Education & Research
Books/Magazines
Film/TV/Video
Website Photography
News Archives
Search

This is the official website for the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association, established in 1873. We are a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

 

Equipment, Supplies (Local)


 

LA COUNTY FAIR - BEE BOOTH


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 5, 2017. Meeting: 7PM. Open Board Meeting: 6PM.

LACBA Beekeeping Class 101:
 Class #5, Saturday, June 10, 2017, 9AM-Noon, hosted at The Valley Hive. See our Beekeeping Class 101 page for details & directions. BEE SUITS REQUIRED.

Check out our Facebook page for lots of info and updates on bees; and please remember to LIKE US: https://www.facebook.com/losangelesbeekeeping 

THE LATEST BUZZ:  

Monday
May012017

LACBA Meeting: Monday, May 1, 2017

Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association Monthly Meeting
Date: Monday, May 1, 2017

Meeting: 7:00PM
Agenda: Voting to install a new secretary!

Open Board Meeting: 6:00PM
Agenda:
- Candidates for new Secretary
- Centralized contact point for educational materials - volunteers?
- Reimburse mileage for educational volunteers?

Location:
Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, 3561 Foothill Blvd., La Crescenta, CA 91214

http://www.losangelescountybeekeepers.com/meetings/

Monday
May012017

6th Annual California Honey Harvest Festival & BBQ Championship

6th Annual 2016 California Honey Harvest Festival & BBQ Championship

Saturday, June 10, 2017     9:00AM - 5PM 
Central Park in Downtown Fillmore, California

 

  http://www.bennetthoney.com/BHF-Events.html

LACBA MEMBERS: Come bee a part of the 6th Annual Honey Harvest Festival. We need experienced beekeepers as docents on the train educating the public about honey bees. We also need LACBA members (you don't need to be an expreienced beekeeper) to volunteer at our Honey Bee Table. Contact our king docent, El Rey Ensch, at (818) 480-2228 cell or (818) 790-3236,
or sign up with El Rey at our next LACBA Meeting. 
It's a great fun experience!
 

 

Monday
May012017

Common Pesticide Hampers Honey Bee's Ability to Fly

Phys.org

A honey bee (Apis mellifera) is harnessed for study on a flight mill in biology professor James Nieh's laboratory, UC San Diego. Credit: Simone Tosi

Biologists at the University of California San Diego have demonstrated for the first time that a widely used pesticide can significantly impair the ability of otherwise healthy honey bees to fly, raising concerns about how pesticides affect their capacity to pollinate and the long-term effects on the health of honey bee colonies.

Previous research has shown that foraging honey bees that ingested neonicotinoid pesticides, crop insecticides that are commonly used in agriculture, were less likely to return to their home nest, leading to a decrease in foragers.

A study published April 26 in Scientific Reports by UC San Diego postdoctoral researcher Simone Tosi, Biology Professor James Nieh, along with Associate Professor Giovanni Burgio of the University of Bologna, Italy, describes in detail how the neonicotinoid pesticide thiamethoxam damages honey bees. Thiamethoxam is used in crops such as corn, soybeans and cotton. To test the hypothesis that the pesticide impairs flight ability, the researchers designed and constructed a flight mill (a bee flight-testing instrument) from scratch. This allowed them to fly bees under consistent and controlled conditions.

Months of testing and data acquisition revealed that typical levels of neonicotinoid exposure, which bees could experience when foraging on agricultural crops—but below lethal levels—resulted in substantial damage to the honey bee's ability to fly.

"Our results provide the first demonstration that field-realistic exposure to this pesticide alone, in otherwise healthy colonies, can alter the ability of bees to fly, specifically impairing flight distance, duration and velocity" said Tosi. "Honey bee survival depends on its ability to fly, because that's the only way they can collect food. Their flight ability is also crucial to guarantee crop and wild plant pollination."

Long-term exposure to the pesticide over one to two days reduced the ability of bees to fly. Short-term exposure briefly increased their activity levels. Bees flew farther, but based upon other studies, more erratically.

"Bees that fly more erratically for greater distances may decrease their probability of returning home," said Nieh, a professor in UC San Diego's Division of Biological Sciences.

This pesticide does not normally kill bees immediately. It has a more subtle effect, said Nieh.

"The honey bee is a highly social organism, so the behavior of thousands of bees are essential for the survival of the colony," said Nieh." We've shown that a sub-lethal dose may lead to a lethal effect on the entire colony."

Honey bees carry out fundamentally vital roles in nature by providing essential ecosystem functions, including global pollination of crops and native plants. Declines in managed honey bee populations have raised concerns about future impacts on the environment, food security and human welfare.

