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History Of American Beekeeping | by Frank Chapman Pellett



This history is designed to cover American beekeeping down to the time of the World War. In some cases it has been necessary to cover events since that date in order to complete the story of subjects initiated prior to that time.

TitleHistory Of American Beekeeping
AuthorFrank Chapman Pellett
PublisherCollegiate Press, Inc.
Year1938
Copyright1938, Collegiate Press, Inc.
AmazonHistory Of American Beekeeping

By Frank Chapman Pellett - Field Editor The American Bee Journal Former State Apiarist of Iowa author of American Honey Plants Productive Beekeeping Practical Queen Rearing Romance of the Hive

To The Dadant Family, Who for four generations have devoted continuous attention to the interests of beekeeping and who have made a large contribution to the advancement of the industry.

-Foreword
This history is designed to cover American beekeeping down to the time of the World War. In some cases it has been necessary to cover events since that date in order to complete the story of subjects ...
-Chapter I. Beginning Of American Beekeeping
There has been endless speculation concerning the introduction of the honeybee to America. It is probable that it was brought by some of the early colonists and, finding the environment favorable, soo...
-Beginning Of American Beekeeping. Continued
At that time the word hive had not yet come into common American use. The words stand, stok, stake, stall, or skep were used to indicate a colony of bees. It is fortunate for the historian that a ma...
-Chapter II. Langstroth's Invention Of The Bee Space
In the light of present day knowledge it is difficult to understand why, in all the centuries that men kept bees, no one had recognized the value of a bee space surrounding the frame in which each com...
-Langstroth's Invention Of The Bee Space. Part 2
Thus was born the idea for the modern beehive, and on the 6th of January, 1852, application was filed at Washington for a patent. The patent was issued on the fifth of the following October. While the...
-Langstroth's Invention Of The Bee Space. Part 3
R. C. Otis, of Kenosha, Wisconsin, who was interested with Langstroth in the patent, resented King's action and stated that King advertised the inventor as an object of charity and that he would give ...
-Chapter III. The Comb Honey Era
The year 1851, when Langstroth made his fundamental discovery of the bee space, marked a very definite turning point in the history of beekeeping. Improvements followed each other in rapid succession,...
-Swarm Control
With the general adoption of comb honey in sections, the tendency was more and more toward small hives in order to force the bees to work in the small spaces furnished by the sections. This very natur...
-Chapter IV. The Hive Controversy
The controversy over the size and shape of bee hives began very soon after Langstroth's invention was offered to the public and lasted for more than half a century. At its height most of the leaders o...
-The Contraction System
In 1885, James Heddon, of Michigan, announced his contraction method. He hived all swarms in eight-frame Langstroth hives in which were placed two contractors, or dummies, to occupy the space of three...
-The Contraction System. Continued
Likewise, the region in which the Heddon hives had come into general use experienced a series of surprisingly poor seasons. Michigan, where these hives had been most widely sold, reported near failure...
-Introduction Of The Waxmoth
The waxmoth has been known to the beemen of the old world since a very early time. Since Aristotle wrote concerning it more than 300 years before the time of Christ, it is probable that it has been tr...
-Smokers, Excluders, Etc
The beekeeper with the advantage of present day implements can scarcely realize the difficulty of controlling the bees in the days before such equipment was available. Probably, as soon as man learned...
-Smokers, Excluders, Etc. Continued
No longer was it necessary to use the handle of the sauce pan to blow smoke through, as A. I. Root had done. No longer was there danger of burning a hive of Italian bees, as Root had done as he went a...
-Queen And Drone Excluders
The origin of the queen excluder is somewhat obscure. It seems to have been a gradual development and not an invention which can be credited principally to one individual. Apparently, it came to Ameri...
-The Bee Escape
Necessity is said to be the mother of invention, and we need not look far to find proof of the assertion. No sooner did the beekeeper learn to provide the bees with a separate compartment for storing ...
