To Save Honey Bees, Human Behavior Must Change

Science Daily    Source: Entomological Society of America    April 6, 2017

Poor management practices have enabled spread of bee pathogens, bee researcher argues

In the search for answers to the complex health problems and colony losses experienced by honey bees in recent years, it may be time for professionals and hobbyists in the beekeeping industry to look in the mirror.

In a research essay to be published this week in the Entomological Society of America's Journal of Economic Entomology, Robert Owen argues that human activity is a key driver in the spread of pathogens afflicting the European honey bee (Apis mellifera) -- the species primarily responsible for pollination and honey production around the world -- and recommends a series of collective actions necessary to stem their spread. While some research seeks a "magic bullet" solution to honeybee maladies such as Colony Collapse Disorder, "many of the problems are caused by human action and can only be mitigated by changes in human behavior," Owen says.

Owen is author of The Australian Beekeeping Handbook, owner of a beekeeping supply company, and a Ph.D. candidate at the Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis (CEBRA) at the University of Melbourne. In his essay in the Journal of Economic Entomology, he outlines an array of human-driven factors that have enabled the spread of honey bee pathogens:

  • Regular, large-scale, and loosely regulated movement of bee colonies for commercial pollination. (For instance, in February 2016 alone, of the 2.66 million managed bee colonies in the United States, 1.8 million were transported to California for almond crop pollination.).
  • Carelessness in the application of integrated pest management principles leading to overuse of pesticides and antibiotics, resulting in increased resistance to them among honey bee parasites and pathogens such as the Varroa destructor mite and the American Foul Brood bacterium (Paenibacillus larvae),
  • The international trade in honey bees and honey bee products that has enabled the global spread of pathogens such as varroa destructor, tracheal mite (Acarapis woodi), Nosema cerana, Small Hive Beetle (Aethina tumida ), and the fungal disease chalkbrood (Ascosphaera apis).
  • Lack of skill or dedication among hobbyist beekeepers to adequately inspect and manage colonies for disease.

Owen offers several suggestions for changes in human behavior to improve honey bee health, including:

  • Stronger regulation both of global transport of honey bees and bee products and of migratory beekeeping practices within countries for commercial pollination.
  • Greater adherence to integrated pest management practices among both commercial and hobbyist beekeepers.
  • Increased education of beekeepers on pathogen management (perhaps requiring such education for registration as a beekeeper).
  • Deeper support networks for hobby beekeepers, aided by scientists, beekeeping associations, and government.

"The problems facing honeybees today are complex and will not be easy to mitigate," says Owen. "The role of inappropriate human action in the spread of pathogens and the resulting high numbers of colony losses needs to be brought into the fore of management and policy decisions if we are to reduce colony losses to acceptable levels."

Story Source: Materials provided by Entomological Society of America.

Journal Reference: Robert Owen. Role of Human Action in the Spread of Honey Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Pathogens. Journal of Economic Entomology, 2017; DOI: 10.1093/jee/tox075

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170406121535.htm

Urban Beekeeping: What's the Buzz About?

KCET SoCal Connected  Air Date: Wednesday, January 27, 2016 - 8:00PM

For the first time in more than a century, the Los Angeles City Council officially legalized urban beekeeping in single family homes in October 2015, catching up with cities like Santa Monica, New York, and Santa Barbara in permitting backyard beekeeping.

But now, what will it take to create a new generation of beekeepers? Can computers and smartphone apps help make the traditional task of beekeeping more inviting?

There's no question that backyard beehives face multiple challenges. One expert, Kelton Temby, calls them the four P's: Pests, pesticides, poor management, and pathogens. He has come up with a high-tech monitor to gauge the health of beehives remotely. What does this technology have to offer aspiring beekeepers?

