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Tag Archives | urban beekeeping

Edmonton beekeeper builds a better beehive

via edmontonjournal.com

A local beekeeper has developed a novel hybrid hive design to provide better living conditions for Edmonton’s urban bees.

Dustin Bajer’s hive is taller and narrower than the typical hive used in the beekeeping industry, helping it better imitate a hollowed-out tree where bees would be found in nature.

“I take the standard hive and tweak it a little bit, try to make it a little more ‘bee-centric,’ working for the bees,” Bajer said in an interview Thursday.

Bajer said his beehive design strikes a balance between the needs of bees and those of the beekeepers who look after them.

“I’m just trying as much as possible to let the bees do what they would be doing in nature.”

Bajer is selling his handmade hives on his website, dustinbajer.com, for $200.

Typical beehives have 10 removable frames that the bees use to build honeycomb.

Bajer’s design leaves two frames out. “Eight frames is closer to the inside of a hollow tree where you’d find bees naturally,” he said, “so they’re able to cluster together a little bit easier.”

Instead of weaving in and out between the frames, bees in Bajer’s hives can move vertically along the comb to get at the honey they need to eat during winter. For overwintering bees, the less they need to move, the better.

Frames in Bajer’s hives go into boxes that are smaller than the industry norm. While the volume of the hive and its weight doesn’t change, the beekeeper can handle the boxes more easily.

In April of this year, Edmonton city council amended its animal licensing and control bylaw to permit beekeeping in the city.

Edmonton is a good environment for keeping bees, said Bajer, who lives in McCauley.

“We typically think of cities as these barren concrete jungles without nature,” he said. But in reality, the biological diversity present in cities helps produce good honey.

“You can actually taste it, because you’re going to get pollen from willows, cherry trees, lilacs. There’s a little bit of something for the bees the entire growing season.”

Bajer said he tries to live as close as possible to nature in an urban environment. He wants his leafy backyard to feel like an oasis in the city.

“My ideal day is sitting on the deck with a glass of wine, just watching the bees go and forth.”

Bajer’s beehive design is his personal response to the needs of urban bees.

“First and foremost, beekeepers need to understand how bees behave, and to ensure that they have everything that they need in order to be able to do that.”

[view original post via edmontonjournal.com]

Read full story · Posted in News

READ: Herbicides, Not Insecticides, Biggest Threat to Bees

honeybees

By Bonnie Coblentz via agfax.com

People who care about honeybees know that insecticides and pollinators are usually a bad mix, but it turns out that herbicides used to control weeds can spell even bigger trouble for bees.

Jeff Harris, bee specialist with the MSU Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station researcher, said herbicides destroy bee food sources.

“When farmers burn down weeds before spring planting, or people spray for goldenrod, asters and spring flowers, or when power companies spray their rights-of-way, they’re killing a lot of potential food sources for bees and wild pollinators,” he said.

Harris said the direct effect of these chemicals on bees is so much less of an issue than their loss of food supply.

“Disappearing food is on the mind of beekeepers in the state,” he said. “That is even more important to them than losses of bees to insecticides.”

Johnny Thompson, vice president of the Mississippi Beekeeping Association, is a cattle and poultry farmer in Neshoba County who has been in the bee business for the last 10 years.

“Before we got back into bees, I sprayed pastures by the barrel to kill weeds. As a cattle farmer, weeds are a nuisance,” Thompson said. “I’m trying to grow grass for the cows to eat and not weeds, but as a beekeeper, those weeds are not weeds. That’s forage for the bees.”

Today, Thompson said he uses the bush hog more than he sprays herbicides to keep the food supply for bees intact on his land.

“If you kill everything the bee has for food, you may as well go in and spray the hive directly. The bees are going to die,” he said. “All the emphasis is being put on insecticide, but the greater risk to bees are the herbicides.”

He has made management changes for the sake of his bees’ food supply, but he recognizes the tension between current agricultural management practices and pollinators’ best interests.

