FLORIDA BEES I
I l I
STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
NATHAN MAYO. Commissioner tallahassee 1943
STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE NATHAN MAYO, Commissioner tallahassee
We are indebted to many Florida apiarists, county agents, and the publications listed under "References" for valuable data, and to the WPA Florida Writers' Project for editorial assistance in the preparation of this bulletin.
T. J. Brooks,
Assistant Com missioner,
State Department of Agriculture.
But noiv her singing sentinels Hate fumed to sleep in waxen cells, And Bill leans down his face and smells
The whole sweet summer's cargo /// one deep breath, the whole year's bloom, Lily and thy me and rose and broom, One Golden Fleece of flower-perf it me
In that old oaken Argo.
Black Bill's Honeymoon (Alfred Noyes)
FLORIDA BEES and HONEY
The tupelo honey festival of Wewahitchka is an annual event that is held in high favor by the folk of the surrounding region. What the potato is to Flastings, celery to San-ford, the cucumber to Wauchula, or strawberries to Plant City, honey is to Wewahitchka. The town ships over 1,000 barrels of the much-prized tupelo honey a year.
But there are other centers of the honey industry in Florida, Pine Castle and Umatilla among them. The former town is surrounded by large apiaries extending throughout that section of central Florida, and many Northern beekeepers bring their colonies to Umatilla or vicinity to spend the winter. Daytona Beach was an early center of the industry in Florida, while Volusia still vies with Polk County for supremacy in the field of honey production.
No one starting in the honey business can expect the best success as an apiarist until he has mastered the intricate social system of the hive and thoroughly understands his bees. Picture a community of 5 0,000 tiny creatures at blossom time, each with a specific duty to perform! There are nurses for the brood, scavangers to keep the hive clean, thousands fanning the air with their wings to make it air-conditioned, while carpenter bees chink cracks against winter winds. Some are feeding the queen, the young bees, and inside workers, or building comb of beeswax; doughty sentinels are on duty at the entrance to keep out marauders; hundreds more are adding preservative to the nectar in the comb and condensing it to honey, and others cap and seai the honey cells. While all these are employed inside the hive, an equal number of workers forage through field and woodland to bring home the precious nectar, while the queen lays eggs in brood cells built for her by the workers.
The successful apiarist must respect his bees. That they are capable of anger, and other emotions peculiar to animals higher than the insect kingdom, can hardly be denied after one has seen German black bees roll out of the hive en masse
when robbed of their honey, and sting each other or their keeper in hysterical rage. Fortunately all bees are neither so vicious nor so temperamental as the black variety. The milder-tempered Italian strain may be handled by anyone who understands their habits. Bees undoubtedly possess the same keen scent as a dog and seem to be able to detect a queen by her odor. Filial love is more pronounced among bees than in perhaps any other family of the insect kingdom. In fact, with one exception, they are the only insects that show solicitude for their young.
Bees are not the only insects that make honey nor do all bees belong to that order known as honeybees. The bumblebee is the native wild species of North American honeybee. The Apis or commercial honeybee is not indigenous to the United States but was introduced into this country by Spanish colonists more than 300 years ago. A species of honeybee was known to the aborigines of Peru before the coming of the white man, although the South American honeybee is stingless and differs from commercial strains of the northern continent.
Plants arc dependent upon bees and other insects for pollination, and it has been suggested that flowers produce nectar only for the purpose of attracting insects to carry pollen from one blossom to another.
After nectar has been transported to the hive in the crop of the bee, it is discharged into cells of the honeycomb prepared for its reception. Authorities differ as to whether the nectar undergoes any change while in the proventriculus of the bee, but agree, however, that it has to be evaporated and modified by the bees before becoming honey.
Bees arc cither social or solitary, the latter living together in pairs of male and female, while the higher order of social insects inhabit hives or community dwellings. It may be assumed that the complex social order of queen, worker, and drone developed out of the lower solitary state.
IIORIDA 111 I S AM) HON! V 9
Honeybees build combs of beeswax for the incubation of their larvae and for storing the honey which constitutes the principal food supply of the hive. The wax is made from a secretion exuded through tiny pores in a series of small plates on the under side of the bees's abdomen. The bee must eat approximately 20 ounces of honey in order to secrete one ounce of wax. The workers fill themselves to the gullet with honey, then hang in festoons from the ceiling of the hive, where their bodies exude a wax of liquid consistency. When it hardens, the wax is removed either by the bee herself, or by another worker, kneeded with legs or jaw, mixed with saliva, and worked into brood- or honeycomb.
The cells of the honeycomb are usually hexagonal and arranged back to back in flat layers that fill the hive. The cells in which the workers are incubated are smaller than those used for rearing of drones or male bees, and measure about five to an inch, while the cells in which the young queens are developed arc irregular and oval in shape. The drone cells, fewer in number, measure about four to an inch.
Bees are parthenogenetic or capable of virgin reproduction. In 1904 considerable proof was given that the queen, before laying but not after, (although some facts point that way) takes more than one wedding flight and gives evidence of having been with a drone. She has an internal pouch in which the male germs are held. She is able to open or close the orifice of the pouch leading to the oviduct, at will, and thus to fertilize her own eggs. She may also determine whether or not each egg shall be impregnated. The fertile eggs produce females, the infertile ones males.
Whether the fertilized egg laid by a queen develops into a queen or worker depends upon the nature of the food given the larvae. These are fed at first with a highly nutritious food. If the workers continue to feed the grub this royal jelly, it wdl develop into a queen; but if a mixture of honey and digested pollen be substituted after the fourth day, the grub will become a worker. So well is this royal
jelly com pounded in the hive that the experienced beekeeper can produce a queen by feeding it to the larvae of a fertilized egg in the cell. Yet science has never been able to solve the secret of this queen-making jelly.
Although sometimes called neuters, worker bees are undeveloped females. They ordinarily do all the work of the hive except laying the eggs. There are, however, queer inmates that occasionally inhabit the hive. These are the workers that lay unfertilized eggs which hatch out as drones, At any time, the organs of the worker bee may become sufficiently developed to allow egg-laying, but not of fertilization through a wedding flight.
If a beekeeper is so careless as to leave a hive without a brood or a queen for many days, laying-workers may appear in a colony. The beekeeper will find evidence of their presence in eggs that are scattered about the hive. Fertilized queen eggs are laid in uniform order. The bees seem to know that something is wrong and will accept a laying-worker as a queen after a time and, moreover, will not have anv othei queen until the laying workers are removed. A laying-queen or even an ordinary virgin will be stung to death if the laying-workers have long had possession. When the worker brood is capped with high convex cappings, it is a sure sign that the brood will never hatch out worker bees. The presence of laying-workers in a hive can be avoided it at all times, and especially during the spring and summer months, every hive contains a brood suitable for rearing a queen.
If a colony loses its laying queen it becomes necessary for the bees to raise another queen. They do this by select ing several worker larvae, the eggs of which were laid by tho queen, which are not more than three days old, and feeding them abundantly with royal jelly. Special cells are built around these larvae which resemble a peanut hanging down the side of the comb. After feeding the larvae for about) five days from the time they were hatched, the bees seal thu cells, and the larvae spin cocoons. They change into pupa.
and in about eight days after they were sealed, emerge from the cells as perfect queens.
When a number of queens emerge about the same time they will fight until but one is left, for it is the law of the hive that only one queen has the right to motherhood.
After a queen mates with a drone, she can lay fertile or infertile eggs at will. The fertile eggs hatch worker larvae and the infertile eggs hatch drone larvae. When a queen begins to fail on account of old age or other causes, she gradually loses her ability to lay fertile eggs. Some colonies seem to detect this at once, and begin queen cells, usually one or two, while the queen lays eggs in these cells. When the eggs hatch, the larvae are fed more abundantly with royal jelly than they ordinarily would be. The energy of the entire hive is put into raising a new queen. This young queen will often be found laying right along with the old queen. Later on she supersedes her mother as mistress of the hive.
A young queen, if properly fertilized, will very rarely if ever lay an egg in a drone cell. It is possible that a queen may lay nearly all drone eggs in the beginning but, in all cases where the queen bee intended them for worker eggs, they will be laid in worker cells; after a while she will lay only worker eggs and lay them regularly. As a rule, the queen seems to know that an egg laid in a drone cell will produce a drone. It is possible that the workers may have something to do with it but no one can determine how the workers let the queen know that some eggs in drone cells or queen cells are desired. An understanding seems to exist among them as to just what is to be done. A. I., and E. R. Root, in their book on bee culture, state that there seems to be an understanding that eggs should be laid in drone cells about the last of March, in order to produce drones some time in April.
When the hive becomes crowded with young bees and the combs arc filled with larvae, several queen cells are started, provided the honey supply is sufficient to meet the needs of the rapidly increasing colony. The queen cells are
scaled about nine days after the eggs are laid, and this is usually the time the bees begin to swarm.
If the swarm does not leave before the young queen emerges, a battle royal ensues. Both mother and daughter have their adherents; and if one is not stung to death by the other, the worsted queen, usually the mother, sets up a shrill piping to call her adherents about her and seek a new hive.
