keeping. In many sections adequate trials of commercial beekeeping have not been made. The prevalence of foul brood is not a serious drawback to a genuine beekeeper, although it spoils the fun of the amateur. Other things being equal, it may be advisable for a thorough-going beekeeper to chose a location where foul brood has cleaned out competition.”
While it is important that the beekeeper should be familiar with climate and soil and should be acquainted with the best methods of bee culture, it is vitally important that he should be familiar with the honey plants. “If he is not well informed in regard to the honey flora,” says Wilder, “he will certainly do as thousands of others have done — locate bees in sections where little if any surplus can be secured. This lack of knowledge is putting many out of the bee business. I have seen hundreds of apiaries in localities where there was only a meager sustenance for the bees and a surplus could be obtained only occasionally. But if he has a thorough knowledge of the honey plants, and can single them out from the thousands of other plants, know when they are in bloom, and the approximate amount of honey each will yield under normal conditions, he can form, as he goes to and fro, north, east, south and west, over the country, a correct estimate as to how much honey can be produced in every locality he visits.”
The principal sources of table honey in the United States are white clover, alsike clover, sweet clover, alfalfa, orange bloom, and the mountain sages. Commercial beekeeping is very largely dependent on these plants, and without them very little surplus honey would reach the big markets. Their distribution is of very great interest to all who seek a living from the production of honey.
The best white clover territory is found in the north-central states, especially in the states bordering on the Great Lakes, where the soils formed during the Glacial Age are rich in lime. This region, sometimes called the “white clover belt,” includes the Champlain Valley of Vermont, northern and central New York, northwestern Ohio, northern and eastern Indiana, northern Illinois, a belt running east and west through the Lower Peninsula and the southern portion of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, portions of Wisconsin and Minnesota, and eastern Iowa. White clover is also a valuable honey plant in Washington and Oregon west of the Cascade Range, and over a large area in Canada. The surplus secured in successive seasons varies greatly in different localities, as has been described under White Clover in Part III. Alsike clover is very generally grown in the states north of Kentucky and east of the east boundary line of the Dakotas. There are small areas in southwestern Idaho, northern California, and in the coast regions of Washington and Oregon. In Ontario, Canada, hundreds of acres are grown exclusively for seed. It is almost unknown in the southern states, but is grown to a limited extent in Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, and Louisiana, especially around Baton Rouge.
The largest amount of sweet clover honey is produced in the north-central states (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa), northern Kentucky, the Black Belt of Alabama and Mississippi, the Great Plains region, and in the Western Highlands (Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and Idaho). While sweet clover honey is produced in nearly all portions of the white clover territory, the amount is small compared with that obtained from the clovers. In northern Kentucky and in the Black Belt of Alabama and Mississippi sweet clover is the main reliance of the beekeeper. In northwestern Iowa and in North Dakota and South Dakota the acreage is very rapidly increasing and excellent new locations for bees are constantly becoming available. In Kansas it is grown in more than 90 counties. Under irrigation in the Rocky Mountain states very large yields are obtained, especially in Wyoming.
Alfalfa honey is produced commercially chiefly in the states west of the Mis-