Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School



The utilization of the honey bee, Apis mellifera L., in alfalfa seed production is an important phase in this field of agriculture. The combined efforts of the seed producer and the beekeeper must be utilized to the greatest extent to insure the maximum production of alfalfa seed. Factors governing the amount of seed produced are many and variable. Plant diseases, insect populations, soil conditions, cultural and management practices all present problems to both the seed producer and the beekeeper. It is very important to insure proper management prior to the pollination period. This insures a healthy, vigorous stand which can support the greatest amount of blossoms. A high percentage of the blossoms must be pollinated in a very short time to give the best seed yields. Proper weather conditions with the presence of large numbers of pollinating insects are required for transferring pollen at the rapid rate required. At this point, the honey bee becomes a very beneficial pollinating insect. Injurious insect control need not endanger the honey bees. The application of insecticides can be put on alfalfa prior to introducing the bees. When applied before the plants bloom, oven long-residue insecticides can be used with good results since the bees contact only the open florets. These organic insecticides can cause a high mortality to injurious insects, yet, used with proper precautions, they do not damage the pollinating force. This thesis attempts to answer some of the questions as to how honey bees improv3e alfalfa seed yields. The major objectives of this study were: (1) To determine the distance from the apiary which produced the greatest yield. (2) To determine the direction (relating to north, east, south, or west) from the apiary which produced the greatest seed yield. (3) To determine the proportion of nectar collecting honey bees working alfalfa that also carry alfalfa pollen. These studies were conducted in an alfalfa field near Clark, South Dakota.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Alfalfa -- South Dakota -- Seed
Honeybee -- South Dakota
Alfalfa -- Breeding


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University