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The Latest Improved Method Of Burning








We now come to the time of the year when all flowers, by the laws
of nature, cease to bloom. Indian summer is here with its nice
balmy days. Just right--not too warm not yet too cool. The very
time when even those of us who are getting up in years begin to
feel young again. How sad it would be to the one who loves nature
and her ways to be obliged to lay aside all thought of sport until
nature unfurled her robes again! Some of the happiest moments of my
life have come during this part of the year, and I hope to be able
to convince my readers that we should always say "welcome" to the
aged year. Well do I remember when I used to go along with the old
hunter in search of the bee. A fire would be made, some large fiat
stones heated and carried to a convenient place, then bee comb
moistened with water, placed on them and soon bees would be seen
darting through the air. Some might settle on the bait, but if not
enough to satisfy the hunter, another hot stone was brought, and
the process repeated until there were enough bees working on the
bait to give a strong course. Then taking another hot stone and
going a long ways on the course we would proceed to burn again.
Perhaps the stone had cooled off by this time and the bee failed to
come quickly or in sufficient numbers. Then we had to either go
back, replenish the fire, heat more stones, or build another fire
at the new location. Carrying the hot stones from place to place
was the work generally assigned to me. Sometimes stones of a slaty
nature would be heated and when becoming quite hot would burst with
a loud report and fly in all directions. At that time I would just
about as soon approach a loaded cannon. After twisting a stick
around the stone it was carried at arm's length to the new location
and with sweat streaming down my face I was glad when the time came
to lay it down. This was undoubtedly laborious, but the excitement
connected with the sport was at such a pitch that the thought of
labor being in any way connected with bee hunting never entered my
mind.

But as time wore on I got to thinking that there might be other
plans much easier and quicker than the one described, and I feel
sure that those who love the sport will agree that the plan laid
before the readers is in every way superior to the old method.

First get a small tin pail, holding about a half gallon. Cut out,
from the bottom upwards, a hole four or five inches up and down and
two inches wide. Have a pan made so that it will fit down inside
the pail just deep enough to come down to upper edge of the hole
cut out of pail. There should be a rim on top part of the pan to
prevent it working lower down than the hole in the pail. Now get a
miner's lamp, which will not cost more than from fifteen to
twenty-five cents. Coal oil can be used but lard oil is much
better, and better than either of these is alcohol. A small lamp
suitable for burning this can be purchased at a small cost.

Now you are ready to start out. Take some refuse honey and your
bottle of bait, get far out on the mountains, so there will be
little danger of drawing bees from apiaries that may be situated in
the valleys. When a suitable place is found, clear of underbrush
and no large trees to bother the bees when starting for home, set
pail down, put some of the honey in the upper part of the pail (or
pan), strike a match, touch it to the wick of the lamp. The spout
of the lamp should come within about two inches of the bottom of
the pan. The honey begins to boil immediately and sends its scent
out over the mountains. A few drops of the oil of anise and
bergamont mixed can be dropped into the pan, and a bunch of bushes
held over the fumes until it is scented. This is then laid on the
top of a bush or stump close by and sprinkled with bait. By this
time bees may be heard darting through the air or seen hunting
slowly through the bushes in search of something to eat. It is a
very good plan to blow the lamp out when the first bees are flying
around. The scent is strong all around and when the lamp is blown
out the scent soon dies out except near the bait and the bees find
the bait much sooner than if the lamp was kept burning. There may
be plenty of bees to start with from the first burning and if not,
all we have to do is to light the lamp again.

If you have your course and are about to start, it only requires a
second of time to pick up the burning apparatus and the bunch of
bushes and start on the course. But for fear you may be only a
beginner and make a mistake which might discourage you, I want to
have a little talk with you before starting from the first
location.

In reading articles relating to bee hunting, some of the writers
tell how, after loading up, the bees would circle round and round
before starting on the homeward journey. I believe I have seen a
few bees make a complete circle. I have seen hundreds of thousands
that did not. As a rule when a bee raises from the bait it will act
as though it intends to circle, but watch closely and you find
before coming around to the place of starting it will quickly turn
in the opposite direction, repeating this several times--always
widening out. It will seem to fall far back with a downward motion,
then gather up and come slowly back, often passing to the opposite
side of the bait and making a sudden motion, is lost to sight. This
fact might make you think the bee really went in this direction. I
want to stake my reputation as a bee hunter of years of experience,
that when a bee is seen to make these half circles on one side of
the bait and seem to fall off in any direction, bearing down toward
the earth, that this is the general direction in which the tree
stands, and if I can see a bee make a few of these half circles
(though it may be the first one on the bait), it settles the matter
in my mind as to the general direction of the tree. But even if our
minds are made up in regard to this line of flight, it is wise to
take more time and watch closely, for there is no good reason why
we should not get two or possibly more courses from this first
location. Then go on the strongest course until we find the tree
and then come back and start on the others.

In going on the course don't fail to look well at every tree, for
sometimes they are found in very small trees when there are lots of
large ones standing all around.

I will give my experience in finding a bee that has taught me to
look at every thing on the course, not even discarded stumps, logs
and bushes, for I have found bees in the two former and hanging on
the latter. In early November I had a strong course from bait. They
flew directly up on the side of the mountain. The course flew over
a large barren thicket and after looking at the timber on the lower
edge of the barrens, the bait was moved across the thicket. There
were a few chestnut trees standing between the upper edge and the
place I selected to bait them again. Soon they came and flew back
down. I was sure they must be in one of the trees mentioned, for
there was nothing growing in the thicket large enough for a bee to
go in. After looking at the few trees spoken of and not finding
them, I went back down to the lower edge and could see them fly
nearly half way across the thicket. I was puzzled, and proceeded to
look at the few logs that were laying down and still failed to
locate them. My next move was to hang my burning bucket on a limb
and burn. In no time there were bees by the quart on the bait,
flying in all directions. Singling out some of the steady flying
ones, they seemed to fly a short distance, and drop into the brush.
On investigating, I found them hanging on a little bush, working
away as though they had the best place in the world to store their
honey. They had evidently been there for a long time as they had
several good sized combs fastened to the bush. I knew they were
bound to perish, for cold weather was coming on, so I told a friend
where to find it, and gave it to him with the understanding that he
was to hive it, putting the combs and brood in the hive.

The above is mentioned to prove that bees are sometimes found in
places out of the ordinary, and in closing this part of my work I
want to impress you with the fact that it always pays to go slow
and look well while on the course.

* * *

NOTE--If not convenient and a vessel of the kind described (for
burning) cannot be had, any small tin pail will do without cutting
out the hole for lamp. A couple of stones laid on the ground a few
inches apart will make a place for the lamp and the bucket placed
over it on the stones, although the first mentioned will be found
more convenient.





Next: Some Facts About Line Of Flight

Previous: Fall Hunting



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