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Tag Archives | beekeeping

How to coexist with bees and wasps

Coexist bees wasps

For many of us, if we hear a buzzing or see a bee or wasp, our first reaction is to try to move away—or even get rid of the offending insect.

First, it’s important to know that there’s not just one type of bee or one type of wasp. In fact, there are over 20,000 species of bees and over 30,000 species of wasps. The most notable of those bee types is, of course, the honeybee. That is essential to crops—bees pollinate more than half of all our fruit and vegetable crops, and also produce millions of pounds of honey each year.
Bees congregate in what can be huge colonies, up to tens of thousands of bees, while wasps tend to be less communal in their living patterns. Even within the wasps species though, some are more solitary than others—as are some bees.
Once you learn a little about bees and wasps, you can then learn how to live more harmoniously with those insects. This graphic can help.


Read full story · Posted in Yay Bees

Support USDA tax-payer funded research

Share the Beekeeper’s Voice: Support USDA tax-payer funded research

The Pollinator Stewardship Council is deeply concerned about recent reports of U.S. Dept. of Agriculture scientists who have faced consequences or investigations when their work called into question the health and safety of agricultural chemicals.  We believe USDA must maintain scientific integrity, and not allow harassment, censorship or suppression of science-based findings.  We are concerned that tax-payer funded research is being withheld from the tax- payers due to suppression of USDA scientists. Beekeepers are tax-payers, and integral agricultural stakeholders who rely on the research of USDA scientists to protect the national resource of pollinators so vital to a nutritious diet.  The Pollinator Stewardship Council urges you to contact your Congressional Representative to take the necessary steps to ensure USDA maintains scientific integrity in the protection of the health of the land so all agricultural stakeholders can work together to protect natural resources and the environment.  Speak up for honey bees; share the beekeepers voice.  Send an email to your Congressional Representative and Senator today by choosing from one of three letters, or feel free to send all three letters.


I support USDA Scientists

The Honey Bee “Risk Cup” Runneth Over

I want my tax-payer funded USDA research

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KCET: Urban Beekeeping: What’s the Buzz About?

via featuring HoneyLover Sylvia Henry

For the first time in more than a century, the Los Angeles City Council officially legalized urban beekeeping in single family homes in October 2015, catching up with cities like Santa Monica, New York, and Santa Barbara in permitting backyard beekeeping.

But now, what will it take to create a new generation of beekeepers? Can computers and smartphone apps help make the traditional task of beekeeping more inviting?

There’s no question that backyard beehives face multiple challenges. One expert, Kelton Temby, calls them the four P’s: Pests, pesticides, poor management, and pathogens. He has come up with a high-tech monitor to gauge the health of beehives remotely. What does this technology have to offer aspiring beekeepers?

In this segment of “SoCal Connected,” reporter Cara Santa Maria introduces us to beekeepers from Los Angeles and Santa Barbara and finds out what backyard beekeeping is doing to support the honey bees of Southern California.

Featuring Interviews With:

Sylvia Henry, urban beekeeper
Kelton Temby, founder, EyesOnHives
Michael Stivers, beekeeper

Read full story · Posted in HoneyLove Buzz

Elementary School Students Start Beekeeping Club

The children went from being scared of the bees to being protective of them.


From what I remember, my elementary school didn’t have many clubs students could join, and none of the ones the school did have had anything to do with beekeeping. For students at ShadowGlen Elementary in Manor, Texas (about 12 miles outside of Austin), beekeeping is now an option … as long as they have their parents’ permission.

Amanda Lengnick-Hall, a teacher, has overseen beekeeping at other schools in the area and decided to bring it to ShadowGlen, myStatesman reports. Her previous students have all been high school age. This is the first year she’s teaching elementary school age children about beekeeping.

“Beekeeping isn’t very common, especially in schools, so I like that they push themselves, even if they’re scared,” Lengnick-Hall told myStatesman. “But once they get into the suits and get closer to the bees and they start learning more about them, they start becoming really protective of them. It’s really exciting to see them go from scared … to being advocates and getting an opportunity to try something they probably haven’t thought they wanted to try.”

