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Becoming an Urban Beekeeper 

 2014 CSBA Convention
November 18-20, 2014
Hyatt Regency in Valencia, CA 

2014 Bee Calendar 
 @Kodua Photography

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, May 5, 2014. Open: 6:45P.M./Start: 7:00P.M.  All are welcome!

Next Beekeeping Class 101:  Sunday, May 11, 2014. Time: 9:00am-noon.  Location:  Bill's Bees Bee Yard. Topic: Hive Management.  BEE SUITS REQUIRED. Come, learn responsible beekeeping for an urban environment.  Everyone welcome!.   



UC Davis Dept of Entomology Newsletter for March/April 2014

With the permission of Dr. Eric Mussen, Cooperative Extension Apiculturist and editor of from the U.C. Apiaries, we have attached the UC Davis Dept of Entomology Newsletter for March/April 2014.  Enjoy!

To subscribe to the apiculture newsletters, access this page. Subscriptions are free.


Trouble in the Almond Orchards

Bug Squad - Happenings in the Insect World   By Kathy Keatley Garvey      April 23, 2014

Beekeepers and almond growers are concerned--and rightfully so--about the some 80,000 bee colonies that died this year in the San Joaquin Valley almond orchards. In monetary terms, that's a loss of about $180,000. But the loss isn't just financial. It could have long-term effects.

Beekeepers believe that pesticides killed their bees after the almond pollination season ended but just before they could move their bees to another site. This is a serious blow to both industries. Growers need the bees to pollinate their almonds. Now some beekeepers are vowing this is it; they'll never to return for another almond pollination season.

Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology talks about the issue in his latest edition of from the uc apiaries, published today on hiswebsite.

"When should the colonies be allowed to leave the orchards?" he asks. "When pollination no longer is happening. That does not mean that the bees should remain in place until the last petal falls from the last blossom."

"Why might beekeepers desire to move their hives out of the orchards 'early?' Once the almonds no longer provide nectar and pollen for the bees, the bees find replacement sources of food. Unfortunately, those sources may be contaminated with pesticides that almond growers would never use when the bees are present. Some common pests that surge right near the end of almond bloom include Egyptian alfalfa weevil larvae and aphids in alfalfa, and grape cutworms in vineyards. Delayed dormant sprays sometimes are being applied in other deciduous fruit orchards, even when the trees are in bloom. Often blooming weeds in the crops are attracting honey bees. If the year is really dry, the bees may be attracted to sugary secretions of aphids and other sucking bugs."

Mussen says it's "not difficult to see that accidental bee poisonings often happen. Despite our California regulations requiring beekeepers to be notified of applications of bee-toxic chemicals within a mile of the apiaries, bees fly up to four miles from their hives to find food and water. That is an area of 50 square miles in which they may find clean or contaminated food sources. Thus, growers whose fields are 'nowhere near' any known apiary locations may accidentally kill many bees with chemical applications."

"It seems," Mussen says, "that a combination of exposures of colonies to truly bee-toxic insecticides, followed by delayed effects of exposure to fungicide/IGR mixes during bloom, really set the bees way behind. The problem proved so severe that a number of beekeepers stated that they were never returning to California for almond pollination. That is not a good thing, since we really don't have too many colonies coming to almonds as it is."

In his newsletter, Mussen goes into depth about when and how bees pollinate the almonds and what could be causing the problem and how it can be resolved.

His take-home message? "Our honey bees cannot continue to be exposed to as many toxic agricultural products as they are, or we will not have enough bees to fill the pollination demand for our nuts, fruits, vegetable, forage and seed crops."

That's serious business.

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Visit the Kathy Keatley Garvey Bug Squad blog at:


Santa Monica College Hosts Honey Bee Festival


Santa Monica College Hosts Honey Bee Festival
Celebrating Bees and their Honey

April 23, 2014   2 - 5 PM   -  FREE

Santa Monica College Organic Learning Garden 
1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA  90405

Learn why honeybees are important, what’s threatening their survival and how to help them thrive.

Delicious honey-based food, beekeepers, demonstration hives, beeswax candle-rolling and more!! FREE

For more information:


A Bee That's a Delight to See!

Bug Squad - Happenings in the Insect World   By Kathy Keatley Garvey

What's that on the Coreopsis?

Could it be--a bee?

Yes, that's the metallic green sweat bee, also called an ultra green sweat bee, Agapostemon texanus.  This one  (below) is a female. Males and females are easily distinguishable.  The female is all green, from head to thorax to abdomen, while the male (right) is green on the head and thorax but not on the abdomen.

Native pollinator specialist...




In Celebration of Bees   By Mary Zakrasek      April 23, 2014

It’s spring and with flowers blooming and birds singing, it’s a perfect time to celebrate the little insects that makes the biggest impact on our world…Bees!

Honeybees are often the first bees we think about but have you ever noticed how different flowering plants attract different bees?

I first became much more aware of this when a wisteria vine in our yard bloomed and suddenly, we had bumblebees. They found a plum tree to hang out in and when they got hungry, they’d make a “beeline” down the path to the hanging blossoms.

