THE keeping of bees has engaged the attention of intelligent people from time immemorial. Bees were formerly kept in straw skeps, hives made from the bark of trees, and in any kind of box at the disposal of the bee-keeper. In these the condition and well-being of the colony, and the industry and labour of the bees, were concealed from the observation of their owner. When the summer was over the colonies of medium weight were selected to stand the winter. The heavy ones were taken for their honey, and because it was doubtful if they had sufficient stores to carry them through the winter a hole was made in the ground in which a lighted rag, previously dipped in melted sulphur, was put, and the hive was placed over it; the poor insects were stifled and fell into the pit, leaving the combs free from bees; the combs were cut out from the hive-pollen, grubs, and honey in a mass contaminated with sulphur, were all crushed up together, drained through some porous cloth, and called honey. And yet under these wasteful conditions, there is a proverb, old as the English language," that honey maketh money."

In Roman Catholic countries bee-keeping was formerly encouraged and carried out on a very large scale, the wax being in great demand for making the candles used in the cathedrals and churches. A German writer states that the bees of Luneberg pay all the taxes assessed on the proprietors, and still leave a large surplus. In Russia, bee-farms, numbering from 2,000 to 5,000 stocks, are, it is said, not at all uncommon. Denmark is reported to find pasturage for 100,000 hives, whilst about 2,500,000 lbs. of honey and 120,000 lbs. of wax are annually exported thence. Belgium is believed to contain ten stocks to each square mile, and from a return, over 200,000 stocks are maintained in the kingdom. The bee farmers in the Alps and their neighbours in balmy Italy average more than 100 lbs. of the purest honey from each stock, and this is much esteemed and sold at high prices. At the present time in the United States of America and Canada there are very large honey producers and exporters. In the year 1881 some single colonies produced as much as 400 lbs. of comb-honey, while there were instances where a single hive gave more than 500 lbs. of extracted honey. These were entirely exceptional cases, the extremely favourable results being due to great skill in management, with local advantages in respect to pasture and favourable atmospheric conditions.

Although Sir Christopher Wren invented a beehive from which the honey could be more readily taken, and others made attempts from time to time, to invent so-called improved bee-hives, it was not until Francis Huber (who was perfectly blind) designed his leaf-hive, consisting of a number of frames that were placed side by side, and hinged at the back, that any real improvement in hive construction was made. Each of the frames had a strip of comb fastened at the top, to guide the bees to completely fill it within the frame. The frame was one and a half inches wide, the distance from centre to centre combs being built in a skep in the natural way. Any frame could be readily opened, bees watched at their work, without unduly interfering with its progress. The outside frames, which were usually filled with honey free from brood and pollen, could be easily removep when desired.

For many years this was the only hive in which a thorough examination and observation of a colony could be made. Major Munn in England

was the first to invent a hive having movable frames in an outer box. About the same time Debeauvoir in France, and Dzierzou of Carlsmarke in Germany, in 1845, invented hives with movable frames. In 1847 and 1850, Baron Berlepsch of Germany, made improvements on the Dzierzou hive, which made it almost identical with the somewhat later invention of the Rev. J. Langstroth of the United States, in 1851. The hive of the latter, in which frames were manipulated from the top, was a great improvement on that of Dzierzou, whose hive was operated from the side. The Langstroth hive completely revolutionised bee-keeping, and some slight modification of it is the one adopted almost universally throughout Great Britain and America. Having thus briefly referred to the early progress of beekeeping, we will rew explain to those interested what s necessary in



