I've been wondering... since one of the virtues of Carniolans is that they winter over with smaller colonies (and thus need less food)...
would it ever make sense to artificially imitate this virtue by just (gulp...) reducing the population of your hives in the fall? And if so, what's the best way to do this?
I have Italian bees, whatever kind came with my packages last spring, and they're just reproducing at a staggering clip. I successfully warded off swarming this year, by giving them lots of room (and maybe was just lucky), but when I inspected last week I felt overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of bees. And they've still got plenty of uncapped brood at various stages.
I use all 8-frame mediums, and I've got 3 boxes of mainly brood (with honey at the tops of frames and lots of pollen at the sides) and I've got a full medium of honey on top, partly capped. And tons and tons of bees.
I'm worried that the population is so huge that they'll just chow down on that honey super and go through it in no time. Wouldn't it make sense to reduce the bee population somewhat, after the nectar-gathering season is finished?
I'm only a second-year beekeeper, and last winter my two hives didn't make it. (They had both swarmed twice and had almost no stores of honey. I fed all winter, but then we had a non-Spring and they perished in the endless freezing cold rains of April.)
So I started all over again this year with two packages, and I'm still trying to figure out the best approach.
Thanks for any advice.