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Protector




I attach very great importance to the way in which I give the bees
effectual protection against extremes of heat and cold, and sudden
changes of temperature, without removing them from their stands, or
incurring the expense and disadvantages of a covered Bee-House. This I
accomplish by means of what I shall call a _Protector_ which is
constructed substantially as follows.

Select a dry and suitable location for the bees, where they will not be
disturbed, or prove an annoyance to others. If possible, let it be in
full sight of the sitting room, so that they may be seen in case of
swarming; and let it face the South-East, and be well protected from the
force of strong winds. Dig a trench, about two feet deep; its length
should depend upon the number of hives to be accommodated; and its
breadth should be such that when it is properly walled up, it should
measure from the outside top of one wall to another, just sufficient to
receive the bottom of the hive. The walls, may be built of refuse brick
or stones, and should be about four feet high from the foundation; the
upper six inches being built of good brick, and the back wall about two
inches higher than the front one, so as to give the bottom-board of the
hives, the proper slant towards the entrance. At one end of this
Protector, a wooden chimney should be built, and if the number of hives
is great, there should be one at each end, admitting air in Winter, and
yet excluding rain and snow. The earth which is thrown out in digging,
should be banked up against the walls as high as the good brick, and in
a slope which, when grassed over, may be easily mowed with a common
scythe. The slope on the back should be more perpendicular than in front
so as not to be in the way when operating upon the hives.

The bottom may be covered with an inch or two of clean sand and in
winter with straw. In Summer, the ends are left open, so that a free
current of air may pass through, while in Winter, they are properly
banked up; and straw, evergreen boughs, or any other material, suitable
for excluding frost, may if necessary, be placed all around the outside
of the Protector. Such an arrangement will be found very cheap, when
compared with a Bee-House or covered Apiary, and may be made both neat
and highly ornamental. It may be constructed of wood by those who desire
something still cheaper, and any one who can handle a spade, hammer,
plane and saw, can make for himself a structure on which a hundred hives
may stand, at less expense than would be necessary to build a covered
Apiary for ten. As the ventilators of the hive open into this Protector,
the bees are, in Summer, supplied with a cool and refreshing atmosphere,
as closely as possible resembling that which they find in a forest home;
while in Winter, the external entrances of the hives may be safely
closed, and they will receive a supply of air remarkably uniform and
never much below the freezing point. As the hives themselves are double,
no frost can penetrate through them, and thus their interior will almost
always be perfectly dry. When the weather suddenly moderates, and bees
in the common hives fly out, and are lost on the snow, those arranged in
the manner described, will not know that any change has taken place,
but will remain quiet in their winter quarters, unless the weather is so
warm that their owner judges it safe to open the entrances, so that the
warmth may penetrate their hives, and tempt them to fly, and discharge
their faeces. Let it be remembered that the object of this arrangement is
not to _warm up_ the hives by _artificial heat_; but merely to enable
the bees to retain to the utmost their own animal heat, to secure the
advantages set forth in this Chapter on Protection. Once or twice during
the Winter, the blocks which regulate the entrances to my hives should
be removed, and as the frames are kept about half an inch from the
bottom-board, by means of a stick or wire, all the dead bees and filth
may, in a few moments, be removed: or as the entrance of the hives by
removing the blocks, may be so enlarged as to offer no obstruction to
its introduction or removal, an old newspaper can be kept on the
bottom-board, and drawn out from time to time, with all its contents.

A movable board of the same thickness and length with the bottom-boards
of the hive and about six inches wide, separates the hives from each
other, as they stand upon the Protector.

I have made numerous observations upon the temperature of a Protector
made substantially on the plan described, and find that it is
wonderfully uniform. The lowest range of the thermometer during the
months of January and February, 1853, in the Protector, was 28 deg.; in the
open air, 14 deg. below zero; the highest in the Protector 32 deg.; in the open
air 56 deg.. It will thus be seen that while the thermometer out of doors
had a range of 70 deg., in the Protector it had a range of only 4 deg.. While
bees in common hives during some warm days flew out and perished in
large numbers on the snow; the bees over the Protector were perfectly
quiet. To this arrangement I attach an importance second only to my
movable frames, and believe that combined with doubled hives, it removes
the chief obstacle to the successful cultivation of bees in cold
latitudes.[14] In the coldest regions where bees can find supplies in
Summer, they may during a Winter that lasts from November to May, and
during which the mercury congeals, be kept as comfortable as in climates
which seem much more propitious for their cultivation. The more snow the
better, as it serves more the effectually to exclude the cold from the
Protector. However long and dreary the Winter, the bees in their
comfortable quarters feel none of its injurious influences; and actually
consume less, than those which are kept where the winters are short, and
so mild that the bees are often tempted to fly, and are in a state of
almost continual excitement. It is in precisely such latitudes, in
Poland and Russia, that bees are kept in the largest numbers, and with
the most extraordinary success. In the chapter on Pasturage, I shall
show that some of the coldest places in New England, and the Middle
States, are among the most favored spots for obtaining the largest
supplies of the very purest honey.

Having thoroughly tested the practicability of affording the bees by my
Protector, complete protection against heat and cold, at a very small
expense, and in a way which may be made highly ornamental, the proper
steps will be taken to secure a patent right for the same; although no
extra charge will be made for this, or for any other subsequent
improvement, to those who purchase the right to use my hive.





Next: Ventilation Of The Hive

Previous: Protection Against Extremes Of Heat And Cold Sudden And Severe Changes Of Temperature And Dampness In The Hives



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