3/30/12

New beekeeper, big bee rescue

Laura and Susan, with some serious treasure.



New Backwards Beekeeper Phoenix writes:

Summer and Kirk Anderson are my Sunday mentors at Los Feliz and that's where I first saw a bee hive. I got the bee fever and wanted a hive. The attached photos are from a Manhattan Beach cutout. This was my first cutout and I am very grateful to Susan R. and Laura B. for their help. It was a learning experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The hive was located in Manhattan Beach, California and it hung right over the driveway as you can see. The homeowner wanted the hive removed. We went to the location three days in order to complete the entire cutout process.

Day 1: We went to inspect the hive and assess on how we can remove the hive safely without too much disturbance to bees and environment since this is a residential area. We looked at the various branches attached to the hive and the type of equipment needed to lower it down. We needed a tall ladder to get to the hive, a shear to trim the branches, a trash can to store the hive overnight for the bees to return, a fence to secure the hive, and ropes to tie it. Sugar water to spray on the bees and a smoker to calm the bees down. Rubber bands to secure the combs to the frames.

Susan sprays some sugar water on the hive.


Day 2: Laura and Susan cut the branches, lowered the hive and secure it with a rope to a nearby tree. We let the hive hung over the trash bin overnight so all the bees can return to the hive before we remove it from the premise. It is important to note that the hive should not touch the bottom of the trash bin, otherwise, the wax combs would be damaged. Laura and Susan also brought a bamboo fence to surround the trash can with the hive overnight, this is to keep out curious eyes and hands.

3/24/12

Empty hives on the farm, full ones in the city

LA Backwards Beekeeper James Lui has this blog post on the interesting disparity between collapsing bee populations in chemically-treated rural agricultural areas and thriving wild bees in urban environments:

Let’s say you’re a bee. You notice that the local City seems to take very good care of their flower beds. In fact, people seem to be planting beautiful flowers year-round, including removing other annuals, and re-planting new ones in their place just to keep the bed looking full of flowers. Home gardeners seem to be using fewer chemicals than before – because people are trying to grow “better quality” food at home than they find in their markets. Whole areas are void of the usual predatory yellowjackets and wasps because they happen to be areas where people don’t like such annoying insects and they’ve put out thousands of traps. Where would you go?

Bee Colony Collapse Disorder (and why it probably isn’t a disorder) (Thoughts from James H. Lui)

3/8/12

NYC bees in print

The latest edition of The New Yorker has a short piece on two NYC beekeepers, Chucker Branch and Christine Lehner. Here's the money quote from Branch:

“I don’t treat any of my bees. I don’t want to put chemicals in the hive. If they survive, fine, and if they don’t the ones that do survive are a better breed.”

3/6/12

Kids love bees!



LA Backwards Beekeeper Yvonne writes:

A bunch of my friend’s kids have been interested in my beekeeping. A couple Saturdays ago we suited a bunch of them up to inspect a hive. Unfortunately, the hive had just absconded but they had a great time suiting up and watching bees go in and out due to the smell of the honeycomb.

The following week, I replaced the absconded bees with the fuse box bees and James, 7, did a hive inspection with me.

—Yvonne



3/5/12

Backwards Beekeepers at the Lummis Home



LA Backwards Beekeeper Laura writes:

Susan R. and I did the Lummis Home Event in Los Angeles on Feb. 4 and represented the Backwards Beekeepers.

Held at the former home of Charles Fletcher Lummis, this outdoor event featured workshops that included food crafting with master preservers, home remedies and botanicals, greywater systems, home brewing, urban livestock keeping, square foot gardening, fruit tree care and pruning, rainwater harvesting, small plant propogation, botany 101 for kids, and of course, backyard beekeeping.

Susan explains how a hive is set up.




There were also arts and crafts tables and more than 30 informational booths. The observation hive was particularly popular with kids and adults alike.

—Laura

3/3/12

Yvonne and the fuse box swarm


LA Backwards Beekeeper Yvonne writes:

Liz lives in Culver City and was contacted by her neighbor who saw a swarm land and move into Liz’s fuse box. The neighbor was in complete awe and both women insisted the bees be relocated and not killed! I went over to collect the swarm.


Liz’s 19-month old daughter, Riley, was fascinated by the entire experience and watched from behind a glass door for the beginning. By the end though, realizing that the bees were not aggressive at all, everyone came outside to watch more closely. (Incidentally, Liz is now considering getting a bee hive of her own).



I got the bees safely removed and placed them in a box for transport to Venice, where they seem to enjoy their new digs!



3/2/12

Yvonne makes new beekeepers



LA Backwards Beekeeper Yvonne writes:

Linda-Marie and Sarah approached me about learning how to keep bees. Both of them have had a life-long desire to be beekeepers.



They came over and got suited up and had a blast going through the hive. Once we were finished, Linda-Marie got permission from her landlord to install a beehive in the yard! We are now in the process of getting everything ready for their bees!