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Tag Archives | urban beekeeper

KCET: Urban Beekeeping: What’s the Buzz About?

via kcet.org featuring HoneyLover Sylvia Henry

For the first time in more than a century, the Los Angeles City Council officially legalized urban beekeeping in single family homes in October 2015, catching up with cities like Santa Monica, New York, and Santa Barbara in permitting backyard beekeeping.

But now, what will it take to create a new generation of beekeepers? Can computers and smartphone apps help make the traditional task of beekeeping more inviting?

There’s no question that backyard beehives face multiple challenges. One expert, Kelton Temby, calls them the four P’s: Pests, pesticides, poor management, and pathogens. He has come up with a high-tech monitor to gauge the health of beehives remotely. What does this technology have to offer aspiring beekeepers?

In this segment of “SoCal Connected,” reporter Cara Santa Maria introduces us to beekeepers from Los Angeles and Santa Barbara and finds out what backyard beekeeping is doing to support the honey bees of Southern California.

Featuring Interviews With:

Sylvia Henry, urban beekeeper
Kelton Temby, founder, EyesOnHives
Michael Stivers, beekeeper

Read full story · Posted in HoneyLove Buzz

Pesticide Research Institute Testing/Reporting

Susan BIP Scale
Emails via HoneyLover Susan Rudnicki

This is the helpful information beeks should read if they have a pesticide kill.   Even if they do not elect to do the testing (I have decided to go ahead and do it—-$576)  the important thing to do is filing the report with the EPA and the State Dept. of Pesticide Regulation, which costs NOTHING.   The Pollinator Stewardship Council folks, Michele Colopy in particular helped me, will help anyone.    We NEED this data amassed to impress upon the bureaucrats that our bees suffer these insults.  

Susan
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Susan Kegley
To: Susan Rudnicki

Hi Susan,

I’m so sorry to hear about your bees! My apologies for taking so long to get back to you, but I’ve been out of town and am just catching up.

My company, Pesticide Research Institute, can help you with getting a sample analyzed and interpreting the data. See our sampling pages for more information:

Sampling Beehives for Pesticides

Beehive Sampling: Process & Cost


If you decide to do the analysis, I would recommend analyzing pollen, not bees. Pesticides degrade quickly in bees, but not so much in pollen.

I’m attaching our Cost Estimator spreadsheet for your convenience. It is unfortunately quite expensive to have the lab work done, but it can provide a wealth of information about the types of chemicals your bees were exposed to. It is most useful if you can also analyze a sample of pollen from a thriving hive (one not experiencing a kill) in the same vicinity, for comparison purposes.

Best,
Susan

More background information via HoneyLove Forum

Read full story · Posted in HoneyLove Interviews

Honeybees at work

By Suzanne Sproul, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Have you heard the latest buzz? Los Angeles has laid out the backyard welcome mat for honeybees.

Urban beekeepers couldn’t be happier. After several years of discussion, lawmakers recently joined an increasing number of cities, including Santa Monica, Redondo Beach and Culver City, in attempts to help protect them.

Honeybee fans are thrilled, but some people still worry about safety concerns, particularly for those with bee allergies. The new ordinance requires urban beekeepers to register their hives with Los Angeles County, regulates their distance from property boundaries and nearby streets and calls for them to be kept high above ground and surrounded by a structure, such as a wall or hedge. Typically, only two hives would be allowed at a residence.

“We are very happy that more people and cities are recognizing the importance of honeybees, but everyone should know they’re already here. On average in Los Angeles, there are nine to 11 colonies per square mile. The honeybees live in attics, trees and everywhere, so it’s not that we’re bringing in more. We’re simply trying to protect the ones here,” said Chelsea McFarland, an urban beekeeper along with her husband and the chief executive officer of HoneyLove, a nonprofit in Santa Monica.

Bees pollinate about 80 percent of plants, which directly impacts the community.

“If you want a green city, we need beekeepers and a place to keep bees,” she said.

Organic gardening and providing backyard pollinator gardens rich with plenty of bee-friendly plants such as sage, goldenrod, lilac and lavender will help.

Maxime DeBrouwer of La Cañada Flintridge is a relative newcomer to beekeeping, but he’s a huge fan.

