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Artificial Rearing Of Queens




The distress of the bees when they lose their queen, has already been
described. If they have the means of supplying her loss, they soon calm
down, and commence forthwith, the necessary steps for rearing another.
The process of rearing queens artificially, to meet some special
emergency, is even more wonderful than the natural one, which has
already been described. Its success depends on the bees having
worker-eggs or worms not more than three days old; (if older, the larva
has been too far developed as a worker to admit of any change:) the bees
nibble away the partitions of two cells adjoining a third, so as to make
one large cell out of the three. They destroy the eggs or worms in two
of these cells, while they place before the occupant of the third, the
usual food of the young queens, and build out its cell, so as to give it
ample space for development. They do not confine themselves to the
attempt to rear a single queen, but to guard against failure, start a
considerable number, although the work on all except a few, is usually
soon discontinued.

In twelve or fourteen days, they are in possession of a new queen,
precisely similar to one reared in the natural way, while the eggs which
were laid at the same time in the adjoining cells, and which have been
developed in the usual way, are nearly a week longer in coming to
maturity.

I will give in this connection a description of an interesting
experiment:

A large hive which stood at a distance from any other colony, was
removed in the morning of a very pleasant day, to a new place, and
another hive containing only empty comb, was put upon its stand.
Thousands of workers which were out in the fields, or which left the old
hive after its removal, returned to the familiar spot. It was affecting
to witness their grief and despair: they flew in restless circles about
the place which once contained their happy home, entered and left the
new hive continually, expressing, in various ways, their lamentations
over their cruel bereavement. Towards evening, they ceased to take wing,
and roamed in restless platoons, in and out of the hive, and over its
surface, acting all the time, as though in search of some lost treasure.
I now gave them a piece of brood comb, containing worker eggs and worms,
taken from a second swarm which being just established with its young
queen, in a new hive, could have no intention of rearing young queens
that season; therefore, it cannot be contended that this piece of comb
contained what some are pleased to call "royal eggs." What followed the
introduction of this brood comb, took place much quicker than it can be
described. The bees which first touched it, raised a peculiar note, and
in a moment, the comb was covered with a dense mass; their restless
motions and mournful noises ceased, and a cheerful hum at once attested
their delight! Despair gave place to hope, as they recognized in this
small piece of comb, the means of deliverance. Suppose a large building
filled with thousands of persons, tearing their hair, beating their
breasts, and by piteous cries, as well as frantic gestures, giving vent
to their despair; if now some one should enter this house of mourning,
and by a single word, cause all these demonstrations of agony to give
place to smiles and congratulations, the change could not be more
wonderful and instantaneous, than that produced when the bees received
the brood comb!

The Orientals call the honey bee, Deburrah, "She that speaketh." Would
that this little insect might speak, and in words more eloquent than
those of man's device, to the multitudes who allow themselves to reject
the doctrines of revealed religion, because, as they assert, they are,
on their face so utterly improbable, that they labor under an _a priori_
objection strong enough to be fatal to their credibility. Do not nearly
all the steps in the development of a queen from a worker-egg, labor
under precisely the same objection? and have they not, for this very
reason, always been regarded by great numbers of bee keepers, as
unworthy of credence? If the favorite argument of infidels and errorists
will not stand the test when applied to the wonders of the bee-hive, can
it be regarded as entitled to any serious weight, when employed in
framing objections against religious truths, and arrogantly taking to
task the infinite Jehovah, for what He has been pleased to do or to
teach? Give me the same latitude claimed by such objectors, and I can
easily prove that a man is under no obligation to receive any of the
wonders in the economy of the bee-hive, although he is himself an
intelligent eye-witness that they are all substantial verities.

I shall quote, in this connection, from Huish, an English Apiarian of
whom I have already spoken, because his objections to the discoveries
of Huber, remind me so forcibly of both the spirit and principles of the
great majority of those who object to the doctrines of revealed
religion.

"If an individual, with the view of acquiring some knowledge of the
natural history of the bee, or of its management, consult the works of
Bagster, Bevan, or any of the periodicals which casually treat upon the
subject, will he not rise from the study of them with his mind
surcharged with falsities and mystification? Will he not discover
through the whole of them a servile acquiescence in the opinions and
discoveries of one man, however at variance they may be with truth or
probability; and if he enter upon the discussion with his mind free from
prejudice, will he not experience that an outrage has been committed
upon his reason, in calling upon him to give assent to positions and
principles which at best are merely assumed, but to which he is called
upon dogmatically to subscribe his acquiescence as the indubitable
results of experience, skill and ability? The editors of the works above
alluded to, should boldly and indignantly have declared, that from their
own experience in the natural economy of the insect, they were able to
pronounce the circumstances as related by Huber to be directly
_impossible_, and the whole of them based on fiction and imposition."

Let the reader change only a few words in this extract: for "the natural
history of the bee or its management," let him write, "the subject of
religion;" for, "the works of Bagster, Bevan," &c., let him put, "the
works of Moses, Paul," &c.; for, "their own experience in the natural
economy of the insect," let him substitute, "their own experience in the
nature of man;" and for, "circumstances as related by Huber," let him
insert, "as related by Luke or John," and it will sound almost precisely
like a passage from some infidel author.

I resume the quotation from Huish; "If we examine the account which
Huber gives of his invention (!) of the royal jelly, the existence and
efficacy of which are fully acquiesced in by the aforesaid editors, to
what other conclusions are we necessarily driven, than that they are the
dupes of a visionary enthusiast, whose greatest merit consists in his
inventive powers, no matter how destitute those powers may be of all
affinity with truth or probability? Before, however, these editors
bestowed their unqualified assent on the existence of this royal jelly,
did they stop to put to themselves the following questions? By what kind
of bee is it made?[9] Whence is it procured? Is it a natural or an
elaborated substance? If natural, from what source is it derived? If
elaborated, in what stomach of the bee is it to be found? How is it
administered? What are its constituent principles? Is its existence
optional or definite? Whence does it derive its miraculous power of
converting a common egg into a royal one? Will any of the aforesaid
editors publicly answer these questions? and ought they not to have been
able to answer them, before they so unequivocally expressed their belief
in its existence, its powers and administration?"

How puerile does all this sound to one who has _seen_ and _tasted_ the
royal jelly! And permit me to add, how equally unmeaning do the
objections of infidels seem, to those who have an experimental
acquaintance with the divine hopes and consolations of the Gospel of
Christ.





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