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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, May 4, 2015. Open: 6:45P.M./Start: 7:00P.M.  All are welcome!

Beekeeping Class 101:
  Our next class is Sunday, April 19, 2015 (9am-Noon) at Bill's Bees Bee Yard. Topic: What goes on inside a bee hive. You won't want to miss it! 

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Reminder: Beekeeping Class 101 - Class #3: Sunday, April 19, (9-noon) Bill's Bees Bee Yard

Beekeeping Class 101 - Class #3: What Goes On Inside The Hive

You’ve got your bees! You’ve got your box! Now What?

Hopefully, you were successful in installing your bee packages. Now we’re going to take a look inside the hive. You’ll find the queen and her eggs and identify the progressive stages of growth. You’ll be able to compare the progress of your new bees to see how they’re doing. Join us on April 19th (9am-noon) at Bill’s Bees Bee Yard for Class #3 (bee suits required). For more information go to: Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association Beekeeping Class 101.  

"I liked the ABeeC's Beginning Beekeeping article by Phill Remick "Blind Leading the Blind," says Bill. It's reprinted below.

Blind Leading the Blind

by Phill Remick 

"Recently I met an individual who is quite new to the world of beekeeping but blessed with rather good fortune in the financial realm. His more than adequate monetary resources have opened many doors for his new business, which revolves around keeping bees. 

This particular person and I were having a bee-related discussion at my office when I brought up something he didn’t agree with. Suddenly his demeanor sharply changed as he told me, “I’ve read all the books and I’ve never heard that before. Are you sure?” I stared him straight in the eyes as we closed our conversation stating that having read ‘All the books’ doesn’t mean a thing when you arrive in the bee yard, because the honey bees have their own library. 

Anybody can start a business or beekeeping in their backyard or in their town while reading ‘all the books’. Is that enough? The trick is to associate with reliable, trustworthy, knowledgeable sources; those capable of relating the subtle nuances honey bees display regardless of what is written about them. Learn from these individuals! Whether you’ve visited an apiary one time or several thousand times, there is always information to glean from our honey bearing friends and experienced beekeepers with their hive tools in hand. Their boots on the ground and years and years of seasonal experience out-knowledge any beekeeping book on the shelf. 

For example: one of my students said he had been reading and reading - but now, after opening hives and listening to my explanations - he finally got it! It is one thing to read about bees, it is another to experience them and hear about them from a qualified beekeeper, capable of pointing out the differences of a particular beehive as the bees are flying around your veil… and comparing one beehive to another: a totally different venture than any book describes. 

This is the verbiage of a beekeeping club whose comments I monitor: We are desperate for mentors! Anyone with at least a year or more of beekeeping experience is welcome to sign up to help new beekeepers. 

To me, this is the blind leading the blind and is something to be acutely aware of IF you want to be more than a backyard ‘bee-haver.’

Beekeeping is detailed. It can throw you a curve ball or two, or three. In a yard of five hives each colony may present totally different problems. Your book related one or two of those issues. Guess what? Bees are not predictable, nor are the weather, water, forage, pests, pesticides or predators. Your book may not tell you all the subtleties that differentiate each hive - or how to address it. Books are books. Knowledgeable beekeepers have the experience to lead, teach and guide you through most of the variances that any hive can offer up.

Read a book? I highly suggest reading all you can! Is that all you need to do to be a good beekeeper? NO! Is a mentor who has only had one more season of experience than you what you need as a guide? I’m sure you can answer that by now.

A Stinging Rebuke

IF, and notice that I use the word ‘IF’ you want to be more than a bee-haver, you must not only read as much as you can, but align yourself with a proven, long-term, experienced beekeeper as a mentor and teacher. There is NO substitute for experience…and one season/new beekeepers just don’t have it. 

