honey hives bees united
HONEY-FARMING Ix AMERICA. - So rapid of late years has been the development of bee-keeping in the United States, that the taking of steps to secure the fullest and most accurate details with respect to that industry has been deemed necessary by the commissioners of agriculture. It has been estimated by several intelligent bee-keepersthat there am in the -United States 700,000 hives of bees, owned by 35,000 people, of whom at least 30,000 are farmers possessing on an average not more than 3 hives each, the remaining 5000 being professional apiarians. Nr G. Al. Doolittle, of Borodino, N.Y., on the Auburn branch of the New York Central Railway, obtained in 1877 an average of 100 lb of honey apiece from his hives, and from one of them the exceptionally large yield of 700 lb. It is not unreasonable to say that the hives in the United States afford each a net supply of about 50 lb of surplus honey, which, selling at 20 cents (10d.) per lb, returns a good profit to the owners. All American honey is classed by the apiculturist according to the plants from which it is deriv(d. It is only in rare cases that pasturage is specially cultivated for the bees. In the States east of the Rocky Mountains there, are three chief sources of honey. Those which yield the most delicately flavoured and whitest and therefore most valuable commodity (see above) arc, first, the immense forests of basswood, the honey from which has perhaps a slight minty flavour, and, secondly, white clover grass, cultivated throughout the States for hay and stock pasture, which furnishes a honey pronounced by competent judges superior to that of the world-renow tied Ilymettns. Bees having access to both basswood and white clover frequently store the hooey from each in the same cells. The third and often richest source of supply is buckwheat, which blossoms after the basswood and white clover have ceased to yield. The pungent honey obtained therefrom, though by its dark colour rendered unsuitable for the table, is greatly valued for manufacturing purposes, more especially in the brewing of fine beer, since it forms a perfectly clear solution, ferments well, and is richer in saccharine matter than the glucose commonly employed by brewers, which moreover is apt to be contaminated with the acids employed in its preparation. Buckwheat honey is also accounted a good remedy in bronchial affections, and is therefore in request for the making, of cough mixtures. The day is probably not far distant when the refining of the large quantities of dark honey which are harvested will be undertaken on an extensive scale.
For the successful prosecution of bee-keeping energy and perseverance, as well as experience and considerable capital, are requisite. There are not more than four bee-keepers in the United States who own so many as 2500 or 3000 hives. The largest apiaries are the property of :Mr J. S. Harbison of California. They are six in number, and situated within easy patrol distance from one another in the extreme south-west corner of the United States, in a narrow strip of country known as the " bee-belt'' of California, which enjoys the soft and equable climate of the Pacific want. Timber in this region is confined to the bottoms near running streams, and to the cannons, the valleys and hill-sides being covered with stunted brushwood and an abundant growth of white sage, - an herb similar to the garden sage, and not to be confounded with the sagebrush of Nevada and Utah, which is a species of wormwood, - sumaeli, and other flowering plants. These bloom iine months in the year, but are most luxuriant in May and June. The white sage affords a honey comparable to that obtained from the basswood of the eastern States. The Californian honey, owing to the innocuous nature of the flowers from which it is procured, is devoid of the colic-producing properties ascribed to some other varieties of honey. Mr Harbison employs fifteen men in his apiaries, and is reaping rich profits from very many thousands of acres useless for ordinary purposes. Active operations begin in February, and in March ur April the bees swarm. The taking of the honey commences usually about May 20th. From the early pert of August till as late as October the flowers provide no more honey than is just sufficient for the subsistence of the bees. When October has begun. though the air is still mild, the bees cease to work, becoming semi-dormant, except for an hour or two every eight or ten days, when they fly near their hives in the sunshine. The fact that honey until the middle of the 16th cemtury was the only sweet in general use, and that the aggregate annual consumption of sugar is now from 2 to millions of tons, points to the conclusion that apicniture, if skilfully and extensively conducted, might ere long become productive of results of very high importance to commerce. For further information regarding American honey-farming sec The American Bee Journal, The Bee-Keepers' Exchauge, Gleanings in Bee Culhire, and The Bee-Keepers' Magazine.