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a somewhat different case, for here the customer insists upon having the whole product. As the same comb cannot be used over and over, the foundation machine comes into use each time a crop is taken off. The middle wall, or midriff, of each little section of comb honey is produced by the rollers from wax on hand. This is fitted into the one-pound basswood sections, and the bees rapidly draw out the cells. While this does not eventually save the bees the labor of making wax to replace the wax that is sold with the honey, it greatly lessens the work they need to do in building the comb. The wax on hand may be from extractor combs that have become damaged or broken down.

Thirdly, and I hope my readers remember that this is going to be the story of a preacher, we have to consider the swarming problem. If we are going to have honey for the table, the bees must not waste their time going away to build new mansions of wax. Their instinct to do this is accordingly frustrated by taking advantage of a still stronger commandment in the bee world. Under no circumstances will a swarm of bees strike out for a new location without being sure that the queen is with them. If anything has happened to prevent her coming, they soon know it; and in that case they give up their colonizing plans for the time being and return to the hive. The sagacious beekeeper turns this detail to his own advantage by clipping off a wing of the queen bee in each hive. And then he takes a more fundamental precaution. A swarm of bees will not leave a hive without taking measures to provide a new queen for the ones who stay be hind and carry on the business of the old home. When they intend leaving, they build large queen cells and start a number of royal babies that are duly sealed up and left to develop; and if all

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their plans go well, though much depends upon the weather, they may time this queen hatching so that the queen-to-be would ordinarily make her appearance about a week after the swarm has departed. The beekeeper, knowing this, keeps track of his bees' intentions by going through the hives at regular intervals; and he takes pains to destroy all royal progeny in its cradle and to damage materially any queen cells that may have been started.

As there may be as many as a hundred thousand bees in a hive, it might seem an impossible task to pick out the queen from such a throng in every colony. It must be kept in mind that the combs in the modern hive are movable. It would indeed be impossible were it not that the combs may be taken out, one after another, and held up to the light of day. The queen, surrounded by her royal escort, with their heads all toward her, is like a marked paragraph in a book; and she is soon. picked out from the rest of the text. And then, a wing being snipped off, she will never make a success of any effort to abscond with the swarm. This treatment will not, however, keep her from trying when the time comes. To prevent all such efforts upon the part of the swarm, the combs must all be gone over once in ten days a considerable task for a man with many colonies. In case he neglects, or is too busy, the wingless queen holds the situation in control for him. While the truant swarm is hanging in a seething mass on the limb of a near-by bush or tree, the queen will be found in the grass at the front of the hive making lopsided efforts to fly. The beekeeper puts her back in the hive in a little cage; and now he may rest assured that the congregation temporarily holding conference on the limb of the tree will make a change in its plans and return

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to the hive. It is not really the same hive, however, for the beekeeper has been shrewd enough to put in the place of the old hive one whose interior has been made more inviting by means of some empty comb all ready for the queen to fill with brood. And then the bees in the other hive, flying afield and coming back with their loads, will enter this one, thinking it is the one they have been using because it occupies the same location; and thus all the working bees of the original swarm are brought together again under one queen. The result is that while they may think they have successfully swarmed, being at work in a different interior, they have not swarmed at all, because they have not succeeded in dividing their forces. The beekeeper has had his way; and now they are not going to waste their time in colonizing and building new comb and raising drones. It is not the mere absconding of the swarm that the beekeeper objects to; it is this division of forces which reduces the honey output and turns the bees' energies in a direction that is useless to him.


There is a great deal of human nature as well as bee nature to be studied in the bee yard. In former days it was thought that if the owner died, and the bees were not formally notified of the fact, they would stop making honey. Consequently it was the custom to hang black crape on every hive while someone went through the operation of 'telling the bees.' Now that science has taken the place of superstition, the beekeeper does not tell them anything; he fools them.

Up to the year 1852, when Langstroth invented the movable-comb hive, the 'brimstone pit' for suffocating the bees in the fall was a regular part of the apiary. According to that old

world and world-old method, beekeeping was a very simple procedure. All you had to do was to get a swarm of bees into a box, a hollow log, or a 'skep' of twisted straw, and leave them to their own devices. They could be depended upon to clean house, fill all cracks with a cement of wax and resin, repair any imperfections, and set to work in accordance with the ancient laws of the craft. If you wanted to get any honey without killing them you would have to turn the hive upside down and dig right into the comb; and if you expected to keep them over winter you would be careful not to take much, else they would not have a surplus sufficient to last them. Naturally, the usual custom was to wait till autumn, when the crop was all in, and rob them outright. And, as this was to be the end of the bees, the hives were kept for a while in the fumes of burning sulphur to make the operation easier.

