Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

DAN

[ocr errors]

vos en A CS

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

that his bees, with the most ordinary care, that two and two make four. Yet, for all this, will pay his rent, and he will find that your the figures of the arithmeticians have proword is good, and that he has something to duced more fallacies than all the other spare for his trouble; he may then be led to figures of the Schools. We shall enter, pay the same respect to his little lodgers as therefore, into an exact calculation of prothe Irish do to the less cleanly animalthat acts fit and loss, which is, after all, almost en. the same kind part of rent-payer by them. But tirely dependent on the seasons and the de. when the marvellous statistics of bee-books gree of care bestowed. Statistics, such as are laid before a laborer, their only effect Mr. Thorley's, might just be as well applican be to rouse an unwonted spirit of coveted to the stock of graziers without any con. ousness, which is more than punished by sideration of the number of acres they held; the still greater disappointment that en- for he gives us no receipt how to find pas. sues. Here follows one of those quiel turage for 8,000 bee-bives. statements, put forth with a modest compla. Dr. Warden, a physician of Croydon, who cency that out-Cobbetts Cobbett :

wrote in the year 1712 a book called “The

True Amazons, or the Monarchy of Bees," “Suppose, for instance, a swarm of bees at the first to cost 10s. 6d. to be well hackled, and

-and of whom we can discover nothing neither them nor their swarms to be taken, but to

more than that the front of his bee-house do well, and swarm once every year, what will be was “painted with lions and other creatures the product of them for fourteen years, and what not at all agreeable"-found the neighboring the profits, of each hive sold at 10s. 6d. ?

furze of Coombe and Purley not “unprofit.

Profits. ably gay,” if we may believe his assertion Years. Hives.

£. d. s.

that his bees brought him in £40 a-year: 0 0 0

he might have passed rich at that time in 2 2 0

such a locality, if his physician's fees 4 4 0 brought him in an equal sum. That the 8 8 0 ancients did not neglect the profit to be de16 16 0

rived from their hives, we learn from Vir33 12 0

gil's old gardener-lo whom we cannot too 1:28

67 4 0 256

frequently recur—and from two veteran 134 8 0 512 268 16 0

brothers mentioned by Varro—the type 1024

5:37 12 0 perhaps of the Corycian of the Georgics2018

1075 4 0 who turned the little villa and croft left by 4096 . 2150 80 their father into a bee-house and bee-garden 14 . 8192 . 4300 16 0

-realizing, on an average, 10,000 sesterces « N. B. Deduct 10s. 6d., what the first hive cost, a year. They seem to have been thrifty and the remainder will be clear profit, supposing old bachelors, and took care to bide a good the second swarms to pay for hives, hacklers, la

market. Among the plunder of Verres were bor, &c."

400 amphoræ of honey. Mr. Thorley, from whose book the above We will now suppose that, having made statement is taken, had better have carried up our mind on the matter of profit, and it on for three years further, which would being sting-proof, we have got an old-fashhave given him within a few pounds of ioned straw hive, which we purchased in £35,000-a very pretty fortune for a cot-autumn for a guinea, safely placed under tager's daughter; the only difficulty would our heath-thached bee-house; that we have be to find a man who had heart to get rid also got one of the improved Grecian straw. of a capital that doubled itself every year.hives ready to house the first swarm in. It is like Cobbett's vine, that on a certain some fine warm morning in May or June, system of management was to produce so a cluster of bees having hung out from the many upright steins, and from each of these bive some days before, the whole atmos. so many lateral branches, and on each lat. I phere in the neighborhood of the bee-house eral so many shoots, and on each shoot seems alive with thousands of the little so many buds, and every bud so many creatures, whirling and buzzing, passing and bunches and pounds of grapes-so that you repassing, wheeling about in rapid circles might count the quantity of wine you were like a group of maddened Bacchanals. This to make on the day that you planted the is the time for the bee-master to be on the tree. There is norhing like an array of alert. Out runs the good housewife with figures if you wish to mislead. All seems the frying-pan and key—the orthodox inso fair, and clear, and demonstrative—no struments for ringing—and never ceases appeals to the passions, no room for a quib- her rough music till the bees have safely ble—that to deny the conclusion is to deny I settled in some neighboring bough. This custom, as old as the birth of Jupiter, is which may serve as a rallying point for the emione of the most pleasing and exciting of the grants. To this they repair by degrees, and, procountryman's life; Hogarth, we think, in- vided their queen bas

we think in. vided their queen has alighted there, all, or at troduces it in the background of his “Coun:

| least the greater part, crowd around, and form a

dense group, sometimes rounded like a ball, sometry Noises,” and there is an old colored