“My friend Paul (Hekimian) got me interested. He came over when we were having a party and brought a whole frame of honey which he harvested and gave to everyone at the party. He then told us how easy it is and offered to give us a hive, which he rescued through HoneyLove,” DeBrouwer said. “We love honey, heard about the die-off of bees and wanted our kids to learn about them. I then bought some books and went to a local beekeepers’ meeting that turned out to be down the street from my house. I was surprised to find 100 people at that meeting.”

Paul Hekimian isn’t so surprised at the interest. The Santa Monica man is a second-generation beekeeper.

“I learned from my dad, but then got away from it until a few years ago when my son found an open-air hive in the backyard. We rescued the bees and now care for them as a hobby,” he said, adding that he bottles the honey to give as gifts to friends.

DeBrouwer understands the concerns about stings and allergies but believes if people really knew how important bees and the many misconceptions there are about them, many fears would disappear.

“We find bees so fascinating and love watching them and learning. My daughter Alexa loves to handle them and has written stories about it at school. My younger daughter Maya loves to brag that she has 10,000 pets. Honeybees are quite calm and friendly.”

Beekeepers are quick to point out that many individuals confuse honeybees with yellow jackets or wasps, both of which are more aggressive.

“Bees do all the hard work,” McFarland said. “And we get to enjoy their labors. We should be good stewards and help maintain colonies.”

One solution to help ease fears, he said, would be to attend a beekeepers’ meeting and learn more.

“It’s very easy. Just go to a club meeting and learn and then take the plunge and get a hive once you learn the basics.”

Erik Knutsen enjoys nature and gardening and did just that. The Silver Lake man already kept chickens so he said he thought he’d research beekeeping. He liked what he discovered.

“Working with them is magical,” he said. “You get a front seat to some miracles of nature.”

His understanding of the beneficial relationships between Mother Nature, man and bees has increased, and he hopes others will learn more, too.

HoneyLove is a Southern California nonprofit that began in 2011. Its goal is to educate the public about honeybees and to raise awareness about their importance. Bees actually are an essential part of the food chain through pollination of crops, gardens and flowers. According to the USDA, bees help produce about one-third of what is eaten. HoneyLove believes cities, now including Los Angeles, represent the last refuge for honeybees.

There are several groups in the area that provide classes, workshops and meetings for those interested in beekeeping. They include the Beekeepers Association of Southern California (Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties), which normally meets at the La Mirada Civic Center, 13710 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada; the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association, which dates back to 1873 when it held its first meeting in El Monte and offers “Beekeeping 101” classes starting in February; and HoneyLove, a nonprofit group based in Santa Monica.

 

BEE FACTS

Bees aren’t bad, just their reputations. In fact, they serve a vital purpose by pollinating food crops and other garden landscapes. Here are 10 things you should know:

1 Honeybees are the only insects that produce food that people eat.

2 Honeybees help the economy through pollination to the tune of $15?billion for U.S. agricultural crops.

3 Honey is the only food that doesn’t spoil. Its low moisture and pH levels prevent bacteria from growing in it.

4 The first alcoholic drink — mead — is a mixture of wine and honey.

5 Bees venture out of their hives 15 times a day and can visit 100 flowers or more.

6 Each American eats almost 1.5 pounds of honey each year.

7 Honeybees are fast, able to fly about 15 miles per hour.

8 Colony Collapse Disorder means bees are in danger. A little more than 50 years ago, there were 5?million honeybee colonies compared with today’s 2.5?million.

9 Your chances of being hit by a car are greater than having a severe reaction to a sting.

10 Want to help attract bees? They like sage, mint, thyme and lavender and are fond of butterfly bush, honeysuckle and sunflowers.

Source: HoneyLove, http://honeylove.org

 

[Click here to read original article via dailynews.com]

Read full story · Posted in Uncategorized

Honeybees Hard at Work

Honeybees at work producing honey combs in the “hive body” at the La Canada Flintridge home of Max DeBrouwer. Worker honeybees raised during the spring or summer months may live for 6 or 7 weeks. Their lives are especially busy, with lots of hungry larvae to feed, and honeycomb to be produce. (Photo by James Carbone for the Los Angeles Daily News)

By Suzanne Sproul, via Los Angeles Daily News Home & Garden

Have you heard the latest buzz? Los Angeles has laid out the backyard welcome mat for honeybees.

