Bon Homme County, where sweet clover is making rapid headway, alfalfa yields very little nectar. It is, however, usually cut as soon as it blooms.
Many farms in the southeast section maintain with good results from one to 20 colonies of bees. At Vermilion, Clay County, 20 colonies netted in one year $17.50 per hive. There is considerable loss from foul brood and poor methods of wintering. Beekeeping in this section is a very young industry, many beekeepers stating that they have been in the business only one or a few years.
On the Missouri River, near the center of the state, there are only a few bees. The river flows for a distance of 547 miles in South Dakota, and the flood plains or bottom-lands are about two miles wide. Tracts of timber consisting chiefly of cottonwood, elm, cedar, butternut, and ash occur in the bends and on the islands in the river.
Only a small percentage of the tableland in the northwestern portion of the state at the beginning of this century was in farms. Formerly this constituted a vast open range where horses, cattle, and sheep grazed and roamed at will. With the rapid increase in population in recent years the number of farms has greatly increased, and the free range has become much restricted. There are very few colonies of bees reported from any part of this area. The strange formation in the central west of South Dakota, known as the Bad Lands, covers 2000 square miles between the Cheyenne and White rivers. They consist of a labyrinth of winding ravines and narrow ridges which in places widen into broad buttes and rounded domes, often surmounted with slender spires. The region is bounded by a high clay bluff. Very little of it can be used for farming.
Irrigation in South Dakota is confined almost wholly to the western counties in the vicinity of the Black Hills, where the irrigation projects, completed or under way, include 201,625 acres. The most important honey plant in this section is alfalfa, of which more than 40,000 acres are grown, much of which is under irrigation. White sweet clover is also of great value, growing abundantly on the banks of the ditches.
Spearfish Valley, in Lawrence County, is the seat of many prosperous farms, luxuriant gardens, thriving fruit groves, and apiaries that average 70 pounds per colony. At St. Onge six apiaries are reported to contain 1400 colonies, and to average about 100 pounds of honey per colony.
A most important reclamation project is that of the Belle Fourche Valley, in Butte and Meade counties. The total irrigable area is 100,000 acres, divided into more than 1000 farms. The soil is fertile, and free from alkali and stones. The natural growth in its wild state is sage brush, cactus, and wild wheat grass. “The Belle Fourche Valley,” declares a beekeeper in this locality, “is the best beekeeping county, not only for this state, but for many other states.” At Fruitdale there are many large apiaries which average 100 pounds of honey per colony. One producer of honey is reported to have shipped a carload. An apiarist who has 200 colonies writes that he winters his bees outdoors successfully in well-wrapped hives. At Nisland the apiaries range from fifty to several hundred colonies; a crop is obtained every year, and the surplus may reach 200 pounds per colony. “Beekeeping is as yet primitive in South Dakota, and it will be a long time before, in the Black Hills region, the thousands of pounds of honey which are going to waste will be saved by the bees.”
Total area, 77,520 square miles. Nebraska is a great upland plain, 208 miles wide and 413 miles long, sloping gradually from an altitude of 5000 feet in the extreme western portion to about 1000 feet along the Missouri River, which forms