from the foliage of the cotton does not differ in color or flavor from that gathered from the flowers. Samples submitted to the United States Bureau of Chemistry were reported to be normal pure honey.
The surplus obtained depends largely upon locality, the soil, season, and atmospheric conditions. There are many factors which influence the nectar flow, and cause it to vary in different places and at different times. One of the most important factors is the soil. Cotton is grown on a great variety of soils, as sandy loams and clay loams. Rich alluvial soils and black prairie soils are admirably adapted to its culture; but by the use of fertilizers the poor pine lands of the Atlantic slope and in the vicinity of the Gulf can be made to produce a crop. Lime seems to be required, since the Black Prairie of Texas, the most important area in the United States, is underlaid by Cretaceous limestone. Little nectar is secreted by cotton on light sandy soils, and even in the black-land area on the lighter soils the plant is unreliable. The growth of the plant may be as luxuriant as on the heavier soil; but, no matter how promising its appearance, no cotton honey is obtained. A beekeeper at Levita, Texas, states that on the river locations in the timber regions he never obtains any surplus from cotton, but that five miles southward on the black land of the prairies he secures a large amount of honey. On the dryer soils of the uplands the color of the honey is reported to be lighter than on the bottomlands. (Fig. 51.)
Throughout the larger portion of the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain cotton is a poor honey plant. Opinions differ widely as to its value in different localities, and are often contradictory. In North and South Carolina the cotton belt is the poorest section of the state for beekeeping. At Cordele, Georgia, from one to three supers of cotton honey may be obtained, but in northern Georgia cotton is of minor importance. In Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana only a very small quantity of cotton honey is reported. But in the Arkansas River Valley, Arkansas, where there is an immense acreage of cotton, 96 pounds of honey per colony in an apiary of 12 colonies were obtained from this source. In Pulaski County the surplus from cotton per colony in 1918 was 40 pounds, and 20 pounds in 1919. In Oklahoma the humid conditions required to stimulate the secretion of nectar by cotton bloom occur only occasionally, and it is in consequence a very unreliable honey plant. Temperature and rainfall permit its cultivation in every part of the state except along the north border.
It is in Texas that cotton rises to the rank of a great honey plant, where it yields nearly one-fifth of the entire crop of honey produced in this state. Although there are 10,000,000 acres of cotton under cultivation in Texas, it is chiefly in the Black Prairie that cotton secretes nectar abundantly. Either to the east or west of this belt the honey flow shows a marked decrease. In Metagorda County, on the coast, cotton secretes nectar well only occasionally. At Bay City cotton is not dependable, but in some seasons good yields are secured from it. At New Braunfels and northward to Waxahaehie, cotton is the main dependence for honey. “In an average season,” according to Scholl, “a good yield may be expected from cotton in the black-land districts and the river valleys. Under favorable conditions it is not excelled by any other nectar-yielder in the cotton-growing belt. On poor soil and on sandy land it does not secrete nectar plentifully and in some sections under certain weather conditions not at all.” On the bottom-lands of the Brazos River there are cotton plantations which are several thousand acres in extent. Cotton is the only source of nectar and an average of about 75 pounds of bulk comb honey is secured annually; one season the surplus exceeded 100 pounds per colony. In 1919, one of the larger producers of the cotton belt had taken off 20,000 pounds before the beginning of the fall flow, and there still remained in the hives 10,000 pounds to be extracted. For the fall flow 5000 pounds would not be an overestimate. Waco, McLennan County, is near the center of the cotton belt; and in this county and around Waxahaehie more than 500,000 acres of cotton are cultivated. The apiaries are numerous and often average per colony 60 to 70 pounds of honey. In Hunt County, northern Texas, cotton is also the main dependence for a honey crop.