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Flash Mob: National Honey Bee Day Waggle Dance

On August 17th HoneyLovers, beekeepers and honey bee enthusiasts across the country celebrated National Honey Bee Day to honor nature’s hardest working insect, and HoneyLove decided to celebrate with a Waggle Dance Flash Mob. We choreographed a routine and invited everyone to participate in person or by uploading a video. Special THANK YOU goes out to LUSH Cosmetics and all who joined in the festivities to help make it the best National Honey Bee Day EVER!!!

MUSIC: “When You’re Smiling” by the Leftover Cuties: http://goo.gl/eiGBR

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE: http://full.sc/MRAY21

 

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This Week in News features HoneyLove.org and National Honey Bee Day!

THIS WEEK IN NEWS via James Rojas

National Honey Bee Day, 2013, Santa Monica. August 17th is National Honey Bee Day & a local non-profit organization, HoneyLove, celebrated in Santa Monica to help spread the message of how important it is to help bees.

this week in news

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HoneyLove August Newsletter

CLICK BELOW TO VIEW THE FULL NEWSLETTER:
http://eepurl.com/BQ0ib

August2013_newsletter

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Learn the Waggle Dance!

LEARN THE FLASHMOB WAGGLE DANCE AND PERFORM IT WITH US ON
NATIONAL HONEY BEE DAY – Saturday 8/17 @ 2PM

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LA WEEKLY: “Could L.A. Become a Honeybee Mecca?”

By Gendy Alimurung

LA Weekly Article

Look inside a plain wood box, in a truck, in the driveway of Rob and Chelsea McFarland’s house on certain spring nights, and you will see them. Bees.

How did they get there? Turn back the clock two years, to another season, another swarm. This one arrived in the afternoon while Rob was working in the backyard — one bee at first, then thousands, clustered into a ball the size of two footballs. It landed in a tree.

Instead of killing the bees, Rob called a group he’d read about online, which “rescues” them: the Backwards Beekeepers. That evening, wearing only a T-shirt and jeans and no protective suit, a volunteer from the group clipped the branch of bees, dropped it into a cardboard box and sealed it up. Rob, now 33, and wife Chelsea, 31, were astounded. “It revealed to me the gentle nature of bees,” Rob says.

Soon he started going on rescues, too — as many as three a day. He climbed a tangerine tree in the middle of the night and brought down the biggest open-air hive Chelsea had ever seen. With a frenzied smile, Rob gripped the severed branch with massive honeycombs dangling off it — a 60-pound lollipop of bees. Chelsea snapped a picture.

Then the dawning realization: “Where the hell do we put them?” It is a recurring question that will consume their next few days, then months, then years.

The tangerine tree hive sat on their roof for a spell. The McFarlands live in a modest house in the Del Rey neighborhood, a narrow, two-mile strip that cleaves Culver City from Mar Vista. They don’t exactly have a lot of space. And what kind of neighbor welcomes a swarm?

By some miracle, after weeks of shlepping hives across the city — after the crazy logistics of matching up people who had bees but didn’t want them with people who want bees but didn’t have them — Chelsea secured a spot: a small, scrubby hilltop in agrarian Moorpark, overlooking an organic farm owned by a friend of a friend. The McFarlands christened the hilltop the HoneyLove Sanctuary.

Today it hosts 16 hives in colorful wood boxes, each from somewhere around L.A., rescued from water meters and birdhouses and compost bins, places Rob can’t recall anymore.

“Each one of these is a family,” Chelsea says. “We’re usually rushing to beat the exterminator out there.”

For the past two years, the McFarlands’ house has been a halfway home for rescued bees. Rob, a YouTube channel manager, rescues them after work in the evenings, and the bees spend the night in his truck on the driveway until he can shuttle them up to the hilltop in the morning.

You do not choose to become obsessed. As anyone who has ever fallen in love with this insect says, “The bees choose you.”

“We always kind of have bees at our place,” Chelsea admits, with a sheepish grin.

LA Weekly frame

Commercial bees — the ones used to pollinate crops in the agriculture industry — are dying off in record numbers, presenting a serious crisis to global food production. Yet in urban areas, bees thrive. No pesticides or monocrops mean healthy living conditions. As improbable as it sounds, cities like Los Angeles may be the bees’ best hope for survival.

But there’s a catch.

Urban beekeeping is legal in New York, Seattle, Portland, Ore., Denver, Atlanta, San Francisco, Paris, London, Tokyo and Vancouver. In New York and San Francisco, people keep hives on the roofs of luxury hotels and apartment buildings.

