Some Giants in Beekeeping



A Beekeeping Hall of Fame        

Charles Butler

Charles Butler wrote the famous "The Feminine Monarchie, Or The Historie of Bees".  In this book he clearly identifies the monarch as a female queen and the drone as a male bee.  This book remains today 400 years later as a testament to his observations and understanding of honey bees. Unfortunately we have no photograph of Butler.

Francois Huber   

Francois Huber  wrote "Nouvelles Observations."He is the "father of modern bee science."  Although he was blind, he had the able assistance of a servant by the name of  Francis Burnens.  Burnens ways Hubers eyes and ears and as Huber said of him, "I judged readily, from his remarks upon our readings and through the consequences which he knew how to draw, that he was comprehending them as well as I, and that he was born with the talents of an observer.

Huber's letters describe the many experiments carried out and his interest in the truth.  A review of the topics in his book indicate the length to which he investigated all writings and statements regarding honey bees.  He repeated experiments to see if the results could be duplicated by himself and others.   He established the truth about bee science.

Dr. Dzierzon

Dr. Dzierzon, was the discovered of Parthogenesis in Queen-Bees. He wrote "Dzierzon's Rational Bee-Keeping".  From 1854 to 1856 he published a monthly journal, The Silesian Bee-Friend. He wrote in the German language and is often referred to as German, but was of Polish descent and nationality.



  Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth

  The "father of American Apiculture."  No one single person has had more influence on modern day beekeeping practices than L.L. Langstroth.  His book, Langstroth on the Hive and Honey-bee, published in May of 1853 described his observation of the bee space and illustrated his patent hive which had removable frames.    This hive is universally used in many parts of the world today.

  Langstroth patented his hive but never realized the profit of his patent.   It was a simple idea that could be copied by anyone getting a plan of his hive.  And it was widely copied.   

His book has had a profound influence of the "Art and Science of beekeeping."  The management of honey bees could be conducted by anyone with his improved hive.

  .   A. I. Root                        

 When A.I. Root turned his energy to doing something, it  resulted in an effort that included asking for the Lord's help.  He was a devout Christian and this can be read on almost any page of his "Our Homes."  

He provided the beekeeping public with outstanding quality bee equipment.  He would settle for no less.  He was a leader in the early bee package industry and the A.I. Root Company for many years raised queens and sold bees in addition to the equipment listed in their catalog.   He was a prolific writer and filled pages of "Gleanings in Bee Culture" with lessons learned from the bees on a variety of topics.    One of the best general books on bee practices was his creation of the "A B C of Bee Culture".   It was later named, " The ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture."  It continues to be updated and revised on a regular basis to this date.  

Charles Dadant

  Contributed articles on beekeeping to numerous bee journals--- American and European.  He was the founder of Dadant and Sons which kept many bee yards and established a manufacturing firm of bee supplies and equipment.   Dadant acquired The American Bee Journal  and Dadant and Sons have published it since.  He  translated Langstroth's Hive and Honey-Bee into French so the rest of the world would learn of Langstroth's contributions to beekeeping. 

 He strived to import Italian bees into the United States and according to ABC in Bee Culture 1890,  he succeeded by shipping 250 to the United States in 1874.  He was not the first to bring Italian queens into the United States but he was always seeking a better way to keep bees.  Just as he had begun with the old European "eke" he quickly abandoned that kind of beekeeping for the modern Langstroth hive concept.


  Brother Adam 

Brother Adam is known as the man in search of the perfect bee.  In 1950 he set out to gather/collect queens for bee research.  He was seeking out isolated pure strains.  It is lucky for our generation that this project was carried out at that time.  Due to ease of travel, much cross breeding has occurred among many strain of bees.

Brother Adam is best known for the development of the "Buckfast" stain of bees.  It exhibited the characteristics that Brother Adam was seeking.

However, one of the results of his study/collection  is lesser known and extremely valuable to those who study the morphometric data of Apis mellifera.   As a result of his collections, the morphometric data bank of the Institute of Apicultural Research Oberusal, University of Frankfurt  added valuable honeybee samples which are no longer available in consequence of later hybridization. 

. Moses Quinby  wpe37463.gif (140620 bytes)

 The father of Commercial beekeeping in the United States.  He wrote "Mysteries of Bee-Keeping Explained".   Quinby was a practical beekeeper.   His influence was based upon his practical experience as a beekeeper.   He lived in the transition from the box hive without moveable frames to the Langstroth hive.  Rather than stick with the old methods then in use, he developed his own hive -- called a Quinby hive. The Quinby hive has since disappeared from modern use, but the practical advice he gave to beekeepers still remains as valid as ever.  

In the words of A.I. Root, "His investigating mind had plenty of scope for operation and he made a diligent study of bees and their habits."

  Francesco De Hruschka wpe72779.gif (134682 bytes)

 One will not find much about Francesco De Hruschka other than a line or two in modern bee books.  Usually with a simple statement such as  " The principle that honey could be removed from a comb with centrifugal forces was discovered by Major F. Hruschka of Italy in 1865."  However, that simple principle is responsible for the huge honey industry the world sees today.  It required the standard frame that Langstroth introduced and has done much to standardize equipment size as anything.  The idea was quickly seized by American beekeepers.  In Charles Dadant's words, "As soon as we heard of the discovery, we had a machine made. .... It worked to our satisfaction and we became convinced, by actual trial, of the great gain which could be obtained, by returning the empty combs to the bees."

 A.J. Cook  

The author of "The Bee-Keepers' Guide; or Manual of the Apiary."  In 1866 he was appointed instructor at Michigan Agricultural College and in 1868 Professor of Entomology and Zoology.  He became one of the first great teachers of bee culture on the college level.  His book began as a course of lectures which he gave at the college.  He wrote many articles for the bee journals of his day.  The demand for his book was so great, that from 1876 with the first publication,  the 10th edition was required by 1884.  A.J. Cook was not only a great teacher but a practical beekeeper in his own right.    It was during this period of time that many different hives were still being used and Cook was an advocate for the Gallup frame which was 11 1/4 inches square.  He said, "the reason I prefer this form are, that the comb seldom breaks from the frame, the frames are convenient for nuclei and save the expense of constructing extra nucleus hives, and these frames permit the most compact arrangement for winter and spring, and thus enable us to economize heat."  He is recognized for his wise counsel and advice to beekeepers and the major impact these teachings had on modern day beekeeping.

Dr. C.C. Miller.

Like Quinby, he is one of the few who actually made a living from bees. By 1878 he made beekeeping his sole business.   He was very practical and as a naturalist, when he took up beekeeping as a hobby in 1861, he began the long journey that would lead to the articles and books he wrote on the subject.

He was a popular speaker at bee meetings and all who knew him say of him that  he was of a jolly good nature.  His book, "Fifty Years Among the Bees," is one of the classic bee books.  His influence on bee management continues to this day.


Dr. Walter C. Rothenbuhler

Dr. Rothenbuhler discovered that honey bee behavior had a genetic basis.  He is the author of a large number of papers dealing with two strains of honey bees.  One of these strains was very likely to have American foulbrood because of poor house cleaning   -- not removing dead larva from cells in a timely fashion and the other was a strain that had good house cleaning habits -- removing dead larva from cells and being  resistant to American foulbrood.