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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 6, 2016. Open: 6:45P.M./Start: 7:00P.M.  All are welcome! 

Beekeeping Class 101:
  Next class, Sunday, May 15, at Bill's Bees Bee Yard 9AM-Noon. Topic: Hive Management. BEE SUITS REQUIRED. All are Welcome! 

Check out our Facebook page for lots of info and updates on bees; and please remember to LIKE US: 



ABF Webinar: Summer Time Treatments


Talk Bees May 21 & 22 at Wild for the Planet at the LA Zoo!

Great day for the ZOO! Head on over to the LA Zoo and learn about BEES May 21 & 22. Bees will be part of the Wild for the Planet Earth Day celebration at the Zoo event today. Ruth Askren of Bee Capture and other members of the LA County Beekeepers will be on hand to answer question about bees! Gonna be a fun day!  We're in the Eucalyptus Grove!!!

If you're an LACBA member and would like to be a part of the LA Zoo's “Wild for the Planet” Earth Day celebration, come spend a day at the zoo helping teach people about bees. Please contact Ruth Askren to sign up. Come meet people from the local beekeeping community!   Enjoy!

UPDATE - May 23, 2016

Thank you to:

The whole Mussenden Family
Ana Farrell
Holly Hawk
David Parker
Laura Quick
... who spent hours giving honey samples to visitors, answering questions about bees, and pointing out the wonders of the observation hive. "I love how the kids all got so excited to find a drone or the queen in the observation hive! We had fun!" ~ Ruth Askren

And a special Thank You to:

... for getting the LACBA involved in this wonderful Wild for the Planet Earth Day celebration at the LA Zoo (and for these photo memories). 





Bee Therapy: Local Veteran Using Beekeeping To Help Others

WDAZ8 ABC    By Kelsie McMahon    May 19, 2016

View at:

THIEF RIVER FALLS, MN (WDAZ-TV) - To cope with post-traumatic stress disorder, one Minnesota veteran has found therapy in bees.

Since the 90s, Bill Reynolds has been busy as a bee.

Bill Reynolds, beekeeper: “I was planting some apple trees and taking note that there wasn't many pollinators in the area and this was on the East Side of Minnesota.”

Now tucked away in nature outside of Thief River Falls he takes care of six active hives, growing up to 20 by midsummer, the bees pollinating a variety of fruits and flowers.

Reynolds: “So when I put a label on my honey, it's wildflower honey.”

Reynolds found tending to the bees has a therapeutic effect. As a U.S. Air Force veteran, he says the bees help with his PTSD.

Reynolds: “It gives me peace of mind. It gives me a place I can focus, instead of all the voices, not that I have a bunch of them, but there's plenty of them. I can focus on what I'm doing and the rest of the world kind of melts away whatever it is during that period of time.”

While Reynolds uses beekeeping to help with his PTSD, he is now mentoring others online.

Crystal Longseth, Bemidii: “He met me the day I picked up my bees and he's like my backup, you know, if I have a question or there's any problems or I don't know what's going on. He's the one that actually made me realize that I need to learn about the local plants and what's flowering at what time and, you know, just the other day he told me how to light my smoker."

Now taking his love of bees and training others in the military, he's reaching out to help fellow veterans.

Reynolds: “I can take what I like to do, bees and training, put them together and maybe help some vets in the same situation or worse situation than I am.”

Starting a new project called "Bees for Vets" - he's created a GoFundMe page to upgrade equipment and eliminate cost for vets.

With a goal of $20,000, he has raised more than $400 so far.

A hobby-turned-therapy, Reynolds is using bees to connects with vets and beekeepers around the world.

Reynolds: “If the bees brought me peace, maybe I can help another vet with the bees.


The Saga of the Aggressive Honey Bees

Bug Squad    By Kathy Keatley Garvey    May 17, 2016

The saga of the aggressive honey bees in Concord continues. 

Although Extension apicuturist emeritusEric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, retired in 2014 after 38 years of service, he continues his Extension work.

When a backyard beekeeper's hive in Concord turned aggressive (a swarm killed two dogs, attacked a mail carrier, and stung passsersby), journalists began singling out honey bee guru Eric Mussen and other UC Davis experts for interviews. Apparently, when a beekeeper moved his hive on Friday to make way for landscaping, the bees went on the attack Friday and Saturday. Most of the bees have since been destoryed.

Some headlines screamed "Killer bees colonizing the Bay Area."

First of all, are they Africanized bees? DNA testing awaits.

“Their BEHAVIOR is very SUGGESTIVEthat they could be Africanized,” Mussen told Bug Squad today.

“Until someone runs a definitive test on the on the bees actually involved in the Concord stinging incident, we may never know exactly what genotype the bees were,” Mussen points out, adding that "we have three ways to try to differentiate between Africanized honey bees (AHBs) and European honey bees (EHBs)."

1. Mitochondrial DNA – The California Department of Food and Agricuture (CDFA) still conducts this type of testing once a year to clear the California Bee Breeders for queen exports into Canada.  CDFA also uses this criterion as "the one" for declaring Africanization.  However, its value in predicting temperament of the colony population is not particularly reliable.

2. Isozymes - the amino acid composition of certain enzymes differs between the two races

3. Morphometrics - computer matching of current sample specimens to verified AHB and EHB samples using measurements of various anatomical features.  Hybrids are problematic.      

"That type of bee was found around southern California and as far north as not too far from Angles Camp (Calaveras County)," Mussen mentioned.  "Further north, they found only specimens with one or two traits, but not all three.  That even occurred just into southern Oregon."

