Spider Condemned

Spiders are a source of considerable annoyance to the apiarian, as well

as to the bees; not so much on account of the number of bees consumed,

as their habit of spinning a web about the hive, that will occasionally

take a moth, and will probably entangle fifty bees the whilst. They are

either in fear of the bees, or they are not relished as food;

particularly, as a bee caught in the morning is frequently untouched

during the day. This web is often exactly before the entrance,

entangling the bees as they go out and return; irritating and hindering

them considerably. They often escape after repeated struggles. I have

removed a web from the same place every morning, for a week, that was

renewed at night with astonishing perseverance! I can generally look

out his hiding-place, which is in some corner near by, and dispatch

him. His redeeming qualities are few, and are more than balanced by the

evil, as far as I have discovered. Their sagacity in some instances

will find a place of concealment not easily discovered. At the approach

of cold weather, the box or chamber of the hive being a little warmer

than other places, will attract a great many there to deposit their

eggs. Little piles of webbing or silk may be seen attached to the top

of the hive, or sides of boxes. These contain eggs for the next year's

brood. This is the time to destroy them and save trouble for the


If we combine into one phalanx all the depredators yet named, and

compare their ability for mischief with the wax moth, we shall find

their powers of destruction but a small item! Of the moth itself we

would have nothing to fear were it not for her progeny, that consist of

a hundred or a thousand vile worms, whose food is principally wax or


As the instinct of the flesh-fly directs her to a putrid carcass to

deposit her eggs, that her offspring may have their proper food, so the

moth seeks the hive containing combs, and where its natural food is at

hand to furnish a supply. During the day a rusty brown miller, with its

wings wrapped close around the body, may be often seen lying perfectly

motionless on the side of the hive on one corner, or the under edge of

the top, where it projects over--they are more frequent at the corners

than anywhere else, one-third of their length projecting beyond it;

appearing much like a sliver on the edge of a board that is somewhat

weather-beaten. Their color so closely resembles old wood, that I have

no doubt their enemies are often deceived, and let them escape with

their lives. As soon as daylight shuts out the view, and no danger of

their movements being discovered by their enemies, they throw off their

inactivity, and commence searching for a place to deposit their eggs,

and woe to the stock that has not bees sufficient to drive them from

the comb. Although their larvae has a skin that the bee cannot pierce

with its sting, in most cases, it is not so with the moth, and of this

fact they seem to be aware, for whenever a bee approaches they dart

away with speed ten times greater than that of any bee, disposed to

follow! They enter the hive and dodge out in a moment, having either

encountered a bee, or fear they may do so. Now it needs no argument to

prove that when all our stocks are well protected, that it must be a

poor chance to deposit eggs, on the combs of such hives, where their

instinct has taught them is the proper place. But they _must_ leave

them somewhere. When driven from all the combs within, the next best

place is the cracks and flaws about the hive, that are lined with

propolis; and the dust and chips that fall on the floor-board of a

young swarm not full will be used. This last material is mostly wax,

and answers very well instead of comb. The eggs will here hatch and the

worms sometimes ascend to the combs; hence the necessity of keeping the

bottom brushed off clean. It will prevent those that are on the bottom

from going up; also the bees from taking up any eggs, if this should

happen to be the method. I can conceive of no other way by which they

get among the combs of a populous stock; where they are often detected,

having been deposited by some means. A worm lodged in the comb, makes

his way to the centre, and then eats a passage as he proceeds, lining

it with a shroud of silk, gradually enlarging it, as he increases in

size. (When combs are filled with honey, they work on the surface,

eating only the sealing.) In very weak families this silken passageway

is left untouched,--but removed by all the stronger ones. I have found

it asserted that "the worms would be all immediately destroyed by the

bees, were it not for a kind of dread in touching them until compelled

to by necessity." As the facts which led to this conclusion are not

given, and I can find none confirming it, perhaps I shall be excused if

I have no faith. On the contrary, I find to all appearance an

instinctive antipathy to all such intruders, and are removed

immediately when possessing the power.

When a worm is in a comb filled with brood, its passage being in the

centre, it is not at first discovered. The bees, to get it out, must

bite away half the thickness, removing the brood in one or two rows of

cells, sometimes for several inches. This will account for so many

immature bees found on the bottom board at morning, in the spring; as

well as in stocks and swarms but partially protected after the swarming


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