I’ve been posting this piece each Christmas for some time. For those who’ve learn it earlier than, learn it once more. Or not. Christmas Day is L.L. Langstroth’s birthday. He’d be 211 years outdated, if he hadn’t been struck down in his eighty fifth 12 months from problems of elderliness. Langstroth’s movable frames and his good beekeeping ebook, The Hive and the Honey Bee, had been his presents to you.
He invented the fashionable beehive, making it simpler, extra productive, and fewer nerve-racking for bees.
Nonetheless, Langstroth earned nothing from his invention and suffered severely from self-doubt, melancholy, and scientific melancholy.
But, he modified beekeeping to its core. On his birthday anniversary), we give homage to crucial beekeeper America ever produced.
Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth Langstroth was born December 25, 1810. That was some Christmas reward to the world, wasn’t it? His childhood appears to have been typical for a child who spent a number of time on his fingers and knees on the streets of Philadelphia, trapping bugs and ants with desk scraps. “I used to be as soon as whipped as a result of I had worn holes in my pants by an excessive amount of kneeling on the gravel walkways in my eagerness to be taught all that I might about ant life,” Langstroth wrote.
He constructed paper traps for beetles and flies, resulting in a traumatic expertise when his grammar faculty trainer – fed up with six-year-old Lorenzo’s ‘wasted’ bug time – smashed his paper cages and freed his flies. Lorenzo was despatched to cry himself to sleep inside a darkish cabinet on the faculty. The trainer’s reform technique labored. Langstroth gave up his ardour for bugs and have become a preacher as a substitute.
Langstroth studied theology at Yale. At 25, he was supplied a job as pastor on the South Church in Andover, Massachusetts (left). Even in Langstroth’s day, it was an outdated prestigious church. In 2011 it celebrated its three hundredth anniversary. The plum task as pastor at South Church was a recognition of the younger man’s appreciable talents.
Whereas visiting a parish member, Langstroth observed a bowl of comb honey. He stated that it was essentially the most stunning meals he had ever seen. He requested to go to his new good friend’s bees. Langstroth was led to the guy’s attic the place the hives had been organized close to an open window. “In a second,” Langstroth remembered, “the passion of my boyish days appeared, like a pent-up fireplace, to burst out in full flame. Earlier than I went house I purchased two shares of bees in widespread field hives, and thus my apiarian profession started.” Langstroth had been contaminated by the bee bug.
All through his lifetime, Langstroth suffered badly from manic-depression. Within the mid-nineteenth century, there was little anybody might do to assist an individual stricken with psychological sickness. The one solace was momentary and normally got here to Langstroth when he was along with his bees.
The younger minister felt that he wasn’t an efficient parson due to his recurring darkish days, so he stop preaching and have become principal of a girls’s faculty as a substitute. By all accounts, he was a empathetic minister and a devoted trainer, however bouts of melancholy pressured him to cancel sermons and courses. He wanted a change. Bees had been the one factor he knew that would give him peace, consolation, and significant work whereas becoming right into a life disrupted by debilitating sickness. However typically not even bees might cease what he known as his “head bother” when darkness crept upon him.
He constructed an apiary and hoped to make his residing from bees. However throughout his first beekeeping summer season, extreme melancholy returned and lasted for weeks. He offered all his colonies within the fall. Then he began with the bees once more. His life would flip over time and again with intervals of manic enthusiasm and productiveness adopted by gloomy months of despondency. Throughout his depressed phases, Langstroth took shelter in a mattress in a darkish room. He would stay there, motionless, for days. “I requested that my books be hidden from my sight. Even the letter “B” would remind me of my bees and instill a deep unhappiness that wouldn’t go away.”
When he was lastly capable of return to his bees, Langstroth made nice strives at rising effectivity in his apiary. He made his duties simpler. He by no means knew when melancholy would return, so he labored day and night time throughout productive manic intervals.
The most important inefficiency in his apiary was the design of the containers which held his bees. The containers had been normally easy wood crates with stable partitions and small holes which the bees used as entrances. Throughout harvest of a hive, the lid was lifted from the crate. Connected to the lid had been wax combs that the bees had inbuilt haphazard jumbles. The combs cracked and broke in the course of the beekeeper’s excavation, inflicting a sticky mess and disturbing the excited bees. It was a messy, nasty approach to examine bees and harvest honey.
