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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
November 5, 2012  Volume XII, Issue 10

Next Meeting:  December 3, 2012, 6:00pm
     Pickwick Gardens Conference Center 
     1001 Riverside Drive
     Burbank, CA 91506 

Topic for December Meeting:
Beekeeping in Italy! 

Minutes from the November Meeting: Attendance: 30, 28 members, 2 guests

Contents in Brief:

Old Business
New Business


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:

Paul DuPont has purchased Laura Rockwell’s donated extractor – big thanks to both of them for their contributions to the club’s funds!!

Election of officers – Jim Lindsay confirmed he will be able to progress and serve as our president this year. Keith Roberts confirmed his acceptance of last month’s nomination and no further nominations were voiced. The assembled moved/seconded, and approved the following officers for 2013:

                        President: Jim Lindsay
                        VP: Keith Roberts
                        Secretary: Stacy McKenna
                        Treasurer: Bill Rathfelder

New Business:

Birthdays! Happy birthday to Bill Lewis and Robin Mitchell this month!

Show & Tell – Clyde’s wife came back from a trip with a sample of the Brown Palace Hotel bee products. Premium prices for simple, familiar items wrapped in premium packaging. $15 for 6oz of honey, $12 for a bar of Bee Royal lavender soap

CSBA Convention November

Nov 13-15 at the Morongo Casino in Palm Springs – about 20 of our members will be there, and the first gathering is a President’s reception the Monday evening before the convention starts. The breakout sessions for small scale beekeepers were a hit last year - there’s a schedule for them, they’ll be on Wed and Thurs.

Clyde is also hoping we’ll elect Bill to be the new VP of CSBA while we’re there…

Lenore also exhibited for us her contribution to their raffle – a quilt titled “The Fruits of Her Labor” it represents  farmer’s market table and is composed of squares of fabric representing all of the produce listed on the annual CSBA pollination survey (and then some) bordered by fabrics of wood grain, honeycomb, and wildflowers. Still just a top at our meeting, she expects it to be fully completed in time for the convention. [Ed: Not only was it completed, it was the highest priced raffle item of the event. Clyde’s generous offering was outbid in nothing flat. Lenore was the only one surprised by this, really…]

If you aren’t going – do you have questions? Let us know so we can get them answered for you!

Christmas dinner – 6pm Monday December 3 (dinner at 7pm)

Pickwick Gardens Convention Center

1001 Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA

Outback Catering will provide entrees, appetizers and desserts are potluck.

Our coffers are comfortably full this year and we should have a cushion of funds after the dinner to help finance our insurance, education, website, etc. until next year’s fair.

Entrance is free if you worked the fair, bring food, or bring raffle items. Otherwise, $15/person.

Clive will be discussing his experiences with beekeepers in Italy, and Clyde will be awarding the Golden hive Tool to another lucky recipient.

Website – Eva reports there were 3,400 new visits in September – our presence is growing and her prolific postings of news and articles keep things fresh and interesting. Thanks for all the hard work, Eva!!! 

Russ Levine’s handy tip – Russ has been helping set up an apiary for the beekeeping club at Pitzer College. To help instruct them, he was out in the yard doing a hive inspection without a veil. With the lid off, and his brand new hooked hive tool in hand, he went to adjust his glasses… and ripped open his ear. He proceeded to give the rest of the class with one hand cupped over his ear while another student did the “heavy lifting” in the hive. When he finally got to the hospital, he needed 9 stitches, though the anesthesia shots apparently had NOTHING on bee stings. Key take-aways: 1) don’t keep your hive tool in the same hand you use to adjust your glasses, and 2) when bees smell blood, just stay cool… 

BASC is planning to bring in Dr. Malcolm Sanford from FL to speak soon. 

Keith Roberts went to the UK and brought back some Welsh honey for us to try from Snowdonia. He was hoping to meet some beekeepers, but they don’t hold meetings between October and March on account of the weather. As Keith recounted: “I don’t think America makes anything that can deal with Welsh weather” was met with “Sure they do, son - submarines.” Apparently the heather honey is so thick is can’t be extracted – it has to be squeezed out of the comb. 

John Reese brought in some hive beetles for us all to see. Several of our beekeepers are seeing them in cooler, more humid areas, though they’re still not as big an issue as they are in The South and HI. 

Kodua’s 2013 calendar is coming out, and she’s included quotes from most of the big names she met on her recent travels. They’re available for $13 to club members. 

What are you seeing in your hives?

