Newsletter of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association
January 6, 2014, Volume XIV, Issue 1
Next Meeting: February 3, 2014
Doors Open 6:45 pm. Start 7:00 pm.
Mt. Olive Lutheran Church
La Crescenta, CA 91214
Topic for February Meeting:
Minutes from the January Meeting: Attendance: [I forgot to take any]
CONTENTS IN BRIEF
- 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 16th, 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.
- 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.
- 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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- American Income Life stopped by to offer us a free group services policy. Essentially, they offer coverage options in exchange for access to our contact list. Since their coverage options did not include liability affiliated with bees, the group decided it was not worth our [my!] time:
- CSBA Convention November
- Bill Lewis – I didn’t actually get to see much – there was so much going on behind the scenes!
- Ron Strong – Thanks everyone for getting us there.
Highlights – they always talk about mites but this year it was all about feeding and forage, and the dearth that comes with monocropping. The big talk is about providing other plants around the edges of fields to support and supplement bees. With commercially available supplements you can usually figure out which is best if you listen to other beekeepers talk.
There was not so much about nosema this year, lots about queen failure (up to 60% in some operations).
Costco is getting into the business of bees, own their own hives and produce as well as import and are funding and conducting research. They claim a 14% markup on their in-house produced honey. “True Source” labels and tracking show where their supply originates.
Eric Mussen – this was his last year at UCDavis, and his review of his career was a big draw, as was his rendition of “Good Night Sweetheart”.
“More Than Honey”, a film featuring John Miller’s operation as well as other beekeepers around the world was very interesting.
We’re trying the SHB “Beetle Baffle”device offered by the Country Rubes
- John Reese – thanks for sending me! My highlights:
Eric Mussen was great, he went through his entire history of beekeeping. I learned about the previous citrus legislation regarding seedless mandarins. I never knew seedless oranges had not been pollinated!
Judge O’Hanlon was a hoot – I had lunch with him and Randy Oliver.
Randy has a really level headed view, and he refutes EVERY trend, practically, and he does it logically.
There was a slightly “mad scientist” guy from the Netherlands talking about iron – does it provide a benefit to mite drop? El Rey saw no results after trying it last year, and it hasn’t been hurting John’s bees.
And the hotel rooms – apparently Mr. Harrah traveled extensively during his lifetime, and therefore when he built his hotels, he had 2 bathrooms for each hotel room. Brilliant!
- Paul DuPont – I saw Judge O’Hanlon’s small group session. He talked about urban beekeeping, legalizing it and eliminating liability to the beekeepers. I recorded his presentation on my iPad – my son is editing it so we can post. He’d be great to have out as a speaker and he says he’d be happy to come speak with us.
- Leon Johnson – the Judge worked with so many projects. The one that impressed me most was his work with the Wounded Warrior project where they’re pairing vets with experienced beekeepers and teaching them how to tend hives. It seems to really help with their PTSD and other psych issues. They’re running the program in affiliation with the VA.
- Leah Johnson – some of the presentations were so high level they lost me, but all of it was so great. There are beekeepers of all levels to talk to. The food was amazing. GO! You learn so much and 2014 is in Valencia so it’s convenient.
- Clyde Steese – my highlight was seeing Bill get the gavel as our new President of CSBA.
Next year I’m leaving the money at home. I spent way too much at the auction, but came home with an obsidian knife made in a traditional Native American fashion.
The latest Bee Culture has an article from one of the presenters on how to make $$ on your honey. [My BC subscription lapsed over December and I don’t know which article he’s talking about – sorry!]
- Lenore Strong – the hose bib project at the border stations is done! Migratory bees have water access now.
As far as land access – Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, Fish & Wildlife – all of them are options, but they have concerns about competition with or displacement of native bes. There are other organizations like PG&E and land trusts. Use a code of ethics that includes a policy of “leave no footprint”. Don’t litter, bring honey, and close the gate!
There is a $10,000 Bee Theft Reward Program for prosecution of those who vandalize bees. Get your posters for $1/ea from Carlen Jupe at CSBA
Pest control – chemical companies are threatening to sue for defamation. We need to work TOGETHER with the chemical companies, not at odds with each other. There is new pesticide labeling in progress now and we need to provide input.
The Honey and Pollinator Center at UCDavis run by Amina Harris is contemplating putting together a Master Beekeepers program. Check out their programs and let her know what you’d be interested in.
Pesticide effects – residues affect bumbles, and in water the residues wind up affecting larvae.
“More Than Honey” – the photography was amazing. See it (it’s on Netflix) if you can, it’s was gorgeous.
