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




Newsletter of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association

January 2011 Volume X1, Issue 1

Next Meeting:    February 7, 2011

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


Topic for February Meeting:

 LA Co Bee Inspector – guest speaker

Minutes from the January Meeting: Attendance: 35, 33 members, 2 guests

Contents in Brief:

CSBA Convention Recap

2011 beekeeping classes

Local legislative changes


  • REGISTER YOUR HIVES – by state law, January is the month for annual renewal with the county
  • New County Apiary Inspector – Mr. Ada Erineo,
  • El Rey has some spare pollen patties in his truck if anyone wants to buy some
  • Beekeepig 101 classes start February 20 at Bill Lewis’ yard in Lake View Terrace
  • 2011 CSBA Convention 11/15-17 – mark your calendars
  • Check for mites – sticky board w/ powdered sugar drop is a decent option
  • March meeting – Mary Nolan speaking about Farmer’s Markets
  • 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 ( so we can update your information

New Business:

Treasurer’s report for 2010 was presented and accepted. 

Almond Growers Conference - Bill and Clyde went – the CSBA conference doesn’t even begin to compare. The almond growers group is IMMENSE. It was a great experience, and highly educational for those interested in a commercial operation. The almond growers made a big effort this year to include beekeepers in their program to exchange data in both directions.

2011 CSBA Convention - November 15-17 in Sonoma, CA. Mark your calendars – we send folk every year who’ve helped out at the County Fair.

CSBA Board Meeting - Bill Lewis will be at the 1/14 meeting – let him know if there are any issues you’d like presented to the state organization. Also, we voted to continue to pay his expenses to attend these meetings (~$300/qtr for 1st - 3rd quarters, 4th being the convention).

Beekeeping 101 classes - First class will be February 20 in Lake View Terrace at Bill Lewis’ yard. No prior experience or equipment required. We’ll cover basics like what to buy (or avoid) and how to prepare yourself for getting bees. Later classes will include field work and suiting up. All classes are free to members of the group. Please contact Bill Lewis to sign up or request specific topics to be covered in future classes.

Santa Monica legalizes beekeeping - Santa Monica recently passed legislation legalizing beekeeping. There are several interesting points in their code. There are some good requirements (like requeening) and some things missing, some pitfalls, and some severe fines/penalties for noncompliance. Dave Williams has a copy of the legislation if anyone wants to read it.

The code was written by Dean Kubani, Environmental Programs Division Manager of he City of Santa Monica – Bill Lewis is trying to get him to come speak at one of our meetings about the process so we can attempt it in other cities. The biggest city issue was how to enforce the legislation. Santa Monica is putting it under Animal Control, where for comparison, Pasadena enforces through the Department of Health. Effectively, bees will be treated more like livestock than like a health concern.

It will be interesting to see how insurance will alter as more cities begin to legalize beekeeping. Most homeowner’s policies don’t cover liability on bees. Many cities require $1M liability and often $1M auto as well. It is recommended that you get quotes from commercial agricultural coverage companies as well as household type insurance companies.

Queen Availability - Planning on requeening or making splits this year? Call your queen supplier NOW to see if they will have any available. Recent legislation has banned import of Australian bees, including queens. Commercial beekeepers in the states are now turning to local producers including Hawaii for their queens, and those breeders are sold out in advance, sometimes for the next two years (especially since HI is starting to see problems with mites now). Many producers are not accepting new customers and selling no fewer than 10/shipment. The industry is still seeing ~30% die-off over winter.. Most people can requeen via supercedure, but here in SoCal we have the issue of Africanization that limits our supercedure options.

Bill and Clyde are contemplating almond season splits – do it during nectar flow in the almonds? Do it after the flow while feeding in the orchards? Let them swarm, or split them? Will there be enough drones this early to breed effectively?

The Australian ban is based on the procedures required before they allowed the Russian strains in to the MN program. There is a 5 year quarantine (on an island or some such) before they release them to the university(ies) and then ultimately the public. Contamination of Aussie bees with pathogens that are Asian in origin is the source of concern about Aussie bees.


Timothy Potter - There was a lot on nutrition and new treatment options. His favorite presentation was the Tanzanian guest (Tim Mdinka) from the Manyoni Asili Utilization Apiary (link translated from Swahili). They typically use top bar hives, harvest at night when the bees are more docile, use smoke and harvest from UNDERNEATH so they have less interaction with the bees. They also utilize noisemakers in the apiaries so the bees become acclimatized to noise and are less testy. Their biggest challenge is hanging hives out of reach of the local honey badgers. He wishes he had some of the pics Mr Mdinka brought for his presentation – they were much more effective than verbal description.

Bill Lewis -  John Miller, one of the big migratory beekeepers, thinks migratory operations and almond pollination are some of the best industries to be in right now. Almonds are exploding, especially in the Asian markets, so we have a great potential for growth. He was very inspiring. He also just signed a contract to supply Costco.

Eva Andrews – the Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon included a talk by Kate Frey about gardening and landscape design focused on pollinators using herbs and local flowers.

