its east boundary. A great number of broad shallow valleys, from a quarter of a mile to 20 miles wide, have been worn in its surface by the many streams. Between the valleys the land is gently undulating prairie. In the north-central and western portions there is a large area of sand bills and buttes; but there are no mountains. The average annual rainfall in the east is 30 inches, and in the west 15 inches. Irrigation is largely restricted to the western counties. The eastern and southern portions are highly productive, and are largely devoted to growing grain.
According to its surface features, altitude, and flora, the state may be divided into three regions: (1) The eastern or prairie region; (2) the sand-hill region; and (3) the foothill region, the last two regions belonging to the Great Plains. The best locations for beekeeping are along the Platte River, a broad shallow stream with nearly treeless banks, which flows through the whole length of the state from west to east: along the Republican River in the extreme southern part and along the Loup and Elkhorn rivers and their tributaries.
At Central City, Merrick County, there are a number of commercial apiaries. The surplus is stored chiefly from white clover, sweet clover, alfalfa, and heartsease. Farther westward in the alfalfa region there are numerous apiaries which will be described later.
The eastern or prairie region has an average width of 145 miles; but along the Platte River it extends westward to Dawson County. The land is level or gently rolling, and is diversified by the broad valleys of the many streams. On the east border the Missouri River winds in a tortuous course through swampy bottom-lands nine miles in width. Fertile loess soils, retentive of moisture, support a great variety of plants. The hardwood forests of Nebraska are unimportant, and are confined chiefly to a narrow belt along the Missouri River; but in the northwest corner of the state there are extensive stretches of pine woodland. Trees of interest to the beekeeper are basswood, hackberry, hawthorn, prickly ash, redbud, honey locust, Indian cherry, buckeye, choke cherry, and sumac. Of shrubs, gooseberries, snowberry or buckbush, and red raspberry are common, while woodbine, wild clematis, and poison ivy abound in the thickets.
In late summer the prairies are covered with tall grasses and bright-colored flowers, as blazing stars, verbenas, goldenrods, asters, five-fingers, thistles, and sunflowers. On waste land, on the broken prairie and around the towns and cities are patches of sunflowers, and the roads are bordered on each side in places with white and sweet clover.
The larger part of the territory suitable for beekeeping is included in the eastern or prairie region. The conditions are fairly good for apiaries of moderate size, and hundreds of farms maintain a few colonies. Alfalfa along the eastern border yields little nectar, as there is often too much rain; and immense areas are sown with grains which are of no value as sources of honey.
The surplus in eastern Nebraska comes almost exclusively from white clover, alsike clover, and sweet clover. In the fall heartsease and Spanish needles in localities also yield a surplus. The more important minor plants are willow, maple, box-elder, dandelion, fruit bloom, mustard, Rocky Mountain bee plant, mallows, false indigo, wild sunflowers, goldenrods, and asters. The cultivation of sweet clover is increasing rapidly, making some of the best bee territory in the United States, and when pastured it furnishes good bee range from July 1 until frost. A small surplus may also be obtained from black locust and sumac. Heartsease covers great stretches of land, and a surplus of 250 pounds per colony has been obtained from it, but it is of no value in a dry season. The orchards of apples and peaches are also becoming more numerous.