is an arid sterile volcanic plateau on which the principal vegetation is sagebrush. The streams are few and small, and often disappear in alkaline sinks.
Probably in no part of Oregon is commercial beekeeping more successful than in Umatilla County. Twenty years ago the land was almost a desert, producing nothing but sagebrush, cactus, and a little bunch grass in the spring. The average annual rainfall is about 9 inches, and without irrigation no crops can be raised. The climate is very mild, and fruits and vegetables mature here two weeks earlier than in other parts of the state. East of the junction of the Umatilla River with the Columbia River thousands of acres are irrigated from a storage reservoir, which receives the flood waters of the Umatilla River. From this point up the river to Pendleton numerous ditches divert water directly from the river, and provide for the irrigation of more than 10,000 acres.
At Hermiston, six miles south of Umatilla, the valley is large and nearly level or gently rolling. There are many bees here. “During 12 years,” writes a beekeeper, “I have never known a failure, but some years are far better than others.” About one-fourth of the farms have one or more colonies. The best honey flow comes from the second crop of alfalfa.
Few large apiaries are reported in Union and Wallowa counties east of the Blue Mountains, in the northeast corner of the state. In Union County alfalfa and sweet clover are almost the sole dependence of the beekeeper, but dandelion tides over lean intervals.
The southern half of East Oregon is a great volcanic tableland, which has a rainfall of only 10 inches and is largely covered with sagebrush. The population is small, there are no railroads, and only a small portion of the land is under cultivation. Near its center is the Great Sandy Desert where the soil and lakes are alkaline. The small rivers disappear in the sands or marshy areas; and in the valleys there are in the wet season lakes which dry up later, leaving snow-white incrustations. Many small mountains, buttes, and ridges are scattered over this whole section. The soils are volcanic ash or the sedimentary deposits of lakes.
The larger part of this tableland is divided into the four counties of Malheur, Harney, Lake, and Klamath. There are more than 400,000 acres under irrigation from the larger lakes and the rivers which flow into them; but the principal occupations at present are stock-raising and the growing of hay. In all this vast territory there are only a few bees, except in Malheur County, in the northeastern corner, where there are a large number, especially around Nyssa and Ontario. There are also a number of small yards. During ten years a beekeeper here has had three failures and one severe winter loss of about 75 per cent.; but the average winter loss is only about 10 per cent. Most of the honey is obtained from the first and second crops of alfalfa. Doubtless in future years, with the increase of the area of alfalfa, beekeeping will become an important industry in the other counties.
The alfalfa weevil, says Scullen, has been a serious pest in Malheur County during recent years. This is being held in check, and the future looks brighter.
Total area, 158,207 square miles. California ranks second in size among the states of the Union, being surpassed in area only by Texas. The state is commonly divided by beekeepers into northern and southern California, the dividing line being the Tehachapi Mountains in Kern County, which run nearly east and west. Its chief physical feature is the Great Central Valley lying between the Coast and the Sierra Nevada ranges, which converge at each end of the valley into a single range. The Siskiyou Mountains and Mount Shasta stand at the north end of the valley,