In Los Angeles, however, bees exist in a legal gray area. The county allows them. But the city has no laws specifically pertaining to urban beekeeping. Currently, if bees are found on public property, the city’s only option is to exterminate them. As a result, the past few years have seen the emergence of groups like the Backwards Beekeepers, which are devoted to rescuing and keeping these wild swarms of so-called “feral” hives within city limits.

The Backwards Beekeepers represent a whole new kind of thinking about bees. While older, established groups frown on feral hives, the Backwards Beekeepers see them as the way of the future. Where traditional bee clubs use pesticides and antibiotics to help struggling bee populations, the Backwards Beekeepers favor organic, “natural” methods. The city, in a Backwards Beekeeper’s eyes, is a bee’s ideal stomping ground.

Yet as long as the rules about keeping hives on private property are anyone’s guess, beekeepers live in fear. No one has been prosecuted, but that doesn’t seem like security enough. And so Rob and Chelsea McFarland have been working to change the city’s codes one neighborhood group at a time.

When the McFarlands consulted beekeepers in Seattle, they were advised to build support from the ground up. So the McFarlands formed a nonprofit foundation, HoneyLove, and they do endless events and outreach: wax symposiums, honey tastings, mead workshops, pollen parties, art shows, festivals, concerts, garden tours, grocery consortiums, school visits, equipment demonstrations, film screenings, radio shows, television appearances, guest lectures and video blogging. They organized a four-month feasibility study with the Mar Vista Neighborhood Council, which includes surveys with residents, testimony from a pediatric pulmonologist on the effects of bee stings and, for a little bedtime reading, 75 scholarly articles on beekeeping.

In the process, their small social circle has become a massive one; the bees opened up a community for them in a way that nothing had before. “You’d be amazed at how many people have a particular interest in bees for one reason or another,” Rob says.

How does someone get into bees? For the McFarlands, the more salient question is, how did they manage so long without bees?

The couple is well versed in the art of taking up causes. Previously they championed orangutans. But orangutans were an abstraction, thousands of miles away in the forests of Borneo. Bees were literally right in their backyard.

Chelsea, a video editor and something of a natural-born cheerleader, wanted to fix their bad rep. “You see a swarm coming, and it’s, like, ‘Killer bees! Run for the hills!’?” she says. “But actually it’s the least aggressive a bee will ever be. Because they have nothing to defend. They’re all homeless. They have no honey. They have no babies.”

Rob, who is quiet and thoughtful, with a mind prone to drawing connections, saw the intrinsic fascination of the insect itself. There were infinite, engrossing facts to learn. Did you know that bees see in ultraviolet light, so flowers look like neon signs to them? Did you know that bees are essentially plants’ way of having sex?

Collecting signatures at the Mar Vista Farmers Market one morning, they meet Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who is there picking up greens for his turkeys and chickens and finches and cockatiels… [continue reading article via laweekly.com]

LA Weekly Paper

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HoneyLove Pollinator Party @ LUSH Cosmetics
(Santa Monica – Third St Promenade)

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ARTICLE: The bears and the bees: Humans messing up the natural world, again
By Patt Morrison 

L.A., we have been seeing waaaaay too many movies — and not enough nature documentaries.

First, the news:

Glen Bearian — so named for his Glendale haunts and with a clever Armenian-sounding surname for a city with a large Armenian population — had been cooling off in a local pool not long before he was  tranquilized and carted back to the Angeles National Forest by Fish and Game officials for the second time in four months.

He’s been wandering around foothill streets, and in April, before he was shipped back to the wild the first time, he startled a gadget-absorbed pedestrian who — in the fashion of so many text-obsessed people who have almost walked right into me — almost ran right into the bear in Montrose.

And then my colleague Steve Lopez just reported on urban beekeepers in Los Angeles, where the law bans hives but where residents are tending their own backyard hives, which may be the saving of bee populations that are collapsing in the wild. (I know an urban beekeeper, but you’ll never Abu Ghraib that out of me.)

And in May, Santa Monica police shot and killed a mountain lion that had wandered into a courtyard in a city office building and gotten trapped — killed unnecessarily, to some locals’ way of thinking, and they made their feelings known.

…ditto the bees. Anyone in a neighborhood complains and the bees are exterminated as if they were pests, instead of a tiny, vital part of the food chain. All those killer bee movies seem to make city folk think that the honeybee, the workhorse of agriculture, ornamental and comestible, is out there raring to kill us.

