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Welcome to the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association!

For over 130 years the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association has been serving the Los Angeles Beekeeping Community. Our group membership is composed of commercial and small scale beekeepers, bee hobbyists, and bee enthusiasts. So whether you came upon our site by design or just 'happened' to find us - welcome! Our primary purpose is the care and welfare of the honeybee. We achieve this through education of ourselves and the general public, supporting honeybee research, and practicing responsible beekeeping in an urban environment. 

"The bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors, but because she labors for others."        Saint John Chrysostom

Next LACBA Meeting:  Monday, November 2, 2015. Open: 6:45P.M./Start: 7:00P.M.  All are welcome! 

Beekeeping Class 101:
  The LACBA Beekeeping Class 101 2016 Season begins in February. Please check back mid-January for the 2016 Schedule. All the information will be posted on our website as soon as it's available. Classes are held at Bill's Bees Bee Yard once a month, Sundays, 9AM-Noon. Learn responsible beekeeping for an urban environment. All are Welcome! 

Check out our Facebook page for lots of info and updates on bees; and please remember to LIKE US: 



How DNA and a Supercomputer Can Help Sustain Honey Bee Populations

Science Daily   Source: Botanical Society of America   November 13, 2015

New multi-locus metabarcoding approach for pollen analysis uncovers what plants bee species rely on

To uncover what plants honey bees rely on, researchers from The Ohio State University are using the latest DNA sequencing technology and a supercomputer. They spent months collecting pollen from beehives and have developed a multi-locus metabarcoding approach to identify which plants, and what proportions of each, are present in pollen samples.

A single beehive can collect pollen from dozens of different plant species, and this pollen is useful evidence of the hive's foraging behavior and nutrition preferences.

"Knowing the degree to which certain plants are being foraged upon allows us to infer things like the potential for pesticide exposure in a given landscape, the preference of certain plant species over others, and the degree to which certain plant species contribute to the honey bee diet," says graduate student Rodney Richardson. "One of the major interests of our lab is researching honey bee foraging preferences so we can enhance landscapes to sustain robust honey bee populations."

For Richardson and his colleagues, metabarcoding is key to this research. It is a DNA analysis method that enables researchers to identify biological specimens.

Metabarcoding works by comparing short genetic sequence "markers" from unidentified biological specimens to libraries of known reference sequences. It can be used to detect biological contaminants in food and water, characterize animal diets from dung samples, and even test air samples for bacteria and fungal spores. In the case of pollen, it could save researchers countless hours of identifying and counting individual pollen grains under a microscope.

Richardson and his colleagues devised the new metabarcoding method using three specific locations in the genome, or loci, as markers. They found that using multiple loci simultaneously produced the best metabarcoding results for pollen. The entire procedure, including DNA extraction, sequencing, and marker analysis, is described in the November issue of Applications in Plant Sciences.

To develop the new method, the researchers needed a machine powerful enough to process millions of DNA sequences. For this work, the team turned to the Ohio Supercomputer Center.

"As a researcher, you feel like a kid in a candy store," Richardson says. "You can analyze huge datasets in an instant and experiment with the fast-evolving world of open source bioinformatics software as well as the vast amount of publicly available data from previous studies."

In previous metabarcoding experiments, the researchers worked solely with a marker found in the nuclear genome called ITS2. ITS2 successfully identified plant species present in pollen samples, but it could not produce quantitative measurements of the proportions of each.

While searching for something better, they decided to test two markers from the plastid genome. Pollen was previously thought to rarely contain plastids, but recent studies showed promise for plastid-based barcoding of pollen. Richardson and his colleagues found that the combined data from the two plastid markers, rbcL and matK, successfully correlated with microscopic measurements of pollen abundance.

The new multi-locus metabarcoding method involves all three markers and could serve as a valuable tool for research on the native bee species that comprise local bee communities.

"With a tool like this, we could more easily assess what plants various bee species are relying on, helping to boost their populations as well as the economic and ecological services they provide to our agricultural and natural landscapes." Richardson says, "While the honey bee is seen as our most economically important pollinator, it's only one of several hundred bee species in Ohio, the vast majority of which are greatly understudied in terms of their foraging ecology."

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Moncton Researchers Abuzz Over Possible Arthritis Treatment

CBC News New Brunswick   November 10, 2015

Luc Boudreau is leading a research team that is using propolis to treat inflammatory diseases

Moncton researchers are hoping honey bees could be a link to a new treatment for inflammatory diseases. (CBC)University of Moncton researchers are buzzing over the possibility that honey bees could help them unlock a new treatment for inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis.

