Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/562

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practical importance. There are, however, some early spring flowers giving honey which is useful in stimulating brood-rearing in the hives, without which there is no hope of any surplus. We will first name some of these plants.

The practical bee-keeper knows that his hopes of obtaining honey all depend upon his having his hives full of bees when the "flow" comes. Brood is produced in quantity only when some honey can be obtained from flowers then in bloom. Hence the importance to the apiarist of the early blooming flowers.

The willows of several species, and the silver and red maples, blossom in March and April, depending upon the season. They yield both honey and pollen, and whenever the days are warm enough the bees constantly visit them. If one is about his apiary on warm days in March and April, he will notice the bees coming in with pollen even at times when no flowers have been observed. At such times they doubtless have found blossoms on some warm bank and are making good use of them. The poplar trees also bloom in April, a little later than the willows. Reference is here had to the true aspen poplars, not the tulip poplar. The dandelion and strawberry blossoms are much visited by bees. Later, about the first of May, we have the sugar maple and the blossoms of the fruit trees—the peach, cherry, plum, apple, pear, quince, etc. These all yield honey and pollen. During some warm and early springs, in very strong colonies, honey may possibly be stored which has been gathered from the fruit blossoms, but, as our seasons average, the honey from our fruit trees goes altogether to stimulate brood-rearing. The locust trees (both the honey and the black locust) blossom after the fruit trees and before the white clover. Surplus is seldom stored from these blossoms, though they are good honey producers. Their honey goes to produce more brood or to feed the colony until the clover comes. We next consider plants which produce surplus honey. These for the Atlantic States are few in number.

Of the plants which produce surplus honey the white clover is first named. This plant grows spontaneously throughout the whole region. In the well-cultivated sections it is almost the only honey-producing plant left on which the apiarist can any longer depend. It begins to blossom in June and continues on into July. The honey from this plant is the whitest and finest produced. It is entirely free from any peculiar or offensive taste or odor, and is a general favorite.

In the more northern States the red raspberry commences to blossom a little later than the white clover. This is a valuable honey plant of which bee-keepers in the South are deprived. This honey is considered by many to be fully equal to that of the white clover. In July the basswood blossoms. This tree yields