Recent Items of Interest to Beekeepers of LA County

LA County Agriculture Commissioner / Weights & Measures Dept., Bee Program / HazMat. Conrad Burton - Inspector III, October 21, 2016

This is a friendly HELLO to all LA County beekeepers.  There are a couple recent items of interest to the beekeeping community in the County of Los Angeles.  

1)  All beekeeping associations with members in the City of Los Angeles. Most of you know that the City of Los Angeles passed Ordinance 183920 in October of 2015, allowing for more beekeeping in specific residential areas of the city. I was informed that the City of Los Angeles enforces this ordinance through the Los Angeles City Department of Building and Safety (LADBS), Code Enforcement Bureau, and from my understanding fines are a minimum of about $360. If you have any questions you may email LADBS Assistant Chief- Frank Lara at frank.lara@lacity.org.  He has been very helpful.  

2) On October 20th, the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control (SGVMVC) district conducted a pesticide application in the City of Rosemead, to control Aedes albopictus (Asian Tiger mosquitoes). These mosquitoes pose a serious danger to public health as vectors of viral diseases including Zika, chikungunya, and dengue. The SGVMVC contacted the LA County Agriculture Commissioner / Weights & Measures Department (ACWM) in advance to inform us of the application because at least one of the products was "Toxic to Bees". The SGVMVC provided excellent information, maps of the treatment area, and pesticide labels (attached link). One registered apiary was found within the treatment zone and was successfully contacted regarding the application. It is expected that more mosquito applications will be conducted throughout Los Angeles County in the future if populations and breeding habitat increase. This is one of the reasons why it is important to make sure that all beekeepers register their apiary locations with LA County Agriculture. If you have any questions regarding the applications you may call the SGVMVC at (626)-337-5686 or look for updates on their web site at www.sgvmosquito.org

  • Neighborhood Treatments Scheduled in San Gabriel Valley to Control Invasive Aedes Mosquitoes
     
  • I trust this is helpful to you all.  If you have any questions don't hesitate to call or email. 

  • Conrad Burton - Inspector III
    Bee Program/Haz Mat
    LA County Agriculture Commissioner / Weights & Measures Dept.
    12300 Lower Azusa Rd. 
    Arcadia, CA 91006
    (626) 459-8894 office

    (A FURTHER NOTE: I just spoke to Frank Lara, Building and Safety Head inspector and he said the following: "Any violation of the beekeeping ordinance (the pdf below) will require payment to cover the cost of sending an inspector out. It is not meant to be a punitive fine, but nevertheless, if you're not in compliance and people complain, you are liable for minimum $360 for an inspection." Frank Lara will be out of town until the 31st of October, after which he is available to answer questions. 

    Any questions about the zoning aspect of the document you can talk to the zoning engineer for Building and Safety: Ara Sargesyan - 213-482-6706.

    Here is the ordinance itself: 
    http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2012/12-0785_ord_183920_12-06-15.pdf)

    Backyard Beekeeping Approved In Los Angeles

    NPR.org   By Laura Wagner   October 14, 2015

    Beekeeper Rob McFarland (photographed last year) inspects the beehive he keeps on the roof of his Los Angeles house. The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to allow residents to keep beehives in their backyards. Damian Dovarganes/APOverturning a 136-year-old ban, the Los Angeles City Council voted on Wednesday to legalize urban beekeeping.

    Once the ordinance is signed by the mayor, Los Angeles will join cities including New York, San Francisco and Washington in allowing beekeeping. There is even a beehive on the White House grounds.

    The ordinance will limit beekeeping to backyards of single family homes and establish buffer zones, and beekeepers will have to provide a source of water at their hives,according to the Associated Press.

    According to an op-ed in The Los Angeles Times by Noah Wilson-Rich, author of The Bee: A Natural History, the repeal of the beekeeping regulation is long overdue:

    "On June 10, 1879, Los Angeles lawmakers banned beekeeping within city limits. According to Mark Vallianatos, who teaches environmental policy at Occidental College, their rationale was frankly preposterous. Having noted the affinity between bees and fruit trees, they reasoned that bees attacked and damaged fruit, and concluded that outlawing bees was the best way to preserve crops.

    "Soon enough scientists debunked this ridiculous theory — bees are vitally important pollinators — and by 1917, the Los Angeles Times was calling the no-beekeeping policy 'an ancient and still-unrepealed city ordinance.'"

    While critics worry about the dangers posed by bee stings, supporters point out that bees already live in the city in the wild. The AP adds, "Feral hives that are discovered in public areas usually are wiped out because of worries that they might contain Africanized bees — hybrids of tamer European honeybees and a hardier but more aggressive strain."

    In the op-ed, Wilson-Rich counters this claim:

    "Hives maintained by beekeepers are less dangerous than wild hives; beekeepers effectively tame hives through re-queening — the process of removing an aggressive queen and manually adding a docile queen."

    The vote is welcome news to scientists who warn that declining bee populations, due to such factors as climate change and loss of habitat, will damage crop yields, as NPR's Allison Aubrey reported in April.

