CSBA The President's Word - August 2014

The President's Word     - August 2014
Fellow Beekeepers, 

For those of you who have not already set aside the week of Nov. 17-21, 2014 to attend the CSBA Annual Convention, please do so today!

This year's 125th Annual Convention will be hosted by the Hyatt in Valencia, CA just north of Los Angeles with easy access to the I-5 freeway and very close to the Magic Mountain Theme Park and more for those familiar with the area. Please see the full-page ad at the bottom of this issue!

We are expecting a large turn-out of attendees from all over CA and around the country. There should be plenty of interest to both those making their living keeping bees as well as a large contingent of urban beekeepers, especially from the over 1,000 members of bee associations in Los Angeles and vicinity. I encourage all attendees to spend the extra dollars to stay at the Hyatt. Avoid the hassle of the morning commute; share a room to get the cost down. I am interested in booking as many rooms as possible since our group earns 1 complimentary room for every 50 rooms booked. These complimentary rooms are used to house some of our speakers, which saves the CSBA the cost of these rooms. We are bringing in many speakers that will need these rooms so please book your room today! Convention information is being added daily to the CSBA website so check back often to get the latest updates on the program. There will be links to most of our speaker biographies. 

Our September 4th CSBA board meeting is fast approaching. I encourage any CSBA member to attend these board meetings and get involved in supporting your organization. The CSBA Board of Directors is a core group of individuals that give up time out of their busy daily schedules to make the decisions that will better the beekeeping industry in CA. New blood is always welcome and encouraged. It is most important to share the burden in advancing the interests of CA beekeepers and beyond. 

Work is being done to make almond orchards a safer place for bees. Your Board of Directors is working hard to communicate with almond growers and Pest Control Advisors (PCA's) to mitigate bee health problems that occurred last season during almond pollination and to avoid the same problems this coming pollination season. There will be a panel at the CSBA convention with representatives from the almond Industry, PCA's, and beekeepers affected by bee kills last year in almonds. The goal - finding a safer path for bees in almond pollination in 2015. 

There are important meetings to attend to. Your CSBA President is planning to attend a follow-up meeting to the high level meeting held in Washington D.C. last March that resulted in a memorandum from President Obama in support of Honey Bee Health and Forage support systems. This USDA Forage and Nutrition Summit will also be in Washington D.C. in October. I believe Day 1 of the summit is open to the public. Day 2 will focus on working groups and will be limited to invited participants. This meeting will be followed by the 14th Annual North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) Conference. I expect a number of attendees at both these meetings will be in attendance at our CSBA Convention in November. I hope to get those attendees to regurgitate information gleaned from these meetings. 

I have heard news of good honey harvests in the Dakotas and the Mid-West. I hope this translates to lots of $ being spent on auction items at the CSBA Convention in support of raising $ for bee research. 

Bill Lewis, CSBA President

CSBA President Bill Lewis to speak at HoneyLove: Sunday, March 30, 2014

CSBA President Bill Lewis will be speaking at the next HoneyLove Advanced Beekeeping Meeting on March 30:  TOPICS:
1. Catching a swarm and evaluating behavior
2. Gentle/aggressive bees & how to tell the difference
3. Re-queening an aggressive colony


CSBA The President's Word - February 2014

The President's Word
I hope everyone is as fortunate as myself to have rented all my bees to almond growers.  I delivered my bees last week to the orchards leaving only one wimpy colony at home.  I got to work with my bees yesterday in the orchards.  At most locations, tips of the trees were barely starting to bloom.  At one location, near Lerdo and I-5, there must have been close to 30% bloom and the orchard was alive with the buzz. That sound still amazes me and it is fun to have lunch sitting between the almond rows in the dirt.  This is going to be one unusual year with almond bloom coming early, lack of water (I am envious of those in Northern CA who recently got several inches of rain).  I have seen some big older orchards being ripped out, but also plenty of new orchards put in as well.  I am optimistic that the demand for our bees will remain strong despite what appears may be a slight dip in demand this season.

