in repose with the light excluded.
The hives are all to be examined at the time that
- These directions are also applicable at all seasons.
they commence* to carry in pollen, to ascertain if any have exhausted their honey, if so ; their wants are to be supplied, as directed in Chapter xx. This is the time to rearrange their combs. (See directions, Chap, xvin.) Feeding however should be attended to regularly thereafter until abundant forage is found in the fields ; but if they are not fed, then defer rearranging their combs till about the first of April, or until peach trees begin to bloom, as no one date will suit all places, or even two seasons in the same locality. The above will serve as an unerring guide to mark the advance of the seasons in all places where the peach tree is grown. There is considerable propensity to rob each other during this month, requiring care to guard against it.
The care for this month consists in strengthening weak swarms by interchanging of combs, as directed in Chap. xvin. This is a suitable month for transfering bees, together with their combs, from common chamber and other hives into such as are found to be* the best suited to the wants of the bee, and profitable to the bee-keeper. A constant watch should be kept to find and kill all moths and worms throughout the season. Whenever a scarcity of pasturage occurs, feed regularly until it again becomes plenty ; prepare hives and stands, so that no delay will occur when the season of swarming arrives.
Continue to feed liberally during this month, or until the white clover and other sources of pasturage are in bloom, at which time it is to be discontinued. By this means, each hive in the whole stock is full of bees, and the combs are full of brood, besides stores in reserve. Should the season be favorable, primary divides may be made as early as the twentieth of this month, and in some places still earlier. Occasional swarms may be expected under favorable circumstances, towards the last of this month.
This is the great swarming month, and is the busiest, besides the most profitable one to the bee-keeper in the whole year, whether he lets the bees swarm the natural way or divides them. Where they are left to swarm of their own accord, gurplus boxes should be placed in the chambers as early as the first of June. (In some places they should be put in one month earlier.) These boxes seldom retard the bees from swarming, and as they are usually filled, or nearly so, by that time, are so much clear gain.
Bees should (if not divided) be constantly watched during the whole of this month, from eight o'clock A. M. till four o'clock P. M., of each day, in order to secure all the swarms that issue. Where the artificial increase is relied on, the utmost diligence is required to form as many colonies as wanted for the season. This should be done early in the month, so that each may have a fertile queen as early as the twentieth, and none to be later than the first of July. The equalizing and interchange of combs forms a very important and profitable part of the labors of the bee-keeper during this month. (See Chap, xvni.) Considerable quantities of surplus honey are usually made during this month, which should be removed as soon as the combs are full and sealed over, and empty boxes put in their place. The sun's rays should be excluded from the hives at all times when the temperature is above 70 in the shade ; the covering should be elevated (as shown in plate xxvm) in order to allow a free circulation of air between the cover and the hives.
In some places swarming continues as late as the middle of this month ; but as soon as pasturage becomes scarce, which it does in most places about this time, no more need be expected. All colonies should be properly organized and have their hives full of combs and stores at this time, and all full honey boxes removed. The bees work but little during the remainder of the month, and should not be opened or disturbed during the hours of labor. Many bees are seen to cluster on the outside of the hive, but no swarms need be expected unless pasturage is abundant, which is but seldom the case (except in highly favorable districts) unless specially prepared for them.
Where bees have but little pasturage, as is the case in many places, they remain inactive, except they are excited to rob each other ; hence it is wrong to open hives so that the combs are exposed. Do not feed any in this month, as it creates undue activity that is injurious. Where buckwheat or other honey-producing plants are cultivated in sufficient quantities, bees gather and store honey with great rapidity during this month ; in which case, empty boxes are to be supplied and full ones removed without delay. On wild lands, where the golden-rod and other fall flowers prevail, this and the following month afford a large yield of honey with which the winter quarters are amply stored, besides a large surplus for their owner.
Each hive should be examined about the last of this month, to see that they have a queen ; this can be ascertained either by removing the rear slide F, or front slide H, then by driving the bees from a portion of the comb it is readily seen if there is worker brood, this is a sufficient test ; if brood cannot thus be found, then lift out the combs to determine with certainty. This test will not usually apply much later in the season than the last of this month.
