Wishing You A Joyous New Year!

Wishing You A Joyous New Year !
Historical Honeybee Articles - Beekeeping History
Image: Bee Chasing Children -Trading Card from Partridges Cafe, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - 15 North 3rd Street and 19 South 8th Street
(estimate circa. 1880 to 1900)

Over a century ago, during the Victorian era, one of the favorite pastimes was collecting small, illustrated advertising cards that we now call trade cards. These trade cards evolved from cards of the late 1700s used by tradesmen to advertise their services. Although examples from the early 1800s exist, it was not until the spread of color lithography in the 1870s that trade cards became plentiful.

By the 1880s, trade cards had become a major way of advertising America's products and services, and a trip to the store usually brought back some of these attractive, brightly colored cards to be pasted into a scrapbook.

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Bill's Bees Has Bees For Sale

Bill's Bees Has Bees for SaleAt Bill's Bees you can purchase A Complete Beehive, Bees in Packages, or Nucs. We also sell VSH Italian Queens. All our bees are Italian honey bees with known gentle genetics. These bees are ideal for Backyard Beekeeping in Los Angeles as well as for Commercial Beekeepers who take their bees to pollination.

Pre-Order by December 31, 2016 and Save. The price of bees (TBD) will increase on January 1, 2017.

A Complete Hive for $315 ~ Nucleus colony (described in Bees in Nucs) that includes Italian Bees with a VSH-Italian 'unmarked' queen, a painted deep hive body, bottom board fastened to the box, and lid, plus 5 additional undrawn new frames to fill out the box. You may choose to substitute an internal frame style feeder (with cap and ladders) for 3 of the undrawn frames. Available mid-March for a Complete Hive with fall 2016 queens. Available mid-May with 2017 queens.  (A Complete Hive in March can catch the early spring and summer nectar flows.) View Details

Bees in Packages - $150 ~ 3 lbs Italian honey bees in a screened cage with VSH Italian mated 'unmarked' queen in a separate screened queen cage (with attendants). The known gentle genetics of these Italian Honey Bees make them ideal for Backyard Beekeeping in Los Angeles. Packages can be installed in any style hive. Queen Marking cost $5. Available for pick up April 2017.  View Details 

Bees in Nucs - $215 ~ 5 Frames (Deep) or 6 Frames (Medium) ~ Italian Bees with VSH-Italian 'unmarked' Queen. Queen Marking cost $5. Nucs available in May 2017. Available mid-March for Nucs with fall 2016 queens. Available mid-May with 2017 queens.  (Nucs in March can catch the early spring and summer nectar flows.)  View Details

The VSH-Italian Queen Bee - $40 is produced and mated in Northern, CA where there are no Africanized genetics ensuring gentle behaving offspring. Yes, they can still sting. Queens Available beginning mid-April for the 2017 season.  View Details

View more about our Bees for Sale.

Note: WE DO NOT SHIP OUR BEES. We will notify you of pick up dates, times, and location.


Bill & Clyde
Bill's Bees

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Clyde Steese Honored with the CSBA Young Beekeeper of the Year Award

During the Awards Banquet on November 17th, 2016, the California State Beekeepers Association honored Clyde Steese with the CSBA Young Beekeeper of the Year Award at their 27th CSBA Annual Convention at the Kona Kai Resort in San Diego, CA.

As he presented the award, Awards Chairman, Alan Mikolich, had these words to share about Clyde:

"A young man he is not.  A young beekeeper whom the bees have taught many lessons he is.  He is a successful (meaning the bees are paying for themselves with a little $ left over) 1st generation beekeeper.  Honey bees found him when they swarmed into a box in his backyard about 16 years ago.  He could not find anyone to take the bees or remove them for a reasonable cost so he decided to keep them and gave them a home.  Soon the back yard was overrun with bee hives, the neighbors were starting to complain, and more importantly his wife was starting to tell him he had to do something about all the bees.

He connected with his local Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association and soon found an alternate location to pursue his new passion.  When he was up to about 30 colonies, he purchased a 24 foot flatbed truck, no forklift and no place to park a truck that size.  What do you do?  Call a friend.  Fast forward:

He has served as Vice President and President of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association and currently is on the Board of Directors.  His most notable contribution has been as coordinator for the LACBA annual fundraiser/bee display at the Los Angeles County Fair going on too many years to remember.

