LOCATION OF THE APIARY Edit
THE best localities for bee-keeping in the drought of summer are along rivers, sloughs, and lakes. In the spring, the plains the home of Flora afford richer pasturage ; hence, locations affording access to both are superior to all others.
In our California mountain districts there is a long succession of rich pasturage from the flowering shrubs and trees, which seem to defy all drought. The bees thus far introduced into those regions, have done remarkably well.
I would here suggest that all persons interested in bee culture make careful observations, and note the kinds and the time of flowering of such plants, shrubs and trees as afford bee pasturage ; such knowledge will be valuable hereafter.
CHOICE OF GROUND Edit
If possible, choose a situation sufficiently elevated to avoid undue moisture, and at the same time protected by a grove or other natural object from the strong winds. In the absence of natural protection, it is well to erect a break-wind. A close board fence, five feet high, is the most effective. This should inclose a space sufficiently large to allow the sun to shine on the hives when wanted especially in front of them, to warm and dry the ground. This will enable many of the exhausted bees to revive and regain their hive. It is better to have bees stand exposed to winds and storms in a dry location, than in a damp, shaded place well protected from winds.
BEE SHADES Edit
One of the best and cheapest shades is made by taking eight-feet posts, of large size and durable wood, and setting them three feet in the ground, six feet apart ; then take a piece of scantling three by four, and six feet long, and spike across the top of each, at an angle of about fifteen degrees from the horizon ; then nail a strip of board upon the side of the post two feet from the top, and upon the cap near its end, for a brace ; upon these caps broad boards are laid the whole length of the row. The first season, these boards will need to be turned over frequently, to avoid warping ; after that, they will need little attention, and will last several years. For manner of construction, see plate xxviii.
Where it is convenient, it will take less lumber to make the necessary shade, if the row is set east and west, with the hives facing the south. This aspect gives the bees the influence of the sun, at the pleasure of the keeper, with very little trouble in changing the covering.
This form of shade combines the protection of the bees when at work, and that of the apiarist when transferring, colonizing, changing or removing comb, etc.
About the first of November, or as soon as hot weather is over,. the boards should be removed and placed upon the top of the hives, in such a way as to shed the rain, and securely fastened, so as not to be blown off or otherwise disturbed.
By about the first of April, they should again be placed upon the frame, as shown in the plate. Where rains are frequent during the whole year, permanent shades should be erected, and the stands so constructed as to admit the hives being moved forward, to allow the sun to shine on them when the weather is cool, or moved backwards when warm.
STANDS FOR HIVES Edit
Stools, made sixteen inches square and twelve inches high, are the most convenient stands for setting hives upon, as they admit of easy removal. There should be two narrow boards bedded down in the ground, for the stools to stand upon ; care should be taken in all cases to have the hives kept perfectly plumb, as the bees are then enabled to construct their combs within the frames and parallel with the sides of the hives. In dry situations, a board may be laid on the ground, or elevated a few inches, for the hives to stand upon.
A stand made as follows, answers the purpose well. For one twelve feet long, prepare ten stakes, made of durable timber make them thirty inches long and three inches in diameter sharpen one end and leave the other square ; they are then to be driven into the ground eighteen inches, set in pairs three feet apart, and eighteen inches between stakes, forming two parallel lines ; a cap, three inches wide, one inch thick, and twenty inches long, is nailed on the top of each pair, making five bearings ; a plank, twelve feet long, sixteen inches wide, and one inch thick, is then laid on them -thus forming a stand for either five or six hives.
The only objection to this kind of stand is the facility which it affords the bees to run from one hive to another ; which they often do during the working season. This difficulty may, however, be overcome by placing the hives wide apart.
Plate xxix, fig. 48, represents a roll of cotton stuff, wrapped with twine, and one end on fire, the smoke of which is used to fumigate the bees, either to conquer them or to drive them wherever desired.
Fig. 49. Awing used for brushing the bees either off the combs or otherwise.
Fig. 50. A pocket-knife is an indispensable article.
Fig. 51. Carving-knife, used for cutting or straightening comb.
Fig. 52. Queen age, made of wire cloth, three inches long and one inch in diameter ; the ends closed by corks.
Fig. 53. A steel blade one and one-half inches wide and twenty inches long sharp at the point; used for cutting or pruning combs out of chamber hives.
Fig. 54. A steel rod, with cutter on the end ; also used for pruning or cutting combs out of chamber hives. Figures 53 and 54 are copied from " Mysteries of Bee-keeping Explained."
- ↑ " To those who reside in towns and may consider it indispensable to the success of an apiary, that it should be closely surrounded by good pasturage, and are thereby deterred from benefiting and amusing themselves by keeping bees, it may be satisfactory to learn that the apiary of the celebrated Bonner was situated in a garret, in the center of Glasgow, where it flourished for several years, and furnished him with the means of making many interesting and valuable observations, which he gave to the world about fifty yeai-s ago "(1795). Bevan.
- ↑ I have noticed the location of more than one hundred bee trees, and have almost invariably found them to occupy elevated positions, and to be on the dryest land. They are also more frequently found on a southern or western exposure, and the bees to enter the cavities through apertures open towards the same points of the compass.