Why register a hive in Santa Barbara County?

By Nicholas Wigle and Rachel Binstock

As beekeepers we are required by law to register their hives on the first of the year with the county in which the apiary is located and we do so in the hope that registering will help protect our bees.

We met with Mary Ann Rajala on January 25th 2016, the supervising Biologist at the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office, to register our hives.

How does registration help protect bees? Well, many local agricultural growers use pesticides to treat various agricultural pests. Some of these treatments have been known to affect bees. Since it’s in everyone’s interest to protect our pollinators, the county goes into their hive registry and gives beekeepers 48-hour notice that an agricultural pesticide applicator will be spraying a product labeled as harmful to bees. This is not just a courtesy call, the idea is to provide beekeepers time to take the necessary steps to either cover or move their hives.

Here are some of the other questions we asked the county:

Who can/should register a hive:
Any beekeeper with hives, whether it’s 1 or 200+, should let the county know through this registration process. It’s best for the beekeeper to register as they are the hives caretakers and will be notified with 48 hour warning. If your beekeeper is out of state its best to put the hives closest caretaker, think emergency contact.

Where to register:
You can register your hives here. Print out the form and mail it to 263 Camino del Remedio, Santa Barbra, CA, 93110.

What happens to the registration:
Processing starts as soon as the registration is received. The address you provide is put on a map so when sprays are scheduled, all reported hives within a 1-mile radius is notified. Please make sure to provide a phone number AND email (even if the form doesn’t ask for one).

When should you register your hives?
Register your hives at the beginning of the year, or as soon as you bring bees into the apiary. Registration doesn’t transfer year to year so make sure to re-register every January. If you know where your hives are projected to be, but aren’t sure, it’s best to provide that info to the county just in case.

What circumstances warrant a notification?
Beekeepers are notified when the chemical labeled by the EPA as toxic to bees. Check out the EPA’s page on pesticide risk assessment.

Any other benefits to hive registration?
The county is able to do outreach around specific issues when they know your keeping a hive. If there’s an event or a problem they are able to bring the community together through this database and
coordinate meetings and resource sharing.

Mary Ann Rajala told us they only normally have 50 beekeepers registered. This is a tiny fraction of all the hives out there. The county can’t notify unregistered hives when toxic to bee pesticide applications are scheduled. We believe that the more beekeepers that register there hives and follow city and county rules the more beekeepers have influence over policy decisions. A silent minority is never heard.

Mary Ann Rajala wants you to know:
Beekeepers are caretakers. It’s really important, as beekeepers to make sure bees are inspected regularly. Don’t forget to provide a water source so they don’t end up in your neighbor’s pool. Also, especially during a drought, check the area to ensure there is enough forage for the bees to survive. Make sure to let your neighbors know you have a hive and are following ordinances concerning bees.

Super Bee would like to thank Mary Ann Rajala for taking the time to speak to us. We would like to see the number of registered hives at least double for 2016. If you have questions about whether your hive is in compliance or need help checking your bees please contact us for a consultation.

Link to County – Sec. 7-27

City – Chapter 6.28 


ACP update and Organic ACP Treatment Protocol

On Wednesday evening I met with the CDFA and Citrus Liaison at an ACP open house. CDFA was talking with people about the Psyllid that has been found in our area citrus fruit trees and will be spraying residential citrus trees, unless residents opt-out. The most important thing we learned is that CDFA is not currently planning to use the neonicotinoid imidacloprid on their first round of spray but will be on the next treatment in 6 months and on future treatments.


You can opt-out

  • Several people, who have decided to opt out of the CDFA spraying, have contacted me. The reason they have decided to opt out is because they are organic gardeners, beekeepers, and neighbors of an ecologically sensitive area such as a creek, and/ or suffer from multiple chemical sensitivities. The people who have opted out want to help fight the Psyllid and help save the citrus. To opt out wait until you receive your 48 hour notice and call CDFA at 800-491-1899.  A friend emailed me a sign that you can post in addition.
  • cdfa notice

If you opt-out, consider still monitoring and treating your citrus

  • After much searching I found a research paper by Beth Grafton-Cardwell, Dept. of Entomology that suggests an Organic ACP Treatment Protocol.   UC riverside ACP organic treatment

Looking for organic pest control applicator

  • If anyone knows a local pest control applicator that would be willing to help monitor and treat residential citrus with organic methods please email the address above and I will share contact details.

