The Manner of taking the Honey.
And this melancholy, and indeed tragical, as well as last Part, is the most unwelcome to me to treat of, it being as well contrary to my Nature (to destroy those Creatures I have so great an Esteem for) as to my Judgment, as will hereafter be made appear; but left there should be something wanting in this Tract of Bees, I shall briefly lay down the following Rules : If you design to keep only a small Number of Bees, then about the Middle of August weigh all your Hives, that is poize them with your Hands, by which you will be able to judge of their Weight, and so take the heaviest and lightest, the heaviest, because they afford you most Honey, and the lightest, because they will not live over the Year; if you find they don't weigh 14 Pounds, they will hardly live.
But if you design to keep many Bees, and increase your Stock as fast as you can every Year, than leave all standing that are, strong enough to stand, and take only the lightest that will not, so will you by their swarming increase into a very large Apiary, that will afford you great Profit, as shall hereafter be made appear.
When you have poized them all, and marked which of them you resolve to take, then proceed after this Manner. Have in Readiness some split Sticks about 6 Inches long, and some Rags dipt in Brimstone, and put in each of these split Sticks, then dig as many Holes in the Ground near your Bees, as you design to take Hives ; then in the Evening stick in each Hole one of your Matches, and lighting one at a time, fetch the Hive and set over it, immediately with some of the Earth stop the Hive all round to keep in the Smoak, and keep in the Bees, they will be all dead in half a quarter of an Hour ; so giving the Hive two or three Knocks with your Hand to shake down the Bees that hang about the Combs. Take it into your House for your use.
Thus having given Directions how to manage your Bees in Straw-hives, which I was willing to do, because most of the People of England will never attain to the keeping of them in Boxes, for two Reasons : First, Because 'tis a hard thing to put them out of their old Road, which every Old Woman thinks she understands. And Secondly, Because it is a more chargeable way than the other, and therefore many cannot attain thereunto.
I shall now go on with my Design in teaching the way how to keep Bees in Boxes or Colonies, which is more pleasant and profitable than the other, and more merciful; because in this way, which we are now about to treat of, we kill no Bees, yet have great quantities of Honey.
The way of keeping Bess in Colonies or Boxes, with Glass Windows without killing the Bees, as in the Old Method.
In this way, which was first invented by Mr Geddey, who obtain'd a Patent for the same of King Charles, there is a necessity of having a Bee-house for to keep your Colonies in, not an open Bee-house, such as Straw-hives are commonly kept in, but close with Doors, both before and behind ; for if your Boxes were exposed naked to the Beams of the Sun, it would melt the Honey and Wax too, and so ruin the Colony. For as Wood is more dense than Straw, so a Box is more capable to retain the heat of the Sun than the Straw-hive is, and consequently the Sun will melt the Honey and Wax in a Box, which it would not do in a Straw-hive if it stood in the same place.
In this Method their Swarming is prevented, for all Bees Swarm for want of room, which want is here supply'd, by giving another Box when they want room ; neither in this way do we kill any Bees, which being a merciless and cruel way, is here prevented, and the Bees preserved alive till they die a natural death.
Warder, 'Monarchy of Bees', 1716, pp 75-9