LACBA Meeting: Monday, April 2, 2018

Our next meeting will be held Monday, April 2, 2018.
Open Board Meeting: 6:30PM
General Meeting: 7:00PM
Mount Olive Lutheran Church (Shilling Hall)
3561 Foothill Blvd.
La Crescenta, CA 91214

Meetings of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association are open to the public. All are welcome!

Bees For Sale

Order your bees now from LACBA members (check with the individual beekeepers for pricing, products, and availability):

Bare Bees Honey: email:

Bill's Bees:

Holly Hawk: 626-807-0572

The Valley Hive:

LACBA Beekeeping Class 101 - #2

A special thank you goes out to all the volunteers who came out to lend a hand today at the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association Beekeeping 101 Class - Class #2 at The Valley Hive.

Frame building - Nick Maggiore (Photo: The Valley Hive)

Jon Reese, Clyde Steese, Merrill Kruger, Juan Ruvalcaba at the box building station. (Photo: The Valley Hive)Merrill Kruger does some heavy lifting. (Photo: The Valley Hive)

Bill's Bees Has Bees For Sale for the 2017 Beekeeping Season!

Bill's Bees Has BEES FOR SALE for the 2017 Season! Pre-order NOW AND SAVE! Package Bees Nucleus Colonies A Complete Hive VSH-Italian Queen Bees


Bill's Bees sells VSH-Italian Queen Bees and Italian Honey Bees from California. These bees are gentle, easy to work with, and build up abundantly for pollination and honey making. Whether you are beginning beekeeping or already an experienced beekeeper, these bees are perfect for you. Their known gentle genetics make them ideal for Backyard Beekeeping in Los Angeles.


The Colony-Killing Mistake Backyard Beekeepers Are Making

NPR The Salt    By Dan Gunderson    August 12, 2016 

The healthy bees managed by Jonathan Garaas are checked every two weeks for signs of a possible mite infestation. Dan Gunderson/MPR News

Jonathan Garaas has learned a few things in three seasons of backyard beekeeping: Bees are fascinating. They're complicated. And keeping them alive is not easy.

Every two weeks, the Fargo, N.D., attorney opens the hives to check the bees and search for varroa mites, pests that suck the bees' blood and can transmit disease. If he sees too many of the pinhead-sized parasites, he applies a chemical treatment.

Attorney and hobby beekeeper Jonathan Garaas keeps nine thriving hives outside of Fargo, N.D. Dan Gunderson/MPR News

Garaas has lost hives in his first two years as a novice beekeeper. But with nine hives now established near his home and a couple of University of Minnesota bee classes under his belt, he feels like he's got the hang of it, although it's still a challenge.

"You can get the book learning. You can see the YouTubes. You can be told by others," he says, but "you have to have hands-on experience. When you start putting it all together, it starts making sense."

Scientists wish every beginner beekeeper were as diligent as Garaas.

While experts welcome the rising national interest in beekeeping as a hobby, they warn that novices may be inadvertently putting their hives — and other hives for miles around — in danger by not keeping the bee mite population in check.

Many hobbyists avoid mite treatments, preferring a natural approach, says Marla Spivak, a bee expert at the University of Minnesota. But that's often a deadly decision for the bees, she says.

National surveys by the Bee Informed Partnership show backyard beekeepers are taking the greatest losses nationally, and those losses are often the result of an out-of-control infestation of the varroa mite, says Spivak.

Varroa mites arrived in the United States nearly 30 years ago, and they've become a big problem in recent years.

Untreated hives can spread mites and viruses to other hives within several miles, Spivak says. Healthy bees will invade a dying hive to steal its honey. When they do, they carry the mites with them back to their hives.

University of Minnesota Bee Squad coordinator Becky Masterman secures a strap on a bee box on the roof of the Weisman Museum in Minneapolis. Judy Griesedieck for MPR News

"The combination of the mite and the viruses is deadly," says Spivak.