This method brought greater immediate reward, but it was destructive of the source of profit. And besides, the quality of the honey, some of it stored in cells adjacent to dead brood or bitter and often poisonous pollen, was not likely to be of the best. Sometimes, in order to save it all, the comb would be melted and the honey heated till the foreign matter rose in a scum which could be skimmed off; and this was likely to result in an unsavory mess.

As knowledge of the bee became more scientific, the invention of hives began. Inventors in England, France, America, and Russia produced hives with ingenious features, but they all ended in failure. They were not founded on a close study of the bee.

And then Pastor Langstroth, a most interesting and lovable man who was minister of a Congregational church in Philadelphia, made the discovery regarding bee nature which was to

have world-wide effect and change the methods of beekeeping for all time.

His object was to make a movablecomb hive. But, while this is easily said, it was not easily done; and the more one studies the habits of bees, the more impossible it appears. It is bee nature, whether in a hollow log or a home of planed pine, to give the interior a coat of varnish, use propolis freely, buttress the combs securely to the roof or sides, and build cells in any available space. In this view of affairs, any expectation that 'removable' frames could be put in a hive and remain movable after the bees had set to work on them would seem doomed to disappointment. A little experiment or two would soon show such a scheme to be impractical and foolish. One might as well expect bees to alter their whole nature as to think that they would not fasten these frames to the wall of the hive.

But Langstroth had long loved to work with bees; and he made a discovery. His discovery, as we have already intimated, had to do with a bee's policy, or mental attitude, toward openings of a certain width inside the hive. This policy manifests itself as follows. If the bee finds in the hive a passageway of a width between three sixteenths and three eighths of an inch, she will not fill it with comb or glue it up with propolis, but will keep it as a space to be used in passing to and fro. If the opening is less than three sixteenths of an inch, she regards it as a crack or flaw which needs to be varnished over and filled with propolis. If it is more than three eighths of an inch, she regards it as room in which cells may be built. But anything between these measurements the bee seems to look upon as a sailor does 'gangway' - a place to be kept clear. While these measurements represent the extremes that are allowable, prac

tice has shown that results are surest with openings not more than five sixteenths or less than one quarter of an inch. This measurement, now standard, has become known as the bee space.

The Langstroth hive was built to take advantage of this point in bee nature, the movable frames being made of such a size that there would be just a bee space between the ends of the frames and the walls of the hive; and the same spacing was provided for between the tops of the frames in a lower story and the bottoms of the frames in a story above. In short, there must be no space in the hive after the frames have been filled with comb that does not correspond with this measurement which the bee recognizes and respects. But, as bees work back-to-back on the surfaces of the adjacent combs, there will here need to be a double spacing. Comb is about an inch thick, and so the beekeeper will space his frames șo that when the comb is built out to its natural depth the proper back-to-back spacing will be left between them.

The whole result of this science of spacing in connection with a movablecomb and top-opening hive is that one story may be lifted freely off another, enabling the beekeeper to take away his crop of honey quite separate from that which belongs to the bees; and the combs in the brood chamber may be taken out and freely manipulated, thus creating conditions which will cause a honey crop many times larger than could be expected under natural conditions. The modern beehive, invented in America, is very American in its nature. It is efficient. It adopts the best methods for quantity production. It surpasses anything of the kind ever invented in Europe. No bee of ancient Greece or Egypt, or even the early Victorian era, could hold a candle for efficiency to the modern, American, fully industrialized bee. Europeans

stuck to the theory for many years that our great honey production was due to some peculiarity of the flora of this continent, but they finally learned that it was due to the hive with movable combs.


The beehive which Langstroth invented in 1852 has not been improved in any essential detail from that day to this. It was practically perfect from the beginning; and here I believe it is unique among mechanical inventions. It is essentially unimprovable. A hive may be built with a brood chamber larger or smaller to suit conditions, but it has got to remain a Langstroth hive in principle in order to do the work.

The movable-comb, top-opening hive has revolutionized beekeeping in America and had an influence that is worldwide. It has won its way on its merits in country after country. In the mechanical world it is a signal demonstration of the survival of the fittest. A man may go from one end of America to the other, and even to the remotest countries to which our exports have penetrated, and he will find that the frames and various appurtenances of one hive are an exact fit for every other hive. The Langstroth frame measures 17 by 9 inches, outside measurement, and the manufacturers of hives all make their hives accordingly. A beekeeper in one of California's great apiaries may buy the small outfit of a New England beekeeper and know that every part and every appliance will match and mingle with his own. Not even the Ford car has equaled it in observing the mechanical principle of interchangeability, and of setting a standard that is national.

