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White House Bees Create Record Honey Crop

“Michelle Obama was criticized when she announced in 2009 that she wanted the White House to be home to a vegetable garden and honey bees. Her idea was to add an area for bees on the South Lawn which would then provide pollination for the garden. Nearly three years later, her home gardening movement has taken off.

In fact, the White House garden produced almost a ton of food in one year. That’s a pretty big fete for a space that started with a $200 start up cost. The White House can now also boast that a record honey crop has been produced in its third year of production. A massive 225 and a half pounds of honey!

The number seemed to startle staff beekeeper, Charlie Brandts, who claims that most hobby hives produce 60 pounds of honey or 5 gallons annually.

He told U.S. News, “It’s just craziness. They did really well this year.” The honey bees have been considered over producers since they began creating honey at the White House. The first year the bees created 134 pounds of honey and in the second year the buzzing creatures created 183 pounds of syrupy goodness.

According to Bee Culture’s Kim Flottum, the Obama’s honey bees are in “honey bee heaven” because they are in the perfect location with lots of water, nectar from the garden and, “no pest pressure”.

The White House uses the honey the bees create to give gifts to friends, family, and other famous folks, as well as a replacement for sugar and in food and drink products like cookies, salad dressing, and beer.

It is possible that with the record number of honey produced at the White House on the South Lawn that others will catch on to bee keeping. After all, Michelle Obama’s plan to create a White House garden did lead others to create gardens of their own for their homes and help kids learn to create them at their schools all across the country.

What do you think? Ever given any thought to keeping bees?”

[click here to read the full article on ecorazzi.com]

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Los Angeles Councilmember Bill Rosendahl addressing the crowd last Saturday at HoneyLove’s National Honey Bee Awareness Day Event!!

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Exploding Flowers: Sunflower

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Photos from our National Honey Bee Awareness Day event are up =)
Check out the photos from our “Yellow Carpet” on our facebook page or flickr group!!

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What are you doing tomorrow? OH THAT’S RIGHT!! YOU ARE COMING TO MAR VISTA TO CELEBRATE NATIONAL HONEY BEE AWARENESS DAY!!

Everyone is invited to come take a walk down HoneyLove’s sustainable yellow carpet dressed as a bee, or a beekeeper, or just wearing yellow and black and see a FREE FILM SCREENING of the new documentary Vanishing of the Bees.  The event is TOMORROW (Saturday, August 20th) and runs 2-5:30pm at the Mar Vista Branch Library, 12006 Venice Boulevard, Los Angeles CA 90066

For more information, contact HoneyLove at:
424.625.8 BEE (8233) or by email: info [at] honeylove [dot] org 

(photos by tressa eaton)

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Beekeeping: Eco-Friendly, Healthy, and Completely Illegal in L.A.

Click here to read the original article by Danny Jensen on Change.org ]

 

“Urban beekeeping is the hobby du jour in cities across America. And why shouldn’t it be? Through pollination, bees are responsible for producing about one-third of the country’s food supply. Raising bees in cities and towns, then, helps ensure food security, produce local honey and honey-based products, and help conserve honeybees, which are rapidly dying out due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

Despite the multitude of benefits of urban beekeeping, the practice is totally illegal in many cities, including Los Angeles. Groups and citizens that raise their own bees — like L.A.’s Backwards Beekeepers — have to do so on the sly.

To help better understand why cities should legalize beekeeping, I caught up with Max Wong, a Los Angeles beekeeper and member of Backwards Beekeepers, an organic bee club. The group considers itself backwards because members practice sustainable beekeeping and do not treat their bees with chemicals or medications. As of last month, the Backwards Beekeepers boasted 400 members. Wong gave me the buzz on why beekeeping is so controversial and how the practice can revitalize communities throughout the country.

Why has legalizing beekeeping across Los Angeles faced obstacles while other cities like New York have had success?

L.A. is just more complicated than most cities because the laws are super confusing and made up of many municipalities that morphed over the years into the greater L.A. area. We want a blanket law that makes all areas of L.A. the same. There are many communities throughout the country where beekeeping was never made illegal, even as cities grew.

Why is urban beekeeping so important, and how will legalizing beekeeping benefit the city and its residents?

1. A sustainable, local job in the green sector
At a time when the economy is so shaky, I feel lucky that I’ve created a valuable service job for myself that cannot be outsourced beyond the community, doesn’t have to be subsidized by the government or a private financing source, generates next to no trash, doesn’t rely on the exploitation of animals or people, and has such a positive impact on the environment.

2. Better food security
One-third of the human diet is derived directly or indirectly from honeybee-pollinated plants. Many food plants — such as nuts and stone fruit — are exclusively pollinated by honeybees. It takes half the honeybee population in all of North America just to pollinate the spring almond crop in California!

Honeybees are also an important tool to fight hunger. Honeybees are such good pollinators that they improve crop yields by 30 to 60 percent. Thirty-seven million Americans are currently facing hunger. A 30 percent increase in crop yield in a home garden can mean the difference between a family feeding itself and a family relying on food assistance. And, because honeybees forage for nectar in a three-mile radius of their hive, they spread the love to the entire neighborhood. Even trees in the parks stay healthier because of bee activity.