The University of Minnesota Bee Squad, a group that provides beekeeping education and mentoring in the Twin Cities, is seeing more healthy hives become rapidly infested with mites and the viruses they carry.

Fall is an especially critical season, says Rebecca Masterman, the Bee Squad's associate program director.

"That late season reinfestation means that bees are going through winter with a lot of mite pressure and it's really hard for them to come out of that and survive," she says. "It's important enough to really try to get every backyard beekeeper in the country to at least be aware of it."

Masterman says she's also encouraging commercial beekeepers to check their bees more often for surprise mite infestations. A new online mite-monitoring project lets beekeepers anywhere in the country share data on infestations that will help researchers track the spread.

A mite control experiment this summer should provide more information about how to best treat mites in bee colonies.

One threat to honeybees is the varroa mite, seen here invading the pupae of a developing bee. Untreated infestations will kill colonies. Judy Griesedieck for MPR NewsBees face other challenges beyond mites, including poor nutrition, disease and pesticides. Even veteran beekeepers say it takes more effort to keep their bees alive these days.

But the mite and virus threat to bees is something that can be controlled, says Spivak.

"I really understand why some people might not like to have to treat their bee colony for mites. It just sounds so awful. It's such a beautiful bee colony and to have to stick some kind of a treatment in there seems so unnatural," she says.

"But our bees are dying. And it's very important to help do whatever we can to keep them alive."

Beekeeping Class 101 - Sunday, August 21, 2016 at Bill's Bees Bee Yard

UPDATE: Next Beekeeping Class 101 is Sunday, August 21, 2016, 9AM-Noon at Bill's Bees Bee Yard. BEE SUITS REQUIRED. We may do some honey extracting during this class. If you have honey frames to extract let Bill Lewis know in advance and we will arrange to extract your honey as part of our bee class. Send Bill an email at or call 818-312-1691 to get on the bee class extracting schedule. We can provide a bucket for extracted honey or bring your own. Look forward to seeing you. For more info on our Beekeeping Class 101 - see below.

(NOTE: The date was originally posted as August 14 but that was incorrect.)  Please see our Beekeeping Class 101 page for more information. - Thank You! /beekeeping-classes-losangeles/

LACBA Beekeeping Class 101 - #6: July 17, 2016 at Bill's Bees Bee Yard

Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association
Beekeeping Class 101 - Class #5 

Welcome to the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association Beekeeping Class 101.
See /beekeeping-classes-losangeles/ 
for the 2016 Season Schedule of Classes.
All bee classes for the remainder of the 2016 Season will be held at Bill's Bees Bee Yard.
The next class is Sunday, July 17, 9AM-Noon.
We teach responsible beekeeping for an urban environment,
adhering to Best Management Practices for the bees, beekeepers, and general public.
All are Welcome! 

Lots of Links from the CSBA - July 11, 2016

California State Beekeepers Association from Joy Pendell for your reading enjoyment.

Head on over to the CSBA and become a member:, (membership entitles you to the monthly CSBA Bee Times newsletter), read about the upcoming 2016 CSBA Annual Convention:


Disclaimer: Inclusion of items in this email does not imply CSBA or LACBA endorsement unless such endorsement is specifically stated.

WAS – News From The World Of Beekeeping

Catch The Buzz – Neonicotinoids Can Jeopardize The Normal Development Of Honey Bee Larvae

Catch The Buzz – EU Decides Not To Decide On Using Roundup

Catch The Buzz – Epipen Price Skyrockets, Lack Of Competition

Catch The Buzz – Forensic Pollen Science Is A Way Of Life For Vaughn Bryant. Solving Murders Is One Of The Perks

Catch The Buzz – Akron Honey Co. On New Lebron James Show

OCBA – Fair Volunteers Needed

ABF – Webinar Series Signup

Good Food Retailers Collaborative – Good Food Awards Entry

E.LECLERC – International Honey Selling Opportunity (see attachment)

Pigeon Mountain Trading – June Newsletter (see attachment)

