Thomas White Woodbury

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Woodbury's Bar and Frame Hive with the Lid Elevated Woodbury Hive01.jpg
Woodbury's Bar and Frame Hive with the Lid Elevated
Charles Darwin's letter in the "Bienen Zeitung" Thomas White Woodbury 1862 Bienen F1718a 001.jpg
Charles Darwin's letter in the "Bienen Zeitung"

Thomas White Woodbury (1818–1871) was an English journalist and beekeeper, devoting himself entirely to beekeeping from 1850 onwards after the death of his son. He was responsible for introducing Ligurian or Italian bees to Britain in 1859.

Italian bee subspecies of the western honey bee (Apis mellifera)

Apis mellifera ligustica is the Italian bee which is a subspecies of the western honey bee.

In 1859 Woodbury imported a yellow Ligurian queen from Mr Hermann in Switzerland. She arrived by train on 3 August in a rough deal box with about a thousand worker bees. Woodbury had prepared an 8-bar hive, including four frames of honey and pollen plus one empty comb, and he gently shook the newcomers into this. Then he took a skep of local black bees weighing 34.5 pounds and shook them out in clusters on four cloths spread out on the grass; helped by his friend Mr Fox. He found and took out the queen, before placing the hive with Ligurian queen and bees over the shaken bees. Alas they fought, and in the morning there were many dead bees, but he hoped for the best. By 17 August, great loads of pollen were going in, and he knew that the first queen from outside Britain had been introduced. When he wrote about this in the Cottage Gardener he had letters from all over the country asking for stocks from this queen for next year, so at once he telegraphed for two more queens (one for Mr Fox) and they arrived on 27 August having been four days on the way. Although most of the bees were dead, each package had their queen still living, and each queen was successfully introduced to a colony.

Ron Brown - "Great Masters of Beekeeping"
Ligurian or Italian bee Honeybee-27527-1.jpg
Ligurian or Italian bee

Woodbury held strong views on the superiority of Ligurian bees over the native Old English Black bee (A. m. mellifera). An article by him published in the “Bath and West of England Agricultural Journal” in 1862.

From my strongest Ligurian stock I took eight artificial swarms in the spring, besides depriving it of numerous brood combs. Finding in June that the bees were collecting honey so fast that the queen could not find an empty cell in which to lay an egg, I was reluctantly compelled to put on a super. When this had been filled with 38 lbs. of the finest honeycomb, l removed it, and as the stock hive, a very large one, could not contain the multitude of bees which issued from the super, I formed them into another very large artificial swarm. The foregoing facts speak for themselves; but as information on this point has been very generally asked, I have no hesitation in saying that l believe the Ligurian honey-bee to be infinitely superior in every respect to the only species that we have hitherto been acquainted with.

Thomas White Woodbury

He further developed the Langstroth hive design of Rev. L.L. Langstroth, which featured a movable frame around the bee space. [1] His version was known as the 'Woodbury Hive' and was marketed on his behalf by George Neighbour & Sons, the London specialists in beekeeping supplies. He was a regular contributor under the name of “A Devonshire Beekeeper” to the "Cottage Gardener", "Journal of Horticulture", "Gardeners’ Chronicle", and "The Times".

Langstroth hive

In modern beekeeping, a Langstroth hive is any vertically modular beehive that has the key features of vertically hung frames, a bottom board with entrance for the bees, boxes containing frames for brood and honey and an inner cover and top cap to provide weather protection. In a Langstroth hive, the bees build honeycomb into frames, which can be moved with ease. The frames are designed to prevent bees from attaching honeycombs where they would either connect adjacent frames, or connect frames to the walls of the hive. The movable frames allow the beekeeper to manage the bees in a way which was formerly impossible.

L. L. Langstroth American beekeeper

Rev. Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth was an American apiarist, clergyman and teacher, and considered to be the father of American beekeeping. He created the modern day Langstroth hive.

Woodbury lived at 17 Lower Mount Radford Terrace, Exeter, in Devon, and was the son of W. H. Woodbury, a linguist and part-owner of the "Exeter and Plymouth Gazette". Thomas played an active role in the management of the newspaper, before concentrating on the study of bees.

Some of the earliest Italian bees were sent from England to Australia at the request of Edward Wilson (1813-1878), president of the 'Acclimatization Society of Victoria'. The bees left England in September 1862, spending 79 days at sea in Woodbury hives before landing at Melbourne. [2]

Edward Wilson was an English-Australian journalist and philanthropist.

Charles Darwin's enquiry about possible varieties of honeybee in Germany, landed on the desk of Woodbury, who at the time was editor of the bee section of the "Journal of Horticulture", and was forwarded by him to the German journal "Bienen Zeitung" in 1862. [3] The following year Woodbury suggested to Darwin that it might be interesting to compare the cell sizes of Apis indica with those of the European species. [4]

Charles Darwin British naturalist, author of "On the origin of species, by means of natural selection"

Charles Robert Darwin, was an English naturalist, geologist and biologist, best known for his contributions to the science of evolution. His proposition that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors is now widely accepted, and considered a foundational concept in science. In a joint publication with Alfred Russel Wallace, he introduced his scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection, in which the struggle for existence has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding.

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Buckfast bee

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Worker bee female bee with blocked reproductive capacity

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Hive frame structural element in a beehive

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This page is a glossary of beekeeping.

In beekeeping, the Demaree method is a swarming prevention method. It was first published by George Demaree (1832–1915) in an article in the American Bee Journal in 1892. Demaree also described a swarm prevention method in 1884, but that was a two-hive system that is unrelated to modern "demareeing".

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Langstroth Cottage

Langstroth Cottage is a historic building on the Western College campus of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. It was designated a National Historic Landmark on June 22, 1976. The cottage, built in 1856, is now the home for the Oxford office of the Butler County Regional Transit Authority. It was purchased for Beekeeper L. L. Langstroth in 1859, and he lived there for the next 28 years, conducting research and breeding honey bees.

Charles Butler, sometimes called the Father of English Beekeeping, was a logician, grammarist, author, priest, and an influential beekeeper. He was also an early proponent of English spelling reform. He observed that bees produce wax combs from scales of wax produced in their own bodies; and he was among the first to assert that drones are male and the queen female, though he believed worker bees lay eggs.

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