Seaside and Wayside, Book One  by Julia McNair Wright

Earth Bees

D O all bees build in hives? No. Wild bees like to build in hollow trees.


A City in a Tree

In hot lands, some bees build in holes in the rocks. Swarms of bees that leave hives find odd places to live in. I knew of a swarm that found a hole in the roof of a house.

The bees got into the roof and lived there, five years. When a man took them out they had two big tubs full of comb. Is it not odd that bees can make so much wax from their small wax-bags?

Did you ever find in the earth the nest of a humble-bee? The humble-bee queen works. Humble-bees dig holes in the earth with their front feet. When they have made a hall and a room, they make a nest. It is of grass, or leaves, or hay, cut fine. They lay eggs in the nest.

They make honey in large combs. The combs are more soft and dark than those which the hive bee makes. Field mice and moles eat these bees and their combs.

One little bee, that lives alone, saws out a nest in a post or a tree. She makes one room over the other. In each she puts an egg and food.

She seals up the door with a paste made of sawdust. Then she goes off and dies. The next spring out come the new bees.

They know how to get food and make homes, just as the mother did.

One kind of bee makes a house much like an ant-hill. She makes a long hall. From the hall she opens small rooms. In each room she puts food, in a ball like a pea. Then she lays an egg by it, and leaves the small bee to grow up alone.