Land Available for Bees

“We represent clients with three plots of land totaling 6.25 acres in McFarland, CA. This property is in the middle of Orchard Ranches toward Spring Valley.  Many inquires from the Beekeeping communities and would like to provide the information regarding the land to them.” For more info contact Lyle Ballard at 310.490.7596

LACBA Beekeeping Class 101 - #5: June 19, 2016 at Bill's Bees Bee Yard

Get ready for Class #5! Join us June 19th (9am-noon) at Bill’s Bees Bee Yard for Class #5 of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association Beekeeping Class 101. (Bee Suits Required)

June bee class is traditionally our class for hunting mites, but every class from now on out will have a segment on testing for mites, monitoring mite levels, and safe mite treatments for honey bees.

We will continue to follow the progress of packages installed in May.

With good mentoring, monitoring, and continued learning of beekeeping skills, you're off to a good start. Enjoy!

Happy Bee-ing!
Bill & Clyde
Bill's Bees


LACBA Beekeeping Class 101: Class #4: Hive Management

Class #4 of the 2016 Season of LACBA Beekeeping Class 101 is Sunday, May 15, 9AM-Noon at Bill's Bees Bee Yard. Topics: Hive Management. BEE SUITS REQUIRED. Look forward to seeing you at BEE CLASS! All are Welcome! For location, directions and other information regarding the class, please refer to our Beekeeping Class 101 page: /beekeeping-classes-losangeles/

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.

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:

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: 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 ( Audio of the CPC meeting on May 14, 2015 is available online:

Beekeeping Class 101 - August 16, 2015 at Bill's Bees Bee Yard 9AM-Noon

REMINDER: Beekeeping Class 101 - August 16, 2015 at Bill's bees Bee Yard 9AM-Noon. Topic: More Lessons in Hive Management and Keeping Your Bees Alive During the Dearth.  BEE SUITS REQUIRED. You won't want to miss it! /beekeeping-classes-losangeles/

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:


Sweet! Los Angeles is Closer to Legalizing Beekeeping

The Los Angeles Times   By Kerry Cavanaugh  May 14, 2015

Rob McFarland holds a frame of honey bees. (LA Times)
Los Angeles is getting closer to legalizing backyard beekeeping and the proposed ordinance couldn’t come at a better time.
The more healthy bees in the environment, the better for everyone.-  

Professional beekeepers reported this week that 42% of their honeybees died in the last year, and, for the first time, they lost more bees during the summer than the winter. That’s surprising and worrisome because bees typically suffer in the cold weather, but fare better during the warm pollination season. And it underscores fears that parasites, pesticides and farming practices might be weakening the bee population, which is essential for pollinating the nation’s food crops.

Backyard beekeeping can’t replace commercial beekeeping operations, but the urban honeybees may help replenish the diminishing supply, or provide disease-resistant genes that can be introduced in the commercial bee lines. The more healthy bees in the environment, the better for everyone.


Current city law prohibits beekeeping, except on land zoned for agricultural uses. The proposed ordinance, approved Thursday by the city Planning Commission, would allow beekeeping by right in single-family neighborhoods. The resident would need to register as a beekeeper with the Los Angeles County agriculture commissioner, have no more than one hive per 2,500 square feet of lot, keep the hives at least five feet from the neighbors' yards and 20 feet from the street or sidewalk and keep a source of water for the bees so they don’t seek water from the neighbors' swimming pool or bird bath. There’s no pre-approval needed, but the city will respond to complaints and if residents break the rules or can’t manage their bees, the city can revoke the right to keep hives.

The City Council still needs to OK the new backyard beekeeping policy before it can take effect, but city leaders have been supportive of urban agriculture. And why not? L.A. has the ideal climate and long growing seasons. The city has hillsides, vacant lots and yards that can support small farms and hobby farmers. A vegetable garden or orchard is a more productive use of our precious water supply than a green lawn. And more fruits and vegetables grown locally mean less produce has to be trucked and shipped over great distance, meaning fresher food and less fossil fuels burned in transport.

