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LET us now, in order to form a clearer conception of the bees' intellectual power, proceed to consider their methods of inter-communication. There can be no doubting that they understand each other; and indeed it were surely impossible for a republic so considerable, wherein the labours are so varied and so marvellously combined, to subsist amid the silence and spiritual isolation of so many thousand creatures. They must be able, therefore, to... more...

Among the manifold operations of living creatures few have more strongly impressed the casual observer or more deeply interested the thoughtful student than the transformations of insects. The schoolboy watches the tiny green caterpillars hatched from eggs laid on a cabbage leaf by the common white butterfly, or maybe rears successfully a batch of silkworms through the changes and chances of their lives, while the naturalist questions yet again... more...

CHAPTER I: THE BLACK-BELLIED TARANTULA The Spider has a bad name: to most of us, she represents an odious, noxious animal, which every one hastens to crush under foot.  Against this summary verdict the observer sets the beast’s industry, its talent as a weaver, its wiliness in the chase, its tragic nuptials and other characteristics of great interest.  Yes, the Spider is well worth studying, apart from any scientific reasons; but... more...

Our Pretty Dragon Flies Come, children; come with me. Come to a pond I know of. See how the water shines in the sun. Over there is an old log lying on the edge of the pond. It is covered with green moss, and a green frog is sitting on one end of it. Let us go and sit on the other end. Goop! he says, and—plump! he has jumped into the water. That is too bad, frog; we did not mean to disturb you. How pretty it is here! See the... more...

CHAPTER IV. Uncle Thomas introduces to the Notice of the Young Folks the Ettrick Shepherd's Stories about Sheep; and tells them some Interesting Stories about the Goat, and its Peculiarities. "I dare say, Boys, you have not forgotten the Ettrick Shepherd's wonderful stories about his dogs. Some of those which he relates about sheep are equally remarkable, and as he tells them in the same pleasing style, I think I cannot do better than read to... more...


CHAPTER I THE FABLE OF THE CIGALE AND THE ANT Fame is the daughter of Legend. In the world of creatures, as in the world of men, the story precedes and outlives history. There are many instances of the fact that if an insect attract our attention for this reason or that, it is given a place in those legends of the people whose last care is truth. For example, who is there that does not, at least by hearsay, know the Cigale? Where in the... more...

ON THE IMPREGNATION OF THE QUEEN BEE. SIR, When I had the honour at Genthod of giving you an account of my principal experiments on bees, you desired me to transmit a written detail, that you might consider them with greater attention. I hasten, therefore, to extract the following observations from my journal.—As nothing can be more flattering to me than the interest you take in my researches, permit me to   remind you of your... more...

A WORD TO THE CHILDREN AND THE WISE We hope that the children who read this book will like the boys and girls who are in it. They are real, and the good times they have are real, as any boy or girl who has lived out-of-doors will know. And the stories are true. Peter is not always good. But do you expect a child always to be good? We do not. Sometimes, too, the frolics turn into a scramble to catch a dragon-fly that will not be caught, and... more...

CHAPTER 1. BRAMBLE-DWELLERS. The peasant, as he trims his hedge, whose riotous tangle threatens to encroach upon the road, cuts the trailing stems of the bramble a foot or two from the ground and leaves the root-stock, which soon dries up. These bramble-stumps, sheltered and protected by the thorny brushwood, are in great demand among a host of Hymenoptera who have families to settle. The stump, when dry, offers to any one that knows how to use... more...

PREFACE. Before the reader decides that an apology is necessary for the introduction of another work on bees into the presence of those already before the public, it is hoped that he will have the patience to examine the contents of this. The writer of the following pages commenced beekeeping in 1828, without any knowledge of the business to assist him, save a few directions about hiving, smoking them with sulphur, &c. Nearly all the... more...