For five weeks the kids studied the bees in an observation hive, according to myStatesman, while learning about pollination, worker and queen bees and colony collapse disorder. The students were then given beekeeping suits to wear for their first interaction with the bees.

Elementary School Students Start Beekeeping Club (

“We got to pet the bees, and I got to have honey!” a third-grader named Aubrey Roberts told myStatesman.

The students in the beekeeping club are learning what to do and not do around bees and are also learning entrepreneurial skills by selling the honey the bees make and then using that money for their beekeeping program.

What do you think of a beekeeping club for elementary school students? Would it work in your city?

[read original article via]


Read full story · Posted in News

Edmonton beekeeper builds a better beehive


A local beekeeper has developed a novel hybrid hive design to provide better living conditions for Edmonton’s urban bees.

Dustin Bajer’s hive is taller and narrower than the typical hive used in the beekeeping industry, helping it better imitate a hollowed-out tree where bees would be found in nature.

“I take the standard hive and tweak it a little bit, try to make it a little more ‘bee-centric,’ working for the bees,” Bajer said in an interview Thursday.

Bajer said his beehive design strikes a balance between the needs of bees and those of the beekeepers who look after them.

“I’m just trying as much as possible to let the bees do what they would be doing in nature.”

Bajer is selling his handmade hives on his website,, for $200.

Typical beehives have 10 removable frames that the bees use to build honeycomb.

Bajer’s design leaves two frames out. “Eight frames is closer to the inside of a hollow tree where you’d find bees naturally,” he said, “so they’re able to cluster together a little bit easier.”

Instead of weaving in and out between the frames, bees in Bajer’s hives can move vertically along the comb to get at the honey they need to eat during winter. For overwintering bees, the less they need to move, the better.

Frames in Bajer’s hives go into boxes that are smaller than the industry norm. While the volume of the hive and its weight doesn’t change, the beekeeper can handle the boxes more easily.

In April of this year, Edmonton city council amended its animal licensing and control bylaw to permit beekeeping in the city.

Edmonton is a good environment for keeping bees, said Bajer, who lives in McCauley.

“We typically think of cities as these barren concrete jungles without nature,” he said. But in reality, the biological diversity present in cities helps produce good honey.

“You can actually taste it, because you’re going to get pollen from willows, cherry trees, lilacs. There’s a little bit of something for the bees the entire growing season.”

Bajer said he tries to live as close as possible to nature in an urban environment. He wants his leafy backyard to feel like an oasis in the city.

“My ideal day is sitting on the deck with a glass of wine, just watching the bees go and forth.”

Bajer’s beehive design is his personal response to the needs of urban bees.

“First and foremost, beekeepers need to understand how bees behave, and to ensure that they have everything that they need in order to be able to do that.”

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READ: Herbicides, Not Insecticides, Biggest Threat to Bees


By Bonnie Coblentz via

People who care about honeybees know that insecticides and pollinators are usually a bad mix, but it turns out that herbicides used to control weeds can spell even bigger trouble for bees.

Jeff Harris, bee specialist with the MSU Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station researcher, said herbicides destroy bee food sources.

“When farmers burn down weeds before spring planting, or people spray for goldenrod, asters and spring flowers, or when power companies spray their rights-of-way, they’re killing a lot of potential food sources for bees and wild pollinators,” he said.

Harris said the direct effect of these chemicals on bees is so much less of an issue than their loss of food supply.

“Disappearing food is on the mind of beekeepers in the state,” he said. “That is even more important to them than losses of bees to insecticides.”

Johnny Thompson, vice president of the Mississippi Beekeeping Association, is a cattle and poultry farmer in Neshoba County who has been in the bee business for the last 10 years.

“Before we got back into bees, I sprayed pastures by the barrel to kill weeds. As a cattle farmer, weeds are a nuisance,” Thompson said. “I’m trying to grow grass for the cows to eat and not weeds, but as a beekeeper, those weeds are not weeds. That’s forage for the bees.”