A varying proportion of adult bees together with the old queen and some drones fly away, leaving few adults, a large number of unemerged workers and several unemerged queens in the hive. The first of the young queens emerges about a week after the swarm. Instead of destroying the rest of the royal larvae, the bees usually swarm again about eight days later, accompanied by one or more of the young queens. Other after-swarms, each smaller than the preceding one, follow every day or two until the colony is so reduced in numbers that further swarming is abandoned and all but one of the remaining young queens is killed.
The surviving young queen flies high into the air on her nuptial flight, followed by drones. It is at this time that she is mated, after which the young queen returns to the hive and begins to lay about 10 days from the time she emerged from the comb. The usefulness of the drones having passed, they are tolerated in the hive only until the approach of winter or until the honey supply runs low. They are then excluded from the hive and left to perish.
The worker bees rule the colony during their active life. In time, however, they become old and their wings wear out from overwork. When this happens, numbers of them can be seen around the apiary, unable to reach the hive. Even when placed in the hive's entrance, they hop away to die, thus avoiding any interference with life in the hive.
Normal brood-rearing is resumed in the hive after an interval of some 16 days during which the bees have swarmed and new eggs have been laid. The colony usually increases greatly in number during the summer months
before the bees swarm, and it is mostly the young ones that remain in the hive with the new queen while the old bees seek another home.
As soon as the brood cells are made, the queen lays her eggs in them. These hatch after three days into tiny larvae or grubs. The nurses attend them at once. The first food of the worker bees is a sort of pap or jelly formed in the stomachs of the nurses and regurgitated for the grubs, or perhaps "a secretion from special glands of nurse bees." After a few days, this diet is strengthened by the addition of a little honey and pollen. Then within a few days more, a bee bread of honey and pollen is placed in the cell which is then sealed. After eating this bee bread, the grub falls into its transformation sleep for about 3 or 4 days and becomes a pupa; in about 21 days it emerges as a full-fledged bee. The queen is fed the jelly throughout her larvae stage.
The newly-hatched worker must spend about 10 days within the hive, either as a nurse, scavenger, ventilator, or each in turn. Once out in the field the business of gathering nectar begins. This is stored in a sac situated in front of the bee's stomach. The nectar is carried back to the hive and regurgitated into a honey cell.
By winnowing the air with their wings, bees serve a double purpose in ventilating the hive and evaporating the moisture from the nectar in open cells of the honey comb. Gradually the excess of water is evaporated on the same principal that cane juice is boiled down to molasses. The bees add a tiny bit of formic acid to the honey to preserve the product and render it antiseptic. This acid is also believed to be an essential element in the poison contained in the sting of the bee.
When there is not much nectar to be found, bees can be seen at ponds, rivers, and such places or at nearby pumps or watering-troughs, drinking water. They use less water when they are bringing in new honey. They discharge excess water from their nectar when gathering it. When material is needed to stop up tiny cracks in the hives, they
gather the resinous sap of various plants for mortar. In the work of ventilation, workers arrange themselves throughout the hive and by a synchronized vibration of their wings set up currents that expel the impure air and draw in fresh air.
Some apiarists think that they frequently carry on this and other work throughout the night, especially during the honey flow, although Florida bees may stop work for three or four hours in the middle of the day during hot weather no matter how abundant the flowers are.
Bees frequently rob other hives, and when a colony is thoroughly cowed the inmates stand by unresisting while the marauders carry out their honey. Once beaten in a mass attack, the bees offer no further resistance and individual robbers are able to maintain the terrorism, carrying forward their pillage at will.
The honeybee has ever been known as a symbol of industry. One gets some idea of the army of tiny insects employed in gathering nectar when it is learned that approximately 80,000 bees, in one trip from hive to flower, produce a single pound of honey. It takes an average of 20,000 bees to bring in a pound of nectar, which makes about a quarter of a pound of honey. These figures apply only to species of bees that have been weighed. A winter colony of honeybees may consist of 10,000 members and a summer colonv of 50,000.
While bees visit the flowers primarily to gather nectar, it is also true that they are dependent upon pollen as well as honey, for they cannot raise their young without this nitrogenous food. They do not carry pollen from one species of flower to another. Should a bee start collecting from orange blossoms, it will continue to do so until this source has been exhausted. The same is true when working any other blossoms; although mixed pollen is occasionally collected and in case of necessity for brood feed, rye meal and chopped feed for cattle have been collected.
Many scientists and beekeepers claim that bees do more
good for agriculture in pollinating plants than in the manufacture of honey, that fruit and vegetable growers receive more benefit from bees than the apiarists themselves. Honey is one of the oldest foods known to the human race. In fact, it was about the only source of sugar aside from the sugar in fruits, available to primitive man. No one knows where bees were first domesticated or when honey was first used. There seems to be no country or continent that can claim to be the original home of the bee. Different species of honeybees are found in practically' all inhabited quarters of the globe.
H. G. Wells in his Outline of History says that the Neolithic man of Europe used honey to concoct intoxicating drinks. In ancient Egypt it was valued as an embalming material. Pure honey was found in the tomb of Tutankhamen, proving it to be one of the most sterile of all foods. It was offered as a sacrifice to the sun by the Incas of Peru. Honey was well known in the earliest times of Biblical history and is frequently referred to as good for children by-writers of antiquity who also recognized its medicinal qualities as a mild laxative and an easily-digested food.
Honey is an unrefined syrup from which nothing of nutritive value has been removed. It is a mixture of natural fruit sugars, chiefly levulose and dextrose, containing also a small proportion of minerals necessary to the body. Honey-requires little or no digestion, and is taken into the blood stream soon after it enters the stomach. It is recognized by many physicians as a satisfactory supplement to milk in the feeding of infants. More satiating than other sugars, a small amount of honey satisfies the craving for sweets and this tends to reduce the eating of sweets which might otherwise be injurious in some cases. (
The amount of honey produced by a colon}' of bees depends upon the growth of nectar-bearing plants in the vicinity and therefore the yield per colony varies greatly in different sections and different seasons of the year.
Honey is taken from the upper stories of box hives. The
bees cap the cells with wax. These caps are removed before the comb is placed in the extractor. The honey is extracted by centrifugal force on the same principle that butterfat is extracted from milk in a cream separator. The emptied combs are returned to the hives, thus saving the bees the labor of building new ones.
Primitive hives, circular in shape, were made of straw and called skeps. The standard hive now used in the United States was perfected by the Reverend L. L. Langstroth in 18 52. The present-day extractor is reversible so that the comb does not have to be removed in the middle of the operation. This model was first used in England about 1875, and was introduced into this country in 1890.
DEVELOPMENT OF BEE CULTURE IN FLORIDA
The German black bee was introduced into New England as early as 1638 and reached west Florida some time prior to 1763. William Bartram wrote in 1773 that honeybees were numerous enough in forests along the eastern seaboard of the continent from Nova Scotia to Florida for inhabitants to think them native. The Indians used a drink made of water sweetened with honey and carried on a trade in beeswax with white settlers.
Pioneers experienced difficulties in starting apiaries, for they had to get their bees from the forests. The present-day-wild bees are descended from the German black bees brought to North America in early Colonial times. They exceed the bees of commercial apiaries in activity and their honey is of as good quality as that of domesticated bees, but they are exceedingly irritable and hard to manage.
Wild bees thrive in the big cypress timber of the Everglades, the Okeefenokee Swamp, and other heavily-timbered areas of the State. Florida wild bees produce a good yield of honey per colony, but they are not content to live
in commercial hives and will desert them time and again for the woods. When a honey tree is cut down, they swarm like hornets disturbed from their nest. Wild bees, in fact, are so unruly that it is not desirable to have them around a house or farm. The Italian and Caucasian species now predominate in the commercial apiaries of Florida, although many small apiaries still keep the German black bee.
What is believed to have been the first commercial apiary of any consequence in the State was established in connection with a lemon and orange grove on the present site of Daytona Beach by a New York concern in 1872. A little later S. S. Alderman started an apiary in his orange grove at Wewahitchka in what is now Gulf County. By 1898 it contained 1,300 colonies, with about 2,500 other colonies scattered around the near-by Dead Lakes.
Another pioneer, W. S. Flart, who came to Florida about 1879, started with two swarms a few years later at Hawks Point on the Indian River in Volusia County, and soon became known as one of the leading becmen in Florida. Hart also cultivated an orange grove but his greatest source of honey was the black mangrove which grew so abundantly near his place on a group of near-by islands. A sample of this mangrove honey was said to have been so clear that a newspaper could be read through a bottle of it two inches thick. Fie received as high as $160 a ton for his product, showing a net profit of more than 80 per cent.
It has been only since 1930 that early carelessness in the harvesting and marketing of Florida honey has given way to advanced methods. Whereas all flavors were formerly dumped together in the same cheap containers and sold for less than the market price, local apiarists have come to view their honey as equal, if not superior to, that from other states. They now grade it according to flavor and color, while the finished product is marketed under attractive brands and labels. The demand for Florida honey has increased greatly with improved methods in marketing.
