We made the transition to sideliners last year. We spent last year mostly growing bees and didn't take much honey at all. We grew from 5 to 22 hives before winter but suffered terrible losses over the winter and dropped back to only six hives. A hot dry fall, a long winter with no January thaw and a long cold/rainy spring did us in. I think we also had pretty heavy mite loads going into winter, but were just too tired and busy to inspect or treat.
Through a combination of splits and package bees and a lot of drawn comb we came back strong and took off around 350# yesterday. We managed to do this even though we hardly fed our bees since it was so cold that the packages wouldn't hardly break clusters to feed.
350# may not sound like a lot to people, but our hives we're weak and decimated. Spring was so cold and rainy. Most of our packages arrived in June. This is a remarkable turn around.
We pulled 13 medium supers using a 3 person team, a fume board with some Fishers Bee Quick and a leaf blower. Supers were cleared more easily this way that I have ever done before. Quite by accident we wound up loading the supers into a pickup and driving around a bit with also clears a lot of bees!
It turns out processing honey is a real pain when you get more than a couple of supers. In spite of our new Maxat 3100P we were up until 2 AM processing and still have to go back for more. A lot of this was adjusting to a setup that will work for us so I expect it to go faster.
We have a ready market for honey and all of it goes to our local coop. So labels and bottling are yet to come. It turns out I love keeping bees, but am much less fond of getting honey out of combs and into bottles! It will be nice to see out honey on the shelf and nicer still to finally get paid. It was a long road and a lot of expense to get here, but success is finally in sight. It can be done.