He is currently serving a term as a member of the Certified Farmers Market Advisory Committee that advises CDFA  on issues concerning Direct Marketing of Agricultural Products and Farmers Markets. 

He gives back with plenty of advice and lessons learned by teaching newbees at monthly Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association bee classes.  

Just a few of the lessons learned include: 

Do not buy a bunch of used equipment: You may just inherit a bad case of foul brood.                             

Do not spend a lot of $ on an untested solution to varroa and always go back and test for mites to see if your plan for surviving with mites is working: $5000 worth of Russian bees and queens that did not make it through the winter.

What to do when your truck breaks down with a full load of bees: Blown water pump on the International flatbed truck with a full load of hives.  Fortunately only 1/4 mile from the top of the grade and was able to limp to the top before all the coolant ran out of the engine.  From there a 3 mile coast with no power steering and limited amount of air for the brakes.  2 right turns another 1/4 mile and a left turn into the driveway close enough to unload the bees and run them to the drop location with the forklift.  Then call your wife at 1am to come and get you, a 2 hour drive from home.

Have a plan in place for a flat tire: Blown tire at about midnight on a Sunday night with a full truck load of bees and still a 3 hour drive ahead of you.

Always securely tie down your load even if you are only going 100 yds. so a 3000 lb. tote of sugar syrup does not fall off your truck, split open, and flow down hill through the back door of your partner’s house and into his wife’s kitchen. 

Beekeeping keeps Clyde Steese young. Stubbornness and persistence are a virtue."

Congratulations, Clyde. This is a great honor. We at Bill's Bees are so proud of you and grateful for your friendship, honesty, and integrity. Thank you for all the work you do on behalf of the honey bees, beekeeping, and the beekeeping industry.

Bill Lewis
Bill's Bees

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Bill's Bees Beautiful Handmade Soaps, Lotions, & Lip Balms

You'll love our beautiful handmade beeswax soaps, lotions, loofahs, and lip balms, crafted right here at Bill's Bees Bee Farm by Bill's wife, Liane.  Made with beeswax from Bill's Bees honey bees, pure, natural ingredients, and essential oils. No animal fats are used in our products. They make lovely holiday gifts, great stocking stuffers, hostess gifts, party favors, are handy as last minute gifts, and extra special gifts for yourself. 
Bill's Bees Homemade Beeswax Soap

Bill’s Bees Handmade Beeswax Soap Bars are completely hand made in small 30 bar batches. Liane crafts the soap from scratch, starting with pure olive, coconut, and other skin nourishing oils, as well as cocoa butter and beeswax. Beeswax makes the soap harder, so it last longer, and gives an especially rich lather. Bill shaves with it. Each soap has its own unique recipe and is aged for at least three weeks before being hand cut. This is old fashioned handmade cold process soap, retaining skin soothing glycerin which is created during the soapmaking reaction. Enjoy!

Cinnamon & Spice ~ Honey (Unscented) ~ Lavender ~ Lemon & Pumice ~
Strawberries & Champagne ~ Spearmint & Eucalyptus ~
 Tea Tree Oil & Peppermint ~ Vanilla, Almond & Oatmeal 

Bill's Bees Handmade Beeswax Soap Filled Loofahs
are natural loofah gourd sponges crafted to a comfortable size to fit your hand. They're filled with our pure, natural honey and beeswax soap. Liane makes the soap from scratch starting with pure olive, coconut, and other skin nourishing oils, cocoa butter, and pure, natural honey and beeswax.
Our soaps are all vegetable oil based, with no artificial colors. Beeswax makes a harder, longer lasting, finer textured soap with an especially rich lather. Just get the loofah wet in the shower and enjoy a soapy scrub!

