Sassy Bee Honey, LLCOwner: Stephanie Grant
Web site: http://www.justbeesassy.com
Application Date: 2021-03-04
- Please briefly tell us why you are applying to have your apiary be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program. *
- As a beekeeper who already uses sustainable beekeeping practices I was very excited to learn about the CNG certification. The principals and requirements of the certification are aligned with mine existing ones and I am excited to further be a part of the program. We pride our self in natural and sustainable beekeeping methods as well as education and active involvement in our community surrounding pollinators including bees and living a more sustainable life. At this time the majority of our hives are on our residential property, with 2 on a different residential property and 2 at Bellevue State Park. The two residential properties meet all land requirements and Bellevue State Park operates a statewide environment team that develops and implements long term strategic planning for reducing invasive species to minimizing the need for pesticide use throughout the park. The community gardens located near the beehives have policies in place forbidding the use of synthetic fertilizer, herbicide and pesticide as well as discourages the use of GMO plants. We will apply for apiary waver for this property. It is very encouraging that the administration at Bellevue State Park is very supportive of this endeavor and will continue to work with us to improve practices to further support the health of native land and animals. Sassy Bee also prides itself in offering natural products with a recent transition to organic herbs/ botanicals in our infused and creamed honey. We believe in working with our environment to create a mutually beneficial relationship between bee, beekeeper and consumer and would be honored to be certified as a CNG Apiary.
- 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 saw the acronym associated with honey in an ad on the internet and became curious about the program, so I further investigated.
- 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).
- Come visit us a various markets and events throughout the year or on at our website: www.justbeesassy.com. (Our events are listed on our website and FB @sassybeehoney.) Products are also sold at Bellefonte Vintage (www.facebook.com/BellefonteVintage) and Bellevue State Park Office (302) 761-6963.
- 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. *
- 1) 912 Highland Ave Bellefonte, DE 19809 2) 800 Carr Rd., Wilmington, DE 19809 (Bellevue State Park) 3) 1220 Brandywine Blvd. Wilmington, DE 19809
- Briefly describe the landscape where the apiary is located. What surrounds the apiary? What are the nectar sources? *
- 1 & 3 listed above are in a suburban residential area. These have have immediate access to flora in the neighborhood gardens and yards and nearby community gardens. There is an increased focus in this community on sustainable gardening and lawn practices. All of these hives are within a mile or so of Bellevue State Park and Fox Point State Park with abundant sources of pollen and nectar. The hives at Bellevue Park have a similar environment however, they are directly in the middle of natural foliage and flowering plants as well as a community garden where people can rent garden plots.
- 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. *
- There is no use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides on either residential property. The same consideration is used for chemicals used for non agricultural purposes as well to either eliminate the use or drastically reducing the use. Both properties, work to encourage native plant growth and support native insects and animal species and reduce overall footprint including but not limited to reduction of mowing and grass lawns. Increased native plants in gardens that are beneficial to pollinators, insects and wildlife. Continued education on how to better support a sustainable lifestyle. Bellevue State Park where the other apiary is located, is very proactive in land management practices that support pollinators, wildlife and promote positive and native plant species. The have installed multiple pollinator gardens over the last decade, and have an interpretive programs team that is dedicated to educating the public about sustainable household practices (e.g., no lawn fertilizers, composting, pollinator garden installation, rain gardens, etc.). They have a community garden near the apiary which held rules restricting the use and recently amended their language to tighten the restrictions and prohibit the use of genetically engineered crops. I am able to provide a copy of the rules and community garden agreement if requested. The use of synthetic pesticides or fungicides is strictly prohibited. The use of all herbicides is prohibited. Gardeners may not plant genetically-engineered crops. They are supportive of sustainable and organic practices and will continue to work towards improvements.
- 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 used in the broods nest are labeled w/ date. At 5 years or sooner 2-3 frames per box (I use 8 frame mediums) are removed, wax cut out and replaced with wax foundation. The date on the frame would be updated for future replacement.
- 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 rely on survivor colonies. We started with a Carolinian Italian hybrid bee with a VHS Queen. We do not purchase queens unless necessary (often will prefer to combine a queenless hive with a queenright hive toward the end of the season as opposed to purchasing a queen.) At this time the genetics of the bees are mixed with that of the native honey bees as we allow them to make their own queens.
- 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 typically leave enough honey for our bee to not require much if any supplemental feeding. When we do feed we use a 1:1 ratio of sugar syrup (cane sugar & water) or 2:1 ration in the fall.
Management of Pests and Disease
- Varroa Mite
- Please briefly describe what measures you take to suppress the Varroa mite population in your hives. *
- Varroa mite is an issue in all of our hives. We use an integrated pest management systems including a screened bottom board and on occasion brood breaks and drone comb. We test for mite levels and when elevated will treat with oxalic acid or API Life Var. Bees are only treaded according to product recommendations and we do attempt to rotate treatments to help prevent resistance in the mites. We do not treat with honey supers on.
- How do you monitor mite population levels? When and how often? *
- More frequently we use a sticky board to do a mite count however and establish a base line, if concerned we often will then do a sugar roll 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)? *
- We work to eliminate comb from other apiaries as well as monitor hives for robbing. We work to create situations that reduce robbing and inspect our hives regularly. I have been fortunate to not have to deal with AFB or EFB yet however, if concerned I know I can reach out to our state apiarist as well as send samples in for testing.
- How do you prevent and treat Nosema? *
- We attempt to maintain strong colonies since strong colonies are one of the best prevention measures for many issues honey bees face. We also maintain ventilated hives but using open screened bottom boards (partially closed in winter) as well as an upper entrance.
- 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? *
- I have only dealt with wax months and small hove beetles on a smaller level. A few small hove beetles is not abnormal in a healthy hive however, if elevated levels are noticed we use unscented swiffer sheets in the corners of the hives as traps. The bees chase them onto the sheet and the beetle gets trapped. Any frame that is reused is frozen for at least 48 hours and then sealed in a container to kill and prevent pests and eggs from growing and hatching.
- What measures do you take, if any, to protect the hives against pests such as mice, skunks, possums, raccoons, and bears? *
- So far I have not had issues with other pests. I do have mouse guards for the winter and ensure the lids on the hives are secure.
- Please describe any other practices you follow to help strengthen the bee population under your care.
- We attempt to allow the bees to dictate to us what they need and we act accordingly as opposed to exerting our will upon our colonies. If a colony needs to grow we allow them, if they are weekend we give them a smaller space so that they can manage it more effectively. We split hives when they dictate they are ready and combine hives as needed. We attempt to inspect and monitor the hives and their health while not being too invasive as each inspection disrupts and sets a colony back. We ensure they have strong pollen, nectar and water sources near by. We also ensure that are hives are located in areas that are moving toward an organic and sustainable future.
Colonies Engaged in Pollination Services
- Are your colonies engaged in pollination by contract? *
- 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".) *
- Formal through the Delaware Beekeeping Association (not all use natural method however many do)
- 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") *
- (Met through DBA who use natural beekeeping methods) Duane Douglass Dawn Yvano Mary Marcelik
- 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. *
- Stephanie Grant
- 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. *
- Stephanie Grant
- 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. *
- Stephanie Grant
- 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. *
- Stephanie Grant
- You may use this space to tell us anything else you think we should know about your farm:
- Thank you for reviewing my application. We are excited about the prospect of becoming a CNG Apiary and bringing pollinator and sustainable living education to our community. We as well as the property owners of all our locations are willing to continue to grow and adapt to better support our local environment. If you have any questions, concerns or would like more information do not hesitate to reach out. I look forward to hearing from you.