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Honeybees at work

By Suzanne Sproul, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Have you heard the latest buzz? Los Angeles has laid out the backyard welcome mat for honeybees.

Urban beekeepers couldn’t be happier. After several years of discussion, lawmakers recently joined an increasing number of cities, including Santa Monica, Redondo Beach and Culver City, in attempts to help protect them.

Honeybee fans are thrilled, but some people still worry about safety concerns, particularly for those with bee allergies. The new ordinance requires urban beekeepers to register their hives with Los Angeles County, regulates their distance from property boundaries and nearby streets and calls for them to be kept high above ground and surrounded by a structure, such as a wall or hedge. Typically, only two hives would be allowed at a residence.

“We are very happy that more people and cities are recognizing the importance of honeybees, but everyone should know they’re already here. On average in Los Angeles, there are nine to 11 colonies per square mile. The honeybees live in attics, trees and everywhere, so it’s not that we’re bringing in more. We’re simply trying to protect the ones here,” said Chelsea McFarland, an urban beekeeper along with her husband and the chief executive officer of HoneyLove, a nonprofit in Santa Monica.

Bees pollinate about 80 percent of plants, which directly impacts the community.

“If you want a green city, we need beekeepers and a place to keep bees,” she said.

Organic gardening and providing backyard pollinator gardens rich with plenty of bee-friendly plants such as sage, goldenrod, lilac and lavender will help.

Maxime DeBrouwer of La Cañada Flintridge is a relative newcomer to beekeeping, but he’s a huge fan.

“My friend Paul (Hekimian) got me interested. He came over when we were having a party and brought a whole frame of honey which he harvested and gave to everyone at the party. He then told us how easy it is and offered to give us a hive, which he rescued through HoneyLove,” DeBrouwer said. “We love honey, heard about the die-off of bees and wanted our kids to learn about them. I then bought some books and went to a local beekeepers’ meeting that turned out to be down the street from my house. I was surprised to find 100 people at that meeting.”

Paul Hekimian isn’t so surprised at the interest. The Santa Monica man is a second-generation beekeeper.

“I learned from my dad, but then got away from it until a few years ago when my son found an open-air hive in the backyard. We rescued the bees and now care for them as a hobby,” he said, adding that he bottles the honey to give as gifts to friends.

DeBrouwer understands the concerns about stings and allergies but believes if people really knew how important bees and the many misconceptions there are about them, many fears would disappear.

“We find bees so fascinating and love watching them and learning. My daughter Alexa loves to handle them and has written stories about it at school. My younger daughter Maya loves to brag that she has 10,000 pets. Honeybees are quite calm and friendly.”

Beekeepers are quick to point out that many individuals confuse honeybees with yellow jackets or wasps, both of which are more aggressive.

“Bees do all the hard work,” McFarland said. “And we get to enjoy their labors. We should be good stewards and help maintain colonies.”

One solution to help ease fears, he said, would be to attend a beekeepers’ meeting and learn more.

“It’s very easy. Just go to a club meeting and learn and then take the plunge and get a hive once you learn the basics.”

Erik Knutsen enjoys nature and gardening and did just that. The Silver Lake man already kept chickens so he said he thought he’d research beekeeping. He liked what he discovered.

“Working with them is magical,” he said. “You get a front seat to some miracles of nature.”

His understanding of the beneficial relationships between Mother Nature, man and bees has increased, and he hopes others will learn more, too.

HoneyLove is a Southern California nonprofit that began in 2011. Its goal is to educate the public about honeybees and to raise awareness about their importance. Bees actually are an essential part of the food chain through pollination of crops, gardens and flowers. According to the USDA, bees help produce about one-third of what is eaten. HoneyLove believes cities, now including Los Angeles, represent the last refuge for honeybees.

There are several groups in the area that provide classes, workshops and meetings for those interested in beekeeping. They include the Beekeepers Association of Southern California (Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties), which normally meets at the La Mirada Civic Center, 13710 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada; the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association, which dates back to 1873 when it held its first meeting in El Monte and offers “Beekeeping 101” classes starting in February; and HoneyLove, a nonprofit group based in Santa Monica.

