My father and I began rearing queens for our own
use in the summer of 1961. I was only 12 years old at the time
and I had already been a beekeeper for two years. We learned the
proper techniques from an experienced queen breeder, Ransler
Barnes of English Mountain Apiaries, in Cosby Tennessee. We
learned the basics such as cell builders, grafting cells, making
up mating nucks, etc. From this base, we developed our own strain of
Italian bees called "Winters Strain Italian Bees". We
developed them to the point that we felt they would be of value
to other beekeepers so in 1978 we started producing them
commercially. We founded Long Creek Apiaries and produced them
commercially until the mites appeared in 1985. When news of the trachael
mites spread to all beekeepers, the market disappeared. Everyone
was afraid to buy queens or packages from breeders because they
were afraid of getting mites. Another blow to the bee industry was
the closing of the Canadian border to U.S. bees. We went from a nationwide
company to a regional company almost overnight. After the mites
became widespread, we found that the caucasian stock that we had maintained
and from breeders from Bill Gafford, formerly of Bolling Bee in Alabama,
over the years was more mite resistant than the Italians.
Although our primary business was the Italians, we had beekeepers
that wanted Caucasian and Caucasian/Italian hybrids for honey
production. What convinced us of this resistance was that one
year we had treated all the Italian colonies but because of cold
weather we did not get any treatment on the caucasians. When
spring came, we had lost about 50% of the Italians, but had lost
none of the Caucasians. Because of the interest in Italians, we
began selecting breeders that showed resistance to mites. When the USDA released the new
ARS-Y-C-1 Carnolian (Yugo) bee, we obtained that stock and added it to our line. Our original line of Italians, Winter's Strain Italian bees , are almost as good as the Russians and will again be offered to the public by the end of summer or early fall of 2015. We will also be selling Carniolan queens mated to our Italian drones for fall re-queening 2015.
Today we went back to our Italian roots because the Russian stock in this area seem to store GMO pollen and don't survive the winter here. We produce queens and package bees and ship them to forty-nine states and the US territories. We do not ship to Hawaii because of their restrictions on importing honeybees into the state. We are located near a small Tennessee town called Parrottsville near the Smoky Mountains.
Our mailing address is:
Long Creek Apiaries
3223 Long Creek Rd.
Parrottsville, Tn. 37843
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