There is always a good local market. Florida's population
is increasing so rapidly that a large proportion of the honey crop is consumed by the domestic trade. The annual influx of tourists increases this consumption. In addition to selling honey to grocers and drug stores in wholesale lots, beekeepers dispose of their honey to bakers, for use in health bread and certain kinds of pastry. Hospitals, clubs, hotels, and restaurants also purchase honey directly from producers.
Bees require comparatively little attention in Florida. Climatic conditions are favorable to beekeeping and honey flowers are available throughout the year. It seldom, if ever, becomes necessary to house bees during the winter months. In fact, bees work and rear broods 12 months out of the year in south Florida, a fact which greatly increases the annual yield.
Frequent succession of brood-rearing creates the problem of providing additional hives and honeycomb to accommodate the natural increase in the apiary. Due to the constant activity of the bees, hives must be moved to new pastures. Despite steady work and heavy increases, there is little disease among Florida bees, largely because of strict quarantine regulations that prevail in the State.
General progress in agriculture has brought a substantial growth in beekeeping. The industry is not confined to rural districts but extends to the backyards of towns and city subLirbs. Italian bees cost from $5 to $10 a colony and quickly pay for themselves. The initial cost of hives and equipment is usually the final cost, since it is hardly ever necessary to feed the bees.
Usually it costs about $2.50 to stock a double-story hive with comb foundations, while the same frames may be used almost indefinitely. A honey extractor with which one person can extract three barrels a day can be obtained for about $30. Any well-kept colony will produce from 50 to 100 pounds of surplus honey a year.
Market prices to the beekeeper average from 6 to 7 cents. In boom years, some producers have received as high as 3 5
cents a pound, but no one should enter the honey industry with the expectation of reaping easy profits.
The average yield per colony varies for different sections of the State. A good yield for the State as a whole is from 50 to 70 pounds of extracted honey to the hive, although in some localities it will reach 100 pounds to the colony. In a few exceptional localities, the average will run as high as 200 pounds per stand. A good crop of honey is considered to be the amount required to fill two stories of an ordinary Langstroth hive at blossom time.
An additional source of revenue to the Florida beekeeper is the rearing and shipping of colonies and the selling of queens to the Northern trade. Queens sell readily for from 40 cents to 75 cents apiece. A. I. Root once purchased a queen for $20 from the Reverend L. L. Langstroth, but this price is noteworthy only because of its unusualness.
On January 28, 1942, the University of California Agricultural College offered $100 for a queen bee "that has been tested and found to produce daughters whose colonies are resistant to American foulbrood to a practical degree." Insofar as known in Florida, no one was able to capitalize on this remarkable offer.
BEES AS AGENTS OF POLLINATION
Bees rank first among all agents of pollination. The flowers of many plants are incapable of self-pollination; and in order to produce the best fruit, blossoms must be thoroughly pollinated cither by wind or insects. The wind is effective in the cross-pollination of flowers with dry, dusty, or powdery pollen, such as those of grains or grasses. The pollen of fruit flowers is heavier and often of a sticky nature. Orchardists recognize in the honeybee one of the most valuable agents of fruit production, so that beekeeping and fruit-growing have become closely related industries.
James I. Hambleton, senior agriculturist of the bureau
of entomology and plant quarantine, U. S. Department of Agriculture, writes: "Until recently, the chief usefulness of these insects to man was their production of honey and beeswax . But now as pollinating agents they perform a far more important duty. . Millions are already being moved from one section of the country to another and placed in orchards and on farms. Beemen in the South offer for sale a pollinating package consisting of a wire cage filled with bees."
Thousands of branched hairs cover the thorax of the bee, giving it a fuzzy appearance. As bees move around the corolla of the male flower searching for nectar, they brush against the stamen, and grains of pollen from the latter become entangled in the numerous hairs of the bee's body. Then in gathering nectar to take back to the hive, the bees brush over the stigma of the female blossoms, inadvertently transferring some of the pollen to its sticky surface. Thus the bee becomes the usual agent by which pollination is completed.
It was in 1793 that Christian Konrad Sprengel, a German botanist, discovered that insects are the principal agents employed in transferring pollen from one flower to another. Today growers frequently rent bees from apiaries during blossom time to pollinate their fruit. Careless spraying sometimes kills thousands of these busy insects. Therefore, it is unwise to spray when plants are in full bloom. When nectar-producing plants are used as cover crops, the spray should be applied before the flowers open, to avoid poisoning the flower with the resulting loss of bees. In bad or stormy weather when the insects are not very active, spray should not be applied at all.
In placing colonies in orchard or grove, the beekeeper should put them where they will interfere as little as possible with cultivation, preferably in one corner or just outside the grove.
In Northern apple- and cherry-producing sections, fruit-growers have found that the size and quality of their
crops depend largely upon the honeybees that have access to their orchards during blossom time.
An outstanding example of insect pollination is that of the Smyrna fig by the figwasp. Fig growers of California could not get the fruit to mature until they imported the Capri wild fig in which the wasp makes its nest, carrying pollen from one species to another.
The avocado pear in Florida is a good example. Dr. A. B. Stout, laboratory director of the New York Botanical Gardens, states in Bulletin 207 of the Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of Florida: "In all cases it is essential to have bees in the avocado grove."
O. I. Clark, Point Loma, California, in Avocado Pollination and Bees, states that after careful and extended experiments with trees under netting, with and without bees enclosed, there is no question but that the crop in an avocado grove depends to a large extent on the number of bees which may have access to the grove. The more bees that work in the grove, the better the crop of fruit will be.
Such crops as buckwheat, sweet clover, cotton, tomatoes, melons, and cranberries are largely dependent upon bees for full yields. When tomatoes and cucumbers are grown under glass, a colony of bees is placed in the hothouse with the plants for the special purpose of pollination.
Cucumbers, cantaloupes, and other members of the melon family must have insect service for pollination. The only exception is in case of hand pollination under greatly restricted conditions. Even that has been replaced almost entirely by the use of bees both in fields and in greenhouses. Another important plant family, which includes cabbage, turnips, mustard, and collards, needs insect service. Botanists agree that the only function nectar has in the development of fruit is to entice insects to the flower and help in its pollination.
Growers once opposed the placement of bees in Florida
orange groves, as they believed that bees injured the blossoms and fruit. Eventually, the value of the bees in pollinating blooms has become so apparent that now the growers even buy bees for that express purpose and furnish rent-free bee-yards to beekeepers. It was discovered that the nearer the bee colonies are to the groves the better are the quality and quantity of the fruit. The nectar of the orange blossoms is so abundant at times that it drips over the foliage and onto the grass around the trees.
It is generally accepted that citrus needs cross-pollination to produce seed or make good fruit. Possibly the bee serves this purpose in transferring the pollen from the male to the female parts of the same flower, causing more perfect pollination than might otherwise be obtained, and thereby producing better fruit.
"Just before the bloom last February," testifies one orange grower in 1941, "we put 19 colonies of bees into one grove. There did not seem to be sufficient bloom for anything like a full crop. In fact, we did not expect more than half a crop. The bees must have saved every one of the blossoms, for there were at least a thousand more boxes of fruit on this grove of 17 acres than we ever had before, and the quality of the fruit could not be surpassed in spite of the fact that the general crop in our section was not over 60 per cent normal. We had a similar experience in another grove 10 miles away, where in former years we had experienced what growers call the June drop, which in my opinion is but another name for lack of pollination. I made a careful search for June drops in this grove but found none. They all held where the bees were and the quality was never better."
Although honeybees have been wrongfully accused of injuring fruit, repeated investigation has shown that they never cut through the skin of fruit. Such damage is usually done by birds, fungi, wasps, or other insects, after which bees may suck the juice from the injured fruit.
PRINCIPAL HONEY BELTS OF FLORIDA
Three principal sections produce the bulk of the Florida honey crop. These are the Choctawhatchee, Ochlockonee, and Apalachicola River valleys of west Florida; the citrus belt in the south-central portion of the State; and the Everglades section at the lower end of the peninsula.
The chief honey plant along the rivers of west Florida is the tupelo, a tree belonging to the gum family. In the citrus belt, most of the honey is made from orange blossoms and saw palmetto. The surplus honey crop of the Everglades comes mainly from palmetto, thistle, and wild sunflower. Other important honey sources include gallberry and the partridge pea in south-central Florida and black mangrove along the lower east and west coasts.
The yield depends upon honey plants available in each vicinity throughout the year. Upon both sides of Lake Okeechobee grows the pennyroyal which yields a steady flow of nectar from the time the goldenrod ceases to bloom in the fall until citrus starts to flower in the spring. The pennyroyal is a reliable source of winter honey growing below the region of occasional frosts and making the yield in the Okeechobee area the highest in the State. Extractors are kept running there throughout December, January, and February. The bees continue to increase, raising queen and starting new colonies, throughout the winter.
