Bees for Pleasure and Profit

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“HOW doth the little busy bee, &c.?” asked Dr. Watts a hundred and fifty years ago. So long as straw skeps predominated, the problem was insoluble. The bees improved each shining hour in perfunctory fashion, building crooked combs, confusing brood with honey, exhausting their republic with superfluous swarms, dying finally in the smoke-reek of an old pair of corduroys, enriched for malarious exhalation by more than one generation of bucolic wearers. With frame hives came an Earthly Providence to answer the pious query; to control the economy of the hive, to prescribe the number of drones, multiply or restrict the queens, straighten out the combs, combine defective stocks into a single opulent society, disintegrate an overgrown community into new and independent nuclei, supplement the tardy growth of brood or honey, increase fourfold the productiveness of everyhive. It is as an adept in Providential operations that Mr. Samson writes. He renounces scientific erudition; and his allusion to 'powerful microscopes,” his reliance on “wonderful provisions of Nature,” his belief that by confining their visits to one kind of flower in a single journey the bees prevent the hybridization of species, show his disclaimer to be correct; but apiarian science was brought up to date last year in Mr. Cowan's admirable book (NATURE, vol. 43, p. 578), leaving room for just such a practical treatise on manipulation and management as Mr. Samson is competent to give.

Bees for Pleasure and Profit.

By G. Gordon Samson. (London: Crosby Lockwood and Son, 1892.)

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TUCKWELL, W. Bees for Pleasure and Profit. Nature 46, 510–511 (1892) doi:10.1038/046510a0

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