In this segment of "SoCal Connected," reporter Cara Santa Maria introduces us to beekeepers from Los Angeles and Santa Barbara and finds out what backyard beekeeping is doing to support the honey bees of Southern California.

http://www.kcet.org/shows/socal_connected/stories/environment/urban-beekeeping-whats-the-buzz-about-1.html

Popularity of Urban Beekeeping Not Helping To Make Up For Declining Countryside Populations, Say Research

 Independent.co.uk    By Tom Bawden    November 4, 2015

Researchers found that bee colonies closer to urban centres had higher levels of disease than those in rural areas Getty ImagesThe popularity of urban beekeeping is not helping to make up for declining countryside populations, according to new research. 

The report also found that city-dwelling honey bees are three times less likely to survive than their feral cousins. This raises significant questions about the longer-term outlook for bees as intense urbanisation reduces habitat around the world and urban beekeeping helps to plug the gap.

Researchers from North Carolina State University analysed 15 feral colonies living in trees or buildings without human contact and a further 24 managed by beekeepers in urban, suburban and rural areas in and around the city of Raleigh.

The researchers found that those colonies closer to urban centres had higher levels of disease than those in rural areas because there were more viruses and bacteria present and they spread more easily.

It also found that colonies managed by beekeepers had a greater prevalence of disease than wild ones – meaning that those colonies living in cities and kept by beekeepers were particularly vulnerable to disease.

“We think that the higher pathogen pressure [likelihood of disease] in urban areas is due to increased rates of transmission,” said Professor David Tarpy of North Carolina State University. “This might be because bee colonies have fewer feeding sites to choose from in urban areas, so they are interacting with more bees from other colonies.” He said higher temperatures may also be speeding up the spread of disease.

“Honey bees are important pollinators and play a significant role in our ecosystems and our economy. Now we know what is happening, the next step is to begin work on understanding why it is happening,” said Steve Frank, also at North Carolina State University.

“Overall, we found that the probability of worker bee survival in laboratory experiments declined threefold in bees collected from urban environments, compared with those collected in rural environments,” said Mr Frank.

Bee populations are tumbling all over the world as a result of habitat loss, global warming and fertilisers. This is causing alarm among environmentalists because bees are responsible for pollinating a large portion of the food we eat.

The paper, Urbanisation Increases Pathogen Pressure on Feral and Managed Honey Bees, is published in the science journal Plos One. 

Read at: http://goo.gl/Rkrq8k

Beekeeping Now Legal For Residential City Of Los Angeles Properties

Los Angeles City Council just voted unanimously to approve the new ordinance permitting beekeeping in City of Los Angeles residential zones. At this point, bees may be kept in the following zones:
Residential: RA, RE, RS, R1
Agricultural: A1, A2
Industrial: MR1, MR2, M1, M2 and M3

Please read the actual ordinance to insure your arrangement complies with all zoning requirements. Please note this includes registering with the County Agricultural Commissioner as a beekeeper. 

The new residential beekeeping ordinance: http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2012/12-0785_misc_09-18-2015.pdf
Approved uses listed alphabetically (2003): http://cityplanning.lacity.org/Code_Studies/Misc/uselist2.pdf

LA City Council - Final Bee Vote - Wednesday, October 14

LA CITY COUNCIL - FINAL BEE VOTE - Wednesday, October 14, 2015 Item #22 on the Agenda, Meeting begins at 10:00AM, plan accordingly. John Ferraro Council Chamber, Room 340, City Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90012. http://ens.lacity.org/clk/councilagendas/clkcouncilagendas399045_10142015.html

Move To Okay Bee Hives In LA Back Yards Is Misguided

Western Farm Press in Farm Press Blog   By Tom Fitchette    September 8, 2015

Sometimes being observant means more than just viewing the large font.

Sometimes it means asking questions.

With all the media attention on honeybees there’s little surprise that Los Angeles may legalize backyard beekeeping, according to published reports. Backyard hobbyists could be allowed to try their hand at beekeeping in Los Angeles if the city county passes an ordinance.