Urban beekeepers couldn’t be happier. After several years of discussion, lawmakers recently joined an increasing number of cities, including Santa Monica, Redondo Beach and Culver City, in attempts to help protect them.

Honeybee fans are thrilled, but some people still worry about safety concerns, particularly for those with bee allergies. The new ordinance requires urban beekeepers to register their hives with Los Angeles County, regulates their distance from property boundaries and nearby streets and calls for them to be kept high above ground and surrounded by a structure, such as a wall or hedge. Typically, only two hives would be allowed at a residence.

“We are very happy that more people and cities are recognizing the importance of honeybees, but everyone should know they’re already here. On average in Los Angeles, there are nine to 11 colonies per square mile. The honeybees live in attics, trees and everywhere, so it’s not that we’re bringing in more. We’re simply trying to protect the ones here,” said Chelsea McFarland, an urban beekeeper along with her husband and the chief executive officer of HoneyLove, a nonprofit in Santa Monica.

Bees….

[read full article via dailynews.com]

Read full story · Posted in HoneyLove Buzz, HoneyLove Interviews, Yay Bees

Backyard Beekeeping Ordinance Update

by Katherine E. Peterson—Los Angeles Department of City Planning

The Backyard Beekeeping Ordinance (CPC-2015-578-CA, Council File No. CF 12-0785) was unanimously adopted by the City Council yesterday, Wednesday, October 14, 2015. The Ordinance received 15 “Yes” votes and 0 “No” votes.  For more details or to review/download documents submitted to the City Clerk, including the City Planning Commission Staff Report and action, please refer to the online Council File at the following link:

https://cityclerk.lacity.org/lacityclerkconnect/index.cfm?fa=ccfi.viewrecord&cfnumber=12-0785

What’s Next?

According to Section 250 of the City Charter, the Mayor has 10 days to act on the ordinance, meaning he can act on it on the same day, or 10 days later. Assuming the Mayor approves it, the City Clerk’s Office will then post the adopted Ordinance for a period of 10 days and a 30-day effective date will begin after that. Simply put, the earliest an Ordinance can realistically go into effect is 40 to 50 days after it is adopted by the City Council. When we have an effective date, we will notify the individuals on this interest list by email.

Feel free to forward this information to anyone you feel might be interested. If you received this email via forwarded message from someone else, and you would like to receive updates directly from the Planning Department, please email katherine.peterson@lacity.org and ask to be added to the interest list. Please type “Add Me to Backyard Beekeeping Notification List” in the subject line and provide your group/organization/company affiliations and contact information (please include at least your zip code).

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thank you,

Katie

Katherine E. Peterson
Code Studies
City of Los Angeles Department of City Planning
Phone: 213-978-1445
katherine.peterson@lacity.org

Read full story · Posted in News

One step closer to legal beekeeping in LA

CityHallPLUM_082515

Backyard Beekeeping Ordinance:
PLUM Committee Moves Ordinance Forward To City Attorney

The Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM) of the City Council approved the proposed Backyard Beekeeping Ordinance provisions at their regular meeting on August 25, 2015, and transmitted the Draft Ordinance to the City Attorney’s Office with no amendments. The City Attorney’s Office will now look over the Ordinance as to form and legality, and then transmit it back to the PLUM Committee.

Audio of the PLUM meeting on August 24, 2015 is available online (at 2 hours 20 minutes):
http://lacity.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=103&clip_id=15040&meta_id=273833

What’s Next:
City Attorney’s Office transmits the final ordinance to PLUM, who will then forward it to the full City Council. While the timeline for these steps is uncertain, the PLUM Committee stated their eagerness to see the Backyard Beekeeping Ordinance move through the process as quickly as possible, which was noted by the City Attorney.

Related articles:

http://mynewsla.com/government/2015/08/25/council-committee-supports-urban-beekeeping-proposal/

http://westsidetoday.com/2015/08/26/proposal-allows-hobbyist-beekeepers-in-los-angeles-to-maintain-hives-in-backyard/

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/backyard-beekeeping-getting-a-lot-of-buzz-in-l-a-1.3142370

Read full story · Posted in News, Yay Bees

Bee Informed Partnership Hive Scale Project

Susan BIP Scale
via HoneyLover Susan RudnickiHave you ever wondered how our local, LA Urban beekeeping differ from other areas of the country? I just read the other day that beekeepers in Wales expect about 25 pounds of honey per year on their hives—33 pounds is a bumper crop!   This does not seem like much. Our bees are active year ’round, making brood, honey and drones. This growth is very different from temperate climate bees and, as well, we are using Africanized hybrid ferals—a relatively rare population to survey. We now have a opportunity to participate in amassing data on our specific niche by the generosity of HoneyLove who purchased the SolutionBee Hive scale for me to monitor a hive in my backyard garden.

