January Farms

Owner: Janelle Hillman

Viroqua, WI

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

Application Date: 2022-06-06

General Information

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to have your apiary be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program. *
I already applied for my flower/herb farm. I am too small for organic, and don't really think that the USDA certification is what it could be. As a natural beekeeper, I hope to push the industry in my area, as well as help others realize both the importance of my work, but also the value behind my products.
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 read an article that another small scale grower wrote on her experience with CNG
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).
My honey can be found for purchase at the Viroqua Farmers Market May-Oct
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? *
I began keeping in 2016, this will be my third season producing honey for market. I believe I have been working towards this for a few years. After my first season beekeeping I found a mentor who did natural beekeeping, no treating or feeding. I was amazed. I learned a lot from him, as well as through the last few years of experience. In 2019 we moved to a much colder climate, so I have struggled keeping them alive over the winter, but I am continually tweaking my practices, observing them and their location to make changes necessary to hopefully help them survive and thrive.
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. PrairieWind Park - PrairieWind Way, Viroqua WI 54665 2. Morgans Ridge - E10413 Wemmer Hollow Rd, Westby WI 54639
Briefly describe the landscape where the apiary is located. What surrounds the apiary? What are the nectar sources? *
1. PrairieWind is an open field, previously used for hay and in the process of being converted into pollinator habitat. There is woods to the south, open field to the east, houses and community park to the east and west, and native wildflower prairie to the northwest. Nectar sources are many flowering trees including several linden, wildflower prairie (coreopsis, asters, goldenrod, clovers, compass plant, echinacea, bee balm, etc), lilacs, sedums, and flowering herbs 2. Morgans Ridge apiary is tucked into ridges in the rolling Driftless. It is nestled in a wild apple orchard, surrounded by native prairie plants. There is organic dairy farmland rented to Amish to the south, the road and a farm beyon the woods to the north, 25 acres of woods to the east, organic dairy to the west and another Amish home to the south east. Nectar sources are the apple trees, native plants and flowers (goldenrod, asters, clover) and many flowering trees in the wooded areas.
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. *
I began dating my frames in 2017, and have only just started the brood removal practice, so this season I will remove all frames labeled 2017, strip them of wax and either boil and reconstruct or discard. I plan to label all frames with a B that are for brood (previously I used brood and honey frames interchangeably as I work mostly with medium supers) and the year date. I will also sort through frames that are unlabeled and assess the foundation quality and remove any appearing old (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? *
It is my intention to overwinter all my colonies, though here in Wisconsin I have had trouble doing so for various reasons. I have purchased new bees the last three years but I am aiming to collect a few feral colonies this season to add to both apiaries to hopefully increase overwintering abilities. I also will attempt to collect swarms from the wooded areas surrounding one apiary to increase genetic strength.
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 typically never feed my bees, only supplying them with honey frames taken in surplus times. I did give my bees pollen patties upon installing this spring, as it is a late spring this year and temperatures have not risen yet, so there is nothing to forage. I am also considering offering bee tea, a tea made from herbs that support their health (chamomile, yarrow, nettle, thyme, hyssop, mint, sage, lemon balm), in a similar way I used to offer water

Management of Pests and Disease

Varroa Mite
Please briefly describe what measures you take to suppress the Varroa mite population in your hives. *
I have purchased two packages of Saskatraz bees, which are a bit more resistant to the mites. I do mite checks with homemade beeswax sticky board and remove drone brood comb. After honey production I place sticky boards with essential oils of lemongrass and wintergreen. This season I am going to test out inoculating surrounding mulch with reshi mushroom spores, and feed bee tea to increase immunity.
How do you monitor mite population levels? When and how often? *
I typically monitor with the homemade sticky board (beeswax mixed with vegetable oil), but monitoring for me has been mostly for my reference, as I do not treat. This year, however, I am considering using treatment and will research extensively to decide.
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 have never experienced either, and don't do anything specifically to prevent, other than good natural practices, I never use other peoples equipment, or buy used equipment.
How do you prevent and treat Nosema? *
I do not feed my bees typically, which helps them establish a healthy biome in their gut. I use screened bottom boards to ensure good air circulation. This year I plan to experiment with reshi mushroom spore inoculation to aid in gut health as well.
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? *
Where I previously lived (Nashville, TN) I dealt with small hive beetles a lot. I used beetle traps, with moderate success, and sticky boards. I have not seen a single one since moving to WI however, and would likely use the same practices should they become and issue. I dealt with wax moths, in a very weak hive my second year, which devastated the colony. I was still learning at the time and didn't recognize the signs. I have not experienced them much here, but if I do see what I think are signs, I remove the frames in question and freeze them for a few days before returning them to the hive.
What measures do you take, if any, to protect the hives against pests such as mice, skunks, possums, raccoons, and bears? *
I have my hives elevated and keep entrance reducers on for most of the season, and keep rocks or bricks on the lids. I have not had any issues with animals, despite the fact that I know they exist in my area. If they do become and issue I will likely add fencing. Fortunately there are not bears in my area, that I know of!
Please describe any other practices you follow to help strengthen the bee population under your care.
My main goal is keeping the hives as naturally as possible, allowing them to keep lots of honey and pollen, and have access to an array of beneficial sources of food. I am trying out use of slotted racks this year on a few hives, which is supposed to help with swarm control and with overwintering.

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") *
Jordan Bendel Ruth Wills Hannah Hastings


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. *
Janelle Hillman
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. *
Janelle Hillman
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. *
Janelle Hillman
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. *
Janelle Hillman
You may use this space to tell us anything else you think we should know about your farm:
I already submitted an application and was accepted for certifying my flower/herb production as well.