October 2nd, 2012
October 1st, 2012
What should I plant? California bluebell(Phacelia campanularia)
According to the Xerces Society, in addition to honeybees there are over 4000 species of native bees in the U.S. alone. 
From leafcutter and mason bees, to miner, carpenter, and digger bees, virtually all bees and pollinators are attracted to the California Bluebells’ deep blue, bell shaped flowers and long golden stamens.
The petals reflect ultra-violet light and therefore look like a well lit runway for foraging bees. Sow this hardy annual in the early Spring in full sun and sandy or well-drained soil.
Photo credit: Kathy Dunham

What should I plant? California bluebell
(Phacelia campanularia)

According to the Xerces Society, in addition to honeybees there are over 4000 species of native bees in the U.S. alone. 

From leafcutter and mason bees, to miner, carpenter, and digger bees, virtually all bees and pollinators are attracted to the California Bluebells’ deep blue, bell shaped flowers and long golden stamens.

The petals reflect ultra-violet light and therefore look like a well lit runway for foraging bees. Sow this hardy annual in the early Spring in full sun and sandy or well-drained soil.

Photo credit: Kathy Dunham

August 7th, 2012
ARTICLE: The bears and the bees: Humans messing up the natural world, againBy Patt Morrison 
L.A., we have been seeing waaaaay too many movies — and not enough nature documentaries.
First, the news:
Glen Bearian — so named for his Glendale haunts and with a clever Armenian-sounding surname for a city with a large Armenian population — had been cooling off in a local pool not long before he was  tranquilized and carted back to the Angeles National Forest by Fish and Game officials for the second time in four months.
He’s been wandering around foothill streets, and in April, before he was shipped back to the wild the first time, he startled a gadget-absorbed pedestrian who — in the fashion of so many text-obsessed people who have almost walked right into me — almost ran right into the bear in Montrose.
And then my colleague Steve Lopez just reported on urban beekeepers in Los Angeles, where the law bans hives but where residents are tending their own backyard hives, which may be the saving of bee populations that are collapsing in the wild. (I know an urban beekeeper, but you’ll never Abu Ghraib that out of me.)
And in May, Santa Monica police shot and killed a mountain lion that had wandered into a courtyard in a city office building and gotten trapped — killed unnecessarily, to some locals’ way of thinking, and they made their feelings known.
…ditto the bees. Anyone in a neighborhood complains and the bees are exterminated as if they were pests, instead of a tiny, vital part of the food chain. All those killer bee movies seem to make city folk think that the honeybee, the workhorse of agriculture, ornamental and comestible, is out there raring to kill us.
I was astonished by some of the comments on Lopez’s piece, people demanding that the city wipe out all beehives because someone in their family has a serious allergy to bee venom.
Really? Kill off all urban bees because you’re afraid your child might be stung? While we’re at it, let’s take out school and park swing sets because someone might get hurt. Let’s chop down that tree because some kid might try to climb it. Oh wait, we did that already, didn’t we?
Without bees, whole swaths of agriculture could collapse, floraculture could collapse, all the creatures dependent on them would go — boom, boom, boom, domino, dead.
Already honeybees are themselves in a state of collapse in parts of the country. Bees are so scarce that California almond growers are having to patronize rent-a-hive businesses to get the bee pollinators into their orchards. Agriculture isn’t just “out there” either. Urban gardeners and urban gardens could help to save bee populations, and Los Angeles still bears traces of what it once was, even afterWorld War II: the richest agricultural county in the nation.
We humans had better wise up. At the rate we’re going, with the attitude we bring to our dealings with these creatures — destroying their homes to build ours, intolerant of even the insects whose survival is closely tied to our own — in very short order the only place we’ll be able to see them is on movie screens.
[click here to read the full article on latimes.com]

ARTICLE: The bears and the bees: Humans messing up the natural world, again
By Patt Morrison 

L.A., we have been seeing waaaaay too many movies — and not enough nature documentaries.

First, the news:

Glen Bearian — so named for his Glendale haunts and with a clever Armenian-sounding surname for a city with a large Armenian population — had been cooling off in a local pool not long before he was  tranquilized and carted back to the Angeles National Forest by Fish and Game officials for the second time in four months.

