Sedgwick County says he has never had a failure, and that his average per colony has been 125 pounds of honey, and in 1918 it was 200 pounds per colony. Alfalfa and sweet clover grow throughout the valley, sweet clover being abundant on the bottom-lands and islands of the river. In the spring the bees get much pollen from the cottonwoods and willows, and in some seasons store a surplus in the fall from asters. In Morgan County apiaries of specialists range from 45 to 500 colonies, and average, with rare exceptions, 80 pounds of surplus. More than one hundred thousand acres are under irrigation. In Weld County, which has 383,000 acres under irrigation, there are many bees. Commercial apiaries may be counted by the dozen. In some seasons the average production per colony has been 60 pounds of comb honey and 80 pounds of extracted honey. A beekeeper at Greeley with 500 colonies in nine yards, has secured as high as 20,000 pounds of honey, but this is above the average, as some seasons are less favorable. According to Frank Rauchfuss, the seasons of 1923 and 1924 were lean ones for beekeepers on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains, due to light rainfall and a small amount of snow in the mountains, which reduced the supply of irrigation water. In the six counties of Sedgwick, Logan, Washington, Morgan, Weld, and Adams there are 650,000 irrigated acres and 166,000 acres of alfalfa.
Larimer, Boulder, and Jefferson counties lie partly in the Great Plains and partly in the mountains; but it is only in the eastern portion of this region that beekeeping is an important industry. In Larimer County 200 apiaries reported, in 1916, 5500 colonies of bees, and an average per colony of 44 pounds of comb honey and 60 pounds of extracted honey. (Eighth Annual Report of the State Entomologist of Colorado.) Winter losses are at times heavy. In 1920 a beekeeper reported that 40 per cent, of his colonies perished. In Boulder County, in 280 apiaries containing 8500 colonies of bees, there has been secured an average per colony of two cases of comb honey and 60 pounds of extracted honey. There are a few apiarists in this section who have operated as high as 2000 colonies in apiaries of about 200 colonies each. No extra packing or protection is given the bees in winter; and as almost every day is clear, most of the colonies survive, although much weakened. At Arvada, Jefferson County, in a radius of three miles, there are several apiaries which average about 70 pounds of honey per colony. Dandelion is abundant, and in warm seasons strong colonies store a surplus. In 20 years there have been two complete failures — in 1902 and 1910. American foul brood is prevalent, and in some locations the smoke from the smelters is highly injurious.
After flowing through the mountains for 100 miles the Arkansas River emerges from the Grand Canon near Canon City, and crosses the Plains through the counties of Pueblo, Otero, Bent, and Prowers. There are in the valley of this river about 300,000 irrigated acres and 140,000 acres of alfalfa. Its many tributaries in the Plains are dry channels during eight months of the year, but the snows in the mountains, melting during the months of May and June, provide a supply of water during the irrigation season. Some very large yields in Prowers County have been reported. In Bent County 4000 colonies of bees in 140 apiaries have reported an average per colony of 30 pounds of comb honey and 45 pounds of extracted honey. Near Las Animas, on the Arkansas River, there are numerous apiaries. There has been only one failure in 15 years. The honey plants are alfalfa, sweet clover, and cleome. From Otero County about five carloads of honey have been shipped in a single year. At Rocky Ford four specialists are reported to operate over 3000 colonies. The location has rather too many colonies for the pasturage, as alfalfa is often cut so early as to be of little value.
From Campo, Baca County, in the southeast corner, a beekeeper writes: “There are no bees, so far as I know, in this county, which up to five years ago remained largely unsettled.”