Times clustered like a bunch of grapes, according print of bee-ringing still occasionally met to the nature of the resting-place they have fixed with on the walls of a country inn that has on." p. 138. charms for us, and makes us think of bright sunny weather in the dreariest November day

This first settlement is, without doubt, We quite feel with Mr. Jesse that we should merely a rendezvous before their final emiregret to find this good old custom fall into

gration. If not hived, they will soon be off, disrepute. Whether. as Aristotle says, it and in a direct line, for some convenient affects them through pleasure, or fear, or spot

or spot which has been marked by them before. whether indeed they hear at all, is still as

We have known them make straight for an

e bar uncertain as that philosopher left it, but

"left it bur old hollow pollard, the only one to be found we can wish no better luck to every bee

within a mile or two of the hive. The old master that neglects it than that he may

queen always accompanies the first swarm; lose every swarm for which he omits to

and for this a fine day is reckoned more raise this time-honored concert.*

| necessary than for the after-swarms, as it The whole matter of swarming is so impor

is the old lady, says Mr. Golding, that shows tant, that we should be doing wrong to pass the greate

the greatest dislike to leave home in bad it over without giving the following graphic weather. If this swarm again sends forth account from the “Naturalist's Library :"

a colony the same year, it is the same

queen again who puts herself at the head of “ The laying of drones' eggs having terminated,

her nomade subjects. Indeed, notwithstandthe queen, previously large and unwieldy, becomes slender in her figure and more able to fiy, and be- 11.8

ing Mr. Golding's remark, there is very gins to exhibit signs of agitation. She traverses little of the old woman about her. the hive impatiently, abandoning the slow and state. There seems to be no unerring method ly step which was her wont, and in the course of by which the exact time when the first her impetuous progress over the combs she com- swarm will leave the hive can be determinmunicates her agitation to the workers, who crowded their hanging from the entrance being around her, mounting on her back, striking her

very fallacious-except by watching the briskly with their antennæ, and evidently sharing | in her impatience. A loud confused noise is heard

general state of things within. With the throughout the hive, and hardly any of the workers after-swarms, however, there is a most are observed going abroad to forage; numbers curious and certain signs in the “piping" are whirling about in an unsettled inanner in front or "trumpeting” of the queen and the prin. of the hive; and the moment is comr, to a con- cesses, to which we have before referred. siderable portion of the famiiy, for bidding adieu About the ninth day from the issue of the to their ancient abode. All at once the noise of Arst swarm. if another colony is about to the interior ceases, and the whole of the bees about the doors re-enter; while those returning loaded

leave the hive, this singular duet, in most from the fields, instead of hurrying in as usual, regular intonation, between the emerged hover on the wing, as if in eager expectation. lo queen and the princess still a prisoner in a second or two, some workers present iheniselves her cell, is heard ; and, extravagant as the again at the door, turn round, re-enter, and return account may seem, and confused and em. instantaneously in additional numbers, smartly I bellished as it has been from the times of vibrating their wings, as if sounding the inarchi; and at this signal the whole swarm rushes to the

Aristotle and Virgil till recent days, it is entrance in an overwhelming crowd, strearning

now the practical sign by which every at. forth with astonishing ra pidity, and filling the air tentive bee-keeper judges of the time of in an instant, like a dark cloud overhanging their emigration of the after-swarms. late habitation. There they hover for a moment, The second swarm is called a “cast," • reeling backwards and forwards, while some of the third a “smart," the fourth a “ squib." the body search in the vicinity for a tree or bush A swarm from a swarm is called a "maiden

The story goes that the Curetes,! wishing to hide or virgin swarm," and the honey is reckon. the birth of Jupiter from his father Saturn, set up a clashing of cymbals to drown the noise of his infani The following dogged "proverbial philosophy": cries:

will give the supposed relative values of early and 'Cum queri circum querum pernice chorea late swarms: Armati in numerum pulsa rant æribus æra,"-..

“A swarm in May Lucret. ii. 732.

