I have white clover surrounding my hives, however, most of the bees don't bother with it. They seem to favor something else but since I cant follow them I don't know what that source is. Probably wildflowers. I am not certain as there is a real answer to your question as there are so many variables including location.
I agree, at this time of year, there appears to be more prefered sources of nectar. I have tons of clover and the bees ignore it right now. At this point they prefer the tulip poplars and the basswoods are just starting to bloom. As the weather gets hotter and the trees are done, I see the bees on the clover a lot more. A million variables to your question and nectar sources are VERY local.
I see honeybees on clover sometimes, but not always. When they work it they work it hard and usually near the end of a day of full sun, at least in the springtime. Clover seems to be of greater interest during the summer. In my area the overall spring bloom is tailing off and I've seen more and more bees on the clover lately. But, the basswood is about to begin. I expect that the honeybees will go after that for a while.
With the diversity of nectar in my area, I tend to think of spring clover as a good backup plan for the bees, like an enormous couch with plenty of spare change under the cushions.
Like has been said, it all depends on your area and the flow that is on in your area. I have had bees here fill a super and cap it completely in 1 1/2 to 2 weeks. Now that was in a perfect condition. It doesn't happen that way very often. I have others that the super set on a good strong hive for a month and only fill 3/4 of it. Thats the beauty of bee keeping. The unknown.
Down here the Poplars are gone, the bees are devouring the clover while waiting for whatevers next. the white clover pretty much keeps blooming for a long time so They use it extensively between the other sources. G
My bees have been ignoring white clover this year, but the year of the big drought were all over it. Luckily, most of my neighbors have plenty of it in the lawns. That means the bees have plenty to work. I've seen a few recently, but on my lawn they are not my bees -- very light in color, mine are nearly black.
You can tell when they are working it because the pollen is very dark brown. Blackberries are in bloom here, at least my domestic ones anyway, and that pollen is gray.
I sometimes migrate to the foothills to let the bees hit the red clover in early summer and they can draw and fill a medium in 9 - 14 days during the summer dearth. The bees usually ignore it until its pretty much the only thing blooming. I'm really not too sure of the differences between white and red clover. Conservatively, even in a bad year, expect at least 50# of honey per hive during the summer, less if you are getting supers drawn out.
A forum community dedicated to beekeeping, bee owners and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about breeding, honey production, health, behavior, hives, housing, adopting, care, classifieds, and more!