Let’s continue the conversation

  • A few of us are hoping to meet together and discuss. If you are interested in joining in please email acp@nwigle.com.


Nick Wigle Local Beekeeper and Citrus Grower – Save our citrus and our bees

bee and citrus
Save our Citrus and our Bees

Save our citrus AND our bees

I am a commerical beekeeper with citrus trees on my property in Carpinteria. This Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) issue is very important to me as I have large commerical citrus growers as my neighbors. The last thing I want is for my citrus trees to harbor a pest that damages my neighbors’ ability to grow citrus. Therefore, I am planning on treating my citrus trees with organic methods to limit the damage to both the trees and the bees.
The option to save both our citrus AND our bees exists!  See below links:
There is a meeting tonight, January 20th, in Montecito at 5:30pm, where you can come to discuss alternative treatments.   Pacifica Graduate Institute Ladera Lane Campus 801 Ladera Ln, Carpinteria, California 93108.  More details at Facebook Super Bee Page 

Super Bee Rescue Nucleus Honey Bee Colony – $200 includes local delivery and installation

Super Bee Rescue Nucleus Honey Bee Colony 

$200 includes local delivery and installation

We take the best of our rescued beehives and watch them for at least 3 weeks to check temperament and health, and then make them available to our friends. The local genetics have a higher survival rate than imported bees. They also need little or no treatments as they have been surviving without any beekeeper involvement.

The nuc comes with a mated laying queen with a good laying pattern, 2+ frames primarily of brood, and 2 frames of nectar and pollen. With normal rainfall, I would expect most of these colonies to double in size.

I ask for a $100 deposit to start making your nuc in langstroth deep or shallow, top bar, or warre. $100 is due upon delivery and installation.

Super Bee Rescue Nuculus Honey Bee Colony
Super Bee Rescue Nuculus Honey Bee Colony

Currently we have available for reservation:

Langstroth -SOLD OUT    Top Bar – SOLD OUT     Warre -SOLD OUT

To reserve your hive please send your $100 deposit to Super Bee Rescue, 4188 Foothill Rd, Carpinteria, CA 93013. Please include contact / delivery information and the type of hive you are reserving. Checks can be made out to Super Bee Rescue.

I have decided not to keep a waiting list this year because of the large number of interested individuals.  I will announce if and when I will take additional reservations on my newsletter and Facebook page.

Does wasp spray kill bees?

I often get asked, “Can I use wasp spray on honey bee?” by homeowners and gardeners hoping to save money by DIY pest control. In addition to the obvious reason as why this is a bad idea below are a few more.

  • It is rarely effective. 50% of the attempts at using the wasp spray the person applying it end up being stung. This is because as it kills the bees, the bees release a pheromone that causes the bees that are alive to attack. To solve the situation a pest control company or bee removal company will need to come in to solve the problem.
  • The most dangerous expensive and difficult bee removal is after wasp spray has been used. Once you start killing bees, they get much more aggressive.
  • It is illegal on the can it states (It is a violation of federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.) Can lead to state and EPA fines. It also can lead to civil liability if someone becomes stung such as a neighbor.
  • It is designed for small nests of wasps, hornets, or yellow jackets with hundreds of bugs. Beehives are often 5,000 plus bees.
  • Wasps and hornets normally live in exposed nests that can be coated with the poison. Honeybees normally dwell in an in accessible cavity. The exception is temporary swarms, which are very gentle.
  • When the wasp spray does work it works very slowly taking days or weeks very slowly taking days or weeks and the honey and wax is left in the wall to attract bees in the future.

Save time, money and the bees by calling Super Bee Rescue first.

Super Bee Snow Globe

IMG_0289 Bees in tree IMG_2021 IMG_0297 IMG_0307 IMG_0311 IMG_0312 IMG_0313 IMG_0315 IMG_2022 IMG_0318This week, Super Bee team was rescuing some bees that were in the hollowed out trunk of a very large tree facing the street. Safety had to be top priority as children and families walk by before and after school hours. That’s why for this rescue we set up what we like to call, the super bee snow globe!

We set up our canopy tent and fasten down the front and corners, locking the bees (and ourselves) in, while keeping everyone out, safe! After a while, there are so many bees on the inside if the tent, in looks like were in a bee snow globe! Good thing Super Bees loves the bees!

