THIS book will be invaluable to the beginner in beekeeping, and will probably contain many useful hints to the more experienced. The author is one of a family of beekeepers, who have always made a large profit from their bees. He is eminently practical, and the greater part of the work consists of careful notes on the various details of successful bee management. In the descriptive parts he is also very good, but is not quite so successful when he comes to treat of some disputed points in the economy of bees. For example, he maintains the theory that the eggs of bees are of no sex, and can be made into queens, workers, or drones, as the wants of the community render necessary. In this he is opposed to all the great authorities who have studied bees; and he even gives a series of letters from Mr. Woodbury, of Exeter, on the question, which are almost conclusive as to eggs being of two sorts when laid, one producing drones only, and not capable by any subsequent treatment of producing anything else; the other capable of producing workers or queens, according to the treatment they receive. His arguments against this view are of the weakest, and he suggests an experiment, which, he says, “is within the reach of very inexperienced persons,” and which would completely settle the question; and yet he writes a book in which he brings up the subject, and opposes the best authorities, without having first taken the trouble to make the experiment himself! Again, he states positively that worker-bees live nine months only—never more; yet he gives no account of how this can be ascertained, or refers to the variety of opinion that exists as to their longevity.
The Handy Book of Bees, being a Practical Treatise on their Profitable Management.
By A. Pettigrew. (William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh and London.)
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WALLACE, A. The Handy Book of Bees, being a Practical Treatise on their Profitable Management. Nature 2, 82–83 (1870). https://doi.org/10.1038/002082a0