Guess Work

The time before it is ready to leave the hive for honey, I might guess

would be two or three days. Others have said "it would leave _the day

it left the cell_;" but I guess they guess at this point. They tell us,

too, that after the bees seal over the cells containing the larvae,

"they immediately commence spinning their cocoons, which takes just

about thirty-six hours." I think it very likely; but when I admit it, I

cannot imagine how it was ascertained;--the faculty of looking through

a mill-stone I do not possess, and it requires about the same optical

penetration to look into one of these cells after it is sealed over, as

it is all perfect darkness. Suppose we drive away the bees and open the

cell, to give us a look at the interior: the little insect stops its

labor in a moment, probably from the effect of air and light. I never

could detect one in its labor. Suppose we open these cells every hour

after sealing; can we tell anything about their progress by the

appearance of these cocoons, or even tell when they are finished? The

thickness of a dozen would not exceed common writing paper. When a

subject is obscure, or difficult to ascertain, like this, why not tell

us how they found out the particulars; and if they were guessed at, be

honest, and say so? When the bee leaves the cell, a cocoon remains, and

that is about all we _know_ about it.

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