The spring is the best time to commence to keep bees, and great care should be taken that the neighbourhood from which the swarms are obtained is free from what is known as foul brood, a disease which threatens to destroy the beekeeping industry. Procure swarms as early in the year as you can, in May and not later than the first week in June. They may be obtained from reliable persons from 12s. to 15s. each, and should weigh about 4 lb. to 5 lb. free of the hive. If possible, they should be transferred to the hive and placed in the position they are to occupy the same or the next day. A swarm consists of a fertile queen, drones, and workers. The queen is the mother of all the bees; she is a perfectlydeveloped female, and lays the eggs from which the other bees are produced; these eggs are of two kinds, the one develops into drones, and the other produces worker bees, which are undeveloped females. The same eggs under dfferent treatment and care produce fully-developed females or queens. Usually, when four or five days old the queen leaves the hive for a wedding flight, meets the drone or male bee in mid air, and when fertilisation has taken place, returns to the hive and never leaves it, except when accompanying a swarm. In a very short time she commences to lay eggs in the cells prepared by the worker bees. The queen, in the height of the season, often lays from two to three thousand eggs. In three days from the laying of the egg the larvæ hatches and is fed, in the case of the queen and workers, for five days, and of the drones six days. When the spinning of the cocoon by the larvæ takes place, which occupies one day for the queen, two days for the workers, and three days for the drones, then there is a period of rest, respectively, of two, three, and four days, the transformation of the larvæ into nymphs takes one day for each, and the time in the nymph state occupies for the queen three days and the workers and drones seven days. It thus takes fifteen days for a queen, twenty-one days for workers, and twenty-four days for drones to issue perfect insects. The queen is most prolific in her second season, but many queens are equally good the third and fourth year. If from any cause the queen dies or becomes unproductive when there are worker eggs in the hive, the workers build queen cells (which are larger) round the young larvæ, and

supply them with food known as "royal jelly,' and except for this additional care and attention, these eggs, which become queens, would in the ordinary way produce only workers. As soon as the young queen is fertilised, the old queen is destroyed, as it is not usual for two queens to be at large in a hive at the same time. The queen bee is delicately made, is longer, and has shorter wings than either the drone or worker.

The drones, the male bees, are larger and more bulky than either the queen or the worker. They have no sting, they are idle, except so far as they assist in keeping up the temperature of the hive, but live on the labour of the workers. They are produced at the approach of the honey season when swarms may be expected for mating with the young queens. At the end of the honey season, when the idea of swarming is given up, and their services, as males, are no longer required, they are driven from the hive by the workers and die.

Worker bees are smaller than the others. The well-being of the colony depends entirely upon them; they build the combs, gather and store the honey in the cells, feed and protect the queen, nurse the brood, regulate the temperature of the hive, fanning at the entrance with their wings in very hot weather, and protect the hive from robber-bees. In the busiest time the life of a bee seldom exceeds six, or, at most, eight weeks, those hatched in the autumn, when the hard work is done, live on through the winter and commence the work in the spring.



The usual signs of swarming are the crowded state of the colonies, the flying and buzzing of the drones, and the building of queens' cells in the manner already described. When the swarm comes off, the bees are seen rushing out of the hive in a perfect stream, running over another, flying into the air by tens of thousands, circling round and round, and filling the air with their merry hum. Usually they soon settle on some bush or tree not far from their old hive, gathering together in a cluster, which rapidly increases in size. As soon as they have become quiet, no time should be lost in hiving them in the skep. Lay a cloth on the ground, as close under the swarm as possible, then take a skep in the left hand, bottom upwards, and hold it close up under the swarm, take the branch with the right hand immediately above the cluster and give it a sudden smart shake, when all the bees will fall into the skep in a mass. The skep must be quickly and gently turned over, and placed upon the cloth, one side resting on a stone or piece of wood, so as to give space for the bees to run under and cluster in the hive. As soon as they are all in the skep, they may be moved to the position they are to occupy; but if it is wished to transfer them into a frame hive it will be safer to leave them till the evening; they must be carefully shaded from the sun with boughs or an umbrella.

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therefore important in the purchase of a hive that it should contain the standard frame, and that hives of the same pattern should be used in an apiary, all parts being interchangeable, so that the time occupied in the various manipulations and exposure of the bees in the hive shall be as short as possible. The modern hive is made of wellseasoned wood-in some cases wood and straw are combined. Ten standard frames are generally considered sufficient for the body of a hive, they should have sheets of comb foundation (Fig. 4) fastened in them, and be hung side by side, from front to back, in the hive so that they can be removed at will; thus any frame of comb honey can be taken, or one of sealed brood can be transferred to a weak hive to strengthen it, without injury to the colony from which it is taken. A frame containing comb foundation being substituted for the one taken, the cells will be drawn out in a day or two, and the queen will lose no time in filling them with eggs.

In selecting a hive care should be taken to see that the best material is used, and the construction of the same is of a substantial character, and that the roof is not likely to admit moisture into the hive. All hives before being used should have four coats of paint. The oldest and cheapest form of hive is the straw skep (Fig. 1), which in many districts is still used by the cottager. As a rule these skeps are made far too small, and this is one of the reasons why so little honey is obtained from them; they become, crowded with bees, and swarm just at the time of the best honey flow, and this swarm often throws a cast, and little or no honey is obtained. The advanced bee-keeper looking to the amount of honey obtained for his profit, does all he can to prevent swarming, provides a large hive, and gives additional space for the increasing number of bees well in advance of their requirements.