Dr. Luc Boudreau is leading the project, which explores the medical properties of a material called propolis, which is a resin collected from tree buds by honey bees.

Boudreau has identified a compound in propolis that reduces inflammation in laboratory tests.

He said the early tests conducted by his team are promising.

"When we did in-vitro tests, this compound is actually better than most compounds that are already out there on the market," he said.

Boudreau and his three-person research team are awaiting approval from Health Canada before beginning clinical trials of their product. They are hoping to have approval in the next three months.

If the trials are a success, there is a growing market for the treatment.

Nearly 20 per cent of New Brunswick's population is over the age of 64 and it is estimated that more than 125,000 people in the province suffer from arthritis.

Krista Phillips, the community education co-ordinator for the Arthritis Society, said the number of citizens living with arthritis is going to increase with an aging population.

"We'll be watching this project very closely, with great interest because hopefully it leads to big things for people living with arthritis," she said.

Research grant

Boudreau's research team was recently awarded $75,000 from the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation to go toward research into therapies for inflammatory diseases.

The researchers already have a company name, NaturoBee Ltd. and they're looking for partnerships with investors and beekeepers across the province

They hope to have a product on store shelves in about three years.

Samuel Poirier, a graduate student is one of those researchers, said the economy can benefit from their work as well.

"Sometimes our options are limited for … especially in the field of science,  so by spinning off this company, we're really hoping that we're going to eventually manufacture products here, hire people to work with us and at the same time, create my own job," he said.

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Reminder: LACBA Annual Holiday Banquet, December 7th - RSVP!


WHERE: Pickwick Gardens
1001 Riverside Dr.
Burbank, CA 91506

WHEN: Monday, December 7, 2015

TIME: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM  (Doors open at 6, we dine at 7)

In case you didn't get the Evite email, please RSVP at the Evite pagePickwick Gardens

WHO: This is a family-friendly open event - feel free to bring family and friends and share this invitation with people not yet on the guest list.

HOW MUCH: Members who volunteered at the LA County Fair and their families get in for free. Anyone who contributes appetizers, desserts, or raffle prizes gets in free. All others are $10/person. 

Anyone who renews their membership at the event gets 5 free raffle tickets. (So does anyone who renewed in November or volunteered at the fair.) Additional raffle tickets will be $1.

WHAT TO BRING: Please bring either an appetizer or dessert to share (6-8 servings is plenty)
Last Names N-Z Appetizers
Last Name A-M Desserts 

RAFFLE: Please bring anything you would like to contribute to the raffle.

CATERING BY: Once again, we are so pleased to announce our wonderful dinner will be provided by Outback Catering (LACBA Member, Doug Noland). 


Are Pesticides to Blame for the Massive Bee Die-Off?

PBS Newshour  Allison Aubrey, reporting   November 24, 2015

Commercial beekeepers across America have been struggling with great numbers of bee deaths over the past few years. What’s behind their failing health? Some research points to a class of pesticide that’s coated onto a large proportion of corn and soybeans grown in the U.S. Allison Aubrey of NPR reports.

JUDY WOODRUFF: In this week when we think about food, we take a look now at the vital role bees play in getting some of your favorite dishes to the table, and the way commercial beekeepers in the U.S. are struggling to keep their bees healthy.

Allison Aubrey of National Public Radio has our report.

The story is part of the NewsHour’s ongoing collaboration with NPR.

ALLISON AUBREY: It’s harvest time at Adee Honey Farms in Bruce, South Dakota. Bret Adee’s the third generation to manage the 80,000 hives the Adees have scattered across five Midwestern states. He says beekeeping these days is much harder than it’s ever been.

BRET ADEE, Adee Honey Farms: In 2010, our bees were just destroyed in a couple of weeks. Most of our bees died.

ALLISON AUBREY: Bret says things really haven’t improved much.

BRET ADEE: I would to see about twice to three times as many bees in most of the hives right now. It will be a real challenge to keep them alive through the winter.

ALLISON AUBREY: The Adees are not alone. According to a preliminary survey from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, commercial beekeepers lost 42 percent of their colonies last year. Bees are a critical part of agriculture.

Adee trucks his bees out to pollinate California’s almond groves every year. And it’s not just almonds. Bees pollinate everything from apples to cherries and squash. To figure out what’s plaguing the bees, the Obama administration assembled a task force last year. Scientists at the EPA, USDA and researchers across the country who have been studying the problem are finding there are multiple issues.

