Imagini ale paginilor
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]

metal. These, he explained, he intended to exhibit at the big convention just mentioned, but unfortunately they came just too late. He added that nearly all of the Fancy comb honey sold in his country, Russia, was packed in these tin boxes denominated "Exquisite," which might appropriately be termed in the language of the book-maker, "De Luxe." There is no tin package in the United States for comb honey or any thing else that approaches it in its magnificent display of colors. The fact that comb honey put up in them brings almost fabulous prices in Russia ought to command at least some slight attention from the American bee-keeper. I became interested, had some engravings made, and in the meantime asked him to prepare an article, which he has done.-ED.]

lieve deserves most serious attention if not adoption in the United States.

Some years ago there appeared in the Russian market comb honey packed in tin boxes, weighing from one to five pounds. Such boxes are now made specially for the sale of honey; they are lithographed in several colors, showing views of apiaries, landscapes, and bearing also inscriptions, such as the brand of honey or addresses of beekeepers. They are called "Exquisite" because they represent the finest of the market, bringing fancy prices when filled with honey. The boxes are one comb deep and are liquid-tight, so that all drip that may ooze from the combs cut to a size to fit will be taken care of. This manner of packing honey has spread more and more, until today it may be found throughout the breadth of the empire.

In order to demonstrate the appearance



In the present article I intend to acquaint the bee-keepers of the United States with the method used in Russia of putting up honey for sale, that I have never seen practiced in this country, but which I be

of these boxes there are here shown some half-tones made from photographs of samples sent from Russia. Fig. 1 represents open boxes filled with honey, the lid of the round box bearing the inscription: "Basswood Honey." Fig. 2 shows the boxes closed, the round box being inscribed: "Aromatic Basswood Honey." On Fig. 3 is seen the upper surface of the lid belonging to the square box. It represents a pretty meadow with bees flitting from flower to flower. Here the inscription reads, "Pure Aromatic Bee Comb Honey.'

Our Russian bee-keepers do not produce much honey in sections, considering it less profitable, and preferring to let the bees build up combs in the ordinary extracting

frames. When the honey is well sealed it is cut out and packed in boxes.

I anticipate that the words "cut out" and "packed" might impress some persons as describing laborious, troublesome, and tedious processes. In reality, however, they are extremely simple. Special tools are made for this purpose, cutters made to suit the size of the box. One downward stroke causes them to cut the comb on four sides simultaneously to the exact right size, and a special appliance permits it to place it in the box neatly. It is somewhat similar to the process of making cakes by means of a "cooky-cutter," which is universally adopted by the ladies, and as fast in operation. This method even permits of honey being taken from log hives; and if the comb is nice, and honey of good quality, it can be packed in the boxes and sold the same as that from movable-frame hives.

In considering the practical side of the subject, the following questions might arise: What would be the cost of this packing, and is it profitable? With regard to the ex

labor of bees in the building-up of the combs. My observations in this respect have always shown that if nine half-depth frames are inserted into the supers of a ten-frame beehive, they are built up and filled much faster than if there had been 32 sections. In the first instance about 45 lbs. of fancy honey are obtained; in the second case not more than 32 lbs. of the same quality, while a part of the sections become No. 2, and thus further decreasing the yield and profit. Every one knows well that the bees in supers begin first to work on the middle frames over the center of the brood-nest, and that often when the middle frames are fully built up the outside ones are but half built out. Thus there is a possibility of taking the honey from the middle frames rather early, before there is a quantity of new honey offered in the market. Then it may be sold at a higher price. Here I beg to call your attention to another fact: As I said before, the bees begin to work and to fill the frames from the center of the nest. The capping over proceeds in the same fash


pense I may say that the cost of these fancy-colored boxes in Russia, bought direct from the manufacturers, would be in American money about four cents per pound.

