Friday, June 14, 2013

Bee Fever in Los Angeles

Bee Fever in Los Angeles:
honey love photo
Photo: Honey Love.
This week’s LA Weekly has an article, “Could LA Become a Honeybee Mecca” detailing efforts by two groups, Honey Love and the Backwards Beekeepers, to legalize beekeeping in Los Angeles. The process, while slow, looks promising thanks to the hard work of Honey Love and sympathetic city councilman Bill Rosendahl.
The article also neatly sums up the radical “backwards” approach to beekeeping advocated by LA’s maverick urban beekeeper Kirk Anderson,
Anderson learned from apiarist Charles Martin Simon, who invented the concept of “beekeeping backwards.” Simon’s approach was stupidly simple: Give the bees a clean box, put them in it and leave them alone. If they get sick? Don’t medicate them. Let them die. Then get some more bees.
Amen. Selecting for strong bees is an approach that, in my opinion, holds the answers to colony collapse disorder.
I also like Anderson’s thoughts on mainstream beekeeper’s all consuming obsession with counting varoa mites. Anderson says, “To me it’d be like joining the Kennel Club and talking about my dog’s fleas.”