a rule, was a satisfactory amount of honey gathered, and many colonies did not obtain enough to carry them through the winter. The season of 1923 was described by a beekeeper in Ventura County as a “terrible” one for the production of honey. The orange flow was one of the poorest on record. In San Diego County the surplus extracted was the lightest for many years. A convention of beekeepers in Riverside County declared the crop the poorest ever known in that section. These reports apply to orange, sage, and the other wild ranges; hut in the Imperial, Palo Verde, and other irrigated tracts a part of a crop was secured from alfalfa. A beekeeper writes: “The four years previous to 1925 were so dry that the honey crops from beans were almost entire failures.”
The year 1924 opened with a large number of apiaries in a very neglected condition. In many of them 75 per cent, of the colonies were dead. Only a few had sufficient stores to carry them to a honey flow in the spring. While during this season orange, sage, and wild buckwheat did not give an abundant flow, most beekeepers found their hives well filled with honey for winter, and a small surplus was generally reported. In certain sections alfalfa gave a remarkable flow. In most localities the flow was never heavy, but was a little more than the daily needs of the colonies. These four unfavorable years have not, in the opinion of beekeepers of long experience, been at all discouraging. Strong colonies nearly always secured some surplus; it was the weak colonies which failed With better seasons, this industry will pay as well as or better than the average business representing the same investment and labor.
THE SOUTHEASTERN DESERTS
Imperial County was established in 1907 by cutting off the eastern desert portion of San Diego County. Imperial Valley, which was once an arm of the sea, is about 140 miles long and 20 to 50 miles wide, and has an area larger than the state of Rhode Island. The land is very level, and the silty soil is of great depth and of almost inexhaustible fertility. There are more than a million acres of irrigable land, of which 600,000 acres are now supplied with water by canals leading from the Colorado River. The annual rainfall is less than two inches. There is no snow, and only a few light frosts. In August the temperature often rises to 120 degrees F., but owing to the dry atmosphere the heat is less oppressive than the same temperature would be in the eastern states. In no part of the world has agriculture developed more rapidly or more profitably. In 1900 the land was a hot sandy desert almost destitute of vegetation. In 1920 there were 100,000 acres of alfalfa and 90,000 acres of cotton. But there will probably be a large decrease in the acreage of cotton, as the result of the great decline in price, and an increase in the area of alfalfa.
In February the first honey comes from wild hollyhock; and arrow-weed (Pluchea sericea), which grows along the ditches, a little later yields a fine-flavored honey. Cotton is the source of a light-colored, very sweet honey; but the surplus comes almost wholly from alfalfa. The color of the alfalfa honey is light amber to amber, and the flavor is a little inferior to the alfalfa honey of Nevada. The secretion of nectar is very reliable, and a crop failure is almost unknown. A fair average per colony is 75 pounds. It is estimated that there are 15,000 colonies of bees in the valley, and the total annual surplus has been estimated to range from 12 to 40 carloads. Few bee ranges are unoccupied, and no one should take up beekeeping in the valley without first investigating. Imperial Valley may be a bee paradise, but it is not a paradise for a man to live in. The valley was formerly known as the Colorado Desert.
In the southeastern part of the state are the barren desert wastes occupied by the counties of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Inyo. In the San Bernardino