Welcome to the Local Bee Initiative
The Local Bee Initiative (LBI) is a branch of the Alameda County Beekeepers Association. We are a group of local beekeepers dedicated to promoting bee exchanges, education, and queen-rearing, with a focus on improving local genetics, producing locally adapted bees, and ideally, improving mite resistance. The LBI area covers Antioch to Livermore to Milpitas to Richmond (point San Pablo) to Crockett to Antioch (or, check out the map of the territory).
We encourage you to get your bees locally, whether you purchase them or acquire them through the LBI Bee Share. Membership in the LBI will give you access to the Bee Share, a list of local beekeepers who are willing to share bees. We hope this system will reduce the need for people to purchase bees from out of our area, allowing our community to improve its local bee stock over time.
Your participation in the LBI is welcome whether you treat for mites or consider yourself a treatment-free beekeeper. Membership in the Alameda County Beekeepers Association is required (it’s $10 a year, can be purchased online).
The LBI holds meetings at the Englander Pub in San Leandro (101 Parrott Street) on the fourth Monday of each month. Meetings that fall on holidays will be rescheduled. All are welcome. For LBI google group discussions, committees, queen rearing, swarm collection, educational programs, and notes from previous meetings, see links below.
We encourage you to acquire local bees, whether through purchase at a local merchant or through the LBI Bee Share. To purchase bees, either from a local retailer or a member of the LBI, see the purchasing section below. To participate in the Bee Share, read on!
The Bee Share is a system through which our members share bees by splitting hives, catching swarms, and raising local queens and drones. To encourage fairness, the Bee Share works on a points system. Those who provide bees (queens, swarms, nucs, or hives) will gain points, and those who receive bees will carry a debit. Those who “owe” bees are expected to pay back into the system at a future time when they can provide bees in some way (queen, nuc, or hive)..
To participate in the Bee Share, you must first become an ACBA member (see above). Next, fill out the LBI Data Entry Form. From the form, your information will appear in the LBI Database, where you’ll find contact information for those wanting to share bees. The point balances for LBI Bee Share members will be found here. The second tab of the spreadsheet provides FAQ information on point system details, which we encourage you to read. We also encourage you to join the google group, which is the primary form of communication for the LBI.
Once you’re in the system, use the LBI Database to find someone near you who wants bees you have, or has bees you want! If you successfully complete a Bee Share transaction, please notify Paula Breen as to who receives points and/or debits. Currently, one point = one transaction, (a queen, bees from a split or swarm, etc; see the FAQs). Frames, hives, or any other equipment involved in the transaction may be valued at the discretion of the traders, but does not count towards points. Purchasing bees does not count toward points.
If you choose to buy bees, we recommend the following suppliers:
- Pirate Creek Bees (Sunol) – Jim@piratecreekbees.com, or call (510) 432-4324
- Beeopic (Martinez)
- Catherine Edwards (Richmond/Pinole/El Sobrante) – Catherine.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hal Liske – (925) 437 2066
You can also use the LBI Database to find an LBI member willing to sell their bees. Follow the previously-described procedure of joining ACBA, LBI, and filling out the LBI Data Entry Form. Consult the LBI Database to find someone selling bees. Remember: direct cash-for-bees exchanges do not count toward debits/credits for either party.
The LBI fosters a series of irregular, informal, member-taught classes, including those on splitting, swarm catching, queen rearing, and equipment building. The schedule varies by season, depending mostly on the bees. The best way to know when classes are happening is to in the join the google group, where meet ups and classes are announced.
In partnership with Pirate Creek Bees, the LBI is currently undertaking an effort to raise local queens from particularly mite-resistant stock. LBI members are invited to participate in this endeavor through grafting, equipment building, or helping to keep up with the schedule of tending the maturing queens as they cycle through development, maturation, and eventual hive placement. For more information, we suggest you sign up for the google group, or contact Brenda.