Purpose: This study was conducted to identify and document major honeybee flora, its flowering period, and nectar and pollen potentials in three zones representing, three agro-ecologies in SNNP.
Methodology: Three districts in each zone were used for the study and a total of 120 beekeepers were purposively selected and interviewed to collect primary data.
Results: The results of flora inventory indicated that abundant plant identified and ranked by farmers as very good (56.36%), good (27.27%) and poor (16.37%) while bee floras in terms of honey quality were categorized as very good (48.18%) good (25.45%) and poor (26.36%.) In terms of its acceptance by honeybees, the flora was categorized as very good (45.4%), good (21.81%) and poor (32.73%). The result of pollen analysis indicated that the majority of the Shebedino and Dale woreda (district) was dominated by Vernonia, Eucalyptus, Guizotia, and Coffee Arabica species. On the other hand pollen samples collected from the honey of Wonago and Kochere woreda were dominated by Lipidium, coffee Arabica, Eucalyptus and Guizotia species. The study identified an abundance of different classes of plants in different agro-ecologies as Asteraceae in highland, Acanthaceae in midland and Mimosaceae families in the lowland. Honey plants flower throughout the year except in June, July, and January in midland, highland, and lowland respectively. However, the highest proportion of honey plants flowers from August to October, with a peak in August and September and March to May with a peak in March. Based on flowering periods, the major and minor honey flow periods for selected areas of SNNP were respectively noted to be from August to October and from March to May.
Implications: Based on the result of this study, it is concluded that beekeeping productivity is strictly dependent on the availability of floral resources of a particular area. It is therefore recommended that farmers get prepared in line with the flowering calendar, to conserve the identified bee plant species to boost honey production. An in-depth analysis of bee plants throughout the year, determination of total carrying capacity, propagation, wise use and conservation of floral vegetation deserve special attention for better integration of the sector with the honey flow and potential of flowering plants in the study area. The search for dry season-resistant major honey bee flora and the provision of practical training for farmers deserve special attention.