THE APIARY is the first thing the intending bee-keeper has to take in to consideration. It ought to be well sheltered, naturally or artificially, and fully exposed to the sun’s rays. Deciduous fruit trees such as cherries or plums, counteract them in summer, but admit them when most required during winter. It should be entirely free from pools of water, except that provided for the use of the bees. Wherever practicable gooseberry and currant bushes should be grown in front and not far away from it. These bushes are, in addition to profit, advantageous during swarming, the bees being easily hived from them.

Hives should always be approached and manipulated from behind. The best material and most serviceable in front is arabis alpina, affording honey and pollen several months in the year, and is the least destructive to bees when they fall or alight upon it. A border of about three feet broad, with a path in front and another behind the bees, and of course, duplicated if there should be more than one row of hives.

Horses should be kept out of the reach of bees as well as neat cattle, but sheep neither to be annoyed by nor to annoy them. Dogs, poultry and pigeons are a great annoyance, and as they irritate the bees they should be rigidly excluded. It is bad policy to place bees at too great a distance from the dwelling-house, as it tends to make them spiteful. When near the dwelling they get accustomed to people, even although they are at constant work. The bees act then as if they knew the rights were not all theirs.

Bees are greatly irritated when fresh soil is turned up near them, or by weeding or by pulling flowers. Avoid these operations therefore till after they have ceased flying.

The variety of bee and number of hives is another consideration. If bee keepers are content with crosses and cross bees, then start with those readiest at hand; but if mildness of temper is desirable procure Carniolans, and take steps to keep them pure by removing them to some isolated place, at least five miles distant from other bees. I have witnessed crosses at a distance of seven miles.

The number to be kept must be regulated by the quality and quantity of pasture and moorland. It is not difficult to overstock a district, and although the flora yield more honey than the bees can gather, whenever the flow ceases they fight and rob to an extent so serious as to render the majority useless as stocks for next season. The more widely they are distributed over any area the better.

A hive for every two cows kept will be about the right number for clover, and one hive for about two acres of heather. Bess fly and gather honey at a distance of three miles, so that bee-keepers can calculate how many can be profitably kept; and in this country, I think it advisable to take our neighbouring advantage in to consideration.