Bad idea.

This isn’t an attack on honeybees. It’s a challenge over the lack of common sense displayed by the city council and those proposing this idea.

Let’s just say there are sure to be a host of unintended consequences that could arise from such a move.

What happens if Africanized bees move in? What will these bees forage on in LA’s urban jungle?

Who’s going to oversee these hives? What will their credentials be?

Who's going to tell the neighbor he can't spray his trees with certain chemicals because there's a hive in the adjacent yard?

The ordinance proposes one hive per 2,500 square feet within the backyards of single-family homes.

Do they realize that bees fly?

Proponents say the backyard beehives will aid agriculture. How? Almond trees and melons are not common vegetation in the City of Angels.

Proponents apparently also argue that this will help slow the decline of bees through colony collapse disorder. Really? How?

If the Los Angeles City Council is truly interested in helping agriculture, I’m sure farmers elsewhere in California would welcome their genuine support as financiers of scientific research.

Here’s a thought: start by donating some money – real money – to Huanglongbing (citrus greening) research and other projects aimed at reducing invasive pests and the diseases they can spread.

Since Los Angeles already has a growing number of confirmed cases of citrus greening that’s a real and timely issue, the city council could get behind if it truly wants to help California agriculture.

Allowing bee colonies to be raised in urban and suburban back yards by hobbyists is not a good idea.

Read at: http://goo.gl/k6QxNa

Backyard Beekeeping in LA City: September 2 - PLUM Committee of City Council

LA City Planning Committee   9/1/2015
City Council will be reviewing the Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM) recommendation to move the proposed Backyard Beekeeping Ordinance to the City Attorney's Office at tomorrow morning's meeting -- 10 am, Item 15 on the agenda.  The hearing for the ordinance was held during the PLUM meeting and it could go on consent (meaning that they can act on it without discussion), but a Councilmember can call it out for discussion.  Planning staff will be present in case any questions arise. Call into Council Phone at (213) 621-2489 to listen to the meeting, or you can stream video of the meeting.
We apologize for the late notice.
What's Next: City Attorney's Office transmits the final ordinance to PLUM, who will then forward it to the full City Council
The next step will be to wait for the City Attorney's Office to review the Ordinance for form and legality and transmit it back to the PLUM Committee, who will then forward it to the full City Council. While the timeline for these steps is uncertain, the PLUM Committee stated their eagerness to see the Backyard Beekeeping Ordinance move through the process as quickly as possible, which was noted by the City Attorney.
We will notify you when the Ordinance has reached its next milestone.
Thank You

Backyard Beekeeping Ordinance: PLUM Committee Moves Ordinance Forward To City Attorney

From: LA City Planning Committee   August 26, 2015
Katie is out on leave and I will be your point of contact regarding Backyard Beekeeping while she's away.
 
The Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM) of the City Council approved the proposed Backyard Beekeeping Ordinance provisions at their regular meeting on August 25, 2015, and transmitted the Draft Ordinance to the City Attorney's Office with no amendments. The City Attorney's Office will now look over the Ordinance as to form and legality, and then transmit it back to the PLUMCommittee.
Audio of the PLUM meeting on August 24, 2015 is available online (at 2 hours 20 minutes): 
What's Next: 
City Attorney's Office transmits the final ordinance to PLUM, who will then forward it to the full City Council
The next step will be to wait for the City Attorney's Office to review the Ordinance for form and legality and transmit it back to the PLUMCommittee, who will then forward it to the full City Council. While the timeline for these steps is uncertain, the PLUM Committee stated their eagerness to see the Backyard Beekeeping Ordinance move through the process as quickly as possible, which was noted by the City Attorney.
We will notify you when the Ordinance has reached its next milestone. 
Thank You

Backyard Beekeeping in LA City: August 25, PLUM Committee of City Council

What's Next: 

Date: August 25, 2015  Time: 2:30 p.m.

