Email Us

Family History

Victorian Era
George Burgess
Relevant Links

A Victorian Scrapbook

A Scrapbook of Newspaper Articles Compiled by George Burgess (1829-1905)

Victorian Science and Nature

Subjects for Thought - Error about the Honey Bee

Previous | Home | Next

Transcript from original newspaper article: -

Subjects for Thougth - Error about the Honey Bee…. ERROR ABOUT THE HONEY BEE. – The following remarks from the “Albany Cultivator” may correct some erroneous notions about the modus operandi of the industrious bee:

“many suppose that the bee culls honey from the nectar of flowers, and simply carries it to his cell in the hive. This is not correct. The nectar he collects from the flower is a portion of its food or drink; the honey he deposites in its cell is a secretion from its melific, or honey secreting glands; - analogous to the milk-secreting glands of the cow and other animals. If they were mere collectors and transporters of honey from the flowers to the honeycomb, then we should have the comb frequently filled with molassess, wherever the bees have fed at a molosses hogshead. The honey-bag in the bee performs the same functions as the cow’s bag or udder – merely receives the honey from the secreting glands, and retains it till a proper opportunity presents for its being deposited in appropriate store-houses, the honeycomb.”

“Another error is that the bee collects pollen from the flowers accidentally while it is in search of honey. Quite the contrary is the fact. The bee, when in search of nectar, or honey as it is improperly called, does not collect pollen. It goes in search of pollen, specially, and also for nectar. When the pollen of the flower is ripe and fit for the use of the bee, there is no nectar in the flower. It is generally supposed, also, that the bee constructs was from which is constructs its comb from such vegitable substances. This is also an error. The was is a secretion from its body, as the honey is; and it makes its appearance in small scales or flakes under the rings of the belly, and is taken thence by other bees, rendered plastic by mixture of the saliva of the bee’s mouth, and laid on the walls of the cell with the tongue, very much in the way a plasterer uses his trowel.”

Correct spellings and definitions for words misspelled in the original article: -

Deposites = deposits
Melific = Mellific (definition: - producing honey)
Molassess & Molosses = molasses
Vegitable = vegetable