to the north. Six counties — Montgomery, Dallas, Lowndes, Marengo, Wilcox, and Bullock — together report more than one-fifth of the total acreage of cotton. Thousands of acres of sweet clover formerly flourished here; but since 1922 it has been partially destroyed by cattle-raising. The sweet-clover region begins near Union Springs, about 50 miles from the Georgia line. At Columbus, on the Chattahoochee River, no honey is stored from this plant. The apiaries in this section are much larger than in any other part of the Coastal Plain, and range from 50 to 200 colonies, or rarely to 500 in a single yard.
In the vicinity of the city of Montgomery, where more package bees and queens arc reared than in any other equal area in the United States, and where sweet clover is abundant, the farms have been greatly improved, and there are many evidences of prosperity. The average size of the apiaries is about 75 colonies. The surplus honey comes mainly from sweet clover; and during three years there is usually one big crop, one medium, and one poor. The main income is from bees and queens shipped north. The honey flow lasts from 40 to 50 days, and the honey granulates as soon as the weather becomes cool. A beekeeper who had 600 colonies reports that the crop was only about two tons one year, but in the next it was 19 3/4 tons. In a radius of 25 miles from the city of Montgomery there are several commercial beekeepers raising bees and queens, and about 100 smaller apiaries, which contain nearly 4000 colonies. The main crop comes from sweet clover, and an average of 80 pounds per colony is stored once in three years. A beekeeper who has been doing a large business in raising package bees writes: “I have been in the business for 27 years, and have now 500 colonies. I started with 75 colonies, and have acquired $20,000, practically all from bees.” At Fitzpatrick, in 1917, there were reported 900 colonies in 11 yards, which were devoted chiefly to raising queens and bees. At Hayneville, Lowndes County, there are apiaries in every direction, located about 3 1/2 miles apart. The commercial apiaries number about 25, and contain a total of 2500 colonies. Their main business is raising package bees and queens. A crop of 75 to 100 pounds per colony is obtained in a good year, 90 per cent, of which comes from sweet clover. The crop is never a complete failure. A beekeeper writes: “I started beekeeping 18 years ago with three colonies. I now have not far from 700 colonies, run for package bees in the spring, and for honey in June and July. In addition I have 600 nuclei for queen-rearing. This year (1920) I have sold 800 two-pound packages of bees, and will probably produce 8000 queens.” The honey plants of this region, in addition to sweet clover, are tulip tree, black tupelo, fruit trees, black locust, chinquapin, basswood, maple, rattan-vine, blackberry, buttonbush, snow-vine, redbud, partridge-pea, cotton, velvet beans, cowpeas, bitterweed, China-berry, goldenrod, and aster. Bitterweed is a very important source for winter stores, and those who raise package bees consider it a great help.
Westward in the Black Belt conditions are fairly good, but are not improving. At Demopolis, on the Tombigbee River, the honey gathered from cotton is poor in quality, and in some years there is none at all. Bees in this locality will not work on cotton if there is any other plant in bloom — even bitterweed. For a hundred miles north of Demopolis, along the border, there are many good locations. At Sumterville, Sumter County, there are several apiaries which are reported to contain 100 to 300 colonies. Sweet clover is the only honey plant of consequence. At Cochrane, Pickens County, there are nine apiaries which average over 80 colonies each. But for sweet clover and Spanish needles the bees would die of starvation. The high price of hay has caused the farmers in this county to cut the Johnson grass (Sorghum Halepense) three times a year, which kills the sweet clover, as it has no chance to produce seed. In Lamar County, north of Pickens County, bee-