Workshop: Planting For Pollinators

California Buckwheat, a bee favorite.

Mark H. writes:

Want to keep your bees happy while improving your yard by planting drought-tolerant California natives?

Check out:

Planting For Pollinators
California Native plants for Beekeepers
Saturday, March 3, 10AM at the Theodore Payne Foundation

Lisa Novick, Educational Director for the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers and Native Plants, will be giving a two-hour presentation tailored to the needs of local beekeepers. She'll discuss plants suited to differing microclimates and soil conditions, how to plant to maintain bee-forage bloom year-round, and will give a tour of the nursery to see examples of bee-friendly plants, both potted and full-grown on the site.

And of course you can purchase plants/seeds afterward!

—We'll need a donation to TPF of around 3 or 4 dollars, depending on the number of attendees.
—Bring a hat, water, and a snack if you like.
—The Foundation asks you to not wear open-toed shoes.
—Since parking in the nursery is limited, we need to park along the street and walk in via the driveway…carpool if at all possible!

RSVP to markmotion(at)yahoo(dot)com to attend.

Theodore Payne Foundation
10459 Tuxford, Sun Valley
Google Map

Lost? Call Mark at (818) 321-7749.


Uri's first solo bee rescue

Uri and Laura.

LA Backwards Beekeeper Uri writes:

I just completed my first independent bee rescue on Monday. I should start by saying that I attended my first Backwards Beekeepers meeting about a year ago and have been keeping bees for almost a year now, and helped Roberta with a bee rescue in Long Beach last summer. So, it's been a lot of learning but I finally felt ready to do it on my own.

This particular colony had taken up residence under a Tuff Shed in Laura’s Costa Mesa backyard.

Laura’s yard was a wonderful place to work. She is a teacher at a Waldorf school and the yard reflected that. There was an array of fruit trees, an organic garden, and a tree house (Laura said her fruit production had increased dramatically since the bees took up residence). Also, she makes hand-crafted beeswax candles and she gave me one in appreciation for rescuing her bees! Thank you Laura.

The bees had to be removed because one of Laura’s sons got stung and found out he was very allergic. I was happy that she decided to have her bees rescued instead of destroyed.

The bees had dug an entrance through the dirt under the metal base of the shed. The only way to relocate them was to cut out part of the floor inside the shed and remove the bees from there.

I smoked the bees a bit while preparing my equipment. I then sawed a rectangle through the 1-inch wood flooring and removed that panel which had much comb (and bees!) hanging from it. They were quite a friendly colony and didn’t give any problems whatsoever.


A bee rescue and new beekeepers in Long Beach

LA Backwards Beekeeper Roberta writes:
I met Terry and Lee at the last Backwards Beekeepers meeting at the Atwater Connection. I found out that they live in Long Beach (as do I) and had a feral hive in their shed that needed rescuing. They had been contemplating this for a while, so when I said that I could come out with [fellow Backwards Beekeeper] Barbara that weekend they got ready right away. They bought their hive equipment, smoker and some gloves the next day. Lee made their outfits and with a few adjustments were bee-tight.

I knew right away which was the right house because they were the only house with flowers and fruit trees everywhere while everyone else had just lawn. Lee had fresh-squeezed juice for us, to make sure we all got off to a good start.

We moved the bees without much mess and excitement to their deep box and left them in the same area. I had spent alot of time explaining how upset bees can be when doing a cutout, yet none of them even tried to sting us. In a week or so we'll move them up to the roof at nighttime when they are all in the hive.

Success! Barbara, Lee and Terry

The second box has some honey-filled comb for the bees to redistribute and we'll take that off before moving them. We also positioned a ratchet strap so that there will be less hassle on the night of the big move to the roof. They had a fair amount of nectar collected and the comb looked beautiful. Lee and I spoke the next day and she said by nighttime all of the bees were in the box and seemed to be very content with their new location by the next morning.

Lee wouldn't let us leave without some fresh fruit smoothies to go which were super yummy. They are both so excited and can't wait to show other people how it's done. I'm very happy for their bees because they are going to have a great home.



4-H group learns beekeeping and video production

LA Backwards Beekeeper Roberta writes:

Steven (a Torrance Backwards Beekeeper) and I meet with the 4-H Bee Club once a month and we talk about bees, beekeeping and honey.

Last month we did our first inspection of the year. We've also started shooting videos, so that the 4-H members can practice teaching other people about bees by explaining what they've learned.

4-H isn't just about animal husbandry and farming; it also focuses on public speaking to build confidence and improve young people's ability to advocate within the community.

I'm very impressed with these young ladies. It's also interesting to hear their perspective on what we discuss. Wait till you hear what they have to say about bees!



Bees with a city view

LA Backwards Beekeeper Andrew writes:

I brought these bees to Reed's place in Mt. Washington in the late Summer of last year from Santa Monica. Reed had a custom platform built on a grade in his yard to accommodate the hive.

Essentially, these bees came from two nucs. Both had been struggling for some time so they were combined into one hive.

Reed, a neighbor over here in Mt Washington, was eager to have bees in his yard so a mutual friend made the introduction.

I pretty much left the bess to do their thing over the past 6 months. Reed called me recently to say that there was an immense amount of activity during the day of recent and the bees seemed to be getting slightly aggressive when he got too close to the hive. I knew it was time to take a look inside the hive.

Super Bowl Sunday seemed like a perfect afternoon. When I opened the hive it was absolutely brimming with bees! Almost every frame was completely filled with stores or brood.

I added a shallow super and within minutes they were already migrating up there. They must have felt cramped down below. I will be adding another shallow super in the next couple of weeks.

Will keep you posted on progress...


All photos by Reed Davis.


Beekeeper's rally in Mar Vista: Show your support!

Honeylove.org is coordinating another rally to support legalizing beekeeping in the city of Los Angeles.

It's this Sunday, February 5th, at the Mar Vista Farmer's Market.

More details:

via Facebook

via Meetup


Why we do what we do

LA Backwards Beekeeper Summer writes (via our Yahoo group):

Wanted to give a round of applause to MikeBee.

I was at LA Honey today, and this woman was buying equipment. I couldn't help myself - I started talking with her. Her name is Brynn, and she told me how this guy helped her move a hive on her property into a box, and how she's now going to be a beekeeper! She had found him through his ad on Craigslist, and said he was "really good." She was so happy and excited, and got an entire second set of equipment so her grandchildren can come and watch the bees with her when they visit.

I asked who it was that removed the bees and set her up, she said, "Mike something. And he brought a kid with him, to help him learn." After hearing where she found him, I just knew it was Mike Bee.

I told her she should join the BBK Club, and have someone come out and help her inspect her hive, if she wanted. She said, "I really want Mike to come back out, but if he can't, I'd love to have someone else!" She got a Backwards Beekeepers card from the lady at LA Honey, and wants to be a member. :)

I asked Mike about it, and he said, "I had brought a boyscout from Troop 911 pack 550 with me, as I mentor different scouts with each of my 'easy' jobs (so that they can earn a BeeKeeping Badge), and it was a great educational 2 hours for everyone! Brynn was like a child once again, so excited and happy. She took so many pics, hopefully she'll share them with the BBKs."

So - he created a new Backwards Beekeeper, helped a boyscout earn a merit badge, and saved a beehive. All in one shot. Very nicely done!

It's so nice to hear a good story like that, I just had to share.