- Stacy McKenna – all of the presentations you’ve already heard about were amazing. But the unifying theme I kept hearing was the concept of collaboration, cooperation, working together to form bigger and more diverse groups to put forward our goals. Pheasants Forever is looking to save one kind of animal, but they’re working together WITH farmers to come up with more profitable solutions and better forage at the same time. Since environmentalists and farmers are usually seen as adversaries, this is a huge deal. And by pairing with beekeepers, they’re creating even more momentum to create forage and environment that benefits everyone. Judge O’Hanlon unexpectedly got the support of a local LGBT group when they went to the capital with their beekeeping legislation – they figured anyone fighting that hard for their queens had to be worth supporting! By working with the local DOT on how to plant forage along roadways and thereby minimize mowing labor, they create a win-win scenario. The veteran is another great example of partnering with seemingly unrelated groups. Jerry Hayes from Monsanto reported on the Honey Bee Health Summit he helped arrange where they get chemical companies, growers, government, NGOs, and beekeepers to all sit down at a table TOGETHER and discuss the challenges and desired outcomes so they can find workable solutions that help everyone. Of course, reports at the link provided vary depending on the biases of the reporter, but that symposium was still MORE conversation than we’ve had previously, so it’s a step in the right direction.
Be creative. Figure out where other organizations share common needs and goals with you. Enlist as many common allies as you can to make big change happen.
- El Rey – Eric Mussen was amazing and he will be hard to replace.
John Miller was our outgoing president and his replacement, Bill Lewis, will do a fantastic job.
- Eric Mussen’s replacement is still being finalized. They’ve interviewed 3 candidates in December, CSBA was invited to attend, and Bill‘s favorite is Dennis van Englesdorp [link is a 2008 TED talk and worth checking out] but all three have fantastic resumes. Bill really admires the work van Engelsdorp has done on the Tech Transfer Teams and looks forward to similar efforts continuing.
- Jeremy & Jeff Jensen, Clyde Steese, and El Rey all recommend Stacy’s article in the January ABJ about “Why do they DO that?!” Kodua was essential in providing photographs to illustrate the piece. [An earlier version was presented at LACBA’s October meeting and can be read athttp://www.losangelescountybeekeepers.com/lacba-newsletter-october-2013/]
- Bill & Clyde will have 3lb packages or Wooten’s Italians available in April (exact date TBD depending on weather). We do not have exact prices yet, but let Bill and Clyde know if you want in on the order.
- Almond season – what can we expect? The deep freeze back east has beekeepers crossing their fingers about colony survival, while the warm weather out here has growers debating whether they should water their trees, which are already threatening to bud. Do they water, encouraging buds, and then get caught by a surprise freeze? Do they hold off and possibly starve the trees, also harming the bloom? 2013 is one of the driest ever on record. Dave Mendez is struggling with how to get enough trucks (27 semis) lined up earlier than anticipated to get his FL bees out here early if the bloom comes early. The crop needs 1.6 million colonies. Brokers are quoting $175-$185/colony already, a shortage from back east will mean even higher prices.
- Almond Conference December 3-5 – Bill and Clyde went. It looks like a high-tech Vegas convention. 3 football fields jam packed with vendors. There was 5 times as much info as we get at the CSBA convention. It’s a $35 billion industry. And they continue to feature speakers on bees, bee research at their poster sessions, and bee organizations in their vendor halls.
One thing Clyde learned is that nurseries graft a certain number of almond trees every year, and any not planted get thrown out. Growers only want 1yo seedlings because they fit correctly in the planting machines. Those planting machines automatically set those trees in the ground at an angle tilting into the wind so they’ll straighten out over time.
- El Rey says thanks again for the help on the Honey Harvest Festival this past summer. They’re going to do it again this coming June, for only one day. He’d love your help supporting Bennett’s Honey in this educational project.
- Legalization in Los Angeles - LA Times Editorial endorsing legalizaton of bees seems to be fairly balanced, endorsing the use of proper management. Contact your local city councilmember to register your opinion on the issue.
Also, the Planning Commission held a meeting and they are supportive of legalizing beekeeping. They directed the Planning Department to start drafting legislation to that effect. Bill Lewis was in attendance, offered a list of Best Management Practices, and was told they would contact him in the course of their legislation development.
- Reportedly, South Pasadena saw an October ordinance legalizing beekeeping. [I can not find this. The only reference I saw online to beekeeping in South Pasadena was a revision to the Community Garden zoning codes, and beekeeping and chicken-raising remained prohibited. If someone has more info, please clue me in. –Ed.]
- Farm bureau reports detail low honey crops this year, as well as low bee counts due to water shortages. Farmers who depend on pollination are also concerned about the bee population. The size of the bee industry is half what it was 50 years ago.
- County Registration of apiary locations – make sure you register your hives. The Potters got notifications/packets about pesticide applications for the citrus psyllid near Ojai that included a map, info on the chemicals involved, targeted residential trees, etc. They plan to spray mid-January with 3 applications – spray and ground drench of imidicloprids.
One of our other beekeepers wen through this last year, and their 3 hives have shown no signs of trouble so far.
Clyde reminds everyone that residues will be retained and accumulate in the wax, so try to rotate it out bout every 3 years.
Lenore also reminds us that UCR is researching predators to these psyllids to try and offer alternatives/additional methods to the pesticides.
Questions from the Floor
We ran out of time! I have saved all the questions that got written this meeting, and we will have them at February’s meeting!