Where:  Room 350 (third floor), City Hall, 200 N. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90012

The next step will be to present the proposed Backyard Beekeeping Ordinance provisions to the Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM) of the City Council:

To check the agenda online for this PLUM meeting, once it is posted, please go to:
http://www.lacity.org/city-government/elected-official-offices/city-council/council-calendar?date=2015-08-25 PLUM reviews all planning-related matters. This is a public hearing, and there will be an opportunity for the public to submit public comment in writing or verbally. The next step after this meeting will be presentation to the full City Council at a later date.
As you know, the City Planning Commission approved the proposed Backyard Beekeeping Ordinance provisions at their regular meeting on May 14, 2015, and recommended to the City Council that it adopt the backyard beekeeping ordinance as shown on Appendix A of the Staff Report (http://planning.lacity.org/Code_Studies/beekeeping/StaffReport.pdf. Audio of the CPC meeting on May 14, 2015 is available online:  http://planning.lacity.org/MeetingsNHearings/Dsp_Results_CPC.cfm?Subtype=Agenda

Backyard Beekeeping in LA City Update 8/11/15

LA City Planning Commission   By Katherine Peterson   August 11, 2015
As you know, the City Planning Commission approved the proposed Backyard Beekeeping Ordinance provisions at their regular meeting on May 14, 2015, and recommended to the City Council that it adopt the backyard beekeeping ordinance as shown on Appendix A of the Staff Report (http://planning.lacity.org/Code_Studies/beekeeping/StaffReport.pdf.  
Audio of the CPC meeting on May 14, 2015 is available online:  http://planning.lacity.org/MeetingsNHearings/Dsp_Results_CPC.cfm?Subtype=Agendas 
 
What's Next
The next step will be to present the proposed Backyard Beekeeping Ordinance provisions to the Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM) of the City Council. PLUM reviews all planning-related matters. The Department of City Planning does not have control over the timing/scheduling of PLUM meetings, but will provide updates as we receive them.
 
Currently, City Council offices are working to schedule this ordinance for PLUM on August 25th, 2015, although this is not yet certain. We will send another email to this interest list when a date has been scheduled.
 
Thank You
Thank you to everyone for their participation and for the input provided up to this point. If you have any questions or concerns as we move on to the next steps, please do not hesitate to contact me. Please note that I will be out of the office starting August 12, 2015. If you would like further information, please contact my supervisor, Erick Lopez, at erick.lopez@lacity.org or by phone: 213-978-1323.

Green Acres In The City

Los Angeles Times/Saturday   By Michelle Hoffman July 25, 2015

Quoted: Stacy McKenna, the secretary for the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Assn., said interest in backyard beekeeping and sustainability has helped increase membership from about 100 in 2009 to 600 today.

Read article at: http://www.pressreader.com/bookmark/PBMOZ0LP4GA1/

 

LA City Planning Commission Approves Ordinance for Backyard Beekeeping

Today the LA City Planning Commission approved the ordinance for Backyard Beekeeping in the City of Los Angeles. Very strong beekeeping turnout at the city planning commission. Some 30 people spoke in public comments for it. Thank you to the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association and HoneyLove http://honeylove.org/. View Ordinance: https://www.dropbox.c…/CPC%20Beekeepingom/%20Staff%20Report…

May 14, 8:30AM: City Planning Commission - Backyard Beekeeping in City of Los Angeles

MAY 14, 2015  CITY PLANNING COMMISSION - Backyard Beekeeping in City of Los Angeles

WHERE: Los Angeles City Hall - 200 North Spring Street, Room 350, Los Angeles, CA. 

DATE: Thursday, May 14, 2015 

TIME: 8:30AM 
We received word that our agenda item is up first (8:30am). Please arrive early to fill out a speaker card!!

