Newsletter of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association
January 7, 2013 Volume XIII, Issue 1
Next Meeting: February 4, 2013 Doors Open 7:00 pm. Start 7:30
Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, 3561 Foothill Boulevard, La Crescenta, CA 91214
Topic for February Meeting: ABF Convention in PA - Clyde's Report
Minutes from the January Meeting: Attendance: 55, 51 members, 4 guests
Contents in Brief:
- Lots of new people tonight! Welcome!!!
- We got thank you notes from both Project Apis m. and CSBA for our donations to their funds with our fair proceeds.
- Beekeeping 101 classes will start Sunday February 17th, 9am, at Bill’s yard in Lake View Terrace. They are free to members, and we walk you through an entire season of keeping bees. There will be information useful to new AND experienced beekeepers. Don’t buy ANYTHING until after our first class. March’s class will be equipment assembly, and that class will be held at our March meeting, thanks to Walt McBride.
- 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.
- Penn State is offering an online Beekeeping 101 class for $189, led by Tom Butzler and Maryann Frazier
- 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
- It’s 2013, membership dues/renewals are due now – please get them in by the end of January to guarantee you will remain in our directory and email list.
- The 2013 directory will be compiled soon. If you have a change of address, email, phone, or want your photo/birthday/company included in the directory, please send that information to Stacy at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Bill Lewis has some talking points:
1) As a past president of this organization, I want to make a special point of thanking Jim Lindsay and Keith Roberts for stepping up and taking the lead with the group as our new President and Vice President. It’s a big job, and they’ll need your help – so show your support and pitch in to help them make this a great year!
2) Maurice Vickers donated an observation hive to our group. It will be available to borrow if you have a demonstration you want to do – just contact Paul DuPont (he’s going to stabilizing the legs on it and maybe doing some refinishing and storing it for us).
3) Beekeeping 101 classes will start February 17th, 9am, at my yard in Lake View Terrace. They are free to members, and we walk you through an entire season of keeping bees. There will be information useful to new AND experienced beekeepers. Don’t buy ANYTHING until after our first class. March’s class will be equipment assembly, and that class will be held at our March meeting, thanks to Walt McBride.
4) Clyde is currently in PA at the ABF convention (he got volunteered…). He’ll come back for the February meeting to let us know what he learned at National. CSBA is covering half of his travel expenses (about $500). I propose a motion for our group to cover the other half as we’ll be getting so much information out of him. The motion was opened for discussion, there was none. The Treasurer confirmed our coffers could easily handle it. Jim asked if there were any objections, there were none, so the motion passed.
5) I’m optimistic for a good honey flow this year. The rains have been plentiful and steady rather than gully-washers – I’ve seen 7” already this season. The soil is good and soaked, the plants are plump, the recovery from the Station fire is going well and those plants are getting big enough to start producing.
6) I am the new CSBA VP for 2013, which means I will be planning the CSBA convention for 2014. I will need help. I will be leaning on you guys a lot for it. We need sponsors – if you know of a company that would be reasonable for sponsoring a bee convention, if you have contacts and relationships with such companies, please let me know and help me get them on board. We are looking at possibly holding the convention at the Hyatt Regency in Valencia – they did a great job with a recent event I attended, they’re in the middle of a vibrant commercial and recreational area, there’s plenty of shopping and food around, and they were very excited at the idea of having us as clients.
Also, CSBA is going all digital next year thanks to help from the folk at Project Apis m. who will be managing the newsletter.
- CSBA Convention November
v Bill Lewis – the highlight was introducing speakers at the small scale breakout sessions and chatting with long time beekeepers. Richard Ashurst gave a talk about installing packages. His operation does about 800/day. One of the keys isto do it at night when the bees aren’t flying. It’s also not hot, so your bees don’t get dehydrated. Put the package in a deep box with 5 frames, pull the feed can, pull the queen cage and hang it between two frames, shake the bees out or just cover the box and come back later to pull the empty package. Their success rate is nearly 100%, certainly better than most other techniques, and mostly because they do it at night.
Also, Randy Oliver has put out a request for NON-TREATMENT beekeepers to send him data on mite counts throughout the year. There are details on his recommended mite count procedures at his website.
v Lenore Strong (with input from Ron) – George Hanson on talking about honey bee nutrition recommends creating a nectar flow chart for YOUR area and microclimate. Know your major nectars and pollens, and when they’re in bloom. Make notes of when you move your bees for pollination in your charts. Records can be kept using barcoding optiosn with online data storage, written records visible on/in the hives when you’re in the field, whatever. But keep track of what each hive has had access to so you know what kinds of foods they’ve had available. Randy Oliver’s patty recipe online is good. Dry table sugar with some water drizzled on top makes for a good winter feed. Don’t feed powdered sugar – the corn starch in it is bad for the bees. Dried egg powder can be good for their cholesterol levels. Dry feed used out in the yard can attract varmints like bears – keep it in the hive or sugar water. He highly recommends the book Fat Bees, Skinny Bees which can be found online. [Ed – I’m sure Lenore will help us out if I’ve plugged in the wrong link]
Jerry Hayes had a great line: “Your neighbors think you’re crazy because you have a relationship with insects, dress in a space suit, and carry a can on fire.”
v Leon Johnson – the thing that struck me was how much of what they were saying we’ve been learning here at the monthly meetings! Speaking directly with the vendors was great, too. The traps for mites and beetles were amazing – they’re easy to use and they’re working great so far. [Ed: small hive beetles have been found in North Hills, Granada Hills, Beverly Hills, Bel Aire, - pretty much all over the LA area – in hive removals, back yard hives, pretty much anywhere]
v Lea Johnson – I was beyond impressed. I took two books of notes. There were experts from all over, even other countries. I learned how to harvest royal jelly, detailed formulas on feed for the bees, biology. And everyone hangs around to answer questions. I’m looking forward to next November in Lake Tahoe!
v Lynne Gallaugher – the small scale lectures were great, especially the installation of new packages. Thanks so much for sending me!
v Paul DuPont – Frank Eischen got a little sidetracked talking about varroa, and the use of chapparal leaves in a smoker – it’ll kill mites, but it also kills bees! Research in the 90s indicated dried grapefruit leaves knocks down the mites but not the bees. Make sure the trees haven’t been treated with pesticides, but I tried it myself, and it works amazingly well. Smoke for about a minute out front of the hive, another minute at the top, then check the mites after about 15 minutes.
v John Reese – there was SO MUCH information! Dr. Eric Mussen started with nutrition, and I couldn’t keep up. He mentioned iron, and I later met with a guy who marketed an iron supplement (http://www.science-in-water.com – primarily in Dutch but with portions in English). Also, Dave Wickes is testing bees for viruses, and compiles data from all over the country and sends you info on YOUR specific bees. As far as the hotel, the rooms were great, but I noticed that the folk on the second floor talking about bees seemed to be having a lot more fun than the folk in the first floor casino…
v El Rey Ensch – I stayed in the general sessions only. I also talked to the iron guy from Amsterdam about his iron salts (like chelated iron for plants – the salts are better absorbed than plain iron) – he recommends using it as a drench so the bees actually consume it. He asked about mixing it with syrup, and there are no problems expected, so El Rey’s going to try it and report back.
v Penny Harper – everything was so in depth and detailed. The breakout sessions were by VERY experienced beekeepers for new beekeepers. Dr. Mussen’s talk on nutrition included a list of poisons – lactose, HMF from heated HFCS, molasses, dark cola syrups. There was definitely information overload after 3 days. Sometimes there was contradictory information, and I still have lots of questions. As for the iron issue, locally alkaline soil prevents plants from taking up iron so nectar concentrations would be low.
Feed note: Klaus recommends buying the electrolyte supplements/vitamins in feed stores designed for pigs/alpacas and add them to your bee feed for healthy bees.
DO NOT feed your bees honey from other hives – it can carry spores of foulbrood and infect your hives.
- AGday LA – W-Th May 15-16th at the Big Red Barn at the Pomona Fairplex. It’s designed to teach 3rd and 4th graders about farming and agriculture. If you want to help out contact Karl Walker or Mary Landau. They start about 8:30am.
Questions from the Floor:
- I’ve heard organic honey can’t be filtered – why?
First – there is no such thing as truly “organic” honey. We can not control where our bees fly to harvest nectar, we can not guarantee they don’t come in contact with pesticides. The best we can do is not add anything to our hives, so that is what many consider “organic” honey – honey made by bees who do not have chemicals/pesticides added to the hive for things like mite control. By that definition, straining isn’t going to add anything else to the honey, so it won’t change how “organic” the honey is. There are a variety of tools available for straining or filtering honey. Walt recommends a paint strainer on a 5-gallon bucket, and he advises doing it in 90-100 degree weather so it actually FLOWS (straining honey at 60degrees is going to be a slow and painful process…) Keith has seen recent research that indicates there’s no noticeable difference between raw and heated honey.
- Where do we order bees?
We’ll cover that at Beekeeping 101 Class! But generally, there are suppliers like Koehnen that are listed in the major journals like Bee Culture or ABJ
- What is a beekeeper versus a beehaver?
A beekeeper is active in management of their hives, tending to and caring for their bees, always learning more about them. A beehaver plops a hive in the back yard and lets the bees fend for themselves.
- When do we buy bees? After the first Beekeeping 101 Class!!! [Ed:Are you noticing a theme…?]
- Eva tells us she’ll have the county registration form online for us shortly. Registering your hives with the county is required by state law. It costs $10/year regardless of how many hives you own. They ask for where your bees are located, and they are supposed to notify you of pesticide spraying within a certain radius of your hives.Also, the website has seen 5,000 new visitors in the past year.
- Africanized bees – Dr. Mussen reiterates the dangers posed to animals, people, and pollination industry. See our website for more info. The left hand bar of our website links a variety of informational sites. Klaus adds – SUIT UP EVERY TIME – a hive can Africanize in a mere 2-3 days.
- When do we order queens? How many do you need?
Queens start being available around April. Get them from reliable breeders in non-Africanized regions to minimize risk. Beekeepers often report getting better queens in May – they’re mating flights are better a little later in the season.
- Read your bee publications! ABJ and Bee Culture carry the latest scientific info and carry ads from all the major suppliers of both bees and equipment. We highly recommend them as a source of info about when and why to do things.
Our raffle prizes this month were a honey pot, and a tea gift basket. Thanks to all who contribute prizes and purchase tickets to help fund our educational efforts!