I was astonished by some of the comments on Lopez’s piece, people demanding that the city wipe out all beehives because someone in their family has a serious allergy to bee venom.

Really? Kill off all urban bees because you’re afraid your child might be stung? While we’re at it, let’s take out school and park swing sets because someone might get hurt. Let’s chop down that tree because some kid might try to climb it. Oh wait, we did that already, didn’t we?

Without bees, whole swaths of agriculture could collapse, floraculture could collapse, all the creatures dependent on them would go — boom, boom, boom, domino, dead.

Already honeybees are themselves in a state of collapse in parts of the country. Bees are so scarce that California almond growers are having to patronize rent-a-hive businesses to get the bee pollinators into their orchards. Agriculture isn’t just “out there” either. Urban gardeners and urban gardens could help to save bee populations, and Los Angeles still bears traces of what it once was, even afterWorld War II: the richest agricultural county in the nation.

We humans had better wise up. At the rate we’re going, with the attitude we bring to our dealings with these creatures — destroying their homes to build ours, intolerant of even the insects whose survival is closely tied to our own — in very short order the only place we’ll be able to see them is on movie screens.

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

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WATCH: Honey Bee Rescue – HoneyLove.org


Paul Hekimian of Santa Monica invited HoneyLove to rescue a beehive from his backyard and set him up to be an urban beekeeper. Paul is taking advantage of Santa Monica’s new ordinance to allow urban beekeeping. He is just the fourth person to register a hive. Paul’s father was a beekeeper at age 45, and now Paul at the same age gets to pass on beekeeping to his sons. Rob McFarland of HoneyLove.org was able to remove an open air hive from a tree and set Paul up with a nice new colony.

Special Thanks: Santa Monica Daily PressWhole Foods Market, HoneyLove.org, Rob McFarland, Lucas Hekimian, Lisa Zollner

Filmed & Edited by Eric Longden

HoneyLove.org is a 501(c)3 non-profit conservation organization with a mission to protect the honeybees and inspire and educate urban beekeepers.

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ARTICLE: Urban beekeeping taking root in Santa Monica
Law allows residents to pick up the planet-friendly hobby
 

“The goal: to get the rather large number of bees currently suspended between 15 and 20 feet above the ground into boxes lined with thin wooden frames in such a way that they would actually create a new hive and stay there…

The discovery of wild honeybees nested in Hekimian’s yard brought back old memories and a keen desire to pick up where his dad had left off, something that couldn’t have happened within Santa Monica’s city limits until early 2011 when the City Council made it legal to have bee hives on private property.

It was a no-brainer, said Dean Kubani, director of the Office for Sustainability and the Environment…

Hekimian contacted Animal Control as soon as he found the hive, received approval and called Rob McFarland.

The two had met just the day before Lucas’ discovery at a beekeeping talk hosted at the Whole Foods Market in El Segundo, one of a series of events the grocery store put on to raise awareness about honeybees and the role they play in the environment.

McFarland and his wife Chelsea were speaking for Honeylove.org, a non-profit organization they founded to protect honeybees and help out the uninitiated with bee problems.

McFarland got started in beekeeping a year ago in true DIY fashion… and now McFarland pitches in where he can to help others learn the ins and outs of beekeeping.

He came over Saturday morning, and Project: Bee Relocation got underway…

McFarland began pumping smoke into the hive. He then cut sections of the hive away from the rubber tree plant and handed them to Hekimian as videographer Eric Longden documented the whole affair…

After the main chunks of the hive came down, McFarland and Hekimian trimmed sections of the wax so they would fit within the thin wooden frames and strapped them in with rubber bands.

Eventually, the bees will seal the existing chunks of hive into the frame and chew away the offending rubber bands, McFarland said.

After the frames have been put into the box, it’s a waiting game. The bees could choose to stay in the box, or they could vacate the area and establish a new hive elsewhere.

Within minutes, it was clear the bees would stay. The little creatures crawled through a slit in the box, turned around and began fanning the air with their wings to spread the pheromone signaling wayward bees to come home.

Hobbyist beekeeping is in the middle of a renaissance…

From an environmental point of view, the more bees, the better. Bees are responsible for pollinating a full third of the food that enters our diets, according to Eric C. Mussen, a professor at UC Davis, in a paper titled ‘Don’t Underestimate the Value of Honey Bees!’”

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

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THRASHLAB VIDEO: “Urban Beekeeping | Subculture Club”
Featuring Kirk Anderson / Backwards Beekeepers and HONEYLOVE!!

http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/182143_480990185248074_1717815868_n.jpg

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