This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
The following surpasses any thing of the kind which has come under our notice, but seems to be sufficiently vouched for. The Journal of the California State Agricultural Society says: "However sur prising the statement of Mr. Hamilton, we can not doubt any thing which he says. We have known him intimately for about twenty years, and no man's veracity is freer of suspicion." Our readers will probable conclude, after reading Mr. Hamilton's statement, that California can raise "big " honey as well as big trees. The statement is as follows:
"Thirty-five swarms of bees did produce, during the past season, over twenty thousand pounds of honey. I am not surprised that the truth of this should be questioned, for I doubt if the world can furnish a parallel. Not that a hive producing 571 pounds in one season can not be found, but that thirty-five swarms should average that amount, is a great yield. But it is of no good to the public to tell them that a great thing was done, unless they are informed how it was done. This I will try to do in as few words as possible. About the 1st of February, 1860, I left the vicinity of Stockton with thirty-five swarms of bees - twenty-five swarms in Langstroth hives, containing about 1,400 cubic inches, and ten swarms in another movable-comb hive, containing about 2,000 cubic inches each. I took these bees to the town of Santa Clara, Santa Clara County, and I kept them there till the 1st of July, six months. I managed them on the system taught by the Rev. L. L. Langstroth in his work on the honey bee. I fed them on nothing except the honey that I took from them.
By the 1st of July the swarms had increased to 270. I removed them, at that time, to the vicinity of Stockton, whence they started, and by the 1st of October the swarms had increased to 500. The large hives, ten in number, have increased to seventy-five, containing sixty pounds of honey each, or 4,500 pounds; the small hives, twenty-five in number, have amounted to 425, containing about thirty-five pounds each, or 14,875 pounds. From the small hives, in September, about 700 pounds were taken, and they afterwards filled 700 pounds; making for the whole the great total of 20,075 pounds. From the above it will be seen that the small hives have been much more profitable. Bees do but very little in Santa Clara after the 1st of July; but in San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys they do the most after the 1st of July - July, August, September, and October being the best months of the year." - H. Hamilton.