The project is managed by BIP (the Bee Informed Partnership)  and the hive data is automatically sent to their website as well as the SolutionBee team, the manufacturers of the hive scale (purchased from Brushy Mountain). The colony I selected came from a large swarm hived on April 27, 2014 which has proven to be super productive and nicely behaved. They now occupy 3 deep boxes and 2 mediums after seven months and have produced 60 pounds of honey.  I have also raided their brood nest for frames of brood for weak nuc hives. They are VERY strong bees and a pleasure to work.

The goal of the project is summarized below, as taken from the initial offering to participate sent out by BIP. I am having great fun with this, watching my bee’s growth graph going ever upward in weight gain. For the first time I am also having to learn how to use a cell phone—my son’s iphone—as the data recording and uploading device. Arghh!  —this is not my strong suit.

The Bee Informed Partnership is dedicated to helping beekeepers make informed data-based management decisions. Monitoring weight changes in colonies has huge potential to help us understand disease and parasite population growth, as well as the timing of management practices. We are seeking some innovative beekeepers who are willing to help us develop and beta test the hive scale tools’ ability to develop a system that will provide the best regionally specific management practices based on real time data. We are collaborating with NASA’s Honeybee Net, under the direction of Wayne Esaias, to test this exciting effort.

Why hive scales?

Hive scales weigh individual colonies at regular intervals, keeping track of strong nectar flows, swarming, and other conditions that affect management decisions.  Beekeepers may respond to rises in weight by putting supers on, inspecting colonies for swarm cells, and extracting full honey supers. Conversely, weight loss may indicate a need to feed colonies, robbing or indicate the colony has swarmed and is at increased risk of becoming queenless.

With new digital hive scales, beekeepers can track the weight of colonies without having to do a hive inspection. The scale we are using for our beta testing will utilizing Bluetooth with an Android device (e.g., Android phone or tablet), and a visit to the apiary is required to read the data. The data can be viewed on the device or be uploaded via cellular or WIFI communication. However, in the future these same scales when used with a data collector will allow for data to be automatically uploaded via cell phones or cell phone service data plans that allow for remote monitoring.

Armed with data from hive scales and other disease monitoring efforts, the Bee Informed Partnership hopes to make predictive models of honey flows and disease population growth. These models will help us develop an “alert system” that will make management recommendations based on real-time and regionally specific data.

As to my particular case,  I don’t expect the disease/pest monitoring aspect will be so relevant to my bee population. The varroa mite has not been a great destroyer of my bees in the past and they seem to manage the pest well on their own. When Spring comes, it will be interesting to observe the growth of the brood nest and respond with management techniques to overcome swarming tendencies.   One thing is sure—that time will be sooner than any other part of the country.

Read full story · Posted in HoneyLove HQ, Newsletter Articles

Honeybee Anatomy Lesson: Pollen-collecting

Pollen is the honeybee’s main source of protein, critical to brood production and development. Honeybees’ fuzzy, hairy bodies help foragers collect pollen. Some bees collect only nectar while other collect both nectar and pollen on the same trip.

Bees have several anatomical features that are uniquely devoted to efficient pollen-collecting.

Pollen combs are hairy parts on the inside of a bee’s hind legs that are used to remove pollen stuck on the body.

The bees then rub their rear legs together and rake the pollen into the pollen press on the opposite leg.

The pollen press is a joint that compresses pollen particles into a dense clump for more efficient storage while flying.

Pollen clumps are moved from the rake to the pollen baskets on the outside of a honeybee worker’s hind leg.

Pollen collected in the field is stored in the pollen basket until it is removed upon return to the hive. With all these body parts devoted to pollen, it must be pretty important stuff.

