Happy New Year!

New Years Eve advice from;
Historical Honeybee Articles - Beekeeping History
Honey For Your New Years Celebration. 

According to the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke, honey speeds up alcohol metabolism, which means that it will help your body break down the alcohol more quickly. - Source: What Women Need to Know - 2005, page 14, By Marianne Legato, Carol Colman

Eating toast and honey after a long evening's drinking will help prevent the morning-after hangover headache. -Source: Better Homes and Gardens - 1977, page 61

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!
Image: American Bee Journal, December, 1944
Image not related to article..
Via. Historical Honeybee Articles - Beekeeping History

circa. 1903 - Christmas Folklore in the Ozarks

At the birth of Christ on Christmas eve, the bees are said to stir in their hives and hum a great song of praise, but one must not disturb them, for, as they are careful not to intrude upon the celebrations of mankind, so man must not interfere with their celebration of the birth of the Christ child. Bees hummed the Old Hundredth Psalm at midnight. Several hives set together sent a satisfying praise booming far across the garden. 

The cattle in the byres joined the bees celebration of Christmas by turning to the east at midnight in imitation of the beasts at Bethlehem. Some believed they could also speak on this night and would bellow their adoration, but tradition was held that the animals must never be disturbed during the eve of Christmas. 

Some skeptics did not head the warnings. One Ozarks man closely watched his father's oxen but his father insisted that human observer broke the spell. Guernsey farmers provided extra hay but never dared to loiter to see it eaten. One did test his courage but the cowshed door slammed shut, he dropped dead and no one repeated the experiment. A Nova Scotia farmer heard his cattle say: "Tomorrow we'll be drawing wood to make our master's coffin." The shocked farmer dropped dead on the spot, and as late as 1928 no one on this farm went near the cattle on Christmas Eve. They were fed in the afternoon.

Encyclopedia of Superstitions, Folklore,
and the Occult Sciences of the World (1903)
edited by Cora Linn Morrison Daniels, Charles McClellan Stevens
Page 1506

Discovering Christmas customs and folklore: 
a guide to seasonal rites - Page 25 
Margaret Baker - 1992

LACBA Golden Hive Tool Award Presented to The Mussenden Family

The 2017 Golden Hive Tool Award
was presented to
The Mussenden Family
at our 2017 LACBA Annual Holiday Banquet
December 4, 2017

The Golden Hive Tool Award is our president’s choice of someone who has shown great dedication to the club and thereby improves peoples’ experience with beekeeping. This tradition was started by past president of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association, Clyde Steese, to honor a beekeeper in our association that has gone above and beyond in volunteering for the LACBA and who embodies the spirit of promoting the love of honeybees amongst other beekeepers and the community.

“It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

Harry Truman, our 33rd President of the United States said this, and this year’s Golden Hive Tool Award recipient personifies that very concept.  Credit isn’t sought.  But the opportunity to be helpful, to be useful, is indeed the mantra for this candidate. 

Over the last three years, take a look at the variety of events hosted by the LACBA or related to its members.  Perhaps consider printing out this daunting list and posting it on the wall.  Wrap a blindfold over your eyes and arm yourself with an assortment of darts.  Let them fly, and you are very unlikely to hit anywhere that you wouldn’t see this recipient:

Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association Beekeeping Class 101
Honey Harvest Festival in Fillmore
Los Angeles County Fair Bee Booth (for consecutive years)
The Valley Hive Honey Competition and Grand Reopening
“Wild For the Plant Day” at the L.A Zoo

It’s conceivably easier to attempt to consider where they haven’t helped.  But then again, in recent years, I quite literally could not find such an instance.

And it’s not just any help.  But the best help.  Here are some of the quotes from those who have worked with this candidate.

“The commitment to the bee club is extraordinary.”

“When everything seems lost, they always seem to show up and save the day.  It’s uncanny, and eerily consistent.”

“Amazing.  Dedicated. Talented. Consistent: Just a few adjectives I would use.”

The Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association is grateful to The Mussenden Family for their dedication to our association, to other beekeepers, and most of all, for their service to the bees.

