secreted, since the bees will not fly freely in rainy weather. At Clarinda, Iowa, during 29 years the largest amount of honey was brought into the hives on clear days. Of the entire gain in weight, 61 per cent, was made on clear days; 13 per cent, on partly cloudy days; 13 per cent, on cloudy days, and 13 per cent, on rainy days. On a part of the rainy days there was practically no increase.
There must be sufficient rain to insure a vigorous growth of the plants, otherwise there will be a scarcity of nectar; or, if the dry weather is long continued, there may be no surplus, as has frequently happened. In the northern states, if there is a good stand of white clover in early spring, a drought in May or June, if copious rains follow, will only retard the bloom and delay the harvest. Cold rainy weather during the honey flow will both lessen the quantity of honey and prevent the bees from working on the bloom. Great humidity of the atmosphere will increase the quantity of nectar secreted by checking the transpiration of the leaves, but will not increase the sugar content.
On light sandy soils, as in Kentucky, it is well established that there will be a very small honey flow if the preceding season has been dry. If there is no rain after July 1, the drought destroys the old plants of feeble vitality, checks the growth of offshoots, prevents the growth of seedlings, and retards the formation of an extensive root system, with the result that there are few blossoms and little nectar the following season. Although the injury wrought by drought does not become apparent until the next season, it should not be attributed to winter-killing, but to the correct cause — the absence of sufficient moisture in the soil.
A fourth important factor is the protection of the roots of white clover in winter. In wet clay ground in regions where the winters are severe, the roots may be much broken and drawm out upon the surface, or the plants killed outright by repeated “lifting,” caused by alternate freezing and thawing of the soil. The destructive work of the frost, however, is much lessened by the natural mulch afforded by the dead vegetation found in waste places and in meadows which have not been cropped too closely. Snow also offers excellent protection; and, where it covers the ground for most of the winter, clover suffers little or no damage. Winter-killing from freezing in well-drained sandy soil, or in warmer climates, is practically unknown.
An ideal season, when one of the largest crops of comb honey per colony on record was secured, occurred at Marengo, Illinois, in 1913. From 72 colonies, spring count, 266.47 pounds per colony, or a total of 19,182 sections of chiefly white-clover honey, were obtained. The three best colonies yielded 390, 385, and 402 sections respectively. The flow began about June 1, and continued until August, the bees then gradually changing to sweet clover and heartsease. The season consisted of a succession of hot humid days; and up to September 1 there were only two rainy days. At other times rain came during the night, the weather becoming clear again before the bees were ready to begin work in the morning.
THE POLLINATION OF WHITE CLOVER
The flowers of white clover are familiar to every one, since the plant finds a congenial habitat in the vicinity of human dwellings. It carpets the lawns, fringes the paths and roads, and is common in the fields and pastures. There have been counted in the heads or flower-clusters from 57 to 89 small florets. At first all the florets stand erect; but as the marginal ones are pollinated they cease to secrete nectar, and bend backward and downward against the stem. By preventing useless visits this change in position is beneficial to both flowers and insects. When they expand the flowers are white, but they often turn reddish after they are reflexed, and finally become brown. It is manifest that the individual florets of a white-clover head are far too small to support a honeybee. The bee clings with its legs to several flowers, and only its head rests on the flower from which it is sucking nectar. As the nectar is not deeply concealed, other insects can obtain it besides bees. The pollen is yellow; but after it has been moistened and packed by the bees in the pollen-baskets it assumes a brownish color. Bees never visit the flowers for the purpose of gathering the pollen alone, since the anthers are inclosed in a sac