3. Greater Biodiversity
Honeybees are dying off at an alarming rate — six percent a year globally. Contrary to most stories in the media, most of this die-off stems from unsustainable farming and animal husbandry practices. By keeping feral bees that have adapted to our local ecosystem and refusing to dose my bees with chemicals or medications, I’m helping maintain a healthy, disease-resistant gene pool that will help ensure the survival of an entire species.

What are some urban beekeeping myths that need to be dispelled?

Bees are way smarter than humans. They will not out-breed their food supply, so urbanites won’t have to worry about living next to a commercial bee yard with 1,000 hives inside city limits. There’s just not enough forage to support that many bees on one small patch of land. That said, most people will be surprised to learn that there are, on average, eight wild honeybee colonies per mile already living in Los Angeles without any human involvement! Legalizing beekeeping in Los Angeles would enable better bee management, control, and public safety as compared to only having wild hives, which is the current situation. More beekeepers actually means fewer swarms, fewer feral bee colonies taking up residence where they aren’t wanted, and fewer grumpy bees.”

IF YOU HAVEN’T DONE SO ALREADY – PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SIGN OUR PETITION TO LEGALIZE BEEKEEPING IN LOS ANGELES!!
 

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HOW TO MAKE A BEEKEEPER COSTUME- from MarthaStewart.com

Tools and Materials

White wide-brimmed straw hat (or spray-paint a regular straw hat)
White spray paint (optional)
Black tulle netting
White seam binding 
Hot-glue gun 
Wire cutters 
Millinery bees
Duct tape 
Metal bucket with handle
Letter stencils
Yellow paint pen
Light-colored shirt
Pair of painter’s coveralls
Pair of cotton work gloves with yellow accents 
 
Directions 

1. Cut a piece of tulle 16 inches wide and as long as the circumference of the brim of the hat. Hot-glue seam binding to one long edge of the tulle. Glue tulle to underside of hat brim, and cover with seam binding (to keep glue from seeping through). 

2. Remove wires from most of the bees. Glue wireless bees to tulle. Poke a few wired bees through the top of the straw hat from the outside; bend the wires at a right angle, and glue to inside of hat. 

3. Using letter stencils and paint pen, stencil “HONEY” on bucket; let dry. Tape more wired bees to inside of bucket. 

4. Wear hat with shirt, coveralls, and work gloves. 

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NEWS: The Beekeepers of Mar Vista

“Chelsea and Rob McFarland are spearheading an effort to legalize urban beekeeping in Los Angeles — and to give honeybees a better name…

The Mar Vista couple behind the organization Honeylove is all about changing the way people think about honeybees… with the sustainability and garden-focused community of Mar Vista as the testing ground.

Visitors to the Mar Vista Farmers’ Market Green Committee tent this summer may have spotted Chelsea wearing a bee costume at the market’s July 4th celebrations, gathering signatures on a petition. On a single day at the market, more than 500 people signed, said Green Committee co-chair Sherri Akers…

Honeylove is also working to engage surrounding communities. On Aug 11, the Del Rey Neighborhood Council voted to support looking into its own pilot program…

Honeylove will be hosting a [FREE] screening Saturday [8/20/11] of the film The Vanishing of the Bees at the Mar Vista Public Library from 2-5:30 p.m. The event coincides with National Honeybee Awareness Day…

[ click here to read the full article by Devin Kelly on marvista.patch.com ] 

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DO YOU LIVE OR WORK IN MAR VISTA, CALIFORNIA?
Please fill out this bee survey and let Mar Vista Council know your opinions on our beekeeping pilot program!
http://marvista.org/beesurvey

Please Note: Survey responses are limited to one per person/survey and street address of respondent must be provided to be included in the results.

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Urban beekeeping is the latest buzz

“…city dwellers across the country are rapidly discovering the appeal of urban beekeeping. Large cities like Chicago, Seattle, Boston, Dallas and San Francisco are even promoting beekeeping for pollination health, to keep city vegetation green and lush…

“There’s a fear factor that occurs around honeybees,” said Michael Thompson, who helped start the Chicago Honey Co-op in 2003. “People don’t understand just how gentle they really are…”

Beekeepers say any complaints they get are usually based on misconceptions about honeybees.

“In five years, we have had about two people come by and actually be angry about our hives,” Thompson said. “They thought yellow jacket wasps were honeybees.”

Even in New York City, longtime beekeeper Roger Repohl said prosecutions of beekeepers are rare and problems only arise when something bothersome happens, such as when someone topples a hive or the bees get into a building. Repohl said it’s more an issue of humans endangering bees, not the other way around.

Urban beekeepers say the few concerns are more than worth it. Many swear the honey is tastier, and they say cities are often a healthier environment for bees because there is less pesticide usage than in most farming areas.

Residents with gardens typically welcome bees, and many beekeepers say they’ve found their neighbors are very interested in their bees.

“They’re sort of like fish but better. Watching them calms you,” said Rob Hicks, who keeps four hives in Chicago. “It’s a fun way to spend time, and I think it might even have some effect on blood pressure,” he joked.

There’s also the honey. Hicks said that like many beekeepers, he’s usually able to sweet-talk neighbors into acceptance by keeping them well-supplied with honey…”

_______________________________________________________________________
Click here to read the full article by JESSICA M. PASKO
Associated Press Writer – Seattle Times
Photo by Bob Redmond

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