Midgets chasing bees

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Parker36

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So I was looking through the various different types of honey the other day and got to wondering how do they know where the bees get the nectar to make honey? I was always under the impression that bee keeping was more of a side project for farmers than a primary source of income (although that is probably just because of the smaller operations I had seen on family farms or at farmers markets). Do people actually have large plots of land surrounded by nothing but clovers for the bees? Are there midgets chasing the bees around to swat them in case they contaminate the honey with some wildflowers? Is it a seasonal thing? I would think that if it is just a matter of letting the bees go and do their thing than there would be either a ton of "mixed" honeys or would be getting crazy different flavors from different parts of the country even between honeys made from the same plant?
 

k1v1116

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I think varietal honey is not an exact science but rather letting the bees go in an area populated mostly with one type of plant during the time that plant is in bloom.
Big honey producers actually truck their bees around to pollinate fields of various plants both to make varietal honey and because they can charge money to pollinate crops that rely of bees for pollination.
 

northcountry

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If your interested in how they do it, here is a fine book, by a gentleman Douglas Whynott, author of many other interesting books also. Here is a short synopsis of the book by Jeremy Tarcher:

Following the Bloom: Across America with the Migratory Beekeepers
NOTE:
This is an Amazon.com product.
Douglas Whynott
Jeremy Tarcher, 2004

Twelve months on the road with America's last cowboys: the migratory beekeepers.

In this absorbing work of literary journalism, Douglas Whynott introduces us to the world of migratory beekeeping, a world composed of clandestine state-border crossings, dodgy rigs, and unforgettable characters.

An updated edition of Whynott's classic account of his twelve months spent chasing the nectar flow with a few good men and women-and millions of honeybees-Following the Bloom tells the story of America's "last real cowboys." Overcoming catastrophic mechanical breakdowns, escaped bees that wreak havoc in suburban neighborhoods, and unfriendly state bee inspectors who threaten to burn entire bee colonies, these beekeepers truck hundreds of thousands of hives from state to state. From the cranberry bogs of Cape Cod and the blueberry fields of Maine to the clover fields of North Dakota and the orange groves of Florida, beekeeper and bee alike pursue the bloom.

Seamlessly combining the remarkable physics of the beehive, the political realities of commercial beekeeping, and the compelling adventures of America's migratory beekeepers, Following the Bloom pays homage to the hive, the honey, and the beekeeping cowboy.
 
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