Sweet Beginnings Apiary

Owner: Cristian Petre

1111 S. Homan Ave
Chicago, IL 60624
Cook County

daytime phone: (773) 638-1805
evening phone: (630) 747-0573
Web site: http://www.beelovebuzz.com/store/

Application Date: 2011-09-02

General Information

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to have your apiary be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program. *
Sweet Beginnings sells raw, natural honey from hives kept within Chicago. We are well-loved by customers throughout our area, and throughout the country. We are doing our best to work with transparency and integrity, and we strongly believe that this certification is an important part of showing this. We also value the kind of partnership that would enhance our accountability to ourselves, to our honeybees, and to our customers.
Is the land on which your apiary sits currently certified (by CNG or another organization)? *
Has the land on which your apiary sits ever been Certified in the past? *
How did you hear about Certified Naturally Grown? *
A simple internet search (Google) and suggestions from other beekeepers.
Please check all markets where you sell your honey. *

You may use this space to specify where customers can purchase your honey (this will be displayed on your profile to help customers find you).
Online: www.beelinestore.com
How many hives are in your apiary (or apiaries)? *
60 total
For how long have you been keeping bees? What has prepared you to do this successfully according to CNG standards? *
Before continuing, please take a moment to review the 5 steps to Apiary Certification. (You may do this by clicking the link below.) Are they clear? *

Apiary Location and Position

Some beekeepers seek certification for more than one apiary. Please provide the location (or locations) of the apiary (or apiaries) for which you seek certification. *
a. 3726 W. Flournoy Chicago, IL 60624 b. Wilbur Wright College Narraganssett Chicago, IL c. O'Hare Airport Balmoral Rd. Chicago, IL
Briefly describe the landscape where the apiary is located. What surrounds the apiary? What are the nectar sources? *
a. Boulevards, Parks, community gardens, residential and light commercial; there is plenty of forage within the neighborhood; Linden, clover varieties, goldenrod, etc. b. The apiary sits within a college campus, surrounded by a registered arboretum and just a half-mile from a forest preserve c. The apiary at O'Hare is somewhat remote (it is NOT near terminals or runways), surrounded by wetland and ripe with elderberry, thistle, and many wildflowers
Do you own or manage the land on which your apiary is located? (If at least one of your apiaries is on land you own or manage, answer yes.) *
Do you agree not to use on this land any synthetic materials that are not allowed under the CNG produce or honey programs? *
Yes, we agree.
Use this space to describe any land management practices you use to support the honey bee population. *
We are planting more flowers and plants each year in order to provide immediate forage for our bees.
Within each apiary for which you seek certification, do you manage any hives "conventionally", using practices or substances that are not allowed under the CNG apiary standards? *

Hive Construction, Components, and Brood Comb Removal

Do your hives have any paint or chemical treatment on the interior surface of the hive? *
Do you have, or will you develop, a labeling system and schedule to ensure removal of at least 20% of brood frame per year, such that there is never brood comb present that is more than 5 years old? *
Please briefly describe your brood comb removal practices to date, and your plans for the coming seasons. *
Each year we remove older comb and replace with new foundation or less-worn comb. We are looking forward to implementing a real schedule to maintain this practice and to ensure that we are rotating properly. We have the equipment and the knowledge to make sure it is done.

Apiary Transition

Does your apiary contain brood comb that A) is from another beekeeper (including from purchased nuc), or B) has been exposed to Tylan, or C) has been exposed to three or more treatments of fluvalinate (Apistan, Mavrik) or amitraz (Miticur, Taktic, or Mitak)? *
Will you ensure that, through brood comb replacement or operation expansion, no more than 40% of the exposed comb will be present in the apiaries to be certified, AND that the exposed comb that remains will be marked and removed from your apiary within two years? Your apiary will have transitional status until all exposed comb is replaced. *
Please indicate the month and year when you expect you will have replaced all marked brood comb (the comb that was purchased from another beekeeper, treated with Tylan, and/or exposed to three or more more treatments of fluvalinate or amitraz)? *
May 2012
Has any wax or comb in your apiary ever been exposed to coumaphos (CheckMite+) or fenpyroximate (Hivastan), or more than six indirect exposures of coumaphos (CheckMite+), hydramethylnon or fipronil (Max Force Gel roach baite) as closed trapping for SHBs?

