Alaska Bee Initiative yard upgrade

$835 of $1,700 goal

Raised by 13 people in 18 months
Can you help us create an Alaska-hardy honeybee? Alaska Bee Initiative is a group of dedicated beekeepers and scientists who are working to develop a strain of honeybee that is reliably hardy in Alaska. In the past, Alaskan beekeepers tended to kill their bees in the fall, because the colonies rarely survived. However, because of the cost to replace bee colonies and the desire to foster sustainable beekeeping in Alaska, more and more Alaska beekeepers are trying to winter over their bees.

In order to improve the stock of Alaskan honeybees, we are breeding queens exclusively from surviving colonies. In order to do this, we are developing isolated bee yards where there are no other honeybees, so that we can insure that our queens are mated only to surviving drones.

In the 2016-17 winter, moose destroyed our electric-only fence. Our fence was a four-foot tall electric fence (as shown below) 



We need to replace the last year's fence with something much more sturdy. Because these isolation yards are in wilderness areas, we need to construct them so that they are bear-proof and also moose-proof. This requires sturdy, six-foot tall fencing, with an outer electric fence to deter wildlife from attempting to enter.

The money we receive from our GoFundMe campaign will be used for the following items:

* Wood and steel fence posts
* 6-foot tall agricultural fencing
* Solar panel 
* Battery
* Electric Fence Charger
* Assorted lumber for on-site storage shed

We would also gladly accept donations of any of these items in lieu of a cash donation.

If there are funds left over after these items are acquired, we would use the additional funds for:

* Land Use Permit fees
* Import promising queens for future breeding programs.

We need to have the bee yard ready for colonies to be on-site by June 20, 2017. Some of our work can be deferred until later in the season, but we do need to have a sturdy, wildlife-proof enclosure in place before we can place bees on site.

We believe that this is a very important project. Alaskan beekeepers import several thousand bee colonies into Alaska each year. Creating a sustainable population of honeybees in Alaska is a very worthy goal.
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Here's an update on our beeyard upgrade - We've completed a lot of the necessary work, thanks to donations and about 100 hours of hard work and help from volunteers. We still have a lot of work to do, but the yard is almost ready for occupancy. We could still use your donations to continue the upgrade of the facilities - we need to build a bee grafting bench in the shed at the site, as well as some other upgrades. I am attaching some pics of our latest work session, where Matt, Ray and Wigi worked on the shed and some necessary site grading to get site level, and also some additional work on the fence. We hope to have the electric fence turned on this weekend, in time for the first bees to arrive.

Thanks to everyone that has donated so far! Please share our update with your friends on social media!
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Here's the Thursday June 1 update: With the donations we've received so far, we've been able to start on the upgrades at the beeyard. One of our big problems last year was that moose were able to walk through the electric fence. So we've added a taller fence all the way around that will provide both a visible and structural barrier to moose (and hopefully bears). In the next week to ten days we hope to install a gate that will allow us to bring bees into the yard by truck, and to install a more formidable electric fence that will get the notice of large animals. We also plan to install a solar panel and battery system, a storage and grafting shed, and some basic instrumentation to keep tabs on the conditions at the yard.

Your contributions are making all of this possible... but we still have a ways to go. Thanks for your contributions so far, and please share this post with your friends on social media!
New beeyard enclosure
New beeyard enclosure
New beeyard enclosure
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Here's our Memorial Day update - We're approaching half way to our goal... and I would like to thank everyone who has donated so far! Your response has been amazing... thank you!

We could still use some help, in a lot of ways. Here are some things you can do:

* Share our posts on your social media feeds, so your friends can find out about us.
* If you have any spare materials we can use at the beeyard, including fence materials, scrap lumber, fence posts... those sorts of things... we can use those, too!
* If you're handy and would like to spend an afternoon helping at the beeyard, we would love to have some help.
* Any donations you can make to help us towards our goal.

This video is from 2015. These are caged virgin queens that Wigi made. If you listen to the audio carefully, you can hear several of the queens piping.
Piping virgin queens - Listen carefully
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Happy Friday, everyone, and be safe this holiday weekend. We've been very fortunate with our donations so far. As of midday Friday, we're just past one-third of the way to our goal. We're planning a work party at the beeyard next week, and we'd love to hear from you if you're available to help! We're also looking for fencing supplies, scrap lumber, pallets, and other assorted items. So if you can't make a cash donation, a donation of time or surplus items that you might have around the house would be appreciated, too!
One of our queens just before marking.
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Read a Previous Update
Tracy Michelle McDonald
18 months ago

I was hoping to put a few boxes on my property. This is a great idea.

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Ray Southwell
17 months ago

Joe and Barbara, Those who study and want to advance beekeeping in Alaska are the scientist involved in this project. I am one such individual. Researching and developing a plan for sustainable beekeeping in Alaska. There is currently only one isolation apiary. It is at Summit Lake. The government is involved only at the level of giving a permit of approval for our project. I believe WIGI payed $500.00 for the permitting fee. I have given several hundred dollars in materials I paid for and over 30 hours of physical labor building the fence. I am in the process of grafting queens from my surviving colonies for mating next month.

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Wigi Tozzi
18 months ago

Barbara: I responded to Joe's questions in our first update. I hope that answers all of your questions! Wigi

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Barbara Bachmeier
18 months ago

Just like Joe Carman, I'd like information about who is responsible for the science of this work? And who all is involved. As I did not know anything about this, I recently contacted Oregon State University about including their bee work in my will. Please provide more detailed information. Or email me. Thank you.

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Joe Carman
18 months ago

Would like more info please. Like what scientists Where are bee yards. Is this a personal prodject? Is the gov. involved? Questions of that nature.

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$835 of $1,700 goal

Raised by 13 people in 18 months
Created May 22, 2017
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CK
$25
Corliss Kimmel
18 months ago

For the bees!

EK
$30
Elliot Klayman
18 months ago
1
1

Build a wall.

$35
John Dykstra
18 months ago

Good luck ! And thanks for your efforts

$100
Anonymous
18 months ago
Tracy Michelle McDonald
18 months ago

I was hoping to put a few boxes on my property. This is a great idea.

+ Read More
Ray Southwell
17 months ago

Joe and Barbara, Those who study and want to advance beekeeping in Alaska are the scientist involved in this project. I am one such individual. Researching and developing a plan for sustainable beekeeping in Alaska. There is currently only one isolation apiary. It is at Summit Lake. The government is involved only at the level of giving a permit of approval for our project. I believe WIGI payed $500.00 for the permitting fee. I have given several hundred dollars in materials I paid for and over 30 hours of physical labor building the fence. I am in the process of grafting queens from my surviving colonies for mating next month.

+ Read More
Wigi Tozzi
18 months ago

Barbara: I responded to Joe's questions in our first update. I hope that answers all of your questions! Wigi

+ Read More
Barbara Bachmeier
18 months ago

Just like Joe Carman, I'd like information about who is responsible for the science of this work? And who all is involved. As I did not know anything about this, I recently contacted Oregon State University about including their bee work in my will. Please provide more detailed information. Or email me. Thank you.

+ Read More
Joe Carman
18 months ago

Would like more info please. Like what scientists Where are bee yards. Is this a personal prodject? Is the gov. involved? Questions of that nature.

+ Read More
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