Perhaps the biggest thing the Doctor ever did for bee culture was to show to the world the real nature of European foul brood. He blazed the way in perfecting a new cure for that disease—a cure that is accepted today. Alexander furnished the basis for the treatment, and S. House, Camillus, N. He also showed that a resistant stock of Italians would go a long way in curing the disease and keeping it out of the apiary. But the ideas advanced above by Alexander and House were so revolutionary that there were but very few who took any stock in them. Only too well do I remember how I was criticised for publishing these false doctrines.
But it was not until Dr.
Miller had tried them out and had proved that they were along right lines that the beekeeping world began to take notice. The good Doctor went further than either Alexander or House in showing the true nature of the disease, and, possibly, how it spreads. When, therefore, Dr. Miller introduced these new methods of treatment the whole of beedom turned right about face. Later work by Dr. Phillips and his assistants proved the soundness of Dr. Miller, later on, brought out, if he did not invent, a plan for uniting bees with a sheet of newspaper.
The plan is very simple and effective. He moved the weaker of the two colonies to be united and placed it on top of the stronger one. Between the two stories was placed a sheet of newspaper with or without a small hole punched in it. The bees would gradually unite thru this paper; and because the uniting was so gradual there would be no fighting and less returning of the moved bees to their old stand.
Miller would have been great in any line of work or profession. Had he stayed in music his fame would have gone over the world, I verily believe; and if he had kept on in the practice of medicine he would have advanced the profession materially. Even in the early days he said people did not need medicine so much as they needed common sense in treating their bodies. Fifty years ago he believed that hygiene, plenty of water inside and out, rest, and temperance in eating, are far more important than drugs.
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Our best doctors today would testify that he was fifty years ahead of his time. The modern schools of medicine are advocating less drugs and more hygiene, plenty of good air and water. When Dr. Miller was going thru college he did not know that he could overwork, but soon found that he was burning the candle at both ends. He came out of college a full-fledged graduate with several hundred dollars to the good, but with health broken. All his life he had to be careful what he ate, as a consequence. He was always obliged rigidly to deny himself, but the result was that he kept himself active in mind and body.
He was not only a great teacher but a great healer. This little sketch would be incomplete, were I not to refer to a very admirable and dominant characteristic in Dr. Miller—that temperament or quality in his nature that makes the world delightful and everything lovely—so much so that it showed out not only in his face but in his writings. I think some of the happiest times of my life have been spent in Dr. Not only did he carry optimism thru the printed page, but we found it at the breakfast-table and all thru the day without a break.
He went further. His conversation was one ripple of merriment thruout. He never ridiculed, but he could see the funny things of life, and sometimes I have come away from his table sore from laughter. He had the habit of taking one by conversational surprise, and would have him holding his sides almost before he knew it. I said to him 30 years ago: Doctor, I wish there were some way by which you might reproduce those breezy remarks you make at conventions and in your home—those little sidelines that are so helpful and seem like a drink of cold water on a hot day.
Is it not possible that you could send Gleanings a page or two of short items of general comment each month? He liked the idea; but for a title he suggested that Stray Straws would be much more appropriate. That would be more in line with his ability, he said. Our older and younger readers know how well he succeeded in giving us Stray Straws. They were really kernels of wheat. Years ago at some of the conventions there was more or less strife; and well do I remember that Dr. In this respect he and Prof. Cook were without a peer. He said to a group of us: You have asked me to pour oil on the troubled waters.
The job is too big for me, boys. But I will try my best if you will offer a prayer that only good may prevail —and it did. This brings me to another important side of Dr. Come what might, with him all was well. There came a time when, thru some mismanagement on the part of others, he lost a considerable part of his savings. With a sweet spirit of resignation he wrote: I have not lost all. I have my good wife and my sister.
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I have a few years of vigorous life left to me yet. I have in prospect a good crop of honey.
The Lord has always taken care of me, and I am not worried over the future. Miller was written by Dr. Phillips, in charge of Bee Culture Investigations, U. Miller and Dr. Phillips were close and cherished friends to each other.
The life and work of Dr. Miller were a benefit to the beekeeping of America and of the whole world which can be measured accurately only in after years. Those of us who have had the pleasure of laboring in this field while he was making his contributions to the science and art of beekeeping know well that in many ways we are indebted to him, but it will take time for the proper weighing of his life in terms of helpfulness to fellow beekeepers.
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One can now do no more than to express feebly a sense of personal loss and to tell a few of the more outstanding benefits from his work. One thing is clear: there has been no beekeeper of the past half century who was his superior. Beginning in and until his death, Doctor Miller was interested in bees, a record of prolonged activity in this vocation rarely if ever equalled.
Since it was his sole business. Naturally his earliest beekeeping was unimportant, but in he made his first contribution to the beekeeping press and for fifty years his writings have formed an important part of our literature. Even the editors of the bee journals have not contributed more to the current literature than did he, and probably he wrote he wrote more copy than did any other writer of the time.
His writings are distinguished by accurate diction, clarity, humor, and sympathy. To discuss in detail the investigations that Doctor Miller carried on in beekeeping would virtually be to write a history of beekeeping of the past half century, for there have been no important discoveries or events of that period in which he did not play some part.
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He began beekeeping before the days of the comb-honey section and lived until the time when extracted honey largely replaced comb honey. The period of comb-honey production brought forth the keenest work in beekeeping practices of any period in beekeeping, for all the problems are greatly intensified in comb-honey production. Naturally we do not give to Doctor Miller credit for all the brilliant work of this period, but all must admit that no man of the time made more important contributions to comb-honey production than he did.
In his first book, A Year Among the Bees, he recognizes the two great problems of that and of the present day as follows: If I were to meet a man perfect in the entire science and art of beekeeping, and were allowed from him an answer to just one question, I would hesitate somewhat whether to ask him about swarming or wintering. I think, however, I would finally ask for the best and easiest way to prevent swarming, for one who is anxious to secure the largest crop of comb honey.
Fifty Years Among the Bees by C.C. Miller
His later books contain almost the same phrasing, except that he omits mention of the winter problem, indicating clearly that during the comb-honey period swarm control stood out above all other problems in importance. In the brilliant work on this subject he had no superior and to his work we go for the methods which finally won out. However, comb-honey production, and the small colonies incident to the beekeeping methods of that period, brought on the wintering problem acutely, and in this work also he excelled.
A careful study of his writings reveals a knowledge of the needs of the bees during the winter, and his results were better than those of most other beekeepers of the time. Altho comb honey is passing, until recently Doctor Miller continued to produce it, and as late as at the age of 83 he broke all records of per colony production of sections.