“When you travel through the Delta or the prairie part of the state in February, the row crop land is purple with henbit blooming. By the end of March, it’s all gone because farmers burned it down with chemicals to try to kill everything in the field before they plant,” he said.

“They burn it down early because weeds in March or early April are a reservoir for insect pests to the crops that will soon be planted,” Thompson said.

Crops in the field, especially soybeans, are great sources of bee forage, and farmers and beekeepers can coordinate to protect both of their interests.

“We moved bees to the Delta this summer to make soybean honey,” Thompson said. “We’re working with the growers to try to put the bees in areas that are fairly protected and won’t get directly sprayed.”

But farmland is not the only place bees find food. Yards, roadsides, golf courses and power line rights-of-way are other places bees forage when plants are allowed to bloom naturally.

“We need to stop looking at them as weeds and instead look at these plants as forage,” Thompson said. “I can manage around the insecticides, but if herbicide use means there’s nothing for a bee to eat, there’s no reason to put a hive in an area.”

[view original post via agfax.com]

Read full story · Posted in News

BEEKEEPING LEGALIZED IN TORRANCE!

email via HoneyLover Jim Montgomery


The city council approved the ordinance last night, 6-1!!!!  All were in favor except for Councilmember Heidi Ashcraft.    (The link for the ordinance is here).  Beekeeping on single family residences is no longer illegal in Torrance. That is the good news, the bad news is the process is more complicated and costly than I would have liked.  I would have liked to see beekeeping allowed by right as is the case in Redondo Beach, but in Torrance we will have to submit a Special Animal Permit along with an $80 application fee.
In addition, when you apply your surrounding neighbors will be notified of your application and will have up to 10 calendar days to object.  If this occurs, your application will be suspended and you can appeal the objection to the Torrance Environmental Quality and Energy Conservation commission along with, I believe, a $70 appeal fee.
If there is no objection, or there is an objection and you win the appeal and the SAP is approved there is still one more potential hurdle. Anyone, anywhere in the city of Torrance can appeal the decision.  They would be on the hook for this $70 appeal fee, not you since the SAP has been approved at this point.   If there was no objection by your neighbors, the appeal goes to the TEQECC as above.  If it had been objected to and you won your appeal at the TEQECC, the appeal would then go to the city council to be heard.  The decision of the council will be final with no further ability to appeal either by you or anyone else.
A few of the council members spoke in favor of allowing beekeeping by right (Councilmembers Goodrich and Griffiths) but there was sufficient concern raised by others that in order to secure enough votes to pass the ordinance, the compromise to allow this objection/appeal process was put in place.  I spoke with the staffer who largely wrote the ordinance to voice my concern about this process that it is likely that at least one of your neighbors is going to object out of fear, spite or just because it is easier to say no than yes.  He acknowledged that but said if you follow the regulations of the ordinance and the objection is not based upon something substantial like a medically certified bee sting allergy, the thought is that the TEQECC or council would take that into account when hearing the appeal and likely approve the application.
The TEQECC voted 6-1 to pass the ordinance to council and the council voted 6-1 to approve the ordinance so I suspect that an application will be approved by them unless an objector has a significant objection and not just they don’t want a neighbor to have bees.
Take the time to read the ordinance and let me know if you have any questions.   The Special Animal Permit is not in place yet so I do not yet think you can apply, I will update folks when I hear more about the process to apply.
Thanks again to everyone who contributed to getting an ordinance passed to legalize beekeeping in Torrance!
Jim
Read full story · Posted in News, Yay Bees

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

Winter Bees and Oak Leaves

 Winter Bees Winter Bees CU

Winter in most climates is the hardest on bees. Temperatures fluctuate and create humidity in the hive. Some beekeepers have had success controlling this with a layer of oak leaves between their inner cover and telescoping top. NASA uses oak leaves to control humidity in telescopes, and it seems to work great for bees too!

Read full story · Posted in Yay Bees

Save the Bees BOOK!

Save The Bees Book

We are so excited!! Rob & Chelsea McFarland (founders of HoneyLove) WROTE A BEEKEEPING BOOK! It’s a great primer for anyone interested in treatment-free beekeeping, and a good read for established beekeepers.

