In this year leading up to Arizona's centennial, Feb. 14, 2012, we'll reprint a story or excerpts each day from the Arizona Daily Star or Tucson Citizen archives.

May 8, 1912

"Arizona is becoming famous for the high class of its honey product," says an eastern exchange. It may not be generally known that many of the honey-producing shrubs of the desert and mountains generate important medicinal agents which add to the value of the honey.

It will interest the readers of the Star to know that the honeybee, like the white folks, are emigrants to Arizona. Prior to 1878, there was not a honeybee to be found between the Colorado and the Rio Grande.

Various tribes of Indians noted the first appearance of the little honey makers among the flowers and blossoming shrubs of the mountains and plains. Their increase was rapid and prolific finding convenient homes among the caves and crevices of the rocks in the rugged tree growth of the foothills.

The rapid spread of the bees and the growth of the honey industry will be particularly appreciated when it is known that in the winter of 1878 Gen. J. B. Allen brought two stands of bees from San Diego, Cal., by wagon and housed them at his home on North Meyer street. These were the pioneer bees of Arizona.

About two months thereafter each hive produced an additional swarm which Gen. Allen sold to L. C. Hughes, and were located on his premises at the corner of Church and Alameda streets. A short time thereafter a herd of cattle completely demolished Gen. Allen's pioneer hives and the bees fled to the mountains.

The two remaining swarms proved to be wonderfully prolific. During the year they increased to eight swarms and these multiplying so rapidly, much of the increase was given gratis to those who would furnish hives and transportation, until the families of the Tucson pioneer bees were distributed into all Southern Arizona counties.

From these two swarms of bees brought from San Diego have grown the honey industry of Arizona, which aggregates hundreds of tons annually, mostly from the alfalfa producing sections of Yuma, Maricopa, Graham and other counties.

It is likewise worthy of note that hundreds of these honeygathering pioneers of the mountains have established their homes in caves and hollow trees, where they are continually laying up stores of honey often found and enjoyed by prospectors, hunters and those seeking rest and retirement from business cares.

- Arizona Daily Star

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The Sundt Companies, O'Rielly Chevrolet, Research Corporation for Science Advancement, Sam Levitz Furniture, the University of Arizona, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., Rosemont Copper, Tucson Realty & Trust. Co., Jack Furrier Tire & Auto Care, and Walgreens are sponsors of the Star's Arizona Centennial project.