Newsletter of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association
July 1, 2013 Volume XIII, Issue 7
Next Meeting: August 12, 2013
Doors Open 6:45 pm. Start 7:00
Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, 3561 Foothill Boulevard, La Crescenta, CA 91214
Topic for August Meeting: Special guest beekeeper Frank Lindsay of New Zealand
(thanks to Clive Segil for coordinating)
Minutes from the July Meeting: Attendance:48, 43 members, 5 guests
CONTENTS IN BRIEF
LA County Fair
- Beekeeping 101 classes 3rd Sunday of the month 9am-noon at Bill’s yard. Suits required. August’s is scheduled for 8/18.
- Extractor available at the bee class – 2 frame, on a cart, make an offer. There is also a solar wax melter available. Contact Bill/Clyde for details.
- Bee questions – if you have one, write it on a card at the back of the room when you get to meeting, and we’ll do our best to answer them all during our meeting.
- American Bee Journal –subscription discount – grab a voucher from Stacy or contact them at 1-888-922-1293 and tell them you’re a LACBA member to get 25% off.
- Bee Culture subscription discounts – simply contact them at 1-800-289-7668 and let them know you’re a LACBA member to get a discounted subscription.
- Buzzings – if you’re not getting a copy, let Stacy McKenna know (email@example.com) so we can update your information.
- Don’t forget to grab your nametag and keep it in your glove compartment or such so you have it handy for meetings.
- If you want to be listed on our website for honey sales or bee removals, contact Eva Andrews at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- El Rey has a few items to address:
Second Annual Honey Harvest Festival & BBQ Contest– El Rey offers thanks to all who helped out both on the train and at our booth to make this a continuing successful event. We all thank El Rey for his efforts as well.
The July ABJ has a great article on The Top Ten Questions New Beekeepers Ask
LA Weekly printed an article about urban beekeeping quoting the Backwards Beekeepers, Honey Love, and LACBA. They have some good ideas but the problem of capturing and keeping feral hives without requeening will result in a serious stinging incident and the aftermath will hurt us all.
- Lynne Gallaugher got a tour of the Koehnen apiary when she went to pick up her bees – she’ll provide photos for our website so we can see what a breeding operation looks like.
- LA Weekly’s Bee Fever article generated quite the discussion. [It’s always a heated topic, and I’ve attributed names where I can, but I still don’t know all 200+ members on sight - Ed]
Eva Andrews – do we want to comment about it on our website?
Clyde Steese – no comment, it wouldn’t help anything
Eva Andrews – does posting a link to it endorse feral beekeeping?
Paul DuPont– Chelsea McFarland is a pretty great promoter – she’s working on getting a $50,ooo grant for her work with the bees.
Klaus Koepfli– someone local lost several dogs because of feral bees they collected and kept.
Keith Roberts– our primary function is to educate, not antagonize
Jon Reese – El Rey’s wording about feral beekeeping was highly respectful, I don’t think that would antagonize
Lenore Strong – they presented us in a poor way, as if we’re fuddy duddies who don’t do anything. Posting it with no rebuttal makes us look like we agree. I move we state on our website our exact position on feral beekeeping. [Seconds abounded]
El Rey Ensch – we need to send an emissary to Honey Love (Kirk at Backwards is unreceptive) to explain the predominance and danger of Africanized bees locally
Keith Roberts – I have several “refugees” of the Backwards group under my mentorship. Their boards ban you for mentioning the word “Africanized”
Bill Lewis – I think it’s important to state our position on our website and in our meetings. I’ve already talked with Rob & Chelsea and while Kirk was unreceptive, Rob recently called for help with a stunt event.
Eva Andrews – we have a page about Africanized bees but not a stated position. The Mussen quote is the closest we have. We need to state it so people know where we stand, because silence could be condoning.
Jay Oldham – They won’t hear it, so just stick to the facts and logic. Leave emotion and conjecture out.
Unknown – Backwards meetings are a room full of people who’ve never kept bees. They’re doing a great job of introducing folk to the first steps of beekeeping, and anyone who’s really into it will eventually wind up here. Legalizing bees in cities is important for the public to learn to relate to bees. There’s no reason for a fanatical stance on either side.
Mike Wirth – I have no actual data on the danger. Is there info out there?
Stacy McKenna – Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman and her team at the USDA labs have found that Africanized bees are not an IF but a WHEN – they swarm more often, they outperform Europeans in mating flights, and the queens will even preferentially use Africanized semen when fertilizing eggs, even if instrumentally inseminated with a 50/50 mix. Africanized queens also emerge up to a full day before Europeans, so they’re more likely to take control of colonies. She’s been trying for years to breed out their aggressiveness, and hasn’t managed it yet.