General Bee Maintenance and Care

Describe how you maintain your bee population from one season to the next. Do you rely on survivor colonies, incorporate feral colonies, purchase new bees every year, or some combination of these and/or other practices? *
We combine the practices of using our survivor colonies AND purchasing new packages every year, especially since we are expanding each year.We will split colonies when possible or necessary.
Do you sometimes feed the bees when honey supers are on the hive, or within two weeks before honey super addition? *
If and when your bees require supplemental feeding, what do you feed them? Please be specific and include all ingredients. *
We ONLY feed them a simple sugar syrup (sugar and water) at the beginning of the spring season to help "jumpstart" populations before the Chicago spring really begins (often mid May).

Management of Pests and Disease

Varroa Mite
Please briefly describe what measures you take to suppress the Varroa mite population in your hives. *
We keep our hives clean. We have not had the Varroa mite problem this year. If we must use anything, then we will use essential oils. We have used powdered sugar methods in the past, but we have not in 2 years.
How do you monitor mite population levels? When and how often? *
We inspect our hives once per month for all known pests and diseases.
Before treating any hive for Varroa mites, will you monitor the Varroa mite infestation level to determine whether it exceeds the treatment threshold set by your local network? (If you run a survivor colony, and you never treat, please answer Yes.) *
If you choose to treat colonies infested with Varroa mites, will you keep records of treatment methods, along with pre- and post-treatment monitoring results? *
American and European Foulbrood
How do you prevent and treat American Foulbrood (AFB) and European Foulbrood (EFB)? *
We rarely see this; we will often destroy the effected comb when we do. The infested hive is also removed from the apiary and destroyed. We monitor the other hives in the apiary to be sure that AFB and EFB has not spread to those hives.
How do you prevent and treat Nosema? *
essential oils Honey B Healthy clean hives
Other Diseases
What has been your experience with other diseases (such as chalkbrood, viral diseases, wax moths, small hive beetle)? How have you dealt with them? How will you deal with them if they recur? *
We have no problem with this; we keep our hives in sunny locations and clean
What measures do you take, if any, to protect the hives against pests such as mice, skunks, possums, raccoons, and bears? *
we elevate each hive, and in winter we put entrance blocks on the hives
Please describe any other practices you follow to help strengthen the bee population under your care.

Colonies Engaged in Pollination Services

Are your colonies engaged in pollination by contract? *

Local Networks

Are you a part of a local network of beekeepers using natural methods? This could be a formal network like a county beekeepers association, or it could be an informal network of beekeepers in your area with a commitment to using natural methods. *
If this is a formal network please indicate the name of the network below. (If it is not a formal network, please simply write "informal".) *
Cook DuPage Beekeepers Association, Illinois State Beekeepers Association, and Humboldt Park Beekeeping Meet-up Group
If this is an informal network, please indicate below the names of at least two other beekeepers who participate. They do not need to be CNG beekeepers, but they do need to have some commitment to and knowledge of natural practices. (If you're part of a formal network, please simply write "see above") *
Ann Stevens - beekeeper John Hansen - beekeeper


Please indicate your agreement with the following statements by entering your name/s in the spaces following the statements.
I/we will only use the Certified Naturally Grown name and label on apiary products (honey, pollen, propolis) that are in fact from the CNG apiaries described in this application. *
I/we understand that CNG beeswax certification is a separate process (not yet available in 2010), and that the basic Apiary Certification doesn't confer CNG status on beeswax. *
I/we understand the CNG work requirements: A) To complete at least one certification inspection of another CNG apiary in my area each year. B) To arrange an annual inspection of my/our apiary, to be carried out by a qualified inspector as outlined in CNG informational materials. *
I/we have reviewed the Certified Naturally Grown standards, understand them, and will abide by them. I/we understand that if I/we have any questions I/we may contact CNG for clarification. *
You may use this space to tell us anything else you think we should know about your farm:
We have three apiaries in Chicago. We are looking forward to more thorough inspections and working with our networks to be sure we are in compliance!