What can be seen inside a hive
The first thing we notice inside a hive is the sheets of wax hollowed out with regular cavities. These sheets are called combs. The cavities are called cells or alveoli. Some are just started and others are finished. The combs are separated by about a centimetre.
The cells have different sizes. Cells of males are bigger; those of workers, smaller.
There are also some irregular cells called transition cells. Finally there are sometimes some queen cells of a special shape outwardly resembling a peanut.
Left: drone cells. Right: worker cells. Middle: transition cells.
The cells may have a cover called a capping. Cells that are not capped may be empty or may contain eggs, larvae, pollen or honey. Capped cells contain brood if the capping is domed and matt, honey if the capping is flat and bright.
Left: capped drone cells, matt and more domed. Right: worker cells, domed and matt.
The eggs are horizontal on the first day, inclined on the second and resting on the base of the cell on the third. The newly emerged larvae vary in fatness according to their age.
In the hive there is of course a queen, some workers and some males. We have discussed them in a preceding chapter.
The queen has no task other than to lay. The workers are busy with various tasks: feeding the queen and the larvae; fetching nectar, pollen, propolis and water; cleaning the cells of the hive. The males are scattered on the brood with no apparent occupation, probably to warm it. If the hive is visited during hot periods, the males are outside or in the corners of the hive so as not to obstruct the workers.
The problems of beekeeping
It cannot be denied that beekeeping is a useful and pleasant activity.
So why is it not more developed? For bees are not in all the places where there are flowers to be fertilised and nectar to be gathered; or at least not enough of them.
The first problem is the bees sting. The complexity of both beekeeping material and methods are another. Finally, the main problem is that the benefit appears too small to allow the practice of beekeeping.
But we are writing this book in order to remove all these obstacles. We tell you of the gentleness of the bee. We give you the measurements of an economically profitable hive. We show you a simple method that is at the same time economical. If you follow our advice, we guarantee that you are sure to get a good profit.