As a tribute to the current “colony collapse disorder” among contemporary bees,
I thought I would add a note about 19th Century bees in Albemarle County. An 1888 handbook, published to encourage “industrious farmers” to settle here, contains a chapter on “bees and honey” (pp. 48-51). William Dinwiddie’s summary describes “improved smokers,” “movable combs,” and “Italian queen bees.” He encourages everyone to get involved in beekeeping to discover the “delightful and profitable employment in it.” Moreover, he found it strange “that everyone who has a home in a region productive of honey, should not engage in its production; at least so far as to secure for his own table an abundance of this - nature’s own most delicious sweet.” So consider bee-keeping as a possible hobby this summer.