“Panhandle,” with Sandpoint as a center; the Boise Valley in the southwest; the vicinity of Twin Falls in the south; and the Idaho Falls section in the southeast.
In the northern mountainous region of Idaho the winters are long, the cold severe, and the snowfall heavy, while the summers are short and cool. Alfalfa is of little importance, and the beekeeper must depend chiefly on the native honey plants and the clovers. The most important sources of nectar are willows, dandelion, white clover, alsike clover, raspberry, buckbush or snowberry, willow-herb, and aster. On areas which have been cleared of forest and burned over the raspberry and willow-herb or fireweed flourish, and offer excellent opportunities to beekeepers who use modern methods. A surplus is also stored from snowberry. At Bonner’s Ferry, on the Kootenai River, in Bonner County, at the extreme northern end of the state, very little land is under cultivation; and the best locations are near the bottom-lands of the river, which are overflowed every spring. The honey is a mixture gathered from fireweed, clover, and buckbush. It is light in color, thick in body, and has an excellent flavor. The flow lasts from June to the middle of August, and a surplus of 120 pounds per colony, spring count, is often obtained. In 1919 about 10 carloads of honey were produced in the northern part of the state.
A little farther south there are only small apiaries, as the conditions are not favorable for beekeeping. The winters are severe and the losses heavy.
The mid-western portion of the state is a rugged mountainous region with many narrow valleys, where there are small areas of arable land. In Shoshone, Clearwater, and Selway counties there are only a few colonies of bees and no alfalfa. The land lies at an elevation of 5000 feet, and is thinly populated. Likewise in the mountainous counties of Lemhi and Custer, which cover an area of 6,000,000 acres, beekeeping has received very little attention. But in Big Lost River Valley, Butte County, north of the Snake River Desert, there are a few farmers who have a few colonies of bees. At Arco there is one commercial apiary. The seasons are very short, and the first crop of alfalfa does not bloom until after the fourth of July. It is cut as soon as it blooms. A second crop is harvested in September, and a little later heavy frosts end the flow.
The southern portion of the state, through which flows the Snake River, is an elevated plateau completely enclosed by mountain ranges. The Snake River rises in the vicinity of Yellowstone Park, flows southwesterly to Twin Falls, where there is a vertical drop of 187 feet; and five miles farther west, at Shoshone Falls, it again plunges downward 210 feet; thence it runs nearly west across the state, turning northward in Canyon County and forming the state line as far north as Lewiston. Within the bend of the Snake River is the Snake River Desert, which in comparatively recent times was covered by an immense overflow of lava. The climate is arid and the vegetation consists principally of sagebrush, which, it has been estimated, covers 21,000 square miles in southern Idaho. The soils are sandy or ashlike silty loams, which are wonderfully fertile under irrigation. Of the irrigated land 89 per cent, lies in the valley of the Snake River, where alfalfa and sweet clover grow profusely and offer an extensive pasturage to bees. A number of native desert plants play an important part in building up the colonies in the spring. A species of sunflower furnishes pollen and a little nectar; and there are also many other minor honey plants, hut their value is very imperfectly known even to the beekeepers of this section.
In the Boise Valley there is the largest area of irrigated land in southwestern Idaho. At Nampa, the center of the valley, the rainfall is less than an inch during the months of June, July, and August. The winters are open, with occasional light snowfalls. Spring begins early in April, and three cuttings of alfalfa are obtained in a season. Between Weiser on the west boundary and Mountain Home in Elmore