Is worth a load of hay; The noise auracted swarm of bees to the cave

A swarm in June where the child was hid, and their honey nourished

Is worth a silver spoon; him, hence the origin of ringing. Aoxouoi dè xaloent

A swarm in July ai piłcrtai kai tw kpórw. K. 1. d.- Aristol. H. An. p. 299.

Is not worth a tiy."

ed more pure. It seldom, however, happens their error, and turn from him in unmitigathat there are more than two from the same ted disgust. This scene has been actually hive, except in such a year as the present, observed. which has been a glorious bee-year. Such It would be an endless work to recount also was 1832; and there are on an average the many stories told of the devoted attachtwo good years in every ten. 1838 and 1839 ment of these good people to their queen. were particularly disastrous to the bees. Her presence among them is their life and

It is time to say something of Her Majes glory. She is the mainspring upon which ty of the Hive. She is the mother as well all their work, their order, their union, their as the queen of her people, laying from happiness seems to turn. Deprive them of 10,000 to 30,000 eggs in a year, and it is not her, and all is confusion, disorder, and distill she gives symptoms of continuing the may. They seem to mourn for her when race till the full tide of her subjects' affec. dead, and can with difficulty be withdrawn tion is poured forth towards her. They pre from her corpse. The following extract fer a Victoria to an Elizabeth. There are from a private letter describes such a scene different cells formed for the queen, the as all bee-books are full of: worker, and the drone, and she deposits

deposits “ Last year I was sent for by a lady, who, when

Last vear eggs in each accordingly. The bees, like a she wants my assistance, sends all over the parish wise and loyal people as they are, do not for me with a little note with the picture of three stint their sovereign to the same narrow bees in it, and this calls me at once to her aid. One mansions as content themselves; they build of her bee-bives—a glass one-I found when I artheir royal cells much thicker and stronger, rived in the state of the greatest confusion, the inand of more than twice the size : nay, un

mates running up and down, and making a fearful like the surly blacksmith at Brighton, who

noise. We soon discovered the reason of this. On

" looking about the bee-house, we observed her ma. hesitated to give up his house for the con- jesty quietly taking an airing abroad unknown to venience of his sovereign, they think no-lver subjecis,-she had got through a hole which thing of pulling to pieces and converting I had been left for air. We thought it was time for several of their common cells when royalty her majesty to return home, so we quietly put her requires it, and vote with alacrity in their back to her subjects. Where all had been confucommittee of supply every demand made

sion perfect peace instantly prevailed—the news

was communicated in a moment—the pleasure of for the extension and improvement of their

der the little loyalists was manifested by a gentle plasovereign's palace. When finished, their cid motion of their wings, and they returned forth. miniature Windsors resemble the inverted with to their former labors.” cup of an acorn somewhat elongated. We said that each has its peculiar cells, and that! In this case the Queen had slipped out by the queen lays only drone eggs in drone a back door, wishing no doubt to enjoy that cells, and so on. But it has happened, either privacy and quiet which royalty so often in her flurry or from some unaccountable ac- sighs after ; at other times, when she walks cident, that a drone egg has fallen into a out in public, she meets with that respectful royal cell. Time goes on, and the egg homage and freedom from interrupon swells, and becomes a larva, and then a pus which may read a good lesson to the Britpa, and the bees feed it with royal food, ish public. watch its progress with anxious care, and “There I saw the old Queen-bee walking round hover in the antechamber in nervous expec. the stone at the mouth of the hive as if she was taktation of the royal birth-judge then their ing an airing, and of all the sights I ever saw in surprise when, instead of a princess royal, iny life nothing ever pleased me better. I would out walks the awkward and mystified the sumond and music not have lost seeing it on any account-to witness

