The season opens with the blooming of black titi (Cliftonia monophylla), an evergreen shrub common in the swamps, in March and April, and is followed by the black tupelo and white tupelo in April and May. Two hundred and fifty barrels of extracted honey were once secured in 26 days by A. B. Marchant. E. R. Root, who visited this region some years ago, states that vast quantities of nectar go to waste, and that it is doubtful if the country is ever overstocked with bees. A beekeeper at Apalachicola writes: “There are 20 apiaries in this locality numbering from 100 to 330 colonies. In a good year the average surplus is 150 pounds. A full crop is obtained three years in five; but there is never less than one-quarter of a crop.” Much nectar is also gathered from the white bloom of the snow-vine, which heavily festoons the trees in the swamps and along the edges of the river. Many do not care, however, to live in a desolate, unwholesome swamp where malaria and mosquitoes are prevalent. Other objections are the shortage of pollen and the absence of late-blooming honey plants to maintain the strength of the colonies in the fall. In recent years the Apalachicola region for some reason has not shown as good results in honey production as it did formerly.
Throughout the north-central portion of the state on the high pine land there are in July and August thousands of acres of partridge-pea in bloom. Nectar is secreted not by the yellow flowers, but by extra-floral nectaries at the base of the leaf-stems. The average surplus obtained from this source is about 30 pounds per colony. There is also a large area covered by a little-known plant which blooms late in the season, called summer farewell (Kuhnistera pinnata). It grows about two feet tall, and the spikes of white flowers yield a large amount of fine-flavored white honey. In Columbia County there is much bush chinquapin. In Hamilton County, on the north border, the apiaries do not contain more than 7 to 10 hives, mostly in boxes and log gums. Gallberry yields the larger part of the surplus; but soft maple, holly, black gum, sweet gum, and prickly ash are of value.
At Gainesville, in Alachua County, a fairly good surplus comes from many plants; but the most important are gallberry, which grows commonly in the flat-woods, partridge-pea, and summer farewell in the pine lands. There is also a large acreage of peanuts and of velvet beans. An average surplus of 50 pounds per colony has been obtained for a number of years, and it may exceed 90 pounds. In Florida there are thousands of acres of peanuts grown, both for oil-mills and for fattening hogs.
In the extreme northeastern portion of the state, in which are the cities of Jacksonville and St. Augustine, the counties of Nassau, Duval, Baker, Clay, and St. John’s are of little importance for beekeeping. The apiaries are small, and the average surplus is only about 20 pounds. Most of the honey is apparently gathered in the fall from goldenrod; but a portion of it comes from gallberry, cabbage palmetto, and chinquapin.
Middle Florida, which is the great citrus-growing region of the peninsula, as the temperature seldom falls below 43 degrees F., extends southward as far as Lake Okeechobee. Throughout the central portion there are innumerable lakes, and hammocks varying in size from one to a thousand acres. The hammocks support a dense growth of oak, magnolia, sweet bay, elm, laurel, and cabbage palmetto; but there are thousands of acres of land, covered with long-leaved pine and pitch pine which are only moderately fertile, and produce few nectar-bearing plants. Flowers are not as abundant as the name Florida would suggest. “By far the larger part of Florida,” says J. J. Wilder, “will not support bees,” or, more definitely stated, beekeeping on a large scale is not profitable over a large area. Bees fly on pleasant days throughout the year and brood-rearing continues more or less during the winter months, so that a much larger amount of stores is required than in the