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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 4, 2013  Volume XIII, Issue 10

 Next Meeting: December 2, 2013 
 Doors Open 6:00 pm. Start 6:30 
 Pickwick Convention Center
 1001 W Riverside Drive
 Burbank, CA 91506 

Topic for December Meeting: Kodua's travels photographing bees

Minutes from the November Meeting: Attendance: 53, 48 members, 5 guests


New Business
What kind of first aid kit do you keep in your apiary?


  • Holiday Dinner – Dec 2, Pickwick Gardens, Burbank, 6pm
  • Beekeeping 101 classes November’s class is scheduled for 11/10, 9am – assess readiness for winter, check for disease.
  • 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 ( 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


*  Holiday Dinner – Doug Noland has the arrangements all made with the venue. Bring appetizer, dessert, or raffle prize to get in for free, all others pay $15/ea. Anyone who renews their LACBA membership between tonight and the night of the dinner gets 5 free raffle tickets. Kodua will be telling us all about her bee photographing travels. 

CSBA Convention in Lake Tahoe is Nov 19-21. Come support Bill Lewis as our new CSBA president! One of the big advantages of these conventions is that the “bug guys” will sit and talk bees with you, no matter how many hives you have. The breakout sessions are geared more for the hobbyist and can be more popular than the main sessions, and are led by the same experts as the main sessions. If you can’t make this year’s convention, next year you have no excuse – we’ll be meeting in Valencia. Bill has 5 more research benefit raffle tickets to sell ($50/ea). 

*  Los Angeles County Fair – Checks for fair mileage and convention scholarship have been calculated and are being distributed today. We had 16 volunteers who only worked one day – can we renew your membership instead of writing you a check? (Those present agreed this was a reasonable way to handle it.) 

* Classifieds:

  • Bill and Clyde have a solar wax melter available for sale. It’s black, plywood with a steel pan, clean, newly painted – asking $200 OBO
  • Russ Levine has a utility trailer available for sale
  • Kodua’s new calendars are available to members for $12/ea, and $2 of that goes straight to LACBA. Clyde and Bill are featured in March’s image. 

*  Financial report – Current balance is $33,499 with three research donation checks of $1,500 to mail out, and the fair reimbursement/convention scholarship checks to issue as well 

*  Lund University researchers discovered that lactic acid bacteria in bees guts help boost immune response, and are marketing a supplement called SymBeeotic.  

*  Small Hive Beetle – are people having any trouble getting traps? The Beetle Blaster is disposable (costs about $1.20) and the beetle jail is reusable (costs about $1.60). How about a club-based order with the intent of distributing ~5/person so we can get bulk pricing?

Bill Lewis has had success throwing coumaphos on the bottom board even without any cardboard vehicle – the beetles just crawled under the coumaphos strip – anyone can buy it from the major bee suppliers as CheckMite. The traps helped some, but the coumaphos seems to have really eliminated them. Be aware that you can’t use coumaphos if you plan to harvest the honey, and be sure to use gloves when applying it.

Ron Strong tossed frames with SHB larvae in them, and then used Beetle Blasters for a few weeks with screened bottom boards. He’s read on BeeSource that the underside of vinyl tablecloths will effectively trap the beetles if laid in the hive fuzzy side up – he’s going to try some quilt batting under the screened bottom board and see how that works.

M/S/C to spend $600 on SHB traps for distribution to members 

* Eva Andrews: Website – we have profiles of the convention speakers on the website so you can familiarize yourself with them in advance. Stacy’s presentation from October is listed in the convention area as well.

Several of our members recently saw “A Strange Disappearance of Bees” which was an adorable, well integrated play, very thought provoking. 

*  Officer elections – all officers were willing to continue in their positions for another year. M/S/C to nominate the existing slate of officers for next year as well. No volunteers or additional nominations were heard. All officers were re-elected. 


  • How do we prevent robbing?

Reduce the hive entrance, keep hive visits short, don’t spill your sugar syrup

  • What’s the best time to wait between hive visits in winter?

Never/2 weeks/any time above 50 degrees/…

During the spring you want to be in the hive every 7-14 days to help prevent swarming/queen building. Bill and Clyde like 10 days, but they go 14 days maximum to prevent swarming, and make splits.

None of this means an inspection where you pull every frame out – take 1 min or so to gauge weight/food stores/check for queen cells

  • What should we do in the next 2 months?

Details will be covered in the Beekeeping 101 class, but essentially it’s not too late to check for mites and make sure they have food

  • I’m feeding 1:1 syrup and the bees are emptying the feeders weekly. When should I switch to 2:1?

