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worms, which, forty-eight hours before, we had feen come from the egg, fubftituted for them. The bees did not feem aware of the change; they watched over the new worms the fame as over those chofen by themselves; they continued enlarging the cells, and clofed them at the ufual time. When they had brooded on them (for fuch feems to be M. Huber's opinion) for feven days, we removed the cells, to fee the queens that were to be produced. Two were excluded, almost at the fame moment, of the largest fize, and well formed in every respect. The term of the other cells having elapfed, and no queen appearing, we opened them. In one was a dead queen, but ftill a nymph: the other two were empty. The worms had spun their filk coccoons, but died before paffing into their nymphine state, and prefented only a dry skin. I can conceive nothing more conclufive than this experiment. It demonftrates that bees have the power of converting worms of workers in to queens, fince they fucceeded in procuring queens by operating on the worms which we ourselves had felected. It is equally demonftrated, that the fuccefs of the operation does not depend on the worms being three days old, as those entrusted to the bees were only two.' p. 81, 82.
He mentions another experiment, by which it appears, that larvæ only a few hours old (as already hinted), are sometimes destined to replace a lost queen.
In his fifth letter M. Huber relates some experiments which confirm the singular discovery of M. Riems, concerning the existence, occasionally, of common working bees that are capable of laying eggs, which, we may remark, is certainly a most convincing proof of their being of the female sex. Eggs were observed to increase in number daily in a hive in which there were no queens of the usual appearance; but small queens considerably resemble workers, and to discriminate them required minute inspection.
My affiftant' (fays M. Huber) then offered to perform an ope ration that required both courage and patience, and which I could not refolve to fuggeft, though the fame expedient had occurred to myself. He propofed to examine each bee in the hive feparately, to difcover whether fome fmall queen had not infinuated herself among them, and escaped our first researches.-It was neceffary, therefore, to feize the whole bees, notwithstanding their irritation, and to examine their specific character with the utmost care. This my affiftant undertook, and executed with great address. Eleven days were employed in it; and, during all that time, he scarcely allowed himself any relaxation, but what the relief of his eyes required. He took every bee in his hand; he attentively examined the trunk, the hind limbs, and the fting; and he found that there was not one without the characteristics of the common bee, that is, the little basket on the hind legs, the long trunk, and the fraight fting. p. 91, 92.
They afterwards seized a fertile worker in the very act of lay ing; and they thus describe her appearance, (p. 94.) She pre
sented all the external characteristics of common bees; the only difference we could recognize, and that was a very slight one, consisted in the belly seeming less, and more slender than that of workers. On dissection, her ovaries were found more fragile, smaller, and composed of fewer oviducts than the ovaries of queens. We counted eleven eggs of sensible size, some of which appeared tipe for laying. This ovary was double, like that of queens.' How or when these fertile workers are impregnat ed is quite unknown.
Fertile workers resemble queens whose impregnation has been retarded, in this, that they lay the eggs of drones only, never those of workers; and also in this, that they sometimes place their eggs in royal cells. It is remarkable, however, that in the case of queens, whose impregnation has been retarded, laying their eggs in royal cells, the bees build them up, and brood over them until the last metamorphosis of the included drones; but that when eggs are deposited in royal cells by fertile workers, the bees, although at first they pay due attention to the larvæ, never fail to destroy them in the course of a few days.
Schirach's discoveries certainly proved, that common workingbees are radically of the female sex. Huber, we have seen, detected and described their ovaries; and the notion, long entertained, of their being of the neuter gender, is now justly exploded as a solecism in animated nature. Here, we cannot help observing, that the doctrine of workers being of the female sex, has accidentally, and most unintentionally, received a very striking collateral confirmation from one of its most eminent opposers. Linnæus had asserted that there are ten joints in the antennæ of queens eleven in those of drones; and fifteen in those of workers: and his assertion on this point naturally passed current as authentic fact. Taking it for granted, therefore, that there existed such a discrepancy in the structure of the antennæ of queens and of workers, naturalists were startled at the new doctrine, that both were females, and that the larvæ of workers could be converted into queens. Mr Kirby (the acute and laborious author of the Monographia Apum Anglia, in which he has described above 220 species, natives of England,) has corrected the Swedish knight, and informs us, that there are positively the same number of articulations in the antennæ of queens, as in those of workers. This testimony is not the less deserving of credit, that it militates against Mr Kirby's own notions, who continues to argue for workers being proper neuters.