Hives can be had from appliance dealers at prices ranging from 8s. 6d. to 30s. Such a one as Fig. 5 can be bought for 12s. 6d., and is a good serviceable hive. Stock-hives have double walls on all sides, with porch, and containing ten standard frames and a dummy. An invertible cover, forming an additional protection in winter, and roof with 3-inch lift, this gives sufficient space for feeding on the top of frame, should it become necessary, by simply raising the roof. Frame boxes are not included in the price of the hive, but are supers that can be used on any hives for obtaining pure extracted and comb honey. Fig. 6 is a modern hive with outer base, and is shown in sections.

The hive should be placed just off a path, or in some position where the back of the hive can be approached without interference with the flight of the bees during manipulations. Before putting a swarm into the hive the frames must be fitted with comb foundations (Fig. 4), either in sheets filling the frame, or with strips two or three inches wide, to guide the bees to build within the frames. The frames have a saw-cut in the top bar, into which the foundation is fixed, the saw-cut is held open in a simple way by a fixer (Fig. 10), as soon as it is released the saw-cut closes on the foundation and holds it fast; to make doubly secure a small French nail is driven through the two halves of the top bar and grips it tightly. The hive should be stood on bricks, and great care must be taken that it is perfectly level across the frames, otherwise they will not hang plumb, and the comb would not be so built that they could be readily taken out without damage, the bottom of one comb being attached to the adjoining frame.

To transfer a new swarm to the frame hive, a board about 36 inches long and 18 inches wide is used, one end resting on the ground, the other on the floor board of the hive, which must be raised an inch or so in front to allow space for the bees to enter freely.

Everything being ready, the skep is taken to the frame hive, and the bees, by a sudden jerk, are thrown on to the sloping board, and will at once run up into the hive and cluster between the frames of combs foundation. If the weather is unsuitable for the bees to fly for a few days after they are hived, they should be fed with syrup in a bee feeder (Fig. 11) until they are able to collect honey, this will enable the bees to build comb, during what would otherwise be their enforced idleness.

To provide greater space for the bees to work in, supers or shallow-frame boxes are used, which are known as section racks (Fig. 8). These are placed over the brood chamber, first singly, and when three-parts filled this is raised and another placed under it.

It is necessary to decide whether honey is to be obtained in the comb or in a liquid state, and to be ready with the supers when required. If for liquid or extracted honey a shallow-frame box containing ten frames is used, each frame having full sheets of comb foundation fixed as before described. All frames must have metal ends of some kind to keep them a proper and uniform distance apart. Those in general use are called W. B. C. ends. Before putting on the shallowframe box, a zinc queen-excluder (Fig. 12) covering all the frames must be placed on top of the hive, on the removal of the quilts, to prevent the queen getting up into the super and laying eggs.

For obtaining comb honey a rack of twenty-one sections is used, each filled with extra thin super foundation; the section is put into a block, the top half being in two (Fig. 13), and when the foundation is in position the open half is pressed down and grips it tight. Fig. 14, a section rack with hanging frames of sections can be converted into a shallow-frame box.

In order that the comb should not project beyond the wood of the sections, separators made of tin or thin wood are placed between the rows of sections. As the bees leave a inch space between the separator and the comb, when sealed over, there is no difficulty in removing the sections without bruising the honeycomb. With racks of sections the zinc queen-excluder is not necessary, as the queen seldom lays eggs in them. These racks and boxes have others placed under them when three parts full, and in this way, in an average of seasons, fifty or sixty sections, or sixty pounds to eighty pounds of extracted honey may be obtained with good management.

The honey may be removed as soon as it is sealed over. In doing this, as in all manipulations, a veil (Fig. 22) should be worn, gloves are seldom or ever used, but it is advisable to have cuffs with an elastic band at each end, one to go round the wrist, the other end to be fixed on the coat just below the elbow, to prevent the bees creeping up the arms.


