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The Latest Improved Method Of Burning

We now come to the time of the year when all flowers, by the laws

of nature, cease to bloom. Indian summer is here with its nice

balmy days. Just right--not too warm not yet too cool. The very

time when even those of us who are getting up in years begin to

feel young again. How sad it would be to the one who loves nature

and her ways to be obliged to lay aside all thought of sport until

nature unfurled her robes again!
Some of the happiest moments of my

life have come during this part of the year, and I hope to be able

to convince my readers that we should always say "welcome" to the

aged year. Well do I remember when I used to go along with the old

hunter in search of the bee. A fire would be made, some large fiat

stones heated and carried to a convenient place, then bee comb

moistened with water, placed on them and soon bees would be seen

darting through the air. Some might settle on the bait, but if not

enough to satisfy the hunter, another hot stone was brought, and

the process repeated until there were enough bees working on the

bait to give a strong course. Then taking another hot stone and

going a long ways on the course we would proceed to burn again.

Perhaps the stone had cooled off by this time and the bee failed to

come quickly or in sufficient numbers. Then we had to either go

back, replenish the fire, heat more stones, or build another fire

at the new location. Carrying the hot stones from place to place

was the work generally assigned to me. Sometimes stones of a slaty

nature would be heated and when becoming quite hot would burst with

a loud report and fly in all directions. At that time I would just

about as soon approach a loaded cannon. After twisting a stick

around the stone it was carried at arm's length to the new location

and with sweat streaming down my face I was glad when the time came

to lay it down. This was undoubtedly laborious, but the excitement

connected with the sport was at such a pitch that the thought of

labor being in any way connected with bee hunting never entered my


But as time wore on I got to thinking that there might be other

plans much easier and quicker than the one described, and I feel

sure that those who love the sport will agree that the plan laid

before the readers is in every way superior to the old method.

First get a small tin pail, holding about a half gallon. Cut out,

from the bottom upwards, a hole four or five inches up and down and

two inches wide. Have a pan made so that it will fit down inside

the pail just deep enough to come down to upper edge of the hole

cut out of pail. There should be a rim on top part of the pan to

prevent it working lower down than the hole in the pail. Now get a

miner's lamp, which will not cost more than from fifteen to

twenty-five cents. Coal oil can be used but lard oil is much

better, and better than either of these is alcohol. A small lamp

suitable for burning this can be purchased at a small cost.

Now you are ready to start out. Take some refuse honey and your

bottle of bait, get far out on the mountains, so there will be

little danger of drawing bees from apiaries that may be situated in

the valleys. When a suitable place is found, clear of underbrush

and no large trees to bother the bees when starting for home, set

pail down, put some of the honey in the upper part of the pail (or

pan), strike a match, touch it to the wick of the lamp. The spout

of the lamp should come within about two inches of the bottom of

the pan. The honey begins to boil immediately and sends its scent

out over the mountains. A few drops of the oil of anise and

bergamont mixed can be dropped into the pan, and a bunch of bushes

held over the fumes until it is scented. This is then laid on the

top of a bush or stump close by and sprinkled with bait. By this

time bees may be heard darting through the air or seen hunting

slowly through the bushes in search of something to eat. It is a

very good plan to blow the lamp out when the first bees are flying

around. The scent is strong all around and when the lamp is blown

out the scent soon dies out except near the bait and the bees find

the bait much sooner than if the lamp was kept burning. There may

be plenty of bees to start with from the first burning and if not,

all we have to do is to light the lamp again.

If you have your course and are about to start, it only requires a

second of time to pick up the burning apparatus and the bunch of

bushes and start on the course. But for fear you may be only a

beginner and make a mistake which might discourage you, I want to

have a little talk with you before starting from the first


In reading articles relating to bee hunting, some of the writers

tell how, after loading up, the bees would circle round and round

before starting on the homeward journey. I believe I have seen a

few bees make a complete circle. I have seen hundreds of thousands

that did not. As a rule when a bee raises from the bait it will act

as though it intends to circle, but watch closely and you find

before coming around to the place of starting it will quickly turn

in the opposite direction, repeating this several times--always

widening out. It will seem to fall far back with a downward motion,

then gather up and come slowly back, often passing to the opposite

side of the bait and making a sudden motion, is lost to sight. This

fact might make you think the bee really went in this direction. I

want to stake my reputation as a bee hunter of years of experience,

that when a bee is seen to make these half circles on one side of

the bait and seem to fall off in any direction, bearing down toward

the earth, that this is the general direction in which the tree

stands, and if I can see a bee make a few of these half circles

(though it may be the first one on the bait), it settles the matter

in my mind as to the general direction of the tree. But even if our

minds are made up in regard to this line of flight, it is wise to

take more time and watch closely, for there is no good reason why

we should not get two or possibly more courses from this first

location. Then go on the strongest course until we find the tree

and then come back and start on the others.

In going on the course don't fail to look well at every tree, for

sometimes they are found in very small trees when there are lots of

large ones standing all around.

I will give my experience in finding a bee that has taught me to

look at every thing on the course, not even discarded stumps, logs

and bushes, for I have found bees in the two former and hanging on

the latter. In early November I had a strong course from bait. They

flew directly up on the side of the mountain. The course flew over

a large barren thicket and after looking at the timber on the lower

edge of the barrens, the bait was moved across the thicket. There

were a few chestnut trees standing between the upper edge and the

place I selected to bait them again. Soon they came and flew back

down. I was sure they must be in one of the trees mentioned, for

there was nothing growing in the thicket large enough for a bee to

go in. After looking at the few trees spoken of and not finding

them, I went back down to the lower edge and could see them fly

nearly half way across the thicket. I was puzzled, and proceeded to

look at the few logs that were laying down and still failed to

locate them. My next move was to hang my burning bucket on a limb

and burn. In no time there were bees by the quart on the bait,

flying in all directions. Singling out some of the steady flying

ones, they seemed to fly a short distance, and drop into the brush.

On investigating, I found them hanging on a little bush, working

away as though they had the best place in the world to store their

honey. They had evidently been there for a long time as they had

several good sized combs fastened to the bush. I knew they were

bound to perish, for cold weather was coming on, so I told a friend

where to find it, and gave it to him with the understanding that he

was to hive it, putting the combs and brood in the hive.

The above is mentioned to prove that bees are sometimes found in

places out of the ordinary, and in closing this part of my work I

want to impress you with the fact that it always pays to go slow

and look well while on the course.

* * *

NOTE--If not convenient and a vessel of the kind described (for

burning) cannot be had, any small tin pail will do without cutting

out the hole for lamp. A couple of stones laid on the ground a few

inches apart will make a place for the lamp and the bucket placed

over it on the stones, although the first mentioned will be found

more convenient.