The extreme southern portion of Florida is probably the most favored section of the State for beekeeping in all its branches. More honey plants may be found there than elsewhere, furnishing a perpetual flow of honey with only a few days intervening between seasons. While pennyroyal affords the greater yielder in the Okeechobee area during winter months, other honey plants blooming there during the same period add greatly to the seasonal flow.-
The lower end of the Florida peninsula below Lake Okeechobee is known as the Everglades section. Some of it is good bee territory. The heaviest flow of honey in the sec-
tion is obtained from thistle and sunflower. The cabbage palm, saw palmetto, and black mangrove of the lower coasts and the Florida Keys supply an abundance of nectar. Apiaries may be found in the Florida Keys all the way from the mainland to Key West.
An experienced apiarist devoting considerable attention to his bees can operate as many as 400 colonies under south Florida conditions and still have time to work a small truck farm or grove, although requiring extra help during the flush period of honey production in March and April.
A good crop in south Florida will average 100 pounds to a colony and a skilled beeman should, under normal conditions, realize about $150 a ton from his honey.
The record yield for the United States during the past decade is claimed by C. C. Cook of FaBelle, whose yards are strung along a 50-milc stretch of the Caloosahatchee River between Moore Haven and Fort Myers. Between September 1, 1927, and June 1, 1928, he harvested 2 5 0,000 pounds of honey from less than 900 colonies. The average production for the country at large is about 5 0 pounds a colony.
Fven at the southern tip of Florida cold snaps often interrupt production. Barring these, however, it is possible to have a year-round flow of honey almost anywhere in south or central Florida. The problem is to keep bees from dying of overwork. Working practically every week in the year, their wings soon wear out. Also, bees often starve because constant brood rearing uses up the stores of honey left in the hive for food. The beekeeper must watch his colonies and make sure their stores of food are sufficient.
In the Everglades section, the main honey flow comes from thistle, saw palmetto, cabbage palm or palmetto, and wild sunflower; and, along the coast, black mangrove. South of Fake Okeechobee, the soil is peat or muck in which a species of thistle grows profusely. In late October and November, sections of the Everglades are covered with wild sunflowers. As far as the eye can reach there is a blanket of golden yellow bloom.
The tupelo region of west Florida embraces an area along both sides of the Apalachicola and Chipola Rivers in Franklin, Gulf, Liberty, and Calhoun Counties. This area, some 15 miles wide and 100 miles long, forms the lower reaches of the Chattahoochee River system, adjoining the Gulf of Mexico on the south. It is here that the world's chief supply of tupelo honey is made.
Pure tupelo honey is considered by many the best of all honeys. It is delicately flavored, crystal clear, light amber in color, smooth in consistency, heavy-bodied, and high in density. It has the remarkable quality of never becoming rancid or granulating, which makes it valuable for pharmaceutical purposes. Pure tupelo honey will remain liquid indefinitely.
Aside from its delicious flavor, tupelo possesses many healthful qualities. It contains about twice as much lcvulose as dextrose, the proportion being 23 per cent dextrose and 46 per cent lcvulose, with the usual 4 or 5 per cent of sucrose. The average honey contains only about 39 per cent levulose, and 34 per cent dextrose.
Despite its fine qualities, tupelo honey rarely reaches the consumer in an unadulterated state. Producers sell, for the most part, to canncrs and commission men who use it in blends with honey from other sections. The addition of a small quantity of tupelo honey improves the taste and lengthens the life of other honeys. The disadvantage to the producer of tupelo hone}' is obvious.
The tupelo season is comparatively brief. It lasts but three to four weeks, being at its peak from April 20 to May 15 under normal conditions. The hives are robbed three or four times during this period, practically all the honey being removed the last time.
After the raw honey is exhausted, the bees are taken to cultivation areas in Georgia and Alabama where they gather their winter supply of honey. In June and July, giant dragon flies prey upon the bees, and it is partly to escape
these pests that the hives are removed from the tupelo swamps.
The bees are brought back to the tupelo swamps in late December or early January to await the opening of the season in March when black gum, oak, and other trees begin to bloom. Having been more or less dormant for two or three months, the bees are in their weakest condition when returned to the tupelo belt and begin to feed immediately upon ti-ti, maple, ironwood, and other early tree blooms. They are allowed to build themselves up during January and February in preparation for the tupelo flow in the spring. Unless the season is unusually cold it is unnecessary to feed the bees.
Tupelo honey derives its name from the white tupelo or cotton gum tree whose blossoms yield the nectar from which it is made.
There are four species of tupelo gum. The largest is the black or sour gum, sometimes called pepperidge, found in the upland woods of north and west Florida. Water gum, known also as water tupelo, thrives in the swamps of the Apalachicola River and adjacent areas, but does not grow down to the bank near swift or muddy water. White tupelo, Nyssa ogeecbee, is found as far south as central Florida but is prolific only in the northern and western parts of the State. Black tupelo, Nyssa aquatic, appears in deep swamps from the central to northwestern boundaries of the State. White and black tupelo are the yielders and honey from the white tupelo is regarded as superior to all others because of its lighter color and finer quality.
The cotton gum, usually 50 to 75 feet in height and 2 to > feet in diameter, is found in swamps and inundated areas. The base is often enlarged, and the tree has a fairly straight trunk covered with gray-brown bark, deeply furrowed. The branches are smooth and light brown, while the slender, pointed leaves exhibit a lustrous dark green color upon the upper surface, together with a pale and downy shade underneath.
The bloom appears before the leaves on the black gum, but the opposite is the case with the white tupelo. The male blossom is a small fuzzy ball. The female blossom resembles a black clove and is said to contain more honey than the male bloom. Both flowers secrete nectar bountifully for 20 to 2 5 days, and the bees return again to the same blossom for the nectar which accumulates so thickly that it can be scraped off with a knife. Approximately 12 days elapse from the time the first bud appears until the tupelo is in full bloom. After the period of secretion has passed, the pod turns brown and drops to the ground.
The hives are cleaned out thoroughly at the close of the black gum flow so that the black will not become mixed with the white tupelo honey. The bees are so docile that when the hives are robbed the operators do not have to resort to the usual methods of protection.
Bee yards on the Apalachicola River differ from those found elsewhere. The hives are placed facing outward along platforms elevated above high-water mark. These platforms are from 14 to 16 feet high, or sometimes 20 to 30 feet above ground, and 300 to 700 feet long. Honey removed from the upper stories of the hives is carried in wheelbarrows along runways between the hives to extracting houses at the end of the platform. Some extracting houses are located in the center of a series of radiating platforms.
The two-story honey house has an inclined runway leading from each story to a small wharf or truck landing. The entire work of harvesting the honey and packing it for shipment is handled in the honey house at the apiary. All white tupelo honey is sold in the extracted form. When the hives are robbed, the combs are brought into the upper story of the honey house and placed in a large vat where the caps are removed. The extracted honey runs through a pipe into a large tank on the lower floor. Here the sediment and foreign matter settles and the finished product is drawn off into 30-gallon barrels. These are carried down the river to railroad points. The area has annual production of 5 3 5,-
000 pounds of white tupelo honey, which brings producers about $60,000.
Much of this beekeeping paradise is as little known to residents of Florida as to the outside world. The forests are wild and conditions primitive. Aside from the lumber industry, and hunting and fishing parties, the tupelo tree is the only lure to bring civilization to the banks of the Apala-chicola. Speedboats carry men to bee yards along the river. Most of the acreage is leased from its owners by apiarists, though some own the land upon which they operate.
There are 28 of the largest apiary sites, averaging 25 acres to the site and covering a total of more than 20,000 acres. The Italian bee predominates here though some wild bees have mingled with them in a few apiaries.
The State apiary inspector for the district has a record of carefully extended tests in which single colonies have gathered as high as 20 pounds of honey in one day. During a favorable season, one apiary of 90 colonies made 38 barrels of honey in three weeks. The average production of 100 colonies during the brief period of the tupelo flow is twenty 30-gallon barrels, but records of 25 and even 27 barrels are common.
The white tupelo flow is at its peak about April 20. Within a period of three weeks, more than 500,000 pounds of white tupelo honey are gathered. At the conclusion of the flow, some producers leave their bees to fill up the hives during June and July with the honey of the wild grape and snow vine for the winter months. There are several beekeepers at Wewahitchka who own from 500 to 1,000 colonies of bees.
Many northern beekeepers bring their colonies to Florida for winter pasturage in the orange groves. In 1941 a New York beekeeper, after experimenting for three years with a smaller number of hives, brought 210 colonies to the State. He expected these to increase to 800 colonies before returning North in May, besides making a double crop of honey. A prominent apiarist from Indiana selected Flor-
ida as the ideal home for his bees, transferring his entire plant to Lee County. So desirable is the State for the purpose that between 10,000 and 15,000 colonies of northern bees are shipped south every year by truck, to spend the winter in Florida.
In the citrus belt of south-central Florida, the main honey flow comes from citrus, gallberry, saw palmetto, and gold-enrod. All honey made from citrus is called orange blossom. Some commercial beekeepers move their bees to the coast when the black mangrove is in bloom. This tree grows along salt water from Volusia on the east coast to Citrus County on the west coast. When the season is normal, the black mangrove is a heavy producer of nectar.