It has become the hive of England and of France and of the Frenchspeaking part of Switzerland; and it

has made steady progress among the apiaries of Italy and Germany. American hives have been adopted in Canada, Mexico, the West Indies, South America, South Africa, Australasia, Belgium, Russia, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and other countries. It has increased the output of the world's honey from hundredweights to tons.'

Besides having movable combs and being top-opening for convenience in handling, a hive must have oblong frames, of scientific proportions, and these frames should hang free with very little point of contact and come out without crushing bees. Langstroth incorporated all these features in his hive at once. He met complex requirements with an invention of masterly simplicity.

He was himself a man of simple and lovable nature, and had a certain common sense and benevolence of outlook which reminded those who knew him of Benjamin Franklin. He protected his invention with a patent, but was unable to guard and enforce his rights; and when the end came, one day in 1895, he died without a dollar. It is now generally recognized that he was the father of American beekeeping' and that no inventor anywhere was prior to him.

It has been said that, up to 1852, the world had never improved in any way upon the beekeeping of the ancient Greeks. As a matter of fact, the beekeeping of the Middle Ages was hardly as good as theirs. The Greeks had three hundred treatises upon the bee; and the fourth book of Vergil's Georgics is a poem on bee management. It is only when we think of the beekeeping of the ancients that we get a just estimate of the modern invention. As sugar cane was not brought to Europe from India until comparatively modern times, and the possibilities of the sugar beet were unknown, man's

principal source of sweets was the hive. There was every possible incentive to study bee nature and perfect it. The yield of this important crop could have been increased tenfold if someone had only known enough to make a plain wooden box of certain proportions containing frames of a certain fit. In the making of a hive there is nothing needed of modern manufacturing equip ment. It can all be done with woodworking tools as simple as those that Christ used in plying his worldly trade. That the hive was not invented in all these centuries is due to the fact that it is a most complex invention founded upon observations in natural history that were neither easy to make nor simple to cope with by mechanical means. In one regard it is a mere white box or two sitting in the farmer's dooryard. At the same time it is the most complicate of mechanisms, being most diverse and intricate in the conditions which it meets and fulfills.

One who knew nothing about it beyond its mere appearance might naturally inquire, 'How is it complicated? Where are its cams and cogwheels, its springs and plungers and quick-acting fingers of iron?' The answer is that its intricacy is not visible. It takes the form of figures and shrewd calculations. It copes with the hidden psychology of the bee as well as her mere bodily measurements. Its every proportion and spacing, seeming to be nothing, deals in some manner with the perplexing problem of the bee.


As Langstroth was one of the greatest of our nature students, judged by what he actually accomplished, and as he was a man of most pleasing and interesting personality, one might suppose that his name would be familiar to Americans generally, and especially to

lovers of nature. That his name is so little known is due, I imagine, to the difficulty of explaining a hive in a few words so that it may be appreciated by the average man. Without an understanding of the hive, one cannot properly value what Langstroth did. As it is, his name is so little known that there is no biographical sketch of him in any encyclopædia, English or American. But his fame is looking up, and will some day be better attended to. Let me make a beginning by setting down here some of the principal facts of his life as known to his fellow beekeepers.

Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth was born on Christmas Day, in the year 1810, at Philadelphia. His parents were members of 'Mr. Barnes' church' in that city, this being the mother Presbyterian church in the United States. Family tradition tells us that when the boy became interested in the ants working in gravel walks, and experimented upon them with crumbs of bread, his parents deplored that their son should show an inclination to such frivolous pursuits when he might employ the time improving his mind.

In 1827 he entered Yale College and graduated in 1831. From 1834 to 1836 he served as tutor in mathematics at Yale while he completed his studies in preparation for the ministry. In May 1836, he became pastor of the Second Congregational Church at Andover, Massachusetts, and in August of the same year he was married to Miss A. M. Tucker of New Haven, Connecticut.

After two years in the ministry ill health compelled him to resign his pastorate. For a while in 1838 and 1839 he was principal of the Abbott Female Academy at Andover, and in the latter year he moved to Greenfield, Massachusetts, to become principal of the high school for young ladies. In Greenfield he remained nine years, serving five

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