-Chapter VII. Wax Foundation And Reinforced Combs
When Langstroth invented the loose-hanging frame and the top-opening hive, he paved the way for a substantial industry in the production of honey, but two other important inventions were necessary bef...
-Wax Foundation And Reinforced Combs. Part 2
It is interesting to note that at the same time Root was developing his metal rollers he apparently had some doubt as to whether he might be in danger of infringing Wagner's patent. In June, 1876, he ...
-Wax Foundation And Reinforced Combs. Part 3
In the meantime, others were giving attention to the improvement of the rolls. Mrs. F. Dunham is credited with having improved the machine so that the foundation would have a thin base and high, thic...
-Reinforced Combs
During the time that all this development was taking place, numerous attempts were made to find some artificial comb which would replace the natural article. Although these attempts have never resulte...
-Mixed Waxes
No sooner did foundation come into use than an effort was made to cheapen it by the use of substitute waxes. Charles Dadant records that the first foundation which he bought came from New York and as...
-Chapter VIII. Importation Of New Races Of Bees
All trace of the introduction of honeybees to this country by the early settlers has been lost, but the bees were early established and, finding the environment favorable, gradually spread by natural ...
-Importation Of New Races Of Bees. Part 2
In 1867 Adam Grimm went to Italy for the purpose of importing queens. One hundred queens which he brought back all died on the way and the attempt ended in disappointment. Three years later he made an...
-Importation Of New Races Of Bees. Part 3
In August, 1877, Hardin Haynes, of Illinois, wrote a letter to the American Bee Journal telling of his Cyprian bees which were greatly admired by all his visitors, but the source was not mentioned. It...
-Chapter IX. Invention Of The Honey Extractor
The invention of the honey extractor was an event of major importance in the development of the beekeeping industry. As is so often the case, it was the result of an accidental observation. It was in ...
-Invention Of The Honey Extractor. Continued
The machine consists of a tin case, in shape somewhat resembling a common wash boiler, adapted to receive frames of any size, across either end, and is made to revolve upon a central stationary spindl...
-The New Industry
Although the change was slow in coming, the invention of the extractor brought a revolution in the beekeeping industry. To extract the honey from the combs and return them to the bees to be filled aga...
-Chapter X. Bees In California
There are numerous statements as to the first shipment of bees to California but, at this date, it appears to be impossible to determine positively when and by whom they were introduced. The Rural Pre...
-Bees In California. Continued
In 1876, he shipped a trainload of ten cars of honey, a total of 200,000 pounds, from his apiaries in San Diego County, direct to New York City. His first shipment was a full carload of section honey,...
-Chapter XI. Rise Of Commercial Queen Raising
Queen rearing, like most operations common to present day bee culture, is of comparatively recent development. In the first edition of Langstroth's book he discussed at length the methods of increase ...
-Rise Of Commercial Queen Raising. Part 2
The object, he stated, was to secure good queens which could be sold at a dollar each. To those who would offer such queens at this price, he offered to insert a card in Gleanings free. He also descri...
-Rise Of Commercial Queen Raising. Part 3
Alley came forward with some really new methods, although he made use of the strips of foundation cut down after the plan of Brooks. He offered the swarm box with top and bottom of wire cloth, in whic...
-Shipment Of Queens
No sooner did beekeepers begin rearing queens than they began looking for some cheap and safe way of transporting them to their customers. The first queens to be sent by mail probably were sent in 186...
-Shipment Of Queens. Continued
In 1877, Charles Dadant wrote: During ten years of business in selling queens and bees we have received many praises, but we have also been greeted with accusations enough to make the business very i...
-Chapter XII. Search For Controlled Mating
Although men have kept bees for at least three thousand years, understanding of the mating habits is of comparatively recent discovery. The blind naturalist, Francis Huber, who made so many discoverie...
-Search For Controlled Mating. Part 2
Take wire cloth woven about eight meshes to the inch, and construct a cage a foot in diameter, and oval in shape. Five days after the queen has hatched from the cell, put her with three choice drones ...
