In the northwestern portion of the state white clover is the most important honey plant; and when it fails only a small surplus is secured in locations away from the rivers. A beekeeper in Atchison County, who lives near the Missouri River, reports that he has secured from his best colonies for a period of 7 years 200 pounds of extracted honey annually. At St. Joseph, Buchanan County, the pasture lands are largely covered with white clover; and basswood, dandelion, black locust, sweet clover, alfalfa, and buckwheat are abundant; while on land under cultivation there are the usual fall flowers, such as heartsease and Spanish needles.
The Southwest Prairie, which is an eastern extension of the Great Plains, is a triangular-shaped area, about one-third of the size of the northern prairie, covering about 17 counties south of the Missouri River and west of a line running from Cooper County to Jasper County. It is the smoothest area in the state, the streams having broad, shallow flood plains with wide, gently sloping valleys and rounded divides. The soils, which are deep and fertile, are derived from shales, sandstones, and limestones.
The number of colonies of bees in many counties in this region has decreased greatly during the past 15 years. Dade and Polk counties contain the largest number of colonies, but Saline produces the largest amount of honey per colony. At Independence, in Jackson County, on the south side of the Missouri River, the larger apiaries range from 50 to 100 colonies; but the smaller yards are disappearing. This is not as good a location as it was 50 years ago, as there is to-day not much uncultivated land. Lafayette and Cass counties also contain good locations. At Harrisonville the apiaries range from 15 to 20 colonies, but there has been a heavy mortality among the bees during the past few years. The best location is the broad flood plain of the Missouri River; but back from the river on the higher land, where grain is largely grown, there is little space available for honey plants. White clover, moreover, fails often on account of dry weather.
The Ozark Plateau, so called from the Ozark Mountains, includes all that portion of the state south of the Missouri River, exclusive of the Southwest Prairie and the southeastern lowlands, or about two-thirds of the entire area of the state. The western boundary line extends from Cooper County to Jasper County. This region contains the highest land in the state (1800 feet in Iron County), and is much more deeply dissected than the prairies to the north. The valleys of the streams are deep and narrow, and the intervening land is hilly, or almost mountainous, much of it being unsuitable for agriculture. The roughest part of this region is found in Crawford, Washington, Iron, St. Francois, Madison, Wayne, Shannon, and Carter Counties, where much of the land is full of boulders, and fit only for forests or cattle ranges. All of the important soil-forming rocks of the Ozark region are limestone; but since the soils are the oldest in the state, and the land is hilly, most of the lime has been removed by leaching. It was formerly covered with a forest composed chiefly of short-leaved pine, white, black, red, and scrub oak, none of which are of value to the beekeeper. But much of this has been removed, and to-day tracts of virgin woodland more than 320 acres in extent are rare. White clover and sweet clover are the chief honey plants, and there is some prospect of sweet clover largely superseding other hay crops. Buckeye, papaw, redbud, buckbush, hackberry, basswood, sugar maple, and various wild flowers eke out the nectar supply.
Many of the counties in this region during the past fifteen years show an increase in the number of colonies of bees, while a few show a decrease. The average production of honey per colony is low; and counties in the white clover belt with the same number of colonies of bees secure much larger yields. Dry weather in