The Los Angeles Beekeepers Association Golden Hive Tool Award was presented to The Mussenden Family by Jon Reese, incoming 2018 President of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association.

LACBA 2017 Annual Holiday Banquet - A Great Time!

The Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association Annual Holiday Banquet was held December 4, 2017 at the beautiful Pickwick Gardens in Burbank, CA. Our wonderful dinner was prepared by own Doug Noland of Outback Catering.

Throughout the year, members of the LACBA volunteer our time, energy and expertise on behalf of honey bees. Whether its working the Bee Booth at the LA County Fair, providing beekeeping classes, presentations at AGDayLA and various events, educational outreach for schools and organizations, or providing information via this website and our Facebook page, it is our honor, priviledge, and responsibility to provide education to the beekeeping community and the general public about honey bees. What makes up a honey bee, where they originated, how they got to this country, how they function, communicate, gather nectar and make honey, how they pollinate our crops for our survival - Just ask a beekeeper! The funds we raise through our endeavors go to organizations on the forefront of honey bee research.

Thank you to all who worked together to make this a lovely evening of fellowship, friendship, great food, and lively conversation (bee stories, of course)!

LACBA Mailing Address Correction

(NOTE: Unfortunately, the U.S. Postal Service originally provided us with an incorrect PO Box # 805-1. Some mail was returned. The U.S. Postal Service is aware this error occurred and has rectified the situation. If you have had mail returned, you can now resend to us at the following address using PO Box 8051. We apologize for the inconvenience and look forward to hearing from you. Thank you!) 

PO BOX 8051
La Cresenta, CA 91224

Bee Research May Redefine Understanding Of Intelligence

The Japan Times     By Rowan Hooper    November 28, 2017

Honeybees have the ability to tell other bees in the hive where flowers bearing nectar and pollen are located. | ISTOCKThe brain of a honeybee is tiny — the size of a pin head — and contains less than a million neurons, compared to the 85 billion in our own brains. Yet with that sliver of brain, bees can do some extraordinary things. They can count and interpret abstract patterns. Most famously, bees have the ability to communicate the location of flowers to other bees in the hive.

When a foraging bee has found a source of nectar and pollen, it can let others in the hive know by performing a peculiar figure-of-eight dance called the waggle dance. The information contained in the waggle dance was first decoded by Austrian biologist Karl von Frisch, who picked up a Nobel Prize for his discovery in 1973. The dance in itself is not as complex as true language, but it’s remarkable in that it’s a symbolic form of communication.

Recently, Hiroyuki Ai at Fukuoka University has made another breakthrough in our understanding of this extraordinary behavior, by investigating the neurons that allow bees to process the dance information. Bees get information from hearing the dance, as well as seeing it. During the dance, bees vibrate their abdomens as they run in a figure-of-eight pattern. These vibrations send out pulses that are picked up by an organ on the antennae called Johnston’s organ. Johnston’s organs are equivalent to our ears.

Ai maintains hives of honeybees on the campus of Fukuoka University. (Incidentally, he says they have monthly meetings to discuss their research with students, after which they have tea parties and eat the honey produced by their bees.) Until recently, there has been very little understanding of how the bee brain deciphers the information encoded in the waggle dance. The reason, he says, is that bees only perform the dance in the hive, and it’s difficult to get them to do it in the laboratory.

It makes sense that the bees pay attention to sound. “In a dark hive, they can’t see the dance,” Ai says. “Honeybees hear the dance.” Honeybees are very sensitive to vibration, so mimicking the noise of a waggle dance can cause bees to journey to the same place indicated by a real dance.

Ai and his team recorded the vibrations made by the waggle dance, simulated the noises and applied the vibrations to the antennae of bees in the lab. This allowed them to track which neurons fired in response to the waggle dance, and follow their route in the insect brain.

The team discovered three different types of “interneurons.” These are connecting neurons that allow communication between different parts of the brain. Ai, along with team members that include Thomas Wachtler at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, and Hidetoshi Ikeno of the University of Hyogo in Himeji, traced the path of interneurons in the part of the brain concerned with processing sound. They found that the way the interneurons turn on and off is key to encoding information contained in the waggle dance about distance.

This mechanism of turning on and off — in neuroscience it is called “disinhibition” — is similar to one used in other insects. For example, it’s how crickets listen to the songs of other crickets as well as how moths assess the distance from the source of a smell their antennae have picked up. Ai and his team suggest there is a common neural basis in the way these different species do things.

Communication is the key to forming complex societies. It’s what allows the honeybee to perform such extraordinary behaviors. And, naturally, language is a key factor in human success. Intelligence is required for both these things, so does this mean honeybees, with a minuscule brain, are intelligent? It’s a tricky quality to define. One attempt, from the American Psychological Association Task Force on Intelligence, defines it as the ability “to adapt efficiently to the environment and to learn from experience.” Bees are able to do this.

There are six different kinds of dance, for example, and bees are able to learn and change their behavior accordingly. If bees encounter a dead bee at a flower, they change the pattern of dancing they perform back at the hive, suggesting they can perform a risk/benefit analysis.

Both bee and human language are a consequence of intelligence, and research such as Ai’s forces us to rethink what we mean by intelligence. “There might be a common brain mechanism between humans and honeybees,” he says.

What it certainly shows is that you don’t need a big brain to be smart. As with many things, Charles Darwin realized this, writing in 1871: “The brain of an ant is one of the most marvellous atoms of matter in the world, perhaps more so than the brain of man.”


REMINDER: LACBA Annual Holiday Banquet - December 4, 2017


WHERE: Pickwick Gardens
1001 Riverside Dr.
Burbank, CA 91506
Conference Center 

WHEN: Monday, December 4, 2017
TIME: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM  (Doors open at 6, we dine about 6:30)




WHO: This is a family-friendly open event - feel free to bring your spouse, partner, kids, and friends.

HOW MUCH: $10/person.  

WHAT TO BRING: Please bring either an appetizer or dessert to share (6-8 servings is plenty).
Potluck by last name: A-M Desserts  N-Z Appetizers    

RAFFLE: Tickets are $1. Members renewing for 2018 get 5 free tickets. (2018 Membership dues are $20.) Please bring any items you'd like to contribute to the raffle on the night of the dinner.

CATERING: Once again, we are so pleased to announce our wonderful dinner will be provided by Outback Catering (LACBA Member, Doug Noland).  Beverages will be provided by Pickwick Gardens. 

Honey Bees Fill ‘Saddlebags’ With Pollen. Here’s How They Keep Them Gripped Tight

ScienceMagazine.org     By Katherine Kornei     November 27, 2017

Heidi and Hans-Juergen Koch/Minden PicturesBees don’t just transport pollen between plants, they also bring balls of it back to the hive for food. These “pollen pellets,” which also include nectar and can account for 30% of a bee’s weight, hang off their hind legs like overstuffed saddlebags (pictured). Now, researchers have investigated just how securely bees carry their precious cargo. The team caught roughly 20 of the insects returning to their hives and examined their legs and pollen pellets using both high-resolution imaging and a technique similar to an x-ray. Long hairs on the bees’ legs helped hold the pollen pellets in place as the animals flew, the team reported last week at the 70th Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics in Denver. The researchers then tugged on some of the pollen pellets using elastic string. They found that the pellets, though seemingly precarious, were firmly attached: The force necessary to dislodge a pellet was about 20 times more than the force a bee typically experiences while flying. These findings can help scientists design artificial pollinators in the future, the team suggests.


Samuel Ramsey - 2017 UMD Three Minute Thesis Winner

(Note from LACBA: Back in October 2017, we posted this note: "Through our volunteer efforts at the Bee Booth at the LA County Fair the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association supports research through Project Apis m. Take a few minutes and vote for Samuel Ramsey @http://www.u213mt.com/." Note from Project Apis m.: "Thank you for your support! This project alone has pretty big implications for our understanding of Varroa mites- beekeeper enemy #1! - Project Apis m. funded this important project, please vote and help Samuel Ramsey win this contest for his great work!")