Neonicotinoid insecticides are neurotoxic and used around the world on broad varieties of crops, including common fruits and vegetables, through spray, soil and seed applications. Evidence of these insecticides has been found in the nectar, pollen and water that honey bees collect.

"People are concerned about honey bees and their health being impaired because they are so closely tied to human diet and nutrition," said Nieh. "Some of the most nutritious foods that we need to consume as humans are bee-pollinated."

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-04-common-pesticide-honey-bee-ability.html#jCp

Saturday
Apr292017

Scientists Discover the Secret to Breaking Down Plastic: Beeswax-Eating Worms

National Geographic - Ocean Views    By Carl Safina (The Safina Center)   April 28, 2017

Federica Bertocchini is a developmental biologist at the University of Cantabria in Spain. Most days she can be found dressed in a white coat working on experiments in her lab. But in her spare time this scientist works in her backyard—wearing a protective suit, gloves and veil—tending to her bees.

Two years ago Bertocchini’s scientific work and beekeeping hobby collided into a major discovery. Like many beekeepers, Bertocchini must pluck pesky wax worms, a type of moth larvae that feed on beeswax and, if left to their own devices can munch through an entire hive. One day while de-worming her hives, she tossed the worms into an old grocery bag and left it outside. An hour later she picked up and inspected the bag and noticed small holes in the part where the worms were concentrated.

Waxworms. Photo by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (Flickr)

While Bertocchini is not a bug expert, she says her background in biochemistry led her to hypothesize that the worms were consuming the plastic bag, which was made of polyethylene—one of the most widely used types of plastics in the world.

“The characteristic chemical bond of polyethylene is also present in wax, although wax is made up of a different mix of molecules,” says Bertocchini.

Honey bees. Photo by PollyDot (Pixabay)Wax, like plastic, is a type of polymer, or substance made of a large number of the same type of molecule bonded together many times. Both wax and plastic are polymers held together with a string of linked carbon atoms, with other atoms attached to the sides. Because wax worms eat beeswax, Bertocchini thought maybe they contain some sort of specialized enzyme to break down its chemical bonds—and that same chemical may be capable of breaking down the bonds in plastic.

To find out, Bertocchini, with her University of Cantabria colleagues Paolo Bombelli and Christopher Howe, headed to their lab with worms and plastic. They placed 100 worms on samples of a polyethylene bag, watched and waited. They found that the worms created an average of 2.2 holes per hour in the plastic, and overnight consumed 92 milligrams of the bag. These statistics suggest it would take 100 worms one month to break down the average 5.5-gram polyethylene grocery bag. Their paper detailing this experiment was published this week in the journal Current Biology.

Trash, mostly plastic bags, in Karachi, Pakistan. Photo by Zainub Razvi (Flickr)

Polyethylene is the simplest of all commercially produced plastic polymers. Because all plastics have slightly different chemical makeups, could wax worms be capable of breaking down other varieties of plastic, such as polyvinyl chloride (used to make products like clear food packaging and shampoo bottles), polystyrene (used to make food trays and egg cartons) or polypropylene (used to make yogurt tubs and condiment bottles)?

“We do not know that yet, that is an interesting question, definitely worth studying,” says Bertocchini.

The scientists found it is indeed some sort of special chemical on or inside worms that breaks down the polyethylene, and is not just the chewing action of the worms’ jaws that break the plastic down. They determined this by spreading mashed-up dead worms on the plastic and watching the plastic break down before their eyes. It could be an enzyme inside of the worms, or perhaps a certain kind of bacteria in or on the worms’ bodies, that breaks down the plastic—more research is needed to determine which. While the precise aspect of the worms’ biology responsible for breaking down polyethylene remains unknown, the scientists say it converted the plastic into ethylene glycol, a type of moderately toxic chemical used in antifreeze.

Waxworm. Photo by USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab (Flickr)

Despite the challenges of degrading plastic on a large scale, Bertocchini says the knowledge that wax worms are capable of breaking down plastic could prove extremely valuable in the future. Each year the world produces about 300 million tons of plastic, with 8 million tons of that plastic entering the oceans and millions of tons more being littered on land or dumped into landfills. People wouldn’t sprinkle wax worms over piles of polyethylene, says Bertocchini, but apply the special plastic-degrading chemicals the worms contain.

“The idea would be to isolate the molecules responsible for the biodegradation, produce them in large industrial scale, and then apply that tool to biodegrade polyethylene,” Bertocchini says.

