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Johnstons Honeybee Farmin Eaton, NY has made significant strides in developing a disease resistant strain of bees, well suited to surviving in the Northeast United States. Our bees are resistant to both tracheal mite and the external parasitic mite, Varroa destructor. We had not used miticides in our hives from 2003 until Autumn of 2011. In Autumn of 2011and then again in 2012, we used Apiguard on most of our hives. No miticides were used since 2012. The active ingredient in apiguard is Thymol, an essential oil derived from the thyme plant; many consider this to be an organic treatment. In 2012, we began grafting from queens that had low Nosema spore counts. Nosema ceranae is an intestinal fungus that is the latest disease to cause problems for beekeeping in the United States. This disease was not present in our bees in August of 2007 but appeared in testing by NYS Bee Inspectors in August of 2009. Many researchers believe that Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) results from a combination of neonicotinoid exposure, Nosema ceranae, and viruses that are spread by Varroa destructor. Our goal at Johnston's Honeybee Farm is to develop bees that show low levels of both Varroa and Nosema.
Johnstons Honeybee Farm has also originated two innovative new beehives: the Vertical Partition Two Colony Hive and the Combination Queen Rearing Nucleus and Comb Honey Hive. We have received two Farmer Grants to study these hives from USDAs Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE). These two new hives allow Northeast beekeepers to produce their own bees that are better adapted for production and survival in their local areas. Though we are currently using the two beehives, we are not selling the equipment at this time.
Johnstons Honeybee Farm produces nucleus hives (nucs), brood, queen cells, queens and honey. Our bees are mite resistant but also mild mannered, winter hardy, and good producers. Our honey is also mild mannered. Our sweet soils produce a light colored, mild flavored honey that people really like. In 2012, our honey won the tasting contest at the New York City Honey Festival. In 2013, a spun honey version of our honey submitted by our friend, Richard Lercari, won that year's NYC Honey Festival tasting contest.