    "Even if you're not a lover of bees or honey, you should know that bees are critically important to our food supply. They help pollinate billions of dollars of crops each year, from apples and carrots to blueberries and almonds."

    So if bees are threatened, ultimately, the production of these crops will be threatened, too."

    http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/10/14/448725988/backyard-beekeping-approved-in-los-angeles

    Why Urban Beekeeping Is Right For Los Angeles

    Los Angeles Times - Op Ed  By Noah Wilson-Rich  October 14, 2015

    Benjamin Oppenheimer, Florida's youngest licensed beekeeper at age nine, shakes bees from the comb as he harvests honey from his backyard hive in Boca Raton in 2014. (Mark Randall / TNS)On June 10, 1879, Los Angeles lawmakers banned beekeeping within city limits. According to Mark Vallianatos, who teaches environmental policy at Occidental College, their rationale was frankly preposterous. Having noted the affinity between bees and fruit trees, they reasoned that bees attacked and damaged fruit, and concluded that outlawing bees was the best way to preserve crops.

    Soon enough scientists debunked this ridiculous theory — bees are vitally important pollinators — and by 1917, the Los Angeles Times was calling the no-beekeeping policy "an ancient and still-unrepealed city ordinance." Yet urban beekeeping remains illegal to this day.

    That prohibition may, at long last, soon end. In September, the City Council passed a draft proposal to allow beekeeping in single-family residential zones. A final vote is scheduled for Wednesday, just in time for this autumn's honey harvest.

    The traditional argument against urban beekeeping is that it's unsafe: Bees sting, allergies abound. One family's pastime is a neighbor's ruined afternoon.

    But let's get one point out of the way: Bees are far less of a nuisance than their similar-looking cousin, the wasp. Whereas wasps sting aggressively, bees only sting defensively, and die when they do so.

    Regardless, the obvious rebuttal to the danger argument is that bees already live in Los Angeles — in trees and in the nooks and crannies of the city's buildings. L.A. County Agricultural Inspector Ariel Verayo estimates that there are roughly 10 bee colonies per square mile.

    Besides, hives maintained by beekeepers are less dangerous than wild hives; beekeepers effectively tame hives through re-queening — the process of removing an aggressive queen and manually adding a docile queen.

    And other cities, including New York, Washington and Paris, have legalized beekeeping without unleashing an epidemic of stings. You can find urban hives at the White House, Chicago City Hall, the InterContinental hotel in Times Square, Boston's Prudential Center, Denver's Wells Fargo Center, the Airbnb headquarters in San Francisco and the Sheraton hotel in New Orleans. If the City Council approves beekeeping in L.A.'s commercial zones, One Cal Plaza will join the list.

    Whatever the risks of urban beekeeping, there are tangible benefits too.

    Bees contribute more than $15 billion to the U.S. economy annually in their role as pollinators of more than 100 fruit and vegetable crops. That number balloons to $100 billion globally. I won't pretend that bees will put a dent in L.A.'s unemployment rate or add significantly to the state's gross domestic product. But legal beekeeping would spur job creation, allowing skilled professionals to make a living by installing and maintaining beehives for residences, companies and schools.

    Urban beekeeping is good for the planet too. "Colony collapse disorder," the modern bee plague, seems to have ended as mysteriously as it began, lasting from 2006 to 2011. Yet 1 in 3 beehives still fails each year, as bees remain under threat by a triad of killers: agricultural chemicals, infectious disease and habitat loss.

    While scientists, politicians and businesspeople figure out a viable solution to the former two problems, urban beekeepers can help fight the latter. Beehives in urban environments are actually more productive than hives in surrounding rural areas, perhaps because urban hives endure winter weather better than their rural counterparts.

    Bees don't attack fruit, as L.A. lawmakers once believed, and — scare stories to the contrary — don't attack people either, especially if beekeepers are in charge of the hives. The city should fix its 19th century mistake, and legalize urban beekeeping.

    Noah Wilson-Rich is the founder of the Best Bees Co., a full-service beekeeping operation that delivers, installs and manages beehives for residents and businesses in select markets throughout the country. He is the author of "The Bee: A Natural History."

    http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-1014-wilson-rich-urban-beekeeping-la-20151014-story.html

    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 

     

    Legalization Update: Beekeeping in City of Los Angeles

    LEGALIZATION UPDATE:

    The City of Los Angeles Department of City Planning is in the process of preparing an ordinance to allow beekeeping on single-family zone lots, with a draft ordinance expected before City Planning Commission in the spring of 2015. This ordinance draft is in response to a City Council Motion directing our Department and Animal Services to report back on the feasibility of beekeeping in residential neighborhoods.

    Preliminary Outreach Meeting
    Saturday, January 10, 2015 | 10:00 a.m.
    Hollenbeck Police Station
    2111 E. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA
    (street parking available, transit options are available, entrance at the front of the police station)

    HoneyLove Event post: https://www.facebook.com/events/844746942253551/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular