Valhalla Organics

Owner: Ruby Reid

Klamath Falls, OR

daytime phone: (541) 708-1279
evening phone: (541) 708-1279
Web site: http://ValhallaOrganics.org

Application Date: 2018-02-26

General Information

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to have your apiary be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program. *
I only use natural and organics practices with my beehives, and it's important to me that our customers know and can trust that our products are naturally grown.
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? *
I took a class on starting a Farm-based business at the Oregon State University Extension program and one of the presenters recommended getting certified as Naturally Grown.
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).
In addition to the farmer's markets (and hopefully a local restaurant or two later this year), I plan to sell honey on the website at ValhallaOrganics.org
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. *
One apiary is in Talent, Oregon (55 Talent Avenue) and the other is on rural land in Bonanza, Oregon (on Wren Drive, no postal address)
Briefly describe the landscape where the apiary is located. What surrounds the apiary? What are the nectar sources? *
The Talent apiary is in town; Talent is a "Bee City" so there are three intentional pollinator gardens within about 300 yards of the apiary; the apiary is sited in the garden of the President of the Talent Garden Club. She practices organic gardening, no spray, no synthetic chemicals, etc. It is in a residential area of a small city so there are a lot of gardens (veggies and flowers), as well as flowering trees in abundance (linden, plum, apple), and native plants (ivy, blackberry) that are high in nutrition for bees. The Bonanza apiary is set on 5 acres of rural ponderosa forest (I own this land). It backs up to Bureau of Land Management land, which is laden with wildflowers and uncultivated. I have planted poppies and am putting in 5 other large tracts of flowers (yarrow, columbine, native lilac, bleeding hearts/formosa, aster), plus flowering trees (elderberry, apple, manzanita, lilac) this spring. More is planned, but currently there is quite a bit of natural forage available to them on the land already.
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 I agree
Use this space to describe any land management practices you use to support the honey bee population. *
I am cultivating native food sources (only planting native species that belong in the micro-ecosystem of the ponderosa forest). We will not use any herbicides or pesticides whatsoever; although Valhalla Organics is not certified organic, we adhere to organic farming practices.
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. *
I started beekeeping in 2017, so this spring I am going to discard the frames that came with my 2 initial nucs (since I have no idea how old those frames are). I have labelled all new frames that went into the hives last year with "2017" in permanent marker so that 20% can be removed at the end of this season. Each year, I will cull at least 20% of the older frames, and will conduct a survey to ensure that any frames marked 4 years old (or more) would be discarded as well.

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)? *
There are only 10 frames from the nucs I purchased in my hives right now; those will be removed this spring. They were never treated with the items mentioned here.
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 will be my second season, I have one hive that survived the winter (of the initial 2). I have purchased three nucs this spring, and I intend to catch some swarms this summer as well. I plan to rear survivor colonies, and build up my apiary so that my hives can survive the winter. The only reason I would buy bees is if there were a lot of winter losses.
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. *
I feed a sugar syrupin the spring and fall, and sometimes during a summer dearth (we have a pause in flows in late July/early August so most local beekeepers feed their bees during this crucial time for winter build-up); it is a 2:1 sugar syrup (organic sugar). I feed inside the hive, in an inline frame feeder (the kind with ladders so the bees don't drown). This winter, I supplemented with drivert sugar on top of the inner cover (my surviving hive is clustering at the top of the box and taking the drivert as emergency food. In Bonanza, because the elevation is high and the winters are longer, typically beekeepers feed drivert in the early spring to make sure the bees have enough stores to last through the rough early spring.

Management of Pests and Disease

Varroa Mite
Please briefly describe what measures you take to suppress the Varroa mite population in your hives. *
I monitor regularly and in the fall, I treated with MAQS (organic) for two hives that met the threshold.
How do you monitor mite population levels? When and how often? *
Monthly or biweekly (depending on the season, how often I'm opening up the hives, but never more than 1 month in between checks from March-October. No checks in October-December because it's too cold to open the hive, but I do have a screened bottom board and keep an eye on the debris to take note if there are a lot of dead varroa). I use an alcohol wash on 300 young nurse bees.
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)? *
I monitor for signs and symptoms. If AFB were detected, the hives would be destroyed per local law (beehives are required to be burned if they have AFB). If EFB were suspected, I would send a sample to Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory for testing and confirmation. My understanding is that a minor infection can be resolved without antibiotics.
How do you prevent and treat Nosema? *
As above, I monitor for signs and symptoms, and I make sure to monitor for moisture in the hives and to allow for enough ventilation. If nosema were detected, I would also send a sample to Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory and get it tested. Thymol seems like the least damaging/most acceptable organic treatment, so if nosema were detected and needed treatment, Thymol would probably be my go-to treatment.
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? *
So far, I have only had trouble with varroa mites as disease vectors weakening the hive -- the one hive that didn't make it through winter had a heavy mite load going in to winter despite treatment with MAQS.
What measures do you take, if any, to protect the hives against pests such as mice, skunks, possums, raccoons, and bears? *
The Bonanza apiary will have an electrified fence around the hives. In Talent, bears are not a problem and I have not had issues with the other pests. The hives are raised up off the ground about 2 feet which is a deterrent for skunks, possums, raccoons, dogs, cats, etc. In the fall, I put a "mouse guard" on the hive entrance (made of hardware cloth).
Please describe any other practices you follow to help strengthen the bee population under your care.
I do my inspections as quickly as possible, try to be in and out, accomplish my goals quickly, and never open a hive if I don't have a specific goal in mind (such as "determine if queenless" or "check for mites" or "feed bees" etc). It is important to balance managing the bees so they stay healthy with making sure not to crack open the hives too often because it does disturb the bees and set them back in their work.

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".) *
Oregon State Beekeeper's Association, Klamath Basin Beekeepers Association, Southern Oregon Beekeepers Association. Though some members DO use conventional methods, especially the commercial keepers, but within each of these groups, I have connected informally with large groups of beekeepers using organic and natural practices. These groups are all working hard to make sure beekeepers know about and have access to natural techniques and practices.
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. *
Allison ReidCunningham
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. *
Allison ReidCunningham
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. *
Allison ReidCunningham
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. *
Allison ReidCunningham
You may use this space to tell us anything else you think we should know about your farm:
The farm site at 331 Gangnes and the apiary at 55 Talent Ave are already developed. The land for the Bonanza apiary was purchased August 2017, and it is currently under a lot of snow, so the apiary will be installed there at the end of April 2018.