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an elevated situation : they have then their uphill flight when their bodies are unburdened, and an inclined plane to skim down when they come home loaded with their hard-earned treasure. Rogers, at whose
6 cot beside the hill A bee-hive's hum should soothe the ear," has supposed the bee to be guided back to its hive by the recollection of the sweets it passed in its outward flight -- a beautiful instance of "the pleasures of Memory.”
“ O'er thymy downs she bends her busy course,
the soar of thought,
Guards the least link of Being's glorious chain.” Whether this be the true solution or not, her return to her hive, so straight as it is, is very curious. We are convinced of the use of bee-houses as a protection for the hives, though they are disapproved of by many modern writers. They serve to moderate the temperature in winter and summer, and screen the neighbourhood of the hive in rough weather. Dr. Bevan says
Excepting in peculiarly sheltered nooks, an apiary would not be well situated near a great river, nor in the neighbourhood of the sea, as in windy weather the bees would be in
SITUATION OF HIVE.
danger of drowning from being blown into the water. ... Yet it should not be far from a rivulet or spring; such streams as glide gently over pebbles are the most desirable, as these afford a variety of resting-places for the bees to alight upon.”
This is almost a translation of Virgil's “In medium, seu stabit iners,” &c. Water is most important to them, particularly in the early part of the season.
Let shallow troughs, therefore, never be neglected to be set near the hives, if no natural stream is at hand.
It seems that bees, like men, require a certain quantity of salinc matter for their health. In the Isle of Wight the people have a notion that
every bee goes down to sea to drink twice a-day; and they are certainly seen to drink at the farm-yard pool
“ the gilded puddle
That beasts would cough at”when clearer water is near. Following the example of our modern graziers, a small lump of rock-salt might be a useful medicine-chest for our winged stock. Foul smells and loud noises have always been thought annoying to bees, and hence it is deemed advisable never to place the hives in the neighbourhood of forges, pigsties, and the like. Virgil even fancied that they disliked the neighbourhood of an echo: but upon this Gilbert White, of Selborne, remarks :
“ This wild and fanciful assertion will hardly be admitted by the philosophers of these days, especially as they all now seem agreed that insects are not furnished with any organs of hearing at all. But if it should be urged that, though they cannot hear, yet perhaps they may feel the repercussion of sounds, I grant it is possible they may. Yet that these impressions are distasteful or hurtful I deny, because bees, in good summers, thrive well in my outlet, where the echoes are very strong; for this village is another Anathoth, a place of responses or echoes. Besides, it does not appear from experiment that bees are in any way capable of being affected by sounds ; for I have often tried my own with a large speaking-trumpet held close to their hives, and with such an exertion of voice as would have hailed a ship at the distance of a mile, and still these insects pursued their various employments undisturbed, and without showing the least sensibility or resentment.” *
Next to the situation of the hive is the consideration of the bees' pasturage. When there is plenty of the white Dutch clover, sometimes called honeysuckle, it is sure to be a good honey year. The red clover is too deep for the proboscis of the common bee, and is therefore not so useful to them is generally thought. Many lists have been made of beeflowers, and of such as should be planted round the apiary. Mignionette, and borage, and rosemary, and bugloss, and lavender, the crocus for the early spring, and the ivy flowers for the late autumn, might help to furnish a very pretty bee-garden; and the lime
* Of Gilbert White-who by the way was not “parson of the parish,” but continued a Fellow of Oriel till his death-all that could be heard at the scene of his researches by a late diligent inquirer was, that “ he was a still, quiet body, and that there was not a bit of harm in him.” And such is the fame of a man the power of whose writings has immortalized an obscure village and a tortoise—for who has not heard of “ Timothy”?-as long as the English language lives!
and liquid-amber, the horse-chestnut, and the sallow would be the best trees to plant around. Dr. Bevan makes a very good suggestion, that lemon-thyme should be used as an edging for garden-walks and flower-beds, instead of box, thrift, or daisies. That any material good, however, can be done to a large colony by the few plants that, under the most favourable circumstances, can be sown around a beehouse is of course out of the question. The bee is too much of a roamer to take pleasure in trim gardens. It is the wild tracts of heath and furze, the broad acres of bean-fields and buck-wheat, the lime avenues, the hedge-row flowers, and the clover meadows, that furnish his haunts and fill his cell. Still it may be useful for the young and weak bees to have food as near as possible to their home, and to those who wish to watch their habits a plot of bee-flowers is indispensable ; and we know not the bee that could refuse the following beautiful invitation of Professor Smythe :
6. Thou cheerful Bee! come, freely come,
And travel round my woodbine bower! Delight me with thy wandering hum,
And rouse'me from my musing hour : Oh! try no more those tedious fields, Come, taste the sweets my garden yields : The treasures of each blooming mine, The bud, the blossom,-all are thine. And, careless of this noon-tide heat,
I'll follow as thy ramble guides ;
And sweep them o'er thy downy sides :
grow, With touch rejecting, glance, and go.
O Nature kind ! O labourer wise !
That roam’st along the summer's ray,
And meet'st prepared thy wintry day!
Pliny bids us plant thyme and apiaster, violets, roses, and lilies. Columella, who, contrary to all other authority, says that limes are hurtful, advises cytisus, rosemary, and the evergreen pine. That the prevalent flower of a district will flavour the honey is certain. The delicious honey of the Isle of Bourbon will taste for years of the orange-blossoms, from which, we believe, it is gathered, and on opening a bottle of it the room will be filled with the perfume. The same is the case with the honey of Malta. Corsican honey is said to be flavoured by the box-tree, and we have heard of honey being rendered useless which was gathered in the neighbourhood of onion fields. No one who has kept bees in the neighbourhood of a wild common can fail to have remarked its superior flavour and bouquet. The wild rosemary that abounds in the neighbourhood of Narbonne gives the high flavour for which the honey of that district is so renowned. But the plant the most celebrated for this quality is the classic and far-famed thyme of Mount Hymettus, the Satureia capitata of botanists. This, we are assured by Pliny, was transplanted from the neighbourhood of Athens into the gardens of the Roman bee-keepers, but they failed to import with it the