Cinnamon & Spice ~ Lavender ~ Lemon & Pumice ~ Strawberries & Champagne ~ Spearmint & Eucalyptus ~ Tea Tree Oil & Peppermint ~ Vanilla, Almond & Oatmeal

Bill's Bees Homemade Beeswax LotionBill's Bees Handmade Beeswax Lotion Bars
are completely hand made in small 18 bar batches with beeswax, cocoa butter, shea butter, sweet almond oil, and essential oil. Vitamin E oil is added for extra skin nourishment, and also acts as a natural preservative. There are no artificial preservatives or antibacterial agents in our lotion bars - many people are very sensitive to those artificial ingredients and find that Bill's Bees handmade beeswax lotion bars are extremely soothing and non-irritating. 
   Almond ~ Lavender ~ Peppermint ~ Unscented

Bill’s Bees Handmade Beeswax Lip Balms (Pots and Tubes)
are hand crafted in small 30 container batches and contain only four main ingredients: pure beeswax, cocoa butter, almond oil, and coconut oil. Vitamin E is added for extra lip nourishment, and also acts as a natural preservative. There are no antibacterial agents in our lip balm; such ingredients cause lips to dry and crack…just what most people who are using lip balm are trying to avoid!  You have a choice of pots or tubes. They are exactly the same, just different ways of delivering the same product.   Cherry ~ Honey ~ Peppermint

Liane Lewis gathering lavender from her Lavender Patch at Bill's Bees Bee Farm. 

We hope you enjoy our honey bee gifts from the hive.
Thank you! 

Liane Lewis
Bill's Bees





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McGroarty Arts Center 14th Annual Chili Bowl Fest and Art & Craft Faire

McGroarty Arts & Chili Bowl Fest

McGroarty Arts Center
7570 McGroarty Terrace
Tujunga, CA 91042

Saturday, December 3, 2016
On Saturday, along with the Holiday Boutique, we have our famous
Chili Bowl Sale with Homemade Chili!
Shoppers can pick out a ceramic bowl handcrafted by the artists in our
Ceramics Department and fill it with home-made chili while enjoying
Live Music, Craft Beer, and Baked Goods!
35 Artisan Vendors

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Homemade Soups and Stews, Live Christmas Music,

Craft Beer, Santa, and Cookie Painting!
35 Artisan Vendors

Saturday and Sunday 
Bill's Bees 
Buzz by, Say Hi!

Bill's wife, Liane, will have their Honey Bee Table overflowing with beautiful holiday gifts from Bill's Bees Bee Farm in the Angeles National Forest!
100% Raw Local Honey - Just the Way the Bees Made It!
Homemade Beeswax SoapsLotions and Lip Balms handcrafted by Liane. 
Magical Beeswax Ornaments and 

Beeswax Candles - beautiful, slow burning, crafted on site at Bill's Bees Bee Farm

Enjoy a bowl of Chili!!!   Cornbread!!!  And a Taste of Honey!!!

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Bill's Bees 100% Beeswax Ornaments

Bill's Bees Beeswax Ornaments
Hand Crafted Beeswax Ornaments by Bill's Bees are made at Bill's Bees Bee Farm using 100% Pure Beeswax. We only use beeswax from Bill's Bees honey bees so we know it's natural, 100% pure beeswax - Just the way our bees made it!

Bill's Bees Beeswax XMoose Ornament

The art of crafting and molding beeswax into ornaments is a centuries old German tradition. Bill’s Bees is pleased to continue this treasured tradition and offers you a beautiful selection of 100% pure beeswax ornaments.  

Bill's Bees Beeswax Ornament Angel with Trumpet

Magical on Christmas trees, our beautiful beeswax ornaments can be enjoyed year round hanging in front of a window or on lampshades. They are a wonderful gift to give or receive.

Bill's Bees Beeswax Hanging Angel

As special favors for parties, weddings, showers, special occasions, celebrations, events, hostess gifts, you can make any occasion extra special with a gift from the bees.

Where the bees forage and the nectar they collect determines the color of the wax and the scent of the beeswax. Our honey bees forage in the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California on a variety of native plants and wildflowers. Bill’s Bees 100% pure beeswax ornaments have a soft golden yellow beeswax color with the pleasant, subtly sweet, aroma of honey.

Bill's Bees 100% Beeswax ornaments are absolutely beautiful. Enjoy!


For more information on Bill's Bees 100% Pure Beeswax, please see: 
Produce Info - Beeswax & Candles

You can order online or pick up at one of our local LA Country Farmers markets.





