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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
July 2, 2012  Volume XII, Issue 7

Next Meeting:  August 6, 2012, 7:00 pm
Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, 3561 Foothill Boulevard, La Crescenta, CA  91214

Topic for July Meeting

We’ve invited HoneyLove to come speak about their efforts at legalizing beekeeping in the City of Los Angeles [Update: HoneyLove is unavailable to attend the August meeting.)

Minutes from the July MeetingAttendance: 40, 39 members, 1 guest 

Contents in Brief:

Old Business
New Business
Randy Oliver’s CSBA 2011 presentation – Recognizing Bee Diseases


  • 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 NO SEPTEMBER CLASS
  • 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 ( 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

Old Business: 

  • 1st Annual California Honey Harvest Festival thank you to all of the volunteers who helped out with this event! Several people worked at the LACBA booth (including observation hive) throughout the weekend, and several others worked on the train helping share information about bees and beekeeping. El Rey spent all weekend on the train in his bee suit! The event was very successful and the Bennett’s Honey Farm and Fillmore & Western Railway look forward to doing it again next year. If you didn’t have a chance to volunteer this year, keep it in mind for next year!
  • Boeing Bee Fest - National Pollinator Week event at Santa Suzanna Field Lab – The Jensen’s took this project on and had a good showing with about 200 people visiting the LACBA booth. The event focused on all pollinators, and there were a lot of related groups being represented there.
  • Kidspace Bug Fair – Dave Williams manned this event. Sadly, he wasn’t at the meeting tonight, but we hear the gig went very well – he even took an observation hive!

New Business: 

  • LA County Fair – The fair runs August 31 through September 30 this year, open Wed through Sunday every week. At the August meeting we’ll be taking sign-ups for volunteers to work the bee booth over beyond the Big Red Barn. This is the major fundraiser of the year for both LACBA and our fellow group from La Mirada, BASC. Proceeds go to fund research by various organizations, and to fund our annual holiday dinner. The two groups split about $30K last year, divided based on membership volunteer time.  

BASC has already handed us a check for $5,000 to be used to buy honey for sale at the fair, and LACBA will start ordering/preparing honey stocks ASAP. If you have bulk honey from your hives that you would like to sell/donate to the club, please contact Clyde Steese or Bill Lewis. We’ll have exact prices at the August meeting, but it will likely be at least $2/lb.

Setup will be on August 26, and will likely require help from 9am to 1pm. During the run of fair, the booth will be open from 10am to 8pm. Most people do not sign up for a whole day, but instead will work a morning, afternoon, or evening shift. We exhibit displays of photography and an observation hive. Extensive knowledge of beekeeping is NOT required – you only have to know 1 thing about bees to look smart when talking to people who know nothing about bees! Many of our members learn more from working the booth than from anywhere else. School groups start coming during the second week of fair, and are usually there during the early hours.

If you want to volunteer, let Russ Levine know in advance so he can get you admission and parking tickets.

  • Bill and Clyde’s yard saw a significant die-off in June. So far Bill has received no results from the lab analysis. He’ll let us know what’s been found during the August meeting. So far, all hives have recovered nicely thanks to the feeding regime, and they’ve all been relocated to areas with better forage.
  • 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.
  • Leg joint fluffy stuff – did we ever hear back about what that might be? Perhaps even dried apivenom? No one’s heard back yet. We may need someone like Kodua to get a good shot of it and submit it, so as to get through Randy’s crowded inbox for some ideas/answers.
  • Cecilia Garcia is raising artificially inseminated queens here in the valley if anyone wants some. You can reach her at or (661)733-4786.


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!

 Wooden frames – won by Lenore Strong

No-drip honey dispenser – won by Greg Finley

Italian crystal snifters – won by the Calderas

“Honey strainers – won by Alice Lingrosso

Randy Olivers – Recognizing Bee Diseases – CSBA Conference 2011:

[Ed: Randy Oliver never has enough time for all the data he’s trying to share. He uses a LOT of words in a very short time, not to mention beautifully selected/perfectly illustrating photos. I apologize in advance for the inescapable mistranscriptions I’m sure this includes, not to mention just flat out things I missed.]

 Things to look for OUTSIDE the hive:

- inspect any hive not putting on weight during nectar flow seasons!

- check for incoming pollen – the number of flights should be high in spring/honey season

- returning bees should have big, full abdomens – their stripes should be farther apart than those of bees headed out.