Learn more here http://savethebeesbook.com/ and SPREAD THE BUZZ!

savethebeesphotos

Check out some of the book reviews!

Michael Bush author of THE PRACTICAL BEEKEEPER:
“Rob and Chelsea have a beautiful positive energy that shines out in all their work, including this book. The writing is lyrical, detailed, informative and practical. Save the Bees starts from the perspective of the complete beginner and offers insight and instruction in a very readable, understandable and entertaining way with gorgeous pictures to illustrate it. But best of all, it’s about how to keep bees naturally – no treatments, no chemicals. This is a delightful and insightful book from delightful and insightful people.”

Noah Wilson-Rich, Ph.D Founder & Chief Scientific Officer, THE BEST BEES COMPANY and author of THE BEE:
“What a fantastic book! It’s important, accessible, accurate, enjoyable and filled with experience. Anybody serious about modern beekeeping should read this.”


PRESS RELEASE: SAVE THE BEES WITH NATURAL BACKYARD HIVES
The Easy and Treatment-Free Way to Attract and Keep Healthy Bees
By Rob and Chelsea McFarland, Founders of HoneyLove.org 

From 1947 to present day, the number of honeybee colonies has declined by more than a whopping 50 percent. Bees and other pollinators are one of the most critical components to our food supply – if they disappear, so do we.

That jarring statistic, paired with an awe-inspiring and completely serendipitous encounter with a swarm of honeybees one afternoon, was enough for Rob and Chelsea McFarland to leave their stressful lives running a technology start-up and dive into the world of honeybees. Like Rob and Chelsea like to say, “You don’t choose to be a beekeeper, the bees choose you.”

Their chance encounter led to forays in urban beekeeping, and eventually, to running HoneyLove, a non-profit dedicated to educating and inspiring urban beekeeping to save the bees for future generations. Now, SAVE THE BEES WITH NATURAL BACKYARD HIVES is an extension of that philosophy. It’s Rob and Chelsea sharing all the wisdom from the ancient practice of beekeeping in a way that is fresh, modern, and easy for anyone to do.

Save the Bees with Natural Backyard Hives breaks down the complexity of beekeeping so you can learn step-by-step how to acquire a colony, care for it, and reap the reward – both for you and future generations. Like Rob and Chelsea write in the book’s introduction, “We figured that if we could inspire people living in cities around the world to welcome bees and beekeepers into their communities, we could help clean up our urban environments, promote sustainable living, advance urban agriculture and empower people with the idea that they can make a difference in their own backyards.”

Save the Bees with Natural Backyard Hives provides a how-to primer on an alternative approach to the established, chemical-based way of beekeeping. This all-natural approach is laid out in the first chapter, Principles of Treatment – Free Beekeeping and How it Will Save the Bees. Treatment-free beekeepers believe that chemicals make bees more vulnerable to the very problems like mites and microbes they were aimed at solving, which is why this philosophy is fundamental to the rest of the book.

From there, the book progresses with chapters: Beekeeping Basics, Acquiring Honeybees is Simple, and Getting to Know Your Superorganisms. In chapter five, Bee Success, Rob and Chelsea explain how to be aware of common problems (and how to fix them, too). They provide equipment checklists; explain how to inspect for disease, and of course, how to keep the Queen happy.

Other critical chapters include, Nectar Flow, Beebread and What to Feed Your Bees, with useful information on a healthy diet, the baggie feeder approach, and tips on planting pollinator forage. Now, after eight other chapters for success, Rob and Chelsea get to one of the many rewards of beekeeping: the Honey Harvest chapter. They include sections on escape boards for honey extraction, photo diagrams of the bottling process, and even notes on honey tasting and variation.

One of the biggest takeaways from Save the Bees is that the art of beekeeping and bee culture is an evolving education, which is why Rob and Chelsea end the book by saying, “My hope is that you will continue to read and learn about bees, take in all kinds of perspectives, resist confirmation bias and be open to ideas about solutions even if they challenge what you think you know.”


Available online through the retailers below and wherever books are sold:

Amazon: http://smile.amazon.com/Save-Bees-Natural-Backyard-Hives/dp/1624141412/

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/save-the-bees-with-natural-backyard-hives-rob-mcfarland/1121380144?ean=9781624141416

Google Play:
https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Rob_McFarland_Save_the_Bees_with_Natural_Backyard?id=UgS6BwAAQBAJ

iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/save-bees-natural-backyard/id981067355?mt=11

Indigo:
https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/save-the-bees-with-natural/9781624141416-item.html

Walmart:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/45964825

BAM!:
http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Save-Bees-Natural-Backyard-Hives/Rob-McFarland/9781624141416

IndieBound:
http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781624141416

Book Depository:
http://m.bookdepository.com/Save-Bees-with-Natural-Backyard-Hives-Rob-McFarland/9781624141416

Read full story · Posted in News, Yay Bees

READ: The details of the new beekeeping code

Sanctuary Group Jump 2013
by HoneyLover Susan Rudnicki

It is now official! The full city council of Los Angeles unanimously endorsed the new backyard beekeeping code in a 15 to 0 vote. Mayor Garcetti set his signature to clinch the new law, and now we have the largest city in the country covered for keeping backyard hives.        

In case you do not know the specifics set in the code, you may see them here—
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/d9zhgb1wy9v9lfv/AADXk9qo_P9w_wSyPpavtiBHa?dl=0

The new rules do not specify what sort of bees we may keep nor what kind of hive we must use. The language is concerned mainly with lot line setbacks, alignment of the flightpath and enclosing walls or fences—in other words, land use issues. But with privilege comes responsibility, and one of the very important things to remember is that most of the folks around us will not be keeping bees. Annoying the public will lead to nuisance complaints. We must manage our bees well, giving them regular inspections for space assessments, health, temperament, and  queen viability. Joining up with other members of bee clubs and keeping up with educational advancement will be very important aspects of setting the best impression for calming worried citizens who are not so sure about this new allowance for backyard hives.

There is one part of the code that requires the beekeeper to interact with the officials, and that is this—-The applicant is registered as a beekeeper with the County of Los Angeles Agricultural Commission. Registration is easy, costing only $10 per year per beekeeper. The current apiary inspector, Conrad Burns, is a likable, friendly guy. He is going around to all the backyard beeks to make contact, assess beekeeping knowledge, and trying to help with the success of our model. Please do not neglect this aspect of responsible urban beekeeping—get your hives registered. It creates a impression of legitimacy with the public and can only work to everyone’s benefit.

We have the downloadable form on dropbox for you here—
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/5tr9ljcy5zsapkw/AAAHSuE3fqpAlDAgLFF7Lzgwa?dl=0

Send it in and make a renewed pledge to help establish the most vibrant, connected beekeeping community in the country—Los Angeles. Get involved with HoneyLove and make the networking of a like-minded group help you with your beekeeping challenges as well as contribute to our ever present need for folks to help us spread the message. We really need our members to contribute in substantive ways to continue to accomplish the goals.

Thanks!

Susan BIP Scale
Read full story · Posted in Newsletter Articles

It is a DONE DEAL!!

Mayor Eric Garcetti just signed the ordinance to LEGALIZE URBAN BEEKEEPING in Los Angeles!!

Big thank you to all the LA council members, planning department, city staff, community councils and dedicated HoneyLovers who helped us to get here—YAY BEES and YAY BEEKEEPERS <3!!!

Related posts:
Backyard Beekeeping Ordinance Update
LA City Council legalizes urban beekeeping today!
LA CITY COUNCIL ***FINAL*** BEE VOTE

Read full story · Posted in HoneyLove Buzz, HoneyLovin, News, Yay Bees

Cello music for hives

On a beautiful Indian Summer Sunday, Cellist Jordan Hamilton offers a winter blessing for the hives—Enjoy! 

Read full story · Posted in Yay Bees