VOL. XI. NO. 22.
Syftema Naturæ, art. Apis mellifica. Regina (foemina), antennis articulis 10, &c. Fuci (mares), antennis 11-articulatis, &c. 0perariæ (padones), antennis 15-articulatis, &c.
M. Huber imagines he has discovered the cause of the partial expansion of the sexual organs in those workers that prove fertile. He observes, that fertile workers appear in those hives only that have lost the queen, and where of course a quantity of royal jelly is prepared for feeding the larvæ intended to replace her. He suspects that the bees, either by accident, or by a particular instinct, the principle of which is unknown, drop some particles of royal jelly into cells, contiguous to those containing the worms destined for queens. The larvæ of workers that thus casually receive portions of this active aliment, are affected by it, and their ovaries acquire a certain degree of expansion: from the want of full feeding, and owing to the smallness of their cells, this expansion is only partial, and such fertile workers remain of the ordinary size of working-bees, and lay only a few eggs. The royal jelly, when pure, may be known by its pungent taste *; but when mixed with other substances, it is not easily distinguished. M. Huber repeatedly tried to feed some of the larvæ of workers in other parts of the hive, with the royal jelly, in order to observe the consequences; but he found this to be a vain attempt, the bees immediately destroying such worms, and themselves devouring the food. It has not therefore been directly ascertained, that all fertile workers proceed from larvæ that have received portions of the royal food; but M. Huber observed, that they were uniformly such as had passed the vermicular state, in cells contiguous to the royal ones. The bees, (he remarks), in their course thither, will pass in numbers over them, stop, and drop some portion of the jelly destined for the royal larvæ. This reasoning, though not conclusive, is plausible. The result is 90 uniform, that M. Huber says he can, whenever he pleases, produce fertile workers in his hives. They are probably, he adds, always produced, in greater or less numbers, whenever the bees have to create to themselves a new queen; and the reason that they are so seldom seen, probably is, that the queen bees attack and destroy them without mercy whenever they perceive them. Letters sixth and seventh, treat of the combats of queens; the massacre of the males; and of the reception a stranger queen meets with in a hive. When a supernumerary queen is produced in a hive, or is introduced into it in the course of experiment,
* Mr Bonner puzzles much about this royal jelly, whether it be of à generative or a nutritive nature: he inclines to the former opinion, while he at the fame time admits, that in this cafe we must take it for granted that the working-bees are males! But this difficulty he pleafantly enough confiders as counterbalanced by one on the other fide; for if the jelly be merely of a nutritive nature, then, fays he, the queen is felf-prolific, or a hermaphrodite !
either she or the rightful owner soon perishes. The German naturalists, Schirach and Riems, imagined that the working-bees assailed the stranger, and stung her to death. Réaumeur considered it as more probable, that the sceptre was made to depend on the issue of a single combat between the claimants; and this conjecture is verified by the observations of Huber. The same hostility towards rivals, and destructive vengeance against royal cells, animates all queens, whether they be virgins, or in a state of impregnation, or the mothers of numerous broods. The working-bees, it may here be remarked, remain quiet spectators of the destruction, by the first-hatched queen, of the remaining royal cells; they approach only to share in the plunder presented by their havock-making mistress, greedily devouring any food found at the bottom of the cells, and even sucking the fluid from the abdomen of the nymphs before they toss out the carcases.