Granting that the packing of honey in such boxes would come as high as four cents on the average, and that in comparison with the cost of the sections this process is much more expensive, still this is far from saying that it would not be profitable to adopt this style of packing. Is it not found profitable to put up honey in glass jars, which means an expense of 3 or 4 cents per pound, or about 20 or 25 per cent of the cost of the product? Then againin, discussing the question from the standpoint of profit the subject should be looked into more thoroughly. Here one must take into account the very process of producing comb honey. I do not think any reader will assert that the bees work as fast in sections as they do in large frames. The principal reason of this is to be found in the hundreds of partitions with which Americans relentlessly fill their supers, which considerably enhance the


ion. Those sides of the frames which are located toward the center are sealed somewhat earlier than those disposed laterally in the supers. Occasionally the yield suddenly ceases; the consequence being that one side of the comb sometimes remains not entirely sealed. In packing such comb honey in tin boxes this does not present any difficulty to the bee-keeper, there being no necessity to wait until the comb is perfectly capped. These one-sided combs can be packed in the box in such manner that the fully sealed side of the same will face upward while the sides with the incompletely sealed cells are turned down. In suggesting this I have not the least intention of practicing any deception on the buying public, but to show that this method of putting up comb honey permits of all combs, providing the flavor is good, being sold as first quality, and at the best price.

Being interested in the condition of the honey business in this country I was permitted to work for some time in the honey department of The A. I. Root Co. Thanks

to the kindness of Mr. J. A. Warren, manager of this department, I had opportunity to acquaint myself intimately with the grading of comb honey, having graded tens of thousands of sections with my own hands. During this time I came face to face with facts such as confront every producer of comb honey. Let us take two sections of honey of the same quality. One is perfectly sealed on both sides, and is laid aside as Fancy honey while the other is perfectly sealed on one side and is perfect, though a few cells on the other side are not perfectly capped or are slightly injured, perhaps scratched. Now this section containing just as good honey as the other must be sold as No. 2,

sume an unpropitious summer, bad weather, and poor yield. Your bees may have half filled the sections and ended their labors. What can be done with the sections in such a season? This question is frequently asked in the columns of apicultural papers. How can they be preserved without spoiling the quality of honey? And what amount of trouble and what bitter disappointment you encounter when it has to be put through the extractor! In such cases large frames would be much better to manage.

Thus recognizing the superiority of the production of honey in large frames over the production of it in sections, we have a thorough warranty to justify fully the as

[graphic][subsumed][merged small]

and at a corresponding reduction in price. I really think that such combs might be packed in the Russian tin boxes with clear conscience with the somewhat injured side down and sold as Fancy honey. Are you not personally fully satisfied that the honey is pure and identical in quality with the other, the only difference being in the fact that its appearance is not exactly the same? Of course, if such combs turn out to be light in weight, some extracted honey must be poured into the bottom of the box or some honeycomb cells inserted.

When the season is good, comb honey in sections does very well. But let us look at the other side of this matter. Let us as

[blocks in formation]

others. Cardboard boxes inlaid with wax paper are also used, but they are not reliable for shipping.

I must now consider the last point, namely, the sale of honey. I am well aware of the fact that the bee-keepers of the United States worry over the disposal of their product. It seems that not all succeed in selling their honey easily, rapidly, and advantageously. What are the reasons for this? Certainly not overproduction. This does not exist in any country under the sun, and surely not in this country. There are hundreds of thousands, nay, almost millions of families, which are totally unacquainted with the taste of honey; others may know it, but have had it presented to them in such a shape that they prefer corn syrup. The duty of acquainting the population of all classes with the products of our apiaries is incumbent upon the bee-keepers themselves. It is their duty to show that honey is extremely wholesome and useful. It is the duty of bee-keepers to teach families to consider honey not merely in the light of a dainty, but as a necessary article of food. One of the principal requirements for the booming of any article is the presentation of it to the consumer in good quality and the most attractive form. Honey is no exception to this rule. Probably the principal part in the popularization of honey must be played by those bee-keepers or retail dealers who peddle the honey from house to house. The success of these people depends upon their own ability and cleverness. In order to obtain a large circle of customers they must not only give a half-way decent, but a very attractive appearance to their wares. I remember what a Russian beekeeper said on the subject: "What's the use," he said, "of going fishing without bait? Not a sucker will catch on to a bare hook for his particular pleasure any more than he would walk ashore and jump into the frying-pan.' Mr. Smith was perfectly right in his remarks made in the Bee-keeper's Review, when he said:


Don't ask them if they "want to buy some honey." Of course they don't until you make them want what you have, and then they will buy without asking.

Honey packed in such attractive boxes will prove a sufficient bait for the buyer, and may be its own inducement for him to purchase it.

It is to be regretted that the illustrations can not convey an adequate idea of the striking appearance and the richness of coloring of the boxes in reality, for they are really beautiful articles, and the best confectioners and stores in the Russian capitals are not above carrying them. These boxes are as convenient as they are pretty. They may be properly served on the table without removing the honey. If their contents have been only partly used, the remainder may be very conveniently set aside for future use, the boxes being provided with hinged lids, which may be easily opened or closed. Neither dust nor the bothersome flies can get at them. Honey in this shape makes a

nice present for children, or adult friends and relatives. It may be easily taken along on a trip or for picnics, where it is bound to be an attractive ornament of the improvised table.

In conclusion I would say that what I have written was not with the object of filling up space in this journal. I desire that this method of producing and packing honey be adopted. The fact that the suggestion comes from Russia will do no harm. I am sure that you will approve it, once you have tried it.

[This method of putting up comb honey has much to recommend it, and could it once get a foothold in this country it might help the bee-keeper who has difficulty in producing a Fancy or No. 1 comb honey to get a fancy price for his product put up in this form. At all events it strikes me as being the best solution of the chunk-honey problem. It would have all its advantages with none of the bad features. The rapidly increasing scarcity of basswood for sections may in time force us to adopt something of this kind. - ED.]

QUEENS MATING MORE THAN ONCE. Evidence that They Do; Overstocking; Priority Rights to Location; Baby Nuclei-a Caution Concerning.



In GLEANINGS during the past year I have noted many things of uncommon interest to As a specialist I have been more interested, perhaps, than some who keep bees only as a side issue. Nevertheless, I am persuaded that the subjects under the above heading possess an abiding interest to many besides myself. This belief has induced me to undertake the task of telling the results of my own observations, along with other things as they appear to my mind. For quite a long time after reading the articles of Prof. Benton and others regarding the second mating of queens, I had my doubts, thinking that perhaps a mistake had been made in some or all of the observations mentioned. However, within the last month some things have come under my notice that incline me to change my opinion very materially, and to place no manner of doubt on the assertion that they do sometimes, at least, mate more than once. It is true that, in this particular case, I did not note any indication of a second mating; but I did observe two succeeding flights of at least ten minutes' duration, and I am seriously of the opinion that she did not fly out these two last times for an airing, nor for wing exercise. The circumstances connected with these observations were such that all my faculties were under requisition, and I know positively that no mistake was possible.

On the 25th of last September I sold a friend a very fine and promising young Carniolan breeder-such a queen as I had never seen before, and bees the gentlest I have

