Commonwealth Bee Company

Owner: Brad Garmon

7000 Lee Park Ct
Falls Church, VA 22042
Fairfax County

daytime phone: (703) 801-2504
evening phone: (703) 801-2504
Web site: http://www.commonwealthbee.com

Application Date: 2019-12-25

General Information

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to have your apiary be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program. *
The Commonwealth Bee Company is a social enterprise aimed at developing honeybee habitats in both rural and urban settings. We strive to create an environmental impact through innovative partnerships with like-minded, environmentally conscious homeowners, businesses, governments and corporations who share our passion for pollinators. We want to be part of the CNG program to set us apart from other bee suppliers in the area. We focus on strong, healthy stocked raised in state. This gives our customers the option of buying well-managed bees from in state instead of getting bees from out of state from large commercial operations who sell bees after pollination routes have concluded.
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 heard it from another CNG beekeeper in SC who has a podcast (Beekeeping at five apple farm).
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).
We sell raw, cold-extracted honey at area farmers markets as well as our website.
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. *
120 S Park Dr, Arlington, VA 22204 1893 Stoney Point Rd, Charlottesville VA 22911 7000 Lee Park Court, Falls Church VA 22042
Briefly describe the landscape where the apiary is located. What surrounds the apiary? What are the nectar sources? *
All apiaries are situated on residential property. The Charlottesville apiary is situated on 10 acres and is surrounded by clover, maple and wildflowers. The Arlington apiary is positioned in our backyard which is managed by my mother in law, a master gardener practicing natural gardening without pesticides. This apiary is adjacent to a bike path that follows a creek. It is covered in clover and wildflowers. There is a very diverse offering of ordimental plants and flowers in this urban setting as well.
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.) *
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. *
All frames are dated and culled after 5 years or sooner if darkened.

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? *
We rely on survival colonies to populate our apiaries. We split hives in the spring from our own yards and over winter nucs.
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 feed them sugar syrup containing water and table sugar in either a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio.

Management of Pests and Disease

Varroa Mite
Please briefly describe what measures you take to suppress the Varroa mite population in your hives. *
We utilize brood breaks during splitting, drone comb culling and IPM practices which include alcohol washes. If varroa levels are above 3% we treat with either formic or oxalic acid.
How do you monitor mite population levels? When and how often? *
Alcohol wash or sugar roll. We do this 2-3 times per year.
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)? *
Prevention of foul brood requires taking good care of the hives with frequent inspections. We practice hygienic beekeeping by not buying used equipment, feed honey from other beekeepers, and do not purchase nucs or packages. Treatment of AFB requires burining of hives. EFB can be treated medically. To date we have had no foul brood in our apiaries.
How do you prevent and treat Nosema? *
We prevent nosema by raising healthy bees. We provide ample ventilation and make sure hives are healthy going into winter. We rotate comb, treat for varroa, and keep hives in sunny areas. We have not had any nosema, however our treatment plan is to use heat per evidence-based practices.
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? *
We have had instances of DWV. This was varroa related and was solved by using our varroa management practice. We also have SHB which we use traps filled with mineral oil and guardian entrances. We also place ground cover such as river rock and landscaping fabric in front of the hives to stop reproduction.
What measures do you take, if any, to protect the hives against pests such as mice, skunks, possums, raccoons, and bears? *
The Arlington apiary is fenced in with a 6ft tall fence. The Charlottesville apiary is protected by an electric fence. All hives are anchored to the ground with ratchet straps and ground anchors. Mice guards are placed on hives over winter.
Please describe any other practices you follow to help strengthen the bee population under your care.
We focus on raising healthy bees from our own local stock. We reproduce the bees and offer them to other beekeepers. We plan on placing hives on rooftops and other community areas. All areas must meet the requirements for CNG prior to placement. This confirmation of CNG compliance will be documented.

Colonies Engaged in Pollination Services

Are your colonies engaged in pollination by contract? *
Are any crops on the land contracted for pollination managed with the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides during time of pollination or for the three months prior? *
Do you agree to obtain a signed contract with the crop producer specifying that for the entire time the land is occupied by the bee colonies and for the three months prior, no prohibited pesticides herbicides or fungicides will be used? *
Are any of your colonies moved more than three times per calendar year for purposes of pollination? *

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".) *
Northern Virginia Beekeepers Association. Virginia State Beekeepers Association.
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. *
Brad Garmon
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. *
Brad Garmon
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. *
Brad Garmon
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. *
Brad Garmon
You may use this space to tell us anything else you think we should know about your farm:
We are very excited to be considered as CNG!