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This is the official website for the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association established in 1873.




LACBA August 2014 Buzzings newsletter.

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Newsletter of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association
August 4, 2014 Volume XIV, Issue 8
Next Meeting:     October 6, 2014
 Doors open 6:45 pm, Start 7:00
               Mt. Olive Lutheran Church
               3561 Foothill Boulevard
               La Crescenta, CA  91214
Topic for October Meeting: Fair recap!
Minutes from the August Meeting: Attendance:58, 50 members, 8 guests
Contents in Brief:
-Old Business
-New Business
  • Beekeeping 101 classes August’s class is scheduled for August 17, 9am (next is October 12)
  • 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
  • Buzzings – if you’re not getting a copy, let Stacy McKenna know ( 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
  • Mary Landau is still missing an apron from AgDayLA – please let her know if you’ve got one!

  • Our website –
Register your hives! The forms are available online at our website so you can fill them out and send them in to the county Agriculture Department.
There’s a new flavor wheel out for describing honey – buy a copy and see where yours falls
Bees in drought – articles about plants, wax moth, and other concerns during dry spells
The Good Food Awards are adding a honey category – send yours in to compete!
We now have a Facebook Page as well for your browsing convenience.
  • Constitution/bylaws committee – Clyde has revisions for the committee so when they’ve all finalized the new version, it will be presented to the group at large.
  • Los Angeles County Fair – Clyde Steese and Cyndi Caldera are our fearless leaders! Come meet your fellow beekeepers and help educate the public about bees. Sign up at VolunteerSpot to help make sure we have people during all time slots. Give Cyndi a call if you have any trouble. We’d appreciate it if you show up a half hour early and stay late enough for the next shift to show up so we have overlap instead of gaps.
The ABF Honey Queen Susannah Austin will be with us for 5 days, and Clyde and Jan Steese are coordinating her travel and accommodations.
Clyde is working on coordinating a move into the Farm Bureau building – we’ve got a “yes, maybe” to the modifications Clyde proposed LACBA make to the doors and ramps for improved access. They’ve requested drawings, and we don’t know if they’ll contract or we will, but regardless we’ve offered to pay for improvements to give us a better space. Regardless, set-up is August 24 – please sign up to help clean, touch up paint, and hang exhibits. We work from roughly 9am to 1pm. Come in via the main gate off McKinley for a guest pass to drive all the way back to the Fairview Farms bee exhibit.
During the run of the fair, tickets and parking passes will be waiting at the will-call window at the main gate off McKinley (there are temporary parking spots for pick-ups). Parking will be provided at Lot 9 and entrance through the Blue Gate.
Kodua – 5 years ago we added hexagonal frames and 30” photos on foam core. We’ve got more images available now and we could update the display for $185/image if people want. Clyde moves that we print 10 new images (up to $2,000). Motion seconded.
Which images? Queen/Drone/Wroker split, drought imagery? Trucking/moving bees? Pests and illnesses – mites, DWV, SHB.
Tangent about finances:
Be careful how you word things – is this an educational expense?
Our coffers are solid, there’s no lack of money for this expense, and we NEED good visuals to properly educate people.
Are we a non-profit?
No, not legally, but all the money we earn goes to education and research.
Keep everything as simple and quiet as possible – getting legal gets complicated.
[Ed: This issue has been discussed repeatedly over the years. No, we do not have 501 status. Yes, we should get it. Speaking as an officer I don’t want to deal with the potential liability from members wanting to keep things under the table. Our constitution and bylaws are under review/revision by committee with the intent of getting them accurate to current practices so we can move forward with legalizing our non-profit status.]
Vote – motion carries
  • Potential new option for treating varroa – one of our members immigrated from the Ukraine, and his first year beekeeping in the US he was astounded to make hundreds of pounds of honey. Then varroa hit in 1992 and beekeeping suddenly got harder. One of his clients where he keeps bees maintains organic gardens/fields and recommended a fungus be introduced to the hives as a form of varroa control. The idea has shown up in the beekeeping journals, but the biggest concern was with introducing a fungus into hives which tend to be moist places where a fungus could easily become overwhelming. He installed a screen board and applied the fungus, and saw a huge mite drop. He pairs this treatment with drone comb removal for mite control. The fungus is applied in a tin above the brood area. The bees remove it, but in the process get it all over themselves where it infests the mites. The fungus does not affect mites in capped cells. After 1.5 years the results are good if he’s not lazy about application.
The client is the source for the specific fungus, and he’s offering it to other interested beekeepers for $30/lb or $40/1.5 lb (prices can drop for larger orders). [The fungus is commonly known as Met52, and is named Metarhizium anisopliae] During application don’t inhale it, keep it away from children. The concern is that the fungus may proliferate in a moist, warm environment like the lungs.
What are you seeing on your drop boards – live or dead? About 50/50.
Have you done a treated hive compared to an untreated hive – do you have numbers to back up assertions? Not yet.
Have you done any testing of the honey? No, he just eats it all the time with no ill effects.
  • El Rey – the June ABJ has a great article on supering your hives. One tidbit – using a queen excluder below new foundation can result in the bees being reluctant to draw out new comb – checkerboard foundation with drawn comb to convince bees to move up. Also, this time of year is the crisis point for mite populations – all of the pollen and nectar flows have essentially stopped and the mites are starting to outnumber bees. Treat with whatever option you prefer NOW before the mites get ahead. Pull your supers for harvest, and treat for mites.