El Rey – it’s basically an Isreali/Palestinian conflict – we need to look to science and research for ways to convey we are not attacking but disagree on one point based on science.
Jim Lindsay – last year I captured 35 feral colonies, and they were all too mean for me to keep. This year I’ve caught 2 and they were both docile. The nuc colony didn’t fly at all and it was so unusual I called Walt to ask his opinion. Walt said to wait 2 weeks, pop the hive open without smoke, and see what they do. None of them flew. Last Friday there were some drone/queen cells but again no fliers. The second hive appears queenless (I found her the next week) and I they also gave no action or aggression – but they absconded after I combined them with a chest-of-drawers colony.
Keith Roberts – all the swarms I’ve captured have been extraordinarily docile this year.
Bill Lewis – if we kept a docile box on every street corner, we could minimize the Africanized impact
Vote on Lenore’s motion to post our position about Africanized bees on the website: unanimous Yes.
Los Angeles County Fair – Chair: Cyndi Caldera
It doesn’t matter if you know anything about bees, you CAN help!
The fair runs from Friday August 30th at 3pm to Sunday September 29th, open Wednesday through Sunday.
Come out and spend some time with your fellow beekeepers. There is SO MUCH information to be shared! Our public is so uninformed about how important the bees are – help us educate!
We have a setup day on Sunday August 25th. It’s a full day, lunch is provided. Meet at the #1 gate off McKinley at 9am.
Russ Levine is coordinating volunteers using Vounteerspot.com – if this page doesn’t recognize your email, contact Cyndi (email@example.com) or Russ (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get added to the list so you can check on availability and sign up when is most convenient for you.
Volunteers get free admission tickets and free parking for the day they volunteer. We also reimburse $25 for mileage, plus we provide water, sodas, and snacks while you’re there.
The money we raise at the fair goes to fund research programs and help provide scholarships for members to attend the annual CSBA convention (6 days or more of volunteering will get you about $350 toward the conference which is in Lake Tahoe this year).
Mornings are spent mostly with local elementary school kids, with more of the general public coming through in the afternoon.
Lenore – we need to hand out more than we do for education. I propose a business card with our website on it for educational purposes.
Vote: M/S/C for <$500, Stacy will manage.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Keith started us off by reading an article and playing “Name That Error” with honeystix as prizes – newbie responders preferred. Errors included incorrect usage of terminology like “drone” and “swarm” among other basic apiculture faux pas.
- What’s the best way to kill a colony 7’ up in a tree?
Soapy water, dry ice/freezer if you can contain/remove them, insecticide (obviously), some other controlled substances, or the ultimate solution – call an exterminator.
Does the height have relevance to the possibility of their Africanization? Not really, but Africanized bees tend to prefer lower spots than Europeans.
- If bees collect nectar from oleander, does it make poisonous honey?
Clyde has an apiary surrounded by oleander and the bees don’t touch it – they avoid it. They will go to poison ivy, though, which can result in a numbing of the tongue and throat when the honey is eaten..
Klaus says letting poison ivy honey age for two months will eliminate problems – just don’t eat it fresh.
El Rey adds that rhododendrons and azaleas are poisonous for bees.
- How far will bees go to feed?
1 mile, 7 miles, 15 miles… average 5 miles one way, 2-3 miles... ask 10 beekeepers, get 11 answers.
- Watering – how much should I give them?
They can go through a lot, especially since other wildlife is also likely availing themselves. 5 gallon buckets with welded wire mesh over the top limits it to bugs only.
- There is a feral hive in a fence in Eagle Rock – can anyone help me hive it?
Local connections were made on the spot.
- Where do you get queens?
Check with the CA Breeders Association.
- Mentors wanted:
I am looking for a beekeeper to be a friend and who resides not far from West Hollywood. I can help with beekeeping sometimes for free to refresh my experience and knowledge as I was an amateur beekeeper in the former USSR. I am fluent in both Romanian and Russian language, as well as English of course.
My contact information in West Hollywood:
Ming W Ng
1720 S San Gabriel Blvd #208
San Gabriel, CA 91776
I am seeking for a voluntary part-time, weekend beekeeper. Also I can help you to sell your honey in Chinese Community. If you are interested in an honest and hardworking person, please feel free to call me at (626) 672-9589. Thank you.
Thanks to all the members who donate prizes and purchase tickets! [Again, my apologies for inadequate attributions!]
Wine – donated by Chuck, won by the Wirths
Jam – won by one of our newbies
TShirt – donated by J&B Creative, won by Ron Strong
Sunglasses – donated by Jae Lyu (Woori Optical) and won by another of our newbies!
(Mr Lyu also brought in a box of lens cleaning cloths to distribute to anyone who needed/wanted one.)