Knowledge in the field of bees diseases in the second half of nineteenth century


In 1740 Rene Reomur (1683-1757)- an inventor of a thermometer, an honorary member of St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences- in his work first mentions braula ( Braula coeca, the name was given in 1818 by Nietzsche).

Binary classification created by Linaeus Carolus (1707-1778), Swedish botanist, contributed to the establishment and development of modern botany. Numerous names of representatives of organic world were unified and had a clear notion and place in his system. Pests, destroying bees broodnests were among them and they still have Latin names given by Linaeus Carolus. In the following years his system underwent some changes. Linaeus Carolus also tried to classify diseases and created a special class of diseases and called it chaos, but this attempt was not successful.

In eighteenth and in the beginning of nineteenth century attempts to observe bees pests were made. Levi probably was the first to observe the destruction of honey combs by a bug Ptinus fur L. ( A. Borche, 1966). Information about bees ticks appeared in the first part of nineteenth century. Herman in his gives a brief description of Acarus favorum (Tyrolichus casei, Oud, 1910) found in honey comb ( Zachvatkin, 1941).

In the literature of those years ( Tesie, Shir, Vitvitsky) such diseases are mentions an bee family weakening, queen deprivation, bee stealing, starvation, cooling, comb mould. In laconic we can read : , , .

Correct bees management is paid much attention as well as it was in ancient times. In his work Rytchkov gives a systematic method of competent management of bees. (M.A. Baryshnikov, 1991). A.G Shirah writes about spring and autumn observation of bees nests which are kept in baskets. A bees nest cleaning and checking the queen's presence and the amount of feed for winter and for the rest of spring, removing mould combs, prevention of excessive humidity and overcooling, uniting of weak bee families should be undertaken. .

Culling of bee families was the main principle of beekeeping at those times and the main way of preventing bees diseases and selecting of the healthiest families. Analyzing of of the seventeenth century we can say that in winter in the result of culling 49,97 % of families were killed, and in autumn - 39,42 %. Despite Sherah's recommendations the culling in tzar's apiaries and probably on the territory of the whole Russia was held in spring. According to the notes weak families were not united or very seldom. Despite the cruel culling only 12, 16 % of bee families on average and up to 33,33 % on separate apiaries died. According to the data given by Litvitsky (1842), in the south of Russia about 2 million of bee families were killed annually after four-five years of their use in order that hollows might be used for keeping young families. Besides the cruel culling the spread of catching bees diseases was prevented by a technique of extracting honey from boxes, logs, cribs, when the first part and the second part of combs were cut with a year's interval. (Machichka, 1988). That's why infection didn't accumulate in the nest, as bees were constantly building new combs. Besides, a due attention was paid to the change of a hive. In anonymous work < To the most useful beekeeping according to the climate of Russian provinces> a piece of advice not to keep bees in a nest for more than three years is given. (1818). After this term has expired the bees should be moved to another hive and combs should be broken. (Nekrasov, 1968). Nevertheless, in spite all the recommendations, bees kept on dying. The reasons are numerous: weather conditions, economy, diseases, beekeepers' attitude towards bees. According to

of 1716 <: the summer is wet, the harvest is bad, many apiaries have been destroyed>, 1721 <:it is raining with snow in may, sheep were cold in the fields, no vegetables, apiaries destroyed >. (Borisenkov, Pasetsky, 1984). Vitvitsky describes extremely unfavo rable years for beekeeping 1834, 1836,1840,1841, when bees starved and died in large quantities. S. I . Ponomarev, who observed bee hives on landowners' apiaries wrote that he often found bees in bad conditions, without queens. some of the hives were without bees, with wax foundation in order that the landlord might not learn about bees death. In swarming season hives were inhabited by bees again. ( Rozov, 1972). Komarnitsky writes: .

Disease and pathology knowledge has been a separate area of study since ancient times. The term veterenarius as a specialist capable of curing animals was known in Ancient Rome. Places where people were treated were situated near cathedrals in countries of the Near East, Ancient Egypt and Greece. Similar places for curing animals first seem to appear in Ancient India. The second edict of Ashoka Priadarshin says: < : a favorite king Priadarshin ordered to build two types of asylums: for people and for animals. Taking into account that predominantly herbs were used for treating animals and people we can read: < If there are no suitable for treating herbs in the places of asylums, then they should be planted>.(Pishel, 1911). There were not specialization in treating bees diseases as a beekeeper had to take preventive measures and treat his bees on his own. But since the appearance of beekeeping as an industry people who specialized not only in managing and breeding bees but also in the problems of bee diseases, their symptoms and ways of treating. Schools appeared centered around such specialists and they have already existed in fifteenth century, and they became more proficient by eighteenth century. Such specialists were used in beekeeping industry. The data from the order cited from < Books of tzar's apiaries> is a good example to that: Michael Golovkin and Grigori Jakovlev (7172 (1665)) and Ivan Bunin (7173 (1666)). The latter observed apiaries himself in Belgorod region and his notes testify to the fact that he had a profound knowledge of beekeeping. Gradually the state service of beekeepers appeared, which was responsible for organizing preventive measures against spreading bees diseases. The service still exists in some English speaking countries and in Russia, but in Russia struggle against bee diseases is held with the help of veterinary specialists.


English translation © Irina Yelsukova