 

BEE FACTS

Bees aren’t bad, just their reputations. In fact, they serve a vital purpose by pollinating food crops and other garden landscapes. Here are 10 things you should know:

1 Honeybees are the only insects that produce food that people eat.

2 Honeybees help the economy through pollination to the tune of $15?billion for U.S. agricultural crops.

3 Honey is the only food that doesn’t spoil. Its low moisture and pH levels prevent bacteria from growing in it.

4 The first alcoholic drink — mead — is a mixture of wine and honey.

5 Bees venture out of their hives 15 times a day and can visit 100 flowers or more.

6 Each American eats almost 1.5 pounds of honey each year.

7 Honeybees are fast, able to fly about 15 miles per hour.

8 Colony Collapse Disorder means bees are in danger. A little more than 50 years ago, there were 5?million honeybee colonies compared with today’s 2.5?million.

9 Your chances of being hit by a car are greater than having a severe reaction to a sting.

10 Want to help attract bees? They like sage, mint, thyme and lavender and are fond of butterfly bush, honeysuckle and sunflowers.

Source: HoneyLove, http://honeylove.org

 

[Click here to read original article via dailynews.com]

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NEW! LA County Apiary Registration Forms

LINK TO FORMS: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/5tr9ljcy5zsapkw/AAAHSuE3fqpAlDAgLFF7Lzgwa?dl=0 Paul Hekimian inspects a honeycomb forming in one of the hives behind his home

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READ: Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought

Outlawing a type of insecticides is not a panacea. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

via Todd Woody | qz.com

As we’ve written before, the mysterious mass die-off of honey bees that pollinate $30 billion worth of crops in the US has so decimated America’s apis mellifera population that one bad winter could leave fields fallow. Now, a new study has pinpointed some of the probable causes of bee deaths and the rather scary results show that averting beemageddon will be much more difficult than previously thought.

Scientists had struggled to find the trigger for so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives, worth $2 billion, over the past six years. Suspects have included pesticides, disease-bearing parasites and poor nutrition. But in a first-of-its-kind study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a witch’s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives. The findings break new ground on why large numbers of bees are dying though they do not identify the specific cause of CCD, where an entire beehive dies at once.

When researchers collected pollen from hives on the east coast pollinating cranberry, watermelon and other crops and fed it to healthy bees, those bees showed a significant decline in their ability to resist infection by a parasite called Nosema ceranae. The parasite has been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder though scientists took pains to point out that their findings do not directly link the pesticides to CCD. The pollen was contaminated on average with nine different pesticides and fungicides though scientists discovered 21 agricultural chemicals in one sample. Scientists identified eight ag chemicals associated with increased risk of infection by the parasite.

Most disturbing, bees that ate pollen contaminated with fungicides were three times as likely to be infected by the parasite. Widely used, fungicides had been thought to be harmless for bees as they’re designed to kill fungus, not insects, on crops like apples.

“There’s growing evidence that fungicides may be affecting the bees on their own and I think what it highlights is a need to reassess how we label these agricultural chemicals,” Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the study’s lead author, told Quartz.

Labels on pesticides warn farmers not to spray when pollinating bees are in the vicinity but such precautions have not applied to fungicides.

Bee populations are so low in the US that it now takes 60% of the country’s surviving colonies just to pollinate one California crop, almonds. And that’s not just a west coast problem—California supplies 80% of the world’s almonds, a market worth $4 billion.

In recent years, a class of chemicals called neonicotinoids has been linked to bee deaths and in April regulators banned the use of the pesticide for two years in Europe where bee populations have also plummeted. But vanEngelsdorp, an assistant research scientist at the University of Maryland, says the new study shows that the interaction of multiple pesticides is affecting bee health.

“The pesticide issue in itself is much more complex than we have led to be believe,” he says. “It’s a lot more complicated than just one product, which means of course the solution does not lie in just banning one class of product.”

The study found another complication in efforts to save the bees: US honey bees, which are descendants of European bees, do not bring home pollen from native North American crops but collect bee chow from nearby weeds and wildflowers. That pollen, however, was also contaminated with pesticides even though those plants were not the target of spraying.

“It’s not clear whether the pesticides are drifting over to those plants but we need take a new look at agricultural spraying practices,” says vanEngelsdorp.

[read original article via qz.com]

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NAB 2015

2015 NORTH AMERICAN BEEKEEPING CONFERENCE & TRADESHOW

A few of us HoneyLovers went down to the opening day at the American Beekeeping Federation Convention in Anaheim, held at the Conference Center of the Disneyland Hotel. It was a big and corporate-filled world compared to our hobbyist, urban beekeeper ways (The California Almonds® and Bayer CropScience Bee Care Center had booths). The big equipment suppliers were there, as well: Brushy Mountain, Kelley, Mann Lake and Dadant, along with a few smaller companies like Blue Sky Bee Supply. We picked up a few fresh suits for Sunday mentoring.