AGENDA: http://planning.lacity.org/MeetingsNHearings/dsp_viewFileDetail.cfm?filename=49495

READ: Backyard Beekeeping Final Staff Report

PDF of the presentation from the hearing on 3-19-15: Beekeeping Presentation Staff Hearing 3-19-15

NOTE from Bill Lewis, 2014 President, California State Beekeepers Association; past President and current member Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association:
"I would want to stress that allowing beekeeping in cities will help mitigate aggressive bees (feral or otherwise).  Beekeepers are the first to recognize aggressive behavior and will take steps (re-queen or destroy) to mitigate aggressive bees.  Beekeepers maintaining hives with bees that display gentle behavior raise drones that will mate with queens from feral colonies that display aggressive behavior also helping to dilute the aggressive gene pool.  Without beekeepers in the cities, there is no 1st line of defence."

Your attendance makes a difference. Please try to attend and speak up on urging responsible beekeeping in an urban environment. 

Contact:
Katie Peterson, City Planning Associate
email: katherine.peterson@lacity.org
phone: (213) 978-1445
mail: 200 N. Spring St., Room 701, M/S 395
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Proposed Backyard Beekeeping Ordinance: comments deadline extended

City Planning Commission  From Katie Peterson   April 9, 2015

Hello,

We have received a request to extend the deadline for public comment regarding the Backyard Beekeeping Ordinance in City of Los Angeles, and for the powerpoint presentation from the Hearing Officer Hearing on March 19th, 2015.  Attached is a pdf of the presentation from that hearing.
As a reminder, the City Planning Commission date is scheduled for May 14, 2015.  Public comments to be considered by staff in preparation for that hearing are now welcome up through April 17th, 2015.
Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you,
Katie
Contact:
Katie Peterson, City Planning Associate
email: katherine.peterson@lacity.org
phone: (213) 978-1445
mail: 200 N. Spring St., Room 701, M/S 395
Los Angeles, CA 90012 

 

PUBLIC HEARING 3/19/15: Backyard Beekeeping Draft Ordinance

TODAY - Public Hearing Notice: Backyard Beekeeping Draft Ordinance 

DATE/TIME: MARCH 19, 2015 AT 2:00PM   
PLACE: Los Angeles City Hall, Room 1010, 10th Floor 
200 N. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90012
 

All interested persons are invited to attend a public hearing for a proposed City of Los Angeles Zoning Code amendment to allow backyard beekeeping in single-family residential zones. At the hearing, you may listen, speak, or submit written information related to the proposed ordinance. This is the first in a series of public hearings regarding this proposed ordinance as it moves on to the City Planning Commission, Planning and Land Use Management committee of the City Council, and City Council.

Please see the link below to the public hearing notice, Q&A and draft ordinance for more information.
Public Hearing Notice

For more information, please contact staff:
Katie Peterson
KATHERINE.PETERSON@LACITY.ORG
213-978-1445

Public Hearing Notice: Backyard Beekeeping Draft Ordinance

All interested persons are invited to attend a public hearing for a proposed City of Los Angeles Zoning Code amendment to allow backyard beekeeping in single-family residential zones. At the hearing, you may listen, speak, or submit written information related to the proposed ordinance. This is the first in a series of public hearings regarding this proposed ordinance as it moves on to the City Planning Commission, Planning and Land Use Management committee of the City Council, and City Council.

PLACE: Los Angeles City Hall, Room 1010, 10th Floor – 200 N. Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
TIME: Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 2:00 pm

Please see the link below to the public hearing notice, Q&A and draft ordinance for more information.

Public Hearing Notice

Legalization Update: Beekeeping in City of Los Angeles

January 10, 2015: From HoneyLove: "Thanks to everyone who came to the legalization outreach meeting today! 50+ beekeepers and HoneyLovers."  Among those participating in the efforts to legalize urban beekeeping in the City of Los Angeles is Keith Roberts, president of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association. You can view the attached proposed Los Angeles Urban Beekeeping Concepts.


