Newsletter of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association
March 3, 2014, Volume XIV, Issue 3
Next Meeting: April 7, 2014
Doors Open 6:45 pm. Start 7:00 pm.
Mt. Olive Lutheran Church
La Crescenta, CA 91214
Topic for March Meeting: TBA
Minutes from the February Meeting: Attendance:43, 40 members, guests
[I know these numbers are wrong but that’s all that signed in…]
CONTENTS IN BRIEF
Presentation – none this month, catching up on Q&A
- Beekeeping 101 classes March's class is scheduled for 3/16, 9am (April is 4/13)
- 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 at1-888-922-1293 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 themknow 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 youhave it handy for meetings.
If you want to be listed on our website for honey sales or bee removals, contact Eva Andrewsat email@example.com
- Bylaws – Ercil Eschbach is in the hospital – we need another volunteer to be on the committee. El Rey Ensch volunteered.
- Our president Jim Lindsay and Mayor Eric Garcetti will be collaborating on the beekeeping legalization issue. The city council is currently having staffers draft an ordinance for review. Garcetti apparently wants to talk to our membership about the possible ordinance before it goes to vote.
- Our Beekeeping 101 class in February had 108 people in attendance, including 44 new members. (And Bill Lewis was out of town so Clyde Steese was in charge all by himself!) At least 90% of those at the class knew nothing about bees – they were more novice than any other class Clyde has ever taught, so it was good practice for getting back to absolute basics! The March 16 class will be about equipment – can we do a joint venture with Walt McBride and Keith Roberts– combine the sessions we’ve held separately in the past? Everyone agreed to this plan so March is expected to have multiple stations/instructors demonstrating/describing various elements of preparing equipment for the arrival of bees.
- The LA County Fair is implementing their new garden project, and as a result there will be no horses at the fair in 2014. They are operating on a $500,000 grant for the new gardens.
- El Rey presented a variety of articles issued in the past month – AgAlert articles featuring John Miller and Orin Johnson of the CSBA, articles on the legalization efforts in Los Angeles, the recent news about tobacco ringspot virus jumping from plants to bees (a CCD factor?) – see the website for links to these and more news items updated regularly.
- At February’s meeting in Sacramento Bill/Clyde heard the Napa club decided to split into 4 sections. San Francisco’s club is equally big, and Stacy heard at the 2013 convention that the Delta Bee Club has about 500 members. The popularity of beekeeping is still growing. Just look at our meetings! We’re starting to burst at the seams. We may need a bigger venue soon, or a switch to theater style seating instead of tables. We are hoping to keep space rental ~$100/month or less. Community centers/libraries/fraternity halls/another church/etc. with room to hold more people. If you have any ideas/suggestions, let the officers know.
- What are your bees doing?
- Keith’s avocado farmer needs more bees – 20-30 colonies. He does not spray while the trees are in bloom. If you have hives available, get in touch with Keith Roberts.
- Hive architecture – I have all mediums with open bottoms and top bars only. Is this a good idea? Foundationless/Top bar setups are prone to burr comb. All mediums is a great idea for the maneuverability/weight issue. Lack of foundation/frames makes it harder to inspect your hives or rotate out old wax with accumulated chemical buildup. Klaus Koepfli warns – don’t extract anything from frames you’ve had in the hive while treating for mites.
- Ron Strong attended the Mason Valley Beekeepers Conference in Nevada. There are no state level regulations prohibiting bees, only Clark County has prohibitions, and only Sparks/Carson City has any beekeeping regulations. Their beekeepers have to contact farmers directly to find out about pesticide schedules – there is no county registration/notification system. They’re looking forward to the Pollination Protection labels coming soon to pesticide containers. Deformed wing virus (carried by varroa) can infect queens who then pass it on to larvae. Troy Bunch runs bees in Mason Valley and Fallon. Walt asks what they grow – primarily alfalfa, rabbitbrush, etc.
- Pesticide spray issues
- Clyde indicates that the West Nile Virus sprays are not considered hazardous to bees, but the hive number limit applies to all sprays. - Keith says there are lots of problems and misconceptions out there about when they should be notifying you and when they don’t have to – your best bet is to form relationships with your local farmers to help educate them on the hazards of pesticide applications to the bees, inform them of best management practices, and don’t rely on County notifications. - El Rey asked Eric Mussen recently if there’s a good way of discouraging bees from certain bodies of water without poisoning them, and he was told “not really”. - Klaus points out that mix tanks aren’t usually cleaned out, so even if THIS spray is “safe” the last one may not have been. If they DO notify you about scheduled spraying, then what? Have a spare/backup yard available for a quick move, or at least close up your hives with travel screens (and water them if necessary). Clyde says a soaking wet burlap cover over the entrance is a good way to trap, hydrate, and cool the hive in such cases. - Aside from pesticide notification, registration with the county is also good for controlled burn notifications if your bees will be affected. - Klaus also recommends finding out where your local farmers are discarding their empty pesticide buckets – bees will sometimes forage them for water.
- Los Angeles Honey Company – Larry walker is with us tonight. They opened in 1957 at the current Fishburn location (the original company was founded in 1912, and Larry’s dad bought the name for $100). Larry’s dad Chase ran bees, up to about 800 hives at one point. He hired Elmer Micheler (a Master Beekeeper and member of the American Sioux Honey Association) and George Seeley to help him out. Beekeeping used to be a one-man operation with the slave labor of the kids in the family. The ability to hire help was, and is, rare. Norm Cary is one of the few Larry knows who’s managed to do it and succeed.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
- What dissolves beeswax?
- For re-waxing plastic frames – how hot does it need to be to kill AFB?
- Wax moth got to our hives – what do we do?
- We’ve had 2 swarms of our own bees but the hives have plenty of room. How do we prevent it?
- Has anyone heard of quarantining bees for Africanization?
- What if you catch aggressive bees in a trap? Can you requeen?