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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
orms 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


I will give in this connection a description of an interesting


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


"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