Attrack bees with flowers.
A bee is said to make three journeys in order to bring one drop of nectar to the hive; and 25,000 foraging trips are said to be necessary to gather the raw material for one pound of honey. The value, therefore, of large areas of nectar-yielding vegetation in the neighborhood of the hives is very great, and it is most desirable that the beekeeper shall know those plants which are most useful to him.
Important Honey Plants. The following are important bee plants: Clover, Alfalfa, Mustard, Cabbage, Buckwheat, Willow Herb, Cotton, Mesquite, Goldenrod, Acacia, Blueberry, Willow, Maple, Linden, Locust, Pear, Plum, Apple and Cherry.
Almost all single flowers produce a certain amount of nectar. Although the systematic planting of a small garden with bee flowers can make but small difference to the yield of a hive, it assists the workers considerably with the task of feeding the young, for frequently nearby flowers can be visited when visits to distant fields are impossible.
Best Bee Flowers for Gardens. The following flowers beloved of bees produce nectar profusely, and should find a place in every beekeeper's garden: Wallflower, Arabis, Forget-me-not, Borage, all members of the Bellflower or Campanula family, the mauve Catmint (Nepeta Mussinii), Heathers, Heaths, Honeysuckle, Thyme, Hollyhocks, Crocus, Scilla, Chionodoxa, Snowdrop, Heliotrope, Cleome, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Cornelian Cherry, Daphne, Barberry, Winter Aconite, Clematis paniculata, Mock Orange, Sunflower, Bearberry, Robinia, Asclepias, Hepatica, Rhamnus Frangula, Limnanthes, Mignonette, Phacelia, Scabious, Stonecrop, and the Michaelmas Daisies.
In addition, all the small fruits, including Currants, Loganberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, and Blackberries, are valuable, and particularly the Gooseberry, owing to its early flowering. These bush fruits will be found to crop far more freely if beekeeping is commenced in a locality previously ill-supplied with honey bees.