Education & Research
Website Photography
News Archives

This is the official website for the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association established in 1873.




LACBA October 2014 Buzzings newsletter.

View this email in your browser

Newsletter of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association
October 6, 2014 Volume XIV, Issue 9
Next Meeting:    November 3, 2014

Doors open 6:45 pm/Start 7:00
               Mt. Olive Lutheran Church
               3561 Foothill Boulevard
               La Crescenta, CA  91214

Topic for November Meeting: Officer Elections
Minutes from the October Meeting: Attendance:[Ed: forgot to prep sign in sheets]
Contents in Brief:
-New Business
  • Beekeeping 101 classes October’s class is scheduled for October 12, 9am (next is February 2015) – come on by even if you don’t have a suit!
  • 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 ( 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
  • CSBA convention – Nov 18-20 in Valencia. We need volunteers! Bill has sign up sheets for 1) the Registration desk, 2) Shuttling travelers from the airport, 3) Microphone/stage prep for speakers, and 4) Stuffing goodie bags (the day before the convention). Please sign up if you can help, or call Bill at (818) 312—1691 to volunteer. Volunteering will cover your registration costs for the day.
Speakers at the convention will be addressing beekeepers on all levels from rank beginner to professional. Book a room to help CSBA cover their expenses, and any extra funds to to bee research. Thomas Seeley will be discussing “survivor” bees at the research luncheon, so be sure to get your tickets for that. Join in on the fun at the auctions to help fund research, it’s all tax deductible. Like and share the LACBA Facebook page/posts to help spread the word!
  • Los Angeles County Fair – Clyde Steese and Cyndi Caldera did a great job keeping everything on track this year. Cyndi would like to thank each and every volunteer for their hard work – your effort and expertise (and snacks!) really keep things running smoothly. And the ABF Honey Queen was great – her presence was largely thanks to the reputation our club has earned because of our consistent donations to bee research throughout the wider bee community.
Clyde reports on the nitty gritty: sales were rough this year, down 30% from last year. We netted $27,000 of which $14,061 was allocated to LACBA and $1,245 was allocated to BASC based on volunteer hours worked. LACBA worked 1600 man hours, BASC 200 man hours. From LACBA, those 1,600 man hours were completed by a mere 32 people. This is a group with 400 members – we can do better! Next year, let’s see more names on those volunteer schedules! All members who volunteered this year have their dues for 2015 automatically renewed. All volunteers who worked at least 5 days will be eligible for scholarships to help pay for registration to the CSBA convention (exact numbers to be worked out this month based on how many want to go).
Now that we have the money, it’s time to spend some of it (that’s why we raise it). Clyde proposes the following donations:
Project Apis m.                             $2,000
CSBA Research Fund                  $2,000
CSBA Right to Farm Fund          $2,000 (bee-friendly lobbying/legislation)
Randy Oliver                                $1,000
Bee Girl                                         $1,000
Pollinator Partnership                    $1,000
Theodore Payne                            $1,000 (donated plants for fair, speaking at holiday event)
ABF Honey Queen program        $1,000
                                         Total: $11,000
The motion was seconded and passed. Many of the recipients will be at the convention in November as well.
  • Holiday dinner, December 1 - Clyde proposes we do as we did last year – have Doug Noland’s Outback Catering feed us at the Pickwick Gardens facility in Burbank. Fair volunteers and family get in free, everyone else is $10/person. Paying your 2015 dues at the door gets you 5 free raffle tickets (fair volunteers get theirs as well). Motion seconded and passed.
Everyone should bring a dessert or appetizer to share (Stacy will send out details closer to the date), and if you have something fun for the raffle, bring that as well. Theodore Payne will be speaking for us, talking about planting locally native (drought tolerant!) bee friendly plants. We will be taking new photos for the membership directory, so get ready to smile!
  • What are people seeing out there in their apiaries?
Many are losing hives, but Diamond Bar and the high desert are putting on pollen. Some hives are seeing the bees aborting larvae – usually due to lack of pollen. The bees at the fair were pulling out mite-laden larvae and there was deformed wing virus everywhere. The bees were shaking and dancing trying to get the mites off. We saw cooperative grooming efforts to purge the mites.
  • Who’s getting swarm calls at this late date in the season?
The high desert is getting 2-3 a week, and the swarms are calmer this year than usual.
  • Why do commercial bees have to be treated for mites if the same species does just fine in the wild?
How do you know they’re doing just fine? We don’t track feral colonies, so we have no idea what their loss rates are. Regardless, the commercial bees have not been subject to natural selection but human-managed selection for traits like docility and honey production, so they’re not necessarily as resilient.
  • Enumerate the reasons why local hives are dying
Pests (varroa mite/fungi/bacteria)
Local insecticide use
Famine – even in irrigated areas some hives are not seeing enough food
[Wikipedia has a whole list of stuff]
  • How many years does it take for a GMO (genetically modified organism) plant to lose toxicity?
By definition, any GMO plant modified to produce toxins will CONTINUE to produce toxins through its lifetime – that’s the point of the Genetic Modification. Now, a plant treated externally with pesticides in a surficial way (whether it’s foliar application, seed application, or ground application) will eventually have the toxicity fade. Time varies depending on the chemical used, the application method, and other factors like weather.
  • How do you apply MAQS at half strength?
When the temperature and humidity are high, using a half dose can be better for your bees because the formic acid fumes out so fast. Cut the MAQS lengthwise with good scissors or a utility knife. Lay 1 half on each side of the brood box on top of the top bars. Try to leave an empty super between the queen and treatment. Don’t shred or peel off the paper – try to cut it neatly – it’s part of the delivery mechanism.
  • When is the best time to produce extra queens?
During the nectar flow – but not around here. The Africanized influence in the local drone population means you’ll wind up with Africanized queens which means you’ll have mean hives. If you wind up raising queens, it’s best in a season/area where there are plenty of drones to mate them.
  • What mite treatments are you using in October/November?
Responses include apiguardapivar, and Met52 fungus
  • Does heat affect laying?
Yes, mostly because food scarcity shuts laying down. If food is plentiful, no, the heat has no direct effect. Water is CRUCIAL to queens continuing to lay properly because the hive is adequately fed.
  • What’s the best month to buy queens? How?
Packages and nucs become available in early April. The CA Bee Breeders Associationhas listings of vendors – early to mid-season is your best bet. Late season they handle bulk orders only. Most of them ship out on Monday and Tuesday, just FYI
  • Met52 fungus usage – do we have any usage numbers/results yet? Mite counts?
Not yet
  • Is beekeeping legal in Tujunga?
Only if you’re in one of the 7 Los Angeles zones where beekeeping is permitted (A1, A2, MR1, MR2, M1, M2 and M3.) Legalization of residentially zoned beekeeping is in the works, but the city departments haven’t finalized it yet.
  • I have bees in a barrel – how do I get them out?

Based on your location, talk to Walt to help you out with that…
Thanks to everyone for their donations and the purchase of raffle tickets! Proceeds go to help fund our club in its education efforts!
Eggs! Back yard raised and multi-colored – enjoy!