2017 UMD Three Minute Thesis Winner is Samuel Ramsey

Interesting new research concerning Varroa mites. They seem to feed primarily on the fat body rather than on hemolymph (bee blood). This may influence control strategies in the future.

Weed-Killer Prompts Angry Divide Among US Farmers

MSN News    By Juliette Michael     November 12, 2017

© Getty Brian Smith and his cousin Hughes, both fifth generation soybean farmers, stand in soybean fields their family tend to that show signs of having been affected by Dicamba use.Little Rock (United States) (AFP) - When it comes to the herbicide dicamba, farmers in the southern state of Arkansas are not lacking for strong opinions.

"Farmers need it desperately," said Perry Galloway.

"If I get dicamba on (my products), I can't sell anything," responded Shawn Peebles.

The two men know each other well, living just miles apart in the towns of Gregory and Augusta, in a corner of the state where cotton and soybean fields reach to the horizon and homes are often miles from the nearest neighbor.

But they disagree profoundly on the use of dicamba.

Last year the agro-chemical giant Monsanto began selling soy and cotton seeds genetically modified to tolerate the herbicide.

The chemical product has been used to great effect against a weed that plagues the region, Palmer amaranth, or pigweed -- especially since it became resistant to another herbicide, glyphosate, which has become highly controversial in Europe over its effects on human health.

The problem with dicamba is that it vaporizes easily and is carried by the wind, often spreading to nearby farm fields -- with varying effects.

Facing a surge in complaints, authorities in Arkansas early this summer imposed an urgent ban on the product's sale. The state is now poised to ban its use between April 16 and October 31, covering the period after plants have emerged from the soil and when climatic conditions favor dicamba's dispersal.

- A bitter dispute -

"Dicamba has affected my whole family," said Kerin Hawkins, her voice trembling. Her brother, Mike Wallace, died last year during an altercation with a worker from a neighboring farm whom he had met to discuss his concerns over the herbicide.

A jury is set to rule on whether Wallace's fatal shooting constituted homicide or self-defense.

This year, the family says, drifting dicamba has affected some 75 acres (30 hectares) of peanuts and 10 acres of new varieties of vegetables planted on their farm, sharply reducing profits.

To protect themselves against the product's impact, the family has decided to plant cotton seeds genetically modified to resist dicamba.

"This is not just a dicamba issue, this is not just a Monsanto issue, this is about how we as human beings treat other people," Kerin Hawkins said.

She was testifying Wednesday at a public hearing in Little Rock, the state capitol, organized by the agency that regulates pesticide and herbicide use in Arkansas.

Immediately afterward the agency called for curbs on the use of dicamba, a decision subject to legislative approval.

So large was the turnout for the hearing that the agency had to move it from its own offices to a meeting room in a hotel. In all, 37 people stepped up to the microphone to explain -- often in voices shaking with emotion -- why they favored or strongly opposed the product.

- Dealing with diversity -

"I'm here to tell you we used dicamba and we had a wonderful year," said Harry Stephens, who with his son grows soybeans in Phillips County.

At a time when some younger farmers are struggling to make ends meet, he said, banning dicamba could "put them out of business."

Richard Coy, who raises bees, said dicamba has had a devastating impact on hives located near farm fields where dicamba is in use.

"I lost $500,000 in honey production and $200,000 worth of pollination contracts to California farms due to the poor health of my beehives," he said.

On the edge of his farm field, Perry Galloway points out some of the weeds -- dead but still standing, many of them head-high -- that ruined several of his past crops.

He has since sprayed dicamba twice over an area of 4,000 acres, and says that "we had the cleanest fields we had in a long time."

He favors a compromise, allowing the herbicide to be applied only once, after plants have sprouted.

But Shawn Peebles, who grows organic vegetables, was able to deal with pigweed by hiring workers to pull them up by hand.

"It is known for a fact dicamba will move," he said. If he gets any in his fields -- which has not happened this year -- "I have to destroy the crop."

"Diversity is what made agriculture what it is today," he said.

"It is not just dicamba (and) soybeans; there is organic farms such as myself, there is vineyards in Arkansas, and we all need to work together."