-Search For Controlled Mating. Part 3
In 1886 Nelson W. McLain, apicultural agent of the United States Department of Agriculture, published a report in which he gave the results of his own numerous experiments. He seems to have given atte...
-Search For Controlled Mating. Part 4
In 1901, in his report of Ontario Agricultural College, Mr. Rowsome, who was a lecturer on beekeeping, reported that he had turned a big glass carboy upside down and released two virgin queens in it. ...
-Chapter XIII. Migratory Beekeeping
In 1878, C. O. Perrine, of Chicago, a dealer in honey, conceived the idea of a floating apiary on the Mississippi River. He thought that by moving the bees north as spring advanced it would be possibl...
-Migratory Beekeeping. Continued
Poppleton argued that such a hive was never top-heavy and could not be blown over by heavy wind, and that there were no heavy filled supers to be lifted. Migratory Graham of California at one time ...
-Chapter XIV. Beekeepers' Societies And The Convention Period
To tell in detail the history of the National Organization of American Beekeepers since its beginning would require a good-sized volume. The details of many of the early conventions are recorded in th...
-Beekeepers' Societies And The Convention Period. Part 2
At the convention in 1905 the report of the general manager listed forty-one difficulties from eighteen states which had received attention during the past year. Several of these had to do with arrest...
-Beekeepers' Societies And The Convention Period. Part 3
The National now entered upon a time of great tribulation. The conventions were devoted to bitter arguments over policy, and but little time remained for papers of the former educational order. On mor...
-Convention Period
In the nineties and early nineteen hundreds, there was a time when beekeepers' conventions assumed something of the camp meeting aspect. The meetings were jolly occasions, in which good fellowship rat...
-Chapter XV. The American Bee Journal
On January 1, 1861, appeared the first copy of a bee magazine in the English language. Its editor was Samuel Wagner, cashier of a bank, a man who was destined to wield a profound influence on the new ...
-Chapter XVI. Gleanings In Bee Culture
Gleanings is unique in that throughout all the long years of its publication, it has remained in the hands of its founders. The prestige of the magazine was built around the personality of its founder...
-Gleanings In Bee Culture. Continued
A house apiary was another of the early enterprises. Photographs were taken and widely distributed among the subscribers. During those years the magazine served as a means of general correspondence wi...
-Chapter XVII. Other American Bee Periodicals
A list of beekeeping publications in the Miller Memorial Library by Dr. H. F. Wilson, custodian, published in the report of the State Apiarist of Iowa for 1930, mentions 101 periodicals relating to be...
-Other American Bee Periodicals. Part 2
Beekeeper's Review The Beekeepers Review, founded by W. Z. Hutchinson, of Flint, Michigan, in 1888, attracted attention from the first number, and so much of the editor's personality was impressed up...
-Other American Bee Periodicals. Part 3
Bees And Honey Bees and Honey has been distinctly a western publication, although it has attracted considerable circulation in the eastern states. It started as a local organ for the Alameda Californ...
-Chapter XVIII. American Books On Bees
Of all the vast literature relating to bee culture, four American books have made lasting contribution to the subject. Some others have had wide sale and attained to considerable usefulness, but they ...
-American Books On Bees. Part 2
Noting the competition of other bee books which were appearing, he was anxious to secure the assistance of some competent person in the revision. He was attracted to Charles Dadant, who was a frequent...
-American Books On Bees. Part 3
At the conclusion of the volume he suggested an estimate of the honey resources of the nation, on a basis of one pound of honey per acre. New York, alone, would produce something more than thirty mill...
-American Books On Bees. Part 4
By this time the author was enjoying the fruits of his labor in the form of a greatly increased business, a large bee supply factory, an extensive circulation for his magazine, and increased demand fo...
-American Books On Bees. Part 5
A. J. Cook And His Manual After the founding of the American Bee Journal, interest in bees developed very rapidly. Given a means of communication, the numbers grew and there was great demand for hive...
-American Books On Bees. Part 6
Edward Kretchmer, a bee supply manufacturer living in Iowa, wrote the American Beekeepers' Guide, published in 1872. It had a large sale for a time, but since it was aimed to promote sales of supplies...
