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Natural Beekeeping

First Ever Natural Beekeeping Convention Makes a Buzz in Pasadena This Weekend – Pasadena Now

Pasadena Now – While bees may be perceived as intimidating sting machines that produce sweet honey, the scientific and beekeeping communities consider them the unsung heroes of the planet. The tiny aerial insects are responsible for pollinating 80% of the world’s plants and without them world would be a much different place.Natural Beekeeping

Pasadena’s flora-and-fauna-rich landscape has cemented itself as a bee friendly environment among local experts and is the perfect home for the Natural Beekeeping Conference that kicks off this weekend, set to feature demonstrations and lectures about all things beekeeping from local and international experts in the field.

“Our conference is geared towards the backyard beekeeper who wants to do things with a more natural twist. We’ve imported the top minds in the natural beekeeping world to come speak,” said conference organizer and Honey Love CEO Chelsea McFarland whose non-profit provides educational outreach and advocacy efforts to protect the health and well-being of honey bees.

Pasadena’s bee friendly status is a rarity when compared to worrisome global phenomenon of bee colonies disappearing called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“If you have an amazing garden and want to make it even better, the natural progression is to keep bees. It’s very important to keep known genetics in your urban yard,” said Keith Roberts, President of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association and owner of beekeeping retail store The Valley Hive.

“Pasadena was the area to be this year,” said Roberts who went on to say he extracted thousands of pounds of sage honey in the Pasadena/Altadena area alone.

Many factors play a role in possibilities regarding to the disappearance of bee colonies including parasites and pests, pathogens, poor nutrition, and the use of pesticides on plants as the number one cause of speculation according to the USDA.

“Pesticides are always a threat regardless of where the hives are,” said Roberts.

These foreign chemicals tend to do more harm than good due the their artificial properties, in which pollination by managed honey bee colonies adds at least $15 billion to the value of U.S. agriculture annually through increased yields and superior-quality harvests, according to the USDA.

natural bee keepingBees colonies are affected less by CCD in urban environments due to the lack of pesticide use that is all too common in large scale agriculture, according to Honey Love.

“We aren’t seeing colony collapse disorder as much in the city,” said McFarland

Aside from the importance of bees in regards to sustaining a substantial part of life on Earth, they have become specimens of interest to scientists and engineers in fascinating ways.

Dr. Michael Dickinson is a scientist whose lab at Caltech focuses on flight control and how animals transform sensory information into a code that controls motor output and behavior. According to Dickinson, the unique anatomy of bees provides a basis for the development of cutting edge aerial technology in the 21st century.

“These animals are exploiting some of the most exotic flight mechanisms that are available to insects,” said Dickinson in an article published by Caltech. “The knowledge garnered from actual insects start to become important engineering principles by which we design these things,” said Dickinson.

Although urban areas like Pasadena are more sustainable place for bees to thrive, they are still in need of habitats that they can call home and is a simple addition anyone can add to their property with just a small amount of tender love and care.

You don’t have to be a skilled beekeeper to contribute to the well being of bees in your neighborhood.

“We encourage people to put out a swarm box which is something bees can move into. It’s a great thing that people can do who live in the city,” said McFarland who also mentioned the importance of providing basics such as adequate water for bees.

To help promote his all-natural approach, 40 year beekeeper Jerry Dunbar participated in the creation of this video series demonstrating his practices and the …

Beek Out This Summer at HoneyLove’s Natural Beekeeping … – Modern Farmer

Husband-and-wife team Rob and Chelsea McFarland are passionate about honeybees and want you to be too. Last year they spearheaded the legalization of urban beekeeping in Los Angeles, published Save the Bees with Natural Backyard Hives, and now have organized a natural beekeeping conference set for August 19 through 21 in Pasadena, California.

“We started the Natural Beekeeping Conference as an alternative to the traditional beekeeping conferences put on for commercial beekeepers,” Chelsea tells Modern Farmer in an email. “There isn’t currently a conference for natural beekeepers—especially not one that addresses backyard beekeeping issues—so we decided to create one.
”The couple launched HoneyLove, an LA-based nonprofit bee conservation organization in 2011, with “a mission to protect the keeping honey beeshoneybees by educating our communities and inspiring new urban beekeepers,” says Chelsea. It has grown to be the largest urban beekeeping group in Southern California.
The conference in August is for natural beekeepers—those who use chemical-free practices—of all stripes, but with a special focus on those who raise bees in an urban environment.
You’ll see several luminaries of the natural beekeeping world at the conference, including Michael Bush, the author of The Practical Beekeeper—Beekeeping Naturally; Dee Lusby, known as the “mother of treatment-free beekeeping;” May R. Berenbaum, professor and department head in the Department of Entomology at Cornell University; and Les Crowder, author of Top-Bar Beekeeping.
Plus, there will be workshops, hands-on demonstrations, the latest in natural beekeeping techniques and findings, exhibitors and sponsors, and even tastings of raw honey from around the world. It’s an opportunity to connect with other “beeks” (bee geeks),
June 15, 2016 webinar on Common Sense Natural Beekeeping with Kim Flottum, author and editor of Bee Culture Magazine.
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