Re: Multiply My Hives
Heres your dilemma: After you run your numbers for your new equipment needs, if say you have 10 hives make it well enough to make your splits from.
You will need so many # of box's, tops, bottoms, and frames.
Now, after you have spent all that money on materials, assembled it all over the winter while you had the time, (Don't forget to put a weather resistant finish on all of it-that takes more time than assembly) what if your winter losses are much higher than you hoped for? You have all this equipment and no bees to put in it?
Or you wait and see how many hives make it, and now in the spring when you should be managing bees you are building equipment?
That is exactly what I did last winter. I build some equipment planning on increases, but was cautious not to make too much. My bees did well + I had the unexpected opportunity to also buy some packages. I was working 14 hours a day working the bees, raising queens, building equipment and then doing all my other normal farm and household work.
It's the unknown factor you cannot plan for that is the hardest. If you spend a few thousand on equipment and get it all assembled, are you willing to buy new bees if necessary to fill them if your bees don't overwinter well? Usually a person needs to order bees very early in the spring, before you really truly know what your winter losses will be.
Or will you wait, then work long hours to make equipment just barley fast enough to stay ahead of the growing hives?
LOL, I went from 7 hives in 2011 to 45 packages spring of 2012-to 120 booming hives, nucs and mating nucs by summer of 2012. An extreme example for sure, but I have been where you are right now.
A crystal ball would be nice:)
I guess what I am saying is: if you buy and build all that equipment, there is a chance you will have to spend more time or money to fill them if your bees don't over winter well enough to make your increases from them alone. Just be aware and plan for that possibility.
Don't forget the cost of feeding spring and fall. If you want them to grow, you will need to feed well. They may do OK without feeding, but after all that cost and work why not be sure they thrive? That theory cost me another $2000. on sugar and pollen patties. I also spent over $1000. on black rite cell foundation, but after messing with foundationless last year it was a necessary purchase to assure consistantly useable deep frames for the future.
All in all I spent about $12,500. this year on bees, feed and equipment. Way more than I planned. (That includes some honey extracting equipmant)
I bought several 50# bags of Beepro and Brewers yeast to stock up for next year (with the drought in the midwest I expect the price of feed to go up.) My bees relish my homemade protein patties and take them up all year. That cost is minimal and makes me happy they are content and feeding well.
I wanted a certain number of hives and had two choices: Make increases with my own small amount of stock or buy into it. I chose to buy into it for two reasons:
I had sold a filly and had some money to buy the bees, and I am in my 50"s and did not want to wait years to get to where I wanted to be. I should have started beekeeping years ago. This was my next best option. I would have been content with 50 colonies, but as it turned out had some good opportunities to get more bees reasonably (Bee supplier had someone back out of 50 packages after he pick them up) So in my case, my increase plan was doubled suddenly because of opportunitys I did not forsee.
I also wanted to buy my equipment while the dollar still had some value. But THAT is another thread probably not suitable for Beesource.
To make my nucs: I broke up my some of my hives into divided deep four frame nucs..a interior one gallon mann lake feeder and three drawn frames of bees, brood and stores in each. After they took up a gallon of syrup, I replaced the feeder with another drawn frame. I learned to graft queens and used all the nucs as mating nucs. (Not walk away nucs, but giving them a ripe cell or virgin queen hot out of the incubator)
I left some with the best and most prolific queens to grow into strong nucs then larger hives. I sold enough queens to pay for all my new bees and requeened all my older hives. I am going into the winter with about 80 strong, healthy colonies-all with locally mated Northern queens from my best select stock . I'd have more but people begged me for queens in late fall-so I combined a few hives and combined the frames from the mini mating nucs. I raised about 200 queens and by keeping the best queens in the mating nucs and letting them grow, I have more colonies than I planned.
If you have any questions you can PM me for more details. LOL, I learned a LOT this summer..not complaining..I'm tired, but it is all good!
I look forward to a nice rest this winter, but look forward to 2013's adventures and accomplishments.
It will be a while before I have made enough money to make up for all my hard equipment costs, but covering the perishable expense (Bees) this year made me feel good. And my biggest asset: All those beautiful clean newly drawn frames full of stores.