He’s been wandering around foothill streets, and in April, before he was shipped back to the wild the first time, he startled a gadget-absorbed pedestrian who — in the fashion of so many text-obsessed people who have almost walked right into me — almost ran right into the bear in Montrose.

And then my colleague Steve Lopez just reported on urban beekeepers in Los Angeles, where the law bans hives but where residents are tending their own backyard hives, which may be the saving of bee populations that are collapsing in the wild. (I know an urban beekeeper, but you’ll never Abu Ghraib that out of me.)

And in May, Santa Monica police shot and killed a mountain lion that had wandered into a courtyard in a city office building and gotten trapped — killed unnecessarily, to some locals’ way of thinking, and they made their feelings known.

…ditto the bees. Anyone in a neighborhood complains and the bees are exterminated as if they were pests, instead of a tiny, vital part of the food chain. All those killer bee movies seem to make city folk think that the honeybee, the workhorse of agriculture, ornamental and comestible, is out there raring to kill us.

I was astonished by some of the comments on Lopez’s piece, people demanding that the city wipe out all beehives because someone in their family has a serious allergy to bee venom.

Really? Kill off all urban bees because you’re afraid your child might be stung? While we’re at it, let’s take out school and park swing sets because someone might get hurt. Let’s chop down that tree because some kid might try to climb it. Oh wait, we did that already, didn’t we?

Without bees, whole swaths of agriculture could collapse, floraculture could collapse, all the creatures dependent on them would go — boom, boom, boom, domino, dead.

Already honeybees are themselves in a state of collapse in parts of the country. Bees are so scarce that California almond growers are having to patronize rent-a-hive businesses to get the bee pollinators into their orchards. Agriculture isn’t just “out there” either. Urban gardeners and urban gardens could help to save bee populations, and Los Angeles still bears traces of what it once was, even afterWorld War II: the richest agricultural county in the nation.

We humans had better wise up. At the rate we’re going, with the attitude we bring to our dealings with these creatures — destroying their homes to build ours, intolerant of even the insects whose survival is closely tied to our own — in very short order the only place we’ll be able to see them is on movie screens.

[click here to read the full article on latimes.com]

July 18th, 2012

LISTEN: Rob McFarland founder of HoneyLove.org interviewed on Yoga Chat by the accidental yogist

This week’s topic: Living Sustainably
http://ayogist.podomatic.com/entry/2012-07-18T17_06_32-07_00

July 15th, 2012
ARTICLE: Bee fans try to get Los Angeles to allow hives in residential areasBy John Hoeffel, Los Angeles Times - July 14, 2012

Rob and Chelsea McFarland are on a PR mission for bees. So far, they’ve gotten the support of 8 L.A. neighborhood councils and city Councilman Bill Rosendahl. Sweet.

Rob McFarland was in his florally vivacious backyard, tending his vegetable plot, when he noticed some honeybees buzzing around a tree. A few minutes later some bees had become tens of thousands.
"The sky was sort of darkened out," he recalled. "It was kind of a presence that I couldn’t ignore."
McFarland, a social media entrepreneur and avid gardener, was intrigued by honeybees and aware that hives have been dying from a mysterious cause labeled colony collapse disorder.
"I knew enough about honeybees to know they were in real trouble," he said. "So the last thing that I wanted to go down in my own backyard, literally, was for these bees to be exterminated."
He left frantic messages on a hotline operated by Backwards Beekeepers, a Los Angeles club that sent a member to his house. The beekeeper cut a clump of bees about the size of two footballs out of the tree without wearing a protective suit, showing an enthralled McFarland that the swarm was docile.
"It totally captured my attention, and I began to obsess over it a little bit," he said.

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.

The McFarlands, with their own money and what they raised at a "yellow-tie" fundraiser, started a nonprofit organization called HoneyLove. (“Chelsea’s always referred to me as ‘honeylove,’ ” Rob explained.) With friends, family and allies, they host regular educational events across the city, such as honey tastings and mead-making. Rob, 32, who is lanky and a little laconic, and Chelsea, 30, radiant and effervescent, have devised a strategy that relies heavily on their infectious passion for bees.
"They’re just unhindered enthusiasm and love for what they’re doing, and how can you not love that?" said Kirk Anderson, a mentor to many L.A.-area beekeepers.
McFarland learned from beekeepers how to capture swarms and remove unwanted hives. He has been stung more times than he can count but recalls one time with wry humor: “I’d opened my veil to itch my nose real quick and the zipper snagged as I was closing it back up and right at that moment it was like Jedi bee shoots the gap right into my face and stings me right between the eyes,” he said.
The McFarlands have set up a sanctuary for rescued bees on a hilltop in the Simi Valley. One weekend, they installed a new hive among a dozen brilliantly hued ones surrounded by blooming mustard. Rob, sheathed in a beekeeper’s suit, watched the bees stream out to explore, hovering and circling tentatively.
"You figuring it out?" he asked gently.