I am fortunate to have good help at home to keep everything running while I jet off to Milwaukee, WI to attend the "National Pheasant Fest" and to support wildlife and honey bee forage.  I have met so many interesting people through bees and this event promises to be another one of those.  I connected with Anna Kettlewell who is Director of the American Honey Queen Program (1999 American Honey Queen) and she took the ball and lined up at least 12 volunteers, including the current WI Honey Queen and the President of the WI Beekeepers Association, to help staff the bee table over the 3-day show in the Wildlife Pollinator section of the Youth Village at Pheasant Fest.  Mike Laforge, current manager of the Dadant store in Watertown, WI chipped in to loan a large carload of beekeeping equipment to be used for the display.  I am hoping to develop more fruitful relationships with Pheasants Forever (nationwide organization) and others in our pursuit of more bee forage. 

In March, I will meet with legislators at the CA Farm Bureau in Sacramento. I am also continuing to line up interesting speakers for our convention next November, which seems like a long way off, but there is much to do. 

Let's make the best of our strange and unusual CA weather. 

Bill Lewis, CSBA President

CSBA: The President's Word - January 2014


The President's Word
I am honored to have been given the opportunity to serve CSBA as President. I would like to thank John Miller and his support team for a job well done! His 2013 convention attracted record numbers of attendees, sponsors, and vendors.
During John's presidency, he made bee forage a high priority. He was instrumental in the Nov. 6th meeting to 'To Explore Developing Partnerships for Bee Forage'. The day brought together beekeepers, CA state and federal agencies, academia, NGO's and public and private land holders for the first time to share ideas, concerns and the path forward for gaining better access to forage lands. Thank you to Dr. Gabriele Ludwig, Environmental Affairs, Almond Board of CA, for facilitating the meeting and to Ria deGrassi, Director, Federal Policy, CA Farm Bureau and their organizations for doing the heavy lifting in making this historic meeting possible. There is much work to be done in the coming year.
As I sit at the CSBA Bee Booth here at the 2013 Almond Board Conference, I am most impressed by the scale of this event. The trade show fills the Sacramento Convention Hall the size of 3 football fields. I am amazed that without us, bee people, none of this would exist. Maybe, if the bee industry was concentrated in a single state, and not spread out all over the country, it would be easier to coordinate a more focused effort on bee-related issues. I had a chance to speak with Joe MacIlvaine, President of Paramount Farming Co., who encouraged me to revisit the CSBA effort to establish a CA Apiary Commission that could collect per hive assessments from beekeepers all over the country at almond pollination time.  Monies would be used for bee research and to support other industry wide activities such as working to obtain access to more lands for bee forage. He also reiterated Paramount's offer to match donations to bee research from their pollination beekeepers and he wondered why more of their beekeepers did not take advantage of this offer. 
Locally, in Los Angeles, there have been two recent meetings addressing urban beekeeping. My local neighborhood council is in support of allowing beekeepers to keep bees on residential-zoned properties. Most recently, at the LA Planning and Land Use Committee Meeting, a motion was passed to allow beekeeping in R1 zones. The local group HoneyLove has been the driving force behind getting beekeeping legalized in the city. Fortunately, we will have an opportunity to work with the city planning office that will do the actual writing of the ordinance and should be able to require keeping of only European genetics in managed colonies. We have already submitted a list of "Best Management Practices" for keeping bees in the urban environment to the city planning office.  
Personally, I feel like I am in the middle of a battle to keep my colonies alive and strong for the rapidly approaching almond pollination season. So far, we are maintaining.  Colonies treated early for mites are booming and we have been able to make up new colonies (thank goodness for banked queens) to replace colonies that are crashing, most likely because we held off on mite treatment to eke out the last of our alfalfa harvest. Most of those too we have been able to salvage and pull back from the brink. I hope all of you are doing a better job keeping your bees healthy. Best wishes for a successful pollination season!

Bill Lewis, CSBA President