My husbands generosity with his additional financial contributions to my project and his patience with my long working hours was greatly appreciated..although he was a little dismayed at my exausted nature, sweaty disheveled stature and sticky kitchen floor at times.
Heres my photo bucket page if you want to see more photos:
Re: Multiply My Hives
I have a bit of a different track that I follow. I find it helps me achieve goals. And no it is nto perfect and neither am I.
Basically my thinking is rooted in the basic thought. Am I doing what I say I am doing? Or am I making up a bunch of excuses that really amount to not doing it?
So for me if I intended to have 36 hives at the end of next year. Making 36 hives would not even be a question. I would be absorbed with how to get it done but woudl never question if I needed the hardware. I find this an advantage in that I remain very focused on moving forward taking advantage of every opportunity. not spending time on what if's but dealing with what really is right in front of me. But lets say outside factors take their toll and you don't have enough colonies to fill 36 hives. Do you then not intend to ever have 36 hives? If you still plan to eventually get their don't you still need that woodenware? To make the woodenware now or over the winter is an act of doing what you need to do to make 36 hives by the end of next year. if you don't it is an act of not what you need to do to have 36 hives at the end of next year. and you need to ask yourself that question every day until you have 36 hives. Am I doing today what I need to do to have 36 hives next year?
12 months 36 hives you can actually measure your progress in that you need to average one hive every 1.4 weeks. Now since you can't realistically expect to produce a new colony in the winter you can be preparing anything and everything else that has to do with them. And this will actually probably be very necessary starting right now. because as the number weeks shorten the number of colonies you need to make will increase in hives per week. you are going to be very busy at that time.
Okay that is just a basic frame of mind I evaluate myself by.
In addition splitting your existing hives s not your only avenue to make new colonies. keep that in mind. It woudl be nice if you can accomplish it without to many plans of attack. but at the very least be aware of your options so that if plan A is not getting it done you have plan B and C to fall back on. Hive trap outs, cut outs and swarm captures are other ways to get more colonies. So at least put some effort toward finding some of those. it might give you a much needed break from getting one more split in a week or less. The more slack you can make in this sort of plan the better off you will be.
Finally of course be realistic. a strong mind set and determination does not make the impossible possible. I think you have taken on a very big task but not undoable. get your A game on and keep it there for the duration. and the race is on as of now. There is a lot you can be doing now rather than later when you really don't have time to spend on it.
Mainly watch yourself carefully for anything that says you are in fact not doing it. making excuses is in fact not doing it. procrastinating is also not doing it. being trapped in confusion and indecision is also not doing it. Watch for it . recognize it and learn to pull yourself out of it as quickly as possible.
Re: Multiply My Hives
I think Lauri has got it. Spend money, work like a fool, pray for good weather, don't make any big mistakes and it will happen.
Go for it.
Re: Multiply My Hives
Originally Posted by Acebird
Actually it is called investing in my own ability and not expecting the government to support me.
That does call for the thing called WORK. More people should try it. It's good for your self esteem, not foolish at all.
Re: Multiply My Hives
I've no doubt that you can make it all work for you. Just a note on building up too quickly since you've commented on it taking a while before you recoup your outlay: you might want to let your apiary operations pay for both themselves and any further increase in your operations.
The way you're heading, you'll end up with a thousand colonies and you'll be driving pallets to pollination in a tractor trailer for months on end if you aren't careful. :)
Re: Multiply My Hives
i went from 10 overwintered colonies, (5 established colonies and 5 nucs, no losses), to 19 this year without raising or buying any queens.
5 were from splits, and four were from catching my own swarms in traps.
the swarms have done as good as the splits.
the best results from the splits were using the 'cut down split' method described on michael bush's website.
my best one of these was made from one of my strongest hives, taking the queen, one frame of honey, two frames of mixed brood and stores, and making sure to get a full three frames of bees. these were good bees, and the parent colony produced an excellent emergency queen.
that split went on to draw out a deep and 2 1/2 mediums, i harvested eight nice frames of honey from it, and it is heavy enough now to donate some honey to a lighter hive.
the key was timing the split to coincide with the onset of the main flow and the beginning of swarm season.
i'll max out at 20 this year, which is all i can handle as a sideliner. but i'll continue to make increase for swarm control and honey production. hopefully i'll be able to sell 15 - 20 nucs/swarms next year.