Saving bees led the McFarlands to want to do more. Chelsea is a video editor who studied documentary filmmaking. Rob was working on a documentary on orangutans when they met. “Chelsea and I realized that we could utilize the skill set that we’ve acquired over the years in marketing and media,” Rob said.
They have created a sprawling social media presence to promote bees. Besides a dot-org website, HoneyLove is on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Change.org, Tumblr, Pinterest, MeetUp, you name it.
They have devised an ingenious campaign that blends zany fun and clever bee shtick, slyly anthropomorphizing the fuzzy yellow-and-black insects into huggable cartoons. At events, Rob sometimes wears a bee suit or a yellow T-shirt, and Chelsea typically appears more flamboyantly attired, often in a bee-striped tutu. “It’s pretty hard to ignore people when they are walking around in bee suits,” Rob said.
Rob has drawn some of the distinctive images they use, including a stylized queen bee with a crown, while Chelsea is the source of much of their playful creativity. “I mean this in the most positive way. She’s a drama queen,” Rob said. “A drama queen bee?” Chelsea shot back.

The McFarlands first sought approval for residential beekeeping from their neighborhood council in Mar Vista, devising an approach that included a four-month feasibility study and extensive community outreach.
"Their energy, their happiness with which they have approached this is so amazing," said Maritza Przekop, a Mar Vista Community Council member who has worked with them. "They have just jumped over every obstacle."
Endless meetings, it turned out, are Chelsea’s forte, although Rob joins her for some. “She has the sort of endurance and toughness,” Rob said. “I’d rather get stung by a hive of bees.”
Neighborhood council members, used to dealing with irritated constituents, tend to be startled and pleased by the McFarlands. At a committee meeting of the South Robertson Neighborhoods Council, the two, finishing each other’s sentences, answered questions about wasps, feral hives, stings, allergies, industrial agriculture, swarms, why bees are disappearing, laws in other cities and tainted honey.
Besides Mar Vista, the McFarlands have won support from the neighborhood councils of Del Rey, Greater Griffith Park, South Robertson, Silver Lake, Hollywood United, Atwater Village and West L.A.
And they won Rosendahl’s admiration. “They’re both very positive spirits. They both take this seriously, and I enjoy that,” said the councilman, who can extemporize eloquently about the role the endangered honeybee plays in pollinating flowers, fruits and vegetables, and in making honey and beeswax.
The trouble with honeybees, of course, is that they can sting and some people are extremely allergic.
"That is a huge issue," Rosendahl said, adding that any ordinance will have to deal with the issue of neighbors. "Education is part of the process. A bee doesn’t come after you unless you somehow disturb them."

Nearly every weekend, the McFarlands can be found somewhere talking up honeybees.
On one sunny-warm, breezy-cool, everything-blooming day, Rob stood behind a table with a display case filled with bees scurrying around a honeycomb, explaining their highly complex habits.
"I’m sorry," interrupted Donna Salvini, who lives in Venice and has an organic garden she said is frequented by honeybees that just calmly hang out. "I just find that insanely exciting."
"It is, it is," Rob said.
"Because there’s really nothing more magical," Salvini said. "I mean they just do so much." 
[click here to read the article on latimes.com]

SIGN OUR PETITION TO LEGALIZE URBAN BEEKEEPING IN LOS ANGELES!!

ARTICLE: Bee fans try to get Los Angeles to allow hives in residential areas
By John Hoeffel, Los Angeles Times - July 14, 2012


Rob and Chelsea McFarland are on a PR mission for bees. So far, they’ve gotten the support of 8 L.A. neighborhood councils and city Councilman Bill Rosendahl. Sweet.