Also, Ron Fessenden presented an interesting book The Honey Revolution focusing on honey as a “health food”, not just a “sweetener”.

Russ Levine -  John Gibeau of the Honey Bee Centre in Canada helped start the Bee World Project (link – page 11) to promote commercial-grade beekeeping in third world countries as a form of economic stimulus. In affiliation with Hope International, they are working to first send people to Pursat, Cambodia. Volunteers will spend several months teaching locals to use conventional equipment with local bees, with return visits throughout the first two years to help with progress.

Later there was a presentation from the Zambian ambassador (Sheila Siwela) seeking information on achieving similar programs in her country.

[Several people made sure these people got in contact with each other, of course. There were also several people who explained the economic basics of why we do commercial beekeeping the way we do (extraction, frames, etc.) so she understood the value over crush/strain methods. – Ed]

Lenore Strong –

  • Chinese honey launderers have been fined $5M in recent crackdowns.
  • The Bee Times (CSBA’s newsletter) needs more content (like Stacy’s!)
  • Bee World Project/Hope International – scheduled conveniently during our off season, focusing on using Langstroths
  • Border inspections for migratory beekeepers – still ironing out the process to keep bees moving
  • State Board of Equalization is withholding 7% almond grower payments to beekeepers – we need to speak to our reps to influence how to implement the taxation policies
  • Public lands are still refusing to host apiaries – please notify the CSBA if you have such a situation
  • The Honey Revolution – he also carries pamphlets for your farmers market stands. He recommends 2 Tb of honey before bed for better sleep
  • Insurance – liability covers stings, medical, loss of wages, contamination, etc. It’s still recommended you label your product “not for infants” as there is no product recall available. You can also get coverage for loss of business, relocation, hired and non-owner auto, workers comp. Be sure to have your coverage reviewed annually, and get an agent who will represent YOU.
  • Mussen’s coconut oil study – the local guys misplaced their bees during the study. Based on data from the remaining 2 apiaries, Eric Mussen saw no significant difference in mite control between coconut oil application and empty gauze pads.

Stacy McKenna Seip – the big thing for me this year was meeting the people. As secretary, my name is starting to be seen by folk at the state level (the CSBA secretary Carlen Jupe loves that I send him content usable in his own newsletter) and I’m also starting to recognize folk from around the country. But the big thing this year is how many people walked up to me based on my club affiliation on my name badge and knew our group by reputation. At this years board meeting Clyde handed out checks to the Laidlaw fund at UC David, the CSBA Right to Farm Fund, and the CSBA Research Fund. Jaws dropped around the table. No other local beekeeping group in the state makes or donates as much money to research as we do, and most of our members are hobbyists as opposed to the commercial guys you find in clubs up north. People spent all week asking us how we do it (well, you start with a county fair that attracts a million visitors…) and how they could improve the impact their clubs have in their areas. No other club sends as many members to the convention as an educational event. Many don’t even meet as often as we do, much less hold classes or invite guest speakers. Hearing how much our group is respected on the state and even national level with the migratory beekeepers, I came home incredibly proud to be a part of this group. Thank you all for the honor of being a part of this.

Clyde Steese -  the Nutrition panel - Dave Mendez, a pollinator outfit managing bees with 2lb pollen patties – concrete mixer feeds into wax paper bags, gave us recipes: Essential oils (Honey B Healthy) brewer’s yeast, sugar, mineral salts, oil, pollen, etc. – experiment with your own mixes on your own bees. Mendez takes business opportunities where others refuse on “principle”, like mandarin oranges.

Jonathan Potter -  seedless mandarin issue came out in our favor – mandatory to talk to growers, but not to move the bees. Apiary board was signed by the governor, so CSBA is taking startup donations. Beologics is working on RNA interferons for medical use (Remebee) against bee viruses

Convention Booth -  Kodua’s art and Russ’ woodworking made for an impressive display. Kodua’s taken the display to the national convention in TX this week, so we should hear about that in February.

Questions from the floor

Why is organic honey so much more expensive? It’s mostly a marketing thing. It’s VERY difficult to certify honey organic unless you’re keeping them in a greenhouse – they just move too far to control exposure to chemicals. Often times, regional flavor preferences will affect price more than “organic” labeling can.

New legislators  - how do they feel about bees? We’re losing our bee-friendly secretary of agriculture this year. All of the fresh blood coming in as pretty much a crap shoot. This is why the Right to Farm Fund and the lobbyist it pays for are so important to us – having someone well known and respected in the capital who can explain the issues and basics about beekeeping to uninformed incoming legislators helps us immensely.

Any research presentations on CCD? Research projects have a very narrow focus by necessity, so no research is looking comprehensively at CCD. But lots of sublethal stressors are being researched individually that were not being looked at before – and we have no treatments for any of them (like many of the mites and viruses). Symbiotic and secondary compound effects from combinations of these sublethal effects are impossible to research due to sheer numbers. Stacy will be writing up more of the “hard science” results when she gets around to transcribing her convention notes [in February].