During the citrus bloom, the bees work from dawn to dark. So great is the need to harvest the nectar and so bountiful the flow that the bees do not take time to process and cap it from day to day but hurry to store the nectar in the comb cells until the flow decreases and they have time to attend to the honey. The heaviest citrus flow lasts about ten days, beginning in Highlands County on or about February 15.
Beekeepers never take the honey from the hives until it is properly capped, a process completed soon after the flow ceases. Fortunately, bees never cap any honey that is not in perfect condition and fit for human consumption.
Orange blossom honey has an excellent flavor, but many Floridians prefer the palmetto variety because the former is often considered too cloying to be used the year around. Beekeepers clean the hives and insert new frames with pure beeswax backings immediately before the start of the citrus flow, insuring a good type of pure orange honey.
A few days before the close of the citrus flow, the saw palmetto bloom starts, and bees begin work on the palmetto just as soon as they have finished the orange blossom. Following and often overlapping the palmetto flow in central Florida is the clover crop. While this is a popular cover crop for groves, it is not grown in sufficient quantities to produce
a distinct commercial honey. Clover, like most of the wild honeys, is left in the hive for the bees.
Another favorite of the bees among early flows in central and south Florida is the avocado bloom. It is not found in sufficient quantities for commercial honey and is usually mixed with other varieties or taken by the beekeeper for his own use.
Among the late fall flowers providing flows of appreciable length are the goldenrod and Spanish needle. Neither of these honeys has been recognized as a commercial product, due to the lack of quantity, though some apiarists market small amounts of goldenrod locally.
Cool or rainy weather is disastrous for production in central Florida because the nectar flow is washed out or retarded, numerous bees are lost, and those remaining must seek refuge in the hive where they soon grow impatient and angry.
Beekeepers of Highlands County usually prefer mixed hives rather than purebred stock, because mixed strains have more stamina and are usually better workers. All hives contain many of the small, black, wild bees which have wandered in or taken up with a flight at swarming time. These bees make attractive comb honey for when they seal it they leave an air cell under the cap which gives the comb a clear white effect. Comb honey is in much demand commercially.
PRINCIPAL HONEY PLANTS OF FLORIDA
The flavor and color of honey depends largely upon the plant from which it is collected. Most Florida varieties are light in color and mild of flavor.
Orange blossom honey usually contains some nectar from the palmetto bloom, and a blend of the two makes a good product. Orange blossom honey carries with it a
fragrance and flavor all its own and, like the mountain sage honey of California, stands in a class by itself.
In cooking and candy-making, few honeys can compare with that of the orange blossom, because of its distinctive qualities. Genuine orange blossom honey is light amber, heavy in body, and carries with it the pleasing aroma of a grove in bloom. It darkens and changes very little with age but granulates readily. In response to public demands, some of this is sold in granulated form.
From south to west Florida, through the grape belt and groves where avocados, papayas, the mango, and Persian lime thrive, bees find a bountiful harvest in woodland and grove. The wonder plant around Apalachicola Bay blossoms in April, May, and June, and the black tupelo in March and April. The spring ti-ti along the streams of west Florida blooms in February and March. The blackberry comes in during April and May and the chinquapin during the same time in north and west Florida, where satsuma orange trees furnish a source of honey.
The gopher apple of the Florida sand ridges is in bloom in May. The snow vine of west Florida blooms in July. The cabbage palmetto blooms throughout the State in July, and the pepper bush of the flatwoods in July and August. Mexican clover in many cultivated fields of the State follows in July, August, and September. The goldenrod is a good source of honey throughout the entire State during October and November.
The saw palmetto makes Florida's most typical honey. It usually grades light amber, though sometimes darker in color, and always becomes darker with age. It is a shade darker than orange blossom and heavy of body. Its mild flavor and odor are characteristic of the product. Palmetto honey is used both for table and cooking purposes. It granulates slowly. The honey of the cabbage palm or palmetto is thin-bodied, light amber (almost watery at times), and very mild in flavor and odor. It is excellent for cooking or sweetening drinks where a mild flavor is desired. Honey of
the wild grape and snow vine is dark and of little commercial value.
The gallberry bush grows in flatwoods and blossoms usually in May. Due to damage from forest fires, comparatively little gallberry honey is being made in Florida at present. The honey is almost water-white with a heavy body and mild flavor. It is almost too fancy to be used in baking but is well adapted for icings, ice cream, and sweetening in desserts where a mild flavor is desired. In the northern part of the State, gallberry honey will run about 40 pounds to the colony.
Black mangrove from the salt marshes of south Florida produces a honey light in body but unusually sweet, due to a large content of dextrose. It is growing in popularity as a fine table product and is in demand for blending.
The wild sunflower of the Everglades makes an excellent fall honey, light amber in color and of heavy body but rather strong flavor. The honey of the partridge pea is darker and stronger than the others but good for cooking and baking. The partridge pea grows throughout the sand ridges of the State and blooms in June, July, August, and September. The yield from this flower will run about 60 pounds to the colony.
For table use, the finest honeys come from tupelo, citrus, saw palmetto, gallberry, and thistle. Thistle honey is light in color, heavy-bodied, and mild of flavor. Magnolia honey is thick and viscid. Florida clover honey is of good quality and could readily become a popular commercial product.
Avocado honey has a distinctive flavor all its own. Spanish needle yields a nectar which makes a clear, bright, heavy-bodied honey, light in color, with delightful flavor. Goldenrod makes a bright golden or clear yellow honey of rather strong flavor.
The honey of spring ti-ti is light and mild but used mostly in brood rearing. Coral vine, a distant cousin of Northern buckwheat, is much liked by the bees. In larger plantings.
it would help to beautify roadside fences and produce another distinct honey. The same can be said of such other ornamental honey plants as assonia, yucca, and vitex.
The black tupelo makes a darker and less desirable honey than the cotton gum, and the mixing of the two is carefully avoided. The black tupelo honey is known to the trade as amber and is sold to manufacturers of candy and confections.
In Florida, yellow jasmine is abundant in the springtime, and the bees work this flower just as happily as they do the orange. No surplus of this honey has ever been reported. What is made is either mixed with other honey or left in the hive as a conditioner. It is improbable that jasmine honey is poisonous although yellow jasmine yields a poison drug used in medicines.
Some flowers have poisonous petals as a protection against leaf-cutting insects, while the nectar is sweet and alluring to bees. This would perhaps account for the bees making honey from nectar taken from poisonous flowers such as yellow jasmine. Poison oak yields a nectar which the bees like to work. When capped by the bees, it is perfectly wholesome.
Sumac, found along the roadsides in the sandhills of the ridge section, is another plant the bees like to work. Sumac honey, though of excellent quality and flavor, is not made in sufficient quantities to be of commercial value and is left in the hive for food. It is rich, golden in color, and waxes easily.
Sawgrass blossoms also produce nectar which makes a thick, dark honey. The summer farewell blooms in September and October, on light sandy, well-drained soil, throughout the State. The pepper bush blossoms in July and August throughout the flatwoods sections of Florida.
The beginner in the bee business should obtain either pure Italian or Caucasian stock, both of which are satis-
factory honey producers in the South. As the Caucasian strain is best tor making comb, it is preferable to get cither the Caucasian or Caucasian-Italian stock for producing chunk or comb honey. For extracted honey, hybrids or blacks are preferred.
Proper care can be given bees only in movable-frame hives, so it is advisable for all who have bees in box hives or gums to transfer them to standard Langstroth hives which may be purchased from any dealer in supplies for beekeepers. The model at least should be factory-made, but the beekeeper can build additional hives patterned after the factory model.
Bees can be obtained almost anywhere in Florida to stock new hives. By purchasing them in the State the keeper is assured of getting stock free from disease.
A good time to transfer bees to new hives is immediately after the prime swarm when the number in the hive is greatly reduced and there is no danger of injuring or losing the queen. The former practice of cutting combs from old hives and fitting them into movable frames of new ones has been replaced by shorter and easier methods.
A fine day should be selected when most of the bees are out gathering nectar. After a little smoke has been blown into the box hive, or gum, the latter should be removed from the stand and a new hive substituted. The bottom is then removed from the box hive and placet! immediately in front of the new one with the entrance of each hive adjoining that of the other.
The bees may be drummed out of the old hive and into the new by tapping lightly on the former with hammers or sticks. The drumming should be continued for 10 or 15 minutes, until most of the bees have entered the new hive. If the queen has not been seen to pass into the new hive, it is well to drum out more bees. At least one drawn comb should be placed in the new hive before starting the procedure.
Another method depends upon getting the queen out of the old hive and into the new. The box hive is set a few feet to one side and a hive with movable frames, containing drawn combs or full sheets of comb foundation, is placed on the stand so that bees returning from the field go into the new hive at once. It is best to place a frame containing some of the brood in the new hive so that bees may rear a new queen if the old one has been lost; or a new queen may be given the colony at once.