The big equipment suppliers were there, as well: Brushy Mountain, Kelley, Mann Lake and Dadant, along with a few smaller companies like Blue Sky Bee Supply. We picked up a few fresh suits for Sunday mentoring. There were the standard displays of beek tools (like a dandy 10” smoker or steel entrance rounds) along with a one-handed Queen catcher and marker gizmo. Forklifts, extractors the size of Smart cars and treatment booths were plentiful along with solo entrepreneurs with the latest new bee vac waiting for the world to beat a path to their doors.

There were a few choice t-shirt vendors, fancy honey labels and jars, wax blocks and fire starter pellets, too. The ABF breakout sessions were largely designed for the commercial beekeeper such as honey bottling management and Queen breeding.

As with most things bee-related, it was the people who were captivating, as well. We met David Hackenberg, a beekeeper from “Vanishing of the Bees” and the BeeMan.

Rob McFarland from HoneyLove will be back down to NAB Friday morning (today!) from 9:00-Noon, when elementary-aged kids are welcomed to The Disneyland Resort to participate in the “Kids and Bees” program led by Sarah Red-Laird (BeeGirl).
This no-charge event has been a tradition with the ABF conference for over 20 years, and is a “don’t miss” opportunity for school groups, home schooled kids, scouts, and clubs. Kids and their teachers or parents can expect a room full of hands-on activities under the themes of, “The Art of Beekeeping,” “The Science of Beekeeping,” “The World of Beekeeping,” and “The Future of Bees: It’s Up to You!” Favorites such as beeswax candle rolling, bee finger puppet making, and hive displays will be there. The highlights this year will be face painting, a photo booth with costumes, and an ultraviolet “Bee View” demonstration. Students will make their way through each station, engaging with beekeepers and Honey Queens from around the US, and activities that will harness their senses and imaginations.
For up-to-the-minute details check out BeeGirl’s Kids and Bees facebook page here!

Conference runs through Saturday afternoon. Check the event schedule before you go—tickets available at the door.
nabeekeepingconference.com

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Pollination Workshop feat. John Lyons

Big thanks to our speaker John Lyons for leading this year’s POLLINATION WORKSHOP, and thanks to Marina del Rey Garden Center for hosting!

More photos on instagram.com/honeyloveorg

John Lyons designs, installs and maintains edible landscapes, orchards and CA native gardens as well as teaches at the LA Arboretum and Descanso Gardens. Most recently John developed a permaculture oriented garden at his home and worked on his first grey water swale garden in Altadena that was featured in the LA Times. http://www.thewovengarden.com

 

LINKS FOR REFERENCE:
http://melissabees.com/
http://www.nrdc.org/wildlife/animals/bees.asp
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140121093042.htm
http://www.usgs.gov/blogs/features/usgs_top_story/the-buzz-on-native-bees-2/
http://www.xerces.org/neonicotinoids-and-bees/
http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/projects_programs.htm?modecode=53-42-03-00

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“Bee” 
3d animated short by Vladimir Loginov

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HoneyLove.org featured in 2013 HONEY BEE Calendar 
created by award-winning photo-journalist / beekeeper Kodua Galieti. 

We are the month of AUGUST Which you all know is an awesome month ? 
August 17th, 2013 = NATIONAL HONEY BEE AWARENESS DAY!!

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ARTICLE — TRAVERSE CITY, MI:
Residents buzzing over urban beekeeping approval

“Traverse City officials approved a proposal to allow urban beekeeping within the city on Monday night.

Commissioners voted to amend zoning rules which will allow city residents to have up to two honey bee colonies or hives per property. The idea was initially brought up in may by a group of interested community members.

Since then, the commission says they have done a lot of research on the practice. Community members at Monday night’s meeting were very supportive of the idea and are happy with the outcome.”

[via upnorthlive.com]

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HoneyLove Beekeepers visit the garden!
via farmkingblog.wordpress.com

“There was a buzz in the air when Chelsea from HoneyLove Beekeeping came to visit Farm King garden this week! Students were educated and entertained by all things bees. So much thanks to Chelsea and HoneyLove for opening up the students’ eyes to the wonderfully exciting and important role that bees play!”

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Help Us Save A Million Honeybees!!

Your support of our Indiegogo Campaign will allow us to take bee colonies to a safe haven instead of the city or property owner having them killed! In return you get your choice from a colony of sweet rewards. But the greatest reward is knowing you’ve done something to help the bees and our environment.

Click here to find out more about our plan and inspiration to rescue honeybees!

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