“Mar Vista tripleheader”
Today, Roberta of Backwards Beekeepers and I cut-out three hives from my neighbor’s garage. John contacted BB after what sounds like a few bungled removals. What started as one hive in his wall splintered into three robust hives, taking up residence in various parts of the garage.
John’s daughter Catherine, a biology student at UCSB, helped us throughout the whole ordeal. I suspect we have a newbie beek in the making. She was really impressive.
The first hive we tackled was in a window frame and was fully exposed after removing a sheet of plywood that was installed after the previous removal.
We were able to easily cut out the comb and tie it into frames. Look at all that brood!
Next up was a hive that set up in a wine box left behind to trap stragglers from the previous removal. The thought was that it was better to have them living in the box than in the wall.
Unfortunately, they quickly got over-crowded and sent out at least two more swarms, which set up shop in the window and wall. Makes me wonder if this is where the swarm that showed up in my yard originated. If so, I have John to thank for my good fortune. The good news was that the box made for a really simple cut-out.
We tied all the comb into 5 frames and dropped them into a nuc box I just built. We obviously got the queen because the rest of the crew was eager to get inside.
And finally, after a ton of sawing and brute demo work, we were able to cut-out the swarm in the wall. They really spread out throughout the wall, so it took a ton of coaxing to get them all. And by coaxing, I mean busting the hell out of the wall and brushing and vacuuming like a mad man. And though I’m no fan of the bee vac, I’ve found it to be essential in some of the hairier cut-outs. Going to try to build one this weekend, stay tuned for how that turns out.
Special thanks to John and Catherine for helping rescue many thousands of honeybees, and to Roberta for the mentoring.
Victory! Santa Monica Legalizes Beekeeping
Following in the footsteps of cities like Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, New York, Portland, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, and Seattle — and after receiving nearly 200 signatures each from Change.org members — the Santa Monica City Council voted unanimously to legalize beekeeping. The very night the legislation passed I received an email from Councilmember Kevin McKeown asking me to please call off the Change.org dogs, so you can bet we all had a hand in pushing this law forward!
The new ordinance allows up to two hives on residential property as long as keepers register with Animal Control and meet modest hive placement, screening, and management requirements. Hives must be kept five feet from a property line, be provided a water source, and have a six-foot screen, fence, or some kind of vegetation to make sure the bees fly up before they fly out. Otherwise, the hive can be kept eight feet up without a screen.
In addition, the city now has a policy of exterminating swarms only as a last resort. Previously, the city had an automatic extermination policy regarding feral bees. Under the new legislation, these renegade bees will be captured and relocated to an apiary in either Ventura or the San Fernando Valley. Only if this is impossible will swarms be exterminated.
The new ordinance spells out just how important bees are to society, noting that they provide pollination services vital to up to 30 percent of our food. They also recognize that bee populations have been in trouble for the last 50 years, and that their populations have declined by 50 percent. Because of Colony Collapse Disorder, some beekeepers have noticed their hives dwindling by 30 to 90 percent since 2006. Legalizing beekeeping in Santa Monica will not only boost local food security, it will help conserve beleaguered honeybees.
While Santa Monica joined a growing number of locales that let residents keep bees legally, several cities still ban the practice. Los Angeles is one of them. As the victory in Santa Monica showed, our pressure can make a difference on local lawmakers. Sign our petition asking the Los Angeles City Council to legalize beekeeping in all parts of the city.
Ed (Redondo Beach, CA)
Ed, a member of Backwards Beekeepers, is a man on a mission. His first encounter with bees came when a hive set up shop in his property. Not knowing his options, Ed had an exterminator out to get rid of the bees – a decision that haunts him to this day. As a gardener and wildlife lover, Ed set out to find a better option, a way to redeem himself.
After some googling, Ed found the Backwards Beekeepers and the rest is history. He’s got bee fever as bad as anyone.
In addition to going out and rescuing bees himself, Ed made friends with an exterminator who he convinced to do live captures. She now drops off at least three swarms a week. Ed basically runs a bee orphanage – connecting people who need bees with bees in need.
Today we scooped up three swarms from him – two of which went to a new home in Laguna Beach
The third of Ed’s rescues went to newbie beek Mark in Woodland Hills.
“Dan Susman is making a documentary called Growing Cities about urban farming across America. He and his partner Andrew Monbouquette shot this segment about a hive rescue with LA Backwards Beekeeper Warren, who does a great job of explaining our mission.”
“Finding a Home” Night at the Mar Vista Community Council
“Rob and Chelsea McFarland spoke for another creature in vital need of a home: bees. Said that a world without bees is a world without food. The best way to protect bees is to give them homes wherever possible. The Council approved a pilot study for their bee program.”
Article by: Andy Shrader / Photo Credit: Roy Persinko
Kirkobeeo extracting honey from one of his hives in Silverlake, CA.
Southern California Coastal Pollinator Planting Guide (pdf)
WHO: Laguna Bees
WHAT: NEW BEEKEEPERS!
WHERE: Laguna Beach
from lagunabees blog:
Day 1- Beekeepers Extraordinaire (well at least we like to think so)
Rob and Chelsea went last night and rescued our new swarm from a pine tree over looking the water in Pacific Palisades. Rob captured them in a one foot square cardboard box and had duct taped the flaps so that the bees were locked in for the night.
Rob and I nailed and glued the 2 hive boxes and 20 frames and then we put on our beekeeper suits. The photo below is of us – just before Rob cut open the cardboard and got the bees settled into their new hive. It’s on the deck facing north so they can “enjoy” the afternoon sun and cool sea breezes.
The colorful gardens below have a huge variety of native plants and trees including sage, lavender, mint, goldenrod, daisies, bougainvillea, pine, yucca, olive and many more.
Leslie and I hope our transplanted bees like their new home… can’t imagine its TOO hard to adapt from their ocean view in Pacific Palisades to their brand new home overlooking the ocean in Laguna Beach. Rob says we have a 50% chance they’ll stay. He said it usually takes about three weeks to know…. personally I think they already know that they have found “the good life”.
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