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of wastes and commons.* Even a very short distance will make a great difference in the amount of honey collected. We know of an instance where a bee-keeper at Carshalton in Surrey, suspecting, from the fighting of his bees and other signs, that there was not pasturage enough in the immediate neighbourhood, conveyed away one of his lightest and most worthless hives, and hid it in the Woodmansterne furzes, a distance of about a mile and a half. Fortunately it lay there undiscovered, and on re
» and repeated
* We can hardly ask, much less expect, that hedge-side swards should be made broader, and corn-fields be left unweeded, and the ploughshare be stayed, for the sake of the bee ; but we do boldly enter our protest against the enclosure and planting of her best pasturage—our wild heath-grounds. And not for her sake only, but lest the taste, health, or pleasure of the proprietor himself should suffer any detriment. More strenuous advocates for planting than ourselves exist not. The dictum of the great Master of the North, “ Be aye sticking in a tree, Jock, it will be growing while ye are sleeping. "-put forth in the Heart of Mid Lathian, by him in our Journal, -has been the parent of many a fair plantation, and may it produce many more! But there are rush-bearing commons, and ragged banks of gravel, and untractable clay-lands, and hassocky nooks, enough and to spare, the fit subjects for new plantations, without encroaching upon our “ thymy downs" and heather hills. The land of the mountain and the flood may indeed afford from her very riches in this respect to spare some of her characteristic acres of “ bonny blooming heather;" and there are parts of the northern and midland counties of England that can equally endure the sacrifice ;-but spare-oh, spare-to spread the damp sickly atmosphere of a crowded plantation over the few free, bracing, breezy heath-grounds which the south can boast of.–Such a little range of hills we know in Surrey, lying between Addington and Coombe, now sadly encroached upon by belts and palings since our boyhood days. Only let a man once know what a summer's evening stroll over such a hill, as it “ sleeps in moonlight luxury,” is—let him but once have tasted the dry, fresh, and balmy air of such a pebbly bank of heath, without a tree, save perhaps a few pines, within a mile around, when all the valley and the woodland below are wet with dew and dank with foliage, —and then say whether such an expanse can be well ex changed for any conceivable advantage of thicket or grove.
TRANSPORTATION OF HIVES.
moving it home he found that it had become one of his heaviest hives. We mention this as a case coming under our own knowledge, because a late writer, who has shown rather a waspish disposition in his attacks on Mr. Cotton's system, seems to question not only the advantage, but the practicability of the transportation of hives altogether. But the fact is, that in the north of England and in Scotland, where there are large tracts of heatherland apart from any habitation, nothing is more common than for the bee-masters of the towns and villages to submit their hives during the honey season to the care of the shepherd of the district. “ About six miles from Edinburgh," says Dr. Bevan, "at the foot of one of the Pentland Hills, stands Logan House, supposed to be the residence of the Sir William Worthy celebrated by Allan Ramsay in his "Gentle Shepherd.' The house is at present occupied by a shepherd, who about the beginning of August receives about a hundred bee-hives from his neighbours resident beyond the hills, that the bees may gather honey from the luxuriant blossoms of the mountain heather.” Mr. Cotton saw a man in Germany who had 200 stocks, which he managed to koep all rich by changing their places as soon as the honey-season varied. “ Sometimes he sends them to the moors, sometimes to the meadows, sometimes to the forest, and sometimes to the hills.” He also speaks of it being no uncommon sight in Switzerland to see a man journeying with a bee-hive at his back.
There is something very interesting and Arcadian in this leading of the bees out to pasture, and it deserves more attention than it has yet met with in this country. The transportation we have hitherto spoken of is only to a short distance and on a small scale ; but in Germany travelling caravans of these little wild-beasts may be met with, which sometimes make a journey of thirty miles, taking four days to perform it. There is nothing new in this transmigration, for Columella tells us that the inhabitants of Achaia sent their hives into Attica to benefit by the later-blowing flowers. The most pleasing picture, however, of all is that of the floating bee-houses of the Nile, mentioned by old and modern writers, and thus described by Dr. Bevan :
“ In Lower Egypt, where the flower-harvest is not so early by several weeks as in the upper districts of that country, this practice of transportation is carried on to a considerable extent. About the end of October the hives, after being collected together from the different villages, and conveyed up the Nile, marked and numbered by the individuals to whom they belong, are heaped pyramidally upon the boats prepared to receive them, which, floating gradually down the river, and stopping at certain stages of their passage, remain there a longer or a shorter time, according to the produce which is afforded by the surrounding country. After travelling three months in this manner, the bees, having culled the perfumes of the orange-flowers of the Said, the essence of roses of the Faiocum, the treasures of the Arabian jessamine, and a variety of flowers, are brought back about the beginning of February to the places from which they have been carried, The productiveness of the flowers at each respective stage is ascertained by
the gradual descent of the boats in the water, and which is probably noted by a scale of measurement. This industry procures for the Egyptians delicious honey and abundance of bees’-wax. The proprietors, in return, pay the boatmen a recompense proportioned to the number of hives which have thus been carried about from one extremity of Egypt to the other.”—p. 233.
Such a convoy
of 4000 hives was seen by Niebuhr on the Nile between Cairo and Damietta. An equally pleasing account is given by Mr. Cotton of the practice in France :
“ In France they put their hives in a boat, some hundreds together, which floats down the stream by night, and stops by day. The bees go out in the morning, return in the evening; and when they are all back and quiet, on the boat floats. I have heard they come home to the ringing of a bell, but I believe they would come home just the same, whether the bell rings or no.”—Cotton, p. 89.
“I should like," he continues, " to see this tried on the Thames, for no river has more bee-food in spring ; meadows, clover, beans, and lime-trees in different places and times, for summer.”
Happy bees, whose masters are good enough to give them so delightful a treat! We can fancy no more pleasing sight, except it be the omnibuses full of school-children that one sometimes sees on a fine summer's day making for the hills of Hampstead or Norwood.
Connected with their transmigration is the question of the extent of their flight. We believe that two miles may be considered as the radius of the
circle of their ordinary range, though circumstances will occasionally drive them at least a mile more. We have read somewhere of a man who kept bees at the top of his house in Holborn, and wishing to find out where they pastured, he sprinkled them all with a red powder as they came out of the hive in the morning. Away he hied to Hampstead, thinking it the best bee-pasture at hand, and what was his delight at beholding among the multitudes of busy bees that he found there some of his own little fellows which he had “ incarnadined” in the morning! The apiary of Bonner, a great bee-observer, was situated in a garret in the centre of Glasgow; and that of Mr. Payne, the author of the “Bee-Keeper's Guide ” -a very useful and practical book, because short and simple—is in the middle of a large town.
Judging from the sweep that bees take by the side of a railroad train in motion, we should set down their pace about thirty miles an hour. This would give them four minutes to reach the extremity of their common range. A bee makes several journeys from and to the hive in a day; and Huish remarked that a honey-gathering bee was absent about thirtyfive minutes, and a pollen-collector about half that time. The pollen or farina of flowers is doubtless much more plentiful and accessible than the honey. The same writer observed bees on the Isle of May, at the entrance of the Frith of Forth, though there was no hive kept on the island, which is distant four miles from the mainland. This is an amazing stretch of flight, considering the element over which they