The Heritage Bee Co

Owner: Debbie Gray

Mulmur, ON

daytime phone: (705) 466-2337
Web site: http://www.heritagebee.com

Application Date: 2016-05-09

General Information

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to have your apiary be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program. *
We are treatment-free, small cell beekeepers, who don't put anything into the hive, that the bees don't put there themselves. We have 31 acres of land that is idyllic for honeybees. No commercial agriculture for miles, acres of wildflowers, provincially protected wetlands, and we are located next to the Niagara Escarpment - a world UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. We already follow all of the guiding principals for CNG, so it is a natural extension of what we already practice. Having the designation would help educate consumers, the public and build awareness of the importance of CNG. Furthermore, Debbie founded a beekeeping community group committed to treatment-free and would like to build awareness with other beekeepers for CNG.
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? *
Through beekeeping conferences, research, and peers.
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).
How many hives are in your apiary (or apiaries)? *
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. *
Our apiary is located at our rural residence - 668057 20th Sideroad, Mulmur, ON L9V 0V9
Briefly describe the landscape where the apiary is located. What surrounds the apiary? What are the nectar sources? *
31 acres, with 5 - 7 acres of untreated, natural open wildflower meadows. The balance is a mature hardwood forest. There is a wetlands area in the corner of our property with provincially protected wetlands across the street. We even have wild feral honeybees living in a tree right behind our home - demonstration of our bee haven. We just planted 1000 ft square of wildflowers on a hill, and will be planting an additional 200 native plant species this month (we have landscape drawings). Our property is a pollinator sanctuary. We have bergamot, goldenrod, echinacea, silver maple, asters, dandelions, sedum, thistle, hydrangeas, apples trees, plus a vegetable garden. Our hives are located on a special 10'x16' deck raised off the ground in the middle of our vegetable garden.
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? *
Use this space to describe any land management practices you use to support the honey bee population. *
Planting back only native plant species that are pollinator friendly. Locating hives adjacent to a wind break (forest). Providing a water source through 5 rain barrels with a bee bath (continuous water supply). Minimal mowing of our meadows. No pesticide use. Working with horticultural (native plant) specialists to assess opportunities to restore pollinator habitats. Installing at least 5 swarm boxes to capture feral bees. Putting the bees on small cell foundation (4.9 mm cell versus 5.4 mm)
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. *
Yes, every 2 - 3 years we will be replacing brood comb. There will be a clear record of this practice.

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)? *
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 use a mix of capturing will feral colonies (we have one colony living in a tree 20 feet behind our home that is very strong and healthy). Plus we will be buying nucs from time to time, depending on our losses from our surviving colonies.
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 do not feed our bees.

Management of Pests and Disease

Varroa Mite
Please briefly describe what measures you take to suppress the Varroa mite population in your hives. *
We immediately regress our bees onto small cell foundation (4.9 mm). We do not use any large cell foundation. If the mite count is high, we will use Drone Board to reduce the Varroa mite population.
How do you monitor mite population levels? When and how often? *
We have a screened sticky bottom board that we monitor constantly. Our hive inspections are done every 7 - 10 days (depending on the weather). We constantly attend conferences, and workshops to stay informed.
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 regress our bees onto small cell 4.9 mm foundation, meaning there are 30% more honeybees in each colony. Small cell honeybees don;t experience the same stress as large cell bees. They are able to deal will most diseases and pests. In the event of AFB (which we have never experienced) we would destroy the colony through burning and destroying all equipment and bees.
How do you prevent and treat Nosema? *
We regress our bees onto small cell foundation meaning there are 30 % more honeybees in each colony. Our bees genetically mix with the wild feral honeybees living on our property, giving a much stronger more resilient honeybee.
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 not experienced any diseases.
What measures do you take, if any, to protect the hives against pests such as mice, skunks, possums, raccoons, and bears? *
Our hives are elevated far off the ground. We have entrance reducers for mice. There are no bears. In our tree with the wild honeybees, we did have to put up landscape cloth as a racoon ripped out some of the comb
Please describe any other practices you follow to help strengthen the bee population under your care.
I stay connected through attending conferences both in the US and Canada (i.e. Organic Beekeeping Conference in AZ, Mother Earth News Institute Conference, University of Guelph beekeeping conference), plus read many publications.

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".) *
I co-founded a local association called 'Bee Natural Caretakers'. We have grown to 30+ members and to my knowledge we are the only treatment-free group of beekeepers in Ontario. We also belong to the Ontario Beekeeping Association. Our community group meets every month and is deeply committed to mentoring, education and treatment-free.
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") *
See above


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: