Apiary Application

Apoidea Apiary LLC

Owner: Christina Neumann

239 Parker St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15223
Allegheny County

daytime phone: (520) 370-5585
evening phone: (520) 370-5585
Web site: http://www.apoidea-apiary.com

Application Date: 2017-04-05

General Information

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to have your apiary be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program. *
Apoidea Apiary would like to apply for CNG certification because we believe joining the network is a clear way to demonstrate to consumers our commitment to natural beekeeping practices. We believe honey production should always keeps the concerns of holistic bee health at the forefront of management.
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? *
Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture
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).
The list of locations where our honey can be purchased is on our website in the "Contact" menu. http://apoidea-apiary.com/contact/
How many hives are in your apiary (or apiaries)? *
40-70 (we prefer to keep between 40-50 but sometimes there is significant increase)
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. *
The hives are all located a various small outyards within a eight-mile radius of downtown Pittsburgh, typically on lots that are integrated into land features like the tops of cliffs or edges of large wooded plots. Upon request, a GPS location for each outyard can be provided per my listing with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture registration.
Briefly describe the landscape where the apiary is located. What surrounds the apiary? What are the nectar sources? *
The Pittsburgh area is full of riparian zones around river and river tributary valleys. My hives are typically located within a 1-1.5 mile radius of the Allegheny or Monongahela River where they can access plants which get consistent moisture from these water sources. I believe the extra moisture around the river zones helps in nectar production. The nectar sources in the spring are primarily from tree and shrubs such as Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus umbellate), Basswood (Tilia spp), Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) Sumac (Rhus spp.), Holly (Ilex spp.), Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) and Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera). Mid-summer to fall nectar sources are primarily from wildflowers, including Clover (Trifolium spp.), Knotweed (Fallopia spp.), Coneflower (Echinacea spp.), Milkweed (Asclepius spp.), Boneset (Eupatorium), Joe Pye (Eutrochium), Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) and Aster spp.
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. *
My home apiary is used for landscape demonstration purposes to show visitors firsthand which native plants are good for a range of bee species. While it is a suburban plot, it features a high density of untreated bee-beneficial plants including Maples (Acer spp.), Apples and Crabapples (Malus spp.), Pears and Cherrys (Prunus spp.), Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis), high and low bush blueberries (Vaccinium spp.), Dogwood (Cornus spp.), Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), St. John's Wort (Hypericum spp.), lawn areas seeded with clover and many garden plants from the mint family, in particular.
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. *
Frames are labeled per year they were initially installed as foundation and drawn out. During each spring inspection, all frames are reviewed and old frames are taken out to be culled of comb and sterilized. If old frames have spring brood, then they are removed later in the season when they can be moved to a super to let the brood hatch out. Even if frames are old, the comb is still inspected and if the comb is significant dark then it gets changed out. We use wood frames with plastic foundation which is coated with beeswax exclusively from our operation.

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? *
Essentially, we have had very low hive mortality rates over the last 10 years (5% or less) so we have been able to selectively breed from our own stock with an occasional introduction of a bred queen from a trusted source that has disease resistance. Recently, we have been introducing Purdue Ankle Biter stock into our locally bred genetic mix. We don't purchase packages and very rarely if ever purchase nucs. Our goal is to keep a manageable number of healthy strong producers instead of as many hives as possible. It's all about balance.
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 always try to feed first with honey that we "bank" in a deep freezer. We typically keep about 8-10 deep frames of honey frozen in the case of a feeding emergency or for nuc production in the spring. Normally, our hives are only given feed as a way for them to take down a preventative "bee tea" that we have found seems to good for their gut heath in the fall going into winter. This tea is made up of cane sugar syrup (1:1 spring and 2:1 fall) with the recommended dosage of Complete by Complete Bee. http://www.completebee.com Per the manufacturer, Complete contains "Full Strength Nozevit, Optima, & Bee Cleanse which incorporates Whole Plant Polyphenols, Phytonutrients, Premium Essential Oils. Complete Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids and Organic Herbals."

Management of Pests and Disease

Varroa Mite
Please briefly describe what measures you take to suppress the Varroa mite population in your hives. *
We take an IPM approach to mite control. First, most of our producer hives are split in the spring such that the brood cycle is broken by removing and downgrading the overwintering queen to a small colony in a nut box. We are essentially "swarming" them in a controlled way ahead of schedule (called "Artificial Swarming"). Our honey producer hives in particular are monitored via a sugar roll mite count at least once every 1.5 months. Late summer and fall checks for varroa are more frequent to determine if a mid-summer Formic Acid and/or late-fall Oxalic Acid treatment are needed. Mite counts from these treatment are recorded.
How do you monitor mite population levels? When and how often? *
As we mentioned, we monitor by screen bottom mite drop counts, drone comb culling and by sugar roll (1/4 cup bees in powder sugar). We also look for signs for severe infestation from Deformed Wing Virus, particularly for honey bees with this condition crawling away from their colony on the ground below.
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)? *
Essentially, we try to keep our colonies strong and requeen weak ones to prevent AFB and EFB. We requeen EFB positive colonies and terminate any AFB positive colonies. The equipment from AFB positive hives does not get reused 95% of the time. Frames+comb and the boxes that contained them from AFB positive hives are never reused. If any boxes are lids are reused, the inner surfaces are sterilized with a propane torch. Tools are routinely flamed to prevent AFB and Nosema spore transmission between colonies.
How do you prevent and treat Nosema? *
We address Nosema preventively first by keeping strong colonies and testing for spore count by sending samples to USDA Beltsville regularly. The two biggest other preventive measures we find for Nosema are using 4" moisture boards filled with cedar chips during the winter to reduce fungal growth and giving the hives a Complete "bee tea" drench going into winter as well.
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? *
SHB and Wax Moth don't seem to be a big problem as we freeze all equipment coming off the hives into processing to -10 degrees F for 24 hours before any equipment sits in storage. At this point, both seem to be controlled naturally by maintaining strong colonies and being careful to not introduce infested frames into any colonies, particularly if they are weak.
What measures do you take, if any, to protect the hives against pests such as mice, skunks, possums, raccoons, and bears? *
We use mouse guards for mice and shrews in the winter and repellant for skunks, possums and raccoons in the summer. These sorts of pests do not seem to be a big issue.
Please describe any other practices you follow to help strengthen the bee population under your care.
We have been specifically introducing Prof. Greg Hunt's Purdue "Ankle Biter" genetics into our stock the last 2 years. They are purchased locally from the breeder, Always Summer Herbs, and are hybridized with the Buckfast line. In our operation, we'll be naturally breeding and grafting from these "ankle biter" queens to produce local hybrids.

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".) *
informal - group of local beekeepers with whom I connect once per month or so.
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") *
Jeff Berta of Always Summer Herbs Joe Zgurzynski of Country Barn Farm


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. *
Christina Joy Neumann
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. *
Christina Joy Neumann
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 at least two annual inspections of my/our apiary, to be carried out by qualified inspectors as outlined in CNG informational materials. *
Christina Joy Neumann
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. *
Christina Joy Neumann
You may use this space to tell us anything else you think we should know about your farm:
Apoidea is an studio + apiary focused on production of bee-conscious honey and education regarding native bee-beneficial plant cultivation. We keep 40-70 honey bee hives in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area specifically positioned around the Allegheny and Monongahela River riparian zones, or major tributaries of these rivers. While our outyards are located on urban and suburban properties, we work closely with the terrain and existing vegetation to create a secluded and safe environment where bees and humans can coexist.