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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    sewell, nj
    Posts
    493

    Default increasing amount of hives (lost 6 had a question)

    i live on a family farm and decided to keep bees. i started with 2 hives 4/2011 and came across a guy that was retiring and he sold me 10 hives for a reasonable price. all those hives made it through the winter of 2011-2012.
    spring or 2012 i bought 16 packages and caught 2 swarms.
    fall of 2012 i had 30 hives.
    march of 2013 i am down to 24 hives (so far march ain't over yet!)

    i have the options of getting more packages to replace the 6 i lost so far or start making bees with the ones i have.
    MY GUT FEELING IS to make more bees with the 24 hives i have and i feel more at ease to do that!
    i was even thinking about not harvesting any honey this season and splitting what i have.

    what would you do?

    i like to get to the point to where the farm is self supporting with my hives and they dint have to rent hives no more..

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    4,995

    Default Re: increasing amount of hives (lost 6 had a question)

    I would split the existing hives, and not buy more packages.

    Keep in mind that if they are all in one yard, you may be approaching a point of diminishing returns from adding more hives at that location. It may be time to look for an outyard.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Jacksonville, NC
    Posts
    201

    Default Re: increasing amount of hives (lost 6 had a question)

    Great gut feeling!
    I would use the hives and bees you already have...I mean, if you really want to expand, you have plenty of resources. Make some queens out of the ones that have overwintered the best...get some splits going...with some good flows coming, you can easily double...or triple your holdings before the next winter is here....lots of possibilities.
    The fact that you plan on leaving the honey to the bees, is going to make your plan even better.
    Oh, OK...that is what I would do
    Good luck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Peace River, AB Canada
    Posts
    454

    Default Re: increasing amount of hives (lost 6 had a question)

    From 24 hives you can make up your losses and still get honey from all 30.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,042

    Default Re: increasing amount of hives (lost 6 had a question)

    i agree with the others adam. how many hives do you want to have?
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,284

    Default Re: increasing amount of hives (lost 6 had a question)

    I would only add, if you want to try some other genetics you could just order and add queens to your splits. If not raise your own as advised above.
    I only wish I had 20% losses.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Citrus County, Florida, United States
    Posts
    241

    Default Re: increasing amount of hives (lost 6 had a question)

    Split from the hives that have made it through the most winters is my vote. Since you already have a solid number of hives, if it were me, I'd be looking to multiply those bees that seem the hardiest. With the apiary at a manageable level, I'd think now is the time to "close the herd" and start expanding upon the stock that has served you the best. If you're not keen on queen rearing or walk-away splits, maybe look to start bringing in the queen stock that you like as opposed to packages or more nucs.

    Just my .02

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    8,442

    Default Re: increasing amount of hives (lost 6 had a question)

    What is your worry with 24 hives? Where to you want to be and how fast do you want to get there? Can your apiary support the number of hives you are aiming for?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Pike, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    286

    Default Re: increasing amount of hives (lost 6 had a question)

    I would go into this season with 24, make sure the area can support that many year round. Make nucs during swarm season and start learning how to overwinter them. Make increase or replace the deadout's with these nucs

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