July meeting recap

We had a great turnout at yesterday's meeting of the LA Backwards Beekeepers!

If you're new to our group, here are some of the key links that I talked about during the meeting:

Our Yahoo discussion group is a great place to introduce yourself, meet other members online, learn about chemical-free beekeeping and ask questions.

Give us a Like on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

Kirk runs mentoring sessions most Sundays. If you're interested in getting some hands-on experience with bees from a real expert, send a message here.

HoneyLove.org has a number of great events coming up. This is Rob and Chelsea's group, and they are making amazing progress toward getting beekeeping legalized in the city of Los Angeles and beyond.

Chemical-free beekeeping pioneer Michael Bush will be speaking at a hands-on workshop here in Los Angeles on Sunday, October 7th. Watch the blog and our Yahoo group for more information on this and how to sign up.

And be sure to check out all the information right here on the blog—the links at the top of the page are a good way to start.


Viewer mail: Spreading the word

A reader writes:

I found out your website today... I'm really enjoying, even I don't do beekeeping... We are planning to do it as part of our projects for sustainable living in Zambia and later in Brazil (my country).

I should say that its really impressive how well I can understand what you explain, and gotta say, love your laugh... hehehe It really make me laugh and enjoy your movies... Thanks for all the information, hope we can keep getting it for free, so more people can get to know how to do things backwards in way to keep moving forward... =))

Alexandre L

Thanks, Alexandre!


The bees know what to do

On his Facebook page, Kirk writes:

Me and Val did a cut out, oh, about a month ago. It was big and ran down below the foundation wall. We could only get 40% of the hive out. So we took 4 big frames of open Brood and nurse bees. Put them in a cardboard box and took them to Jordan's house.

I checked them Saturday. They made their own queen and are up and running. I love letting the bees do their thing.


Bee legalization in the LA Times

LA Backwards Beekeepers Rob and Chelsea McFarland are leading the charge to get beekeeping legalized in LA. They're pursuing a successful neighborhood-by-neighborhood campaign, building political support and momentum as they go.

Along the way, through their site HoneyLove.org they're helping to spread the word about bees' essential place in our environment and how anyone can learn to become a beekeeper. Now they're profiled in an LA Times piece:

McFarland and his wife, Chelsea, became interested in beekeeping but discovered that Los Angeles does not allow hives in residential zones. So, the McFarlands decided to launch an unusual grass-roots drive to change the city's law by first winning support from at least 10 of L.A.'s 95 neighborhood councils.

Now, almost a year and a half later, their devotion has won support from eight councils. And an enthusiastic city councilman has initiated a formal study, a first step that could bring L.A. on board with other bee-friendly cities, such as New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Santa Monica.

"We have to be clear that this environment that we live in is threatened, that bees are an essential part," said Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who boasts that he has two wild hives in his yard.

Bee fans try to get Los Angeles to allow hives in residential areas
(LA Times)


Next meeting: Sunday, July 29

Thinking about becoming a beekeeper but have no idea how to start?

Want to meet a bunch of friendly beekeepers ready to share their knowledge?

Come to the next meeting of the Backwards Beekeepers!

Backwards Beekeepers meetings take place on the last Sunday of every month.

The next meeting is scheduled for this Sunday, July 29 at 11am. As always, we'll be at the Atwater Crossing arts complex.

Here's what we have planned:

–Russell takes questions from new & aspiring beekeepers (Kirk will be out of town)

–Update on the Bee Rescue Hotline, and how you can get involved

–Dennis shows off his latest & greatest Bee-Vac (a great tool for bee rescues!)

–Ruth brings beeswax to help new beekeepers make starter strips for their hives

–Lots of experienced beekeepers answer your questions about all things bee!

–We'll also have a very limited number of t-shirts for sale—grab one before they're all gone!

Atwater Crossing
3265-3191 Casitas Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90039-2205

There is ample free parking in the complex parking lot  - PLEASE park in the lot so the residents of the neighborhood can park near their homes.

The Atwater Crossing Cafe now serves a full breakfast! Come early and make a morning of it.

Map link

Closest freeway exit is Fletcher off the 2 freeway
Casitas is between Minneapolis St & Silver Lake Blvd…
1 long block SW of N. San Fernando Road (across the railroad tracks)
1 ½ blocks NW of Fletcher Drive
2 ½ blocks SE of Glendale Blvd

Upcoming meetings (mark your calendar!):

•August 26

•September 30

•October 28

See you there!
Anne & Gwen


Viewer mail: Bees in a BIG fallen tree!

Diana in Maryland writes:

Hi! I just rescued my first wild hive on Sunday... all due to the knowledge I gained from YOUR site! Wouldn't have been able to do it without all the info you post all the time!

She tells the story on her blog:

...a friend of a friend had a bee tree come down in the recent storm, and instead of calling the exterminator they called me instead! And thanks to Backwards Beekeepers, I’d read enough tutorials on wild hive cutouts that I felt confident enough to give it a shot.

These storms have been devastating for hundreds of people. Many of my friends are without power in this hundred-degree heat. (I’ve opened my house and pool to them and their kids.) But this particular family came very, very close to utter catastrophe. It is an absolute miracle that this bee tree, about 5 feet in diameter at the base, fell away from the house. I’m so glad that their family came through without injury or property damage.

This is only the bottom half of the tree:

And the top half is over here:

It is about 3 feet in diameter at the point it broke off. It could have killed someone if it had fallen on the house.

Another miracle is that the bee colony inside was fairly ok. There were thousands of bees in there, and astonishingly they were the most docile bees I’ve ever worked with, especially considering what they’d just been through.

Read the rest: Bees in the trees (These Two Hands blog)


London community garden bees

A couple of days ago I got to visit these beautiful hives at the allotment (that's British for community garden) in Biggin Hill, Upper Norwood. It's about 9 miles south of central London.

My friends Pippa and Charlie (seen above with daughter Willow) have been tending a plot here for several months and weren't even aware that they share this space with about ten very healthy and active bee hives.

While I was visiting and getting a tour of the grounds, we met Melvyn (above), who's been gardening here for several years. He clued us in that just down the path, behind a small stand of trees, is Bee World. The tree divider seems like a great idea to help keep the bees from establishing a direct flight path to the garden, thus lessening collisions with the gardeners.

Everyone seems to be coexisting nicely.


Motorcycle swarm capture!

LA Backwards Beekeeper Danny writes on his blog:

I got a call from Mike. He works for the City of Oxnard and had a "bee problem."

They had landed on his bike!

I went out and tried to brush most bees into the box.

There were so many places where they were hiding, including under the speedometer, that I decided to smoke them out of there. Most flew up and landed again on the bike.

I suited Mike up in an extra suit, and when I had smoked most of them away, he moved the bike to another place. The bees came down and landed in the wooden bee box. Exactly what we wanted. I gave them a couple of hours to regroup and picked them up, just in time for a long weekend.

They can now live in one of my bee yards.

More photos: Bee Swarm on a Motorcycle (Bees And Beyond blog)

Reminds me of Amy's bicycle swarm from almost three years ago!