A smoker (Fig. 16) is also necessary as well as a super-clearer (Fig. 17). A little smoke from a roll of corrugated paper lighted and placed in the smoker is first blown in at the entrance of the hive; the super is then slightly raised from the

hive, another puff of smoke frightens the bees, and keeps them from flying; the super is raised. and a super-clearer is placed between the super and the hive. The bees, finding themselves cut off from the body of the hive, get alarmed and run down through the super-clearer, in the way shown in Fig. 18, and if left for a few hours the super will be quite free from bees, when the sections of comb-honey can be taken out of the racks. The shallow-frame boxes are treated exactly in the same way, when free from bees they should be carried into a room and the honey extracted from the frames preferably whilst they are still warm. Fig. 25 shows section cases in which the finished sections are put to keep them free from dust and damage when exposed for sale. The frames are taken out one by one, the coverings are sliced off with an uncapping knife (Fig. 19), when they are placed in a honeyextractor (Fig. 20). The cylinder is, fastened to the floor, and the wire cages inside receive the frames of uncapped combs. This being made to rotate, the honey is thrown out by the centrifugal motion and falls into the lower part of the cylinder and is drawn off from time to time into what is called a honey-ripener (Fig. 21). After a week or two it may be drawn off into self-opening tins of various sizes or put into screw-capped, white glass bottles of reputed 1 lb. or 2 lb. weight. The density of honey varies con siderably, it is therefore impossible to guarantee an exact weight in bottles.

The frames of combs should be put in the box as soon as extracted and placed on the superclearer, care being taken to put on quilts and make all secure from the attacks of robber bees attracted by the smell of honey, the slide cov ering the round hole in the super-clearer is drawn out, the bees will then go up, clean out any honey left in the cells, and repair any damage done to the combs, and if any honey flow is on, will quickly refill the combs. If the honey is taken at the end of the season, as soon as the bees have cleaned the combs, the boxes must be taken off and have paper pasted round them to prevent wax-moth destroying the combs, and be put away in some dry place until the spring.

The bees, being unwilling to build combs until warm weather is well established, usually put the first honey in the body of the hive; but if these boxes with built out combs are put on in good time, as soon as any amount is coming in, they will utilize these combs, thus leaving the body of the hive for the queer to lay in, and a larger population of workers are hatched out in time for the principal honey flow.

The production of wax has been much neglected. As obtained in the old way it was a very messy business, but with a wax-extractor (Fig. 23) it is an easy matter. The importation of wax into this country is very large. There is a ready sale for pure English wax at 1s. 3d. to 1s. 6d. per lb.

Fig. 24 is an observatory hive in which all the bees can be seen, it is constructed to admit of one frame of comb in thickness with sufficient space for the bees to pass between the finished comb and the glass. The queen can be seen depositing her eggs, and the different metamorphoses which take place can be watched and timed; the forming of the cells and storing of the honey is readily seen. These hives are not suited for profitable honey production, and the frames of comb and bees must be transferred to a box hive during winter,

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The following are the Marks usually to be found on silver and gold plate of British manufacture :

1. Mark showing the Assay town-in London, a Leopard's head-being the mark of the Goldsmiths' Company; in the Provinces, other designs, as stated on next page. 2. The Sovereign's Mark—a Lion passant (adopted in 1784); in Ireland, Hibernia. 3. The Date Mark-one of the first twenty letters of the alphabet (excluding J), denoting year of manufacture. The letter is changed yearly, and the style of letter every twenty years. Specimens are given below.

4. The Maker's Mark, being-up to 1739-the two first letters of his surname; since that date the initials of Christian and surname.

5. The Duty Mark (the Sovereign's head). abolished in 1890, this mark was discontinued.

The duty on plate having been

The following list of Assay letters will assist in ascertaining the date of any piece of plate made in Great Britain since the year 1702:


QUEEN ANNE.-1702-1714 Plate marked with Britannia, Lion's head erased, Date Mark and Maker's Mark, initials to

$ S in quaint Court


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GEORGE III.—continued.

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1816-1820. The


with initials

a to d in Roman "lower case

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letters. (After 1798, 18-carat Gold was marked with a crown and 18.) GEORGE IV.-1820-1830. Leopard's head, Lion passant, Date Mark, Maker's Mark, King's head, initials e to O in Roman" lower case" letters, being continuation of above alphabet. (After 1823 the Leopard's head was without crown.)


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1836-1837.-The same, with initial

A in old English capital.

VICTORIA.--1837-1866. Leopard's head, Lion passant. Date Mark, Maker's Mark, Queen's head, initials to in old English capitals, being continuation of above alphabet.

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