To join the collective
Google Group

The Davis Bee Collective is a group of small-scale beekeepers dedicated to the cooperative practice and promotion of ecological apiculture. They have regular meetings and hold various bee-related events. Please join the Google Group if you have any interest in bee-keeping in Davis. This is a kind group of people with different levels of bee-keeping experience and they are willing to share this knowledge with you.


Swarm Catching & Bee Removal

If you have a swarm of honeybees at your home or business, there's a good chance one of the Bee Collective members will be able to remove it and find it a safe home. Some hive removals may be extensive and come with a fee to be worked out with the bee-keeper. (call beekeepers who have the current year next to their name because they are currently active!)


Members of the Davis Bee Collective pool their hives to fill pollination contracts for organic farms in and around the Sacramento Valley. All hives slated for pollination services are rigorously checked for strong health before transportation.


Screen Bottom Board Building

On 2007-04, Davis Bee Collective members met up at the Domes to build screen bottom boards for their beehives. The screen bottom boards allow for better varoa mite control by eliminating the ability of the mites to climb back onto the bees when they fall to the bottom. The screen are especially effective when used in combination with other control measures that knock off the mites. We used scavenged wood scraps to build the frames and 1/8" hardware cloth for the screens. A full image gallery is available online here.

As of March 2012, the bee collective members are hosting weekly Sunday 11-4pm work parties helping to create a local shared apiary and bee friendly garden called the Davis Bee Sanctuary — Opening Ceremony will be Saturday March 31st, 2012 11-6pm!

Davis Bee Collective in the News

Video tutorials

Honey Harvest: Part 1: Remove frames from hive Part 2: Remove wax cappings from frames Part 3: Using the honey extractor! Part 4: Filling the jars!


If you would like to host the next meeting, please email the google group listserve and let everyone know. It'd be great to have a monthly meeting through the spring and summer while the bees are active, so don't hesitate to round up the group.


Like bees, we specialized for different tasks. Matt cuts the boards all uniform. Eli makes best use of the whole roll of wire mesh.


Karl and his sloped-entrance prototype A finished stack of standard screen bottom boards. A finished bottom board with a medium hive box on top, showing the entrance and small landing strip for the bees.

Box Building Bonanza

On 2007-03, Fourteen collective members got together at Dave Tipton's woodshop in Davis to build medium-depth bee boxes. It was a long and rewarding day. We built 30 boxes complete with box-joint corners and rabbets for hanging frames. A full album and slide show of the event can be found here. Thanks to everyone who organized and participated in this event!



Honey Extraction Party

The Fall honey extraction party was on 2006-10. We had about a dozen folks show up and use extractors to spin out over 150 pounds of the good stuff. Thanks, bees!



The Davis Bee Collective enables its members to share equipment amongst the group that may otherwise be too costly or cumbersome for individuals to possess on their own. In this way we can all share in the use and maintenance of books, magazines, honey extractors, filters, pollen traps, wax melters, vehicles, carpentry tools and other equipment that makes beekeeping pleasurable.


First bee hive capture of the season: Leanne, Tessa, Karl and Eli come to the rescue of a feral colony whose comb had fallen from a tree. Eli climbs the tree, saws down the nest branch and passes it down to Karl. Then the fun really starts!


Andrea Lucky installs her first package of bees: These bees are from Honey Bee Genetics in Vacaville. The queen is a hybrid Russian/Carniolan bred for mite resistance and gentleness. The cat's name is Plucky, and no, she was not stung during the filming of this episode.


Meeting Mintutes

September Meeting


  • Eli Sarnat
  • Julia Schreiber
  • Tessa Fojut
  • Dave Levin
  • Roxy
  • George Kimball

 Announcements - Honey Extraction Party scheduled for Sunday, September 30th tentatively at the student co-ops at 11am.

- Renowned entomologist May Berenbaum will be gicing a public lecture on CCD titled, “BSI: The Case of the Disappearing Bees!” Tuesday, October 9th, 2007 at the Activities Recreation Center (ARC), Ballroom A. There is a reception at 5pm and the lecture at 5:30pm.

- 1x12 redwood siding available for anyone interested in pulling it off a shed. Contact Carolyn (758-1250)

Notes - George Kimball is a new member. He has several hives all collected from swarms this year, and recently removed a colony from a shed wall (will show pictures next meeting).

- Eli queried the group if anyone was interested in participating in the Sacramento Children’s Fair, to which the Bee Collective was invited to present a bee booth. There were some good ideas for activities proposed by Julia, but none of the members present expressed strong interest in participating. Eli agreed to send out an email asking if other members are interested with the meeting notes.

- Discussion about the woodworking class continued. General consensus was that it would be better to have it at Dave Tipton’s house than at the craft center, but that we need to check in with Dave about several questions.