“Yes, EHB colonies can behave in that nasty manner, but I think it is more likely that AHBs are involved,” Mussen says.  He recalled that twice in the 1980s, swarms of bees from South America accompanied shipments of raw sugar cane into the C&H sugar refinery in Crockett (Contra Costa County). 

“We know the first one got away.  They think they got the second one, but could not find the queen in either case.    Since that time, there have been increasing complaints of "hot" bees from that area, south to Castro Valley (Alameda County).”

Mussen related  that “you don't have to have bees that test positive for AHB mitochondria to get extremely defensive behavior.  Studies conducted by Dr. Robert Page's lab workers in Mexico (see photo of an Africanized bee below that Page collected) demonstrated the gradual changes in behavior that accompanied increased proportions of AHB semen in A.I. EHB queens":

  • 12.5 percent - increased runniness on combs
  • 25 percent - add flighty to the list
  • 37.5 percent - add significantly more stings to the list
  • 50 percent or more - results in full-blown AHB defensive behavior. 

“So, if feral AHB colonies exist in the environment, we can have various amounts of ‘mismating' going on and its consequences around the area," Mussen points out,

“Another consideration is that mini-swarms of AHBs sometimes will alight on the outside of an EHB hive and park there for days.  The AHB workers slowly integrate themselves into the colony population.  Then, when conditions are right, the AHBs kill the EHB queen, the AHB workers and queen march in and take over (usurp the colony).”

“A third possibility is that some novice beekeeper was swayed by advertising for packaged bees from Texas.  Advertised as the most gentle stocks, there is no place where mating can be isolated enough to avoid AHB drones.”

Africanized bees are hybrids of a subspecies of bee from southern Africa that was exported to Brazil to improve breeding stock and honey production. Scientists say it escaped and spread throughout South America and into Central America.  It expanded into Mexico in 1985, in Texas in 1990, in Arizona in 1993, and in southern California in 1994.


Africanized Bees: How Far North?

Bug Squad   By Kathy Keatley Garvey   May 16, 2016

Africanized honey bees arrived in southern California in 1994 and are expanding north. How far north are they now?

That's the question being asked all over Central and Northern California, especially since "The Terrorizing Concord Incident" or what happened along Hitchcock Road, Concord last Friday and Saturday. Apparently a backyard beekeeper was trying to move two hives on Friday to allow his father to do some landscaping. The beekeeper reportedly moved the first hive successfully, but when he tried to move the second hive, the bees became highly aggressive and wreaked havoc. They killed two dogs, attacked a mail carrier, and stung a number of passersby. 

Were they Africanized bees? DNA tests will determine that.

Meanwhile, what is the northern boundary for Africanized bees?

Extension apiculturist (emeritus) Eric Mussen, who retired in June 2014 after 38 years of service, explained it this way:

"The northern boundary of AHBs depends upon the criteria you use to analyze an individual:

1. Mitochondrial DNA: Used by California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to call them Africanized

2. Morphometrics: Measure quite a number of anatomical features and compare them to features of EHBs and AHBs.  Hybrids are hard to categorize, thus not used by CDFA, but the USDA likes it (they "invented" it)

3. Isozymes: Enzymes from AHBs and EHBs have different amino acid arrangements

There are "pockets of bees having one or two of the three criteria, but bees with all three criteria haven't been demonstrated more than about half way up the state from the southern end," Musssen said. Africanized honeybees or AHBs from San Diego, etc., have all three criteria."

And the farthest north they've been found? "If I remember correctly, Angels Camp (Calaveras County) vicinity was farthest north find of samples with all three criteria positive," Mussen related. "Samples around the Concord area had two criteria (up to now). Two samples from very southern Oregon had one criterion."

UC San Diego scientists reported in a press release issued Sept. 11, 2015 that "Africanized bees continue to spread in California."

The study, published that week in the journal PLOS One, "found that more than 60 percent of the foraging honey bees in San Diego County are Africanized and that Africanized bees can now be found as far north as California's delta region," wrote news communicator Kim McDonald.

Said biologist Joshua Kohn, a biology professor who headed the study: "“Our study shows that the large majority of bees one encounters in San Diego County are Africanized and that most of the bees you encounter are from feral colonies, not managed hives,” said Joshua Kohn, a professor of biology at UC San Diego who headed the study."

McDonald explained that "Africanized bees are hybrids of a subspecies from southern Africa that were brought to Brazil to improve bee breeding stock and honey production, but escaped and spread throughout South America and Central America, arriving in Mexico in 1985 and Texas in 1990. Their aggressive behavior and tendency to swarm victims have led them to be dubbed 'killer bees.'"

Kohn and his graduate student Yoshiaki Kono "found Africanized genetic traits in honey bees as far north as 40 kilometers south of Sacramento in the state's central valley," McDonald wrote. "In the bees they collected in San Diego, they also discovered that more than 60 percent of foraging honey bee workers have Africanized genetic traits, but that African traits are found in only 13 percent of managed or commercial hives."

The scientists said the Africanized bees' northward expansion has slowed considerable, and that these bees have a limited ability to survive cold temperatures. In other words, they cannot survive cold winters. However, their presence may "improve the genetic stock of honey bees used in agriculture," according to Kohn.

At UC Davis, assistant professor Brian Johnson of the Department of Entomology and Nematology, is doing research on  genetic dispersion of AHBs around the state.  He has collected and frozen a large number of feral bee samples from around the south and central portions of the state.

After what happened last weekend, interest in AHB expansion has definitely accelerated. Stay tuned.