31 OCTOBER 1947, Page 17

Record of the Hives

How sharply neighbouring places in England differ! In my neighbour- hood the exceptional absence of wasps has been a general comment. From the next shire I get lamentations for the multitude not only of wasps but of hornets. The wasps interfered with the hives, the hornets killed butterflies, and three queens were seen seeking winter quarters as late as October 20. In one happy respect the stories resembled one another: The yields of honey were exceptional, so big in some districts that the record would scarcely be believed. Bee-keepers have been talking in terms not of pounds, but of hundredweights. On the subject of bees, a West Country lament for the disappearance of the old-fashioned bee- master does not teem to be justified. The Bee-keepers' Association holds most thorough examinations, junior and senior, practical and theoretic ; and those who satisfy the examiners are accorded the much coveted title of "bee-master." In one respect the profession has been enlarged in recent years, for, I believe, these examinations are taken by women as well as men, and the company of bee-mistresses has been much increased,