26 DECEMBER 1941, Page 10

A Winter Experiment

An interesting little experiment by our agricultural research- workers is in progress this winter. A selected battalion of hive bees have been given summer conditions and are being offered a number of chemicals to test their dislikes as Lubbock offered them a choice of colours to test their preferences. The object is life-saving. In the bigger orchards it is the custom to spray the trees when the flowers are well advanced with arsenical corn- peunds, and these are wont to prove very destructive of the bees, which, of course, are of crucial service to the fruit-grower as well as the bee-keeper. Indeed, the habit has been on the increase of transporting bees into the orchards at the critical season. It is hoped that if some substance which repels bees can be discovered, it may be mixed with the arsenical sprays and so keep the bees away from the poisonous danger: The experiment is a good example of the sort of work, over and above agriculture proper, that is set afoot at Rothamsted, that oldest of agricultural stations. May the war be over before the approaching celebration of its centenary, which is to be associated with a considerable extension of its establishment and activity.