The western counties of Woodbury, Crawford, Harrison, and Pottawattamie, near the Missouri River, also furnish excellent records. In the region around Sioux City sweet clover covers thousands of acres, making a luxuriant growth in the rich loess soil bordering the river. It is an ideal crop for preventing the erosion of the steep hillsides and for enriching the land.
Iowa is far from being overstocked with bees; and, according to a conservative estimate, the crop might be ten times larger than it is to-day. S. W. Snyder states that at Center Point, Linn County, while two apiaries produced 20,000 pounds of honey in one season, probably not more than two-thirds of the nectar available was gathered. In many localities the bee pasturage will sustain from 75 to 100 colonies, and a return of $2000 from a single yard has not been uncommon. Nevertheless, few beekeepers depend entirely on beekeeping, as there are years when no surplus is produced, and the bees must be fed.
Total area, 68,727 square miles, or 43,985,280 acres. Approximately 19,000,000 acres, found chiefly in the Ozark region and the southeast lowlands, are uncultivated, and of this area 5,000,000 acres are so rugged that they can probably never be improved for crops. Missouri, which is situated near the center of the Union, is bordered on the east by the Mississippi River, and is divided into two nearly equal parts by the Missouri River, which crosses the state from west to east. It is the meeting-place of four physiographic provinces which have a wide extension beyond its limits — the prairie region north of the Missouri River, the Great Plains region, the Ozark region, and the southeast lowlands.
The majority of the successful beekeepers, according to L. Haseman, of the Missouri College of Agriculture, are located within reach of either the Missouri or the Mississippi river, or one of their tributaries In the drained areas of southeast Missouri beekeeping is rapidly coming to the front. The larger part of the beekeepers in the state have but few colonies; but there are a number who operate from 200 to 700 colonies. There is a seasonal difference of about three weeks between south Missouri and north Missouri; but, aside from this and the local influence of certain honey plants, beekeeping conditions do not vary greatly in the river valleys.
“After an experience of thirty years in commercial beekeeping in Missouri,” writes J. F. Diemer, of Liberty, “I am convinced that there are many good locations in this state, both along the larger rivers and the smaller streams. An ideal location is on the edge of the bottom-lands, where there is a chance for two honey crops — one from white clover, which grows on the upland; the other from Spanish needles, heartsease, and other flowers which grow on the bottom-lands. The best locations are found on the rivers Platte, Grand, Nodaway, Chariton, Osage, Meramec, Missouri, and along the Mississippi on the east border. White clover yields a surplus only about once in three or four years, and then it yields very abundantly; but it is very seldom that we fail to get a crop from fall flowers. One season, without white clover, we had a surplus of over fifty pounds, and, in addition, so large an amount was left in the hives that they entered the winter weighing about 80 pounds, or with more stores than were required. Most of the rivers mentioned are north of the Missouri River. The southern part of the state is not to be compared with the northern part for the production of honey. There are not many commercial beekeepers in Missouri; but most of those who are engaged in this industry are successful. My yards contain each from 50 to 100 colonies.”
The most important honey plants are white clover, heartsease, and Spanish needles, which are widely distributed over the state, blue-vine (or shoestring vine),