ticularly around the towns of Joliet and Morris. These two counties probably lead in the production of sweet clover honey in Illinois.
Along the eastern border conditions vary greatly, and the soil is not suitable for obtaining the best flow of nectar from the clovers. In Kankakee County, along the Kankakee River there are great Spanish-needles swamps, as in northwest Indiana. Iroquois County contains many colonies of bees, and produces a large quantity of honey. As more than 400,000 acres of corn and oats are grown in Champaign County, much of it is poor bee territory. In Vermilion County similar conditions prevail. A beekeeper at Newman, Douglas County, reports that it is a poor locality for beekeeping. A good crop is obtained one season in three. There seem to be few who specialize in beekeeping in Coles County, but there are many small yards. A fair average is about one super to a hive. White clover is the main dependence, but it is a partial failure whenever the weather is too wet or too dry. Field aster is very common in the fall, but the bees get little nectar from it.
From the eastern border let us turn our attention to the Mississippi Valley, which forms the western boundary of Illinois. Here two crops may be gathered in a favorable season. At Hamilton, Hancock County, large crops are sometimes secured both in spring and fall. An immense acreage of fall flowers, Spanish needles, boneset, heartsease, and asters, is found on the bottom-lands along the Mississippi River.
“In the valley of the Mississippi River in Illinois,” writes Frank C. Pellet, “conditions vary widely. In places where there is no lowland on the Illinois side, clover is the principal dependence; and when that fails there is no honey to sell. Where there is a wide valley there is an abundance of Spanish-needles, heartsease, and boneset, which insure a dependable fall honey flow. The same conditions prevail largely on the Missouri side of the great river.”
Pike and Calhoun counties are bordered on one side by the Mississippi, and on the other by the Illinois River. A local beekeeper asserts that there is no better location in the state. The early-blooming honey plants are willows, maples, dandelion, and the great apple orchards. The summer plants are white clover, alsike clover, sweet clover, and basswood; and the fall flowers are heartsease, Spanish needles, and asters. The clovers bloom from May 15 to July 30, and, if the weather is right, yield heavily, but not, however, as well as in the northeastern section. In a dry fall an average surplus of 100 pounds has been obtained from heartsease. The honey from asters granulates very quickly. It is clear and strong, and is secured in large quantities.
In the central portion of the state the best locations are found along the Illinois River and the small streams. Most of the apiaries at Decatur, Macon County, are of small size, but there is one of 50 colonies and another of 100 colonies. A profitable crop is obtained three years in five, and once in 15 years there is an extra-good crop. While not more than 150 pounds per colony of bulk comb honey is usually obtained, 300 pounds or even 400 has been secured. In addition to the usual honey plants, sweet clover is being introduced to improve the land, and is making great changes. At Pekin, in the Illinois River Valley, the apiaries range from 50 to 250 colonies, and, except in dry seasons, a surplus of 50 to 75 pounds is obtained. “The Illinois River Valley,” writes A. L. Kildow, State Bee Inspector, “I consider the best region for bees in the state. The border of the Illinois River from its source to its mouth consists of bluffs and bottom-land. The bluffs are used for pasture, which is plentiful in favorable years, and the bottom-land furnishes an abundance of spring and fall flowers.” In the vicinity of Springfield, Sangamon County, the larger apiaries range from 25 to 120 colonies, and there are about 35 containing from one to ten colonies, which are run on the “let alone” plan.