Today, Thompson said he uses the bush hog more than he sprays herbicides to keep the food supply for bees intact on his land.

“If you kill everything the bee has for food, you may as well go in and spray the hive directly. The bees are going to die,” he said. “All the emphasis is being put on insecticide, but the greater risk to bees are the herbicides.”

He has made management changes for the sake of his bees’ food supply, but he recognizes the tension between current agricultural management practices and pollinators’ best interests.

“When you travel through the Delta or the prairie part of the state in February, the row crop land is purple with henbit blooming. By the end of March, it’s all gone because farmers burned it down with chemicals to try to kill everything in the field before they plant,” he said.

“They burn it down early because weeds in March or early April are a reservoir for insect pests to the crops that will soon be planted,” Thompson said.

Crops in the field, especially soybeans, are great sources of bee forage, and farmers and beekeepers can coordinate to protect both of their interests.

“We moved bees to the Delta this summer to make soybean honey,” Thompson said. “We’re working with the growers to try to put the bees in areas that are fairly protected and won’t get directly sprayed.”

But farmland is not the only place bees find food. Yards, roadsides, golf courses and power line rights-of-way are other places bees forage when plants are allowed to bloom naturally.

“We need to stop looking at them as weeds and instead look at these plants as forage,” Thompson said. “I can manage around the insecticides, but if herbicide use means there’s nothing for a bee to eat, there’s no reason to put a hive in an area.”

[view original post via]

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email via HoneyLover Jim Montgomery

The city council approved the ordinance last night, 6-1!!!!  All were in favor except for Councilmember Heidi Ashcraft.    (The link for the ordinance is here).  Beekeeping on single family residences is no longer illegal in Torrance. That is the good news, the bad news is the process is more complicated and costly than I would have liked.  I would have liked to see beekeeping allowed by right as is the case in Redondo Beach, but in Torrance we will have to submit a Special Animal Permit along with an $80 application fee.
In addition, when you apply your surrounding neighbors will be notified of your application and will have up to 10 calendar days to object.  If this occurs, your application will be suspended and you can appeal the objection to the Torrance Environmental Quality and Energy Conservation commission along with, I believe, a $70 appeal fee.
If there is no objection, or there is an objection and you win the appeal and the SAP is approved there is still one more potential hurdle. Anyone, anywhere in the city of Torrance can appeal the decision.  They would be on the hook for this $70 appeal fee, not you since the SAP has been approved at this point.   If there was no objection by your neighbors, the appeal goes to the TEQECC as above.  If it had been objected to and you won your appeal at the TEQECC, the appeal would then go to the city council to be heard.  The decision of the council will be final with no further ability to appeal either by you or anyone else.
A few of the council members spoke in favor of allowing beekeeping by right (Councilmembers Goodrich and Griffiths) but there was sufficient concern raised by others that in order to secure enough votes to pass the ordinance, the compromise to allow this objection/appeal process was put in place.  I spoke with the staffer who largely wrote the ordinance to voice my concern about this process that it is likely that at least one of your neighbors is going to object out of fear, spite or just because it is easier to say no than yes.  He acknowledged that but said if you follow the regulations of the ordinance and the objection is not based upon something substantial like a medically certified bee sting allergy, the thought is that the TEQECC or council would take that into account when hearing the appeal and likely approve the application.
The TEQECC voted 6-1 to pass the ordinance to council and the council voted 6-1 to approve the ordinance so I suspect that an application will be approved by them unless an objector has a significant objection and not just they don’t want a neighbor to have bees.
Take the time to read the ordinance and let me know if you have any questions.   The Special Animal Permit is not in place yet so I do not yet think you can apply, I will update folks when I hear more about the process to apply.
Thanks again to everyone who contributed to getting an ordinance passed to legalize beekeeping in Torrance!
Read full story · Posted in News, Yay Bees

Beekeeping in the balance

“This is an editorial from Bee World, 1972. Probably written by Eva Crane. I think it’s still instructive today, especially the last paragraph” -Peter Borst 

HoneyLove visiting the Almond Orchards in Bakersfield


In many parts of the world beekeeping hangs in the balance, and the scales are tipped against the bees and the beekeeper. In countries with highly sophisticated agricultural systems, beekeeping may be in a decline because too many factors in modern agriculture work against the bees. Even in countries beginning to move away from traditional agriculture, bees are less and less part of the rural economy. Declining numbers of bees and beekeepers, and lack of official interest, are matched by falling honey yields. Yet the very changes in land use which now seem to be bringing about the end of beekeeping may lead to its recognition as an essential part of agriculture, because of its importance for crop pollination.