Now. Spring is your 1:1 season. If their top box is full, don’t bother feeding anymore. If you’re going to almonds, late Dec to early Jan is when you switch back to 1:1

For those obsessed with exact ratios, here’s a great blog post on the issue – go by weight, not volume. For the rest of us, sugar and water densities are close enough that a basic volume/volume measurement works good enough. Many folk use 10lb sugar to 1 gal water.

  • Mites – what is your schedule for treatment?

Rotate your treatments depending on season and mite count. Don’t treat unless you’ve done a mite count! The alcohol wash is a favorite. Apivar has been working well this fall but is spendy and can’t be used during honey flow. Large quantities require an applicator’s license, but small packages can be purchased from Mann Lake by regular beekeepers. Apiguard has worked well in the past. Bill and Clyde have been treating since July.

  • How many times a week should I feed?

Only when the bees are low on honey stores.

  • Can I install a queen without cutting out queen cells?

You want to cut them out to prevent competition with your purchased queen.

  • What’s the best time to do splits? How?

When your hive is strong and you have a spare queen at hand. A full deep and medium is enough to get through a winter. If your hive is bigger than that, pull the middle box out and pair it with a deep of drawn comb. Verify where the queen is, and add a new queen to the queenless hive. Leave the less occupied hive boxes in the same spot so your field bees will return to populate it. Move the other box far away to prevent drift of bees, and leave both hives alone for 10 days to adjust. The key is having a spare queen and adequate bee population.

  • What do fire, ice, bears, and kitty litter have in common?

They’re all things you should think about before the convention.

Recent fires have driven bears into residential areas around Lake Tahoe and kept them from beginning their hibernation – don’t leave anything food-related or even scented (like air fresheners) in your car because the bears are HUNGRY.

The week of convention is predicted to have 100mph winds and freezing temperatures with snow, rain, and ice. Bring tire chains. Bring a spare blanket/food/water/gloves/ice scraper/shovel in case you get stuck, and some kitty litter to help provide traction if you encounter snow.

  • Prophylactic nosema treatment?

If you don’t have it, don’t treat for it. Generally people use fumagillin – in syrup, in feed, or as a drench. But it can also kill beneficial microbes and disrupt bee digestion. Do a microscope slide to confirm the presence of nosema (the club owns a microscope – contact Bill and Clyde to use it). If you’re seeing signs of dysentery, it’s likely already too late.

  • I’ve been using lemongrass, wintergreen, eucalyptus, BeePro, and vitamin C in the syrup and the bees are healthier.

Are you sure? Have you run a test where half of the hives in the apiary get supplements, and half don’t, to make sure it’s the supplement that’s causing this vigorous health? Run trials like this to see (a) if things are actually helping, and if they are, (b) which things are actually working. The lemongrass is commonly used as a bee attractant, so it’s unsurprising they get along with that – if nothing else it may be helping encourage consumption. But generally speaking, congrats on the healthy bugs!

For some it encourages robbing, for others the bees stop feeding when you add it. Like most things, try it and see.


Thanks to all the members who donate prizes and purchase tickets! 

Wine – went home with Kodua Galieti

Rose Parade Posters – went home with various Calderas

Tea Pots (custom art pieces!) – Cyndi Caldera and Merrianne Bouchard lucked out 

What kind of first aid kit do YOU keep in your apiary?

Keith Roberts is the master of injuring himself. He’s dropped a jar of Bee-Go and splashed it in his eyes, fallen out of a tree WITH a box of bees, gotten poison oak, been stabbed/slices/impaled during the course of his hive inspections, you name it. Oh, and stung. And Keith wants to know – what do you consider essential in a first aid kit for beekeepers?

  • Epipen (never apply to another person, have them do it themselves,. And keep an eye on the expiration date)
  • Benadryl (pills, dissolvable strips, or chewable versions – even works for dogs/cats if you break it into weight-comparable doses)
  • Pepsid AC can also help like benadryl
  • Sting removal kit
  • Breakable alcohol swab sticks
  • Toothpaste w/ baking soda or meat tenderizer for stings
  • Nox-a-sting swabs

Is the benadryl cream helpful? The spray works pretty well, but for an injected toxin, oral works best.

If you get stung 20 times or more, head to the ER regardless of how you feel. If a SINGLE sting shows an odd or particularly bad reaction, go to the hospital. When Kodua got stung repeatedly, she felt fine after some Benadryl, but when the Benadryl wore off, she crashed, and the situation was life threatening. Benadryl only buys you time in a multiple-sting situation. Exposure builds tolerance but not immunity – you can still be overwhelmed or suddenly develop an allergy. Whether you’re allergic or not, you should carry an epipen for yourself no matter what.

Get the stinger out fast and then smoke the area to mask the alarm pheromone. Invoke foul language as needed. ;P

WASH YOUR SUIT – do not hand it off to family members – trace levels of the apitoxin can encourage development of an allergy.