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There are couple misconceptions you’re having with bees, other than your love of seeing them around. First, “native” bees aren’t honey bees, and local bees aren’t native. We call them “feral” bees, and they can vary in temperament from super nice to hostile. There is little way to tell temperament before having a hive of them, but 80% of the colonies I run into are relatively easy to work with. I recommend you don’t bother trying to keep bees if you aren’t interested in becoming a beekeeper- that is, learning about bees and how to handle them, buying protective gear and being able to manage a beehive in a seasonal manner.
We estimate there are 2-9 feral hives per square mile anywhere in Los Angeles, and they forage for up to 2 square miles. I’m sure your local bees will help pollinate your garden without having to go through the investment in time and money.
Hope this helps!
#1: Not sure what happened there, but it doesn’t appear to have mattered much.
#2: The hive in the box is probably a bit crowded so it is throwing off swarms. The first swarm was the old queen leaving with a large portion of the hive. The second swarm was her replacement leaving with a smaller portion of the hive. This will continue until the hive is no longer crowded and has a queen that stays, or until they run out of queens and the hive dies. Also, you are paying too much for swarm removal, it should be half that rate.
#3: See #2, this is a natural phenomenon, it’s reproductive swarming and totally to be expected.
#4: If you are interested in becoming a beekeeper there is a ton of free information online, but understand that being a beekeeper is a responsibility greater than having a hobby, you are responsible for stinging insects. You may love bees but they may not love you back if you neglect them. Seek out classes and information online if you are interested in becoming a beekeeper!
65 million years of developing ways to get mammals to run away has certainly borne fruit, of a sort.
Sorry Eric, sold in 20 minutes. I do have a medium nuc that is 4/5 frames with a freshly mated queen. Give me a call/text and we can talk about it.
The answer to you first question is yes we have conflicts in the US about treatment free beekeeping, it’s considered a bit radical and to some irresponsible. However, the US is a big place with lots of environments and where one approach may work in one place it may not work in another. There is the other factor is the races of bees used in different areas, Italian (Ligustica) are primarily used in the southern half of the US while Carniolans are primarily used in the northern half. The latter has very poor resistance and hygienic response while Italians are being bred and selected for exactly these qualities. What this means for many of us in Southern California is we have a hybrid feral bee population that is largely made of Italian/ AHB cross, which appears to be generally very hygienic. We see hives that crash only rarely, but this is speaking only of treatment free feral-sourced bees, if you add other factors the results can be different. We tend to think it’s irresponsible to treat, as it keeps the bees from developing hygienic traits and lengthens the process of adaptation to environmental threats.
I don’t know of any particular person that currently treats, meaning within my circle of beekeepers and backyard enthusiasts, nobody treats.
I personally see room for importation of commercially bred Italian Hygienic genetics into the local population, and am working on a program to assess whether this is useful, but my primary goal is to never ever have to treat. Bees have thrived for a very long time and where we are they are doing fine without our interventions as well. Believe me, I’m a professional bee remover and there are bees everywhere in LA that never see treatments.
Hope that provides some insight,
TysonJanuary 4, 2014 at 5:07 pm in reply to: looking to rescue 3 different swarm of bees for 3 different loving homes! #7522
Hi Ginger, I’d be happy to but you on my need bees list. Springtime is coming up, I work in the area ( I live in Highland Park) and I will have tons of swarms available.
Something I suggest to those wanting to build hives from swarms is don’t stop at one swarm. If you want a thriving colony quickly, continuously add swarms. I stopped thinking that 1 swarm= 1 colony a while ago. You can add a swarm every other week to a hive easily, and they will build up quickly, which is really what you want going into summer.
Anyhow, I’ll ring you up and we can talk about it.
Sweet Bee Removal (.com)
Sounds like a classic honey-bound hive. You say you saw the hive swarm once, that may have been the primary swarm with your original queen in it. Then the hive should have had one or more queens in the making. It could have swarmed several times without you seeing it happen each time. Eventually there is no fertile egg to raise a queen from and the hive stops throwing swarms and becomes queenless. The workers carry on bringing in nectar but no pollen because there is no brood, and eventually fill in every available cell before they all die. A honey-bound deadout.
As part of your management program, open up the brood nest and pull frames up into the next box up, this is called “pyramiding” for lack of a better verb. What this really means is expanding the brood nest up and making more room for bees to build comb and the queen to lay. Also, make sure you always have room for your bees to continue building, either by removing honey frames or adding boxes. Beekeeping is really about helping them manage space, and letting them work. Working bees are happy bees that tend to stay put more often, but don’t beat yourself up; all hives swarm for one reason or another and you can always get more bees.
Almost all hives I’ve been seeing as of late have some small hive beetles. That they are stuck against the lid is a good sign, the bees are chasing them there. Consolidating space may help quite a bit. I’m happy that you are concerned about leaving the bees plenty of stores, but perhaps you could break them down a bit to a surface area they can manage. I’ve been reducing honey stores for even strong hives down to one medium box. They likely have some honey surrounding their broodnest as well, so the medium box is like insurance.
Removing dead space with the exception of an empty frame on either side of the top box is sufficient until February when you’re going to start doing your first inspections of the year.
Also, if you’re worried about small hive beetles, purchase some Beetle Blasters down at LA Honey, they’re ridiculously cheap and easy to work with. Non-chemical too.
I’m in Highland Park as well, neighbor! Howdy!
I have a hive in Sunland/Shadow Hills and I can assure you it’s possible to keep bees there without much concern for zoning, but flaunting the law isn’t in everyone’s interest. My hive can be seen from a public street but they are really nice bees and there isn’t much foot traffic. The home owners have a young boy and constantly work in the years and there haven’t been issues.
One thing to consider is it gets damn hot in the East Valley and full sun might be a lot to ask of your bees. Mine are in dappled shade and survive well. If you put them on a roof consider providing them some relief from sun like a garden screen or some kind of shade.
Could you please post your email?
~TysonOctober 13, 2013 at 5:00 pm in reply to: Trouble with malicious neighbors – need suggestions! #7121
The city has the ability to demand that hives be removed in three days or face a fine. I would be prepared for that eventuality if i were you. I’d love to hear how this works out, please keep us informed!
It seems from what I am reading that having a heavily populated hive isn’t enough in itself to necessarily stop SHB. They tend to crawl into the 90 degree angles inside the hive and even “allow” themselves to be trapped by guard bees. This is where it gets really weird: the area they get stuck in is called the “prison” and bees will actually post guards on duty to keep the hive beetle from moving. The hive beetle can then stay alive long enough to lay eggs by using its antenna to groom the bees for feeding. The bees will regurgitate some food on impulse, thereby prolonging the beetle’s life and stay.
There’s a really interesting article in pdf form on the lifecycle of these critters, but woefully I’m having a hard time understanding seasonal build up. One thing that does become clear is that hives located close to the ground are at greater risk from being overrun, so roof hives may be a safer bet in the event SHB become “popular” in the LA area.