Family in Lexington, MA, knowing that we're beekeepers, sent us an article from their church bulletin, The Buzz. Reverend Lorenzo L Langstroth was the 5th minister at South Church, Andover, Massachussetts, from 1836-1839.
It was while he was serving at South Church that Rev. Langstroth first became interested in honeybees. In 1838, while visiting a friend in Andover, he was fascinated when he observed a honeycomb under a glass dome on his friend's table. It reminded him of his childhood, so he brought home two hives that day. He was so devoted to bees that he even kept them in his 3rd floor apartment! From that point on, he studied and kept bees for the majority of his life.
His curiosity about bees only grew after he left Andover. When he began keeping bees, the primary way to harvest honey or get the honeycomb was to kill the hive. He was so dedicated to the study of bees and beekeeping that he experimented until, in 1851, he invented what's now known as the Langstroth Hive. Under careful scrutiny, he observed that bees don't attach honeycomb to frames spaced 3/8" apart. That small space is called the "bee space" and allowed him to remove and manipulate the frames without harming the bees. Although there are are other variations of hives in use all over the world, the Langstroth Hive is still the standard used today. Rev. Langstroth wrote a book in 1853 called Langstroth on the Hive and the Honey-Bee, which is still considered somewhat of a "Bee Bible," with new editions still printed regularly.
Much of the rest of Rev. Langstroth's life was overwhelming, since he suffered from "head troubles." Historians believe that these were a form of bipolar disease. Regardless, his contribution to the study and care of honeybees modernized beekeeping methods that are still in use today.
In 1951 to mark the 100th anniversary of the removable frame, The Massachussetts Federation of Beekeeper's Association presented a plaque to South Church in Andover in Langstroth's memory. The plaque hangs on the north wall of the sanctuary, and beekeepers from all over the world stop by to visit
the birthplace of beekeeping.
We'll see you this coming Tuesday, April 11th, at 6:30 pm for our monthly meeting at the Leon County Extension office on Paul Russell Rd. You're welcome to show up a little early to mingle with your fellow bee enthusiasts!