honey, is more or less nauseous; but those who have always used buckwheat honey, or at least many of them, prefer it to either of these standard honeys. In New York and Albany it brings almost as high a price as the fancy grades of white honey; but in the western market it sells as an off-grade honey. (Figs. 31 and 32.)
Buckwheat honey occasionally contains 33 per cent, of water, and is, therefore, too thin to meet the requirements of the National Pure-food Law, passed June 30, 1906, which limits the amount of water in honey to 25 per cent. In such cases thin honey should be evaporated to make it conform with the law. This may be done by means of a honey-evaporator, or by storing it in open tanks for a while in a hot dry room.
Buckwheat can be cultivated throughout the north temperate zone. It is extensively grown in Asia, especially in Japan, and is also widely cultivated in Europe. An immense quantity of buckwheat honey is gathered in Russia. In North America, while it is grown to some extent in Canada, it is chiefly valuable for grain in the United States. It is best adapted to New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and New England, and to the mountainous sections of Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee. About two-thirds of the crop is now raised in New York and Pennsylvania. In the South it succeeds better in the uplands and in mountainous sections than in the lower lands. In 1919 there were 742,000 acres of buckwheat in the United States, of which 467,000 acres were in the states of New York and Pennsylvania. (Fig. 33.)
In New York and Pennsylvania there are thousands of acres within a radius of three miles. On one hilltop in Schoharie County, N. Y., bees were reported a few years ago to have access within a radius of three miles to 5000 acres of buckwheat, all of which was within the range of the eye. So great is the acreage in New York that from 2000 to 3000 colonies can be kept in some counties. There are hundreds of farmers who keep a few colonies in order that they may get the honey as well as the grain.
The flowers of buckwheat secrete nectar usually only in the morning; toward noon the flow lessens, and ceases entirely during the afternoon, but begins again vigorously the next morning. After all of the nectar has been gathered, the bees often make a few vain flights to the fields, and then remain idle until the following day. Thus in the afternoon, in spite of the great expanse of bloom and the strong fragrance, only a few bees can be found in the fields. But in the province of Quebec, about Sept. 1, the flowers bloom later in the day, and much of the honey may be stored in the afternoon. But the bloom yields only a few hours during a day. The flowers are blasted by high temperature, especially by hot sunshine after showers.
In New York, buckwheat can be depended upon almost every year to yield a crop of honey; but in the West it is more uncertain, some years yielding no honey, and in others doing fairly well. Since in the East it is almost always reliable, and yields well when even clover and basswood fail, as they do sometimes in any locality, the beekeeper is usually able to make his expenses and at least a small profit. In New York it is seldom that he is not able to make a fair living from buckwheat alone.
Among cultivated crops there are few which will afford a better artificial honey-pasture than buckwheat. The beekeeper who raises this cereal largely for honey should plant at three different times in order to prolong as much as possible the flow of nectar. On an average a single crop will occupy the land about sixty days. It will commence to yield nectar in fifteen or twenty days from the time it is planted, and take about ten days to mature after the honey flow ceases. If the first crop is sown on the 20th of June, the second crop on the 4th of July, and the third about the 18th of July, the beekeeper will be assured of a good bee pasturage from the middle of July, when basswood and clover are past, up to the middle of September, when the fall bloom of wild flowers commences.
The plant is a smooth annual, growing from 1 to 3 feet tall. The small flowers are clustered, and possess a strong fragrance; the petals are wanting, and the sepals are white or tinged with rose. The nectar is secreted by eight round yellow glands placed between the same number of stamens. This species has two forms