November Meeting

Proposal to plan a future meeting in conjunction with the Sacramento beekeeping group (name?) that meets 4th Tuesday (right?) of each month, or perhaps some Davis members could attend then report back…

- Lots of talk about potential for Experimental College course(s) – namely a beekeeping ‘workshop’ (mention made that in the off chance there’s a scheduling difficulty for spring, perhaps a weekend course might work as an introduction), ideally running the length of the quarter in order to take advantage of seasonal changes in practices (moving from winter to spring). Eli to check on EC scheduling requirements, he also offers his bees (housed at the Student Farm) as educational props. (Does the group want to pitch in to formulate a syllabus, or Eli, are you ready to have at it? More discussion?)

- Idea of a Craft Center / EC course to build beeboxes – Chris to potentially offer it through the woodshop (after finding out scheduling requirements).

 - For future reference, about the above 2 ideas (beeboxes & beekeeping classes), Jeff thought it might be a good idea to offer the box-making class in the winter before swarming time – so that people could have their boxes ready to catch local swarms.

- A lot of interest was expressed in becoming involved in the somewhat-abandoned Bee Biology bees – perhaps being able to take over their care, in conjunction with providing opportunities for people to gain experience with bees. Where do we go with this?

- Assertion of basic Bee Collective goals: opportunity to ‘mingle’ with bee-minded folks, sharing of experience & knowledge, pooling of resources that might be out of reach of individuals but which can be accessed & maintained by the group, learning environment for those without access to bees whereby they can ‘intern’ with folks with bees.

- Winter preparations were brought up – esp. in relation to methods of preventing wax moth infestation and a question was raised about availability of a freezer large enough to accommodate bee boxes (freezing kills the moth larvae).

Feb Meeting

Attteenbees!: Julia, Jordan, Joseph, Keren, Jackie, Scott, Julia’s Small Cute Dog Cassava

Back Yard Bee Keeping Class 

  • Invite Participants

Next Meeting?

  • On agenda – Tour and Meet Bee Biology – Sue Cobey

Spring bee preparation

  • Reading from Beekeeper Calendar – photocopy!

Pollination Services

The biggest contribution that bees make in our lives is not the honey and beeswax they produce (but those are nice), but instead, the pollination of crops. Some Bee Collective beekeepers have hives that are available to rent for pollination services. Drop us a note if interested.

  • Jim Rhumzy

List Serve Issues

  • If you don’t have a ucdavis email you won’t be able to access this website
  • Bee Collective
  • Eli’s Email Address
  • Password: bzz22
  • Combine email list serves: Add Eli’s to Bee Collective

Contact List: Names – Phone Number

  • Fire Station List
  • Police Station List
  • Extension Service List

March Meeting

1. Introductions

- in attendance were: Tessa, Derek, Eli, Keren, LeeAnna, Karl, Jordan, Joseph, Matt, and Wendy

- held in Jordan’s dome

2. We watched a video of Eli, Karl, LeeAnna, and Tessa catching a swarm… it was sweet! Catch it on YouTube.

3. Report on Bee Box Building Bonanza

- We made 30+ boxes

- This was superbly organized!

- Dave Tipton pitched in 6 hours at the saw

- Wood was given away at the end for handles

4. Top and Bottom Board Building Bonanza

- slated for April 7, Saturday, 9 am, at the Domes

- do we need a table saw?

- co-opers will look into finding a good saw (jig saw?)

- need it for ripping out bee space for entrance (but maybe not)

- need 1/8” mesh for mite trap bottom board (Keren will acquire)

- bee space = ~3/8”

- all parties, bring as much wood as possible!

- # of boxes to be built:

2 – Wendy

2 – co-ops

2 – Jordan

4 – Eli

2 – Matt

2 – Karl

2 – Joseph

2 – Dave Tipton

2 – extra

= 20 sets of top/bottom boards total (do we need more than this?)

5. Eli’s Backyard Beekeeping Class through the EC

- starts Sat., April 14 (Picnic Day)

- every Saturday for 7 – 8 weeks

- 11 - 12:30

- register through the EC when classes start

- don’t need bee knowledge!

- Eli looking for a co-teacher

6. Spring Management of hives

- feed them! Pollen and 1:1 sugar/water solution

- right now, bees are drawing down their honey supply to draw comb and feed brood

- tanglefoot around the base of the hive stand helps keep the ants away!

7. Sacramento Beekeeping Club

- 3rd Tuesday of every month

8. Proposal to change meeting time

- from 3rd Thursdays to 4th Tuesdays at 8 pm

- proposal passed

- next meeting is on April 24th at Davis Student Co-op (at the on-campus co-ops, different house than last time at the co-ops)

9. Money

- $50 was collected from a swarm catching

- we can save this money for shared equipment! (extractors, wax melters, bee suits, ladders, etc.)

- let’s also put a wish list on the Davis Wiki for donations

April Meeting

Attendance: Sunny, Eli, Karl, Tessa, Natasha, Sarah, Jordan

Hive Status: CoOps: 4 Hives (– 1 Hive) = 3 Hives (Would like one more hive!)

