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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!’”

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