Read full story · Posted in Yay Bees

The Flowers of Winter

by HoneyLover Susan Rudnicki
Corymbia_ficifolia_1

Flower-nectar and pollen are the life’s blood of our bees and—even though we are in the month of November—much is in bloom in the city. Many plants from the Southern Hemisphere bloom in Winter and irrigation of city gardens blurs the droughty conditions naturally seen in the wild lands of California.

I’m often surprised by the relatively sparse knowledge beekeepers have about the plant resources that are so fundamental to bees’ health and prosperity. We must try to hone our observational skills on the plant life around us and what those blossoms are offering our bees. When we pay attention, we can easily conjecture what bees will be storing in their combs and how colonies may be growing. A LOT of beekeeping is taking a long view of a process and not so much a set of strict rules of what to expect.

Here are a few things in bloom I’m seeing now:

  • Melaleuca quinquenervia (Paperbark tree)—white, bottlebrush flowers and thick, squishy, peeling white bark.  There are several types of melaleucas.
  • Eucalyptus of various kinds—E. ficifolia (now called Corymbia ficifolia)—Huge trusses of flowers in shades of red, pink or orange. E. camaldulensis (Red River Gum)—white or pale yellow flowers. And E. globulus (Blue Gum)—white flowers.
  • Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian Pepper Tree)—Tiny but profuse white flowers.
  • Callistemon rigidus (Bottlebrush tree)—red, bottlebrush flowers.
  • Rosemary, Lavender and Basil—all have the small flowers bees seem to be most attracted to.
  • Citrus trees—lemon, orange, lime.

Take a look around and notice something new. What plants are attracting the bees’ attention in your neighborhood?

Read full story · Posted in Newsletter Articles

NEW! HoneyLove inspired Christian Science Monitor article

Chelsea and Rob McFarland lure people into a sweet science: urban beekeeping

Honeybee populations are under attack but the founders of nonprofit HoneyLove believe bees’ best future is in cities.

By Daniel B. Wood, Staff Writer

Butterflies and hummingbirds flit in the shafts of light behind Chelsea McFarland as she tells a group of about 20 interested volunteers – residents ages 6 to 66 from around this West Los Angeles suburb – what they can do to combat the dramatic worldwide depletion of the honeybee.

“Instead of one guy with 60,000 hives, our hope is that we can inspire 30,000 people to have two each,” she says to the volunteers who sit on folding chairs inside an auxiliary greenhouse on the grounds of Venice High School Learning Garden.

Between 1947 and 2005, the number of bee colonies in the United States declined by more than 50 percent, from 5.9 million to 2.4 million, she tells them. Researchers are now saying the once-mysterious disappearance is likely due to a combination of viruses, pesticides, and contaminated water, which makes bees more susceptible to everything from stress to parasitic mites. The bees pick up insecticides through dust and residue on nectar and pollen.

The recent Saturday gathering aims to reverse the trend. Ms. McFarland’s hope is that the information will ignite a passion within the listeners to (1) spread the word and (2) adopt a whole slew of ideas that can dramatically boost the bee population.

Those actions could range from becoming a full-time urban beekeeper – building and sustaining hives of bees and harvesting the honey – to planting a bee-friendly organic garden with bee-friendly plants, such as lavender, glory bushes, jasmine, rosemary, coreopsis, violets, thyme, wisteria, bluebells, trumpet vine, sunflowers, cosmos, and coneflowers.

Taking action also could be as simple as building a clean, outdoor, nonstagnant water source on one’s property.

“The best science tells us that the future of the honeybee is within the urban environment,” McFarland says. “Cities actually provide safer habitat than the farms and rural areas traditionally associated with beekeeping.”

That’s because urban areas offer more diversity of plants, and they are available year-round – not just in a single season, like most of the 100 crops that bees pollinate which make up about a third of the average person’s diet.

Bee pollination is worth $15 billion a year to the US farming industry, McFarland says. Bee depletion is also predicted to affect the beef and dairy industries by reducing the pollination of clover and other hay and forage crops.

The Committee on the Status of Pollinators in North America told Congress in March 2007 that if the disappearances – known as colony collapse disorder – continued unabated, managed honeybees would disappear by 2035.

That would also result in higher prices for nuts, fruits, and vegetables, and possibly increased imports of cheaper fruits and vegetables from overseas countries where CCD is less prevalent…

[continue reading on csmonitor.com]

Read full story · Posted in HoneyLove Interviews, News