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CHAPTER XIX FILMING THE BEES
There was an instant scramble on the part of the school children. They made a rush for the door.

"Stop! Keep still—you're spoiling the scene!" cried Mr. Pertell, fairly hopping about in his excitement.

The humming sound came nearer, and there was more haste on the part of the youngsters to leave the schoolroom. The players, on the other hand, seemed to feel no alarm; but there was no use in going on with their parts if the others did not carry out the scene.

"Stop! Stop!" cried the manager. "There's no danger!"

"No danger!" cried the red-haired boy who had given the alarm. "What d'ye call that! Wow!" and he slapped the back of his neck vigorously.

"I'm stung!" he yelled.

"So'm I!" cried a girl near him.

"Me, too!" exclaimed another boy.

The humming sound was much louder now, and several small insects could be seen flying about the room.

"I guess we'd better get out of this!" cried Russ, as he prepared to abandon his camera.

"It would be best," advised the teacher. "There is a swarm of bees outside, and some of them are in here. They may sting all of us."

"Well, this is a new one—a moving picture spoiled by bees!" cried Mr. Pertell. "I never——"

"One got me!" interrupted Mr. Sneed. "I knew something would happen. If there's anything going I get it—from bulldogs to bees!"

He began rubbing vigorously at his cheek, where a bee had saluted him too ardently.

"Come on—everybody out!" ordered Mr. Pertell, making slaps at a bee that was buzzing angrily around his head. There was no need to give this direction to the school children, for they were already outside, and now the teacher hastened out, while the moving picture players lost no time in following her example.

"Ouch! One got me that time!" cried Paul, who was hurrying out at the side of Alice.

"Did it hurt much?" she asked.

"Not much now; but it will more, later," he said, as he examined his wrist to see if the bee's sting had been left in, as that would make an ugly sore. "I've been stung several times before, and when it swells up, and itches, then it's really bad. Let's go find a mud puddle."

"What in the world for?" she asked curiously.

"Mud is the best thing for a bee sting when you can't get ammonia," Paul explained. "Just plaster some mud on, and it draws out the pain. I don't know the theory, except that when a bee stings you he injects some sort of acid poison under the skin. Mud and ammonia are alkalies, and are opposed to acid, so the chemists say."

"Then I'll help you look for a mud puddle," she said.

There was considerable excitement now, for a number of the school children had been stung, and one or two of the players.

"That's the idea—mud!" cried Sandy, as he saw what Paul was doing. "Bring the children over here, Miss Arthur," he said to the pretty school teacher, "and we'll help doctor 'em."

"Oh, thank you," she answered. "Here, children, over this way."

Soon a number of the little tots were gathered about her, and Ruth and Alice, who offered to help doctor their stings. Miss Pennington and Miss Dixon, who had come to watch the film being made, had, at the first alarm, gone far enough off so that they were in no danger of being stung.

The bees, in a big cloud, were flying slowly about the school, only a comparatively few having entered the window to rout the pupils. Suddenly Russ darted back into the building.

"What are you going to do?" asked Mr. Pertell, who was fretting over the spoiling of the school scene film.

"I'm going to get my camera," he called back over his shoulder. "I'm going to make a film of this. Look, there comes the bee man after his swarm."

Across the field came running several men, and one of them carried a dishpan on which he was vigorously beating with an iron spoon.

Another had a dinner bell which he clanged constantly.

"Great Scott!" cried Mr. Pertell, "What does all this mean?"

"They're trying to make the swarm settle, so they can put 'em back in a hive," explained Sandy. "You see, a swarm of bees is valuable this time of year. There's an old saying, 'a swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay; a swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon; but a swarm in July ain't worth a fly.' That means a swarm in May will make enough honey to be worth a load of hay, more or less, but in July th' season is so far gone that th' bees won't make more than enough for themselves durin' th' winter."

"I see!" said Mr. Pertell. "Well, I guess Russ has a good idea—we'll get a moving picture of them hiving the swarm. But what do the men make all that noise for?"

"Oh, there's a notion that bees will settle down in a bunch around th' queen, and not fly away if they hear a racket. I don't know whether it's true or not. Some folks spray 'em with water, and that usually fetches 'em."

Meanwhile Russ came out with the camera and began taking pictures of the odd scene. First he got pictures of Ruth, Alice and the teacher applying mud to the stings of the children.

"Well, we'll get a good film out of it, after all," said Mr. Pertell. "And we can do the school room scene over again after the excitement calms down."

Then Russ began taking pictures of the men making a noise to try and induce the bees to settle. The men themselves seemed to enjoy being filmed. They wore veils of mosquito netting, draped over their broad-brimmed hats, for they approached close to the bees, which were now flying low.

"I'd like to get a near view of these bees," said Russ, "but I don't fancy getting too close. It's no fun to be stung eight or ten times."

"I'll lend you my hat," offered one of the men and, thus protected, Russ moved his camera closer and got a fine view of the swarm of honey-making insects as they alighted on the low branch of an apple tree.

"Git the hive, now, sir!" called another of the men, and while the hive was brought up, to receive the bunch of bees when they should be knocked into it, with their queen, about whom they were clustered, Russ got a fine film of that.

Afterward Sandy explained how bees swarm. A colony of bees will permit but one queen in a hive. Sometimes, when a new one is hatched, the swarm divides, part of the bees going off with the new, or sometimes the old queen, to form a new colony.

This is called "swarming," and the idea is to capture the new swarm, and so increase your number of colonies. Sometimes the bees will go off to the woods, and make a home for themselves in a hollow tree, being thus lost to the keeper. A swarm of bees will make in a season many pounds of honey more than they need to feed themselves during the winter.

Sandy explained how faithful and devoted a colony of bees is to their queen, which is the bee that lays eggs out of which are hatched drones, or male bees, and the workers. There is a peculiar kind of honey called "queen bread," and sometimes, it is said by some, when a queen bee dies, the workers will select a "cell" containing an egg that will eventually hatch, and surround this egg with queen bread so that when the insect develops enough, it can feed on that instead of on ordinary honey.

This is said to change the character of the insect and make a queen of it to replace the one that has died. Or, if this is not done the queenless colony may merge with another that has a queen.

In order to prevent the hatching of too many queens the bee keeper will examine his hives frequently, and cut out all the "queen cells," thus preventing them from hatching and so causing the bees to swarm frequently.

They all watched while the men shook the cluster of bees into the new hive, and carried them away, Russ, meanwhile getting a fine film of the operation. Later this film was shown with much success in New York, so that, after all, the interruption of the school scene had a happy outcome. Later the little play was finished.

"Whew!" exclaimed Paul, when it was all over. "That was some going on, all right!"

"Does your sting hurt much?" asked Alice, solicitously.

"I think it would be better for some ammonia," he replied.

"I'll put some on for you when we get back to the house," she offered, "and some witch hazel, too."

"It feels better already—just with the thought of that," he answered gallantly.



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