Little Wren Farm Apiary

Owner: Robin MacEwan

Northampton, MA

daytime phone: (413) 275-7371
evening phone: (413) 275-7371
Web site: http://www.littlewren.farm

Application Date: 2021-03-25

General Information

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to have your apiary be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program. *
To demonstrate our commitment and standards to our customers.
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? *
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).
Our honey may be purchased by contacting Little Wren Farm directly at 413.275.7371 or through our website (www.littlewren.farm)
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. *
35 Rust Avenue, Northampton, MA
Briefly describe the landscape where the apiary is located. What surrounds the apiary? What are the nectar sources? *
The apiary is surrounded by multiple land use types, primarily including residential development, community gardens, farmland, and conservation land.
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? *
Use this space to describe any land management practices you use to support the honey bee population. *
We plant and maintain native pollinator plant species, provide water sources for honey bees, and do not use pesticides on our land.
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. *
Each frame is labeled with the month and year that it is placed into service. The dates on the brood frames are reviewed annually and frames are removed from service at or before they reach 5 years in use. No frames currently in use have been in service for longer than 2 full seasons.

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 overwinter our colonies, split survivor colonies in the spring (as applicable), and either raise new queens within our apiary or purchase new queens from other beekeepers. When purchasing new queens from other beekeepers, our focus is on increasing genetic diversity, including hygienic behaviors.
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. *
As possible, we feed back to them only their own honey and nectar (either from frames frozen for storage and subsequently thawed and placed back in the hives when needed - or - as extracted honey saved for feeding back within an inverted feeder jar placed within an empty top box within the hive). When this is not possible and feeding is necessary (e.g. if necessary during the winter), we provide a candy board placed on top of the brood chamber.

Management of Pests and Disease

Varroa Mite
Please briefly describe what measures you take to suppress the Varroa mite population in your hives. *
We use varroa monitoring along with cultural, mechanical and, when necessary, chemical strategies to suppress varroa populations, including selection of queens bred for hygienic behavior, use of survivor colonies, use of brood breaks, use of screened bottom boards, and mite treatments when mite levels exceed treatment thresholds. We generally use formic acid or oxalic acid when treatment thresholds are exceeded.
How do you monitor mite population levels? When and how often? *
We monitoring mite populations throughout the year using alcohol washes and by monitoring trends in mite drop quantities via use of screened bottom boards.
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)? *
Thankfully, we have yet to encounter either AFB or EFB in our apiary. We focus on maintaining the general health of our honey bee;, preventing cross-contamination between our own hives and not using hardware from other beekeepers; and monitoring at each hive inspection for signs of AFB and EFB.
How do you prevent and treat Nosema? *
While we understand that Nosema is likely present in most honey bees in our region, at least at low levels, we have not knowingly had an issue with bee health related to Nosema loads in our apiary. We focus on maintaining the general health of our honey bees and we monitor at each hive inspection for signs that they may be negatively affected by Nosema.
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 been fortunate to only have intermittent indication of very low levels of the above listed issues in our hives. We handle wax moths and small hive beetle by not providing more space within the hives than the bees can manage and by freezing frames removed from hives to kill wax moth eggs. We work to prevent viruses and other diseases in our bees by implementing efforts to maintain their general health, by monitoring and treating varroa as necessary, and by focusing on queen genetics and survivor colonies. We monitor for signs of diseases and other hive health issues at each hive inspection and we address them as needed through cultural, mechanical and/or chemical means, with a primary default to the former two categories of options.
What measures do you take, if any, to protect the hives against pests such as mice, skunks, possums, raccoons, and bears? *
The hives in our apiary are raised >12" above ground level and are surrounded by an electric fence. Mouse guards are used at hive entrances in the winter.
Please describe any other practices you follow to help strengthen the bee population under your care.
We focus on the health of our honey bees above all other consideration (i.e., above our own use of their honey and other resources). We inspect each hive regularly to identify potential concerns, including indicators of pests and diseases, availability of resources, and general colony strength, and we tailor any necessary interventions to provide a balance between the least invasive and most effective and sustainable management strategy.

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".) *
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") *
We informally coordinate with other local beekeepers that share our values and interests in honey bee management including Jessica Kern and Keja MacEwan.


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. *
Robin MacEwan
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. *
Robin MacEwan
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. *
Robin MacEwan
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. *
Robin MacEwan
You may use this space to tell us anything else you think we should know about your farm: