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Bees keep within the hive during the winter—for whence are they to derive the strength requisite to withstand frosts and snows, and the northern blasts? The same, in fact, is done by all insects, but not to so late a period; as those which conceal themselves in the walls of our houses, are much sooner sensible of the returning warmth. With reference to bees, either seasons and climates have considerably changed, or else former writers have been greatly mistaken. They retire for the winter at the setting of the Vergiliæ, and remain shut up till after the rising of that constellation, and not till only the beginning of spring, as some authors have stated; nor, indeed, does any one in Italy ever think of then opening the hives. They do not come forth to ply their labours until the bean blossoms; and then not a day do they lose in inactivity, while the weather is favourable for their pursuits.

First of all, they set about constructing their combs, and forming the wax, or, in other words, making their dwellings and cells; after this they produce their young, and then make honey and wax from flowers, and extract bee-glue1 from the tears of those trees which distil glutinous substances, the juices, gums, and resins, namely, of the willow, the elm, and the reed. With these substances, as well as others of a more bitter nature, they first line the whole inside of the hive, as a sort of protection against the greedy propensities of other small insects, as they are well aware that they are about to form that which will prove an object of attraction to them. Having done this, they employ similar substances in narrowing the entrance to the hive, if otherwise too wide.

1 " Melligo." For further information on this subject consult Bevan on the Honey Bee.

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