1 SEPTEMBER 1917, Page 13


ITo THE EDITOR. OF THE "SPECTATOR:I Ste,—Each week the Spectator offers valuable general information, and your last issue was no exception. Your correspondent raises an important question as to the price charged for sugar needed to feed bees at certain times of the year, and I endorse the complaint made by Miss Minns as to the exorbitant price demanded for bee candy. The Board of Agriculture might adopt a more helpful attitude and see that supplies are available for beekeepers at least on as favourable terms as sugar is permitted to reach brewers for the production of beer, which is not admitted by all authorities to be a food. No such difference of opinion applies to honey. The production of honey in larger quantities must be to the general advantage, but owing to Isle of Wight disease, beekeeping instead of being profitable is now highly speculative. The initial outlay on the first swarm, hive, and other necessaries involves about four pounds; subsequent hives can be started for less outlay. For a person of little capital this is a lot of money to risk if the hive in the following spring is annihilated by disease. Miss Minns objects to medicating candy with bacterol, and leaves the matter there, without telling your readers of any alternative treatment. As a beekeeper I have been fortunate to find bacterol effective. This spring one of my hives developed Isle of Wight disease, or at least betrayed all the signs, the bees dying in hundreds. All honey was at once removed and candy medicated with bacterol substituted, and the entrance sprayed with the same preparation. Almost at once the general condition of the remaining bees materially improved, and in the course of a week the hive became normal and promise. a fair average yield of honey. My gardener, who lives about four miles away, by similar treatment was equally successful in arrest- ing the disease with his stocks. If there are more effective methods of attacking or, better still, preventing the disease. I for one hope Miss Minns will let us have the benefit of her practical experience. Beekeepers have suffered financial lose and disappointment owing to this scourge, while dread of the disease has deterred, and is likely to deter, many from attempting to produce the valuable food honey. This alone is to be regretted, but, further, inadequately fertilized fruit-trees may involve serious consequential loss should the bee disappear from the