The box hive is then placed upon its side and three-fourths of the bees are drummed out as explained before. The hive containing the brood and enough bees to care for it, is next placed in position a few feet to the rear of the new hive with the entrance facing in the opposite direction. After 21 days when all the worker brood has emerged and a new queen may have been reared, the bees are drummed out and allowed to unite with those in the new hive.
It is sometimes necessary to feed bees, especially if nectar is not being collected during the period of transfer. To do this, a sirup made from equal parts of water and granulated sugar is placed in a covered gallon container, its lid perforated by a dozen small nail holes. When this is inverted over the frame, the bees have access to the dripping sirup.
In starting an apiary, the hives should be placed in a thinly shaded place. This prevents dampness during rainy weather, a condition detrimental to the bees. Spacing the hives about 4 feet apart permits the beekeeper to work freely around them. As new colonies are added, the rows should be at least 10 feet apart so that if necessary a truck can pass between them. Each hive should be faced in a slightly different direction and should be marked so that the bees will be able to identify their own hives.
Better results are obtained by swarm control than by allowing the bees to swarm naturally. The problem of the beekeeper at beginning of the honey flow is to prevent a division among the working force of his colonies and to stimulate the storing instinct of his bees. This is accomplished by swarm control.
The U. S. Department of Agriculture (Farmers' Bulletin No. 1198) gives the following swarm-prevention measures:
"Careful selection of stock without inbred tendencies to swarm.
"The use of brood chambers large enough during the spring period of brood rearing to hold the maximum amount of brood without crowding.
"The use of good worker combs in the brood chamber to prevent a reduction of available brood-rearing space.
"Arrangement of broodcombs to avoid barriers to free expansion of the brood nest during the regular swarming period in the spring.
"Provision of extra space in the brood chamber by wider spacing of combs and a deeper space below the frame.
"Use of large entrances during the swarming season, especially in hot weather, and in some cases additional openings for ventilation.
"Protection of hives by shade boards or double covers, or painting the hives white, especially the covers, to protect them from direct rays of the sun.
"Prevention of barriers of sealed honey around the brood nest and the breaking of such barriers when they are built.
"The use of supers to induce bees to expand as rapidly as the production of honey will permit.
"Use of additional space in the form of empty combs for ripening nectar so that field bees can dispose of their loads immediately and thus prevent stagnation of work in the hive.
"Removal of emerging brood from the brood chamber and better distribution of the bees throughout the hive.
"Destruction of recently started queen cells.
Under a good queen, more than 70,000 cells may be occupied with brood at one time. When young bees arc emerging daily in great numbers, as during the spring brood-rearing period, the young bees become the chief offenders in creating a congested condition in the brood nest. This is due to their habit of remaining on the brood-comb for some time after emergence instead of going directly to the field or some other part of the hive, or there might be a lack of fielders despite the great number of bees. Thus it becomes necessary to use a large brood chamber or
provide an additional chamber during the short period when brood rearing is at its height.
A space, sometimes two inches deep under the frames, provides room and ventilation for the bees, or more room can be obtained by spacing the brood frames farther apart. If spaced too far apart, however, the bees often build thin combs in between. To prevent this, slatted frames may be inserted in the spaces. When spring brood-rearing is at its peak, the queen may lay more than 3,000 eggs a day, or over 6,000 eggs in exceptional cases.
When natural swarming is permitted, the work of hiving can be made easier if the queen's wings arc clipped some time prior to the swarm. This prevents the swarm from leaving the premises and averts the necessity of removing it from tall trees or other places. A clipped queen cannot follow the swarm and the bees instinctively return to the hive.
After the swarm has clustered, it may be shaken into a box or basket attached to the end of a pole if necessary. The bees should then be dumped immediately in front of the hive prepared to receive them. Tf they do not start to enter the hive at once, some of those nearest the entrance may be pushed inside with a brush. If the queen can be caught before the bees leave the old hive, she should be placed in a wire cage on the shady side of the new hive until the swarm returns, in which case the bees may return and enter the new hive without clustering.
A good queen should be laying well and there should be plenty of young bees in the hive at beginning of the winter season in Florida. The apiarist should remove the cover of the hive and examine his bees early in December to determine if the queen is old or failing. If so, the colony should be requeened. While the cover is off, it is advisable to make sure that the super just above the brood nest is full or nearly full of sealed stores. The colony with a good queen and plenty of honey is ready for winter and no further care or attention will be required until spring.
When a honey flow starts, it is necessary to check supers and keep just enough storing room ahead of the bees to enable them to fill all supers by end of the flow. The surplus honey above the actual need of the bees can be removed at any time, but it is important that they do not have more storing room than is required, otherwise they may be unable to keep down ravages of the bee-moth. The bee-moth no longer is a pest with modern beekeepers. It is only in the South, where old fashioned methods still persist in some localities, that the bee-moth is troublesome. When the flow stops, all surplus honey can be removed, leaving one super either full or nearly full, for use of the bees.
Honey produced for commercial use in Florida is seldom touched by human hands. A base of sheet beeswax is first placed in a frame and then in the hive. The bees build the comb upon this base. The material must be real beeswax for if a substitute is used the bees will destroy it.
At the close of the flow, after the bees have properly sealed and capped the honey, the frames are removed from the hive and the capping is shaved off. The combs are then placed in an extractor. They are generally used again after the honey has been extracted.
The blending of honey is especially important in Florida because so many varieties come along during the season. Often one flow follows so closely behind the other that very little produced here is pure in source. All of it is blended more or less by the bees themselves. Sometimes a single comb will contain three or four different kinds of honey. Blending not only makes it a better table article but also stays granulation.
PRODUCTION IN FLORIDA
Few other investments in agriculture pay larger percentages of profit than does beekeeping during a prosperous season. For a production of 1,479,521 pounds of honey, valued at $151,543, in Florida during 1937, the investment
in hives and bees was only $210,540. Receipts from beeswax in 1936-7 amounted to $5,198. Thus 42,299 stands of bees in the State produced 75 per cent of their total value in a single year.
According to the 1930 Federal census, 4,087 persons or 6.9 per cent of all farm owners in Florida kept bees, while the northwest section of the State produced 47 per cent of Florida's total output of honey. This was mostly of the tupelo variety, as the Apalachicola River valley turned out 60 per cent of the honey produced in the northwest section.
Central Florida and the citrus belt came second with 24 percent of the State's total output. The southern area was credited with 21 per cent, and north Florida with the remaining 8 per cent, which totaled 128,638 pounds.
The Federal census of 1940 shows Wakulla County leading the State in honey production for 1939, with 1 50,895 pounds from 2,186 hives reported. A total of 3,574 farms reported 49,157 stands of bees in the State for 1939. An additional 242 farms reported 4,495 hives owned by parties other than the owners of the farms, making a total of 53,-652 hives. Of the 3,816 beekeepers reporting, 2,525 farms reported a total production of 1,717,406 pounds of honey for 1939.
The industry in Florida has grown until there are now approximately 1 50,000 colonies of bees in the State during the winter months. About 100,000 pounds of beeswax and several thousand packages of bees and queens are placed on the market. Florida beekeepers, including the owners of colonies of Northern bees wintering in the State, have a capital investment of approximately $2,000,000 in bees and equipment. The annual income from the industry in Florida is estimated at $750,000.
"My son, eat thou honey, because it is good, sweet to the taste and health to the bones."King Solomon.
Honey is best when used in a natural state, for cooking or heating to high temperatures tends to evaporate the aromatic oils and ruin the flavor. Pure honey is good as a spread for bread, toast, griddle cakes, waffles, or biscuits and may be used to sweeten fruits, beverages, and cereals. If necessary, the honey may be warmed slightly to make it pour more easily.
Various sandwich fillings of a tasty nature can be made from uncooked honey, including honey butter, containing equal parts of honey and butter creamed together, with or without nuts or grated orange peel. Honey may also be mixed with dried fruit and nuts, cream or cottage cheese, peanut or almond butter, for delicious sandwich spreads. It can be substituted for half the amount of sugar in hard sauce, or used as an ingredient in other sauces.
The following are suggestive of the many recipes in which uncooked honey may be used:
tomato juice cocktail.
2 cups tomato juice 2 teaspoons honey
4 tablespoons lemon juice Yz teaspoon salt
Mix all thoroughly, chill and serve. Yield: 4 servings.
honey grape juice
Mix 2 tablespoons honey with cup of boiling water, stir until dissolved. Add enough grape juice, which has been heated, to fill glass. For variety, 2 tablespoons lemon juice may be added. This is a good drink, hot or cold.
* These recipes reprinted from Florida Honey and Us Hundred Uses issued by the State Department of Agriculture, and Honey and Some of its Uses, issued by the U. S. Department of Agriculture.
Invalids and children especially will enjoy a glass of warm milk to which 2 teaspoons of honey have been added. The honey should be warmed by placing container in warm water, then beaten thoroughly into the milk.
4 eggs 3 cups milk
4 teaspoons honey Pinch ut nutmeg
Beat the egg yolks until lemon colored, add honey and mix well. Add milk slowly. Stir in stiffly beaten whites of eggs, fill glasses and add grated nutmeg; serve immediately.
honey ice cream
One quart thin cream; % cup delicately flavored honey. Mix and freeze in the usual way.
