Newsletter of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association
May 5, 2014, Volume XIV, Issue 5
Next Meeting: June 2, 2014
Doors Open 6:45 pm. Start 7:00 pm.
Mt. Olive Lutheran Church
3561 Foothill Boulevard
La Crescenta, CA 91214
Topic for June Meeting: TBA
Minutes from the May Meeting: Attendance:68, 63 members, 5 guests
Contents in Brief:
- Beekeeping 101 classes May’s class is scheduled for 5/11, 9am (June is 6/22)
- 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
- 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
- AGdayLA – Mary Landau is looking for volunteers
Wed & Th May 14 & 15, 8:30am – 1:30 pm, lunch included
Big Red Barn, Los Angeles County Fairgrounds
Help give 10 presentations/day, about 7 minutes long, to 3rd and 4th graders, about 18-40 at a time. Share examples of equipment/suit, discuss how to act around bees, discuss why we need bees, etc.
- Our website – so far it has logged 36,900 views from 15,722 unique people, and monthly average is about 1,960 views.
Our goal with the website is education – promoting the classes (there are so many people attending!) and providing information on our website pages. We want to get accurate data to as many people as possible.
Lots of people coming to the site are looking for honey and swarm removals so those pages get heavy use.
Eva’s looking at the idea of starting a Facebook page (with no comments enabled so as to minimize drama) to help inform people of events and provide links to information.
- Organization membership software – the question regarding whether Membee would retain any member information was answered. It is a definitive “no” – they want the server space freed up so they can use it for other paying customers. If we terminate our relationship, the data gets dumped after 30 days. Since the motion to approve implementation of Membee was brought up and seconded at the last meeting, the question was called and the vote was passed. Our club will now be paying $55/mo to Membee for online membership database software and website integration capabilities. Stacy McKenna and Eva Andrews will be getting things up and running as soon as possible.
- Bayer Bee Care Community Leadership Award – applications are due May 9, so if you have a project you think is worth $5,000, let them know!
- Equipment auction – a fellow beekeeper is retiring and much of his equipment was made available for auction. Items auctioned included:
- observation hive - $60
- several antique smokers $35/$40
- hive brander – CA State Agriculture serial brand ID – you can transfer the brand number to a new owner, but most beekeepers use police department personal ID # because it’s trackable nationwide
- 8 mating boxes $10/ea
- honey decrystalizing barrel $50
- Accidents with bees – Greg Floor is sporting two black eyes, and it’s all because of those bees. He was out checking for mites – a task that can be hazardous to your health! He was using the simple sugar shake method, so it seemed safe enough. But he tripped over a nearby hose, dumped out all of the sugar-covered bees (which then became a great dog treat!), and because of his glasses, wound up with two black eyes.
Bill Lewis encourages people to NOT let this discourage them from doing mite tests!
- More accidents with bees – Sean Crowley was on the way to Bill and Clyde’s yard and on his way up the road he saw a bush on fire. There was a gentleman standing next to it throwing dirt on it to try and put it out. Sean headed to Bill’s to find tools, and called the fire department. On his way back he saw the FD show up – about 10 trucks, a helicopter, and at least 40 men. The beekeeper had passed out from heat and part of his suit had melted – stay BACK from fires once they get going. With bees, the FD will use foam, not water because it also incapacitates the bees.
Several recommendations were made – always keep a shovel with you when working your hives. BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR SMOKER!!!! Keep it on your tailgate, away from flammable debris/brush, and plug the end (with an appropriately sized bolt or an EMPTY 12 gauge shotgun shell) or lay it on its side to put it out when not in use. A smoker with a cage is safer and easier to handle. Carry a weed sprayer filled with just water as an emergency response tool – but if that’s not enough and it starts to spread – GET OUT!
- 2014 California Honey Harvest Festival – Bennett’s Honey Farm and the Fillmore & Western Railway Company are teaming up again this year to throw a weekend bash all about beekeeping and honey, with some tasty BBQ competition thrown in for good measure! It’s one day only, Saturday June 14th. We need booth volunteers to help educate people about bees, as well as docents on the trains (yes, the trains have been confirmed!) to talk about beekeeping during the railway tour. Ventura County has no beekeeping club so we’re the closest and default club for most of the local beekeepers. If you would like to help volunteer for the event, please contact El Rey Ensch at (818) 480-2228.
- Newsie bits – for all the latest news about bees, check out the LACBA website home page – Eva keeps it stocked with a wide variety of relevant news items.
Some of Keith Robert’s favorites lately:
Bonus –a donkey in a bee suit:
- California State Beekeepers Association 2014 Convention – November 18-20 in Santa Clarita. Get a chance to meet the scientists in person and ask them about the science of bees and beekeeping!
- USC journalism guest – do you have neighbors who DON’T want bees legalized in urban areas? She’d love to get a bit of perspective on the kinds of opposition beekeepers receive about their bees.
- Beekeeping 101 class – we’ll be doing mite tests and seeing how package growth has been going. We’ll be distributing nucs to those who ordered them.
Questions from the Floor
- One of our beekeepers brought a frame of comb with queen cells in it to hand around so people can see up close what they look like.
- Keith recently noticed the phenomenon of “washboarding” on his hives. Beekeepers still don’t know WHY bees do this. Not all hives participate in this activity. Keith notices it’s usually strong hives, and usually those who would be bearding due to heat.
- Hive losses in California – is there a website or anything where people report their wintering losses by county? The Bee Informed Partnership would have that data.
- What kind of queen rearing equipment would you recommend?
- What are the concerns or problems with a big observation hive?
The Museum of Science and Industry used to keep a six frame hive that LACBA maintained it was a lot of work. They can usually manage the heat regulation (especially if the hive is in a building/home) but the size fluctuation throughout a season can be an issue. You could ask the Bennett’s how they manage theirs – how often do they need to swap out frames, etc.
- How do you introduce a new queen to a 20 frame hive without rejection?
Find the existing queen and kill her. Introduce the new queen about 1-3 days later (knock off any queen cells they may have started building.) Africanized hives are less likely to accept new queens – those hives usually need to be broken down to about 2-3 frames of bees in nucs and requeened about 2-3 days later.
- Who has queens available?
- If only a few bees chase you, is the hive Africanized?
How far are they chasing you? About 50 ft.
What were you doing to/with them? Filling the nearby water barrel
Were there animal tracks from something that might have disturbed the hive? Coyotes and such do live nearby.
How big is the hive? 5 boxes
Based on the info, there could be enough brood and food stores to make a hive defensive. It could be they supercede and the new queen is of questionable breeding, introducing some Africanization into the hive.
If your hive is Africanized, just requeening it allows continued spread of Africanization through the drones semen – KILL THEM if your bees are in urban areas. There are several options:
- dry ice plus duct tape or trash bag sealing of the hive
- Soapy water
- Immersion in a dip tank
- Are we capturing swarms from our own hives? They’re not growing but they have food.
Is there spotty brood? Yes. Then the swarms are incidental – your colony is not growing because your queen is poorly mated or failing.
- I have a warre hive of two full boxes – they’ve filled everything out nicely – should I swap the boxes?
No need to, save your back and leave it as is.
Thanks to everyone for their donations and the purchase of raffle tickets! Proceeds go to help fund our club in its education efforts!
Garden ornament – Leah Johnson
Cookies – Richard Hoefke and Leah Johnson
Washcloths– Larry Maston
“Bee Happy yard flag – Bonnie Reese