The Influence of Honey Bees on the Production of Crimson Clover Seed1

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Experiments were conducted in Alabama from 1951 through 1954 to determine the influence of the honey bee, A pis mellifera L., on the yield of seed of crimson clover, Trifolium incarnatum L. Colonies of bees were available in known concentrations to crimson clover fields. Observations were made during the blooming period of the clover to determine the condition of the clover plants and the number of bees visiting the clover. Cages were used to exclude the bees from small plots of blooming clover, and yields of seed from these plots were compared with those from adjacent areas to which the bees had access.

The presence of honey bees resulted in highly significant in- creases in seed yields of crimson clover. Under ordinary field conditions in Alabama, two colonies of bees per acre of crimson clover resulted in most efficient seed production. The average gains in total yield of seed per acre where bees were present at a rate of two colonies per acre over the yields where bees were excluded were from 281 to 509 pounds.

Where the best agronomic practices were followed, the gain in total yield of seed using three colonies of bees per acre was 1019 pounds, or a gain in yield by combine harvest of more than 800 pounds.

The number of pods formed in the clover heads was not affected by the various treatments. The percentage of the pods that contained seed was in direct proportion to seed yields. The reduction of wind or shade as caused by cages or partial cages in the clover plots had only a minor effect on yield of seed of crimson clover.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 1958

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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