Veterans in Beekeeping

‘Veterans in Beekeeping’
-All Week In Honor of All Our War Veterans.
via; Historical Honeybee Articles - Beekeeping History
Image: 1919 Pamphlet; Bee Keeping to the Disabled Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines to Aid Them in Choosing a Vocation

During WW1 the Federal Government was concerned about disabled veterans finding work when they returned from the war. Because of advancements in warfare, veterans were coming home with severe war injuries, and the Government was concerned about the disabled veterans ability to integrate back into society and earn a living. The Government developed vocational training for veterans in various fields of work to help advance them in the direction of the occupation of which he or she choose. One of the programs developed to help wounded veterans adapt to their injuries was Beekeeping. Beekeeping was considered a viable alternative career because a veteran could work alone, and a slower pace, and still contribute to society. 

A group of seven extension workers was hired to teach better beekeeping methods to the veterans. -George Demuth, Dr, E.F. Phillips, Frank Pellett, Jay Smith, E. R, Root, and M. I. Mendelson. Walter Quick wrote the pamphlet pictured above in 1919, titled: “Bee Keeping to the Disabled Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines to Aid Them in Choosing a Vocation” (Ref. Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation. By Tammy Horn)

Beekeeping to the Disabled Soldiers...

Congratulations to Apiary Inspector II Scott Wirta - Unsung Hero Award

The Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association would like to congratulate Apiary Inspector II Scott Wirta for receiving the "Unsung Hero" Award for 2017. We'd also like to thank Inspector Wirta for all his good work with bees and bee keepers. When we requested a few words about his award, Inspector Wirta replied:

"It was an honor to be selected Unsung Hero this year by the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner’s Department for my work with feral bees. I do believe, however, a group of bee keepers are truly the unsung heroes. I am talking about the bee keeper who will help when an unwanted swarm shows up. Many a bee keeper has stepped in and helped with their neighbors’ bee issues. Whether it is helping a neighbor with a removal, helping the poor who cannot afford services, or just talking to a distressed individual with a swarm on the property,
bee keepers are an asset to the community and the real unsung heroes."


A Gathering of Beekeepers

Bug Squad    By Kathy Keatley Garvey    November 8, 2017

A honey bee foraging in almonds. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)If anyone at Lake Tahoe has bee issues that need answering next week, they need look no farther than Harrah's Lake Tahoe.

The beekeepers will be there!

The California State Beekeepers' Association (CSBA) will meet for its 128th annual convention, Tuesday through Thursday, Nov. 14-16, at Harrah's Lake Tahoe. The theme: "Inputs, Outputs and Expectations." Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross will deliver the keynote address at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday.

President Steve Godin of Visalia will helm the three-day conference, aided by first vice president Mike Tolmachoff, Madera; second vice president Brent Ashurst, Westmorland; and treasurer Carlen Jupe of Salida. Their scientific advisor is Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño, based in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. 

Niño will speak on "Research Stories from the Niño Lab" at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 15. Staff research associate (and husband) Bernardo Niño of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility will address the group at 10:30 a.m., Thursday on "Practical Solutions for the Beginner Beekeepers."

Extension apiculturist emeritus Eric Mussen of UC Davis will lead a "Bridging the Gap" panel at 11 a.m., Thursday. Bee breeder-geneticist Sue Cobey of Washington State University, former manager of the Laidlaw facility, will speak at 1:30 p.m., Thursday on "Collecting Honey Bee Germplasm in Europe and the Impact on Genetic Diversity in the United States." Basically, it's about building a better bee.

Among the many speakers are

Randy Oliver of Scientific Beekeeping, Grass Valley, "Oxalic/Glycerin Application and Breeding for Mite Resistance," at 3:30 p.m., Tuesday

Bob Curtis of the Almond Board of California will provide an update at 8:30 a.m., Wednesday

Dennis vanEnglesdorp of the University of Maryland faculty and  project director for the Bee Informed Partnership, whose topic is "Managing Reistance in Varroa Mite Populations" at 10:30 a.m., Wednesday

Marla Spivak,  MacArthur Fellow and McKnight Distinguished Professor in Entomology at the University of Minnesota, who will discuss "Bee Health and Social Immunity" at 11 a.m. Wednesday

 All in all, it promises to be an educational and informative conference, centered on our littlest agricultural workers: the honey bees.