- are the guards testy? There may be/have been robbing or some other disturbance happening

- yellow jackets – they will hunt bees IN THE HIVE for the protein

- dead bees in hive/on porch – aside from cases of heavy rain/snow, it is a rare occurrence for bees to die inside a hive. If you find any, they’re a great test sample for identifying problems in the hive

- check for nosema spores with a microscope [Ed – see Randy’s website for details] – if you find high concentrations on dead bees outside the hive, consider doing an inspection in the hive

- dysentery – is it caused by nosema or an amoeba? Check your microscope slides for amoeba as well as nosema

- many hives infected with nosema will also contract viruses. One of the most common, Deformed Wing Virus (DWV) results in bees that can’t fly, so are left to crawl instead.

- dead virgin queens mean the hive has swarmed

Inspecting INSIDE the hive:

- brood frames – start at the outside to make space

- make sure there are adequate pollen reserves around the brood. Lack is an issue as it limits brood development/production and makes bees more susceptible to varroa. Feed if needed .

- larvae feeding conditions – are the cells dry or generously fed? Dry is bad, they should be just about swimming in food

- Queen – is her retinue intact? If not, or if it’s sparse, her pheromones may not be distributed adequately to the rest of the hive.

- brood pattern – starts in the center of the cluster of bees (you can see them based on where the top bars are most populated) where things are warmest/most stable. The queen should lay concentrically toward the outside. Spotty brood is problematic – it usually means brood has developed poorly/gotten ill and been aborted by the hive. All brood should be the same age as neighboring cells

Disease signs:

- chalkbrood is fungus in bee bread. If bees drop in temperature, chalkbrood reproduces (healthy bees can kill it off by fevering). Mummies get pulled out whole and dumped outside. Chilled brood will also be pulled from cells and dumped outside, but they have more definition than chalkbrood mummies.

- “Disease Free” is a term used only to refer to American Foulbrood. AFB cells have sunken perforated cappings, spotty, dark, the tongues of larvae sticking to the tops of the cells, orange larvae. If you stick a matchstick in the cell, you’ll get “AFB rope” sticky stuff. AFB spores will outlive you no matter what you do to the woodenware – just BURN infected woodenware to eliminate AFB. Shake adult bees into clean frames with antibiotic treatment – adults can’t contract AFB, it attacks older larvae and pupae. Odor (rotten bee smell) is a common sign but not guaranteed

- European foulbrood (EFB) – tracheal tubes of the bees stand out, they twist/turn as they die in the cells, recent form turns the larvae yellow. Terramycin clears it up

- CA Buckeye brood – the pollen is poisonous to bees. Problem during the white pollen season, and as long as it’s stored in the hive. Place bees away from groves, or pollen trap during the pollen season to keep the pollen away from your bees.


White pupae = healthy, grey = stressed/sick

Bees engage in altruistic self-removal – when they feel ill they leave the hive. They don’t have to actually BE sick to do this, they do it even if they just FEEL ill

Bee/brood ratio shows how fast the hive is collapsing. Fast results in healthy looking brood, slow results in sickly looking brood

Starvation – bees die head-first in cells looking for food. Prevent by feeding with ANYTHING containing sugar – dry sugar, can of soda, whatever’s handy NOW

Mold – a healthy colony can clean it up

Bees that suffer a fast die-off in absence of pesticides will often recover

Wax moth doesn’t really kill colonies anymore – time and selective breeding have resulted in bees that attack infestations. The moth larvae are apparently tasty – kind of like almond milk but with a pop like a cherry tomato. They’re a smooth worm.

Small Hive Beetle slimeouts are frothy, smelly, and the worms have bristles.

Sacbrood – the virus usually attacks adults, and occasionally hits larvae

- Hairless black bees – when infected they get attacked and all their hair gets chewed off – all bees are black underneath the fuzz.

- DWV results in head-out deaths of brood and obviously deformed or missing wings on adults

- guano deposits on the ceiling of a cell means a varroa kill

Queen issues

- all brood is drone => laying worker or queen out of sperm.

- multiple eggs in one cell => laying worker

- eggs on side of cells => laying worker

- supercedure queen cell center of frames, common/natural when queen is failing

- swarm queen cell – on bottom or sides of the frame, often indicates inadequate space in hive/honeybound

- virgin queens – harder to see than bred queens (smaller)

- multiple queens – 2 queens CAN lay in a single hive simultaneously

Grass in a hive usually means a mouse infestation

Bears – (eectrified)fences are usually the best option

Bee population falling dramatically usually means a varroa overwhelm, and usually occurs in the fall. Pull drone brood to spot mites. Use a sticky board, owdered sugar drop, or alcohol wash to see if infested. [alcohol wash – 2 mites/1/2C bees = TREAT]