Because of their precaution in reconnoitring the situation where they intend to establish their new colony or swarm from the parent hive. The bees do not go out in a considerable body, but they succeed each other in going and returning, until the whole of the swarm have apparently made good the survey, after which the whole body depart in a mass. If, by any chance, a large portion of a swarm take their departure without the queen-bee, they never proceed to take up their ulterior quarters without her majesty's presence.
These interesting facts were lately observed and communicated to the Royal Society, by Mr. T. A. Knight, president of the Horticultural Society.
Because the gnats or maggots form a chrysalis so strong in the hive, that the bees cannot displace them, and in the spring they creep out of their little sepulchres, and spin a thin web before them, as they march up into the hive among the combs; the bees, endeavouring to dislodge them, are entangled in the web, and there die ; and thus, for the want of a little trouble, many stocks are destroyed.
Because the straw soon begins to get rotten; then insects breed in it, its smell is bad, and its effect on the bees is dangerous.
Because they like the pure air of the higher regions better than the air enclosed in hives, which receive the exhalations of the earth, and in which contagious diseases make great ravages. Thus, in Livonia, bees are cultivated in forests, and are never known to swarm towards the gardens.
Because the sun, shining into the mouth of the hive too early, calls the bee abroad before the cold steam is exhaled from the flowers, and the vernal juice turned into honey; but, in the above situation, the sun will reach the front of the house about nine o'clock.
Because they lay their eggs at the mouth of the hive, and, with the wind of their wings, fan them within the hive, where the warmth of the bees hatches them to their own ruin.
Because it gives much unnecessary labour to the bees, as they will be compelled to remove every particle of foreign matter from the hive before they begin to work. The vile practice of making an astounding noise with tin pans, or kettles, when the bees are swarming, is also utterly useless. It may have originated in some ancient superstition, or it may have been the signal to call aid from the fields to assist in the hiving. If harmless, it is unnecessary ; and every thing that tends to encumber the management of bees, should be avoided. - American Work.
Because the disastrous consequence to be apprehended from non-compliance with this strange custom, is, that the bees will dwindle and die. The manner of communicating the intelligence to the little community, with due form and ceremony, is this: to take the key of the house, and knock with it three c times against the hive, telling the inmates, at the same time, that their master or mistress, etc. (as the case may be) is dead! Mr. Loudon says, when in Bedfordshire, lately, we were informed of an old man who sang a psalm the previous year in front of some hives which were not doing well, but which, he said, would thrive in consequence of that ceremony.