RECORD: Swale, W. 1858. Hive-Bees in New Zealand [a letter to Darwin]. Gardeners' Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette (13 November): 829.

REVISION HISTORY: Scanned by John van Wyhe, transcribed (single key) by AEL Data 10.2008. RN1

NOTE: See the record for this item in the Freeman Bibliographical Database by entering its Identifier here. William Swale was an English gardener who emigrated to New Zealand where he became a successful nurseryman.

[page] 829

Hive-Bees in New Zealand.—The hive bee was introduced into Wellington in 1842 and into Canterbury in 1852. In Christchurch, in the latter province, an old hive standing in a warm sheltered situation has this summer cast off six swarms during the short time of two months. English bee keepers would open their eyes with astonishment if they were out here to see the produce of a single hive. I have had the pleasure several times of partaking of the fruit of their industry, and most delicious it is. Bee keeping here is different to what it is in England. The perpetual succession of flowers, the fine warm summer, and mildness of the winter all tend to a great increase of the bees. Our management of them is very simple. We furnish them with small boxes 18 inches or 2 feet in length and a foot or 18 inches in depth, with a small aperture on the sunny side for ingress and egress. Inside the box we fix small rails across for them to commence building their combs. I have seen very severe conflicts between them and the native wasps. When a wasp approaches the hive the bees give no quarter. They soon slay their enemy and down with him. Extract of a letter to Mr. Darwin from Mr. Swale of Christchurch, New Zealand, dated July 13, 1858.

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Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

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