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.

Protection Against Extremes Of Heat And Cold Sudden And Severe Changes Of Temperature And Dampness In The Hives RATIONING ACCORDING TO SEX facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail