BC Egypt: Knew
how to smoke bees using earthenware pipes and remove
BC Aristotle s "Historia
Animalum" discussed floral fidelity, winter feeding,
the fact that bees assume different tasks at different
stages of adult life, and mentions foulbrood
Virgil (Roman) told about placing hives out of the wind
and away from livestock, and the importance of a clean
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1650's Rev. William Mew
of Gloucestshire, England, built an octagonal hive and
supers from wood.
John Gedde, a Scot, granted patent for a wooden hive
with removable inside frames.
F. Huber of Geneva, Swiss, with his faithful servant F.
Burnens to do actual observations because Huber was
blind, did the first truly scientific observations of
honeybees. Huber discovered that bees can transform
worker eggs into queens, that a queen, not a king,
ruled the hive, that workers could lay eggs that would
hatch, that queens will fight, that queens mated in
flight, studied the causes of swarming, the use of
antennae, and the production of wax scales. Huber also
developed a "leaf" hive so that individual vertical
combs could be examined.
Rev. Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth discovered the concept
of bee space, realizing that honeybees will leave open
a space of 5/16", building burr comb in spaces over
3/8" and propolizing spaces 1 /4" or less. Langstroth
developed the 10 frame "deep" hive with moveable frames
as used today. Langstroth' s discoveries enabled modern
beekeeping to take place on an economical basis.
Johannes Mehring, a German carpenter, developed wax
foundations with octagonal indentations (5 per inch)
for use in Langstroth' s frames. With this development
straight combs could be assured.
Abbe Collin built the first wire queen excluder.
Major Franz von Hruschka of Austria developed the
centrifugal honey extractor, designed for the 10" x 10"
A. J. Root designed a centrifugal honey extractor for
Langstroth frames, and put gears from an apple parer on
top, thereby giving geared leverage for ease of use.
Root's extractor was the first all-metal extractor.
Moses Quinby of New York State developed the first
E. C. Porter of Illinois developed the leaf-spring bee
escape, still in use precisely as designed by
E. B. Weed of New York State developed rollers for
imprinting a continuous sheet of wax foundation of a
uniform thickness. Previously, a wooden board was
dipped into molten wax, the wax allowed to cool, then
the sheet pulled away from the board.
1920's Root and Dadant
improve Hetherington's idea of wire reinforcing in the
foundation. Weed's thin foundation would often fail in
Root's and Dadant's extractors, and they were the
principal sources for wax foundation in America.
1919 Karl von
Frisch, of Germany, first published on beekeeping and
the scientific analysis of bee behavior. von Frisch
continued to study honeybees for 59 years, discovering
bee language as expressed in the "bee dance," plus
other discoveries which together were more than all
other scientific discoveries in history combined. For
his work von Frisch won the Nobel Prize in science in