known. Being desirous of saving some of her stock I fed her colony very liberally during the time of cell-building; and when the cells were ready to hatch I distributed them among nuclei except one left in the parent hive. Drones being scarce in my home yard, 1 secured about 100 fine big fellows, all handpicked from an outyard. These I gave to queenless bees that were being fed nightly. I now fully expected to secure a good number of choice matings; but if any mated except the queen in the old hive I am sure I never knew it; yet my observations were very close. However, on the fifth day after hatching, this queen flew out, and, on returning, brought the drone organ with her. When she had gone into the hive, and the bees were somewhat quieted, I opened the hive and found the male organ still remaining, but protruding considerably from the vagina, which convinced me that it was no false contact but a true connection. I now felt that I had one of these choice queens safely mated; but imagine my surprise the next day, when, standing by this same hive, quite by accident as it were, to see this identical queen emerge from the hive and fly directly away, returning in about ten minutes, with no signs of having met a drone. I now had my curiosity fully aroused, and proceeded to watch for her on the succeeding day, and, lo! she appeared again and flew out, but returned the same as before. After that she flew no more, though a strict watch was kept for some days in order to determine this fact. I fully expected to see her deposit a few eggs in the center of the brood-nest, especially as the bees seemed to have prepared quite a large space for her, polishing the cells and refusing to store any honey in them; but up to the present time, seven days after mating, there is no sign of eggs in any part of the combs, and the queen has shown no increase in size; she also maintains all the excitable shy appearance common to virgins. I fully believe this mating failed to do the work of fecundation, and, while still under the unsatisfied sexual impulse, she flew out a second and a third time, failing to meet a drone on these trips solely on account of their great scarcity; but after the second failure the impulse to mate wore off, and of course she did not go out after that. This colony is in good condition, and will winter, I am sure, and will be under the closest observation next spring in order to see what the final result will be. If she should fail to lay in the spring, which I fully expect, or if she should prove to be a drone-layer, it would confirm my belief that, in order to be fully effective, the sexual organ of the drone must be absorbed into the body of the queen. On the other hand, if she should prove to be all right it would go far to establish the belief that a queen might mate several times, either of which matings might or might not be effective.

The fact that men of high intelligence are willing to go on record as declaring that overstocking is a thing not to be feared is,

to say the least, astonishing. I have for several years been in a most favorable position to learn something about this question. For three years past I have established one new yard each year, taking from 25 to 40 old colonies to start with. These new yards have never contained more than 60 colonies during the first season, and, without exception, have always yielded a third more profit than any of the old established apiaries. The present year, though a very hard one, well illustrates this fact. One of these new apiaries had only 40 colonies in it, and none of them of more than moderate strength; yet the yield was nearly 70 lbs. per colony, while those in larger apiaries, and four miles away, did not average 20 lbs. The forage was the same in both places. Closely observing both yards it was readily apparent that the weaker colonies, in the new yard, were working much the stronger force, and continued to do so for a greater number of hours each day, up to the last day of the flow. From the time the first bees began to go out in the morning until they were returning in good force did not exceed five minutes, and this was kept up throughout the day in the large yards. The first bees returned in an equally short time; but inside of two hours the working force showed a big weakening, and by two o'clock in the afternoon they had almost quit work for the day, while those in the smaller yards continued with almost the same force until night put an end to their labors. This fully satisfied me that lack of nectar to gather was the cause of this suspension of bee labor. I am also satisfied that the larger force of bees, in the big yards, was compelled to work over the flowers many times, and that this increased the length of time necessary to make a trip, and, of course, diminished the yield; whereas those in smaller yards never had to work the same bloom twice, and, of course, could get honey for a greater length of time each day. This condition would not be so noticeable in good years; yet if the field were sufficiently overstocked I am sure it would make itself felt. But the danger from this source is not so much to be dreaded in good years, when some surplus may be had, even at the very worst; but in poor years it might make feeding for winter stores a necessity. I don't know how others regard it; but with me it is a real and decidedly apparent factor.

Priority rights in regard to location is, to my mind, a real and menacing question for the specialist; and if it can not be settled satisfactorily, the occupation of the beekeeping specialist in many localities is as good as gone; but if it can be settled in a way to protect those who are depending on bee-keeping for a living, then it will tend to place the pursuit on a higher plane and on more solid ground. What hope or what prospect is there for a man with ability, energy, and patient perseverance, all of which are requisite in successful bee-keeping, to start apiaries and work for years to build up a trade, only to wake up some morning

« ÎnapoiContinuă »