No growth and little brood – weak queen? Plenty of honey, spotty brood pattern – get a new queen. “Shotgunny” eggs and larvae right next to each other, or empty spaces in between? Nothing. Any sign of deformed wing virus? Could be mite stress. They haven’t treated for mites in 2 years and have not done any mite testing. [The room collectively groans – almost guaranteed it’s mites.] Reduce the entrance to help them stay warm and protect their food reserves, and treat for mites. Eugene Covalschi swears by thymol, he buys crystals and dissolves them in alcohol to apply. He applies right about now, along with essential oils of wintergreen, lemongrass, some peroxide, and vitamin C in the feed. 

The Jensens have about 20 hives in alfalfa right now, another 10-20 in La Tuna Canyon are not doing anywhere near as well and are needing feeding. Those in the high desert are doing well on rabbit brush.

Has anyone tried oxalic acid? Very few had.

Fermented sugar water – my bees found some and loved it anyway. Just not sure any of them actually found their way home afterward.

ANTS – Keith has had a HORRIBLE time with ants, even with hive stands to help keep his hives away from them. How do you guys on pallets do it?! Bare dirt lots… Bill sees ants more at night than during the day. The last time they had a problem, he still had some diazinon around and used that to control them. Moving the bees frequently does a fair bit to help, too. Diatomaceous earth can help (be careful to use the organic version – the other kind can kill bees). A rag with vinegar used to wipe down the ant trail helps eliminate their scent markings and make it less likely they’ll return. Windex can also help with this. Dr. Mussen’s newsletter had a recommendation for Orange Power orange oil cleanser, but Walt could only find it for sale in Australia.

Ticks? – not really a problem IN the hive, but if you’re exposed to them getting to/from your hives be sure to invest in any of the anti-tick options available commercially.

Fruit trees – what should be used against leaf borers that won’t hurt the bees? Try applying any insecticides at night when the bees are all inside to minimize exposure

This has been Bill and Clyde’s worst year so far. The wax moths are AWFUL this year because the mites were heavy. Some of the treatments they tried didn’t work well enough or weren’t applied often enough, and the mites took over. They tried a ¼ dose of MAQS  (not enough), tried HopGuard (only affects adult mites), and ultimately went back to Apistan because they hadn’t used it in 4-5 years and this did help thanks to the break in resistance breeding. DOUBLE CHECK YOUR EFFICACY!!!! Don’t just apply and assume! (Eugene says he spends about $14 on thymol crystals to treat about 500 hives, just for financial info on options.) Chip over at Bennett’s lost about half his hives. He used Amitraz and some Taktic (Amitraz) he got from Australia (not technically legal here for bees – it’s off-label usage) a couple weeks ago, after the honey flow was over. Many commercial guys have been known to use illicit chemicals because there are so few options available legally that resistance builds up quickly. What are the legal ramifications/consequences? Among beekeepers that’s not generally discussed. At most it’s usually been heard to be a citation and/or fine.

Russ’ bees in Pomona are doing ok, those in Claremont have been feeding since July and have seen about 40% losses. 

The NYCBA had most of their bees wiped out in the latest hurricane. Over 1 million bees were lost, and boxes were found up to a mile away. They had a breeding program for locally adapted bees, and they strapped the master hive down and shipped it to another state for the duration of the storm. Clyde is wondering how Dave Mendez and other big commercial guys on the east coast are faring with their bees. The breeders in places like GA may have a significant impact on our local breeders if the storm takes them out or significantly drops their inventory. 

Bill’s lab results – he finally got answers out of Dr. Frazier’s lab at Penn State, and the answer was that there were no hits on the 170 compounds they tested for. They didn’t test the samples until August, so he has no idea if the samples were adequately collected and stored. So far, all of the hives have recovered.

Citrus psyllid – local municipalities are treating the trees and the ground with neonicotinoids to help control them. Will the pesticides move through the trees and wind up in the nectar? Will we see a persistent bee effect? Applied pesticides could impact pollen stores so it could have a prolonged impact through that alone. Bill experienced a similar situation with eucalyptus trees and saw no reall effect. Proving that a chemical is killing the bees is HARD – this is why beekeepers are having a hard time getting certain pesticides banned. In the EU, companies have to prove that the chemicals are safe, the process is entirely the opposite of how it works here. Walt points out that analysis of research/results is very much a “follow the money” process, much like with the GMO products.


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!

Placemats – Bill Strait

Necklaces – one to one of our new members/guests, and another to Clive Segil

Tote bag – Cyndi Caldera [who then took it straight to the convention!]