Langstroth observed that bees usually left a small house across the fringe of their combs. Generally, upon lifting the lids, he would discover wax connected to each the lid and the partitions contained in the hive, whereas at different occasions the hanging combs weren’t caught to the hive partitions in any respect. Langstroth’s good perception (his Eureka! second) was noticing that the house was about 3/8 of an inch when the combs hung freely. If a comb had been nearer than that to a wall, the bees would connect it to the partitions. However at 3/8 inch (really, between 6.35 and 9.53 mm), the bees all the time left an area. He had found “bee house”.
Langstroth’s subsequent step was good. He made wood frames that held the wax combs, designing them so that they dangled throughout the hive’s field with their wood edges all the time 3/8 of an inch from something which may contact them: the lid, the inside field partitions, the field backside, different frames. Positioned like this, the bees neither waxed the frames collectively nor caught them to the edges or backside of the hive. The end result was a beehive with movable frames. Combs might be lifted, examined, and manipulated. It was 1851 and trendy beekeeping had begun.
Colonies might be dealt with extra gently. Frames might be inspected for illness, queen high quality, and honey and pollen reserves. Movable frames meant queen bees might be produced and robust hives break up (by sharing frames between two or extra new hives), thus rising colony numbers whereas stopping swarming. It was a brand new period in beekeeping. The following few a long time had been “The Golden Age of Beekeeping“.
Simple to make use of, simple to make, simple to repeat
L.L. Langstroth was not alone in determining bee house and inventing purposes for it. About the identical time, some European beekeepers (Huber, in Switzerland and Dzierzon in Poland/Germany, Prokopovich within the Ukraine) had made related discoveries. However Langstroth created an easier hive. His Langstroth beehive was a high-quality instance of North American utilitarian craftsmanship. Environment friendly, sensible, and low-cost.
Langstroth’s invention was so easy and cheap that his patent was readily violated. Minor modifications had been touted as important enhancements to Langstroth’s authentic design, circumventing the patent. Langstroth started numerous lawsuits towards the extra flagrant violators, however when the courtroom instances started, his “head troubles” returned.
He dropped the litigation when he realized he couldn’t win and when his sickness prevented a spirited protection. Realistically, it was unattainable to cease imitations and diversifications. Beekeepers – who had been usually useful farmers and carpenters – shortly constructed one or two hives with frames for themselves. Langstroth sought one greenback to license every field, which was an enormous value in these days. However his actual discovery was “bee house” which couldn’t be patented. His place was like making an attempt to patent sails for ships after discovering wind. Even Langstroth’s supporters wrote that Langstroth ought to have merely allowed the thought to flourish within the public area. Attempting to implement the patent was costly. It left Langstroth practically bankrupt.
With a plethora of modifications and related containers being designed in Europe, Langstroth’s nice contribution might have entered the world anyway and with out credit score to him. However the retired minister had one different main contribution to society. It earned him much-deserved reward and even a bit of cash. In a single feverish six-month manic spell, Langstroth wrote the best beekeeping ebook ever revealed.
Hive and Honey Bee
In 1852, working for six hectic months with nearly no sleep, Langstroth wrote The Hive and the Honey-Bee. This ebook, revised and expanded in additional than 40 subsequent editions, remains to be a dependable supply for beekeepers. When Langstroth wrote it, there have been different good bee primers in the marketplace, however his ebook moved to the highest spot. You might learn the unique 1853 ebook on-line. I’ve learn and re-read my 1859 copy with its 409 pages of fading textual content protected by orange hardboard covers. It earned its place in my library. Inside the ebook are chapters comparable to Lack of the Queen (and what to do), Swarming, Feeding, Wintering, and Enemies of the Bees. It’s a really sensible information to conserving bees and far of it’s nonetheless related at the moment.
Langstroth by no means discovered lasting peace from his cycles of manic melancholy, although in his 60s he travelled to Mexico and found that the stimulation and alter of surroundings gave him an sudden respite from melancholy. The sickness returned when he returned to his house, however he remembered the break from head troubles with nice appreciation. He lived lengthy sufficient (85 years!) to see his work appreciated, his title honored, and his ebook promote a whole bunch of 1000’s of copies. Regardless of his life-long incapacity, he had an extended, full life, three youngsters, and attention-grabbing work. And he made an exceptional contribution to beekeeping.
to Lorenzo Loraine Langstroth