Mexico there is little water for irrigation, and the land is mostly barren of vegetation for a large part of the year. In the southwest corner the Gila River, and underground water pumped from wells, provide irrigation for 20,000 acres. Beekeeping is confined almost entirely at present to the irrigated areas of the Pecos, Rio Grande, and San Juan Rivers.
In New Mexico the Great Plains comprise the larger part of the twelve western counties. The southeastern region is a western extension of the well-known Staked Plains of Texas. It is a generally level country, covered with coarse grasses, and chiefly utilized for stock-raising. There is no opportunity for irrigation, and no honey flora which would support bees.
Beekeeping in the southeastern part of the state is restricted largely to the valley of the Pecos River. In Chaves and Eddy counties there are 93,000 acres of irrigated land and 31,000 acres of alfalfa. A large acreage of fruit trees, cotton, and melons also succeeds well on the fertile alluvial soil. The altitude of the land is 3000 feet, and the temperature ranges from zero to 110 degrees P. Near Carlsbad, Eddy County, there are several commercial apiaries which obtain an average surplus of 75 pounds of honey. Besides alfalfa, mesquite and catsclaw are important. At Loving the average surplus secured by commercial apiaries was formerly about 100 pounds of honey per colony; but during the Great War alfalfa was partly replaced by cotton, and at present the average is about 60 pounds per colony. A beekeeper at Hagerman, Chaves County, reports that in that locality there are numerous commercial apiaries which range from 50 to 150 colonies. The average surplus is from 60 to 75 pounds of honey, and it is obtained every year. The area adapted to bee culture does not extend north of Roswell. From the Hondo River, a western tributary of the Pecos River, some 8000 acres of fertile soil are successfully irrigated, and the local community is one of the most prosperous in New Mexico. Besides alfalfa, black willow, sweet clover, catsclaw, mesquite, thistle, and goldenrod are important honey plants.
The winter, which is very short and mild in the Pecos Valley, seems like summer to a northern man. Bees are universally wintered on their summer stands without extra protection. But at an altitude of 3500 feet the nights are cool throughout the year, and it is difficult to get strong colonies for the opening of the alfalfa flow, about May 15. A period of cool weather often causes the colonies to dwindle badly. There is little trouble from swarming; but there is much difficulty in keeping the colonies supplied with queens. A continued honey flow of about 90 days enables the careful beekeeper to harvest 100 pounds of extracted honey per colony nearly every year. The great acreage of apple bloom is not of much benefit to the bees. The weather is too cool, and there is danger from poisoning, as some orchardists spray their trees when in bloom. Thus colonies must be built up during the first part of alfalfa bloom, which involves the loss of a whole month.
The field around Roswell is well stocked with bees; but the area of alfalfa is constantly extending. For 60 miles in length and 10 miles in breadth this valley is like a beautiful garden. Great fields of alfalfa and immense apple orchards, truck gardening, and poultry, all yield profitable returns. Crop failures are almost unknown to the Pecos Valley beekeepers; but it is no place for a careless beekeeper. The honey is excellent, but it is light-amber-colored.
In the northern part of the state the western portions of Colfax, Mora, and San Miguel counties extend into the Rocky Mountains, where large reservoirs have been constructed providing for the irrigation of more than 140,000 acres. In Colfax and Mora counties there are about 16,000 acres of alfalfa At East Las Vegas, San Miguel County, there are no apiaries containing more than 50 colonies, and the average size is about ten. A crop of 75 to 100 pounds per colony is obtained eight years in ten. Colonies must be watched closely, as many hives during