Site under construction, we have begun to swarm together!
USBBA? We are “us backyard beekeepers" working to save the bees, one hive at a time!
I’m Todd Bebb, and in 2010, I started studying beekeeping and went on to purchase my first colony in 2011. At that time, beekeeping was garnering a lot of interest here in Santa Barbara and so I founded the Santa Barbara Beekeepers Association with an educational mission to get the word out about how important bees are. SBBA now has close to 300 members with an estimated 1200+ backyard hives in our small community. After almost 4 years of running this little non-profit, I have stepped down from the board that I created and am now focusing on this website as a way to reach a broader audience. It will allow me to continue to work on behalf of the bees without all of the exhaustive challenges of running an all volunteer non-profit corporation.
Enthusiasm for backyard or "urban" beekeeping is sweeping our nation. A couple of years ago the average age of a beekeeper in the United States was 65 years old, which is about the same age as the working farmers (beekeeping IS farming) in this country. Now a new cohort of people are wanting to step up and do what they can, and helping people help bees is what this educational site will be about. It is easy to begin, there is so much information available online, and it is one of our goals to help people across the USA to connect with other locals who can mentor their efforts to encourage success with their hives.
Out of the recent “global awareness” of the plight of the honeybee, an amazing outpouring of new, younger beekeepers is emerging across our country and around the world. Movies or documentaries like "Vanishing of the Bees", "Queen of the Sun" and most recently "More Than Honey" have made an impact on our awarenesses, making us want to do whatever we can to help "save the bees" and in the process save ourselves.
It is interesting that most, if not all, of the statistically reported annual losses of honeybees (30-40% reported) are coming from the commercial, oftentimes migratory, beekeepers. As noted in “Vanishing of the Bees”, a possible solution to the crisis is 60,000 backyard beekeepers with one hive each instead of one commercial beekeeper with 60,000 hives. We get closer to nature when we see the world through the eyes of the honeybee. We work to help the bees, and in so many ways they return the favor to us. They make life sweeter.
In the future we will establish forms on this site to begin to gather statistical data that will document the rise of urban backyard beekeeping. We would like to monitor how your bees are doing. Let us know. Do you treat for pests? Do you "re-queen"? Do you extract all the honey that you can and then have to feed them sugar water and protein patties? The use of surveys will begin to create a database that will track trends and help researchers spot disease outbreaks and problems like the spread of the Africanized honey bee.
We would like to hear about the one or two hives that you keep in your backyards; how are they faring? Do you try to prevent swarming, or do you embrace this amazing birthing? Are there people in your community active in swarm capture, who can redirect those bees into waiting backyard situations where they will be welcomed?
Letting the honeybee live in one location, surrounded by a plethora of food sources (hopefully organic) and treating them with respect as you would one of your family, has to have a beneficial effect on their health. Working to encourage people to start with one hive, to take action and begin, is a step by step way to return a balance to our Earth. We need the bees, they need our help, and it is time to make the commitment that each of us can in a small way make a difference.
Our goal is to gather as much information as we can from all of you. You can make a difference!
We would then like to share this data with all of the scientists, researchers, pesticide, herbicide, and fungicide manufactures and especially the commercial beekeepers, beekeeping clubs and associations in an attempt to show them that the answers to Colony Collapse Disorder and the plight of the bees is really not that difficult to figure out. We don’t need millions of dollars poured into biased research and reports, committees and agendas (oftentimes hidden) and “experts” telling us what is wrong with this picture. Do we?
Please return to this page as it evolves in the coming months and as we add our surveys please give your input. Please consider putting yourself into our database to help us develop a system of community support networks. A “newbee” beginning with their first hive may have more enthusiasm than sense, and the ability to have a local person to approach with questions about beekeeping in their local area can make all the difference in the success or failure of their hive. Please think like a bee. One bee cannot survive alone. Working with a hive mind they are mighty and have survived for millennia.
We encourage you to unite with all of US Backyard Beekeepers! We can bee our own Super-Organism!