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two kinds, blueberry and several other sunflower, mullein, self heal, boneset, related plants, beans, peas, Indian red Eupatorium, clematis, shrubby cinhemp, dogsbane, loosestrife, balm and quefoil, goldenrod, aster, plantain, many species of the mint family, bitter- thistle, buckwheat, mustard,' heartssweet, sumac, goose-grass, life-everlast ease, button pennyroyal, hollyhock and ing, woodbine, St. Johnswort, hardhack, witch-hazel. sage, corn, pumpkin, cucumber, squash, I have seen honey-bees at work on melon, sorrel, touch-me-not, vervain, all the plants which I have named withNabulus altissimus, silkweed, fireweed, in an area of about fifteen towns in knotweed, ragweed, wild sunflower, Windham County, Vermont. Without
many essential variations this alma- ated, but when the weather is warm nac will answer for New England, New and dry they sometimes visit it early York and other northern territory. The in the morning. Next to white clover red raspberry is here one of the best the linden or basswood tree is generhoney-yielding plants. The blossoms ally the most productive source of begin to appear before the end of May honey. It blossoms about the middle and continue until the fruit begins to of June in warm situations and conripen in July When the raspberry tinues in bloom in high altitudes until bloom is in its prime the bees are busy the middle of July. It is in full bloom gathering the nectar from morning till only once in two years, but there are night.
a few odd trees that can be found in The best part of the white-clover sea- full bloom any year, and a few blosson is in June, though in a favorable soms may be found on some trees that locality in a good season, a few white- bore full the previous year. When clover plants can generally be found in everything is favorable for the yield of blossom until late in the Fall. White basswood honey, hundreds of bees may clover yields the most honey when it is sometimes be found at work on a dry. The bees will therefore be found single tree, making a humming that upon white clover most plentifully can be distinctly heard by any one after the dew has completely evapor passing near. Coming under a bass
wood tree at such a time, the uniniti- by cinquefoil have lately overspread ated frequently thinks he has found a old neglected pastures, taking comwild swarm of bees, and puts his mark plete possession of the soil. It bears a on the tree. I have seen several bass- yellow flower about half an inch in wood trees so marked.
diameter, appearing on some of the Bees may be found at work in the earlier plants in June, and may be cornfields in July and August. They found until late in Autumn. Bees may, work here only in the forenoon or when at times, be seen upon the flowers quite there is a humid atmosphere. The corn plentifully, which is the only thing that tassels yield an abundance of pollen, can be said in defence of this intruding but the bees cannot gather it and pack shrub. it in the little baskets on their hind Of all plants from which bees gather legs unless it is moist. There are only either honey or pollen the goldenrod three or four hours of an ordinary is the most practically useful to the day when they frequent cornfields. bee-hunter. The earlier species begin Buckwheat is another cultivated plant to blossom the last days of July, and yielding both honey and pollen, neither from that time until late in September of which the bees can gather when the it is not difficult to find some kind of plant is dry. Great numbers of bees goldenrod in blossom. About thirteen visit the buckwheat fields from eight different species have been identified o'clock in the morning until a little within a small area in this localitypast noon. No honey bees will be one with white flowers. I think that found on a buckwheat field much after bees find something to gather from all noon on a fair day, but sometimes they these kinds. I have seen bees at work may be found there in the afternoon
upon nearly all of them. The white when the forenoon has been rainy and goldenrod is one of their especial the afternoon is clear.
favorites. In general, they will be St. Johnswort is a wild plant which found most plentifully upon the late bees frequent in a dull or cloudy day, kinds, as the rough-leaved goldenrod or early in the morning before the dew (Solidago rugosa) or the blue stemmed is off. The common Canada thistle, goldenrod (S. caesia and S. latifolia). when, as sometimes happens, it yields The goldenrods are widely distributed honey, is visited by the bees at all times and can be found in their season almost of the day. Though formerly quite everywhere, growing by the roadside, plentiful, this plant is now fortunately on the borders of fields, in old pasalmost extinct in this country. We tures, in swamps and in the open have a species of spirea or hardhack, a woods. When the weather is not too shrub two or three feet high bearing cool the bees work upon the goldenbeautiful small red or white flowers in rod from morning until late in the numerous, slender, tapering panicles on afternoon. I have started more wild the ends of the upright branches. It is swarms from bees caught from the in blossom in July, August and Sep- goldenrod than from any other plant. tember. Bees may generally be found Besides, I have had thrown in with the at work upon it through the day, but hunt beautiful golden views in the in some seasons they hardly visit it at landscape. No dishonest gold was this. all. It is very common in old pastures After the goldenrod come several and waste lands. Meadow-sweet is species of wild asters, upon which bees another species of spirea, having white may be found in warm, pleasant days or slightly pink flowers which the bees late in autumn. The large blue aster, also frequent.
