Best Management Practices
for Maintaining European Honey Bee Colonies
The Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association believes in responsible beekeeping for an urban environment. As beekeepers, our responsibility is to the bees and the beekeepers, to the general public and all animals. We are in support of urban beekeeping but only if Best Management Practices are adhered to which means "known gentle genetics." We don't think this can be achieved by keeping local feral colonies. We have not seen proof that they are well behaved and in our experienc, feral colonies have turned out to be very aggressive. If a beekeeper chooses to keep a feral hive, it is advised the beekeeper re-queen all colonies with marked queens of known genetics from breeders located outside of Africanized Honey Bee (AHB) infested areas.
The public safety hazard from Africanized Honey Bee (AHB) is becoming widespread in California.
Beekeepers can effectively make captured AHB colonies gentle by re-queening them with European honey bee queens.
Widespread use of this process would be beneficial to the public, beekeepers, and the image of beekeeping.
The Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association suggests beekeepers adhere to the following “Best Management Practices” wherever honey bees are legal to be kept.
1) Abide by and remain in compliance with all state and local laws as they pertain to honey bees.
2) Avoid keeping colonies of any race of bee other than European races (EHB).
3) Report all colonies suspected of being non-EHB race to the County Agricultural Commissioner and submit samples of these to the County Ag Department if requested.
4) Re-queen all colonies which are overly defensive with marked queens of known genetics from breeders located outside of Africanized Honey Bee (AHB) infested areas. See map: http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/docs.htm?docid=11059&page=6
5) Re-queen and destroy all drones (male brood) in colonies found not to be EHB, so as not to propagate non EHB bees.
6) Depopulate all colonies determined to be a pure or hybrid race other than EHB.
7) Ensure that all queens are purchased from outside AHB suspected or detected areas.
8) Ensure that all colonies are positioned in such a way as to ensure flyways are more than 6 feet above the ground when they cross property lines.
9) Maintain all apiaries at least 10’ away from property lines and ensure all colonies within 40’ of property lines are placed behind a six foot barrier that would prevent direct access to the colonies from the property line.
10) When maintaining colonies within 200 feet of property line, provide and maintain a water source within 50 feet or approximately the distance to the nearest unnatural water source not in control of the beekeeper (whichever is closest).
11) Not maintain an apiary within 50 feet of any tethered or kenneled animal.
12) Not manage or disturb colonies if neighbors or the general public are participating in outside activities or using machinery within 75 feet of the apiary.
13) In the event that a county in which bees are kept is declared an AHB suspected or detected area:
a) Beekeeper will re-queen all colonies with marked queens of known genetics from breeders located outside of Africanized Honey Bee (AHB) infested areas.
b) Provide the name and contact information of all suppliers from which beekeeper purchased queens.
c) Kill all swarms caught or trapped in the county, or replace the queens of all swarms caught or trapped with marked queens of known genetics as described above.
14) Maintain at least one bait hive in each apiary.