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Reasons Of Failure In Dividing Hives

Category: HIVES.

The greatest difficulty with dividing hives, appeared to be here. It
must be constructed with a partition or division to keep the combs in
each apartment separate; otherwise, we make tearing work in the
division. When bees are first put into such hives, unless the swarm is
very large, and honey abundant, one apartment will be filled to the
bottom before a commencement is made in the other.

Mr. A.--"What difference can that make? It is necessary to have the
hive full; if it cannot be all filled at once, why let them fill part."

The difference is this. The first combs built by a swarm are for brood,
and store-combs afterwards, as needed; one apartment will be nearly
filled with all brood-combs, and the other with store-combs and honey.
Now in the two kinds of cells there is a great difference; those for
breeding are near half an inch in length, while those for storing are
sometimes two inches or more; totally unfit for breeding; until the
bees cut them off to the proper length, which they will not do, unless
compelled for want of room, consequently this side of store-combs is
but little used for brood. When such hive is divided, the chances are
not more than one in four, that this apartment will have any young bees
of the proper age from which to raise a queen; if not, and the old
queen is in the part with the brood-comb, where she will be ninety-nine
times in a hundred, one half of the hive is lost for want of a queen.

Mr. A.--"Ah! I think I now understand how I lost one-half of nearly
every hive I divided. I also lost some of them in the winter; there was
plenty of bees as well as honey; can you tell the cause of this?"

I will guess that they starved.

Mr. A.--"Starved! why, I said there was plenty of honey."

I understood it, but nevertheless feel quite sure.

Mr. A.--"I would like to see that made plain; I can't understand how
they could starve when there was honey!"

Next: Cause Of Starving In Such Hives

Previous: An Experiment

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