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Water Necessary To Comb-making

Category: WAX.

Whenever bees are engaged making comb, a supply of water is absolutely
necessary. Some think it requisite in rearing brood. It may be needed
for that, or it may be required for both purposes; but yet I have
doubts if a particle is given to the young bee, besides what the honey
contains. June, and first part of July, and most part of August (the
season of buckwheat,) are periods of extensive comb-making; they then
use most water; breeding is carried on from March till October, and as
extensively in May, perhaps more so, than in August, yet not a tenth
part of the water is used in May.

I have known stocks repeatedly to mature brood from the egg to the
perfect bee, when shut in a dark room for months, when it was
impossible to obtain a drop; also stocks that stand in the cold, (if
good,) will mature some brood whether the bees can leave the hive or
not. These facts prove that some are reared without water. As they get
sufficient honey to require more comb to store it, they will at the
same time have a brood; and it is easy to guess they need it for brood
as comb, without a little investigation. This much is certain, that
they use water at such times for some purpose, and when no pond, brook,
spring, or other source is within convenient distance, the apiarian
would find it economy to place some within their reach, as it would
save much valuable time, if they would otherwise have to go a great
distance, when they might be more profitably employed; it always
happens in a season of honey. It should be so situated that the bees
may obtain it without jeopardizing their lives;--a barrel or pail has
sides so steep that a great many will slip off and drown. A trough made
very shallow, with a good broad strip around the edge to afford an
alighting place, should be provided. The middle should contain a float,
or a handful of shavings spread in the water with a few small stones
laid on them to prevent their being blown away when the water is out,
is very convenient. A tin dish an inch or so in depth, will do very
well. The quantity needed may be ascertained by what is used--only give
them enough, and change it daily. I have no trouble of this kind, as
there is a stream of water within a few rods of the hives; but I have
an opportunity to witness something of the number engaged in carrying
it. Thousands may be seen (in June and August) filling their sacks,
while a continual stream is on the wing, going and returning.

Next: Remarks

Previous: Some Wax Wasted

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