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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, June 1, 2015. Open: 6:45P.M./Start: 7:00P.M.  All are welcome!

Beekeeping Class 101:
  Our next class is Sunday, May 17, 2015 (9am-Noon) at Bill's Bees Bee Yard. 
Class #4: How Are My Bees Doing?. You won't want to miss it! 

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Entomology: The Bee-All, and End-All

Nature    May 21, 2015

Seven scientists give their opinions on the biggest challenges faced by bees and bee researchers.

Robert Paxton

Honeybee viruses

Head of general zoology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany

Honeybees are declining in number across the Northern Hemisphere. There is broad consensus within the scientific community that their most serious threats are pathogenic microbes, particularly viruses, and the parasitic mite Varroa destructor, which transmits viruses while sucking the blood of the bee. A major challenge is to show whether Varroa mites also lower the immune response of the host bee to these viruses. Or do the mites provide an environment that selects for better-replicating or more-virulent viral variants? — or both.

Honeybees host more than 50 types of microbe, which next-generation sequencing technologies are helping us to explore. Researchers are ...

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A US Workforce That Produces $15 Billion of Economic Value Each Year Is Panicking

The Washington Post/Science   May 22, 2015

A crucial agricultural workforce in the United States that produces some $15 billion worth of economic value every year, according to the Obama administration, has been struck by alarming losses recently, frightening advocates and demanding attention from Washington. Yes, the country's bees are in trouble.

President Obama has a plan to deal with the massive number of bee deaths. But this might be a problem that biotechnology will ultimately have to solve.

About 42 percent of honeybee colonies died over the past year, according to a new survey. Though that's bad, it's not the worst in the past decade. Perhaps some reduction in bee numbers is to be expected as a growing and more prosperous human population adapts land to its own uses. But beekeepers must split surviving colonies to make up for bee deaths, straining insects and making the business increasingly difficult and expensive.

Government experts blame a complex set of factors. The 1987 arrival of the varroa destructor mite, which feeds on honeybee blood, appears to have contributed, along with disease, pesticide use and a reduction in the type and variety of forage that bees need.

The Obama administration wants to curtail all of these factors, lowering the rate of hive loss to no more than 15 percent within a decade, which would be economically sustainable for the bee industry. Top on the list is altering public and private lands — in national parks, roadside strips, building complexes, even the White House South Lawn — to create 7 million acres of suitable pollinator habitat. This involves, among other things, identifying plants that provide nutrition for honeybees in hopes of encouraging their cultivation.

That would help, and Congress should provide the necessary funds. But to many advocates, those sorts of measures don't face up to what they see as the real problem: a class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids. The Environmental Protection Agency already has created rules restricting neonicotinoid use when bees are brought in to pollinate areas.

But anti-pesticide activists insist that persistent low-level exposure to neonicotinoids can harm bees, too. Plants absorb the pesticides even when bees aren't around, they say, which results in toxic pollen and nectar; even if contaminated bees don't die, these compounds can interfere with bees' capability to communicate, fly and navigate.

The European Union has put a moratorium on neonicotinoid use. The EPA is being more cautious. The agency isn't approving more uses for neonicotinoids, but it's also not taking products off the market yet, instead just limiting their application.

The agency says that the serious scientific work establishing the risk of low-level neonicotinoid exposure to bees is only just being done. Besides, the Obama administration's strategy notes, the goal is to "balance the unintended consequences of chemical exposure with the need for pest control."

In the end, that balance might be best achieved with new biotechnology: compounds and plants that target unwanted species while leaving others alone. As with many vexing environmental and resource challenges, governments and the public must be open to the promise of these sorts of innovations to improve both the environment and human welfare.

