How to Keep Bees

How to Keep Bees

A Handbook for the Use
of Beginners


Anna Botsford Comstock, B. S.

With Illustrations

Logo of Doubleday, Page & Co.jpg

Garden CityNew York


This book has been prepared especially to meet the needs of the beginner in bee-keeping. It is not intended to be a complete treatise for the professional apiarist, but rather a handbook for those who would keep bees for happiness and honey, and incidentally for money. It is hoped, too, that it will serve as an introduction to the more extended manuals already in the field.

When we began bee-keeping we found the wide range of information and varying methods given in the manuals confusing; but a little experience taught us that bee-keeping is a simple and delightful business which can be carried on in a modest way without a great amount of special training. After a beginning has been made, skill in managing the bees is gained naturally and inevitably, and interest is then stimulated by the wider outlook which bewilders the novice.

For the sake of simplicity this volume is restricted to knowledge gained in practical experience in a small apiary; and the writer has sought to exclude from it those discussions which, however enlightening to the experienced, are after all but devious digressions from the simple and straight path which the feet of the inexperienced must tread to success in the apiary.

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Photograph by Ralph W. Curtis



Plate I.—Basswood blossom Frontispiece
Observation hives Page 2
Plate II.—(a) Two flat section boxes. (b) Corneil smoker 14
Plate III.—(a) Dixie bee-brush, spur wire-embedder and Van Deusen wax-tube fastener. (b) A super with fences. (c) The Porter bee-escape in a honey-board 15
Plate IV. Hives well shaded by a tree 26
Plate V. (a) Queen; drone; worker. (b) Queen cell, (c) Miller's queen introducing cage 27
Plate VI. Head of drone; head of queen; head of worker; ventral surface of worker showing plates of wax 30
Plate VII. Legs and antennæ of the honey-bee 31
Plate VIII. Drone cells in a comb of honey 50
Plate IX. Side of hive removed showing the bees at work 51
Plate X. Bees hanging in a curtain secreting wax 62
Plate XI. Hiving bees; cutting down a swarm 63
Plate XII. (a) Two self-spacing frames. (b) An empty super. (c) The Doolittle division-board feeder 90
Plate XIII. Examining the brood-frames 91
Plate XIV. (a) Alley's queen and drone trap. (b) A well-filled section. (c) One empty section holder, and one filled with section boxes 106
Plate XV. One and a half story hive for comb honey 107
Plate XVI. Drone and Queen trap; queen maihng and introducing cage; queen-protector and queen-cage used in queen-rearing, and bee-escape 110
Plate XVII. "In apple-blossom time" 111
Plate XVIII. (a) Taking off upper story of hive containing combs for extracting. (b) Extracting-room showing apparatus for extracting honey 122
Plate XIX. (a) Uncapping comb before extracting the honey. (b) Placing uncapped comb in one of the pockets of the extractor 123
Plate XX. (a) Drawing honey from extractor. (b) Pouring extracted honey into keg for shipping in bulk 126
Plate XXI. (a) Extracted honey in pails, candied. (b) Extracted honey in glass jars ready for market 127
Plate XXII. Winter quarters in chaff-hives 154
Plate XXIII. Plum blossoms 155
Plate XXIV. Sumac in blossom. Blossom of mountain maple 184
Plate XXV. Fig. 1. Vertical longitudinal section of the body of a larva of an insect. Fig. 2. Section of the body-wall of insect. Fig. 3. Head of a bee and its appendages. Fig. 4. Glands of a honey-bee. Fig. 5. The wax plates 185
Plate XXVI (a) The reproductive organs of the honey-bee. (b) Fig. 1. The internal anatomy of the honey-bee. Fig. 2. The respiratory system of the honey-bee 192
Plate XXVII. An old-fashioned apiary 193
Plate XXVIII. (a) Thorn-apple blossoms. (b) Wild crab-apple blossoms 198
Plate XXIX. Buckwheat in blossom 199
Plate XXX. Box-elder, staminate and pistillate flowers 210
Plate XXXI. Blossoms of black locust 211

Copyright, 1905, by
Doubleday, Page & Company
Published April, 1905

All rights reserved including that of translation—also right of translation into the Scandinavian languages

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1926.

The author died in 1930, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.