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LA COUNTY FAIR - BEE BOOTH

Buzzings! 

Newsletter of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association

February 2011 Volume X1, Issue 2

Next Meeting: March 7, 2011, 7:00 pm

                    Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, 3561 Foothill Boulevard, La Crescenta, CA  91214

Topic for March Meeting:  

Mary Nolan speaking about Farmer’s Markets

Minutes from the January Meeting: Attendance:45, 44 members, 1 guests

Contents in Brief:

National Convention Recap

LA Co Apiary Inspector

RAFFLE!!!

Announcements:

  • New County Apiary Inspector – Mr. Ariel Verayo, AVerayo@acwm.lacounty.gov (626)459-8894
  • Beekeepig 101 classes start February 20, 9am at Bill Lewis’ yard in Lake View Terrace.  Class #2 at March mtg.
  • Nametags – there’s just too many of them to fit nicely in Walt’s box – starting in February, everyone will be responsible for hanging on to their own nametag (try sticking it in the glove compartment)
  • Bob Miskell is officially returning his mileage check for last year’s fair back to the club as a donation
  • American Bee Journal –group discount coupons for 2011 – contact Stacy McKenna Seip to get a 25% off voucher
  • Bee Culture subscription discounts – simply contact them via phone and let them know which group you’re with to get a discounted subscription
  • Buzzings – if you’re not getting a copy, let Stacy McKenna Seip know (stacymckenna1@gmail.com) so we can update your information

New Business:

Noth American Beekeeping Conference

Kodua Galieti went and took her photography/calendars. Russ Levine helped her out with some lighter frames for the artwork so she could ship them back to TX. The conference went GREAT – Kodua even made the local paper! The ABJ wants her photos – her pollen will be the March cover. Glory Bee up in Oregon will be using 56 of her photos as the décor for their new store, displayed in hexagonal frames just like they were at our fair booth and her convention booths. Kodua wanted us all to know she couldn’t have done it without Russ.

She also had leftover calendars for those who hadn’t gotten one yet.

RAFFLE - $0.50/ticket wins you a shot at a QUEEN from Koehnen or Wooten. With the recent ban on Australian imports, domestic queens are even harder to come by, so this is a highly desirable prize!

LA County Apiary Inspector – Mr. Ariel Verayo 

Mr. Verayo was assigned the bees in October 2010, and he’s here to provide info and services TO US. He’s here’ to help.

There is $32 billion of agricultural production in CA every year. This produces $92 billion in job revenue, and $126 million in pollination fees, with about $68 million of those fees going to southern California. The farmers and county commissioner THANK YOU for keeping bees going – we want to help you with that, hence the registration program.

Feral colonies – we refer callers to local beekeepers for swarm/colony removal, so let us know if you want to be on that list. Most feral colonies are Africanized, but we have to learn to live with them since they’re not going away. Bee populations are still high in densely populated areas where they can be a nuisance, so we want to save/relocate them if we can to beekeepers who can help manage them.

Inspector Verayo also works in HazMat (think pesticides) – there is a heavy relationship between the programs, we want to be able to inform you if your neighbors are introducing chemicals that could be a hazard to your bees.

You only need to register your bees in 1 county – ask for a receipt to be given to other counties if you move your bees move into other counties (i.e. for pollination contracts), or you have them located in multiple counties.

The annual $10 fee is for recordkeeping expenses. Everything else (including inspector’s wages) are paid for by the citizenry’s tax base.

What counts as a nuisance? According to the health code definition, anything that imposes on the daily life of neighbors.

What can we do about neighbors’ activities (like pesticide usage) that can damage our bees? Call the inspector so the Ag Dept can check on how they’re applying hazardous materials.

The Co Sherriff’s office has been telling us to move bees off long-time spots – are you aware of any changes? No, not unless there’s construction or a FD complaint or a court order.

What kinds of complaints do you get? The biggest issue is WATER – “there are bees in my pool”. There are also complaints about proximity issues “the bees are too close to my yard/house/etc.”

How do you deal with neighbors? Since most complaints come from water issues, do your best to make sure the bees have access to water at all times, and usually with a touch of minerals/salts in them (this is why swimming pools are so attractive, the trace minerals). There’s sadly not much you can do about anti-bee attitudes unless the neighbor is receptive in the first place, so in those cases keep a low profile and take good care of your bees.

Does county agency pesticide use get reported to beekeepers? YES. This is the biggest reason to register.

If you have fewer than 10 hives, you can have your $10 fee waived based on your hobbyist status.

How soon do you notify beekeepers about pesticides? We are required to notify you AT LEAST 72 hours in advance. The best option for bees during nectar flow is moving them to a new location for about a week during/after the pesticide application (some chemicals require less time than others). If moving is not an option, you can also just lock the bees in the hive for the duration until the worst of the contamination risk.

[Ed: Inspector Verayo emailed me post-meeting indicating he was looking into better answers for many of the questions raised during his visit:

“During the meeting, several members of the association raised interesting questions. I addressed those issues to my superiors. Today, the Los Angeles County Department of Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures is coordinating even harder with the State and other agencies in order to find solutions to the current apiary problems. The Department is committed in assisting our local beekeepers in attaining their goals and objectives. I'll update the association of any useful information coming from the State and other agencies.”]

North Carolina “Our State” Magazine

Interesting article on blue honey – there’s debate about the source of the color. Berry juice, or aluminum from the soil carried by pollen and reacting with acids in the hive? Reminiscent of the recent story about red honey in NYC, this article ends with the observation that “Beekeepers are ornery.” Thanks to Chuck Weller for cluing us in to the story!

German Imker Pfeife - “Beekeepers Pipe”

The Potter family shared with us a recent acquisition – they had heard about a German smoker designed to keep your hands free by being held in the mouth similarly to a tobacco pipe. Tricky part – you’re supposed to BLOW, not inhale.

Mildew – what causes it?

Cold? Wet? Usually it’s a lack of adequate bees to keep the hive clean. If you can remove a box and give them a smaller space, they might manage better. A football sized cluster in the middle of the hive usually represents a “5 frame” colony (enough bees to completely cover 5 frames on both sides). An 8-frame colony usually forms a cluster about the diameter of a basketball. A 4 frame colony is about volleyball sized.

There’s lots of pollen coming into the hives right now up at Bill’s yard, which means more brood => more bees. We’re expecting more rain next week so it looks like we might have a really good spring for pollen/nectar flow because of all the water.

Special guest

One of Norm Cary’s employees was down visiting Bill and gave a hint of what it’s like to work a major commercial operation. The key to Norm’s operation? “Don’t spare the expense on feeding and care and your bees will pay you back handsomely.”

RAFFLE winners – the Mitchells – congrats!