Them paying homage to her as she walked round changeling of a drone. Their innate and

in the open air pleased me exceedingly."– Smith, extreme sense of loyalty does not at first . 91. allow them to discover their mistake ; they « Whenever the Queen goes forth to take the crowd round about him, backing with rev- air, as she often does, many of the sinall bees attend erence, as they always do in the presence of upon her, guarding her before and behind. By their their real queen: meanwhile ihe foolish sound I have known when her majesty has been fellow, addled by their homage, and yet

ver coming forth, and have had time to call persons

who have been desirous of seeing her."-Sydserf, chuckling at his unexpected dignity, turns

ch. iii. himself about with the incredulous stare of Hassan the sleeper when he awoke in the With the alteration of a few words, who palace and robes of the khalif, and, with the would not think this the description of the strut of dear old Liston in the “Illustrious Terrace at Windsor, or the Chain-pier at Stranger," so soon commits himself by his Brighton, and of the English people when ungainly actions, that they quickly find out on their best behavior ? All the wonderful tricks with which Wildman the bee-conju. the time and scene of her matrimonial trip rer astonished the last generation were ef. are still involved in the utmost mystery. fected by taking advantage of their instinc. Whether she loves the pale moonlight, or tive loyalty. He made the bees follow him whether, as we are inclined to suppose with where he would, hang first on this hand, Huber, she prefers a bright May morning, then on that, or settle wherever his specta- and, hero-like, lights her torch of love on tors chose. His secret consisted in having high, in either case she scrupulously shuns possession of the Queen, whom they clus- the curious eye of man, who has in vain entered round wherever he might move her. deavored to pry into those mysteries which Nor are they merely summer friends; the she as industriously conceals. workers will defend their queen in the ut. If it should be thought surprising that most strait, and lay down their lives for men who have devoted their lifetime to her. For they sting but once, and that studying the habits of bees have failed to sting is death to them; “ Animasque income to any satisfactory conclusion on this vulncre ponunt.” How many a human subject, it will be far more a matter of won. sovereign has been left in his last hours by der to learn what they have been enabled those who had basked in the sunshine of to discover. We allude particularly to the his power! The bees teach us a better les power possessed by the workers, when they son. Dr. Evans, whose poem of “The have lost their natural monarch, of convert. Bees,” though sometimes rather Darwin-ing the grub of one of the common bees ian, is extremely interesting and true to into a royal, and consequently prolific per. nature, gives in his notes this affecting an. sonage. Such an extraordinary assertion, ecdote :

first published by Schirach, though proba. “A queen in a thinly-peopled hive lay on a

bly known in earlier times, may be supposed honeycomb, apparently dying; six workers sur to have met with no ordinary opposition, rounded her, seemingly in intent regard ; quivering but it has been confirmed by repeated obtheir wings as if to fan her, and with extended servation and experiment, and is as well at. stings, as if to keep off intruders or assailants. On tested—thanks to Huber especially-asany presenting them honey, though it was eagerly de

such facts can ever be. Being so estabvoured by the other bees, the guards were so com- Llished, we may assert it to be (without any pletely absorbed in their mournful duty, as entirely | to disregard the proffered banquet. The following

reservation whatever) by far the most exday the queen, though lifeless, was still surrounded traordinary fact ever brought to light in by her guard ; and this faithful band of attendants, natural history. Fully to comprehend it, as well as the other members of the family, re we must refer our readers to the great dif. mained at their post till death came kindly 1o ex ferences we stated in the former part of this tinguish both their affection and their grief;. for paper to exist between the workers and the though constantly supplied with honey, not a bee

queen, or rather to the more ininute anarenained alive at the end of four days."

tomical distinctions given by entomological We must not, however, invariably expect writers; and then they are called upon to the same conduct; perhaps, indeed, if it believe that, by enlarging three common were so, it would lower the quality of the cells into one, and seeding the worm not feeling, and reduce it to too mechanical an more than three days old with a peculiar instinct. Bees, like men, have their differ food, richer than the common bee-breadent dispositions, so that even their loyalty called, from its queen-making qualities, will sometimes fail them. An instance not “royal jelly,"—not only is its body lengthlong ago came to our knowledge, which ened, its wings shortened—its wax-pockets probably few bee-keepers will credit. It and its bread-basket and down on its legs was that of a hive, which, having early ex- obliterated its sting and proboscis altered hausted its store, was found, on being ex-in shape-its fertility developed—but all amined one morning, to be utterly deserted: its instincts and habits so completely -the comb was empty, and the only symp-changed, that no difference whatever is obtom of life was the poor Queen herself, servable, when it emerges from the cell, "unfriended, melancholy, slow," crawling from the rightful queens, either in the chaover the honeyless cells, a sad spectacle of racter and duties it assumes, or in the revthe fall of bee greatness. Marius among erence paid it by the masses. What would the ruins of Carthage-Napoleon at Fon not Napoleon, when he assumed the purple, tainebleau—was nothing to this.

