There are public service announcements to fend off bullying, educate parents about trampoline safety, and soon, to promote urban bee keeping—especially in Santa Monica.
"Once you learn about bees, you’re not scared of them at all," said Paul Hekimian, a 12-year Santa Monica resident. "You see them as pets."
He's re-exploring the hobby to educate his two young children and the rest of the community about technique, the benefits and about the city's new-ish ordinance. Adopted in January 2011, the ordinance permits households to keep up to two hives each.
With help from his father—via live video chat on an iPad strung from branches—Hekimian relocated a hive Saturday from a tree in his backyard near Santa Monica College into a box where he will extract honey. It was from his dad that he learned how to handle the stinging insects.
While his friends' parents might have taken up golf or gardening, Hekimian's father was collecting dark clover honey. He maintained 60-70 hives scattered among old Volkswagens on the Houston property where he ran an auto repair shop.
"We would go through the whole process of smoking the bees, moving all of the bees from the hive into a VW bus and moving them into the house, and then going through the extraction," Hekimian recalled. "Everyone knew what they were getting honey for Christmas gifts, I tell you that."
Hekimian expects to air the PSA video online as soon as this weekend. It will likely be posted on YouTube and the website honeylove.org.
Only a handful of residents are taking advantage of Santa Monica's beekeeping ordinance, according to Dean Kubani, director of the Office of Sustainability and the Environment.
Daniel Salisbury, who is with the pro-bee group Backwards Beekeepers told Patch in December 2010 that he had introduced the idea of ending the prohibition on beekeeping in Santa Monica, and noted that the practice had been legal in the city in the 1940s.
"My main concern is the survival of the bees," he said, adding that "feral [wild] bees are being exterminated on a huge scale."
At the time, city staffers said environmental stresses and disease have led to the death or severe weakening of half of California's domestic honeybee population in the past 50 years.
"I’m just super excited about the whole ordinance," Hekimian said. "If I can inspire other residents here in samo to take up the ordinance that allows them to keep two beehives, then great."