The cultivation of bees as a garden amusement, gives occasion for the pictured plate, presenting a subject for garden decoration; for few studies allow more satisfactory results to people of leisure and reflection, than are to be obtained by contemplating the habits and conduct of these little animals from which just lessons of prudence, industry, and social virtue, may be as correctly acquired, as from the deep-studied instruc- tion of the schools.
The design for an apiary is given as an ornamental reception for the hives, which are, as usual, placed on forms, and sheltered by a roofing which encompasses them from the ground in an arched canopy covered with reeds, and lined beneath an opening to admit a free current of air, with straw mattings, similar to the hives themselves, the more fully to screen them from the excessive hot weather which transpires from other roofings, and is injurious to their contents. The back of this erection is supposed to be glass, through which the bees would be visible from the walk behind it; and the wire fence is placed on each side as a guard, to prevent the too near approach of people, who would be vulnerable to attack from their offended government, always prepared to repulse intruders. An apiary ought to be remote from the farm and home buildings, and placed under the care of the gardener, near to whose labours it is best situated, and whose gardens, plantations and orchards, allow the means for an abundant produce of wax and honey.
Bees affect warmth, and need plenty of shelter: their abodes should therefore present to the southward, and be protected from the north and east winds particularly, and from the driving rains of the south-west; they ought to be so constructed also in order to be screened from the degree cold, by which honey becomes candied: so it will appear, that the apiary ought to be situated in low and sheltered places, that a medium temperature may be more readily obtained and preserved.
Water is essential to bees, which ought to be near their abode: a small pool is therefore introduced in the design, and as a receptacle also for valuable aquatic plants.
The improvements recently made in hiving bees are worthy of particular attention : by the arrangements made according to Wildman's method, not only a regular examination of the proceedings of these ingenious artificers is permitted, but the comb and honey can be collected in small portions: besides, they allow the very humane opportunity of collecting the honey and the wax, without the ungracious necessity of destroying the animals, when we wrest from them their store-houses and their treasures.
Hemlock, nightshade, red poppy, feverfew, black briony, box-wood, hew, and other plants of a bitter flavour are injurious to the Apiary, as they impart such qualities to the honey, if the bees select from them; these should therefore be banished from ts neighbourhood.