After a long day, the bees were successfully removed, and all were kept safe in the process! Way to go Super Bee!

A big thank you to Planmember Services in Carpinteria for putting the bees first and allowing me to save the bees instead of exterminating.  10,000 bees were removed from the wall and safely removed back to our organic ranch in Carpinteria.  The removal was a lot of fun as the company break room windows over looked part of the removal.  Below is video from inside the hive.  The video is a little shaky so if you get motion sickness bee careful.




Bee Rescue Cut out Class on June 13th

Do you want to learn how to do a rescue of an established colony? I have an old style swarm trap and a clay pot full of bees. I will show you how to safely remove the bees and put them into a hive. My method saves the comb and baby bees. It gives the best chance for a healthy colony. Cost is 2 hrs. of painting or $25. After the class the colonies will be sold for $75 and include a 5 frame wooden nuc box.

We are going to start painting at 10 am. At 1 pm I will show you how to perform a cut out. After the cutout (approximately 2:30) will be an opportunity to help paint again. We will be painting bee equipment and a flat bed trailer.

Please RSVP to let me know if you are coming and if you would like one of these low cost colonies. I may have a few additional colonies available at this low cost, but only to people who attend this class. Please bring bee suits if you have them (if not please let me know to reserve one), painting clothes, water and lunch.

Cutout class 10 am – 4 pm on June 23th @ 4188 Foothill Rd. Carpinteria, Ca 93013

Upcoming Bee Events

May 2nd starting at 10 am, Apiary Build party at Fairview Gardens 
May 3rd 3 pm -5 pm Guild Meeting at Natural History Museum
May 13th 6 pm, Beginning Beekeeping course taught by The Beekeepers Guild
May 23rd 10 am – 4 pm Build Party and Apiary Tour at HeartStone Ranch Please RSVP by clicking link
May 30th, Intermediate Beekeeping Course with Paul the Beeman at La Casa
June ?,  Still deciding on a date but we will have another Sale at Island Seed and Feed
July 18th One day course on beekeeping taught by Nick the Beekeeper at Casitas Valley Farm

Do you have to feed bees

With the drought I have had a lot of questions about feeding bees.  This week I found that in one of my apiaries all 10 hives had started to eat their stored honey and they did not have any new nectar.

These hives will either need to be feed or moved.

As for how what and when to feed instead of reinventing the wheel check out Michael Bush great post at


Below is a video of me filling and installing a frame feeder.

Roof removal. Bees lived in the attic for 5 years.

The Super Bee Team worked on this great removal in Goleta for several days.  At least 20,000 bees had built a large home over the last 5 + years.  The bees were living between the attic space and the chimney so the only way in was through the roof.

Honey Bees Need Water!

As with all living things, honey bees need water too! Not only do they need it for basic survival, but water is also used for hive maintenance. The bees use it to cool the hive when temps are hot and also to maintain the brood.

So, do your bees have water? If they don’t, this should definitely be on your to-do list. The State of California requires that all apiaries have a water source. An apiary (also known as a bee yard) is a place where beehives of honey bees are kept. If your bees are not given water they will have to seek it elsewhere. This usually means that your bees will end up in a much less desirable location, i.e. the neighbors fountain or swimming pool. We assure you, neighbors don’t like this sort of thing and it can end up turning into a big headache for everyone involved. Also, if they are obtaining water from unreliable sources, ones that don’t provide a place to land while drinking, it is safe to say that many of your bees will drown.

 A water source can be as simple as a drip tray filled with gravel, set on a drip irrigation to refill weekly. You can also go with something more elaborate such as creating a small pond or using a stock tank with an aerator, mosquito fish, azolla, and duckweed. The bees can land on top of the floating plants and drink water without drowning.

Another option is an automatic dog waterer with several pieces of floral foam and netting so the bees are able to climb in and out of the water.

There are countless reasons to ensure your bees are getting water from a safe source, especially because an average hive can drink over 2 pints a day. Your bees will definitely be grateful to have a go-to spot for daily water consumption.


Amazon is selling a hive feeder / water that seems to have promise see link below.

Ultimate Hive Feeder for Beekeepers 2 Pack from Farmstand Supply (In Hive)

Hive Stand Plans

After much testing we have come up with what I feel is the best stand for multiple hives.  It has been tested by wind, gophers, ants, goats, and interns.  I no longer have poles for sale.