The accumulation of honey terminates for the season in most places sometime during this month. This event should be watched for, and as soon as it occurs such hives as are not wanted, or are not suitable for stock hives, should be deprived of their honey and the bees united with those of other hives having abundant stores. (For directions, see Chap, xxvin.) All refuse combs, particularly those from which the honey has been drained, may be put into a suitable box and placed in the honey chamber of stock hives for the bees to clean up the remaining honey. As this is likely to incite to robbery, care must be taken to guard against it. This is best done by closing the entrance of the hive and admitting air through the ventilating chamber. If the hive is kept shaded, the bees may be kept confined for one or two days in safety.
By prompt attention to the above, there will not only be a large amount of honey saved, but also the lives of many bees which would otherwise be lost in their attempts to rob other hives ; for it is a notorious fact that where there are weak hives the annoyance by robbers is much greater than where the whole stock are uniformly strong. The entrance of the hives should be contracted as the weather becomes cool ; this will protect the bees from cold, and enable them to better guard against their enemies. Care should be taken to destroy moths and thus prevent, in a measure, a numerous progeny of worms in the following spring.
The season of gathering from flowers is now mostly over. .Hives that have not enough stores should be supplied with full combs, or fed an amount that will last them till the return of spring. The less bees are disturbed, the less trouble there is with robbers, and the better it is for the bees. As the weather grows colder, the entrance should be reduced, as also the ventilating apertures.
The harvest is now fully past ; but few days during the next four months will be so mild or inviting as to induce the bees to go out of their hives. Having improved the shining hours, they are prepared to safely endure this long confinement with comfort, being surrounded with plenty.
The bee-keeper has now important duties to perform in preparing his bees for winter. I recommend letting the hives remain on the summer stands during the winter. Each hive is to be arranged as follows: Remove the honey boxes ee and honey-board L ; (these are to be placed away in a dry and safe place until wanted in the following spring) then cover the tops of the main frames Kwith a linen or other cloth, and on the top of this place a quantity of dry material, such as old clothes, leaves of trees, (white oak is best) paper, or moss. The glass frame k is to be taken out, and a cloth so placed that when it is reinserted, the cloth intervenes between the glass and the main frames. The upper apertures in the sides of the hive are to be opened, to admit a circulation of air, and are to remain so till the following spring ; at which time they should be partly closed. The slide JF is to be taken out, and the propolis removed from the wire screens covering the apertures 6r 6r ; this is easily done if cold, by scraping, or if warm, by fire or boiling water. The curtain should be in its place ; the apertures L, in the sides of the hive, are to be opened about one-half; this is done by turning the attached^covers. Thus, by the arrangement of the graduating chamber B, in combination with the curtain (7, and air passages Eand G~ #, air is admitted to the bees, while piercing winds and light are excluded, which preserves their vitality, and keeps them in a state of repose and health superior to any other known method. A quantity of lump charcoal, oak leaves, or moss, placed in the graduating chamber so as not to interrupt the free passage of air, will further protect the bees from moisture and cold.
As soon as the above arrangements are completed, the front entrances are to be entirely closed, so that no light can enter ; when it is desired to let the bees have their liberty, these can be opened ; after which they are again closed. Each hive should be entirely enveloped with canvas, or straw bound around, being careful not to obstruct the air passages. The hives should be covered to keep them dry and secure, to prevent their being blown over. Common chamber or other hives should have apertures made as represented in plates xxm and xxiv, with ventilating blocks attached. During winter, all the apertures should be kept closed, and air admitted through these ventilators, allowing the bees to have their liberty at suitabls intervals during mild weather. The hives should also be protected by means of canvas or straw, as above directed. The advantages gained by thisArrangement are :
FIRST: A more equable temperature within the hive.
SECOND : Protection from piercing winds and moisture, whereby the health of the bees is greatly promoted, and the texture of the combs preserved.
THIRD : It effectually guards against all danger of smothering the bees ; there are more bees lost from the latter cause than there are from worms and all other enemies combined.
The bees having been arranged as directed for the previous month, the labors of the year are brought to a close by occasionally noticing that the hives remain undisturbed.
- ↑ During the first warm days in the spring, bees sometimes swarm out, deserting their hives entirely; this is occasioned by disease, or a presentiment of starvation, either real or fanciful ; I have known many instances f the latter. The cause seems to be that their stores are all closely sealed up, and they are not really aware that they have abundance, but become alarmed and rush forth as above. When deserted from this cause, hives may be known, either by their having but little honey, or plenty of sealed honey, with but little in uncapped cells ; there is always some brood found in the comb in such cases. The preventive is to. feed, or uncap a portion of the honey as directed.