Bees have fewer wildflowers to forage on due to a loss of habitat. There’s viruses that pests pass on to the bees. Climate change is thought to play a role too. Another issue is pesticides. Some studies suggest that a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoid, or neonics for short, are harming the bees.

These pesticides are coated onto the seed of about 80 percent of the corn that’s grown in the United States and about half the soybeans too. To get a sense of that scale, imagine a cornfield like this taking up the entire state of California. That’s how much of this pre-treated seed is being planted.

CHRISTIAN KRUPKE, Purdue University: This is what corn seeds look like after they have been treated.

ALLISON AUBREY: The pesticide is put onto the corn before it’s ever planted?


ALLISON AUBREY: Christian Krupke is an entomologist at Purdue University who studies bees. His research shows that neonicotinoids can harm bees.

What is a neonicotinoid?

CHRISTIAN KRUPKE: A neonicotinoid is — as the name would suggest, it’s based on nicotine. They’re less toxic to mammals, which is a big feature in their wide adoption. But they are more toxic to honey bees and to other insects.

ALLISON AUBREY: Neonics are a relatively new class of pesticide. They have been around since the early 1990s. They are easier for farmers to use than the traditional method of spraying crops. And according to researchers at Penn State University, their use has increased more than 11-fold since 2003. Companies that sell them are making billions of dollars.

CHRISTIAN KRUPKE: Virtually all of these large acre plants are being treated. So, the level of use is way out of step with the level of the threat. In most fields, and where we have worked, we just haven’t been able to find levels of pests that would justify the level of use.

ALLISON AUBREY: Krupke published a study that linked bee deaths with the pesticide-laden dust that flies up during the planting of the pre-treated corn seeds.

CHRISTIAN KRUPKE: We collected some of those bees and analyzed them and found neonicotinoids on them and in them, so there is an intersection between planting these crops and killing foraging honey bees.

ALLISON AUBREY: Bayer CropScience is one of the leading manufacturers of neonicotinoids. Bayer’s chief scientist, David Fischer, acknowledges Krupke’s findings, but he says Bayer has a seed lubricant that reduces the dust. He says that, outside these acute exposures, neonicotinoids are not harmful to bees.

DAVID FISCHER, Bayer CropScience: We have done those studies. And those studies basically show, if you spray the product, it’s not safe for the bees. If you apply the product to the soil or as a seed treatment, the level of residues that gets up into the plant is in a safe range.

ALLISON AUBREY: Christian Krupke is not convinced.

CHRISTIAN KRUPKE: We find these pesticides in the water. Bees drink water. Plants use water. We find that wildflowers that grow near these areas also have some of these pesticides in them. You add that up over the course of a season, and, yes, we do find concerning levels.

ALLISON AUBREY: Krupke says those levels do not kill the bees, but may leave them more vulnerable.

Bayer’s chief scientist says the major threat to bees is a mite that punctures the honey bees body and feeds on its blood. It’s known as the Varroa mite. And a recent report issued by President Obama’s task force also points to the mite as one issue.

DAVID FISCHER: Eighty percent of the problem is Varroa mites and the viruses and the diseases those viruses cause.

ALLISON AUBREY: But some beekeepers suspect the increased use of the newer pesticides is making their bees more vulnerable to the mite.

BRET ADEE: For 15 years, we managed that Varroa mite and kept our losses under 5 to 8 percent. Now we’re losing 50 percent of the bees every year.

ALLISON AUBREY: Pesticide manufacturers, including Bayer and Syngenta have launched campaigns of their own to boost bee health. Both companies are planting millions of flowers in the U.S. to increase bee forage.

And in 2014, Bayer CropScience opened this $2 million bee care center in North Carolina, where they conduct workshops and tours. Environmentalists say these initiatives are a diversion from the real problem, the pesticides these companies manufacture, something Fischer rejects.

DAVID FISCHER: Bayer has actually been in the business of providing products to beekeepers for more than 20 years. It’s not something that we just started doing.

ALLISON AUBREY: Beekeepers in Europe came out in force a few years ago in support of the European Union’s partial ban on the use of some of these neonics.

And here in the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency says it will speed up a safety review and likely not allow any new uses of the pesticide. Environmental groups are locked in several court battles challenging the EPA over the registration of these pesticides.

Manufacturers maintain that neonics are vital for increasing crop production and safer than spraying.