Check out your ‘mentor.’ What is their experience? How many colonies have they kept? Is it one season of beekeeping or is 15-30 years of beekeeping? Have they taught before? How many people have they taught? Do they teach beginning, intermediate and advanced? Can they supply on-site hive management and analysis of any problems you may have? Or…are they just guessing?

If you ‘wing it’…your bees may die. If you decide to become a long-term, serious beekeeper, then you need to invest in a series of classes taught by an expert—not beekeepers that have only one or two seasons more experience than you do. A new beekeeper may want the notoriety of teaching a class, but their lack of long-term experience will not pay for your loss of hives.

Investigate who you align yourselves with. There is the time-worn but accurate expression, "You get what you pay for." You can get second-hand or even new books and try to teach yourself. You can buddy up with another newbie and together guess at what you are doing. Or, you can get years of beekeeping experience over the phone and even personal visits to your own apiary by an expert. You get what you pay for. Classes and years of experience are worth every penny if it gives you the first-hand, on-site experience that will help you to become the long-term beekeeper that can make a difference to the honey bees existence."

Phill Remick is a former commercial beekeeper who teaches beekeeping classes, offers year round apiary troubleshooting, hive management and sells beekeeping supplies near Albuquerque, NM. Contact him at

The above installment of “ABeeCs” by Phill Remick, appeared in the April 2015 Newsletter ~ Kelley Beekeeping

Bill Lewis and Clyde Steese have been keeping bees and teaching beekeeping for many years. To learn more about Bill and Clyde, check out our About Us page. Or, you can simply ask them at our next Beekeeping Class 101.

Enjoy your bees! 
Bill & Clyde 
Bill's Bees


Millions of Bees Swarm Highway After Truck Accident

Fox News Apr. 17, 2015 - 2:09 - Raw video: Workers attempt to round up honeybees after truck carrying bee crates crashes in Washington. 



14 Million Spilled Bees On I-5: "Everybody's Been Stung"

The Seattle Times   By Evan Bush   April 17, 2015

 A semitruck rolled Friday morning, spilling a load of bees worth $92,000 on Interstate 5 at the Interstate 405 interchange near Lynnwood.

(Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

A semitruck rolled early Friday, spilling a load of honeybees on the Interstate 5 median at the Interstate 405 interchange near Lynnwood.

The driver of the truck  was not injured in the crash.

Beekeepers were on site within an hour of the 3:30 a.m. wreck to round up the honeybees, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).

As temperatures warmed and the bees became more agitated, firefighters sprayed a mixture of foam and water on the hives to slow down or kill some of the bees. Television reporters swatted at swarms of the insects surrounding their cameras and clumps of bee carcasses littered the roadway.

“Everybody’s been stung,”  said Sgt. Ben Lewis of the State Patrol. “This is a first.”

A towing company was able to right the truck and pull it away by about 8 a.m., but traffic remained backed up throughout the morning as crews cleaned up the wreck.

WSDOT advised drivers to keep their windows and vents closed as they passed the buzzing-bee boxes.

Lewis said the truck was exiting I-405 northbound when the 36-year-old driver from Idaho lost control, hit a guardrail and spilled the bee boxes. The overturned truck’s front-left axle and wheel were mangled in the wreck.

Investigators are looking into whether speed was an issue in the crash, Sgt. Keith Leary of the State Patrol said. He said the driver could face traffic citations, but there were no criminal charges in the wreck.

Leary said there have been several collisions near the sharp corner where I-405 merges with northbound I-5.

The overturned truck held 458 hives with as many as 14 million bees, Leary said. The honeybees, headed from Sunnyside, Yakima County, for pollination at a blueberry farm in Lynden, Whatcom County, were worth $92,000, he said.

Seth Thompson, of Belleville Farms, said the company was able to save some hives. It’s a huge blow for the family business, he said.

Thompson said eight company employees, outfitted with beekeeping gear, helped responders at the scene.

“We saved 128 hives before the sun came up and it got too nice,” he said.

Leary said an excavator and dump truck were needed to remove the bee hives from the roadway. The wreck was cleared early Friday afternoon, he said, noting that he had about six bees in his patrol car. The tractor was totaled, according to a news release from the state patrol. Its trailer suffered about $750 damage.

Leary said it was fortunate the wreck happened when there was the least amount of traffic on the roadway and that the truck spilled over into the HOV lane and shoulder.

“The biggest issue we have on those scenes … is people taking video or cellphone pictures,” said Leary, who encourage drivers to “glance at it and move down the road instead of getting our paparazzi shot.”

The bees were likely coming from California before Sunnyside, said Mark Emrich, president of the Washington State Beekeepers Association.

Emrich said about 70 percent of commercial beekeepers bring their hives down to California to pollinate almonds.

After California, “they work their way north to do fruits, bush berries, vegetables,” Emrich said.

Spring and summer are the busiest season for beekeeping. Emrich estimated that more than 100 trucks carrying hives on Washington roads at this time of year. Drivers typically travel at night, when bees are less active.

“We have a fairly large agricultural industry in Washington state,” said Emrich. “It just kind of goes hand in hand with the amount of farming.”

According to a report for the Washington state Legislature, about 500,000 colonies of honeybees were needed in 2012 to pollinate Washington crops. In the same year, about 97,000 of the colonies were registered with the state department of agriculture, though that figure is from self-reported data and not all hives are registered.

Walter Sheppard, a professor of entomology at Washington State University, said about 400-500 colonies can fit on a truck.

“It’s a pretty normal thing to see trucks loaded down with bees on the highway,” said Sheppard.

Emrich said the firefighters, beekeepers and state troopers at the scene did not have much choice but to knock down the bees with water and foam.

“They’re little flying solar panels. As soon as light hits them, they want to be active,” said Emrich of the bees.

He said smoke probably would not have been practical in this situation, so wetting them was a sad but necessary choice. “We don’t (wet them) in the beekeeping industry. Wet bees don’t last very long.”

Emrich said bee colonies are very difficult to recover because the entire hive must stay intact, with its single queen, the worker bees and attendant bees.

“Once you shuffle the cards, it’s almost impossible to figure out who goes to who,” Emrich said. “The ones (hives) on the outside and split open on the road: That’s just done. You can’t unring the bell.”

Honeybees rarely sting people, said Sheppard, unless you disturb them or they feel need to defend their colony. If a honeybee stings, it will die. Unless the wreck blocked traffic and drivers got out waving their arms, Sheppard doubted the public was in danger.

“I couldn’t imagine it being a public-health menace, but it’s a big nuisance,” said Sheppard.

Sheppard said a couple of trucks carrying honeybees crash each year, but it doesn’t make as much of a buzz unless it’s near a city or major roadway.

Read A Selection of Tweets from reporter Erin Bush at the scene, view more images:


You Asked: Are the Honey Bees Still Disappearing? By Markham Heid  April 15, 2015

Beekeepers continue to grapple with historically high death rates. And now something’s up with the queens.

Illustration by Peter Oumanski for TIME

From almonds to cherries, dozens of food crops are partially or totally dependent on honeybee pollination. And while media attention has waned, there’s still reason to worry about the country’s smallest and most indispensable farm workers.

Bee researchers first reported massive die-offs back in the 1990s. But the plight of the honeybee didn’t truly buzz into the national consciousness until the spring of 2013, when data revealed the average beekeeper had lost 45% of her colonies the previous winter. A mysterious phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder (CCD) further stoked the fires of public interest.

Jump to 2015. While last winter’s bee death data won’t be published for a few more weeks, things appear to be “status quo,” says Dr. Greg Hunt, a honeybee expert at Purdue University. Unfortunately, the status quo is grim. “We’ve been seeing about 30% loss in an average winter,” Hunt says. “The winter before last was particularly bad and got a lot of attention, but things have been bad for a while.”