  • CSBA convention – November 18-20 in Valencia. Because of the almond industry our convention is on par with the national level conventions. We’re planning concurrent sessions this year so there will be PLENTY of topics and presentations to choose from. Plan to stay at the hotel so you don’t miss out on anything. On Tuesday we’ll hear from our own Kodua Galieti about her Almond Odyssey with “Bee Culture” editor Kim Flottum, as well as updates from a variety of organizations and committees.  The research luncheon on Wednesday will feature Thomas Seeley of Cornell who wrote “Honeybee Democracy”. The rest of Wednesday will be full of scientific research reports, Oregon’s Bee Girl, theBee Informed Partnership, and indoor overwintering techniques. Wednesdayy night we’ll be screening a bunch of TED talk films about bees! Thursday we’ll hear about the food safety act, CARB/DOT issues, almond season die-offs, and a panel of the TED speakers from the previous night. Of course, welcoming reception and final awards banquet are additional highlights.
  • Drought impacts – during almonds this year, the watering systems recently installed at the border stations were running out of water because the wells have run dry. Many migratory beekeepers may choose to opt out of traveling this next year because there are inadequate resources to keep their bees healthy on the road. This might present an opportunity for more local small-scale beekeepers to step in if they choose. Despite the water politics, growers are still predicting a 4,000 lb/tree average which is 300lb/tree higher than last year. They want the bees so they can keep those numbers up.
  • How can you treat for mites during honey flow other than MAQS?
Remove/freeze drone comb. (Freezing kills the mite larvae – don’t just cut it out or they may still hatch out.)
  • Is anyone having problems with SHB and wax moths?
Yes, they’re getting worse. The humidity is not helping. There are traps available.
Remove empty in-hive feeders – the larvae like to hide in them.
Make sure you have no unattended comb – keep it all in active hives or in a freezer.
Wax moth don’t like exposed comb – they like the hidden, cozy bits.
  • What makes a bee stinger sting?
It’s sharp, barbed, and full of toxin.
  • Which flowers do bees prefer?
Any plant with a high sugar content in the nectar or high nutrition content in the pollen, and preferably a dense bloom so they don’t have to travel far from flower to flower.
  • Andy has 10 hives that need a location – let Andy know if you have space
  • When and how should you split your hives?
Depends on the locale, the nectar flow, etc. It’s best to do it when you have a spare queen on hand – split, wait for them to form queen cells, knock those off, add in your purchased queen (they’ll be ready and willing to accept her).
  • How do you know when a frame needs replacing?
You should rotate out comb every 2-3 years. Can you see light through it when it’s empty? Check in the spring and toss any that are too dark to transmit light.
  • What kind of prep do we need to do in the next 2 months?
Do you still have supers on? Remove your honey harvest, do a mite test, inspect your bees every 7-10 days, and feed them if they need it. (Sugar and/or pollen)
  • Bee rentals – anyone have a good broker?
Joe Traynor has an excellent reputation. There will be several bee brokers at the convention – come feel them out for yourself. Consider combining with several other sideliners to contract with a larger number of bees for a better deal.
  • What’s the best way to kill highly Africanized bees in an attic?
Call an exterminator. (Really, we have professionals for a reason – they have the skill and equipment to do it quickly and effectively.) Or, see Walt…
  • I’m a starting beekeeper – is there someone willing to mentor in Whittier?
Not many in the room hail from that neighborhood – you might get a better response from the members down at BASC
  • Is it worthwhile to requeen a marginal hive now?
If you’ve got a spare queen lying around, sure! If you don’t’ have a queen this time of year, good luck finding one…
  • What are the factors impacting bees?
Varroa mites, viruses, the drought (it hits nutrition hard), nosema/fungal infections…
  • How are the bee counts doing?
Internationally the hive counts are stable. Individual apiaries are seeing as much as 30% losses or more in a single year. While the overall numbers look good, it’s getting harder and harder for individual beekeepers to keep replenishing the losses overall.
  • Are there bills in the legislature to help bees?
We’re working on it. Obama just initiated a Pollinator Health Task Force to try and figure out how to help support the bees.
  • How has technology changed in modern beekeeping?
The Sacred Bee” has a pretty good history of beekeeping technology. There’s more research going on all the time.
  • Should bees be feared?
They should definitely be respected for their potential to harm, but also appreciated for the huge amount of good that they do.
  • How can you help with issues the public is not aware of?
Volunteer to help educate them – get involved in club activities like the fair, share what you know at schools, local gardening nurseries, etc.
  • How many plants require pollination?
A third of what you eat. Half of Häagen-Dazs products need bees.
  • If bees goes extinct will it help or harm us?
Absolutely harm us – food security will be an issue.
  • How do bees affect the food balance?
Bees are crucial – without them, insuring that plants get pollinated and produce adequate food is incredibly labor intensive (see China)
  • Do beekeepers support bee research?
Absolutely, yes!
  • How do GMOs affect bees?
We don’t know yet, there hasn’t been enough research to reach a stable conclusion.
  • How do we help minimize CCD?
Go into entomology and do research, support local research efforts, or keep bees yourself.
  • Should I place bees upwind or downwind of the bloom?
Let your heavily loaded bees fly with the wind if you can
  • How many beekeepers are getting 150 lb of honey/hive?

In Beverly Hills Keith is seeing 200, in Topanga he sees <20. Location, location, location. This year it’s all about the moisture/water/irrigation.
Thanks to everyone for their donations and the purchase of raffle tickets! Proceeds go to help fund our club in its education efforts!
Coasters – [sorry, got distracted… Ed]
Kitchen towels – Clyde Steese
Bee wash/incense – Ercil Eschbach
Water Hyacinth – Lenore Strong