-Chapter XIX. Pioneer Commercial Honey Producers
Moses Quinby perhaps is entitled to recognition as the first commercial honey producer of distinction. He began beekeeping in 1828, when the bees were hived in a box or hollow log and smothered for th...
-Pioneer Commercial Honey Producers. Continued
Shipping twenty-three carloads of honey of his own production in one year would be something of an achievement even today, but in that early time it was sensational. He became the recognized leader am...
-Chapter XX. The Trade In Live Bees
In the May, 1879, issue of Gleanings in Bee Culture, A. I. Root proposed a revolutionary idea-the sale of live bees by the pound. He had lost many of his bees, and had nearly a ton of honey in sealed ...
-The Trade In Live Bees. Continued
Revival of interest came with the spread of sweet clover into the farming regions of the West. With expansion of the bee pasture came a new and imperative demand for bees, and this was all that was ne...
-Chapter XXI. Improving Bee Pasture
From the first volume of the first bee magazine until the present time, beekeepers have devoted much attention to the search of better bee plants. Since the pasture from which the honey is gathered is...
-Improving Bee Pasture. Continued
The growing of trees for bee pasture is too slow to arouse much enthusiasm. Although, from time to time, various persons proposed the planting of trees for this purpose, A. I. Root is about the only o...
-Chapter XXII. Sweet Clover And Specialization
Of the twenty-five or more species of Melilotus common to the old world, three have become widely spread in America. Of these the two biennial forms, one with white blossoms and the other with yellow,...
-Sweet Clover And Specialization. Part 2
Public sentiment changes very slowly in cases of this kind. For many years it was hard to see any progress in overcoming the objections to sweet clover. It remained for men who were both beekeepers a...
-Sweet Clover And Specialization. Part 3
Thus it came about that sweet clover was largely responsible for the final great change which commercialized the industry and closed the so-called golden age of beekeeping, at a time centering approxi...
-Chapter XXIII. Efforts Toward Disease Control
The presence of brood diseases among bees has been recognized since ancient time. It is probable that its presence was discovered by men almost as soon as they learned to look to the honeybee as a sou...
-European Foulbrood
It was late in the century before American beemen began to realize that the presence of dead brood did not, of necessity, indicate that the bees had American foulbrood. Differences were noted, and the...
-Legislation
The first record of an attempt to control bee disease by legislation is an act for San Bernadino County, California, passed in 1877. This was the forerunner of a general law passed by the California l...
-Comb Sterilization
In 1922 Dr. J. C. Hutzelman, of Glendale, Ohio, announced that it was possible to save the combs by sterilizing them in an alcohol formalin solution. This was made with one part of formalin and four p...
-Chapter XXIV. Beekeeping Memorials
The sudden death of Rev. L. L. Langstroth on Sunday, October 6, 1895, terminated a very interesting career. With the single exception of Huber, the blind naturalist, Langstroth probably contributed mo...
-Beekeeping Memorials. Part 2
The writer very well remembers the day that news came to the office of the American Bee Journal that Doctor Miller had passed away. Maurice G. Dadant suggested that a memorial should be erected to his...
-Beekeeping Memorials. Part 3
The most important single contribution was that of Arthur C. Miller, of Rhode Island, who gave his entire personal library of beekeeping publications. There were more than 100 old books, some very rar...
-Chapter XXV. Adulteration Of Honey And Pure Food Legislation
In view of present day protection, it is difficult for the beekeeper to appreciate the importance of the pure food law. Without it, it is doubtful whether the honey producing industry could have survi...
-"The Wiley Lie"
Just when the movement was gaining public support, a most unfortunate incident occurred. The man who was later to become the recognized leader of the pure food forces and to concentrate the combined e...
-"The Wiley Lie". Continued
The $1,000 reward, which had been standing unclaimed for so many years, by that time had been increased to $2,000, since the national beekeepers' organization also had offered an amount equal to that ...









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