Apiary Application

Irish Acres Apiary

Owner: Michael McClellan

848 Pruitt Road
Bowling Green, KY 42101
Warren County

daytime phone: (270) 935-9000
Web site: http://www.irish-acres.com

Application Date: 2017-10-07

General Information

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to have your apiary be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program. *
My apiary currently has ten horizontal Langstroth hives. I plan to keep expanding it with the horizontal hives each year. My farm is 15 acres with a lot of pasture, conservation, and forest land surrounding it on all sides. I use treatment free beekeeping methods and thus want to be able to market my honey as CNG since obviously "organic" is out of the question. I also support the good work you are doing and want to promote it as well. Finally, my farm is a member of Kentucky Proud.
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? *
From ads and mentions in Bee Culture and Acres USA. I think I may have visited a display booth at an Acres USA conference several years ago, but I am not sure.
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).
This will be the first year I actually produce honey for market, so I intend to sell it online and via the local Farmer's Market. Next year will be the year that selling really kicks in as only two hives will be online for honey harvesting this year, whereas next year I will have seven more available.
How many hives are in your apiary (or apiaries)? *
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. *
In the forest at 848 Pruitt Road, Bowling Green, KY 42101.
Briefly describe the landscape where the apiary is located. What surrounds the apiary? What are the nectar sources? *
My farm has a small forest of about 5 acres where all the hives are located. There are about 70 acres of clover on the neighboring two farms that are harvested for hay and there is considerable forest throughout the area. Also, many farmers have their farms in the CRP program so they are no longer mono-cropping. There are about 30 acres of land rented to a GMO soybean farmer within a half mile of my farm, but none of that land is within 1000 feet of my apiary.
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? *
My farm uses no chemicals whatsoever other than essential oils for spraying fruit trees and sea kelp for occasional fertilizer.
Use this space to describe any land management practices you use to support the honey bee population. *
I received a NRCS pollinator grant this year and have already set out 50 redbud and wild plum trees with many other trees to come. Last year I planted buckwheat and wild flowers and will do more this year, in addition to clovers. Under the NRCS grant, I have already tilled and sowed 3 acres of pollinator mix with millet and will do the remaining three acres in October 2017. I used no chemicals in preparing the land, but only plowing and repeated disking to prepare the seed bed. I will also be planting a lot of sumac on my farm this year for pollinators.
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. *
The bees in my top bar hive absconded in July, so I have removed that from my apiary and will henceforth use only horizontal Langstroth hives (and Layens in the future). One hive is now in its second year with the other such hive having absconded earlier this year. Five more were started this year from two local nucs and three package bees from Kelley's. I also captured two swarms and am adding two splits so that by Spring of next year I should have eleven hives. I keep records for each of the numbered hives so can track the age of comb. I will cycle comb out on a yearly basis to ensure compliance and hope to get rid of all foundation combs from purchased nucs by Spring of 2018.

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 2018
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? *
This year, I bought three packages and two nucs to get my apiary up to a sustainable level. So far, I have had 100% success in over-wintering hives so will continue my methods of using thick-walled horizontal Langstroth hives and letting them feed on their own honey through the winter. I do swarm captures whenever possible, understanding that these swarms are likely my own bees. I have also done two Doolittle splits this year and will rely on splits and swarms henceforward to replenish and expand my apiary. This is the last year I will buy bees from any source and may even start selling over-wintered nucs next year.
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. *
Feeding is strictly non-GMO sugar, 1:1 with water, with "Honey Be Healthy" added (1 tbsp/quart). Extreme for an extreme dearth, my practice is to feed ONLY in the first year while the hive is building comb, but never again after the first year. I do not harvest honey in the first year of a hive's life, so any honey they produce is theirs to keep for the winter. In the second year, I harvest excess honey but at that time I am no longer feeding them. As of October 2017, I have ceased feeding sugar entirely as all the hives have sufficient honey to get through the winter and in the spirit of treatment-free beekeeping, I will not use sugar water moving forward.

Management of Pests and Disease

Varroa Mite
Please briefly describe what measures you take to suppress the Varroa mite population in your hives. *
None. So far, I have not seen any evidence of it. If I do see it, I will probably let natural selection work it out but if forced to treat, will only use permitted treatments. However, I do not anticipate using any treatments.
How do you monitor mite population levels? When and how often? *
Mainly by visual inspection. My hives are spaced fairly far apart (minimum 25 feet) so there is little chance of transmission between hives. I also allow natural breaks in the brood cycle. So far, I have not seen any, but if I do, I will use only treatments permitted in the CNG guidelines.
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)? *
Treatment free. I have not seen any evidence of either malady in my hives to date.
How do you prevent and treat Nosema? *
Treatment free. I have not seen any evidence of either malady in my hives to date.
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? *
The only wax moth I have seen was in my top bar hive AFTER the bees absconded. I burned all the comb and cleaned out the hive and put it into storage as I do not plan to use it again.
What measures do you take, if any, to protect the hives against pests such as mice, skunks, possums, raccoons, and bears? *
All my hives are at least 30" off the ground on legs so varmints are not able to get to them. I also put a band of "Tanglefoot" around each leg to discourage ants and bugs. I have never seen any evidence of scratching around the hive entrance or mice inside. My hives are made of untreated pine or cedar that is 1.5 inches thick. During the winter, I use entrance reducers on all hives so mice cannot enter.
Please describe any other practices you follow to help strengthen the bee population under your care.
I inspect my bees as little as possible. While I do an "entrance inspection" almost every day of every hive, I try not to open them up more than once a month, if that. As a result, my bees are pretty calm and I minimize disruptions to the hive. Also, I try to follow the natural beekeeping practices of Dr. Leo Sharashkin as outlined in his two books on horizontal and Layens hives.

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, at best. I am trying to find natural bee keepers. There is a Facebook group for Natural Beekeepers in Kentucky, and I am part of that, but there is not really a "local" one in the sense of country-level.
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") *
Two local Beekeepers have agreed to do my inspections. While both are "conventional" Beekeepers, one is an organic farmer and the other (an urban beekeeper) is highly supportive of organic and sustainable farming.


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. *
Michael McClellan
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. *
Michael McClellan
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. *
Michael McClellan
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. *
Michael McClellan
You may use this space to tell us anything else you think we should know about your farm:
My farm is SOLELY for the purpose of maintaining an apiary. It is 15 acres that while not formally certified as "organic," has not had "chemical agriculture" done on it for at least twenty years as I have owned it for five and the previous owner used it as a horse farm for grazing. I have no livestock on the farm, and am putting all available fields and paddocks into "pollinators' paradise" and strictly organic gardens. I am fortunate that almost no farm nearby does conventional row cropping and most of the neighbors have their farms in CRP or grow clover for producing hay. There is also a lot of forest land in the surrounding area as it is hilly countryside and not good for large-scale mono cropping.