“The absence of extremely hot weather in summer and of extremely cold weather in winter is a matter of tremendous importance to beekeeping,” says Kindig. “The moderate heat of summer is sufficient to produce a very heavy flow of nectar, but does not dry the soil excessively. This results in uniformly heavy honey flows of long duration — one of the outstanding characteristics in Michigan beekeeping. The cooler summers also cause the production of a very mild-flavored honey, as compared with honey from the same sources produced where the temperature is higher. This feature of our climate insures very high-grade honey. Outdoor wintering of bees is being successfully practiced in all parts of the state.”

The soils of Michigan consist of glacial drift, and are very variable within short distances. They are very closely related to the production of honey in all parts of the state. There were two or more invasions of Michigan by the great continental ice-sheet, separated by long intervals. The oldest invasion came from the northwest across the basin of Lake Superior. A later invasion was from the northeast, and brought the material which to-day forms the upper layer of the soil. The glacial drift which was deposited by the melting of the ice varies greatly in thickness; on the border of Lake Michigan it is more than 600 feet thick, in other places it is very thin or absent, the underlying rock coming to the surface. It consists of a mixed mass of boulders, gravel, sand, and clay, forming stony loams in the moraines, gravelly loams in the river terraces, and sandy loams in the sand plains. There are also clayey soil plains, which were deposited by the waters of ancient glacial lakes. The soils of each of the two peninsulas will be described separately.


The western half of the Northern Peninsula is rugged, or along the western shore mountainous, attaining an altitude of 1443 feet above Lake Superior in the Porcupine Mountains. The rocks are folded granites, gneisses, and schists, which have weathered in localities to rounded knobs and sharp ridges. The eastern half of this province is more level, and the rocks consist of strata of sandstone and limestone which remain in an almost undisturbed position. Along the southern coast bordering Lake Michigan and Lake Huron there is a tract of limestone, thinly covered with drift. The average elevation of the Northern Peninsula is probably about 250 feet above the lakes.

It is estimated that about 60 per cent, of the land can be used for farming, leaving about 40 per cent, of light soils, rocky areas, and swamps difficult to reclaim. The swamps and lakes cover about one-quarter of the Upper Peninsula. They are found largely in Schoolcraft and Luce counties, although small swamp areas occur in most counties. They do not offer desirable locations for beekeeping, according to Kindig, but in some years aster, goldenrod, boneset, willow-herb, and other honey plants are abundant, and afford a valuable late flow of nectar. Extensive rocky areas occur at the surface or at a very slight depth in Marquette, Houghton, and Keweenaw counties. These rugged areas are unsuitable for farming, but large tracts of raspberry and fireweed are of interest to the beekeeper. Heavy soils occur in Houghton and Keweenaw counties, on which much white clover, alsike clover, and some sweet clover are grown. An added attraction is that the Keweenaw Peninsula has a larger population than any other portion of the Upper Peninsula on account of the mining industries located there.

A large area is covered with glacial moraines which have a rolling or hilly surface. The soil is variable, ranging from a heavy clay to a mixture of boulders, gravel, and sand. Usually there is sufficient clayey material present to render it very productive. Among the moraines there occur sandy to clayey loam plains, a part of which make excellent farm lands. Outside of the moraines there are large