vegetables. At the present time, according to the bee inspector, there are some 18,000 colonies of bees in this county. A beekeeper writes from Fillmore that there are 20 apiaries in that locality which range from 20 to 300 colonies. “I began beekeeping in 1880 with 47 hives, and operated at one time 700 colonies and produced 30 tons of honey. I now have 250 colonies, and will secure about six tons this season (1920).” At Ventura, M. H. Mendleson had at one time 2000 colonies of bees, and he has kept as many as 900 colonies in one yard. The main crop is gathered from the sages, and about July 1 he moves his colonies to the beau fields. The honey flow from bean is usually reliable, and his average surplus from this source is about 50 pounds per colony annually. In dry years the sage crop is a failure, but in a good season following ample winter rains he has had as high as two supers on every hive filled with honey in three days. During an exceptional year (there have been only two such seasons in his 38 years of experience) he secured an average of 300 pounds per colony from sage. Previous to 1880 enormous yields were obtained from the sages. In 1878, R. Wilkin is reported to have obtained a surplus that seems unbelievable; but at that time the mountain slopes were densely covered with the sages and there were splendid rainfalls.
Formerly at his Piru range Mendleson secured tons of wild sunflower honey, but to-day none is gathered as the range is overstocked with cattle. A decrease in the rainfall also has occurred, due to the burning and clearing off of large areas of trees and brush that protected the watersheds. On the stubble fields after the grain has been harvested turkey mullein, or woolly white drought weed (Eremocarpus setigera), springs up very abundantly, and secretes nectar well after a wet winter. It is an annual, whitish-green plant, covered with rough spreading hairs, and forming close mats upon the ground. The strong-flavored honey is similar to a thick dough and is difficult to extract. There are in Ventura County thousands of oranges, lemons, and apricots. A few years ago there was a great difference of opinion among orange-groves as to the value of honeybees as pollinators of the bloom; but Mendleson states that one large orange producer refused to take any rent, as he had found that a much larger quantity of fruit was set when the bees were present.
Four-fifths of Los Angeles County, which has an area of 3800 square miles, are capable of cultivation. At the close of the Great War it was estimated that the county contained 65,000 colonies of bees, and the crop of honey was valued at $1,000,000. Since then, owing to a succession of poor years, the number of colonies has been greatly reduced.
Migratory beekeeping is very largely practiced by progressive beekeepers in this section. The home apiary is located in the foothills near the orange groves. After the honey flow from orange bloom, which is usually of short duration, is over, the apiary is moved to the sage ranges, then to the bean fields, and perhaps later to wild buckwheat. In some instances from 1000 to 2000 colonies are operated by one apiarist with hired help, and enormous yields are obtained. Bees are also moved in the spring into southern California by the carload from Nevada and Utah. Many of the colonies are run for increase, and from the larger colonies four or five nuclei are made. After a crop has been harvested from orange bloom and the colonies have become strong they are moved back to these states in time for the flow from alfalfa. There is danger from forest fires in the wild sage ranges, and in the San Fernando forest fire of 1906 there were burned in Los Angeles County 16,000 colonies of bees.
Near Los Angeles there are numerous apiaries of various sizes. The main crop comes from orange bloom; sage follows, first black, then purple and white, if there has been sufficient rain. Each variety of sage is adapted to certain localities, black sage being more widely distributed. In the fall winter stores are gath-