CSBA is headquartered at 1521 I St., Sacramento. The office can be reached at (916) 441-0302 or contact@californiastatebeekeepers.com.

Extension apiculturist Elina Laslo Lino conducts a beekeeping class at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)


LACBA Annual Holiday Banquet - December 4, 2017

December 4, 2017 


WHERE: Pickwick Gardens
1001 Riverside Dr.
Burbank, CA 91506
Conference Center 

WHEN: Monday, December 4, 2017
TIME: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM  (Doors open at 6, we dine about 6:30)


WHO: This is a family-friendly open event - feel free to bring your spouse, partner, kids, and friends.

HOW MUCH: $10/person.  

WHAT TO BRING: Please bring either an appetizer or dessert to share (6-8 servings is plenty).
Potluck by last name: A-M Desserts  N-Z Appetizers    

RAFFLE: Tickets are $1. Members renewing for 2018 get 5 free tickets. Please bring any items you'd like to contribute to the raffle on the night of the dinner.

CATERING: Once again, we are so pleased to announce our wonderful dinner will be provided by Outback Catering (LACBA Member, Doug Noland).  Beverages will be provided by Pickwick Gardens. 

Manny Caldera Takes 2nd Place at 2017 LA County Fair


The Secret Lives of Beekeepers!

The Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association congratulates Manny Caldera for winning 2nd Prize at the 2017 LA County Fair for his exqusite quilt 'Genesis.'

Manny Caldera is a long time member of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association and co-owner of Caldera Bees along with his wife, Cindy.  Cindy is the Bee Booth Coordinator and Manny is a dedicated volunteer. But Manny wasn't just volunteering at the Bee Booth, he was busy taking 2nd Prize for Genisus.

"In 2014, I decided to learn how to make a quilt. I researched and found the Wandering Foot Quilt Guild. I am now a member of the WFQG and 3rd Vice President (Fund Raising). I entered my first quilt "Noah's Ark' in the 2016 Los Angeles County Fair and came in 3rd Place. I am so thrilled my second quilt, 'Genesis,' came in 2nd Place in the 2017 Los Angeles County Fair."

An original design by Manuel Caldera

Quilted by Manuel Caldera, aka Manny
Temple City, California
Started: February 14, 2015 - Finished: September 27, 2016
Dedicated to Teresa Caldera, Mother, Passed away May 27, 2997
Cindy Caldera, Wife
Midge Schuyler, Past President (WFOG) & Mentor
WFOG (Wandering Foot Quilt Guild, Arcadia, California

by Manuel Caldera aka Manny

Thousands of Honey Bees Die After Truck Crash on California Highway

CBS News    November 3, 2017

AUBURN, Calif. -- Thousands of honey bees were killed when a semi truck crashed after avoiding a slow down on a freeway in California.

CBS Sacramento reports the crash happened around 7 p.m. Thursday night along Interstate 80. 

Police said traffic quickly backed up and the driver had to ditch the freeway, which caused the fatal accident for the honey bees. Boxes of beehives were crushed and the driver was sent to the hospital.  

"When they have an impact like that, they are usually sprung or damaged and really hard to salvage," said John Miller, a beekeeper in Newcastle.

He heard the news and quickly came to assess any chance of survival.

The Auburn Fire Department was forced to drown the bees, which created a dangerous situation for the public. Miller said he'd seen this happen before and there were no other options.

"It's a loss for the owners of the bees and it's a tragedy for the hives themselves. These bees were destined to do some pollination work next spring, fruits, vegetables, nuts. It's a tragedy, it's sad," he said.

If the crash were to have happened during the day, Miller says there might have been a better chance for survival.

The mess ultimately took hours to clean up. Authorities said the crash could have been an absolute disaster had the driver not bailed off of the freeway. 

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.