Mentoring and making new beekeepers

LA Backwards Beekeeper Roberta writes:

I worked this weekend with David, a senior at Whittier High School. He contacted me and needed some hours for his beekeeping fieldwork as soon as possible. I put out a call to the group and within an hour Summer and Susan both said that he could take a look at their hives. Susan already had another high school student coming over too, and Summer was hosting a mentoring session herself. Thank you ladies.

We also happened to get calls on the LA Rescue Hotline about two feral hives: a tree hive in Long Beach and a fence hive in Hacienda Heights—so we were set with something to do.

The tree hive was spotted by a woman out walking—it was in the parkway with the bees' path right across the sidewalk. We could easily spot the bees coming from an opening on the side of the tree but it looked hard to set up for a trap out.

Luckily, there was a hole in the tree where a branch had died and was removed. Someone had put a plastic bag in the hole and we removed it to find a window right into the hive. It was great!

We could see lots of nectar so our new bee season is probably getting ready to take off. I still need to find a bee champion in the area before setting up the trap-out so they can keep an eye on it. It will be a little tricky because it’'s an area with all apartments. That means lots of people and landlords. I'll update after I get a plan.

Then we went over to Susan's place and got to see her wonderful hives. David got up close and personal and seemed very comfortable around the bees. Luke, also a high school student and David's partner on their project, came over.

We took a look in the hive and then Luke filmed a short public service announcement, “Give Bees a Chance”. The hive looked great and was ready for another box.

Then we did a consult at Eva's home in Hacienda Heights. Bees had moved into her wooden fence at some point. She had a bush trimmed back and there was the hive. She wanted to keep it but her husband wasn't keen on the idea so I'll find a newbee who wants to take them and we'll do the cutout this week. Shouldn't take more than an hour. We could see right in and it looks super easy. Hard part will be keeping new bees from moving right back in!

David got a good though kind of low-key exposure to bees. For a first time, not too bad.