Dolphin caught on plastic bag in Fernando de Noronha, off Brazil’s coast. Photo by Jedimentat44 (Flickr)Whether or not wax-worm solvents will be developed and mass-produced in the future is yet to be seen. Perhaps it could help get rid of some of the world’s plastic. But, experts say, getting rid of plastic is only one aspect of remediating the world’s plastic problem. The best way to cut down on the pollution is to stop producing and using plastic products.

http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2017/04/28/scientists-discover-the-secret-to-breaking-down-plastic-beeswax-eating-worms/

Saturday
Apr292017

This Bug Can Eat Plastic. But Can It Clean Up Our Mess?

National Geographic    By Carrie Arnold    April 24, 2017

Scientists have discovered that wax worms can eat plastic bags. Could that help us reduce plastic pollution?

BY CARRIE ARNOLD

PHOTOGRAPH BY JONATHAN PLANT, ALAMY

Wax worms are common insects that evolved to live in bee hives. Now we know they can eat plastic. PHOTOGRAPH BY JONATHAN PLANT, ALAMY

Each year, the world produces 300 million tons of plastic, much of which resists degradation and ends up polluting every corner of the globe. But a team of European scientists may have found a unique solution to the plastic problem. They discovered that a common insect can chew sizable holes in a plastic shopping bag within 40 minutes.

“This study is another milestone discovery for the research on biodegradation of plastics,” says Wei-Min Wu, an environmental engineer at Stanford University.

The discovery was led by Federica Bertocchini, a developmental biologist at the University of Cantabria in Spain. She first noticed the possibility as she cleaned out her backyard bee hives two years ago.

She removed some wax worms (Galleria mellonella) living in the hive and placed them in an old plastic bag. When she checked the bag an hour later, however, she discovered small holes in the part of the bag with the larvae. Although Bertocchini wasn’t an entomologist, she guessed immediately what was happening.

The worms live in honeycombs, where they feed on wax. PHOTOGRAPH BY AGENCJA FOTOGRAFICZNA CARO, ALAMY

The larval form of a small moth, wax worms get their names because they live on the wax in bee hives. Like plastic, wax is a polymer, which consists of a long string of carbon atoms held together, with other atoms branching off the sides of the chain. Both wax and the polyethylene in Bertocchini’s plastic bag had a similar carbon backbone.

“Since they eat wax, they may have evolved a molecule to break it down, and that molecule might also work on plastic,” Bertocchini said.

SOLVING THE MYSTERY

Bertocchini teamed up with fellow scientists Paolo Bombelli and Christopher Howe to figure out how the wax worms were pigging out on plastic.

When they placed the worms on polyethylene plastic, they found that each worm created an average of 2.2 holes per hour. Overnight, 100 wax worms degraded 92 milligrams of a plastic shopping bag. At this rate, it would take these same 100 worms nearly a month to completely break down an average, 5.5 gram plastic bag.

WHICH INSECT EATS AND RECYCLES PLASTIC?

To rule out munching action from their jaws as the source of degradation, the team applied a soupy blend of recently deceased worms to the plastic and waited. Sure enough, they found the liquid larvae could also eat holes in plastic. This told Bertocchini and colleagues that an enzyme in the worms or the bacteria living in and on their bodies was dissolving the plastic.

That enzyme converted polyethylene into ethylene glycol, a chemical commonly used in antifreeze. Bertocchini hopes to identify the precise enzymes that break down polyethylene in future work.

SEARCHING FOR A SOLUTION

Scientists have searched for a way to biodegrade plastics for decades, says Uwe Bornscheuer, a biochemist at the University of Greifswald in Germany.

“Plastic pollution is a big global problem,” Bornscheuer said.

In 2014, Wu and colleagues at Stanford University found that a gut bacterium in another species of wax worm could break down polyethylene, although it had different byproducts. A 2016 study identified the enzymes in a species of bacteria that could break down a type of plastic called poly(ethylene terephthalate).

“There are probably lots of other worm species out there that can degrade plastics,” he said.

 

Wax worms are the larval stage of a type of moth. They are commonly fed to pet lizards. PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVID LIITTSCHWAGER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVETo marine biologist Tracy Mincer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, the solution to plastic pollution needs to focus on producing less and recycling more.

“Polyethylene is a high-quality resin that can be up-cycled in many ways and can fetch up to $500 per tonne,” he said in an email. “In my opinion, although this is an amazing natural history story and wonderful academic exercise, it is not a solution for disposing of polyethylene as this is throwing away money.”

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/04/wax-worms-eat-plastic-polyethylene-trash-pollution-cleanup/