Rob McFarland was in his florally vivacious backyard, tending his vegetable plot, when he noticed some honeybees buzzing around a tree. A few minutes later some bees had become tens of thousands.

"The sky was sort of darkened out," he recalled. "It was kind of a presence that I couldn’t ignore."

McFarland, a social media entrepreneur and avid gardener, was intrigued by honeybees and aware that hives have been dying from a mysterious cause labeled colony collapse disorder.

"I knew enough about honeybees to know they were in real trouble," he said. "So the last thing that I wanted to go down in my own backyard, literally, was for these bees to be exterminated."

He left frantic messages on a hotline operated by Backwards Beekeepers, a Los Angeles club that sent a member to his house. The beekeeper cut a clump of bees about the size of two footballs out of the tree without wearing a protective suit, showing an enthralled McFarland that the swarm was docile.

"It totally captured my attention, and I began to obsess over it a little bit," he said.

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.

The McFarlands, with their own money and what they raised at a "yellow-tie" fundraiser, started a nonprofit organization called HoneyLove. (“Chelsea’s always referred to me as ‘honeylove,’ ” Rob explained.) With friends, family and allies, they host regular educational events across the city, such as honey tastings and mead-making. Rob, 32, who is lanky and a little laconic, and Chelsea, 30, radiant and effervescent, have devised a strategy that relies heavily on their infectious passion for bees.

"They’re just unhindered enthusiasm and love for what they’re doing, and how can you not love that?" said Kirk Anderson, a mentor to many L.A.-area beekeepers.

McFarland learned from beekeepers how to capture swarms and remove unwanted hives. He has been stung more times than he can count but recalls one time with wry humor: “I’d opened my veil to itch my nose real quick and the zipper snagged as I was closing it back up and right at that moment it was like Jedi bee shoots the gap right into my face and stings me right between the eyes,” he said.

The McFarlands have set up a sanctuary for rescued bees on a hilltop in the Simi Valley. One weekend, they installed a new hive among a dozen brilliantly hued ones surrounded by blooming mustard. Rob, sheathed in a beekeeper’s suit, watched the bees stream out to explore, hovering and circling tentatively.

"You figuring it out?" he asked gently.

Saving bees led the McFarlands to want to do more. Chelsea is a video editor who studied documentary filmmaking. Rob was working on a documentary on orangutans when they met. “Chelsea and I realized that we could utilize the skill set that we’ve acquired over the years in marketing and media,” Rob said.

They have created a sprawling social media presence to promote bees. Besides a dot-org website, HoneyLove is on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Change.org, Tumblr, Pinterest, MeetUp, you name it.

They have devised an ingenious campaign that blends zany fun and clever bee shtick, slyly anthropomorphizing the fuzzy yellow-and-black insects into huggable cartoons. At events, Rob sometimes wears a bee suit or a yellow T-shirt, and Chelsea typically appears more flamboyantly attired, often in a bee-striped tutu. “It’s pretty hard to ignore people when they are walking around in bee suits,” Rob said.

Rob has drawn some of the distinctive images they use, including a stylized queen bee with a crown, while Chelsea is the source of much of their playful creativity. “I mean this in the most positive way. She’s a drama queen,” Rob said. “A drama queen bee?” Chelsea shot back.

The McFarlands first sought approval for residential beekeeping from their neighborhood council in Mar Vista, devising an approach that included a four-month feasibility study and extensive community outreach.

"Their energy, their happiness with which they have approached this is so amazing," said Maritza Przekop, a Mar Vista Community Council member who has worked with them. "They have just jumped over every obstacle."

Endless meetings, it turned out, are Chelsea’s forte, although Rob joins her for some. “She has the sort of endurance and toughness,” Rob said. “I’d rather get stung by a hive of bees.”

Neighborhood council members, used to dealing with irritated constituents, tend to be startled and pleased by the McFarlands. At a committee meeting of the South Robertson Neighborhoods Council, the two, finishing each other’s sentences, answered questions about wasps, feral hives, stings, allergies, industrial agriculture, swarms, why bees are disappearing, laws in other cities and tainted honey.

Besides Mar Vista, the McFarlands have won support from the neighborhood councils of Del Rey, Greater Griffith Park, South Robertson, Silver Lake, Hollywood United, Atwater Village and West L.A.

