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On Tuesday evening, to a large and interested audience, Dr. Irving gave his highly entertaining lecture on “Beekeeping,” in the Town Hall. It would be impossible to reproduce the doctor’s lecture in extcnso, seeing that his remarks

without the accompanying hives and other appliances he had with him in plenty on the stage would be useless, arid we content ourselves, therefore, with only a few notes. After dealing to some extent with the natural history of the bee, the docter said it was possible to make the bees build perfectly straight combs, that could be taken out of the hive, emptied of honey, and replaced. Tixis could be done by using the bar-framed hive, which ho then had with him On • the stage. This hive was perfectly suited to the habits of tbo bee, and did not interfere with their working operations or their breeding. It did away with the cruel method of spoliation adopted under the old system of hives and boxes—namely, killing the bees, which was just the same as killing the sheep for its fleece. To kill the bees was simply to rob one’s self of a prolific source of income, for the honey could he extracted from a bar-framed hive, and the combs replaced to be refilled with honey, which could be got at any moment. Beekeeping under this new method could be carried on by the most delicate lady—it was so simple ; and, being a pleasant amusement, it was a very profitable vocation. He knew a case in which a lady was able to buy a grand piano from the proceeds of her combs. The introduction of bees had had the effect of enabling colonists to produce white clover seed on their own land, the flowers having been fructified by the bees, but previously it was necessary to import the seed from England. The lecturer then referred to the superiority of the Ligurian bee, as it is found in Italy, over the same bee in America, and advocated the use of Italian Ligurian queens in preference to the American ones. The tongue of the Ligurian bee was far longer than that of the common black bee, enabling the former more easily to reach the bottom of different flowers, and it was advisable to cross swarms with Ligurian queens, and so lengthen the tongues of the working bees. After describing very minutely the working of bees in a hive—the generation in the cells of working bees, drones, and queens, the storing of honey,, the making of comb, the habits of the queen bee, and how she was attended and seen to by the others, even a detachment of bees told off to keep her cool by means of fanning when the temperature became too hot for her comfort, ho went on to explain which of the bees in the hive had stings and which had not. The drone was the only male person in the hive, and he had no sting. The queen was not stingless, but she never used her weapon till she mot a rival queen, and then the fight was terrible. In the course of the evening the lecturer circulated amongst the audience pieces of comb in various stages of perfection from the thin comb foundation to the complete ceils ready for the reception of honey and eggs, .and said that the introduction of the bar framed hive had laid open to tbo apiarian’s inspection every item worth knowing regarding bees. The bar-framed hives, of which there were two on the stage, admitted of a piece of comb foundation being fixed on one of the moveable frames, and on this the bees would build combs as straight and regular as a marble slab, that could be lifted out of the hive and replaced at will. These hives allowed of cutting out the queen cells if swarming were desired to be prevented, and of introducing a new queen if by chance a hive 'should become quoenless. They also, by the addition of an ingenious contrivance, which he exhibited, admitted of feeding the bee-, when their own honey had been abstracted. The mode of abstracting the honey from the comb by means of a “slinger” was described, and the comb was emptied without sustaining any injury. At the conclusion of the lecture, Dr. Irving showed by means of a scioptioon several interesting illustrations, such as the bees attendant on the queen, the cells of the drone, worker, and queen bee, and the anatomy of the bee itself. He also exhibited a useful suit of bee armor. The lecture was full of interesting information, more especially as regarded instructions for keejjing the new hives properly, and the rules he laid down are given below. Mr. Guinness, R.M., was chairman, and introduced the lecturer,

and at the close votes of thanks weie given to him and Dr. Irving. RULES FOR BEE-KRGPING. 1. That it should give the apiarian such perpect control of all the combs that they may be easily taken out without cutting anything or enraging the bees. 2. It should permit all necessary operations to be performed without hurting or killing a single bee. 3. It should afford suitable protection against extremes of heat and cold and sudden changes of temperature, and the injurious effects of dampness. 4. It should permit every desirable operation to be performed without exciting the anger of the bees. 5. Not one unnecessary motion should be required of a single bee ; that is, there should be the straightest possible road to every part of every comb. G. It should afford the greatest facilities for inspecting at all times the condition of the bees. 7. It should be capable of being readily adjusted to tho wants of either large or small colonies. 8. It should allow the conib to be removed without jarring the bees or the combs either. 9. It should allow every good piece of comb to be given back to the bees instead of melting it into wax. 10. It should offer every inducement to the bees to build regular combs. 11. It should be capable of being furnished with empty comb or comb foundation, so as to induce the bees to occupy the hive, or a super or extra hive so-called, or the outer combs more readily. 12. It should prevent the over-produc-tion of drones, by permitting the removal of drone comb from the hive, or its transposition to the outside range of combs. 13. It should enable the apiarian to trap and destroy the drones if he thinks desirable, before they consume the honey in the hive. 14. It should enable him to remove such combs as are too old to be used for breeding purposes.

