‘I have 300 colonies in a line of apiaries. The surplus is gathered from huckleberry and cotton. Huckleberry begins to yield nectar about the middle of May, and the bloom lasts for about three weeks. Then there is a dearth of nectar until cotton begins to yield early in July. There are very few beekeepers here. The unoccupied territory extends down the Red River for 75 miles to the vicinity of Texarkana.” The Red River Valley is considered a promising region.
West of the Black Prairie lies the vast territory of central Texas, extending westward to the sharp escarpment of the Staked Plains, and in the extreme southwest to the Pecos River, and from the Red River on the north to the Rio Grande on the south. It is a semi-arid region with a rainfall of 20 to 25 inches. The soil is loose and sandy, and chaparral and mesquite woodland are common. The climate favors grassland, and sheep and cattle raising are important industries. The northern portion is relatively level, and supports a large acreage of cotton and corn. The middle portion is known as the Texas Hills Region. Deep canyons have been worn in the surface by the streams, along which there is an abundant nectar-yielding flora. There are many colonies of bees here.
The four northern rows of counties of Central Texas contain very few colonies of bees, seven counties reporting none or less than ten. This region has a rainfall of about 26 inches and is drained by the Wichita and the northern tributaries of the Brazos River. The land is largely divided into ranches. Dwarf mesquite occurs in nearly all the counties. The central portion of the Texas Hills Region, which is drained by the Colorado River, is an excellent section for beekeeping. Many counties contain over 2000 colonies of bees, and three (San Saba, Coleman, Llano) report over 3000 colonies. A beekeeper at Llano, Llano County, writes that a good crop is obtained every year unless it is too dry. At Brady, in McCulloch County, there is an apiary of 280 colonies. In 1917 and 1918 the crop, owing to drought, was a total failure, and 85 per cent, of the colonies were lost. But usually a fair crop is obtained which ranges from 40 to 60 pounds. The honey plants are mesquite, beeweed, cotton, prickly pear, and broomweed.
The southern portion of Central Texas is occupied by the Edwards Plateau. The soils are of limestone origin, underlaid by the Lower Cretaceous, but are badly eroded, and the surface is broken by deep gorges and steep bluffs. The western half is almost devoid of streams, and, except in the extreme east, the plateau is not adapted to beekeeping. The land is covered with an open mixed forest and dense thickets of shin oak and mountain cedar. Among the trees valuable to the beekeeper are mesquite, wild cherry, Texas persimmon, Brazilwood, Acacia, hackberry, sumac, and coral bean. Other species of value are kinnikinnick, chittam, wild China, wild plum, agarita, catsclaw, redbud, and horehound. In the Nueces Canyon, Edwards County, which is drained by the east fork of the Nueces River, there are numerous commercial apiaries which contain approximately 1400 colonics of bees. On an average about 67 pounds per colony are obtained. Considerable honey-dew is gathered from pecan and oak, which also furnish much pollen. The western part of the plateau, which extends across the Pecos River, is very rough, and is a stock-raising country.
The Llano Estacado, or Staked Plains, the southern termination of the Great Plains, is a level region with few streams, but in the southern portion there are numerous lakes, part of which are saline. There are great extremes of heat in summer and of cold in winter. The soils are mostly sandy loams, and, as there is an abundance of underground water, many thousand acres are irrigated from wells. This region, known as the Panhandle, is a grassland, where cattle-raising is the principal industry. It is subject to high winds, which “would blow bees off the earth.” The honey flora is not sufficient to support bees, and the few efforts which have been made to keep them have failed.