Clover Seed Production. The value of bees in the cross-pollination of clover.
In the past a great deal of speculation has existed among agronomists, farmers, and seed-men as to the value of bees in the cross-pollination of clover. A poor crop of clover seed, or a total failure, is often thought to be caused by unfavorable weather conditions. While it is true that unfavorable weather conditions tend to lessen the possibility of a large crop of clover-seed, is it also not true that a poor crop of honey is also the result when such a condition has existed during the major bloom of the clover within flying distance of the bees? During extremely wet weather bees cannot venture forth in search of nectar and pollen; also, during extremely dry spells the nectar in the flowers is rapidly dried up, with the result that bees do not visit the flowers. Some time ago a correspondence was carried on with a number of beekeepers in the State in regard to what their experience was in the cross-pollination of clover by their bees in the immediate vicinity. The following extract of a letter received from a Fond du Lac County beekeeper brings forth some facts that cannot but help be impressive. "Beekeeping is not only a direct source of income to the land owner, but an indirect one as well. Many people still have little faith in the cross-fertilization of clover, and consider it sufficient to see an occasional bee upon their fields of white or alsike clover. Authority on this certain point I am not, but a few facts may go to show that something may be in this cross-pollination through bees in the following: Several years ago a farmer came to me asking as to whether I would not move some of my bees to his farm as there were no beekeepers for miles around, and his 20 acre field of alsike-clover did