15. It should afford all possible security against the wax or bee moth ; but should the eggs, when hatched into worms, get the upper hand, the combs being easily movable can be taken out and destroyed. 16. The greatest possible accuracy in fitting of all the parts of the hive, especially those exposed to the outer air, so that there be no crevices into which the wax moth can thrust her egg or earwig gain a shelter.

17. The bottom board shonld slant towards the entrance to facilitate the carrying out of dead bees and other useless substances. It also gives a slight advantage to the besieged in case they are attacked by robbers it carries off moisture towards the entrance, and prevents rain beating in. 18. The bottom board should admit of being easily cleared, in cold whether, when bees are apt to die in larger numbers, so as not to get mouldy in the hive, ■ • 19. Ho part of the interior of the hive should be below the level of the entrance, or place of exit. 20. It should afford facilities for feeding the bees whenever desired.

21. It should afford the easy hiving of a swarm, without injuring the bees or risking the destruction of the queen. .

22. It should permit the safe transportation of bees to any distance, but that would depend in part on the age of the combs.

23. It should afford ventilation and as abundant supply of air without any draft, when from robbing or other reason it is desirable to shut the entrance.

24. It should enable the entrance to bo enlarged or contracted, or closed when desired by the bee master, and when altered the bees should not have to search for it. 25. It should afford facilities for mitting a large supply not only of air buT* sunlight, so as to induce the bees to fly out to empty the lower bowel, thereby preventing dysentery and disease, and the ultimate loss of the colony. 26. It should enable the apiarian to remove any excess of bee-bread from old stocks. 27. It should afford Uie greatest facilities for the removal of all the contents of the hive to another hive.

28. It should permit the safe and easy dislodgement of the bees from the combs—an easy thing from straight combs. 29. It should afford easy access to a super or side box, if such are used. 30. It should permit the honey to be taken away in the most convenient and most saleable form, without risk of annoying the bees or being annoyed by them.

31. It should permit of the relative size of the body of the hive and the snper or supers being altered, according as increase of work or honey is desired.

32. It should be so constructed that the relative distance of the combs is always maintained, viz., 1A inches less l-32ud. 33. It should bo weather proof, but capable if admitting the sun in fine days in spring.

31. The interior should be constructed, if desirable, so as to prevent' the exit of the queen, and so should the passage, or pasaages to the super. 35 Swarming can be forced or prevented, either by dividing the hive, taking away the queen, or cutting out the queen’s cells. 36. It should enable the apiarian to multiply his colonies, with a certainty and rapidity, which are impossible if he depends on natural swarming. 37. It should enable the apiarian to supply destitute colonies with the means of obtaining a new queen as soon as possible, and so save ranch valuable time. 33. It should enable him to catch the queen, and replace her if required or desired.

39. It should be made of well seasoned wood, which when well painted will not shrink or swell, as I find to my cost most New Zealand wood does.

40. It should be complete in itself, not requiring sheds and other expensive and mistaken appliances.

51. It should not be liable to he blown down by winds. 42. The alighting board should- be so protected, that neither show nor rain can reach it, and it should be shaded from winds.

43. Of course it should 'be impossible for mice to enter.

44. The hive should be neat, cheap, simple, compact; no wasted space; capable of adornment, if desired,, but equally efficient, whether plain or ornamental; itshould be capable of being locked up. .

The interior should be left rough from the saw, as affording a better foothold for the bees.

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Bibliographic details

DR. IRVING'S LECTURE ON BEEKEEPING., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 87, 15 April 1880

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DR. IRVING'S LECTURE ON BEEKEEPING. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 87, 15 April 1880

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