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Honey's Not GMO

pure natural honey

Pure natural honey is, by definition, a non-GMO food.  It’s that simple.

By: Michelle Poulk

This message is supported by the American Beekeeping Federation, American Honey Producers Association, National Honey Packer & Dealers Association, Sioux Honey Association and the Western States Packers & Dealers Association.  As a collective group, these organizations represent approximately 95% of the entire United States Honey Industry.

Today’s consumers rely on many sources for information on their diet and food choices. Perhaps the most frequently consulted, but least reliable, source is the internet – where everyone can be an ‘expert’ on their chosen subject.  Gluten-free, raw, local, vegetarian and non-GMO are currently among the food topics most often discussed.

Regarding a non-GMO diet, some of the main questions being asked of the honey industry are:

“Is honey free of GMOs?”

Answer: The FDA discourages the use of the term “GMO Free” because all food items may contain trace amounts of GMOs. The European Union, Australia and other countries have established thresholds for their GMO labeling laws. The regulations require all food items which contain more than 0.9% GMOs to declare GMO contents on the labels. Honey is not required to be identified or labeled as a non-GMO food because GMO’s in honey never exceed this threshold. Honey, as most other foods, may not be completely GMO free, but it is a non-GMO food according to the standards established by the European Union, Australia and other countries.

“I am on a non-GMO diet. Can I eat honey?” 

Answer: Pure honey can be introduced into a non-GMO diet and not only will you maintain your personal nutritional choices, but you will receive all the wonderful benefits honey has to offer.

“If honey is not Certified as non-GMO, does that mean it may contain GMOs?

Answer: Although some interest groups and organizations appear to complicate the issue, the simple truth is this: honey qualifies as a non-GMO food.  It does not require any type of certification in order to be classified as a non-GMO food item.  Some companies choose to have their honey certified as “non-GMO” by independent organizations, but in terms of GMO content, honey certified as non-GMO is not superior to any other non-certified pure honey.

“Can trace GMOs be eliminated from honey by monitoring bee forage areas?”

Answer:  It is not realistically possible to monitor all honey bee forage areas, or to create a GMO-free forage zone. Even if a GMO-free zone were to be established, bees can travel great distances, and neighboring bees could enter the GMO-free zone and distribute pollen containing GMOs onto non-GMO crops.

To better understand the basics of GMOs, here are the FDA definitions on the subject:

“Genetic modification” is defined as the alteration of the genotype of a plant using any technique, new or traditional. “Modification“ refers to the alteration in the composition of food that results from adding, deleting, or changing hereditary traits, irrespective of the method.

This definition is provided by an independent certification organization:

“GMOs (or “genetically modified organisms”) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering, or GE. This relatively new science creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.”

So how are these definitions applicable to Honey?

Honey is a food produced by bees from the nectar of plants.  Honey is not a plant and there are no known species of genetically engineered (GE) honey bees.  The definitions support honey’s established status as a non-GMO food item.

Here are just a few of the facts about honey as a non-GMO food:

No genetically modified honey bees exist

Honey is made by bees from the nectar of plants

Honey is not a food that has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory

The amount of pollen in honey ranges from about 0.1% to 0.4%

On average, pollen in honey contains about 0.2% protein.  GMO markers may be found only in the protein

Any trace of GMO’s in honey, therefore, will fall far below the 0.9% threshold established by countries around the world as requiring GMO labeling

In the US, there are no current national GMO labeling requirements.  Moreover, the state of Vermont enacted legislation in 2016, which clearly excludes foods from any GMO labeling requirement when the food is “consisting of or derived entirely from an animal that is itself not produced with genetic engineering, regardless of whether the animal has been fed or injected with any food, drug, or other substance produced with genetic engineering”.

Honey bees, beekeepers and the honey industry are direct contributors to the success of American and world agriculture.  In today’s world, the honey industry faces many problems such as hive loss, drought, colony collapse and shrinking forage areas.  Fortunately, honey’s position as a pure and natural food is unchallenged.

Produced by bees from the nectar of plants, honey is a non-GMO food, the purest of nature’s sweets.

(The above article by Michelle Poulk appeared in Bee Culture - The Magazine of American Beekeeping on August 23, 2016.)








