Southern Appalachian School of Apiculture

Our School’s Founding Principles

The Southern Appalachian School of Apiculture is built on experience, trial & error, and success stories that you will not find anywhere else.

Rising from the ashes of a crashing commercial beekeeping industry that is destroying our honey bees through unsustainable beekeeping practices, SASA is founded on sustainable practices of beekeeping that are required for beekeepers of tomorrow if our apis mellifera is to survive.

There are 7 main principles that serve as SASA’s unmovable base. By observing these ideas, beekeeping moves from being a ‘commercial commodity‘ to an Apicentric beekeeping experience: Maintaining the well-being of the honey bee first and foremost.

The 7 Methods of Minimal Disturbance

Method #1- Anticipate & Prepare

  • Anticipating the bees’ needs ahead of time will help the Keeper to be prepared & organized
  • Prepare for each season according to the appropriate in-hive tasks needing accomplished
  • Prepare equipment and sites ahead of time

Method #2- Rain or Shine, do things on-time

  • Schedule your work according to weather conditions, blooming conditions & your unique climate
  • The key to successful beekeeping is to do what needs to be done on-time, despite certain conditions (provided they do not put the bees at risk)
  • Treatments must be done on-time

Method #3- Observe & Learn

  • Much can be learned by observing the hive entrance to prevent unnecessary colony disturbance
  • Observe what is blooming and when it blooms from year to year
  • Compare the traffic of a hive to the activity of other beehives of similar strength/populations

Method #4- Smoke the hive, help them thrive

  • Smoking the hive is a ‘knock on the door.’ It is a fair warning to the bees and keeps them from unnecessary defensive posture
  • Using smoke in moderation helps to keep the bees from areas they can get squished
  • Smoke is also essential with overly aggressive honey bee colonies

Method #5- Go in with a Plan

  • Curiosity is a high-risk reason for entering a beehive
  • Have a plan if you’re going to open a beehive, and disturb its homeostatic environment
  • Get in and get out

Method #6- Everything in its Place

  • Never separate the brood nest unless making splits
  • Every inspection needs to include verification of the following: room to grow, room to store, food stores, a healthy brood nest & a laying queen
  • The nucleus of the colony must be maintained in a specific structure that varies little throughout the year

Method #7- Don’t get Greedy

  • Always stay informed and practice sustainable ethics when harvesting resources
  • Taking too much will hurt the Beehive, the Keeper & the Community
  • Responsible resource management is another key to successful beekeeping

~The idea is this: Minimal disturbance equals healthier beehives.

Learn more about my teaching style here…

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