Five Acres Honey Farm

Owner: Tara Lynne Groth

Pittsboro, NC

Web site: http://www.fiveacreshoneyfarm.com

Application Date: 2018-04-22

General Information

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to have your apiary be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program. *
I share the values of the CNG program and recently learned that my hive management practices already align with CNG practices.
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 the Chatham County Beekeepers Association.
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).
2018 will be the first year I can potentially extract and sell honey. My market selections are based on where I plan to sell honey.
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. *
504 Roberson Creek Road, Pittsboro, NC 27312
Briefly describe the landscape where the apiary is located. What surrounds the apiary? What are the nectar sources? *
Located in a flat sun-filled grassy area (approximately 1/2 acre) bordered by a post-and-beam outbuilding and hardwood trees. Surrounding trees that serve as nectar sources include maple, tulip poplar, sourwood, tupelo. Other nectar sources include mint, bee balm, flaming false indigo, Carolina aster, clover.
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? *
I agree.
Use this space to describe any land management practices you use to support the honey bee population. *
We limit mowing to maximize the availability of clover, oxeeye daisies, thistle, and other wildflowers. In spring, summer, and fall we plant pollinators. In the fall of 2018 we plan on turning over two half-acre sections and planting wildflowers.
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 have been a beekeeper since June 1, 2017. I maintain a journal for hive inspections and frame labeling to monitor the age of comb. Last June I labeled and dated the frames, but the labeling has faded. As I introduce new frames and conduct spring maintenance I plan on starting a new labeling system that won't fade.

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? *
I started with one hive in June 2017 that has a second-generation VSH queen. I recently split the hive when I noticed swarm cells. I plan on only creating new hives when the colony indicates swarm cells. In the event a colony is unable to produce a strong queen, I plan to combine colonies or order a VSH queen as a replacement, depending on the time of year, the strength of the colony, and other variables. If all hives fail for any reason, I plan on buying a VSH queen and package from a certified source to start over.
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 the bees a sugar syrup (4 lbs of honey to 1 quart water with 1 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar) during times of dearth. Over the winter I left a sugar brick in the hive that I purchased from my local beekeeping supplier; it contained sugar and Honey-B-Healthy.

Management of Pests and Disease

Varroa Mite
Please briefly describe what measures you take to suppress the Varroa mite population in your hives. *
I use screened bottom boards to encourage that fallen mites fall out of the hive. I use a screen inner cover when daytime temperatures are consistently above 55 degrees to help foster ventilation. I located my hives in a sunny area where they receive 6+ hours of direct sunlight daily. I only have queens that are from the VSH line. When mite level indicate a need for treatment, I will use Apiguard when daytime temperatures allow (since this product can't be used in extreme heat).
How do you monitor mite population levels? When and how often? *
I monitor mite levels with a sugar shake test. I conduct a test in late June/early July, and again after any treatment. I also conduct a test in early April. If any treatment were necessary, I would do another test. (This year no mites were counted in my April test.)
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 plan to prevent AFB and EFB by removing 2-3 frames of old comb from each box annually. I haven't needed to treat these conditions before, but if I need to I would get the hive tested and then remove and burn any wooden equipment exposed to the disease and then requeen.
How do you prevent and treat Nosema? *
I prevent Nosema by sanitizing my hive tools after each inspection. I also use different hive tools for each hive to further prevent any change of cross-contamination. I have not needed to treat Nosema, but if I had to treat I would use essential oils or a CNG-approved substance.
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 other disease/pest that I have personal experience with is the small hive beetle. In the summer of 2017 I had a big SHB infestation in one hive. I maintained 2-3 inspections per week in which I would physically crush as many SHB as I could (more than 80 during one inspection). I added and regularly replaced SHB traps. Also sprinkled diatomaceous earth on the ground surrounding the hive every other week.
What measures do you take, if any, to protect the hives against pests such as mice, skunks, possums, raccoons, and bears? *
I use entrance reducers to protect the hive from mice. I use cinderblocks as a hive stand, which elevates the hive far enough off the ground that skunks, possums, and raccoons would have a more challenging time trying to access the hive. Bear aren't as big a risk in my region, but if we were to have an incident I would establish adequate fencing and a wildlife camera to alert us of any issues.
Please describe any other practices you follow to help strengthen the bee population under your care.
I maintain weekly hive inspections to closely identify and respond to any issues that may surface. I attend my monthly beekeepers association meetings to continue my learning. I'm also in the NC Master Beekeeper program and I'm a Certified Beekeeper working toward my Journeyman designation.

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".) *
Some members of the Chatham County Beekeepers Association have CNG hives.
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:
This is a hobby farm located within 2-3 miles of two other CNG-certified hives.