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History of Animals   


big. A hive yields to the bee-keeper six or nine pints of honey; a
prosperous hive will yield twelve or fifteen pints, exceptionally good
hives eighteen. Sheep and, as has been said, wasps are enemies to
the bees. Bee-keepers entrap the latter, by putting a flat dish on the
ground with pieces of meat on it; when a number of the wasps settle on
it, they cover them with a lid and put the dish and its contents on
the fire. It is a good thing to have a few drones in a hive, as
their presence increases the industry of the workers. Bees can tell
the approach of rough weather or of rain; and the proof is that they
will not fly away, but even while it is as yet fine they go fluttering
about within a restricted space, and the bee-keeper knows from this
that they are expecting bad weather. When the bees inside the hive
hang clustering to one another, it is a sign that the swarm is
intending to quit; consequently, occasion, when a bee-keepers, on
seeing this, besprinkle the hive with sweet wine. It is advisable to
plant about the hives pear-trees, beans, Median-grass, Syrian-grass,
yellow pulse, myrtle, poppies, creeping-thyme, and almond-trees.
Some bee-keepers sprinkle their bees with flour, and can distinguish
them from others when they are at work out of doors. If the spring
be late, or if there be drought or blight, then grubs are all the
fewer in the hives. So much for the habits of bees.
41

Of wasps, there are two kinds. Of these kinds one is wild and
scarce, lives on the mountains, engenders grubs not underground but on
oak-trees, is larger, longer, and blacker than the other kind, is
invariably speckled and furnished with a sting, and is remarkably
courageous. The pain from its sting is more severe than that caused by
the others, for the instrument that causes the pain is larger, in
proportion to its own larger size. These wild live over into a
second year, and in winter time, when oaks have been in course of
felling, they may be seen coming out and flying away. They lie
concealed during the winter, and live in the interior of logs of wood.
Some of them are mother-wasps and some are workers, as with the
tamer kind; but it is by observation of the tame wasps that one may
learn the varied characteristics of the mothers and the workers. For
in the case of the tame wasps also there are two kinds; one consists
of leaders, who are called mothers, and the other of workers. The
leaders are far larger and milder-tempered than the others. The
workers do not live over into a second year, but all die when winter
comes on; and this can be proved, for at the commencement of winter
the workers become drowsy, and about the time of the winter solstice
they are never seen at all. The leaders, the so-called mothers, are
seen all through the winter, and live in holes underground; for men
when ploughing or digging in winter have often come upon mother-wasps,
but never upon workers. The mode of reproduction of wasps is as
follows. At the approach of summer, when the leaders have found a
sheltered spot, they take to moulding their combs, and construct the
so-called sphecons,-little nests containing four cells or thereabouts,
and in these are produced working-wasps but not mothers. When these
are grown up, then they construct other larger combs upon the first,
and then again in like manner others; so that by the close of autumn
there are numerous large combs in which the leader, the so-called
mother, engenders no longer working-wasps but mothers. These develop
high up in the nest as large grubs, in cells that occur in groups of
four or rather more, pretty much in the same way as we have seen the
grubs of the king-bees to be produced in their cells. After the
birth of the working-grubs in the cells, the leaders do nothing and
the workers have to supply them with nourishment; and this is inferred
from the fact that the leaders (of the working-wasps) no longer fly
out at this time, but rest quietly indoors. Whether the leaders of
last year after engendering new leaders are killed by the new brood,
and whether this occurs invariably or whether they can live for a
longer time, has not been ascertained by actual observation; neither

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