American Honey Plants: the best book for beekeepers

Okay, so most of you have probably seen me poke links here and there and talk about a specific book in several of my posts. And it’s because American Honey Plants is one of my very favorite books.

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book american honey plants
Unfortunately, this book only covers American Honey Plants. Must be where they got the creative title huh? Photo by Jonathan Hargus©

Book review time!

It’s high time for me to give you guys a look at what exactly this book holds between its covers…and why you should have it for yourself!

First off, American Honey Plants is written by Frank C. Pellett as a Dadant Publication. You could call this book a beekeeper’s sidekick.

I apparently have the old version cause it smells like an antique, the perfect old-book smell, ahhh! If you exclude the extensive index in the back of the book, this is a tome of about 452 pages.

That’s 452 pages of American honey plants broken down into Major & Minor nectar sources.

And it gets even better, it covers the 50 states and is in alphabetical order. And although it’s pictures are not in color, they still give you a really good picture of what a plant looks like.

Here’s an example of Black Walnut from the book:

page from american honey plants

And here’s a picture of my Black Walnut trees that are blooming right now:

black walnuts in developmental stage

Referring to Black Walnut in Pellett’s book, we learn that this tree is, “…a well-known forest tree in the eastern United States. Its usual range is from Ontario and New England west to Nebraska, and south to Florida and Texas.

And being in Georgia as I am, I’m somewhere in the middle of all of that. This entry goes on to say that the Black Walnut sometimes “roars” with honey bees foraging its pollen.

As far as a nectar source, the Black Walnut is definitely a minor source.

Major nectar source

Now let’s look for a major source of honey found in this book. Something perhaps a little more familiar. How about Goldenrod!

This is one of the plants that the book covers in more depth. It cover over 7 pages of text. What’s great for beekeepers is that Goldenrod can be found far and wide.

AHB says, “Of the eighty species of goldenrod all but three or four belong to North America. It is one of our most widely distributed native plants.”

It goes on extolling the high virtues of Goldenrod as a fall forage crop and its importance in fall buildup for winter survival.

pages from american honey plants

This book is your new sidekick

The whole book is full of entries that give the range of each plant species, the different species available here in the States, their soil preferences, where they can be found by region, and often it gives quotes of past beekeepers who have secured quite a crop.

Whether or not you know what your bees forage on in your area, this book will teach you something you did not know.

Until I began reading this book, I had no idea that the area of north Georgia where I live is one of the few areas of the U.S. that secures a crop from Blackberry.

What about you?

What’s unique in your area? Do you know what major and minor sources of forage are available for your local bees? And if so, do you know when they bloom?

Or even more important but often overlooked; do you know what plants supply your bees with forage in between nectar/honey flows?

For me, knowing these things have been crucial elements in my beekeeping practices. I know that after Sourwood is finished blooming that I will have a honey dearth for about a month until Goldenrod and Aster begin to bloom which means I have to get entrance reducers installed right away before robbing begins.

Again, I highly recommend this book as one of your beekeeping ‘sidekicks.’ Everyone needs a sidekick, right?

Go ahead and get your own copy through the link below. If you don’t have a copy and would like to know something in particular about your area, contact me through my Contact page or in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.

And there’s one more book that I must tell you about…it’s my new children’s picture book! It evokes awareness of the importance of wildflowers as bee forage. Get your own copy below and let me know how your kids love it!

Until next time remember,

~Weeds are Wildflowers, let them Bee!~

Jonathan Hargus/Beekeeper Extraordinaire

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