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White House Plan Does Little To Take The Sting Out Of Pollinator Declines

Beyond Pesticides Daily News Blog  May 20, 2015

(Washington, DC, May 20, 2015) Yesterday, the White House released its much awaited plan for protecting American pollinators, which identifies key threats, but falls short of recommendations submitted by Beyond Pesticides, beekeepers, and others who stress that pollinator protection begins with strong regulatory action and suspension of bee-toxic pesticides. The Pollinator Health Task Force, established by President Obama in June 2014, brought together most federal agencies to “reverse pollinator losses and help restore populations to healthy levels,” and involved developing a National Pollinator Health Strategy and a Pollinator Research Action Plan. The Strategy outlines several components, such as a focus on increased pollinator habitat, public education and outreach, and further research into a range of environmental stressors, including systemic neonicotinoid pesticides. Although well-intentioned, the Strategy ultimately works at cross-purposes by encouraging habitat, but continuing to allow pesticides that contaminate landscapes.

“Waiting for additional research before taking action on neonicotinoid pesticides, which current science shows are highly toxic to bees, will not effectively stem pollinator declines, and is unlikely to achieve the National Pollinator Health Strategy’s goal of reducing honey bee losses to no more than 15% within 10 years,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides.

A major component of the federal plan is the creation and stewardship of habitat and forage for pollinators. However, without restrictions on the use of neonicotinoids, these areas are at risk for pesticide contamination and provide no real safe-haven for bees and other pollinators. Beyond Pesticides continues to encourage federal agencies to adopt organic management practices that are inherently protective of pollinators.

Under the plan, EPA will propose...



National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators

The administration's strategy will seek to manage the way forests burned by wildfire are replanted, the way offices are landscaped and the way roadside habitats where bees feed are preserved.

Download White House Strategy:


Pollinator Politics: Environmentalists Criticize Obama's Plan To Save Bees

NPR/THE SALT    By Allison Aubrey  May 20, 2015


The buzz around bees has been bad lately. As we've reported, beekeepers say they lost 42 percent of honeybee colonies last summer.

And it seems that fixing what ails bees is no simple task. Over the past few decades, they've been hit by diseases and habitat loss. There's also increasing evidence that a type of pesticides called neonicotinoids are linked to bees' decline, too.

This could be bad news for all of us, since bees and other pollinators are critical to our food supply.

Honeybees alone, according to an Obama administration estimate, add $15 billion in value to agricultural crops each year by pollinating everything from almonds and apples to blueberries and squash.

And now the administration has put forth a new action plan to reverse the declines in bees.

A key component is a strategy to restore 7 million acres of bee-friendly habitat that have been lost to urbanization, development and farming.

"It's a big step in the right direction," says Nigel Raine, a professor who studies pollinator conservation at the University of Guelph, in Canada.

The idea is to plant many types of wildflowers — in lots of different areas — so that bees have more places to forage and nest. "It's making sure they have sufficient flowers to feed on," says Raine — and places to live.

Many environmentalists say restoring bee habitat is a good place to start, but they're critical that the Obama administration has not taken a harder line in limiting the use of neonicotinoids.

The Natural Resources Defense Council says more urgent action is needed to safeguard our food supply. "To truly save bees and other pollinators, we must drastically cut down on today's pervasive use of neonicotinoids and other pesticides," Peter Lehner, executive director of the NRDC, said in a press release.

And a similar message is coming from Friends of the Earth. The White House Pollinator Strategy won't solve the bee crisis, the group says.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced in April that it is not likely to approve new uses of neonicotinoids, but the plan announced by the administration on Tuesday did not call for restrictions on current uses.

Lisa Archer, who leads the food and technology program at Friends of the Earth, said in a statement: "President Obama's National Pollinator Health Strategy misses the mark by not adequately addressing the pesticides as a key driver of unsustainable losses of bees and other pollinators essential to our food system."

The European Union has already moved to restrict the use of neonicotinoids. And as we've reported, there are proposals in Canada to limit use of the pesticides, too.

But a leading manufacturer of the pesticides says neonic restrictions are not necessary. "Neonicotinoids — when used according to labeled directions — can be used safely with pollinators," Becky Langer of Bayer Crop Science told us.

She says the administration's strategy to restore bee-friendly habitat is a good approach, and points out that Bayer is helping to address this issue with its Bee Care Center and efforts to encourage the expansion of habitat.

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