Sarah Red-Laird (Bee Girl) Poses Questions to Beekeepers

Yesterday (Nov. 19) at the California State Beekeepers Association conference, as part of our Next Generation Beekeepers Initiative, I facilitated a panel regarding bridging the gap between "commercial" and "backyard" beekeepers. Now, I'd like to open the floor to you for comment. 

This is a three part question. Answer just one part, two, or all three.

1) What are the differences between the two groups, as well as the similarities? 

2) What DO we do presently to help each other in a POSITIVE way? 

3) What CAN we do in the future to help each other in a POSITIVE way? I'd love to hear specific action items. 

Thank you SO much for participating!!

Honey Love: "Need Your Help Honey Lovers"

"Please spread the word to all of our members, beekeepers, and friends of bees to support this effort ASAP.  Any $ going to any group that works for bees will help all of us beekeepers.  The more votes they get the better.  HoneyLove does an awesome job on educating new beekeepers and many non-beekeepers just interested in doing something good for the environment.  This is an important group to collaborate with in our efforts to get more favorable pesticide labeling and forage for bees."

Bill Lewis, President of the California State Beekeepers Association
Past President Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association 

The following is from HoneyLove    By Chelsea McFarland    June 10, 2014

Small favor to ask of you. Please vote for us? HoneyLove is up for a $50k grant, a sum which would help ensure we can keep our efforts going. The catch is we have to harass everyone we know (and everyone THEY know) into casting their vote. 
Right now we're the underdogs in a battle with a cat rescue org in NY, and could really use this community's help. Cats on the internet are a formidable opponent, but I'm confident the hive mind will win in the end. Rob and I do what we do out of passion and on a volunteer basis, but our programs do have real costs and we proudly employ three part time employees. This grant would go a long way toward ensuring we can continue to do what we do serving the beekeeping community of Los Angeles and beyond.

Please help us by sharing on facebook/twitter/email — we can't do this without your help! Thanks!! YAY BEES!!

VOTE HERE: http://on.fb.me/1jwsmxR
(you have to like zipcar's facebook page to vote)         

Learn more about the contest here: http://honeylove.org/zipcar-contest/

 

How to Start Urban Beekeeping: The Importance of Honey

Money Crashers     By Michael Lewis   4/3/14

The bee has always occupied a special place in man’s psyche. Young children learn the origins of babies with stories of “the birds and the bees,” while their industry is so respected that a person engaged in intense activity is “as busy as a bee.” “Spelling bees” and “quilting bees” are so named because a meeting of people working together resembles the scenes within a beehive. Closely guarded information is “none of your beeswax,” and the flappers of the 1920s popularized the “bee’s knees” to express the coolness of an object or activity.

We have seen girls with “bee-stung lips,” and refer to irritated people as having a “bee in their bonnet.” And who hasn’t made a “beeline” for a special object?

As far as we know, bees have been around for about 125 million years. They are descendants of wasps, most of which are predator carnivores. Bees, however, switched from hunting prey to collecting pollen for food – a nice adaptation, since the food doesn’t fight back. Scientists have since classified nearly 20,000 species of bees, and they are found on every continent except Antarctica. They are the most efficient pollination agents in nature, a critical factor in the appearance of the world as we know it.

The Honey Bee, A European Transplant

While most bees pollinate flowers – the bumblebee, for example, is especially important in the pollination of tomatoes and glasshouse-raised crops – the western honey bee is the bee people are most likely to name when asked the identity of the greatest pollinator. The honey bee originated in Asia, traveled to Europe, and was introduced into North America in the early 1600s. Italian bees were brought to this country from Italy in 1859, and later from Spain, Portugal, and elsewhere. In 1990, a subspecies from Africa came to America.

Read more...
http://www.moneycrashers.com/start-urban-beekeeping-importance-honey-bees/#disqus_thread

Full article also located on this website under Becoming an Urban Beekeeper