DAVID FISCHER: They’re extremely valuable. They increase crop yields often by 20 percent vs. the other competitors. So, they contribute billions of dollars to the ag economy in the United States.

CHRISTIAN KRUPKE: That would be true if these products, these neonicotinoids, were indispensable to these crops, to agriculture, but they’re not.

Some of our own work in corn and the work of others in the United States has shown that it’s very difficult to consistently show a yield benefit.

ALLISON AUBREY: Lucas Criswell farms close to 2,000 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and rye in Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna Valley. He has stopped using treated seed because he found it wasn’t only killing the bad pests, but the pests he needed to ward off the slugs that were eating his soybean crops.

LUCAS CRISWELL, Farmer: The soil in our fields are a huge ecology of different critters and insects. And they’re all there. We need good and bad. It takes a balance of them all, and that’s what we have seen.

ALLISON AUBREY: Criswell now keeps pests at bay in his fields by planting crops that encourage beneficial insects. The treated seeds cost more, so this method ends up being cheaper for him.

Is it too soon enough to say whether you’re getting the same yields?

LUCAS CRISWELL: Is there corn growing on that hill? It grew.

ALLISON AUBREY: It looks like a lot of corn.

Earlier this year, President Obama’s task force called for a reevaluation of the pesticides. And, consistent with the president’s requirements, the EPA has expedited its review.

I’m Allison Aubrey of NPR News for the PBS NewsHour in Bruce, South Dakota.

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A Win for Bees

Pesticide Action Network -  North America    By Paul Towers   November 27, 2015

The California State Beekeepers Association was buzzing about pesticides at their annual convention in Sacramento last week. And with good reason.

Just days before, EPA took the rare step of banning a bee-toxic insecticide. For an agency that has been really slow to take meaningful bee-protective action, dragging out both scientific analysis and much needed policy shifts, this was a very welcome move.

The agency's decision to pull sulfoxaflor — manufactured by Dow — was largely a response to litigation brought on by beekeepers. And the courts ruled EPA had relied on "flawed and limited data" to approve the pesticide's registration in the first place, citing the “precariousness of bee populations.

A close cousin to neonicotinoid pesticides, sulfoxaflor is pervasive in treated crops and acts on the same receptors in bee brains. It was also one more in the line of new bee-toxic chemicals that EPA and manufacturers have been hustling toward approval.

Pulling sulfoxaflor off the market will mean the product can no longer be applied to nuts, fruits and vegetables around the country — some of the very crops that rely on bees for pollination. While EPA missed an important opportunity to stop the export of this troublesome pesticide, it's still a clear win for bees and beekeepers in the U.S.

Focus on the pesticide problem:

Despite federal officials moving slowly to address the wider spectrum of bee-harming pesticides, beekeepers are keeping the pressure on. Darren Cox, a commercial beekeeper from Utah and president of the American Honey Producers Association, highlighted the priority and urgency of the pesticide problem at the California convention:

"Our beekeeper members have made it clear that pesticides are their number one issue of concern. Despite efforts to blame mites or the practices of beekeepers, the reality is that widespread pesticide use, particularly systemic pesticides, poses a significant threat to our livelihood."

And that may be why remarks from state officials at the same convention didn’t land very well. One representative from the CA Department of Food and Agriculture, in speaking to convention-goers, placed virtually all responsibility on beekeepers; she encouraged them to register all their hives with local and state officials so they would have a record of hive locations. And she told beekeepers to pick up and move bee operations when they encounter a potential threat from nearby pesticide applications — a wholly unrealistic option.

These approaches simply ignore the reality of lingering residues in crops, soil and water — not to mention threats to native bees and other pollinators that can't be moved. More importantly, they let pesticide manufacturers like Bayer off the hook; these corporations should be held accountable for the impact of their pesticide products. 

These approaches simply ignore the reality of lingering residues in crops, soil and water — not to mention threats to native bees and other pollinators that can't be moved. More importantly, they let pesticide manufacturers like Bayer off the hook; these corporations should be held accountable for the impact of their pesticide products.

Scientists also spoke up at the conference, cutting through it all. Judy Wu, a researcher with the University of Minnesota Bee Lab, focused her talk on the harmful impacts of neonicotinoids on queen bees. She summed up the situation like this:

“Science has to be narrowly focused, but policy needs to address the bigger picture — an overuse and dependency on pesticides.”

EPA took a good step by halting use of sulfoxaflor, but it shouldn't have been approved in the first place. And there is clearly more work to be done to protect bees, beekeepers and sustain our agricultural economy.

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