And they won Rosendahl’s admiration. “They’re both very positive spirits. They both take this seriously, and I enjoy that,” said the councilman, who can extemporize eloquently about the role the endangered honeybee plays in pollinating flowers, fruits and vegetables, and in making honey and beeswax.

The trouble with honeybees, of course, is that they can sting and some people are extremely allergic.

"That is a huge issue," Rosendahl said, adding that any ordinance will have to deal with the issue of neighbors. "Education is part of the process. A bee doesn’t come after you unless you somehow disturb them."

Nearly every weekend, the McFarlands can be found somewhere talking up honeybees.

On one sunny-warm, breezy-cool, everything-blooming day, Rob stood behind a table with a display case filled with bees scurrying around a honeycomb, explaining their highly complex habits.

"I’m sorry," interrupted Donna Salvini, who lives in Venice and has an organic garden she said is frequented by honeybees that just calmly hang out. "I just find that insanely exciting."

"It is, it is," Rob said.

"Because there’s really nothing more magical," Salvini said. "I mean they just do so much."
 

[click here to read the article on latimes.com]

SIGN OUR PETITION TO LEGALIZE URBAN BEEKEEPING IN LOS ANGELES!!

June 27th, 2012
June 7th, 2012
VICTORY IN REDONDO BEACH, CALIFORNIA!! by Ed Garcia
Before last night’s city council meeting, bees were categorized as a de-facto “nuisance” by the municipal code. Last night that changed :) A group of BBK’s came to the city council meeting to support my petition for a permit allowing me to keep a hive and in a team effort we were able to persuade the city council to get with the times and allow individuals to keep bees. Thank you all so much for making this happen. After a very lengthy meeting that started at 6PM, our issue finally came to the floor at nearly 10 PM. Representatives from Redondo Beach Animal Control summarized their position which was formally submitted in a 12 page report. In essence they were agreeable to granting the permit subject to a variety of requirements, including the approval of my neighbors. Then it was our turn. Members of the city council asked a variety of questions that we were able to answer based on the knowledge that we’ve absorbed through BBK and our individual experiences with the bees. It all wrapped nicely at the end when the city council unanimously agreed to adopt the measure that in essence removed bees from the list of “nuisances” and allowed individuals to keep bees. Additionally, the city council agreed to remove the requirement of “approval by neighbors” and even to lower the fee for the permit that was proposed by animal control. In all I would say it was a victory for all beekeepers. I would like to acknowledge all the support and guidance provided by Kirk, the use of the material compiled by Rob and Chelsea [HoneyLove] and the fine example they set with their efforts in Mar Vista, the enthusiasm and participation of Susan, Roberta, Dennis and Randy. You guys Rock!

VICTORY IN REDONDO BEACH, CALIFORNIA!!
by Ed Garcia


Before last night’s city council meeting, bees were categorized as a de-facto “nuisance” by the municipal code. Last night that changed :) A group of BBK’s came to the city council meeting to support my petition for a permit allowing me to keep a hive and in a team effort we were able to persuade the city council to get with the times and allow individuals to keep bees. Thank you all so much for making this happen. 

After a very lengthy meeting that started at 6PM, our issue finally came to the floor at nearly 10 PM. Representatives from Redondo Beach Animal Control summarized their position which was formally submitted in a 12 page report. In essence they were agreeable to granting the permit subject to a variety of requirements, including the approval of my neighbors. 

Then it was our turn. Members of the city council asked a variety of questions that we were able to answer based on the knowledge that we’ve absorbed through BBK and our individual experiences with the bees. It all wrapped nicely at the end when the city council unanimously agreed to adopt the measure that in essence removed bees from the list of “nuisances” and allowed individuals to keep bees. Additionally, the city council agreed to remove the requirement of “approval by neighbors” and even to lower the fee for the permit that was proposed by animal control. In all I would say it was a victory for all beekeepers. 

I would like to acknowledge all the support and guidance provided by Kirk, the use of the material compiled by Rob and Chelsea [HoneyLove] and the fine example they set with their efforts in Mar Vista, the enthusiasm and participation of Susan, Roberta, Dennis and Randy. You guys Rock!

April 19th, 2012

HONEYLOVE BOOTH @ Fox Studios Earth Day Event - 4/19/12

http://www.foxstudios.com/images/print_logo.jpg