But it was a documentary hosted by Peter Fonda called “Pollinators in Peril” where I first learned that there are over 20,000 species of bees and found out just how much we rely on bees. The film also introduced a gentle bee, the Blue Orchard Mason Bee which is indigenous to North America that pollinates, but doesn’t produce honey, and can easily be introduced into home gardens.

What Bees do for Us

Simply and amazingly, the world’s food supply depends on them. Bees not only help produce one-third of the all fruits and vegetables but many of those plants are then used to feed animals. Without their pollination, many plants would not bear any fruit. For example, almond trees, blueberries and avocados rely exclusively on bees.

Because tomato plants have tight flowers, they depend on bumble bees to know just how to shake, or buzz pollinate them to release the pollen. Honey bees don’t have the ability to vibrate like bumble bees. The flight muscles of bumble bees doing this have been found to match the musical note, middle-C, which may open a new area of pollination research called sonication!

Many plants also need multiple visits from bees. For example, it takes about 21 visits to strawberry plants or the fruit will end up being small and lopsided. (Hmmm…now I know what happened to the strawberries I was raising)!

Honeymoons and Healing

Ever wonder where the word “Honeymoon” originated?

There’s a little known piece of folklore about a honey wine called mead that has aphrodisiac properties. In cultures that base their calendar on the lunar cycle, newlyweds would drink mead during their first month of married life for good luck.

Besides being used in food products, personal care, beauty products, supplements and beverages, honey is used to cure some health problems. The ancient healing art called Apitherapy thrives in Bucharest where there is an Apitherapy Medical Center. Doctors there believe the hive is the oldest and healthiest natural pharmacy, and use bee venom to combat multiple sclerosis, pollen for indigestion and honey to heal wounds.

Beekeeping Traditions

Bee hives in honey making museum in Stripeikiai, Lithuania. Photo Wojsyl/Lithuania Wikipedia Commons

Beekeeping traditions are deep and rich around the world, as it has been an intrinsic part of life for thousands of years. Rock paintings with graphic depictions of beekeeping date from 15,000 years ago!

To harvest honey in the Himalayas, tribal leaders climb steep cliffs and jab at the hives to knock the honeycomb from Apis laboriosa, the largest bee in the world, into a basket, the method they have used since 11,000 B.C. Then it is lowered to the waiting tribe below. Risking their lives to gather the honey creates a deep appreciation for the tradition and the honey it provides.

Slovenia is renowned for its apiculture. Here, beekeeping is called the “Poetry of Agriculture”. You can even go on ApiRoute excursions where you may meet beekeepers as you explore the natural countryside or discover bee homes painted in the Slovenian tradition of painting their hives and some believe it even helps bees remember which hive to come back to.

In Lithuania, The Museum of Ancient Beekeeping not only has displays about the history of beekeeping but also unusual carved wooden sculptures that contain beehives. These pay homage to Egyptian, Native American and Lithuanian mythology and folklore.

Urban Beekeeping

Rooftop garden at the Intercontinental Hotel, Melbourne. Photo Doug Beckers/Flickr

There’s an exciting development in urban beekeeping as bee lovers lobby to legalize beekeeping in cities where it is banned. Now, beekeeping is flourishing in Paris, Berlin, London, Tokyo, Melbourne, New York, Cleveland, Detroit, Minneapolis, Denver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. And the list of buzzing cities continues to grow.

In Paris, bee hives are everywhere…on the rooftops of the Paris Opera, the Grand Palais and in the Luxembourg Gardens which also has an apiary school.


In New York, the Waldorf Astoria’s rooftop is home to bees whose honey harvest of 300 pounds a year makes it into the hotel’s kitchen in delicious sounding sauces likeHabanero and Honey Scallop Sauce. Because bees raised in urban areas have access to such a wide variety of flowers, the honey has many flavors coming through, inspiring honey-tasting events and even contests between hotels.

Bring Bees into Your Life

Heart shaped mason bee house Photo Dennis Bratland/Flickr

What if you could easily keep bees and increase your own garden yield and flower power?

The sleek, black Blue Orchard Mason Bees, the bees introduced in “Pollinators in Peril” are super pollinators, but they don’t produce honey.

For instance, it takes only 250 orchard mason bees to pollinate one acre of commercial apple orchards, whereas it would take 25,000 honeybees to accomplish the same task. Orchard Mason bees are indigenous to North America and come by their name because they pack mud into their nests like brick masons.

To encourage these bees to settle in your garden, all you really need is a wooden box that has the perfect size holes and flowers or fruit trees for them to pollinate. You can make the box yourself, or order it online. And, what’s really fun is that you can order bees that will arrive in your mailbox!

Other ways to get involved are the Adopt a Beehive in the UK and the Open Source Beehive Project where you can make your own smart beehive that will track where your bees go and the health of your hive.

Everyone can celebrate and support bees by planting flowering plants in your yard and in your community. You’ll enjoy the beauty they bring and at the same time contribute to keeping bees healthy and prolific!

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