Karl: 1 Hive – Opened it up. Has 2 swarms. Doing well. 1st Swarm: Queen cells. Sugar cells? No. Emergency cell? No. 2nd Swarm: Few bees. No queen. Capped sealed queen cell. Now nothing. Looking to re-queen. (Would like a queen cell!)

*Post to each other if queen cell available.

Karl is going to Wisconsin to pursue dreams! Hurray!

Domes: 1 Hive: Doing great! Observational hive looking good! (Would like more hives please!)

Eli: Hives are good and bad. Some have mites.

Report on Bottom Board Building: Tessa – Successful!

Beekeeping Class with the EC: 11 people – None have bees expect 2.

1st Class: Entomology exhibit. 2nd class: 2 Packages of Bees. $85 Honeybee Genetics – Tom Video – YouTube (Linked on the Wiki)

Book Club?

Late Spring Management Flush of blooms then a drought. PULSES of pollen/honey capture. Hit them running. Make sure they have enough food. Mites. Bright orange pollen has been noticed.

Show and Tell Karl: Steam uncapping knife! How awesome! Boiling point perfect for uncapping. Picked up a steam-uncapping knife from Sacramento Bee Keeping Supply – No steam supply, just a knife. Pressure cooker connection. Will post instructions and photos on blog. Thanks Karl! May 15th possibly honey extraction.

Event? Field trip—Honey Bee Genetics? May 27th? Jordan will talk to a fellow on Saturday.

Beekeeping Woodworking Class Something that would be cool. Dave Tipton/Chris may be able to teach and/or organize through Craft Center. Set up for Fall 2007 class.

Colony Collapse Disorder Working Group CCD PSU.EDU Reasons: Pesticides? Noxious weeds? Stress? Immunosuppression? Cordless phones? Genetics? They have Ruled Out: Types of sugar being fed. Solutions? Better regulations on large scale transportation of bees; reduce stress, infection. More research and outreach and care of native pollinators. Habitat network. Better Funding. HONEYBEE GENOME SEQUENCED IN ITS ENTIRETY!

Some talk of CCD followed. Bye!

What's the buzz on the Davis Bee Collective?

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- Don't you need a liscense from the state Structural Pest Control Board to remove bees from people's home's / businesses / structures? - KrisFricke

  • As far as I know, no. No beekeeper I know of has a license for removal. But I could always check... -KJM
    • I think thats because commercial beekeepers don't usually do removals, and hobbyist beekeepers tend to fly under the radar. California Structural Pest Control Act, current as of April 21st 2006, §8550: "(a) It is unlawful for any individual to engage or offer to engage in the business or practice of structural pest control, as defined in Section 8505, unless he or she is licensed under this chapter." And the relevant part of cited §8505 "the performance of, any of the following: identification of infestations or infections; the making of an inspection or inspections for the purpose of identifying or attempting to identify infestations or infections of household or other structures by such pests or organisms; ... the performance of any work including the making of structural repairs or replacements, ... for the purpose of eliminating, exterminating, controlling or preventing infestations or infections of such pests, or organisms." (sorry for the elipses, its a giant run-on sentence of legalese)... unless you post $25,000 of insurance coverage (§8555)... it says there may still be regulations from the Fish & Game Code that apply in that situation however... Anyway, the regulations can be found here. - KrisFricke
    • It would be a surprise to me if a beekeeper would be prosecuted for not shelling out $25,000 to be able to remove a cluster of bees. It could be, however, that they are merely being overlooked. I'll see what I can do to find out about it. -KarlMogel
      • Quite a few codes like that apply only if you're charging money — basically engaging in business. You might look for a preamble or definition section of the code. —jw

2007-09-12 10:22:00   I'm expanding by 30 hives down here and could really use some bees if anyone has extras to spare. Must be of known European descent (i.e. not from a feral colony). —KrisFricke

  • You're such a racist, Kris. —BrentLaabs
    • Plus, feral colonies are mostly German bees - you got something against Germans, too? Is Germany not part of Europe? tee hee. -KarlMogel
    • Yeah, they're probably not the Apis mellifera scutellata of originally Tanzanian ancestry (AKA "Africanized Bees") up there, as I haven't seen any reports of them north of Monterey, but my boss is quite insistent on purebred bees. Incidentally, I would have guessed most feral bees, especially in Davis where you're surrounded by commercial bee activity, would have taken on the Italian ways of their commercial sisters (ie riding bee vespas out to the field and such). Maybe German plus Italian averages to Austrian bees or something. -KrisFricke
      • Axis Bees. :) -KJM

2010-10-09 17:58:50   Had a surprise late season bee swarm at my house. Looked up Davis Bee Collective who recommended Derek. He biked out right away and safely removed the bees and relocated their hive. Derek was very knowledgeable and friendly. Very positive experience, with the best possible outcome. Derek is awesome! —stodd84