The Beekeeper’s Companion Since 1861
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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor – October 2022

- October 1, 2022 - (excerpt)

A California Honey Cave?

As a follow-up to my article on “The Texas Honey Caves,” I stumbled upon this from California:


“Generally, when we hear of rich strikes, it is in the gold or silver line; but this time it turns out to be honey, pure and sweet. A few days since, as the workmen on the tunnel at Cajon Pass were hauling some rocks, they came across a deposit of honey and took a pole and ran it into the mountain and were surprised to find no bottom. They got a longer pole some twenty feet long, and were unable to touch bottom with that. Upon withdrawing the pole, the honey began to run out, and soon tubs, buckets and two barrels were filled, and still it flowed. Some parties came into town and loaded up with barrels, and propose to make a business of it. They put in a charge of powder and blew off a portion of the rock, which disclosed tons upon tons of honey. Our informant states that after exploring it from below to where the bees were found to enter, it was found to be about one fourth of a mile, and in his opinion, that the whole cavity is filled with honey; he estimates over one hundred tons in sight, and believes that one thousand tons would not be an unfair estimate. This immense deposit cannot be equalled by any ever found. According to the above estimate, it would take every barrel and hogshead in San Bernardino to hold it.”

The above is from the San Bernardino Argus. It is a story rich and rare, and is being copied extensively into other journals. If it were true no doubt some of our prominent bee-keepers near that place would have given us a description of it. Will someone in that locality please let us know if there is any truth in it.


Pete Borst

L.L. Langstroth’s Hive?

I object to the opening statement in the recent article, “Thinking Outside the Box: Temperature Dynamics in a Tree Cavity, Wooden Box, and Langstroth Hives with or Without Insulation,” by Radcliffe and Seeley [August ABJ].

The introduction seems to disparage Reverend Langstroth for not paying attention to thermal mass and insulation, but if his actual design is scrutinized, we find it was a box within a box, not the thin-walled designs which today bear his name.

There was plenty of mass and dead air space for insulation. In some cases the inner box was glass, and it is easy to understand why beekeeping moved away from that.

“The original Langstroth hive had a portico entrance, integrated floor and non-removable brood box, a single removable honey box (using the same frame size as the brood box) that sat inside an outer box that extended from the brood box, and a hinged roof.”

Just as Ford may be dismayed at the cars that currently bear his name, Langstroth might be shocked at what we are calling his design today. Although current Langstroth hives do not have insulation or thermal mass, it was not his fault. The blame likely centers around manufacturing and economics.

Regardless, the value of his discovery was not the box, it was the space.

Mr. Phillip Sand Hansel II

Will Someone Please be Club President?

I reached out to the creator of the article “So You (Don’t) Wanna Be Your Club’s President?” [by Shelley Stuart, August] in a recent email. I love this article and find it very late but valuable. I sure wish I could have read it two years ago! I would like to get this article to all of my board members and even my club so they can see just how real the struggle is.

At our meeting Thursday I was talking to a couple members about how my term as President ends December 31. Our bylaws state that a president can’t serve more than 2 consecutive terms. I will have been president for 2½ years at the end of my term. (I work two jobs besides being President.) The folks sitting at the table looked at me wide-eyed and one girl said she wasn’t coming back as treasurer because she wasn’t going to have the time — and in her next breath asked me how do we revise the bylaws so I could continue to serve as president. 😲

Kat Tucker

SOWEGA Beekeepers Club
Albany, Georgia

Eugene responds

I feel your pain, Kat … I’m doing my second stint as President of my local club, and trying very hard to hand it off when my term ends October 31. No takers yet as of this writing. My first time around (2014 through 2016) I had to drop off the board to get out of it.