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Bill's Bees - Protecting Our Honey Bees From Fire

Bill's Bees Protecting our Honey Bees From Fires

California's severe drought has caused devastating fire conditions throughout the state; destroying homes, wildlife, and honey bees. On Friday evening (July 22nd) we were able to rescue our bees just in time. We moved two of our apiaries (140 hives) from above Dillon Divide. This is what it looked like when we moved out of the hills before the fire went through the canyon. It was hot as a furnace. By the time we had the bees loaded that fire was halfway down the hill. The wind was blowing and it was snowing white ash when we got the truck out of there. We brought our bees home to Little Tujunga Canyon where we pray they remain safe. We hope we never have to do this again.

We would like to thank everyone for your concern, best wishes, offers of help, and prayers this weekend.

Bee safe.
Bill and Clyde
Bill's Bees

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John Burns - Gettysburg Veteran and Beekeeper

John Burns Gettysburg Veteran and BeekeeperHappy 4th of July. Thank you to Historical Honeybee Articles - Beekeeping History for this fine, informative article and video on John Burns of Gettysburg (Veteran and Beekeeper). Enjoy!

On July 1, 1863 - the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1, 1863, Beekeeper. John Burns, at 69 years of age took up his flintlock musket and powder horn and walked out to the scene of the fighting that morning. He was wounded, but would suvive to become a national celebrity.

On November 19, 1863 -President Abraham Lincoln, gave one of the best-known speeches in American history. via: Historical Honeybee Articles - Beekeeping History 
(Note: Scroll down through the most recent posts from Historical Honeybee Articles to the July 1, 2016 post to view the video.)

Part I -The Story of Beekeeper John Burns: A Gettysburg Civil War Hero.

Burns was a veteran of the War of 1812, became a 69-year-old civilian combatant with the Union Army at the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. He was wounded, but survived to become a national celebrity. Burns's fame quickly spread when a poem about his exploits was published by Bret Harte in 1864. I put part one to the old English folk song; 'Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier'. The lyrics lament the sacrifices that men and women make in going off to war. The song was popular in America during the Revolutionary war, but it's origins I believe are unknown.

Part II - Civil War by Ken Burns; On This Date in History; at the dedication of the 'Soldiers National Cemetery' in Gettysburg, President Abraham Lincoln, gave one of the best-known speeches in American history.

Music in the video:
"Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier" is an American Revolutionary War version of a traditional Irish song. The lyrics lament the sacrifices that men and women make in going off to war. Men would help by going off to war and women would help by sacrificing men and selling goods to buy military supplies. This folk song was popular throughout the American Revolutionary War. Although we know what it meant its history is very mysterious and unknown.

Listen here:
Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier (With Lyrics)

Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier (Instrumental)

"Ashokan Farewell" is a piece of music composed by Jay Ungar in 1982. It has served as a goodnight or farewell waltz at the annual Ashokan Fiddle & Dance Camps run by Ungar and his wife Molly Mason, who gave the tune its name, at the Ashokan Field Campus of SUNY New Paltz (now the Ashokan Center) in upstate New York. The tune was later used as the title theme of the 1990 PBS television miniseries The Civil War,

Ashokan Farewell

Thank you, again, to Historical Honeybee Articles for this history of our country, our veterans and our beekeepers.


Bill & Clyde
Bill's Bees

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New Harvest - Bill's Bees Avocado Honey!

Bill's Bees 100% Raw Avocado Honey

NEW HARVEST - Bill's Bees 100% Raw Avocado Honey! Now Available!

From April to June we take some of our honey bees to help pollinate avocados in the avocado orchards of Ventura County, CA. The nectar from avocado blossoms makes a dark, rich buttery honey with a subtle taste of avocado. The unique taste can be used in a variety of ways: in your smoothies, delicious on toast, in cooking recipes which call for honey. It can be used as a substitute for sugar or molasses. Use Avocado Honey to create your own homemade facial masks, shampoos and conditioners. With its high levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, you can also use it on cuts and burns to help aid the healing process. Bill's Bees 100% Raw Avocado Honey - unfiltered, unprocessed. Just the Way the Bees Made It!



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