the winter lose their queens. In the mountainous counties of Taos and Rio Arriba, on the north border, there are only a few colonies of bees, and the acreage of alfalfa is small, although there is a large area of irrigated land.
The Rio Grande River has its source in the Rocky Mountains in the southern part of Colorado, and flows southward through the central part of New Mexico. The valley is described by Dr. E. F. Phillips as follows: “The Rio Grande Valley from El Paso northward to Albuquerque is a typical irrigated alfalfa section. Mesquite occurs in this valley as far north as Belen. Beekeepers formerly depended on mesquite and other desert plants, but now pay attention only to alfalfa and sweet clover. The valley narrows northward so that there are few beekeepers north of Socorro, and I found only one commercial producer at Albuquerque. The honey is amber-colored. There are great apple orchards, but the beekeepers utilize the nectar only for brood-rearing. Beekeeping in New Mexico is crude, and little care is given to the colonies. There are a number of big producers near Las Cruces, but they have much to learn before they can produce maximum crops. I assume the mesquite is unattractive to them because of the universal difficulty of getting the colonies strong enough to gather the nectar.”
Dona Ana County, in the southern portion of the Grande River Valley, has 32,000 acres under irrigation and 14,000 acres of alfalfa under cultivation. Near Engle there has been constructed a dam forming the largest artificial lake in the world. This gigantic reservoir will irrigate 180,000 acres in New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico. Apiaries range from 80 to 150 colonies. In the vicinity of La Mesa colonies average from 20 to 60 pounds, according to the season. In some seasons the mesquite flow is fine, but it is often a failure. Out of four cuttings of alfalfa, two may yield a surplus, but more often only one. There is only a little sweet clover along the ditches. The farmers in the valley are planting cucumbers and cantaloupes extensively, which are a great benefit, and will greatly improve the business. There are big bee-men there who operate 1500 colonies who do not average 20 pounds per colony, due to negligence.
The principal honey plants of the Grande River Valley are alfalfa, sweet clover, and mesquite; willows which in some seasons yield for three weeks; caehinella (Berthelotia sericea), a shrub about three feet tall, with pink flowers and silky leaves, which yields a light honey; tornillo, or screw bean (Strombocarpa odorata), a common large shrub in the upper valleys in the southern part of the state, the pods of which contain a large amount of sugar; catsclaw (Acacia Greggii); and sunflower and goldenrod, which yield a yellow honey of poor quality. The best crops are obtained when there have been a wet winter and a fair amount of rain in early spring. High winds or cold weather during the honey flow are very unfavorable.
From Socorro County a beekeeper at Socorro on the Grande River writes: “I have about all the bees in this country in out-apiaries, which range from 200 colonies down to 50.” At Belen, on the Rio Grande River, Valencia County, T. L. Gunter reports that he operates 1650 colonies and covers all the available range. During eight years he has had three good crops, two half crops, and three failures. In a good year his average per colony from alfalfa and sweet clover is 80 to 100 pounds per hive. In Bernalillo County, farther northward, there are about 4000 acres of alfalfa. An immense reservoir has been built for irrigating the Blue-water and San Mateo valleys, which comprise about 21,000 acres. In Sante Fe County beekeeping has received very little attention.
Midway between the Pecos Valley and the Rio Grande Valley is the county of Otero. A beekeeper at Tulerosa writes: “There are 400 colonies here which obtain every year a surplus of 150 pounds per colony from alfalfa, sweet clover, and mesquite. I have lived here 20 years, and have kept bees the entire time. Our annual