Education & Research
Website Photography

Take Action
Articles, Legislation, Etc.



Take Action
Best Management Practices
Becoming an Urban Beekeeper 


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, August 4, 2014. Open: 6:45P.M./Start: 7:00P.M.  All are welcome!

Next Beekeeping Class 101:  Sunday, July 20, 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!.   



Bees Able to Spot Which Flowers Offer Best Rewards Before Landing

University of Exeter   July 30, 2014

Bumblebees are able to connect differences in pollen quality with floral features, like petal colour, and so land only on the flowers that offer the best rewards, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Exeter.

Unlike nectar, bees do not ingest pollen whilst foraging on flowers, and so until now it has been unclear whether they are able to form associative relationships between what a flower looks like and the quality of its pollen.

The study used bumblebee foragers housed under controlled conditions to test whether they do learn about flowers during pollen collection.

Their results show that bumblebees can individually assess pollen samples and discriminate between them during collection, quickly forming preferences for a particular type of pollen.

The findings, published today in the Journal of Experimental Biology, indicate that pollen foraging behaviour involves learning and individual decision-making, which may allow bees to quickly learn which flowers provide the most nutritious pollen rewards for rearing their young.

Dr Natalie Hempel de Ibarra, Senior Lecturer in Neuroethology at the University of Exeter, said: “There is still very little known about how bees decide which flowers to visit for pollen collection. Easily learning floral features based on pollen rewards, without needing any nectar rewards, is a fast and effective way to recognise those flower species which bees have previously experienced to be the best ones.”

Dr Elizabeth Nicholls, a former PhD student at The University of Exeter and now a Post Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Sussex, said: “Bees need to be able to select flowers providing the most nutritious food for rearing their young. Since bumblebees don’t eat pollen when foraging, it was unclear if or how they might be able to assess differences in quality. Here we’ve shown that they are able to detect differences in pollen, even before landing, which means they may be able to tell, just from the colour of the petals, which flowers are worth visiting.   

“We already know a lot about how and what bees learn when collecting nectar from flowers, but since bees don’t eat pollen when foraging, we were interested to see whether they could still learn which flowers to visit when collecting this resource.”

The experiments involved manipulating the quality of pollen offered to the bees by diluting the samples. The researchers examined what they preferred to collect, if they could differentiate quality before landing by only letting the bees smell and see the pollen rather than probing it; and presenting the bees with four different coloured discs containing stronger and less diluted pollen to record preferences and change of preferences over time.

Dr Hempel de Ibarra is a member of the Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour (CRAB) within Psychology, where her BBSRC-funded work investigates how colour patterns are seen and learnt by bees.


A Beard Like No Other

Bug Squad - Happenings in the insect world    By Kathy Keatley Garvey   July 29, 2014

Bee scientists, beekeepers and bee photographers so love their bees that they can't get enough of them.

So when the international Association for Communication Excellence (ACE), comprised of communicators, educators and information technologists in agriculture, natural resources, and life and human sciences, issued a call for feature photos for its annual Critique & Awards Program, I thought why not?

Why not enter the...



Sweet Connection Beekeeping and Computing

TedxHickory   Hive Tracks: James Wilkes  July 7, 2014

James Wilkes is husband to Shannon and father to Margaret, Galen, Sullivan, Israel, Lillian, Zion, Oliver, and Lillian.  He occupies his time in a variety of ways including employment as a professor and Chair of the Department of Computer Science at Appalachian State University, owner and worker on his family farm, Faith Mountain Farm, co-founder of Blowing Rock Software, LLC, and generally being curious about the world around him.

 Note: In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Read and View at...


Insecticides Similar to Nicotine Widespread in Midwest

USGS  July 24, 2014

Summary: Insecticides similar to nicotine, known as neonicotinoids, were found commonly in streams throughout the Midwest, according to a new USGS study

Insecticides similar to nicotine, known as neonicotinoids, were found commonly in streams throughout the Midwest, according to a new USGS study. This is the first broad-scale investigation of neonicotinoid insecticides in the Midwestern United States and one of the first conducted within the United States.

Effective in killing a broad range of insect pests, use of neonicotinoid insecticides has dramatically increased over the last decade across the United States, particularly in the Midwest.  The use of clothianidin, one of the chemicals studied, on corn in Iowa alone has almost doubled between 2011 and 2013.

 “Neonicotinoid insecticides are receiving increased attention by scientists as we explore the possible links between pesticides, nutrition, infectious disease, and other stress factors in the environment possibly associated with honeybee dieoffs.” said USGS scientist Kathryn Kuivila, the research team leader.

Neonicotinoid insecticides dissolve easily in water, but do not break down quickly in the environment. This means they are likely to be transported away in runoff from the fields where they were first applied to nearby surface water and groundwater bodies.

