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This is the official website for the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association established in 1873.

 

Bare Bees:
kevin.heydman@gmail.com
Bill's Bees
Holly Hawk 626-807-0572
The Valley Hive 

LA COUNTY FAIR - BEE BOOTH


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, July 2, 2018. General Meeting: 7PM. Open Board Meeting: 6:30PM.  

Next LACBA Beekeeping Class 101:
Sunday, June 17, 2018, 9AM-Noon at The Valley Hive. BEE SUITS REQUIRED!

Check out our Facebook page for lots of info and updates on bees; and please remember to LIKE US: https://www.facebook.com/losangelesbeekeeping 

THE LATEST BUZZ:  

Tuesday
Jun192018

How Do Varroa Mites Feed on Bees?

Western Apicultural Society FB Post  June 17, 2018

Sammy Ramsey, of the vanEngelsdorp Bee Lab, University of Maryland, spoke at the April meeting of the Alameda (CA) Beekeepers Association. This is a summary of his research findings, published in the most recent ABA newsletter.

HOW DO VARROA MITES FEED ON BEES?

Conventional wisdom is that Varroa mites feed on bees' hemolymph, which is like blood. When Sammy reviewed the research, he didn't think it actually supported that.

His PhD thesis was to determine how mites feed and what they feed on. He compared Varroa mites to other arthropods that feed of hemolymph or blood and found differences:
• Their digestive systems and excrement are quite different
• They are not closely related genetically

Next, he did an observational study of where on bees Varroa mites fed. Looking at mite placement, he found 99 percent of mites on the bottoms of the bees, wedging themselves under the plates called the metasomal sternites/tergites.

The mite pierce multiple layers of soft tissue in the membrane between sternites/tergites and then inserts its feeding tube to feed on the "fat body."

Bees typically have a long section of fat, the fat body, running along their undersides. This is an organ, not just a mass of tissue, with nine different functions, including growth and development; metamorphosis; metabolic activity; water and temperature regulation; protein synthesis; immune function; and synthesis of vitellogenin, the substance that allows some bees in the colony to overwinter.

When a mite has been feeding, it gets smaller and more dispersed. This indicates two things: The mite injects something into the bee to predigest tissue; and that fat is the mite's food.

Next, he stained the fat content and hemolymph of bees with specific stains that would fluoresce under a spectrophotometer. Then he put in mites and allowed them to feed. The mites consistently showed they had fed on fat.

Finally, he raised groups of mites off bees, feeding them on various combinations of fat body and/or hemolymph. Mites that were fed on fat body laid the most eggs. Mites fed only on hemolymph laid no eggs. Moreover, mites fed hemolymh died as quickly as those fed nothing. Those fed on fat body lived substantially longer.

His conclusion is that the mites feed on the fat body of the bee, not the hemolymph.

He has also found bacteria inside bees near the feeding wound, and the bee's immune system doesn't seem to attack them. The bacteria haven't been identified yet.

Mites that kill colonies the quickest are also the ones that have a better chance of dispersing into other colonies. He thinks beekeepers should treat or intervene in some way, for example, by removing drone comb right before the drones hatch. He advises using more than one type of treatment, so you reduce mites with different characteristics with the different methods.

Brood breaks are helpful, but there will still be mites on the adult bees.
His data shows that in four consecutive years, beekeepers who treated for Varroa lost fewer colonies than those who didn't treat.

Why does this matter? It shows:
• Need to update recommendations for treatment timing.
• Supplementing protein without controlling Varroa is not helpful.
• This info could lead to the development of systemic pesticides for Varroa.
• Important to make sure bees that will overwinter, which are developing in the cells in August, are not harmed by Varroa—so that's a good time to treat.

More about Sammy Ramsey: https://www.vanengelsdorpbeelab.com/samuel-ramsey.html

Saturday
Jun162018

LACBA Beekeeping Class 101 - #5: June 17, 2018, 9AM-Noon, at The Valley Hive

The Los Angeles County Beekeeping Association Beekeeping Class 101: Class #5
will meet at The Valley Hive bee yard located at 9633 Baden Avenue, Chatsworth, CA
from 9am-Noon this Sunday, June 17, 2018.


TOPIC: VARROA MITE 101
History of the Varroa Destructor
The Biology
The impact of Varroa Mites on Bees
Testing for Varroa Mites
Discussion of types of treatments for a hive with Varroa Mites

We encourage you to bring your own mite test kit - if you have one! 
From Randy Oliver An Improved, But Not Yet Perfect, Mite Washer

MEET AT OUR BEE YARD AT 9633 BADEN AVENUE.
Please be prompt - class is this Sunday at 9am.  
Please respect our neighbors.
We are guests on this property, and we are a very large group. 
Limited parking is available inside the gate and also on Baden Avenue.
The bee yard is located off a dirt road; a short walk up a hill from the parking lot. 

