Newsletter of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association
August 6, 2012 Volume XII, Issue 8
Next Meeting: October 1, 2012, 7:00 pm
Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, 3561 Foothill Boulevard, La Crescenta, CA 91214
Topic for October Meeting:
Quick overview of how things went at the fair (numbers may not have been fully compiled), info about the November CSBA convention
Minutes from the August Meeting: Attendance: 50, 47 members, 3 guests
Contents in Brief:
- Beekeeping 101 classes are scheduled 9am first Sunday of the month from April-October (except September) at Bill’s yard located at 12640 N Little Tujunga Road, Lake View Terrace – free for members.
- 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 email@example.com
- OFFICER NOMINATIONS NEEDED – Elections for 2013 officers will be in November
- 1st Annual California Honey Harvest Festival – Bennett’s Honey Farm sent us a thank you letter for our participation in the event, and look forward to hosting again next year
- Boeing Bee Fest – The Jensens did a great job helping out at this event, and the organizers provided Tshirts and a disk of pictures as a thank you
- LA County Fair – The fair runs August 31 through September 30 this year, open Wed through Sunday every week from 9am-8pm. Setup will be August 26, 9am-1pm. We need about 4-5 people in the weekday mornings to help with school groups. Four hour shifts are optimal. Parking and admission passes will be provided for volunteers (admission first weekend is only $1 – please pay to enter and we’ll reimburse you). Working the fair will earn you scholarship money to go to the November convention at the Morongo Casino in Palm Springs.
If you want to volunteer, let Russ Levine know in advance so he can get you admission and parking tickets.
- HoneyLove – they’re hosting an event on August 18 as part of the National Honeybee Awareness Day. At the West LA Civic Center 1:30 -4pm they will be screening Vanishing of the Bees with attendance by the Director, city councilmen, Kirk Anderson of the Backwards Beekeepers, representation from the Theodore Payne Foundation, etc.
HoneyLove’s intent is education, awareness, and legalization of beekeeping in the City of Los Angeles. They advocate catching and hiving feral swarms, with the nderstanding that feral genetics are the solution to issues like varroa resistance. Clyde has so far refused to sign their petition because it does not take into consideration all of the issues associated with Africanized Honey Bees (AHB).
Dr. Gloria DeGrandi Hoffman has been working on just this issue of integrating desirable feral genetics into commercial bee stocks for several years now in hopes of improving commercial bee varroa resistance. Her research has not been successful in separating the undesirable aggressive tendencies from the desirable traits. In fact, all of her results have been that AHB aggressiveness is dominant, even when queen bees are artificially inseminated with an even mix of European and Africanized sperm.
The vector control districts in LA County have deemed the region fully colonized by AHB since the 1990s. Media references often call them “killer” bees because their defensive behaviors are far more likely to result in victim death than incidents involving European honey bees. Every year regions throughout the American Southwest record deaths of dogs, horses, and hospitalizations of humans on account of interactions with AHBs. Insurance companies will NOT provide homeowner liability for bees kept on the property in our areas. Another common behavior difference is their frequency of swarming and tendency to abscond. Clyde has only done one removal this year due to time constraints, and his experience in recent years has been that their absconding rate is so high as to not make it worth his time. Klaus, who works with exclusively locally-mated queens, says to just kill local swarms – any they’ve tried to rescue have been NASTY compared to the rest of his stock.
Clyde emphasized that he ADVOCATES expanding the legalization of beekeeping in the City of Los Angeles – but he wants it done carefully, safely. He’s afraid that if ignorant people write the legislation, innocent citizens will wind up hurt, and ALL beekeepers will suffer when beekeeping is banned outright in response. Dave Williams expressed the belief that if we want to bring attention to the issues of raising urban bees safely, we need to do something controversial enough to garner media attention – he proposed an official club stance on the appropriate ways to keep urban bees. Santa Monica requires regular requeening, etc. But there is no official training program for beekeeping offered by any governmental or oversight agency. There is a Master Beekeeping program but it is reputedly extremely time and labor intensive, more demanding than the Master Gardener program. [Ed: There are programs through Cornell, Uof Florida, Eastern Apicultural Society, U of Georgia, WSBA, NCSBA, OSU, ABA, OSBA, SCBA, etc. I have not found one in CA.] Lynne noted that cities in Orange County would need this kind of education, too.
Clyde noted that one of the problems is that people believe these feral colonies can be used to help bolster the commercial beekeeping losses due to CCD. This is inaccurate – these colonies are not suitable for work in commercial fields because of their defensive tendencies. Just this past season, Joe Traynor, one of the indutry’s most respected bee brokers, got a call from a grower complaining that his field was full of bees that wouldn’t let his workers on site. Joe, someone who is usually quite softspoken, apparently called the beekeeper and gave him 24 hours to remove them under threat of extermination, as well as a few choice words about trying to pass off inferior pollination hives.