The factors limiting beekeeping may be summarized as follows. Forage available to bees is being reduced, by current agricultural practices, and by industrial and urban land use, including road construction. Losses from pesticide have been mitigated to some extent in recent years, but hazards are constantly arising from the use of new crops, and changes in agricultural techniques, especially for the control of pests and weeds. Also, although many of the bee diseases are well understood, and treatments available, largescale “losses” of indeterminate origin still occur from time to time, and can cause severe damage to beekeeping in the area concerned.

Beekeepers face rising costs which may so far outstrip the financial return that commercial beekeeping becomes uneconomic. At an amateur level, beekeeping as a hobby does not fit easily into areas of high human population, especially in towns and suburbs. Further, beekeepers are, in American terms, “not a well organized commodity group”: the very independence that makes a person a good keeper of bees may well make him a poor negotiator, and one who does not easily co-operate. It may also hinder understanding between beekeepers and crop growers, whether or not the growers use bees to pollinate their own crops.

Nowadays so many interdependent factors are involved in determining any one issue, that more and more interdisciplinary co-ordination is needed-and this does not come of itself, but has to be sought out and worked for. There is no magic solution, but there are ways in which benefits have been, or could be, obtained.

Human nature is perhaps the most difficult of all factors to change, but where the need is great enough – as in a nation at war – cooperation can be achieved. Surveys leading to a relatively objective assessment of the position could well be a valuable start. One such survey (concerned with development rather than decline) was conducted in Ireland in 1967, and another, specifically on bee losses and their effect on honey production and pollination, was carried out in the United States in 1970. In some countries with tracts of undeveloped land, surveys should be made to establish what further sites could profitably be used for hives, or what areas could be planted specifically for bee forage. In the more intensively used lands, pressure groups can be formed to maintain and reclaim potential areas for bee forage-even road verges are worth attention. More studies are urgently needed to define the requirements of crops for insect pollination (especially in the tropics), and to establish how widespread the dearth of pollinators is. The system of payment for colonies of bees provided for pollination, and conditions for safeguarding them, should also be restudied and improved.

Crop management techniques must be developed in which pest and weed control measures are applied only according to need, and methods are selected which are the least hazardous to bees. Much research has already been done, and if the results are presented in a way that can be assimilated, their application should not prove too difficult.

Understanding between beekeepers and crop growers has been achieved on a local, personal, scale in various countries, with very satisfactory results. Perhaps a study of these successful ventures might also show the way to more general progress.

Read full story · Posted in Newsletter Articles

Honeybees Hard at Work

Honeybees at work producing honey combs in the “hive body” at the La Canada Flintridge home of Max DeBrouwer. Worker honeybees raised during the spring or summer months may live for 6 or 7 weeks. Their lives are especially busy, with lots of hungry larvae to feed, and honeycomb to be produce. (Photo by James Carbone for the Los Angeles Daily News)

By Suzanne Sproul, via Los Angeles Daily News Home & Garden

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.


[read full article via]

Read full story · Posted in HoneyLove Buzz, HoneyLove Interviews, Yay Bees

Winter Bees and Oak Leaves

 Winter Bees Winter Bees CU

Winter in most climates is the hardest on bees. Temperatures fluctuate and create humidity in the hive. Some beekeepers have had success controlling this with a layer of oak leaves between their inner cover and telescoping top. NASA uses oak leaves to control humidity in telescopes, and it seems to work great for bees too!

Read full story · Posted in Yay Bees