have given for some jars of this "royal That the mother of so large a family and jelly !" queen of so rich a store passes her honey. We much wish that we had space to de. moon somewhere may be reasonably sup-scribe at length the jealousy and combats posed, but such is her innate modesty that I of rival queens, the senses of bees, and their architecture, and general economy of the dancing-master, and such a mutual love hive ; but half the interest of these things cherished as the age of seventeen is apt to depends on that freshness and minuteness produce.” It was far too deep and too true of detail which is best given in the words an affection to run smooth. The father of of the original eye-witnesses. It is only by the girl naturally regarded the growing a figure that we can include in this class blindness of the youth as destructive of all him who has deservedly been placed at the advancement in life, and positively forbade head of all writers upon bees-the intelli- his suit. Meanwhile poor Huber dissembled gent and enthusiastic Francis Huber. No his increasing infirmity as well as he could, one who ever hopes to be master of a bee- and, with a pardonable fraud, spoke as house should be ignorant of his services, though he could really see. There was at por of the difficulties under which he per- least language enough in his eyes for Maria formed them. His name has been so long Lullin, and she, as resolute as her father, before the public that many will learn with would allow no subsequent misfortune lo surprise that he died, at the age of eighty quench the light of other and happier days. one, so late as December, 1831. An appro- At twenty-five, and not till then, did the law priate tribute* has been paid to his memo. allow her to decide for herself, and seven ry by his brother naturalist De Candolle, I long years was a dangerous trial for any from which the following facts of his life are girl's fortitude, beset with the remonstrantaken.

ces of her friends, and the daily vanishing Among the witty and the vain who form- hopes of restoration of sight to her lover. ed Voltaire's applauding clique at Ferney But she was nobly faithful. She was proof was one who, though remarkable in his own against all persecutions and persuasion's; day even in su briliant an assemblage for his and when the seven weary years were at conversation and accomplishments of socie- length over, she gave her hand where her ty, would scarcely have been remembered heart had been given long before-to him, but for bis more illustrious son. This was who, though her husband, could scarcely Jobo Huber, the father of him who is act the part of her protector. The youthful the Father of Bee-masters; and Francis partners at the dancing-academy naturally himself probably enjoyed the honor, at ripened, as our Scotch friends can best un. whatever that may be rated, of being patted derstand, into partners for life. And she on the head by the patriarch of Ferney ; for became not only Huber's wife, but his ashe was a precocious and enthusiastic child, sistant in his researches ; she was "eyes to and the pride of his father, who imparted to the blind,” his reader, his secretary, his him that love of science which, while it proubserver. duced the misfortune, proved also the com- No higher praise can be given to Huber fort of bis life. One of his relations had than to say that he was worthy of her. He · ruined himself in the search after the philos-was the most affectionate and devoted of

opher's stone; and he himself impaired husbands.
God's greatest blessing of sight at the early “Her voice was all the blind man knew,
age of fifteen, by the ardor with which hel

he But that was all in all to him !" devoted himself to philosophical studies. His father sent him to Paris io be under the “As long as she lived,” he used to say in care of the most experienced physicians : his old age, “I was not sensible of the misbut though his general health, which had fortune of being blind.” And, alluding to also given way, was restored by the sensible prescription of rural life and diet, the

character of his favorite bees, cataract baffled the skill of the oculist Ven. “Ingentes animos angusto in pectore versant." zel, and he was sent home with no better

It was, we believe, this true story that fur. promise than that of a confirmed and in

inished the episode of the Belmont family creasing blindness. “His eyes, however,"

in Madame de Staël's “Delphine." says his biographer De Candolle, “notwith

| Huber was fortunate not only in his wife standing their weakness, had, before his de.

but in his servants and children. Burnens, parture and after his return, met those of

who under his tuition and direction made Maria Aimée Lullin, a daughter of one of the syndics of the Swiss republic. They

the greater part of his observations upon

bees for him, has this due tribute paid him had been companions at the lessons of the

me by his master and his friend : Translated in the Edin. N. Philosoph. Journal for April, 1833. De Candolle has also named all

I “ It is impossible to form a just idea of the pagenus of Brazilian trees, in his honor. Huberia tience and skill with which Burnens has carried out laurina. It should have been a bee-plant,

the experiments which I am about to describe. He

« PreviousContinue »