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A Case In Point

Categories: ROBBERIES.
Bee Keeping: Mysteries Of Bee-keeping Explained

I have a case in point. Having been from home a couple of days, I

found, on my return, a swarm of medium strength, that had been

carelessly exposed, had been plundered of about fifteen pounds of

honey, every particle they had.[13] About the usual number of bees were

among the combs, to all appearance, very disconsolate. I at once

removed them to the cellar, and fed them for a few days. The other bees

gave over looking
or more plunder, in the meantime. It was then

returned to the stand, entrance nearly closed, as directed, &c. In a

short time it made a valuable stock; but had I left it twenty-four

hours longer, it probably would not have been worth a straw.

[13] It occurred the last of July.


When a stock has been removed, if the next stand contains a weak,

instead of a strong one, it is best to take that in also; to be

returned to the stand as soon as the robbers will allow it. If a second

attack is made, put them in again, or if practicable, remove them a

mile or two out of their knowledge of country; they would then lose no

time from labor. Where but few stocks are kept, and not more than one

or two stocks are engaged, sprinkle a little flour on them as they

leave, to ascertain which the robbers are; then reverse the hives,

putting the weak one in the place of the strong, and the strong one in

the place of the weak one. The weak stock will generally become the

strongest, and put a stop to their operations; but this method is often

impracticable in a large apiary; because several stocks are usually

engaged, very soon after one commences, and a dozen may be robbing one.

Another method is, when you are _sure_ a stock is being robbed, take a

time when there are as many plunderers inside as you can get, and close

the hive at once, (wire-cloth, or something to admit air, and at the

same time confine the bees, is necessary;) carry in, as before

directed, for two or three days, when they may be set out. The strange

bees thus enclosed will join the weak family, and will be as eager to

defend what is now _their_ treasure, as they were before to carry it

off. This principle of forgetting home and uniting with others, after a

lapse of a few days, (writers say, twenty-four hours is sufficient for

them to forget home) can be recommended in this case. It succeeds about

four times in five, when a proper number is enclosed. Weak stocks are

strengthened in this way very easily; and the bees being taken from a

number of hives, are hardly missed. The difficulty is, to know when

there are enough to be about equal, to what belongs to the weak stock;

if too few are enclosed, they are surely destroyed.