PROPER ATTIRE IS A MUST!
Full suit with veil and gloves are required to attend class.
Closed shoes/boots are required.
Bring bottled water.
Bring your own labeled tools, smoker, and smoker fuel  for a chance to receive more hands-on learning opportunities.

NEED SUPPLIES? Our store is located at 10538 Topanga Cyn, and it will open at 8am in case you need to purchase any last minute supplies.

REFRESHMENTS!
You are invited back to our Topanga location for refreshments and will have an opportunity to ask any questions you may have regarding your personal hive. 

If you have any last minute questions or concerns, you can contact The Valley Hive at (818) 280-6500 or via email at info@thevalleyhive.com. 

See you in class!
The Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association
The Valley Hive

Saturday
Jun162018

What Turns Bees Into Killer Bees?

Sciencemag.org     By Elizabeth Pennis      June 15, 2018

(Note:  "It is definitely worth keeping gentle behaving bees.  So much more pleasant to work with.  Just one behavior challenged hive in the apiary makes them all crazy." ~Bill Lewis, Owner Bill's Bees, 2014 President, California State Beekeepers Association, Past President, Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association.)

Brain protein fragments spur honey bees to be more aggressive. SOLVIN ZANKL/MINDEN PICTURESBiochemists have tracked down the brain chemicals that make so-called killer bees such ferocious fighters. The compounds, which seem to be present in higher levels in the much-feared Africanized honey bee, can make less aggressive bees turn fierce, according to a new study. The compounds may also play a role in aggression in other animals—indeed, they’ve already been shown to do so in fruit flies and mice.

“This is another example of how behavior evolves in different species by using common molecular mechanisms,” says Gene Robinson, an entomologist and director of the University of Illinois’s Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology in Urbana, who was not involved in the work.

Honey bees are incredibly territorial, fighting to the death to defend their hive with painful stings. But killer bees—hybrids of the relatively docile European strain of honey bee and a more aggressive African relative—are particularly fierce. The hybrids emerged after African bees were imported to Brazil in the 1950s. By the 1980s, they had spread north to the United States, outgunning resident honey bees along the way. Their massive attacks have killed more than 1000 people.

Mario Palma, a biochemist at São Paulo State University in Rio Claro, Brazil, who studies social behavior in bees, wanted to understand the basis of this aggression. So he and his colleagues swung a black leather ball in front of an Africanized bee hive and collected the bees whose stingers got stuck in the ball during the attack. They also collected bees that remained in the hive. They froze both sets, sliced up their brains, and analyzed the slices with a sophisticated technique that identifies proteins and keeps track of where they are in each slice. The analysis revealed that bee brains have two proteins that—in the aggressive bees—quickly broke into pieces to form a so-called “neuropeptide,” they report this week in the Journal of Proteome Research.

Palma and his colleagues already knew that bee brains had these two proteins, allatostatin and tachykinin. “The surprise came out when we identified some very simple neuropeptides, which were produced in a few seconds” after his team swung the ball and triggered the attack, Palma says. The bees that remained in the hive did not make these neuropeptides, he reports. And when his team injected these molecules into young, less aggressive bees, they “became aggressive like older individuals.”

Researchers have found these molecules in other insects, where they seem to regulate feeding and digestion. But few had associated them with “fight” behavior, says Palma, who adds that they also increase the production of energy and alarm chemicals. They could also stimulate the nerve cells in bees needed to coordinate the stinging attack. “There is a fine biochemical regulation in the honey bee brain,” he says.

Palma’s preliminary studies indicate that Africanized honey bees produce more of these neuropeptides than other honey bees do. His team hopes to eventually use these insights to develop a way to protect people from these killer bees, perhaps through a spray or chemical plug that can be applied to a hive.

The studies may also further the understanding of how the production of how various neuropeptides regulate behavior not just in insects, but also in people, Palma suggests. “In neuroscience, there is still a big gap between understanding how molecular pathways and neural circuits work together to regulate behavior,” Robinson says. This work presents “a great way to bridge this gap.”

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/06/what-turns-bees-killer-bees

Related (posted June 9, 2018):
http://www.losangelescountybeekeepers.com/home/2018/6/9/inside-the-brains-of-killer-bees.html

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.jproteome.8b00098

https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/presspacs/2018/acs-presspac-june-6-2018/inside-the-brains-of-killer-bees.html?_ga=2.149242038.1682398275.1528566571-156474405.1528566571

Thursday
Jun142018

Clever Bees Can Identify Different Flowers by Patterns of Scent

June 14, 2018

 


Certain aromas trigger memories in humans, transporting us back in time. But how well do bees understand scent? And can they translate scent cues into a visual imprint? New research led by scientists from the University of Bristol and Queen Mary University of London demonstrates that bumble bees have keen sniffers, letting them tell flowers apart by patterns of scent.

Flowers have lots of different patterns on their surfaces that help to guide bees and other pollinators towards the flower's nectar, speeding up pollination. These patterns include visual signals like lines pointing to the center of the flower, or color differences. Flowers are also known to have different patterns of scent across their surface, and so a visiting bee might find that the centre of the flower smells differently to the edge of the petals.

Bumble bees can tell flowers apart simply by how scent is arranged on their surface according to new research published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Lead author Dr. Dave Lawson, from the University of Bristol's School of Biological Sciences, said: "If you look at a flower with a microscope, you can often see that the cells that produce the flower's scent are arranged in patterns.

"By creating artificial flowers that have identical scents arranged in different patterns, we are able to show that this patterning might be a signal to a bee. For a flower, it's not just smelling nice that's important, but also where you put the scent in the first place."

The study also shows that once bees had learnt how a pattern of scent was arranged on a flower, they then preferred to visit unscented flowers that had a similar arrangement of visual spots on their surface.

Dr. Lawson added: "This is the equivalent of a human putting her hand in a bag to feel the shape of a novel object which she can't see, and then picking out a picture of that object. Being able to mentally switch between different senses is something we take for granted, but it's exciting that a small animal like a bee is also able to do something this abstract."

Professor Lars Chittka, from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, said: "We already knew that bees were clever, but we were really surprised by the fact that bees could learn invisible patterns on flowers - patterns that were just made of scent.

"The scent glands on our flowers were either arranged in a circle or a cross, and bees had to figure out these patterns by using their feelers. But the most exciting finding was that, if these patterns are suddenly made visible by the experimenter, bees can instantly recognize the image that formerly was just an ephemeral pattern of volatiles in the air."

Senior author, Dr. Sean Rands, also from Bristol, added: "Flowers often advertise to their pollinators in lots of different ways at once, using a mixture of color, shape, texture, and enticing smells.

"If bees can learn patterns using one sense (smell) and then transfer this to a different sense (vision), it makes sense that flowers advertise in lots of ways at the same time, as learning one signal will mean that the bee is primed to respond positively to different signals that they have never encountered.

"Advertising agencies would be very excited if the same thing happened in humans."

Around 75 percent of all food grown globally relies on flowers being pollinated by animals such as bees. The work published today is part of ongoing research at the University of Bristol that explores the many different ways in which plants communicate with their pollinators, using different innovative techniques to explore how bees perceive the flowers that they visit.

http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/285/1880/20180661

Wednesday
Jun132018

Drift

      By Dan Wyns     June 12, 2018

     Drift




Bees have incredible navigation abilities that allow them to fly miles away from the colony to forage and return home with enough precision to locate the entrance to their colony, even when there are dozens of nearly identical hives within a small apiary site. The current understanding of navigation is that a combination of position relative to the sun and landmarks across the landscape get them close and then a combination of visual cues and pheromones to precisely locate the colony entrance. When a returning forager ends up returning to the wrong colony, she is typically not attacked as a robbing bee but accepted into the colony due to the pollen or nectar she carries. This process, known as drift, can lead to significant variations in colony strength over time and increase the potential for the spread of diseases and parasites within an apiary. Drift is generally not viewed as a huge problem, but there are some steps beekeepers can take to mitigate the amount of drift happening in their apiaries.

When colonies are aggregated in large numbers and placed in rows of pallets, as is common in a commercial setting, there is potential for excessive drift. Many beekeepers elect to paint all of their woodware white, and this decision may be based on tradition, aesthetic, or other considerations. Others use a variety of colors, which creates a more vibrant apiary and may also help returning forages with orientation. While bees do not see the same spectrum of colors as humans, they are able to distinguish between different shades, assisting them in orientation. In general dark colors should be avoided, particularly in excessively warm and sunny locations, so colonies will not become excessively hot. However, a mix of pastel colors and tones can provide some variation to help bees distinguish individual colonies without adding the potential for thermal stress.

In addition to variations in color, placement relative to other colonies and objects in the landscape can offer navigational aids that limit drift. Many beekeepers have observed that when a number of colonies are placed in a long line the colonies at the downwind end of the line accumulate more bees and yield greater honey harvests while those at the upwind end of the line are often short on bees and lighter in honey stores. By placing an array of hives in circles or arcs, with entrances pointed in different directions, the downwind drift effect can be lessened.  Prominent landscape features can also be helpful in providing orientation assistance. In addition to potentially providing a windbreak, a structure, tree line, or hedgerow close to hives can reduce drift. Orientation landmarks can be particularly important when setting up yards for mating nucs. It is essential that queens return to the correct nuc after orientation and mating flights so extra consideration should be given to visual cues in order to minimize drift in mating yards.

Drift is not something that most beekeepers give a lot of thought and it is certainly not among the most critical factors impacting colony health. Nevertheless, there is a growing understanding of the impacts of horizontal transmission of varroa mites between colonies and the ability to control varroa levels within and between apiaries. Phoretic varroa on drifting foragers are one way that ‘clean’ colonies may become reinfested. Given the ever-increasing number of challenges to bee management, reducing drift represents one area where beekeepers can potentially reduce colony stress for a minimal amount of effort.

https://beeinformed.org/2018/06/11/drift/