In all, nine rivers and streams, including the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, were included in the study. The rivers studied drain most of Iowa, and parts of Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. These states have the highest use of neonicotinoid insecticides in the Nation, and the chemicals were found in all nine rivers and streams.

Of the three most often found chemicals, clothianidin was the most commonly detected, showing up in 75 percent of the sites and at the highest concentration. Thiamethoxam was found at 47 percent of the sites, and imidacloprid was found at 23 percent. Two, acetamiprid and dinotefuran, were only found once, and the sixth, thiacloprid, was never detected.

Instead of being sprayed on growing or full-grown crops, neonicotinoids can be applied to the seed before planting. The use of treated seeds in the United States has increased to the point where most corn and soybeans planted in the United States have a seed treatment (i.e., coating), many of which include neonicotinoid insecticides.

“We noticed higher levels of these insecticides after rain storms during crop planting, which is similar to the spring flushing of herbicides that has been documented in Midwestern U.S. rivers and streams,” said USGS scientist Michelle Hladik, the report’s lead author. “In fact, the insecticides also were detected prior to their first use during the growing season, which indicates that they can persist from applications in prior years.”

One of the chemicals, imidacloprid, is known to be toxic to aquatic organisms at 10-100 nanograms per liter if the aquatic organisms are exposed to it for an extended period of time. Clothianidin and thiamethoxam behave similarly to imidacloprid, and are therefore anticipated to have similar effect levels. Maximum concentrations of clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidacloprid measured in this study were 257, 185, and 42.7 nanograms per liter, respectively.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified all detected neonicotinoids as not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.

The paper, “Widespread occurrence of neonicotinoid insecticides in streams in a high corn and soybean producing region, USA” and has been published in Environmental Pollution. Learn more about the study and the long-term USGS effort to gather information on the environmental occurrence of new pesticides in different geographic, climatic, and use settings here. To learn more about USGS environmental health science, please visit the USGS Environmental Health website and sign up for our GeoHealth Newsletter.

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communications and Publishing
12201 Sunrise Valley Dr, MS 119
Reston, VA 20192

Alex Demas
Kathy Kuivila 

Insecticides Similar to Nicotine Widespread in Midwest


Bees and Drought

The Bee Gardener    By Christine Casey  July 28, 2014

How is the California drought affecting bees?  Many Haven visitors have asked that question. Drought affects bees in several ways; the good news is that we can provide some relief in our bee gardens. Some considerations:

Honey bees need water to cool the hive and to dilute the honey they feed to developing bees.  This is why it's essential to include a water source in your bee garden. See this previous Bee Gardener post for more information.

The honey bee-parasitic varroa mite, Varroa destructor, has had a devastating effect on honey bee health.  The good news is that multi-year droughts can reduce the mite's reproductive rate (Environ. Entomol. (2003) 32(6): 1305-1312).

Floral resources
Drought-stressed plants produce fewer, shorter-lasting flowers. Lack of adequate, high-quality forage has been identified in a USDA study as a major factor in bee health decline.

Less obvious than the absence of flowers is the quality of the food they provide.  In a study of squash plants subjected to simulated drought, it was determined that the daily pattern of nectar secretion was unaffected by drought.  The volume and concentration of nectar declined with the length of the simulated drought, however, indicating a negative effect of drought on the floral resource that bees depend on (Apidologie (2012) 43:1–16).

Many of our native bees are feeding specialists that will only use one species or genus of plant.  What happens if that plant suffers during drought? Many animals native to areas with regular dry periods have evolved diapause as a survival mechanism. A study of in bees in the southwestern US desert found that they were able to reliably use environmental cues to enter diapause when their plant resources were affected by drought (Proc. R. Soc. B (2013) 280: 20122703).

Effective use of limited water in the bee garden
Many communities are under mandatory water restrictions, and groundwater levels are at record lows throughout California. How do we balance this with the needs of these vital insect pollinators?

Chaparral currant losing its leaves

    Save the rest of this year's water for the plants that have yet to bloom.  Fall and winter are critical times for honey bee foraging to ensure ample honey stores for the winter.  In the Haven we are reducing irrigation to the plants that are finished blooming for the year so we can focus water use on the sunflowers, asters, sedums, and other plants that will bloom until frost.

  • Bee watering container made from a soaker hose
    Bee watering container made from a soaker hose
  • Provide an efficient water source.  The Haven's self-watering container made from a soaker hose runs on a timer.  This provides water for our bees while re-using the water for irrigating the plant in the container.

    Plant drought-tolerant bee plants for next year.  We have suggestions on the garden'sweb site.

 CA bumble bee on Cleveland sage