The occurrence of sugar on the foliage of the Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga Douglasii) was known to the Indians long before America was discovered by the white man. The sugar-yielding firs are confined chiefly to the dry belt of British Columbia, between the parallels of latitude 50 and 51 degrees and the meridians of longitude 121 and 122 degrees. The sugar is formed during the summer droughts on trees standing on gentle slopes facing north and east, and occurs on the leaves and branches in white masses one-fourth inch to two inches in diameter. According to Davidson and Teit, fir sugar is a natural exudation from the tips of the needles, which, as the result of evaporation, becomes a white solid. In leaves of the Douglas fir exposed to sunlight a larger quantity of carbohydrates is formed during the day than can be stored or carried away to the growing tissues, as happens in the case of trees growing in the dense forest. In the dry, hot atmosphere transpiration ceases, and the leaves become gorged with water which is forced out through their tips. A succession of dry sunshiny days is required to produce the sugar, which does not occur every year. Fir sugar very probably makes a poor winter food for bees, as its composition is very different from floral honey. Among other constituents it contains nearly 50 per cent, of the rare trisaccharide, melezitose.
At Port Townsend, at the entrance to Puget Sound, there are many small apiaries with from three to five colonies, but no specialists in beekeeping. The average surplus is not over 25 pounds, as there are many fogs during the honey flow, which conies mainly from white clover and fireweed. Vine-maple, dandelion, and berry bloom are valuable in stimulating brood-rearing. All things considered, this is a poor locality for bees.
The counties of Washington bordering on the Pacific Ocean are only moderately well adapted to beekeeping. However, back a distance from the coast some of the best fireweed sections are found. Better conditions prevail in the tier of counties east of Puget Sound adjoining the Cascade Range. In the five counties of Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King, and Pierce the apiaries are usually small, but not infrequently contain 30, 40, 75, or even 100 colonies. An excellent grade of honey is gathered from the wild flowers, which never fail to yield every year, although the secretion and amount of surplus stored are affected largely by the weather. Winter losses are not heavy.
Two small counties, Cowlitz and Clarke, both of which have the Columbia River for their southern boundary, have in a single year produced large amounts of honey. For early brood-rearing there is a succession of bloom, beginning with the willows in February. In some springs a surplus is stored from vine-maple in May. White clover begins to bloom early in June, but the country is developed so little that it is not abundant enough to yield a surplus. Fireweed, which blooms from July 1 until frost, is the main source of surplus. The beekeeper in this section must contend against poor roads and both kinds of foul brood.
East Washington, or the section east of the Cascades, is crossed from north to south by the Columbia River, which, after describing a broad curve known as the Big Bend, unites with the Snake River near the south state line. The valley of the river is semi-arid, covered with sagebrush, and has long dry summers. During July and August the temperature is high, but the dry atmosphere lessens the effect of the oppressive heat. Most of the irrigated land is in proximity to tributaries of the Columbia River, which rise in the mountains and have a rapid fall to their outlets. Along the Columbia and Snake rivers the fall is so slight that the water must be lifted by pumping-plants.
The Okanogan Highlands are covered with an open forest of conifers in which the trees are much smaller than on the coast. The rolling hills produce a luxuriant growth of grasses, and many cattle have been raised in this country. The principal