“Please join us this Sunday July 3rd to learn why our project to get urban beekeeping approved in Los Angeles is so critical! Meet Chelsea and Rob McFarland and others from Backwards Beekeepers at the MVCC Green Booth at the Mar Vista Farmers Market from 9AM to 2:00 PM. Get the info on our July 16th screening of Vanishing of the Bees!
Over the last three years, more than one in three honeybee colonies collapsed nationwide, a phenomenon now called Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. According to the USDA, about one-third of our food is thanks to the work of bees, making CCD a huge food security issue. And while there is no one smoking gun causing CCD, scientists now widely agree that it is a result of a combination of factors, made manifest by industrial beekeeping which involves artificial insemination of queen bees, trucking thousands of hives great distances to pollinate crops, exposing bees to countless pesticides, and interfering with the species natural defenses by treating them with miticides and antibiotics and feeding them high fructose corn syrup. This deadly cocktail has made bees incredibly vulnerable and on the brink of collapse. That is, only if we fail to act, if we fail to recognize this disaster in the making and don’t take strong action to counter the slow march to extinction.
Mar Vista is actively working toward becoming a more sustainable place to live. Los Angeles currently outlaws beekeeping, and the city’s policy is to exterminate all feral bees. With worldwide bee populations threatened with Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and urban beekeeping more popular than ever, this policy needs to change. Feral bees, being subject to natural selection but not to the rough treatment and chemicals of commercial beekeeping, are far more robust than their commercial cousins. As commercial colonies collapse at an alarming rate, it is crucial that this population be protected.
Luckily the Mar Vista Community Council is conducting a feasibility study for a Urban Beekeeping Pilot Project.”
Kickstarter: “BEE”: Short Film (Narrative)
by Raphael Hitzke
Fund raising ends Jul 01, 03:30pm EDT (only 3 days left!!)
Click below to donate!
Help Legalize Beekeeping in Mar Vista! Please sign our petition on Change.org!
Solar Beeswax Melter
I have a bunch of beeswax from cut-outs…so what to do? I came up with this design based on a few I’d seen online and was able to pull together most of the material from around the house. The concept is pretty simple – sun heats up metal, melting wax into a trough.
Seemed to be working well, though I think it needs a full day of sun to fully melt the wax. It got warm enough today to melt the wax into piles, though not warm enough to make it run into the trough. We’ll see tomorrow after it gets full sun all day.
“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.
Ancient Egyptian Beekeeping
“The earliest record of keeping bees in hives was found in the sun temple erected in 2400 BC near Cairo. The bee featured frequently in Egyptian hieroglyphs and, being favored by the pharaohs, often symbolized royalty… Honey is mentioned in the oldest written histories, dating back to at least 2100 BC where it was mentioned in Sumerian and Babylonian cuneiform writings, the Hittite code, and the sacred writings of India and Egypt.”
Billboard poster design for the plight of the honey beeeee
“Sometimes,” said Pooh, “the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”
- A.A Milne
Help us save the honey bees!!
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