State of Mississippi. Louisiana has a semi-tropical climate, with a mean annual temperature of 70 degrees F., and an average rainfall of 55 inches.
The sections of Louisiana best adapted to beekeeping, according to E. C. Davis, Specialist in Bee Culture, are the bottom-lands along the Red and Mississippi rivers and the Atchafalaya River basin, which is as fine a country for honey production as can be found in the United States. These areas are subject to overflow at times, although this may not occur once during an interval of ten years. After the levees are finished by the government this trouble will be eliminated. There are spots all over the state which are fine for commercial beekeeping, but the above locations are the best. Some of them contain apiaries which have even 500 colonies and produce on an average 100 pounds of honey per colony annually. In parts of the Red River section, where white clover is very abundant, sometimes as much as 200 pounds per colony is secured.
The salt-marsh region, including the Mississippi Delta, is a belt of land 20 to 60 miles wide, extending along the coast, and irregularly indented or divided by numerous large lakes, tidal bays, and lagoons. Of this area, 3,500,000 acres are subject to tidal overflow. On the inner margin of this belt, rice is extensively grown; and in the Delta there is a large acreage of sugar cane and orange trees. In the counties of Lafourche, Terrebonne, Assumption, St. Mary’s, and Iberia there is an extensive cypress swamp, much of which would be inundated by the Mississippi at high water were it not protected by dykes. Snow is almost unknown, and frosts occur only two or three days in a year.
In the extreme south, in Terrebonne County, Dulac, 18 miles south of Houma, is situated at the end of a cypress tract, and on the east, south, and west is surrounded by lakes and marshes as far as he eye can reach. The best-known honey plants are white tupelo, willow, red haw, white clover, buttonbush, pepper-vine, thoroughwort, and heartsease. The spring honey flow extends through March, April, and May, and is always dependable. If there is not too much rain, there is a fall honey flow from flowers on pastured land. The earlier honey is lighter colored, and has the better flavor. “At my home yard,” writes a beekeeper, “I secured 10 gallons per colony, and have a surplus to take off early in the spring.” Bees are not abundant along the coast.
The bottom or alluvial lands which border both the larger and small streams offer excellent opportunities for beekeeping. The flood plain of the Mississippi above Baton Rouge is 50 miles wide, and in the Delta it has nearly double this width. The valley of the Red River has an average width of 25 miles, and the valleys of the Atchafalaya and Ouachita have an average width of 10 miles. Considerable white clover is grown for seed and not a little honey comes from the plant; but this southern white clover honey is darker than the northern. Each one of the smaller streams has its own narrow belt of bottom-land. The rivers flow through their flood plains on ridges built up by their own deposits, and their banks are much higher than the country back of them, which is low and swampy, and is overflowed at high water unless protected by dykes. There are many crescentshaped lakes and bayous along both the Red and Mississippi rivers, portions of former channels now abandoned. The alluvial soils are extremely fertile, and support a large acreage of cotton, corn, and other farm products.
Of the Red River counties, Avoyelles is considered by many the most suitable for beekeeping. The average surplus does not usually exceed 60 pounds per colony; but some phenomenal yields have been reported. This region is also excellent for raising bees, although too much rain often causes a heavy loss, and interferes with the honey flow. The honey flora consists of white tupelo, willow, haw, persimmon, rattan-vine, water locust, hundreds of acres of magnolia, snow-vine,