1 > pound prunes 1 a cup honey
1 '/ cups boiling water 2 slices lemon
Wash and drain prunes. Cover with boiling water and let stand until cool. Add honey and lemon slices, place in covered container and keep in cool place till ready for use. The prunes may be boiled and strained through a sieve before being mixed with the honey, thus making a delightful spread.
HONEY CREAM (HI I SI PASTE
3 tablespoons honey 3 tablespoons chopped salted
1 cake cream cheese pecans
Mix into paste.
1 2 cup warmed honey 2 egg whites
\'z cup shredded pineapple 1 4 cup powdered sugar
1 j cup pecans \ cup creamwhipped
\'z cup candied orange peel or 1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix honey, pineapple, chopped nuts, peel, and flavoring. Cool.
Beat egg whites until stiff and add powdered sugar. Beat cream until fairly stiff. Fold all ingredients together and freeze either in paper mousse cups or in freezing trays.
honey banana mold
2 tablespoons gelatin 3 bananas mashed through
Y& cup cold water sieve
1 l/t cups milk Juice of 1 lemon
1 2 cup honey 1 cup whipped cream
Soak gelatin in cold water until soft. Heat milk, remove from fire and stir in gelatin. Add honey, bananas, and lemon juice. Set in cool place and when it begins to thicken fold in whipped cream. Chill thoroughly.
2 cups rice or corn flakes 1 cup honey
1 cup chopped nut meats 16 marshmallows, cut into
I cup chopped dates small pieces
Roll flakes fine, combine with other ingredients, and make into roll. Cover with more rolled flakes and place in refrigerator until thoroughly chilled8 to 10 hours. Serve with whipped cream sweetened and flavored with honey.
Honey may be substituted for sugar in the preparation of such dishes as cinnamon toast, candied vegetables, salad dressing, baked ham, baked apples, custards, pudding, and pies. It is also used in quick breads, cakes, and confections, but allowance must be made for the special characteristics of honey in the preparation of these articles.
It is not necessary to have an entirely new set of recipes in the substitution of honey for sugar, as the old ones may be used provided certain basic principles are observed. In the first place, honey is one-fifth water and experiments have shown that all liquid measures in a recipe must be reduced one-fourth for each cup when honey is substituted for sugar. The flour measure, if any, should also be made scant when using honey.
Honey differs from sugar both in chemical composition and in its behavior when combined with other ingredients. Also, various honeys differ from one another in the same respect. Where cane sirup contains but one sugar, honey consists of three. The fruit sugars in honey are sweeter and crystallize less readily than ordinary sugar. Honey takes up moisture rapidly, and fruit cakes, steamed puddings,
cookies, and candy stay moist longer if made with honey. But some confections and frostings will remain soft if made with honey, which may not be desirable. Cakes or other baked products in which honey is used should be baked at low temperatures. Icings made with honey will remain unimpaired in taste and consistency for months.
In meringues, the amount of honey depends upon the extent of honey flavor desired. For a topping of ordinary meringue browned in a moderate oven, stir Y4 to l/2 cup of honey and teaspoon of salt in a bowl with one egg white and whip until stiff. The surplus, if any, will keep for several weeks in a refrigerator for it can be whipped again.
honey meringue (7 minute icing)
1 egg white cup honey (strained or
Place honey and unbeaten egg white in top of double boiler. Cook seven minutes, beating with dover egg beater while cooking. Remove from double boiler, beat and spread as desired.
honey meringue icing (boiled)
1 egg white 1 cup honey
4 tablespoons water 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients and cook slowly over low heat or in a double boiler, beat constantly until mixture stands tip in peaks. It may be beaten until creamy when removed from heat. This is a delicious meringue topping. It does not set on the outside but is creamy and fluff v.
'/i cup honey Salt
2 tablespoons melted butter 2 cups powdered .sugar 4 tablespoons heavy cream
Enough milk to give good spreading consistency-Blend butter and honey; add heavy cream and salt to taste. Blend with powdered sugar and add just enough milk to give spreading consistency. Ice cake and decorate with citron slices. Cake may be kept from two to four weeks before using, as the honey keeps it moist and fresh, and improves the flavor.
5 eggs Y< teaspoon salt
4 cups scalded milk Nutmeg
8 tablespoons strained honey
Beat eggs sufficiently to unite whites and yolks but not to make them foamy. Add other ingredients, mix thoroughly and pour into individual custard cups. Set cups in pan of warm water, place in oven. Bake in moderate oven until a knife inserted into custard comes out clean. Remove cups from water immediately. Serve hot or cold.
It is not advisable to substitute honey for more than half the sugar in jellies, jams, and preserves. In making jelly with honey, use only strong-flavored juices that are high in pectin and acid. Since honey causes foaming, watch the juice while cooking or cook in a large utensil to prevent boiling over. Cook slightly beyond the usual jelly test. To each cup of fruit juice, use % cup of honey or half honey and half sugar and cook rapidly to the usual jelly test.
Clean kumquats and puncture carefully. Drop into slightly salted water and soak overnight. Next day, pour off salted water, cover well with fresh water and bring to a boil. Drain and cover again with fresh water and cook until tender. Drain.
To one pint of fruit, add J/2 cup of sugar, \/\ cup orange honey and 2 cups of water or orange juice. Drop fruit in the boiling sirup and simmer until clear and sirup is slightly thickened. Plump overnight in the same vessel, cover tightly while still boiling and remove from fire. The second or third day, place back on fire and cook until sirup is heavy. Pack in jars as any preserves, or if candied kumquats are desired for immediate consumption, drain, put on wire rack to dry and, while still sticky, roll in granulated sugar.
pear and ginger conserve
Y< lb. green ginger scraped S lbs. pears weighed alter paring
and chopped and coring
4 oranges (peel and juice) 1 pint water
3 lemons (peel and juice 2 cups chopped pecan or 6 lbs. honey black walnut meats
Cook ginger, orange and lemon peel with water until tender; add honey, orange and lemon juice. Add coarsely chopped pears and cook until tender. Add nut meats. Cook five minutes longer. Pour in small hot jars and seal.
Bread baked with a small amount of honey has a distinctive flavor and its use is desirable for keeping cakes or cookies moist. In making honey cakes and quick breads, mix the honey with the liquid called for in the recipe and bake at the lowest temperature possible under the circumstances. Honey may be used in gingerbread, brown breads, and steamed puddings. Since honey contains less acid than molasses, leave out the soda called for in the recipe and increase the quantity of baking powder. For each J/4 teaspoon of soda omitted, add 1 teaspoon of baking powder. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup molasses and J/2 teaspoon of soda, replace the molasses with honey, omit the soda and add 2 teaspoons of baking powder.
honey cream waffles
1 egg beaten very lightly 2 cups milk
4 teaspoons of baking powder V* cup butter or butter
2 cups flour substitute melted 1 teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons honey
Mix shortening, honey and salt with beaten egg. Sift baking powder and flour together. Stir in alternately with flour and milk until full amount has been added. By using this regulation honey batter and adding nuts, candied or dried fruits, one may obtain gratifying results. Try also a honey pecan or date waffle.
Yl cup butter 2 cups sifted flour
54 cup sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder
I egg, beaten \'x teaspoon salt
1 cup honey 1 cup finely chopped nuts
Cream butter and add sugar gradually. Mix the egg and honey and add with the sifted ingredients and nuts to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Chill the dough, then form into a roll the desired size and wrap in hcavv waxed paper. When firm, cut into thin slices with a sharp knife. Bake in a moderately hot oven (375 F.) from 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
honey plum pudding
1 cup grated raw carrots Yz teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup grated raw sweet potatoes y2 teaspoon allspice
1 cup chopped dates '/4 teaspoon cloves
Yz cup candied orange peel, l/z teaspoon soda
citron or pineapple |> cup flour
1 cup honey 1 cup raisins
1 [4 teaspoon salt % cup suet, chopped or ground
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Combine ingredients in order given and stir until well blended. Pour into well-greased pyrex casserole; cover and bake in oven at 250 F. for 2 Y2 hours. Remove and cool without removing cover. Serve with honey butter.
In candies such as fondant, divinity, nougat, and caramels where corn sirup is used to control crystallization, honey may replace the corn sirup but only half as much will be needed.
3 cups sugar 2/\ cup chopped nuts
Yi cup honey 2/y cup chopped citron or chopped
2/i cup boiling water candied cherries
2 egg whites
Boil the sugar, honey, and water to a veryr soft-ball stage or until thermometer registers 23 8 F. Remove 73 cup and beat into the stiffly-beaten egg whites. Cook the remainder of the syrup to the hard-crack stage (26J) and pour over the first portion. Beat until the mixture begins to thicken. Then add the chopped nuts and fruits. Pour into a deep mold lined with oil paper. Cut into oblongs.
