for the entire wholesale crop of honey of this section. Agriculture is highly developed and dairy fanning is extensively practiced. More than 65 per cent, of the crop consists of cereals, hay, and forage. The remaining 35 per cent, includes vegetables, fruits, and forest products. As would be expected, the majority of the colonies of bees are located in the southern half of the Lower Peninsula. There are over 300 beekeepers in the state whose apiaries average more than 100 colonies, and more than twenty beekeepers who produce honey in carlots. It is estimated that about 80 per cent, of the honey crop is produced by 20 per cent, of the beekeepers, most of whom are operating commercial outfits.
The best beekeeping region in the Southern Peninsula includes the “Thumb” and the southeastern counties, where, on the belt of lake clay soils, alsike clover and white clover are excellent honey plants. On the Ohio line it extends westward to include Lenawee County. Dairy products are important in nearly every county. In Huron, Tuscola, and Sanilac counties at the apex of the “Thumb,” extending westward to Gratiot County, is the most dense area of bees in the state. Nearly the entire crop of honey is consumed or sold locally at retail; and the larger cities, like Detroit, offer a market for a much greater amount than is offered at wholesale.
Alsike clover in Huron County, according to David Running, is more reliable than white clover, which fails in seasons of severe drought. Sweet clover has become an important honey plant in this region in recent years. The Farms Crop Department estimates that there are 75,000 acres of sweet clover in Michigan, found chiefly in the Thumb district, southeastern and northwestern Michigan. In Huron County, as the results of the efforts of David Running, there are several 40 to 60 acre tracts of solid biennial sweet clover. Probably every county in the state is growing white sweet clover to some extent, and sweet-clover seed is produced in many counties.
In 1919 there were 41,000 acres of buckwheat grown in all parts of the state, but the largest acreage is in the southeastern counties, where Monroe County contains 3000 acres and the neighboring counties about 1000 acres each. It is in Michigan a very unreliable honey plant and only rarely produces a surplus. In 1919, there were 74,000 acres of alfalfa. While it is of very little importance as a source of nectar in Michigan, beekeepers, according to Kindig, have from time to time reported the storing of considerable surplus from this plant. Cucumbers and melons cover some 11,000 acres and yield a light amber honey of good flavor. There are several hundred acres of chicory, an equal area of which is found in no other state. Other honey plants of value which are found in the southern counties are dandelion, fruit bloom, raspberry, basswood, wild cherry, goldenrod, and aster. In Sanilac County large quantities of aster honey are secured occasionally.
Southwestern Michigan is a poor region for clover; and, in fact, most of western Michigan is poor territory for beekeeping. Many of the southwestern counties, however, report from 1500 to 2000 colonies of bees. The southwestern corner is an extension of the Kankakee swamp region, and Spanish needles is abundant in this and every other swamp area. It is a major source of nectar in the southern third of the state. In low lands boneset and purple vervain also add many pounds of honey to the winter stores. In the southwestern counties of Allegan, Cass, Berrien, Kalamazoo, Van Buren, and St. Joseph the bulk of the peppermint crop in the United States is produced. According to Kindig, on many of the large marshes it is not possible to cut the whole acreage for distilling until after the plants have bloomed and a considerable surplus of a white honey with a rich spicy flavor is secured. The temperature of the western shore of the state is greatly modified by Lake Michigan, and the influence of the lake extends many miles inward. There is a wonderful fruit belt along the side of the lake. Apple, peach, plum, and cherry trees are grown almost to the exclusion of other crops. Peaches are grown as far