Read at:

Teaching Kids to Love Bees, Not Fear them

The New York Times   By Jennifer Berney   May 14, 2015

Several years ago, reports of the declining bee population inspired my partner to keep bees in our yard. Her reasons were mainly practical—not only did she want to support the vanishing bees, she hoped our plum trees might increase their yield. But it took less than one season for my partner to fall in love, and over time the number of hives in our backyard has multiplied from two to 10. At my house this week we know that spring has arrived because my 2-year-old points out the window and yells excitedly: “Bees!”

I consider both of my children lucky to know the honeybees so well. Living with a beekeeper has afforded me a chance to observe how children interact with bees. From what I’ve seen so far, they fall into two distinct camps: those who are fascinated, and those who are afraid.

There are kids who watch in wonder as the honeybees land on the stones in our birdbath and drink water through their delicate tongues, and there are kids who cover their hair with their hands and run away screaming. There are kids who knock on our door to buy a jar of honey and ask to see our bees, and there are kids who will poke a long stick through our fence and bang it against the roof of a hive.

I worry that the child who runs from bees in fear will grow up to be the adult who spots a healthy swarm in her backyard and sprays it with insecticide. I worry that the child who bangs on a hive roof will grow up to be the teenager who knocks over a neighbor’s hive in the middle of the night. These are two kinds of transgressions that happen often in my community, and they are undeserved. Unlike the many varieties of wasps, bees are gentle creatures. They pollinate our crops, make honey, and rarely sting unless provoked.

In recent years, beekeepers have continued to report high annual losses. An annual survey of beekeepers conducted by a partnership that includes the United States Department of Agriculture, released Wednesday, suggested both that significant losses in colonies continue, and that the loss rate in summer has increased. We compensate for this by breeding and replacing our lost colonies year after year. Scientists are no longer concerned that the honeybee’s extinction is imminent, but we are not yet off the hook. The disappearing bees have reminded us that our survival is interdependent. We live in collaboration with other species. A child who squashes bees or runs from them is a child who hasn’t yet learned their value, and it’s our job to teach them.

This might begin by teaching our children what a honeybee looks like. Before my partner brought home our first colony of bees, I was like many adults in that I could not distinguish a honeybee from a bumblebee, and had only the vaguest notion that wasps were a different species entirely. The yellow jacket who is harassing you at the end of summer, trying to take a bite of your ham sandwich, has little in common with the honeybee who is gathering pollen and nectar. Children are capable of making this distinction; like adults, they just need a little guidance.

Teaching children to value the honeybee might also include explaining the phenomenon of swarming, which, contrary to popular belief, is not an angry behavior. Honeybees swarm when their colony has grown healthy enough to divide in two. One half of them remain in the hive to welcome a new queen, while the other half leaves in search of a new home. They fill their bellies with nectar and travel in a cluster to shelter their old queen. The sight of a cluster of bees on a branch in a yard or a park is an opportunity for observation, a lesson about the intelligence of the insect world.

And that is the real lesson the bees offer: as smart as we humans are, we don’t know everything. At my house we can dance to Beyoncé in the living room, but we can’t wiggle our butts in a sequence so precise that it communicates the location of a nectar source three miles away. Bees can.

My partner has a practice that many beekeepers would find silly. Though a typical worker bee lives for only six weeks, in the evening my partner often picks up bees who have grown cold and fallen just outside the entrance to their hive. She collects them in a jar, brings them inside our house to warm them up and later, once they are restored, she returns them to their home. I used to tease her about this. Bees are members of a complex system. They are not individuals, and it struck me as foolish to attend to them as such. But then last week I saw my 6-year-old son crouch in front of a hive at dusk to gather languishing bees in his small hand. In that moment I realized what the bees had taught him — it’s the very lesson we all need to learn: that every small part of the system counts for something.

Read at: