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posted by janrinok on Friday October 16 2015, @04:57AM   Printer-friendly
from the helpful-critters-are-welcome dept.

MyNewsLA reports

The Los Angeles City Council voted [October 14] to allow backyard beekeeping, joining cities like Santa Monica, New York, Denver, and other cities where the hobby is legal.

[...] Councilman Paul Koretz [....] said bees "do especially well in Los Angeles" and Wednesday's move could help address bee colony collapse disorder which has claimed about a third of the global bee population.

[...] City leaders and members of HoneyLove, a nonprofit that promotes beekeeping, said the activity aids urban farming efforts such as community gardens. They also said urban areas offer a pesticide-free environment for insects that are critical to the health of agriculture and plants.

[...] The ordinance allows no more than one hive per 2,500 square feet per lot area to be kept in the backyards of single-family homes citywide. Front yard beekeeping is barred by the ordinance.

It also sets buffer zones and areas on a property where hives can be kept and requires that beekeepers raise walls or hedges high enough to ensure bees need to fly up before leaving the backyard.

A water source also needs to be maintained near the hives so the bees would not need to venture outside of the beekeeper's backyard to get hydrated, under the rules.

The backyard beekeepers also need to register with the County of Los Angeles Agricultural Commission.

The commission has 129 beekeepers registered with 219 locations countywide, according to commission spokesman Ken Pellman. Of those registered, 39 are commercial beekeepers, which means they have eight or more hives.

[...] Los Angeles already averages about eight to 10 feral bee hives per square mile.

Original Submission

Related Stories

Backyard Chicken Trend Leading to Spike in Poultry-Related Diseases 31 comments

A trend in raising chickens in urban/suburban areas has led to a spike in salmonella infections:

The popular trend of raising backyard chickens in U.S. cities and suburbs is bringing with it a soaring number of illnesses from poultry-related diseases, at least one of them fatal. Since January, more than 1,100 people have contracted salmonella poisoning from chickens and ducks in 48 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Almost 250 were hospitalized and one person died. The toll was four times higher than in 2015.

The CDC estimates that the actual number of cases from contact with chickens and ducks is likely much higher. "For one salmonella case we know of in an outbreak, there are up to 30 others that we don't know about," CDC veterinarian Megin Nichols said.

A "large contributing factor" to the surge, Nichols said, comes from natural food fanciers who have taken up the backyard chicken hobby but don't understand the potential dangers. Some treat their birds like pets, kissing or snuggling them and letting them walk around the house. Poultry can carry salmonella bacteria in their intestines that can be shed in their feces. The bacteria can attach to feathers and dust and brush off on shoes or clothing.

But illnesses can be prevented with proper handling. The CDC recommends that people raising chickens wash their hands thoroughly after handling the birds, eggs or nesting materials, and leave any shoes worn in a chicken coop outside.

Salmonella is much more common as a food-borne illness. More than 1 million people fall ill each year from salmonella contamination in food, resulting in more than 300 deaths, according to the CDC. There are no firm figures on how many households in the U.S. have backyard chickens, but a Department of Agriculture report in 2013 found a growing number of residents in Denver, Los Angeles, Miami and New York City expressed interest in getting them. Coops are now seen in even the smallest yards and densest urban neighborhoods.

Earlier article from when only 900 people had been infected this year.

Related: Backyard Beekeeping Now Legal in Los Angeles

Original Submission

Hives With Over Half-Million Bees Burned and Drowned in Brazoria County, Tx. 24 comments

On the night of April 26th, an unknown person or persons destroyed beehives that were home to over half a million bees in Alvin, Texas.

With the advent of Colony Collapse Disorder early this millennium, and the resulting drops in bee populations across the USA, Europe, and Asia, people and organizations have been making efforts to house, protect and nurture honeybee populations for the sake of their crops, the good of the environment, or as a service to humanity at large.

Use of the land for the bees destroyed was donated by a private citizen and the location is visible to the road so passers by can watch and enjoy the bee keepers working with the bees.

Then we get people that do things like this:

Over the weekend, someone set fire to two dozen bee colonies in Alvin, Texas belonging to the Brazoria County Beekeepers Association. The perpetrator also dumped some of the bee boxes into a nearby pond.

According to one of the beekeepers:

I broke down in tears when I saw a floating brood frame in the water with bees still caring for the brood.

It is expected that the perpetrators were very likely stung and the community is on the lookout for individuals with bee stings.

Perhaps more remarkably, this is not a completely new idea. Multiple Facebook comments speak of past attacks on bees elsewhere attributed to teenagers and rival bee keepers.

We've already seen bees persevering through fire and smoke, according to beekeepers the surviving bees are stressed and many will have lost their queens, but is also possible some hives will survive.

Previous coverage of Bee troubles:
Some Honeybee Colonies Adapt in Wake of Deadly Mites
Backyard Beekeeping Now Legal in Los Angeles
Honeybees Pick Up 'Astonishing' Number of Pesticides Via Non-crop Plants
Bees Dead from Aerial Zika Spraying in South Carolina
Pesticide Companies' Own Secret Tests Showed Their Products Harm Bees
Extensive Study Concludes Neonicotinoid Pesticides Harm Bees
EU Bans Outdoor Use of Pesticides That Harm Bees

Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Ayn Anonymous on Friday October 16 2015, @05:40AM

    by Ayn Anonymous (5012) on Friday October 16 2015, @05:40AM (#250427)

    If you plan do have your own bees, don't ask a commercial beekeeper how to do it.
    Commercial beekeeping is abusive and labour intense.
    The easy and non-abusive way of beekeeping is:
    - A two chamber system (I forgot the exact name) where only the second chamber get "harvested" after the swarm expanded to the second chamber.
    - Warré’s beekeeping: [] (still about 10-15 kg honey per hive)

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by frojack on Friday October 16 2015, @07:54AM

      by frojack (1554) on Friday October 16 2015, @07:54AM (#250451) Journal

      What do you do with that much honey?
      I wouldn't consume a KG of honey in a year, let alone 10.

      Where I live, in Washington State, Mason bees are common for home owners, because just a few of them will pollinate the apples and cherries that just about everybody has in their yard. They don't seem to make much honey, are very docile, and jump out early in the spring when the fruit trees flower. You can build nests them with just about any block of wood with nothing but a drill, make holes, nail it up, order your bees or get them from your neighbor.

      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Geezer on Friday October 16 2015, @09:51AM

        by Geezer (511) on Friday October 16 2015, @09:51AM (#250473)

        Mead. Make mead. It's yummy.

        • (Score: 1) by rufty on Friday October 16 2015, @09:02PM

          by rufty (381) on Friday October 16 2015, @09:02PM (#250849)

          Mead, honey dissolved in water and fermented. Cyser, honey dissolved in apple juice and fermented. Be careful!

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Phoenix666 on Friday October 16 2015, @11:02AM

        by Phoenix666 (552) on Friday October 16 2015, @11:02AM (#250486) Journal

        You can go through a lot of honey if you use it as your sole source of sugar. I can go through half that just using it for baking bread (to wake up the yeast).

        Washington DC delenda est.
  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Ethanol-fueled on Friday October 16 2015, @05:59AM

    by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Friday October 16 2015, @05:59AM (#250428) Homepage

    As somebody who lived in L.A. for a few years, I can verify that the bees do inexplicably well there, even in the most urban environments.

    It must be because the people there are mostly wax.

  • (Score: 1) by linkdude64 on Friday October 16 2015, @06:57AM

    by linkdude64 (5482) on Friday October 16 2015, @06:57AM (#250441)

    Considering how much pollution there is in everything here in LA - pesticides, smog, you name it - I wonder if there is any research being done into what makes LA bees so resistant to those pollutants? Either way, this is a great development, I am always happy to see bees.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 16 2015, @09:09AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 16 2015, @09:09AM (#250465)

      here in LA

      You are going to have to describe your experience more clearly.
      Are they still fogging your neighborhood with DDT--in violation of federal law?

      TFA and TFS mention the -lower- incidence of that stuff in the big city.
      I remember a couple of decades ago when L.A. County was spewing poison bait pellets from helicopters for the MedFly and how everybody got all pissed off.

      Orange County was going to do something similar several weeks back for ticks and folks got all bent out of shape.
      (It all worked out. The dates on the agency's permits were all screwed up.
      It all blew over before they got their shit together.)

      Plant nurseries under big-ass power lines are the only places I can think of that large doses of bug killer -might- get used routinely but I don't think that actually happens.

      I was surprised how few flying bugs there are when I moved to this desert environment.
      Apparently, the bugs are smarter than the humans.

      -- gewg_

  • (Score: 2) by wonkey_monkey on Friday October 16 2015, @07:41AM

    by wonkey_monkey (279) on Friday October 16 2015, @07:41AM (#250450) Homepage

    I like my women like I like my coffee; covered in bees! []

    systemd is Roko's Basilisk
  • (Score: 2) by bradley13 on Friday October 16 2015, @09:36AM

    by bradley13 (3053) on Friday October 16 2015, @09:36AM (#250470) Homepage Journal

    Is this yet another case of California over-regulation? Why would beekeeping be outlawed? Is this normal in American cities?

    In any case, keeping bees is certainly a positive thing. However, the whole "colony collapse disorder" is just ridiculous. CCD is a direct consequence of the way the huge commercial outfits handle their bees []. The bees are massively inbred. They are transported all over the place from one crop to the next, which spreads disease. The surprise is that some disease or parasite hasn't wiped out them out before this.

    The problems with inbreeding in bees is nothing new. [] I've found papers from 25 years ago discussing it, but commercial beekeepers are intent on ignoring it.

    Despite some pseudo-scientific claims to the contrary, wild honey bees show no signs of colony collapse disorder; they just have their normal fluctuations, like they have always had. You might think that wild bees might be bred back into the commercial bees, but no - they are less docile, more difficult to work with. Wild bee colonies are routinely destroyed (at least here), so that they don't compete with the commercial bees.

    Stop the inbreeding, stop the crazy long range transporting. This will require a move away from monoculture agriculture (like the California almond orchards). But no - better to cry for sympathy, try to blame anything but address the actual problem.

    Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
    • (Score: 2) by Geezer on Friday October 16 2015, @09:57AM

      by Geezer (511) on Friday October 16 2015, @09:57AM (#250475)

      "Is this normal in American cities?"

      Yes, sadly.

      • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by Webweasel on Friday October 16 2015, @02:56PM

        by Webweasel (567) on Friday October 16 2015, @02:56PM (#250575) Homepage Journal

        Land of the free. Home of the brave.


        -- Number stations, Russian Military radio. "You are a bad, bad man. Do you have any other virtues?"-Runaway1956
    • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Friday October 16 2015, @11:06AM

      by Phoenix666 (552) on Friday October 16 2015, @11:06AM (#250487) Journal

      It was only a few years back that NYC allowed bee-keeping. We have colony collapse to thank for that. Now all we need is for something to threaten chickens and they'll let us keep them in the backyard again. Like with most food, eggs from your own chickens are vastly superior to mass-produced store-bought ones.

      Washington DC delenda est.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 18 2015, @04:52AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 18 2015, @04:52AM (#251359)

        Meh, eggs from urban backyard chickens are not all they are cracked up to be. They contain alarming levels of heavy metals.

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 16 2015, @01:42PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 16 2015, @01:42PM (#250529)

    It was never illegal. The city was overstepping its authority.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 16 2015, @08:06PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 16 2015, @08:06PM (#250818)

      Los Angeles Times []

      On June 10, 1879, Los Angeles lawmakers banned beekeeping within city limits. According to Mark Vallianatos, who teaches environmental policy at Occidental College, their rationale was frankly preposterous. Having noted the affinity between bees and fruit trees, they reasoned that bees attacked and damaged fruit, and concluded that outlawing bees was the best way to preserve crops.

      Call what they did stupid, but it was clearly within their power and did occur.

      -- gewg_

  • (Score: 2) by Alfred on Friday October 16 2015, @03:50PM

    by Alfred (4006) on Friday October 16 2015, @03:50PM (#250612) Journal

    ...eight to 10 feral bee hives per square mile.

    Holy crap! That sounds like a lot. I thought one hive would claim more territorial space than that. Why don't I hear about more related deaths from this?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 16 2015, @08:25PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 16 2015, @08:25PM (#250830)

      European honeybees are mostly docile.
      Yes, if they perceive a threat to their hive, they will protect it (if you don't pacify them with smoke).
      Otherwise, they're too busy to notice you.

      You've been consuming too much Lamestream Media and too much bad fiction (one and the same, IMO).
      Africanized honeybees weren't a threat anywhere in the Western Hemisphere until 1956 when a chief beekeeper in a South American country went on vacation and his incompetent replacement removed from some hives the screens that had holes that were too small to allow the queens to get out.

      -- gewg_

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by arulatas on Friday October 16 2015, @04:14PM

    by arulatas (3600) on Friday October 16 2015, @04:14PM (#250623)

    I keep bees and you would be surprised at how much honey you can use in a year. Never mind the friends and family who always want some. Most people would rather buy local honey than store bought so you could always sell some. I brew mead so I have a great outlet for the honey when I harvest it. Plus people love getting mead as presents so there is that too.

    ----- 10 turns around
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 18 2015, @08:46AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 18 2015, @08:46AM (#251402)

    Bee happy! *huf puf* ♫