Dr. Dennis vanEngelsdorp—a University of Maryland entomologist who helps collect and publish the winter death data each spring—says there are three “primary drivers” of honeybee loss: The varroa mite, pesticides and poor nutrition. He doesn’t hesitate when asked to name the largest threat to bees: “I’d get rid of the varroa first.”

Varroa mites, properly (and frighteningly) named Varroa destructor, likely migrated to the U.S. sometime in the 1980s. They attach to a honeybee’s body and suck its blood, which kills many bees and spreads disease to others. The varroa can jump from one colony to another, wiping out whole populations of honeybees, vanEngelsdorp explains. There are treatments that combat the varroa. But many small-scale beekeepers don’t use them. “That’s bad, because they can spread mites to neighboring colonies,” he adds.

Of the two other major bee-killers vanEngelsdorp listed, pesticides have arguably gotten the most press—especially a commonly used category called neonicotinoids. While considered safe for humans, research suggests neonicotinoids may be extremely harmful to bees and many other insects, and so have been banned in some European countries. But the amount these chemicals contribute to bee deaths and colony collapse disorder is still debated. “We don’t find levels of neonicotinoids that are indicative of widespread exposure or harm,” vanEngelsdorp says.

The third problem—poor nutrition—is likely the most confounding of the honeybee’s enemies.

“Bees need a varied diet of different pollens in order to grow into strong, healthy workers,” explains Dr. Heather Mattila, a honeybee biologist at Wellesley College. Unfortunately, a country once filled with meadows of diverse, pollen-packed wildflowers is now blanketed by crops, manicured lawns, and mown fields barren of pollen sources. “A green space can be a green desert if it doesn’t have flowering plants that are bee-friendly,” Mattila adds.

Combine a restricted diet with environmental factors like extremely cold winters and scorching summers, and stressed honeybee colonies are less able to resist the ravages of mites, pesticides, viruses and other potential causes of colony collapse disorder.

To fill nutrition gaps, beekeepers give their wares pollen supplements. Along with tactics like colony splitting, keepers can restore their bee supplies quickly during the spring and summer months. But Hunt says the cost to do this is large—and growing larger. “As long as beekeepers are willing to put more money and hard labor into it, we can come back and rebuild our colonies and numbers,” he explains. “But whether this is all sustainable is an open question.”

Mattila calls this a “Band-Aid,” not a cure. “I think we’re making the best of a tough situation,” she says. Both she and Hunt applaud companies and localities that have started letting wildflowers grow along the sides of highways or under rural power lines—places that used to be mown and sprayed with herbicide. The federal government has also taken steps to protect lands that offer honeybees (and lots of other insects) the sustenance they need. Mattila says every American can help these efforts by planting flowers and avoiding chemical treatments.

But she mentions another emerging concern when it comes to the future of America’s honeybees: The strange, abrupt deaths of many bee queens. “When I started working with bees 18 years ago, we’d replace living queens every two years,” she recalls. “Now queens die after half a summer. Nobody is really clear on why.”

The “Band-Aid” she mentioned might already be coming off.

 Read at:


A Problem Adequately Stated is a Problem Solved: The Next Gen Beekeepers Initiative

Bee-Girl    By Sarah Red-Laird    April 14, 2015

The latest numbers from a Bee Culture survey show beekeepers under forty years old making up a mere eight percent of our industry.  What’s more, a January 23rd article in the Wall Street Journal titled, “More Beekeepers Sour on Profession as Winter Die-Offs Continue,” is an all-too familiar sentiment moving through the beekeeping industry.  That’s not great news, as the future is upon us and the time is now to ensure the survival of our livelihood and passion.  This is, however, an exciting time to be a beekeeper.  Society, government, science, and the food industry have their eyes turned to us and are poised to offer support, perhaps more generously than any time in modern history.  So what do we do?

Read more at Bee-Girl Blog-Next Gen Beekeepers