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What Kind of Bees to Get

§ 70. Some prefer to purchase black bees in box-hives, and then transfer them to movable-frame hives in order to get experience. In that case, they should be populous colonies with the comb yellow or brown, not too dark, and as straight as possible, for greater ease in transferring. But the best satisfaction for a beginner may be obtained by purchasing strong Italian colonies with movable frames (90), in the spring. The combs must be hanging straight in the frames, or the work of transferring them would be greater than from a box-hive. Such colonies will often pay for themselves, if well cared for, in a couple seasons, thus proving cheapest in the end. One such colony is usually worth two of the former.

§ 71. To examine a box-hive, incline it to one side, or turn the bottom up, looking between the combs. By using a smoker, the bees may be driven back, and one may discover if it has capped brood, larvae and plenty of bees. It should have such, to be considered in good condition.

Colonies which have numerous bees flying in and out in a warm day of spring, and where many bees are seen returning with pollen on their legs, may be safely considered good.

Buying “Swarms of Bees”

§ 72. A first swarm is always to be preferred, and if possible from a colony which gave a swarm the previous year, for then the queen will be in her second year – vigorous and at her best. A small, second swarm should be passed by, in purchasing. The old queen always accompanies the first swarm.

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