The talk had run on treasure. I could not sleep and my friends had dropped in. I had the big South room on the second floor of the Hotel de Paris. It looks down on the Casino and the Mediterranean. Perhaps you know it. Queer friends, ... Read more of The Last Adventure at Mystery Stories.caInformational Site Network Informational

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Their Progress Described


In a few days, I could see at first a little white dust, like flour, on
the side of the combs, and on the bottom of the jar. As the worms grew
larger, this dust was coarser. By looking closely at the combs, a small
white thread-like line was first perceptible, enlarging as the worm

When combs are filled with honey, they go only on the surface, eating
nothing but the sealing of the cells; seldom penetrating to the centre,
without an empty cell to give the chance. Disgusting as they seem to
be, they dislike being daubed with honey. _Wax, and not honey, is their

The reader would like to know how these worms came in the jars, when,
to all appearance, it _was a physical impossibility_. I would like to
tell positively, but cannot. But I will guess, if you will allow it. I
will first premise, that I do not suppose they are generated
spontaneously! Their being found there, then, would indicate some agent
or means not readily perceived.


The hypothesis that I offer is original and new, and therefore open for
criticism; if there is a better way to account for the mystery, I would
be glad to know it.

From the first of June till late in the fall, the moth may be found
around our hives, active at night, but still in the day. The only
object probably is to find a suitable place to deposit its eggs, that
the young may have food; if no proper and convenient place is found,
why, I suppose it will take up with such as it _can_ find; their eggs
_must_ be deposited somewhere, it may be in the cracks in the hive, in
the dust at the bottom, or outside, as near the entrance as they dare
approach. The bees running over them may get one or more of these eggs
attached to their feet or bodies, and carry it among the combs, where
it may be left to hatch. It is not at all probable that the moth ever
passed through the hive among the bees, to deposit her eggs in the jars
before mentioned. Had these jars been left on the hive, not a worm
would have ever defaced a comb; because, when the bees are numerous,
each worm as soon as it commences its work of destruction will be
removed, that is, when it works on the surface, as in the boxes of
honey--in breeding combs, they get in the centre and are more difficult
to remove. By taking off these jars and removing the bees, it gave all
the eggs that happened to be there a fair chance. Many writers finding
the combs undisturbed when left on the hive till cold weather,
recommend that as the only safe way, preferring to have the combs a
little darker, than the risk of being destroyed by the worms. But I
object to dark combs, and leaving the boxes will effectually prevent
empty ones taking their places, which are necessary to get all the
profits. I will offer a few more remarks in favor of my theory, and
then give my remedy for the worms. I have found in all hives where the
bees have been removed in warm weather, say between the middle of June
and September, (and it has been a great many,) moth eggs enough among
the combs to destroy them in a very short time, unless kept in a very
cool place; this result has been uniform. Any person doubting this, may
remove the bees from a hive that is full of combs in July or August;
and close it to prevent the _possibility_ of a moth entering, set it
away in a temperature ranging from sixty to ninety, and if there are
not worms enough to satisfy him that this is correct, he will have
better success than I ever did. Yet, no such result will follow, when
the bees are left among the combs, unless the swarm be very small; then
the injury done will be in proportion. A strong stock may have as many
moth eggs among the combs as a weak one, yet one will be scarcely
injured, while the other may be nearly or quite destroyed.

Now, if this theory be correct, and the bees do actually carry these
eggs among the combs, is there not a great deal of lost labor in trying
to construct a moth-proof hive? The moth, or rather the worms, are ever
present to devour the combs, whenever the bees have left them in this

Next: Method Of Killing Worms In Boxes

Previous: Apt To Be Deceived About The Worms

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