A beekeeper living near Baltimore City writes that he does not know of any location where a man could make a living entirely from bees. The crop of honey is at times ruined by a flood of honey-dew. For instance, an apiary of 9 colonies, just outside the mile limit, increased to 17 colonies and stored 675 pounds of surplus, consisting largely of honey-dew gathered from Norway maple. The bee pasturage is composed of the usual honey plants found in low-lying sections of the state.
Excellent locations for medium-sized apiaries occur in the western part of the Plateau in Montgomery, Frederick, and Carroll counties, and in the northern parts of Baltimore and Harford counties. There is a larger number of tulip trees in this territory than in the other counties in Maryland, and the clover yield is larger and more constant. There is also an early honey flow from fruit trees, and a little flow, beginning about September 1 and lasting until frost, from goldenrod, asters, and smartweed, all of which are abundant. Between the two honey flows there is an interval when strong colonies are compelled to consume a part of their stores. The more extensive planting of sweet clover would bridge over or shorten this gap.
The more noteworthy honey plants are white clover, alsike clover, tulip tree, black locust, red maple, sugar maple, sumac, persimmon, sweet clover, blue thistle, goldenrod, and aster. Basswood has been frequently planted in the cities and villages, and is common in the forests of the Piedmont uplands and in the mountains. There are three million fruit trees, and thousands of acres of strawberries and raspberries under cultivation. The black locust is common in the western Piedmont, and in some years, as in 1920, yields a heavy flow of nectar, but very often it is unreliable. The Piedmont was never covered by the great ice sheet, and the soils are derived from the decay of the underlying rocks of granite, gneiss, schist, slate, shale, and sandstone. They contain sufficient lime for the growth of corn and the grasses, but usually not enough for the clovers and other legumes. Neutral or acid soil is shown by the predominance of chestnut and oak trees, and by the abundance of huckleberries, Rhododendrons, and Kalmias. As the temperature in Maryland is usually unfavorable for the secretion of nectar by white clover, it is a reliable source of honey only one year in three, although it is very abundant in this region.
In Maryland, above the “fall line” on the Piedmont Plateau, tulip tree is sufficiently abundant to yield a crop of honey regularly. On the Coastal Plain it never furnishes a surplus. Formerly in the central part of the state it was one of the main surplus-honey plants, and very important in Montgomery County. But it has been so largely cut for pulp wood that there has been a great decrease in the quantity of honey obtained. When the flowers are late in opening, and the weather is warm and dry, the honey flow is very much heavier than when the bloom is early. Under such conditions there are few if any better honey plants than tulip tree. A large quantity of honey is stored, even when the trees are scarce, but when they are abundant there is little danger of overstocking a location with bees. “Tulip tree,” says Phillips, “is perhaps exceeded by no other plant in reliability of yield, and few other trees furnish as much nectar as a tree of this species.”
West of South Mountains are the counties of Washington, Allegany, and Garrett, constituting the Appalachian mountainous region. This section is crossed by numerous mountain ranges, 2000 to 3000 feet in elevation, between which are very fertile valleys. The winters are cold and the summers cool, the average annual temperature being 50 degrees F. This region was formerly covered by an extensive forest, more than one-half of which still remains. In Washington County is the broad Hagerstown Valley, resting upon limestone, a part of the great Appalachian Limestone Valley which extends from eastern Pennsylvania to central Alabama. Allegany County is the seat of important coal mines, and agriculture receives less attention. The average surplus is small. A local beekeeper describes the honey flora