Sergei countered that we shouldn’t get involved in anything political because where/how do your certify or enforce “proper” beekeeping? He’s a member of the Backwards Beekeepers and thinks it’s a great organization - his urban back yard hive and those of his neighbors are docile and congenial enough to eat breakfast near them every morning. Other hobbyists in the room countered that while they had had similar experiences AT FIRST, time resulted in the hives turning mean within a few generations, and Sergei would do well to be cautious as he heads out of his first/second year with a hive. [Ed: It should be noted that Kirk Anderson has been invited to attend our meetings and share his opinions on numerous occasions and he has repeatedly refused the invitation. Members/officers of LACBA have on more than one occasion attended Kirk’s meetings and found themselves silenced, their input completely disregarded. LACBA strives to invite all possible options to be discussed, but we also take safety of our members and their communities very seriously.]
Ed: The discussion became very much an anecdotal sharing of personal experiences from both commercial and hobbyists about their interactions with AHBs. Those in commercial work who do/have worked with feral colonies overwhelmingly said they are not to be worked by novices, and many of them have decided to stick to pedigreed queens only.
Lynne Gallagher moved that we take a stance as a club against AHB by writing to the city as a club to speak with officials about safe handling. Laura Rockwell seconded. The motion was passed with a handful of nays/abstentions. [Ed: A draft letter was sent out the week after our meeting for commentary from members. Based on that commentary, a second draft was created, and it remains on Clyde’s desk, so to speak.]
- Bill and Clyde’s yard saw a significant die-off in June. Bill has still not received results from the lab analysis. So far, all hives have recovered nicely thanks to the feeding regime, and they’ve all been relocated to areas with better forage.
- HopGuard has been approved for use as a miticide in CA under Section 18. An applicator’s permit is required to use it – contact County Agriculture Department for details.
- Randy Oliver BASC event – BASC will be hosting Randy on September 8. It will be both a lab and field day. Doug Fieri will send more details so Stacy can notify everyone closer to the date.
- 2012 Holiday Dinner will be held December 3 at Pickwick Gardens in Burbank again as last year, catered by Outback Catering run by our member, Doug Noland. There will be a raffle – bring your items to donate to the raffle. The event will start about 6:30pm, with dinner served around 7pm. More details will be finalized closer to the date.
- Kodua’s work is once again gracing the pages of Bee Culture magazine. If you haven’t subscribed, it’s worth the cost.
- Asian Citrus Psyllid – citrus flies. They’re infecting our orchards spreading citrus greening disease, also known as Huanglongbing (HLB), and the spraying has begun. In FL the infestation and resultant spraying was so bad, former orchard fields can’t
All prizes are donated, so the group spends no money on this endeavor. Thanks to all for helping support our group’s works through this fundraiser!
Unassembled deep Wooden frames
El Rey – Fall hive care
Varroa treatment needs to happen NOW. The bee population is peaking, meaning they will soon start to decline for the winter while Varroa populations continue to peak. This is when it is most crucial to curb varroa populations so they don’t completely overwhelm the colony.
50g application, twice 2 wks apart according to package directions.
25g applications 3 times 10 days apart (per Dr. Eric Mussen)
Small quantities can be obtained without a growers permit.
Works best below 90 degrees F
Mite Away Quick Strips/MAQS (formic acid)
2 strips every week per package (many beekeepers see queen losses at this dose)
½ strip per week, every week (Clyde/Bill are using this dosage)
After 2 doses, sugar test or alcohol test for presence of mites. If 1C bees =><5 mites, you can stop
Small quantities can be obtained without a growers permit.
El Rey doesn’t really recommend the last three because they are synthetics that tend to accumulate in wax within the hive, and their combination with each other or other chemicals beought into the hive can cause unpredictable, synergistic effects to the detriment of the bees. Check with your suppliers like LA Honey, Mann Lake, Dadant, Walter Kelley, etc. to see what’s available to you.
Consider feeding if the hive is low on storage/honey production. 1:1 water:sugar syrup does well, and should be paired with a pollen patty if needed. Restaruant Depot, Costco, etc. tend to have the lowest prices on sugar. Right now your hive is breeding winter bees, so they need plenty of nourishment to breed bees that will make it through the winter. Stop feeding in October to give them a rest, and start again in December if you need them for pollination. Early spring feed should be closer to 2:1 water:sugar. Clyde feeds his hives until they reach about 100 pounds for pollination season. If you need pollen patties – order through Clyde to get patties with 10% pollen made by Norm Cary of Lindsay/Visalia.