which grows in swamps or in wet The staghorn sumac blossoms in places, is one of the most common and June, and another kind of sumac in one that remains in blossom latest. It August; both kinds much fre is the last of the season except onequented by bees. In some parts of the witch hazel, which puts forth its Vermont immense quantities of shrub- blossoms in October, after the leaves
have fallen. In very warm days, a few able distance. I knew that if there bees may sometimes be seen on the were any bees having their home within flowers of the witch hazel, but, with one or two miles of this field they the failure of the asters, their field would be represented here at this time, labors are subsequently closed for the and I tarried a few minutes to take season, and they have nothing left but observations. My eye caught a heavto go into winter quarters.
ily laden bee high up in the air flying Nathan was my bee-hunting com slowly from the field in a straight line panion. Not my only one, for I have towards the woods. After a little exhad many others, including some near perience in lining bees one can genthe natural condition of man, some erally tell whether a bee is flying directhighly cultivated students, professors, ly home to deposit its load or whether clergymen and successful business it is flying in a contrary direction withmen; but Nathan was the bee-hunting out a load. If the bee is heavily laden partner of my youth when we were with pollen and honey-they always both students of the art, and I remem collect both at the same time when the ber him as the one of a score or more flowers yield both--the flight is slow, of co-hunters who was most apt to labored and direct. When the bee learn the ways of wild bees, and who reaches the hive or the hollow in the had the most enthusiastic appreciation tree, which serves equally well its purof bee-hunting.
poses, both the pollen and honey are On one occasion, occurring the last quickly deposited, and it returns for week in July, when we were in the another load with a lighter, swifter midst of the haying season, there was and more irregular fight. It has spent a slight sprinkle of rain in the morn not more than five minutes in the hive. ing, and it had been decided not to In some cases, when the flowers are mow more grass that day. Though yielding abundant stores, the bee rethe honey-bee does not work in the mains in the hive only two or three rain, Nathan and I were so eager for minutes. It seems to understand the a hunt that we started out with our need of the utmost economy of time, bee boxes for a place near the foot of for the yield may last but a few hours. a mountain about four miles away Bees can gather honey. from buckwhere we knew there was a small field wheat only when the flowers are moist. of buckwheat in full bloom. On the. In a pleasant day the honey in the Sunday previous we were picking blue buckwheat flowers becomes too thick berries and passed by this field. It would to be sucked up into the gathering-sac have been considered very wicked to of the bee before two o'clock in the hunt bees Sunday, but it was quite afternoon. There may be more than respectable to pick berries on that day. fifty thousand bees at work on an By what process of reasoning the dif acre of buckwheat half an hour before ference between the two was estab noon. At two o'clock in the afternoon lished we never stopped to inquire, but it might be impossible to find a single took our little part of the great world bee on the field. as we found it, except that sometimes There were no houses in the direction we indulged in private opinions which that my
loaded bee had taken. He we were too prudent to make public. might have continued in that line for
We were, therefore, picking blue more than ten miles without passing berries on the Sunday before, when we a dwelling. It was the starting of a found the field of buckwheat without wild swarm. Somewhere in the forest turning out of our way. It was densely —it might have been a half or even covered with fresh flowers. The morn nearer, or it might have been three ing sun was fast dissipating the dew miles-was the home. The slow, from the mass of white blossoms, and steady, direct flight, which I had folthe air was filled with fragrance that lowed as long as it could be held in was plainly perceptible at a consider view, revealed to a practical certainty
the fact that there was a wild swarm been planted to corn. At that time of bees somewhere in the direction every corn patch had also its pumpkins. taken. But we took no bee boxes with In this case the pumpkin vines grew us on that day—only our pails for pick- rampant underneath the corn. Their ing blueberries. These were filled and large flowers had been opened in the we returned to our homes.
morning, as is their habit, but the rain It was only the next Monday, when had closed them. Nathan began at the poor hay day, to which I have re once to open them and look for bees ferred, gave us our opportunity, and we that might have been caught and imstarted out with our bee-hunting boxes prisoned when the rain closed the long for the place where I had lined the bee. tubular corrollas at the top. His When we had traveled about half way search was successful, and we soon had to the field there was a shower of rain two bees at work in our boxes. They sufficient to stop bees from working were somewhat benumbe:land stupefied But we were too eager to be turned at first from their imprisonment and the back. When we reached the buck- coolness that followed the shower. wheat field not a single bee could be They soon revived, however, and parfound upon it. Though it was not took freely of the sweets which we then raining, the flowers were wet offered them. After filling its honeyenough to drabble the bodies of the sac to its full capacity, one of them bees and they all remained in their rose slowly, flying over and around home; at least, all that could reach the box, and then in widening circles, it before being overtaken by the and examined closely both the box and shower.
the locality. Having completed its obBut Nathan had great knowledge servation, it struck off in the same of the ways of the honey bee. He direction that the laden bee lined from was keen for the hunt and full of re- the buckwheat flowers on the day besources. Part of the plowed field had fore had taken.