The Appalachian Beekeeping Collective is committed to using natural beekeeping techniques. We protect the bees, beekeepers, and ecosystem by using no synthetic pesticides and antibiotics in honey production, extraction, or bottling. We treat local communities, forests, and streams with the respect they deserve. Read more below.
Our expert staff helps our members follow a strict protocol rooted in science to ensure our bees are healthy, happy, and chemical free. Partners in our program never use antibiotics or synthetic pesticides in their colonies. We make sure our member apiaries are located on land not treated with synthetic pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides. We are careful to ensure our hives are placed in areas with plenty of natural forage, clean water, and low density of other honey bees. ABC staff regularly inspect member apiaries to confirm our protocol is closely followed.
Central Appalachia is an ideal location for natural beekeeping. The abundance of diverse forest and undeveloped land in our region helps keep our bees healthy. Our native Appalachian forests host an abundance of nectar-rich species such as tulip poplar, black locust, sourwood, and wildflowers. Most agricultural land is devoted to livestock, meaning that much of the unforested area is covered in excellent bee forage, like clover. We have minimal agricultural crops to contribute to the range synthetic chemicals other honey bees often endure.
Breeding Strong Hives
We developed our queen breeding program with natural beekeeping practices in mind. We improve pest-resistance in our hives by using survivor stock to develop a hardy population of bees adapted to natural beekeeping practices and life in Appalachia. We try to requeen each hive annually. Each new generation of bees is even better adapted to our region than the last.
The Appalachian Beekeeping Collective has suspended in person classes during the COVID-19 pandemic. We typically host the following in person classes throughout the year:
Is Beekeeping Right for Me? This is a free one-hour class giving an overview of beekeeping. Learn about the goals of the Appalachian Bee Collective and how you can be involved. We typically offer several of these classes around our region each fall and winter. For our 2020-2021, all of these classes will be taught online at the following times:
Beekeeping 101 This is a five-week class offered to train new beekeepers in the art and science of beekeeping. This class will cover the basics of getting started with beekeeping, keeping your bees healthy throughout the year, and identifying common problems in a hive and finding solutions for them. An introduction to honey bee biology will also be given. Attendance at this class is mandatory for those interested in becoming partners in the Appalachian Beekeeping Collective. We typically offer several of these classes around our region each winter. For our 2020-2021, all of these classes will be taught online, live on Zoom, at the following times. Both series cover the same content; please only register for one series.
Beekeeping 201: This is a required full day session geared toward partners finishing their first year in the program and experienced beekeepers interested in joining the Appalachian Beekeeping Collective. ABC's education staff structure this class to help partners reflect on the year of beekeeping and learn advanced skills. The class also provides members the opportunity to get to know and learn from one another. ABC typically offers this class February and March. In 2021, all 201 classes will be over Zoom for partner beekeepers, and later made available to the general public.
Beekeeping 301 Series: These classes provide experienced beekeepers in the program the opportunity to participate in a variety of advanced classes on the art and science of beekeeping. These classes may cover topics including advanced recognition of honey bee viruses and diseases, honey bee form and function, sustainability in the mature apiary, improving beekeeping best practices outside of the hive, beekeeping for honey production in West Virginia, among many other subjects. These classes occur throughout the year. Beekeepers in the program will be required to attend a certain number of hours of continuing education each year to maintain their status in the program. In 2021, all 301 classes will be over Zoom for partner beekeepers, and later made available to the general public.