A Honey Bee Never Volunteers An Attack Or Acts On The Offensive When It Is Gorged Or Filled With Honey
The man who first attempted to lodge a swarm of bees in an artificial
hive, was doubtless agreeably surprised at the ease with which he was
able to accomplish it. For when the bees are intending to swarm, they
fill their honey-bags to their utmost capacity. This is wisely ordered,
that they may have materials for commencing operations immediately in
their new habitation; that they may not starve if several stormy days
hould follow their emigration; and that when they leave their hives,
they may be in a suitable condition to be secured by man.
They issue from their hives in the most peaceable mood that can well be
imagined; and unless they are abused, allow themselves to be treated
with great familiarity. The hiving of bees by those who understand their
nature, could almost always be conducted without the risk of any
annoyance, if it were not the case that some improvident or unfortunate
ones occasionally come forth without the soothing supply; and not being
stored with honey, are filled with the gall of the bitterest hate
against all mankind and animal kind in general, and any one who dares to
meddle with them in particular. Such radicals are always to be dreaded,
for they must vent their spleen on something, even though they lose
their life in the act.
Suppose the whole colony, on sallying forth, to possess such a ferocious
spirit; no one would ever dare to hive them, unless clad in a coat of
mail, at least bee-proof, and not even then, until all the windows of
his house were closed, his domestic animals bestowed in some safe place,
and sentinels posted at suitable stations, to warn all comers to look
out for something almost as much to be dreaded, as a fiery locomotive
in full speed. In short, if the propensity to be exceedingly
good-natured after a hearty meal, had not been given to the bee, it
could never have been domesticated, and our honey would still be
procured from the clefts of rocks, or the hollows of trees.
A second peculiarity in the nature of the bee, and one of which I
continually avail myself with the greatest success, may be thus stated.