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To Bienen Zeitung 1   18 June 1862

Es sollte mir sehr angenehm sein, wenn Herr Pfarrer Dzierzon,2 oder ein anderer erfahrener Correspondent der Bienenzeitung, die Güte haben würde, zu erklären, ob bei den ordinären Bienen (apis mellifica), welche in den verschiedenen Gegenden Deutschlands gehalten werden, ein merklicher Unterschied stattfindet oder nicht. Ein aufmerksamer Naturforscher und Geistlicher sowohl als Gärtner behauptete vor einigen Jahren, daß gewisse Brut der Bienen kleiner sei als andere und daß in der Gemüthsart der Bienen ein Unterschied stattfinde.3 Dieser Geistliche erklärte ferner, daß die wilden Bienen in gewissen Wäldern Englands kleiner als die gewöhnlichen zahmen Bienen seien. Mons. Godson, ein gelehrter französischer Naturforscher, sagt ebenfalls, daß im Süden Frankreichs die Bienen grösser als anderswo seien und daß beim Vergleich gewisser Stöcke ein geringer Unterschied in der Farbe des Haars entdeckt werden kann.4

Ich hoffe, daß einige erfahrene Beobachter, welche die Bienen in den verschiedenen Orten Deutschlands gesehen haben, darthun werden, inwieweit die vorstehenden Bemerkungen begründet sind.5

Bromley, Kent, England 18/6 62.

Charles Darwin.

Footnotes

For a translation of this letter, see Correspondence vol. 10, Appendix I. CD sent a slightly different version of this inquiry to the Journal of Horticulture (letter to Journal of Horticulture, [before 10 June 1862]). It was Thomas White Woodbury, one of the editors of the bee section of the Journal of Horticulture, who forwarded CD’s letter to the editors of the Bienen Zeitung (Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener n.s. 3 (1862): 463).
The reference is to the renowned German beekeeper, Johannes Dzierzon.
The reference has not been traced.
‘Godson’ is a misspelling; the reference is to Godron 1859, 1: 459. There is an annotated copy of this work in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 331).
A reply from Dzierzon was published in the Bienen Zeitung 18 (1862): 145–6. CD’s query also elicited a response from Georg Kleine (Bienen Zeitung 18 (1862): 206–7). These replies were translated into English and published in the Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener n.s. 3 (1862): 463–4 and 642–3. In Variation 1: 298, referring to Dzierzon’s reply to this letter, CD stated: ‘The great apiarian Dzierzon … says that in Germany bees of some stocks are decidedly dark, whilst others are remarkable for their yellow colour. Bees also seem to differ in habits in different districts’. CD also summarised Kleine’s reply (ibid., p. 298 n. 59): ‘though there is some variability in colour, no constant or perceptible differences can be detected in the bees of Germany’.

Bibliography

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Godron, Dominique Alexandre. 1859. De l’espèce et des races dans les êtres organisés et spécialement de l’unité de l’espèce humaine. 2 vols. Paris: J. B. Baillière.

Marginalia: Charles Darwin’s marginalia. Edited by Mario A. Di Gregorio with the assistance of Nicholas W. Gill. Vol. 1. New York and London: Garland Publishing. 1990.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.

Translation

To Bienen Zeitung 1   18 June 1862

It would please me greatly, if the Reverend Dzierzon,2 or another experienced correspondent of the Bienenzeitung, would be kind enough to clarify whether or not a noticeable difference occurs in the ordinary bee (apis mellifera) kept in various regions of Germany. An observant naturalist and clergyman, as well as gardener, claimed a few years ago that certain broods of bees were smaller than others, and that the bees differed in behaviour.3 This clergyman stated further that the wild bees in certain English forests were smaller than the usual tame ones. Mons. Godson, a learned French naturalist said, also, that in southern France the bees were larger than elsewhere, and that in comparing certain hives a slight difference in the colour of the hair can be detected.4

I hope that some experienced observers who have seen bees in various parts of Germany will establish to what extent the foregoing reports are well founded.5

Bromley, Kent, England 18/6 62.

Charles Darwin.

Footnotes

For the transcription of this letter in its original German, see pp. 257–8. CD sent a slightly different version of this inquiry to the Journal of Horticulture (letter to Journal of Horticulture, [before 10 June 1862]). It was Thomas White Woodbury, one of the editors of the bee section of the Journal of Horticulture, who forwarded CD’s letter to the editors of the Bienen Zeitung (Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener n.s. 3 (1862): 463).
The reference is to the renowned German beekeeper Johannes Dzierzon.
The reference has not been traced.
‘Godson’ is a misspelling; the reference is to Godron 1859, 1: 459. There is an annotated copy of this work in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 331).
A reply from Dzierzon was published in the Bienen Zeitung 18 (1862): 145–6. CD’s query also elicited a response from Georg Kleine (Bienen Zeitung 18 (1862): 206–7). These replies were translated into English and published in the Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener n.s. 3 (1862): 463–4 and 642–3. In Variation 1: 298, referring to Dzierzon’s reply to this letter, CD stated: ‘The great apiarian Dzierzon … says that in Germany bees of some stocks are decidedly dark, whilst others are remarkable for their yellow colour. Bees also seem to differ in habits in different districts’. CD also summarised Kleine’s reply (p. 298, n. 59): ‘though there is some variability in colour, no constant or perceptible differences can be detected in the bees of Germany’.

Bibliography

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Godron, Dominique Alexandre. 1859. De l’espèce et des races dans les êtres organisés et spécialement de l’unité de l’espèce humaine. 2 vols. Paris: J. B. Baillière.

Marginalia: Charles Darwin’s marginalia. Edited by Mario A. Di Gregorio with the assistance of Nicholas W. Gill. Vol. 1. New York and London: Garland Publishing. 1990.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.

Summary

Asks experienced observers whether there are any marked differences between bees kept in different parts of Germany.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-3610
From
Charles Robert Darwin
To
Bienen Zeitung
Sent from
Down
Source of text
Bienen Zeitung 18 (1862): 145
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3610,” accessed on 17 September 2021, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-3610.xml

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10

letter