The following fact, connected with this fubject, is one of the moft curious perhaps in the whole hiftory of this wonderful infect. Whenever the workers perceive that there are two rival queens in the hive, numbers of them crowd around each they feem to be perfectly aware of the approaching deadly conflict, and willing to prompt their amazonian chieftains to the battle; for, as often as the queens fhow a difinclination to fight, or feem inclined to recede from each other, or to fly off, the bees immediately furround and detain them; but when either combatant fhows a difpofition to approach her antagonist, all the bees forming the clusters inftantly give way to allow her full liberty for the attack. (p. 117.) It feems ftrange that those bees who in general fhow fo much anxiety about the fafety of their queen, fhould, in particular circumftances, oppose her preparations to avoid impending danger,-fhould feem to promote the battle, and to excite the fury of the combatants.
When a queen is removed from a hive, the bees do not immedietely perceive it; they continue their labours; watch over the young, and perform all their ordinary occupations. But, in a few hours, agitation enfues; all appears a fcene of tumult in the hive. A fingular humming is heard; the bees defert their young; and rufh over the surface of the combs with a delirious impetuofity." They have now evidently difcovered that their fovereign is gone; and the rapidity with which the bad news now fpreads through the hive, to the oppofite fide of the combs, is very remarkable. On replacing the queen in the hive, tranquillity is almost instantly reftored. The bees, it is worthy of notice, recognize the individual perfon of their own queen. If another be palmed upon them, they seize and furround her, so that she is either fuffocated or perifhes by hunger; for it is very remarkable, that the workers Y 2
are never known to attack a queen bee with their ftings. If, how ever, more than eighteen hours have elapfed before the stranger queen be introduced, the has fome chance to escape: the bees do at first seize and confine her; but lefs rigidly; and they foon begin to disperse, and at length leave her to reign over a hive in which fhe was at firft treated as a prifoner. If twenty-four hours have elapfed, the ftranger will be well received from the first, and at once admitted to the fovereignty of the hive. In fhort, it appears that the bees when deprived of their queen, are thrown into great agitation; that they wait about twenty hours, apparently in hopes of her return; but that after this interregnum, the agitation ceafes; and they fet about fupplying their lofs by beginning to conftruct royal cells. It is when they are in this temper, and not fooner, that a ftranger queen will be graciously received: and upon her being prefented to them, the royal cells, in whatever ftate of forwardnefs they may happen to be, are instantly abandoned, and the larvae deftroyed. Réaumeur mult therefore have mistaken the refult of his own experiments, when he afferts, that a ftranger queen is inftantly well received, though prefented at the moment when the other is withdrawn. He had feen the bees crowding around her at the entrance of the hive, and laying their antenne over her; and this he feems to have taken for careffing. The ftructure of the hives he employed, prevented him from feeing further: had he ufed the leaf-hive, or one of fimilar construction, he would have perceived that the apparent careffes of the guards were only the prelude of actual imprisonment.
It is well known, that after the feafon of fwarming, a general maffacre of the drones is commenced. Several authors affert in their writings, that the workers do not fting the drones to death, but merely harass them till they be banished from the hive and perish. M. Huber contrived a glafs table, on which he placed feveral hives, and he was thus able to fee diftinctly what paffed in the bottom of the hive, which is generally dark and concealed: he witnessed a real and furious maflacre of the males, the workers thrusting their flings fo deep into the bodies of the defenceless drones, that they were obliged to turn on themselves as on a pivot, before they could extricate them. The work of death commenced in all the hives much about the fame time. It is not, however, by a blind or indifcriminating inftine that the workers are impelled thus to facrifice the males; for if a hive be deprived of its queen, no masfacre of the males takes place in it, while the hottest perfecution rages in all the furrounding hives. In this cafe, the males are allowed to furvive over winter. Mr Bonner had obferved this fact; he fuppofed, however, that the workers thus tolerated the drones for the fake of the additional heat they generated in the hive; but we