like Facebook follow Twitter watch YouTube subscribe RSS Feed

Rob McFarland

Forum Replies Created

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 35 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • in reply to: Hives and Apiaries #7447
    Rob McFarland
    Keymaster

    Sounds like Baltimore Honey also has some chickens. Had to pause the video to make sure my chickens weren’t at the back door.

    That hive is the turducken of bee hives, little of everything.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by Rob McFarland.
    in reply to: Gorgeous Bees #7446
    Rob McFarland
    Keymaster

    It’s incredible how many different types of bees there are to fill every ecological niche. Great photos

    in reply to: all our bees are gone! #7445
    Rob McFarland
    Keymaster

    Hey Nicole,

    If I were to wager a guess, I would say that what most likely happened is the queen left behind after the Spring swarm failed. The bees back-filled the brood nest because the queen wasn’t laying, and they slowly dwindled. I’d be surprised if this were a case of CCD. This can happen for a number of reasons, from mites/viruses to the exceptionally dry year we’ve had. Don’t be depressed, Spring is just around the corner and you can get set up again.

    Would love to hear what the rest of the group thinks.

    Cheers,

    Rob

    in reply to: africanized bees #7381
    Rob McFarland
    Keymaster

    @Ken – Thanks for the input, I’m sorry to hear about your brother’s horses. I think your experience just underscores the need for all beekeepers to exercise exceptional caution when working with our bees, especially in urban environments and situations where people, pets, or livestock could be injured.

    in reply to: Grim observations at my beehive #7274
    Rob McFarland
    Keymaster

    Hey Karim,

    Looks like wax moths. You can read about them here on Michael Bush’s site (which btw is a great resource for learning about treatment-free beekeeping):

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeswaxmoths.htm

    Here’s an interview we did with Michael:

    Cheers,

    Rob

    in reply to: africanized bees #7268
    Rob McFarland
    Keymaster

    Hi Stephanie,

    When using feral bees we can’t be certain of their genetics in the way that we can when we order bees from a breeder who has artificially inseminated their queens. In Los Angeles, it is likely that feral bees will have mixed genetics which are a combination of the many varieties of honey bees. I hesitate to use the word “Africanized” because it has been so stigmatized and sensationalized in our media, but it is likely that the feral bee genetic soup includes genes of the African honey bee. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they will therefore be overly aggressive and sting your neighbors and their cats, it just means that they are slightly more defensive of their hive than the dopily docile commercial bees (which, by the way, can have a bad day too and get just as riled up). All bees are capable of mounting a convincing defense of their colony, that’s how they’ve survived for 72+ million years. I’ve heard that Russian bees, bred for their hygienic behavior, are some of the grumpiest, most defensive bees around. And Italians, known to be relatively calm, can get just as pissed as any feral bees given the right circumstances. The best way to avoid problems is good technique including a management plan suitable for the urban environment.
    Most of the people here prefer to use feral bees because they seem to be hardier, easier to keep without chemical treatments, and not unmanageably defensive. And typically you can get them for free! Feral bees aren’t really something to be worried about, but it does pay to have the knowledge and skills to keep them with confidence – which is why we host regular learning opportunities with our monthly workshops and mentoring sessions. All that said, you should do what makes you the most comfortable. If you want to get your feet wet with a package of bees from a breeder, that is perfectly acceptable and you should go for it.

    Please feel free to ask more questions, Hopefully the group will weigh in with their thoughts.

    Cheers,

    Rob

    in reply to: Housing zones and bees #7228
    Rob McFarland
    Keymaster

    Hey Steve,

    Really great questions. With respect to the legality of beekeeping in R4 in Sunland, I can’t advise with any certainty. Our focus has been primarily for R1 zones. I suspect that it’s probably the same legal gray area – no language either permitting nor prohibiting keeping bees. R4 does permit “light agriculture” but doesn’t specifically address bees. Worst case scenario, you’ll be issued an abatement notice and you’ll have to move your bees. If you have a positive relationship with your neighbors, I don’t really see why that would happen.

    Keeping bees on a roof is a great option, but I always advise people that they consider their exit strategy. For whatever reason, you may want/need to move the hive and after it’s had the chance to build up it can weigh hundreds of pounds. It’s not impossible to get them down off the roof, but it’s considerably harder than moving it from ground level.

    Rob

    in reply to: Honeybee Calendar? #7220
    Rob McFarland
    Keymaster

    Hi Alison,

    Thanks for checking in. The difference between Southern California beekeeping and most of the rest of the US is that we don’t have a true winter. In fact, beekeepers from around the country bring their bees here to overwinter due to warmer temperatures and the nectar and pollen flow from Southern Hemisphere plants and trees like Eucalyptus. When we say that the summer months here are like Winter, what we’re referring to is the “dearth”, meaning the time when there is the least resources for the bees to forage. Our bees remain active 365 days a year. Kirk always shares an anecdote about catching a swarm here on Christmas day. Our main “flow” – meaning when most plants are blooming – is somewhere between late January / Mid February through late May / Mid June. The flow varies greatly depending on how much rainfall we get from year to year. This year has been extremely dry, so the dearth has been much longer, which has made it a tough year for bees and beekeepers.

    Hopefully others will weigh in with their thoughts and knowledge to help answer your question.

    Thanks!

    Rob

    in reply to: Flower list for Culver City? #7209
    Rob McFarland
    Keymaster

    Hey Karim,

    Lavender seems to be a favorite; takes little water and maintenance and produces nectar throughout the year. Here is a more comprehensive list of pollinator friendly plants:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/vwb8iispr2jbacv/HLO_PlantsForBees.pdf

    Thanks!

    in reply to: Western Apiculture Society conference–ferals #7182
    Rob McFarland
    Keymaster
    in reply to: Western Apiculture Society conference–ferals #7181
    Rob McFarland
    Keymaster

    Hey Susan,

    Thanks for sharing. Not seeing think link, but I’m interested to learn what he’s saying about ferals & backwards beekeeping.

    Today we’re working on being able to subscribe to the entire forum (more like the yahoo group), and am hoping that anyone seeing this will respond with feedback.

    Thanks!

    Rob

    in reply to: Live bee removal outfits—who is really doing the job right #7087
    Rob McFarland
    Keymaster

    In order to get on our referral list, we vet the company’s removal and rehoming practices. As Susan says, there are a bunch of companies out there that vacuum the bees and trash the comb, which of course isn’t up to our standards. In most cases, I don’t think it’s malicious and more a result of the economics of bee removal and lack of understanding. The problem is that many people can’t or are unwilling to pay for the job to be done correctly; and if you don’t know any better, you’re going to take the word of the guy saying he’ll accomplish the same thing for half the price. Therefore, we have a major, major need for low-cost removals done properly.

    in reply to: Trouble with malicious neighbors – need suggestions! #7086
    Rob McFarland
    Keymaster

    Hi Clare,

    Unfortunately, we’re still in the process of getting beekeeping legalized in Los Angeles, so the law is technically not in your favor. We’re working to change that, but in the meantime we don’t have much recourse if our neighbors object to our hives. Seems to me that the stings are unlikely to have happened, and their lawsuit is probably a result of the property dispute.

    Not sure what to advise you. On the one hand, laws in several places have changed because someone was brave enough to refuse to get rid of their bees, but on the other hand, I’m reluctant to make waves when we’re so close to achieving legalization.

    Keep us posted on what happens and what you decide.

    Thanks!

    Rob

    in reply to: Ready for Bees 9/28/2013 #7054
    Rob McFarland
    Keymaster

    Let us know how it goes Reuben!

    in reply to: Les Crowder to visit Los Angeles in November #7031
    Rob McFarland
    Keymaster

    I believe this is an event organized by Walker. I’ll get more details and report back.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 35 total)
Read full story · Posted in