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Some Advantage In Being Near The Earth






Category: THE APIARY.

I am aware that I go counter to most apiarians, in recommending the
stands so near the earth; less than two or three feet between the bees
and the earth, it is said, will not answer any way. Mr. Miner is very
positive on this point, in his Manual. I ventured to suggest to him,
that there was more against it in theory, than in practice, and gave
him my experience. In less than two years from that time I visited him,
and found his bees close to the earth. Experience is worth a dozen
theories; in fact, it is the only test to be depended upon. I shall not
urge the adoption of any rule, that I have not proved by my own
practice. The objection raised, is dampness from the earth, when too
near; I am unable to perceive the least bad effect. Now let us compare
advantages and disadvantages a little farther. One hive or a row of
hives suspended, or standing on a bench, two or three feet from the
earth, when approached by the bees on a chilly afternoon, (and we have
many such in spring,) towards evening, even if there is not much wind,
they are very apt to miss the hive and bottom, and fall to the ground,
so benumbed with cold, as to be unable to rise again, and by the next
morning are "no use" whatever. On the other hand, if they are near the
earth, with a board as described, there is no _possibility_ of their
alighting under the hive, and if they should come short, and get on the
ground, they can always creep, long after they are too cold to fly, and
are able, and often do enter the hive without the necessity of using
their wings.

Enough may be saved in one spring, from a few hives, in this way, to
make a good swarm, which taken from several is not perceived; yet, as
much profit from them might be realized, as if they were a swarm by
themselves. A little contrivance is all that is needed to save them. To
such as _must_ and _will_ have them up away from the earth, I would
say, do suggest some plan to save this portion of your best and most
willing servants; have an alighting board project in front of the hive
at least one foot, or a board long enough to reach from the bottom of
the hive to the ground, that they may get on that, and crawl up to the
hive. Do you want the inducement? Examine minutely the earth about your
hives, towards sunset, some day in April, when the day has been fair,
with some wind, and chilly towards night, and you will be astonished at
the numbers that perish. Most of them will be loaded with pollen,
proving them martyrs to their own industry and your negligence. When I
see a bench three feet high and no wider than the bottom of the hive,
perhaps a little less, and no place for the bees to enter but at the
bottom, and as many hives crowded on as it will hold, I no longer
wonder that "bee-keeping is all in luck;" the wonder is how they keep
them at all. Yet it proves that, with proper management, it is not so
very precarious after all.

The necessary protection from the weather, for stocks, is a subject
that I have taken some pains to ascertain; the result has been, that
the cheapest covering is just as good as any; something to keep the
rain and rays of the sun from the top, is all sufficient. Covers for
each hive, like the bottom-board, should be separate, and some larger
than the top.





Next: Utility Of Bee-houses Doubted

Previous: Canal Bottom-board Discarded



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