2 cups while sugar 2 inch square chocolate
1 cup milk 1 teaspoon vanilla
Yi cup honey
Allow to cook to soft-ball stage. Cool. Beat 20 minutes after cooking.
orange blossom tafey
2 cups orange blossom honey 2 cups sugar
! cup boiling water 1 teaspoon vanilla
Put honey, sugar and water into sauce pan, stir until sugar is well dissolved. Place on fire and cook to 270 F. Remove from fire, add vanilla. Pour out on well-buttered dish. When cool enough to handle, pull until creamy and stiff like other taffies.
honey orange strips
Remove peel from 3 oranges in quarter sections, then cut into strips with scissors. Cover rind with salt water in proportions of 1 tablespoon of salt to one quart of water and let stand overnight. Drain and cover with cold water, then bring to the boiling point; repeat process three times. Then if tender, rinse in cold water, drain, then simmer very slowly in 1 cup of honey from 45 to 60 minutes. Remove the rind with fork. Drain and lay on waxed paper. Allow to dry for a day or two. The strips may then be coated with chocolate if desired.
SOI HONEY PLANTS OF FLORIDA
COMMON NAME liOI.Wini KAMI MONTHS OF YEAR IN BLOOM louiiiihwiiim mi mi
1, Saw Palmetto Serenoa sermlata (Mick) May anil June Practically all over the State,
2, Black Mangrove Aviccnnia nitiilia, Jaci], June and July Around ocean's edge from
Nov Smyrna to Tampa
1. White Tupelo Gum Nyssa aijuatica 1., Along rivers and overflow Will 111 U'lti't ,11'tl >\ II') il
lino in wesum pan oi Slate,
Partridge Pea Chamaecrista spp. June, July, August and Throughout sand ridge sec-
1, Gallberry Ilex glabra (L) A, Gray April and May Throughout flatwoods sec-
i fid Sun Flower Helianthus spp. November and December Southern part of State, prin-
cipally around lie Okee-
7. Tic Summer Fair fell liuliiiMcra pinnata September and October On light, sandy, well drained
(fall) luntze soil throughout the State,
8. The Wonder Honey Pcntstcnion Pentstemon April, May, June ami July Along the coast around Ap,i
Plant (L) Eritton lachicola Bay,
!>, Black Tupelo Gum Nyssa biflora fait. March and April Along streams in the western
part of the State,
SOME HONEY PLANTS OF FLORIDAQwi/wwrrf
COMMON NAME BOTANICAL NAME MONTHS OF YAR IN BLOOM LOCALITIES THERE FOUND
1(1, Sprint; Ti 11 Cyrilla parvif kli In western part of State along small streams and bay
II. Pennyroyal Pycnothymus ihrt \ to rigidus II December, January and heads, Southern pan of the State,
(Dilllil Jill Sabal Palmett H ii )(f;,ll,)l(, July Along the coast, through the hammocks and along the 1 UK
13, Tlie Pepper Bush Clcthra ainifo iaL Julf and August Hi Throughout flatwoods sec-hrtn
lifablk, llicliardia sea )ra St. Hil. July, August and September UUll. In manv cultivated fields |LL,I llndnh,
15, Goldenrod If!, The Snow Vine 17, Gopher Apple Soiidago spp, f lugbaeya s luntze Chrysobalanu candens (L) obloncifolia October and November July tnrougnout the jtate, Throughout the State, Western part of the State, Throughout sand ridge section, All over the State,
11 Blackberry MIllU, llubusspp, l\ lll'i Hid iir
\i, uiinupin 1 Citrus usunu spp, ilplll .Hill 111,11 March and April Aoiin .mo west i loniu. Throughout Central and South Florida and Sat-siimas in North and West
HIVES OF BEES IN FLORIDA 1910-1940
farms reporting no. of hives
4.345 38,895 1920
4,434 41,237 1930
4,087 44,168 1940
HONEY PRODUCED IN FLORIDA 1909-1939
farms reporting lbs. of honey
2,587 747,832 1919
2,919 962,488 1929
2,907 1,333,463 1939
HIVES OF BEES IN FLORIDA 1910-1940
farms reporting no. of hives
4.345 38,895 1920
4,434 41,237 1930
4,087 44,168 1940
HONEY PRODUCED IN FLORIDA 1909-1939
farms reporting lbs. of honey
2,587 747,832 1919
2,919 962,488 1929
2,907 1,333,463 1939
SUMMARY OF BEE PRODUCTS & PRODUCTION VALUES BY COUNTIES
COUNTIES HIVES MONTY BEESWAX HONEY BEESWAX
Alachua....... 138 3,545 112 $ 555 $ 28
Baker ....... 244 3,525 152 553 34
Bay 492 9,952 205 99 5 51
Bradford -..... 270 4,908 52 471 13
2,968 81,095 857 8.1 10 209
804 25,982 459 2,598 1 15
172 4,363 436
4 35 4
Clay -------- ......
Collier....... 480 14,650 250 1,465 60
2 60 6
Dade -..... C29 23,470 415 2,347 104
762 50,429 5,043
Dixie ....... 49 1,375 40 138 10
Duval....... 670 18,008 833 1,801 208
Escambia ------ 252 7,160 25 716
Flagler....... 46 1,4 5 1 143
Franklin ...... 2,800 1 12,100 1,560 11,210 390
Gadsden ...... 78 2,500 145 251 36
Glades....... 2,356 75,685 7,569
Gulf........ 5,345 212,45 5 2,652 : i ,244 663
Hamilton -..... 76 2,000 200
545 8,546 666 855 167
Hendry....... 1,075 21,461 2,146
Hernando...... 175 5,445 15 545 4
Highlands...... 10 463 19 46 J
Hillsborough 2,579 63,723 1,038 6,372 259
Holmes....... 751 12,128 652 1,213 163
Indian River..... 824 43,820 826 4,382 206
Jackson 50 5 14,138 3 57 1,414 85
102 1,042 10 104 2
Lafayette -..... 45 1,155 25 1 56 6
Lake -------- 2,698 64,459 2,582 6,446 645
Lee -------- 164 5,214
Leon -------- 600 12,450 340 1,245 85
87 2,259 226
Liberty ..... 726 24,502 540 2,430 135
393 6,679 104 668 26
Manatee ------ 392 6,679 185 668 46
1,206 37.115 657 3,712 165
Martin....... 310 10,155 200 1,016 so
267 4,385 20 439
Okaloosa ------ 500 11,475 146 1.148 39
Okeechobee 304 12,978 6 5 1,298 16
714 25,495 160 2,550 40
137 4,040 45 404 1 1
170 7,95 0 5 5 795 9
Pasco ------- S61 14,645 71 1,46 5 18
SUMMARY OF BEE PRODUCTS & PRODUCTION VALUES BY COUNTIESContinued
COUNTIES HIVES HONEY in r.sw.w HONEY 111 i s\\ \\
Pinellas...... 1,583 28,924 565 2,892 141
Polk........ 9,296 248,33 5 4,075 24,834 1,019
Putnam ------- 131 5,235 250 524 62
St. Johns ------
St. Lucie ------ 1,286 34,187 2,172 3,419 543
Santa Rosa ------ 693 18,870 233 1,887 59
Sarasota ------- 364 10,960 256 1,096 64
Seminole ------ 628 10,964 97 1,096 25
Sumter.....- 307 4,215 617 422 154
Suwannee ------ 550 16,694 163 1,669 41
Taylor ------- 423 9,715 283 972 71
Union....... 41 530 15 53
822 28,775 2,876
Wakulla .....- 2,227 70,3 5 5 2,925 7,036 731
Walton ------- 260 9,105 125 911 31
794 26.IS5 444 2,619 111
TOTALS --- 53,780 1,597,958 28,671 $1 59,324 $7,15 5
Florida Grower, The. Tampa, Florida, The Grower Press, April. May, and September 1932; August 1934; February and May 1936.
Gleaning in Bee Culture. Medina, Ohio, A. i. Root Company, February 1941. pp. 73-75. April 1941. pp. 232-233. May 1941. pp. 314-315.
National Geographic Magazine, The. Washington, D. C, National Geographic Society, July 1929. "Insect Rivals of the Rainbow" by Franklin L. Fisher, pp. 28-90.
Root, A I. and E. R. The A B C ami X V 7. of Bee Culture. Medina, Ohio. A. I. Root Company, 1917. 830 pp., illus.
State of Florida Department of Agriculture. Beekeeping in Florida. Tallahassee, Florida, June 1940. 45 pp.
-------. Florida Agricultural Statistical Report,
1936-37. Tallahassee, Florida, June 1938. 259 pp., tables.
--------. Florida Hone) and III Hundred Uses.
Tallahassee, Florida, April 1 938. 5 5 pp., illus.
United States Department of Agriculture. Honey and Pollen Plants of the United States,
---. Honey and Some of Its Uses. Washington, D. C, U. S. Government Printing Office, 1936. 8 pp.
----. Suarm Control. Washington, D. C, U. S.
Government Printing Office, 1959. 29 pp.
--. Transferring Bees to New Hites. Washington, D. C, U. S. Government Printing Office, 1939. 10 pp.