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BEE

hand, even in England the value of bee-keeping is worthy of recognition as a minor industry connected with such items of agriculture as fruit-growing, market-gardening or poultry-raising. The fact that British honey is second to none for quality, and that the British market is eagerly sought by the bee-keepers of other nationalities, has of late impressed itself on the minds of thinking men. Moreover, their views are confirmed by the constant references to bees and the profits obtainable from bee-keeping in the leading papers on all sides. This newly-aroused interest in the subject is no doubt to a large extent fostered by the grants in aid of technical instruction afforded by Bee-keepers’ associations. county councils in rural districts. The British Bee-keepers’ Association (instituted in 1874) has been untiring in its efforts to raise the standard of efficiency among those who are desirous of qualifying as experts and teachers of bee-keeping on modern methods. This body had for its first president the distinguished naturalist Sir John Lubbock (Lord Avebury). Subsequently the baroness Burdett-Coutts accepted the office in the year 1878, and was re-elected annually until her death in 1906. During this time she presided at its meetings and took an active part in its work, until advancing years prevented her attendance, but her interest in the welfare of the association was maintained to the last. Branch societies of bee-keepers were established throughout the English counties, mainly by the efforts of the parent body in London, with the object of securing co-operation in promoting the sale Bee and honey shows. of honey, and showing the most modern methods of producing it in its most attractive form at exhibitions held for the purpose. Nearly the whole of these county societies affiliated with the central association, paying an affiliation fee yearly, and receiving in return the silver medal, bronze medal and certificate of the association, to be offered as prizes for competition at the annual county shows. Other advantages are given in connexion with the qualifying of experts, &c., while nearly all the county associations in the United Kingdom employ qualified men who visit members in spring and autumn for the purpose of examining hives and giving advice on bee management to those needing it. Another Honey labels. advantage of membership is the use of a “county label” for affixing to each section of honey in comb, or jar of extracted honey, offered for sale by members. These labels are numbered consecutively, and thus afford a guarantee of the genuineness and quality of the honey, the label enabling purchasers to trace the producer if needed. The British Bee-keepers’ Association is an entirely philanthropic body, the only object of its members being to promote all that is good in British bee-keeping, and to “teach humanity to that industrious little labourer, the honey-bee.” Bee-appliance manufacturers are not eligible for membership of its council, nor are those who make bee-keeping their main business; thus no professional jealousies can possibly arise. In this respect the association appears to stand alone among the bee-keepers’ societies of the world. There are many equally beneficial societies, framed on different lines, existing in Germany, France, Russia and Switzerland, but they are mainly co-operative bodies instituted for the general benefit of members, who are without exception either bee-keepers on a more or less extensive scale, or scientists interested in the study of insect life.

The bee-keepers’ associations of the United States, Canada and most of the British colonies, are—like those last mentioned above—formed for the sole and laudable purpose of promoting the business interests of their members, the latter being either bee-farmers or bee-appliance manufacturers. Thus they make no pretension of any but business discussions at their conferences, and much benefit to all concerned follows as a matter of course. In fact, we find enthusiastic bee-men and women travelling several hundreds of miles and devoting time, money and labour in attending conferences of bee-keepers in America, while the proceedings usually last for several days and are largely attended. The extent of the industry compared with that of Great Britain is so great that it fully accounts for the difference in procedure of the respective associations.

1911 Britannica - Bee - wooden box.png
Fig. 10.—“1-℔ section” wooden box for holding Comb-
honey.
(Redrawn from the A B C of Bee Culture, published by the A. I. Root Co.,
Medina, Ohio, U.S.A.)

As a natural consequence of this activity, the trade in bee-appliance making has assumed enormous proportions in the United States, where extensive factories have been established; one firm—employing over 500 hands, The bee-appliance trade. and using electric-power machinery of the most modern type—being devoted entirely to the manufacture of bee-goods and apiarian requisites. From this establishment alone the yearly output is about 25,000 bee-hives, and upwards of 100 millions of the small wooden boxes used for holding comb-honey. The most generally approved form of this box is known as the “1-℔ section,” made from a strip of wood ½ in. thick, 2 in. wide, and of such length that when folded by joining the morticed and tenoned ends A B (fig. 10) it forms the section of box C, measuring 4¼″ × 4½″ × 2″ when complete, and holds about 1 ℔ of comb-honey when filled by the bees and ready for table use. The V-shaped groove D (cut across and partly through the wood) shows the joint when in the flat, and E the same joint when closed for use. All the section boxes used in the United Kingdom are made in the U.S.A or in Canada from the timber known as basswood, no native wood being suitable for the purpose.


1911 Britannica - Bee - Straw skep.png
Fig. 11.—Straw skep in section, showing arrangement of Combs.
A, Vertical section. p, Pollen. B, Horizontal section.
fb, Floor board. h, Honey. sk, Skep-side.
e, Entrance. fh, Feeding hole. c, c, Combs.
br, Brood. bs, bs, Bee spaces. sc, sc, Store combs.
bs, bs, Bee spaces.

(from Cheshire’s Bees and Bee-keeping, Scientific and Practical.)


Development of the Movable-frame Hive—The dome-shaped straw skep of our forefathers may be regarded as the typical bee-hive of all time and of all civilized countries; indeed, it may with truth be said that as a healthy The straw skep. and convenient home for the honey-bee it has no equal. A swarm of bees hived in a straw skep, the picturesque little domicile known the world over as the personification of industry, will furnish their home with waxen combs in form and shape so admirably adapted to their requirements as to need no improvement by man. Why the circular form was chosen for the skep need not be inquired into, beyond saying that its shape conforms to that of a swarm, as the bees usually hang clustered on the branch of a neighbouring tree or bush after issuing from the parent hive. Fig 11 shows a straw skep in section, and explains itself as illustrating the admirable way in which the bees furnish their dwelling. The vertical section (A) shows the lower portion of the combs devoted to brood-rearing, the higher and thicker combs being reserved for honey, and midway between the brood and food is stored the pollen required for mixing with honey in feeding the larvae. It will be seen how well the upper part of the combs are fitted for bearing the weight of stores they contain,