So I finished the beginner beek class offered by my local club yesterday.
It was pretty good - but of course I still have lots of questions.
I also just saw another thread on here talking about number of hives that relates to my situation.
I figured I'd start this thread and pick brains here. I will get my first bees next spring - 2016 - mainly to spread the cost of this new hobby out over this year!
I have Michael Bush's book and have watched him on YouTube (along with many others). His suggestions make sense to me.
I recently stumbled onto Michael Palmer - wow - lightbulbs went off. But with no beek experience the light flickers in the distance! I am reading (still in process) a huge thread on here that he started about his methods of overwintering and using nucs.
Here is my basic plan: hubby and I have about 6.5 acres in a neighborhood - we know where we want to locate the hives - and I can get our truck to them plus I can give them a water source in their bee yard.
I was planning to start with two hives - three might be do-able. Open to suggestions on two vs three.
I would like to go foundationless and TF. I really like the Kelly F style frames.
I think my back can handle running all 8-frame mediums at most - at this time I don't plan to use deeps - no way I can lift them. Plus I do like the idea of keeping everything the same size and interchangable.
I am leaning toward getting bees from a place about an hour or so away from me - Wolf Creek Apiaries. They should be ok with our winters - but open to suggestions on this too.
After watching Michael Palmer and hearing him talk about overwintering nucs, creating your own queens etc - I realize that will be something I need to figure out how to do. I don't want to order bees year after year! I don't want to do that to my pocketbook.
My goal with bees is to keep this as a hobby. Space-wise - I would be happy to grow up to probably no more than 10 hives. I think I would be totally happy at no more than 5 production hives for several years.
If I start out with 2 or 3 packages to become production hives.....how many nucs should I start with?
I found out our main flow here in middle TN is from May - June. Fall flow is hit or miss supposedly.
Since I am starting out new packages for my whole apiary - how/when (approximately) do I start these nucs? Seems like my production hives bees will have a big task just getting themselves going for the first year. I won't have so many hives that I can look at them and say "well this one here is healthy but not creating much honey - I'll split IT up into nucs".
Since I really want to keep this as a small-ish hobby - I'm unsure how to balance using the nucs to support my regular hives without winding up with too many bees or lots of swarms (granted I know I have minimal control over this - nature will find a way).
I know I'll suffer losses...hopefully my first winter will not be too cruel - but who knows.
I guess it boils down to - my goal is foundationless and TF - I like MP's method of overwintering nucs and creating my own queens - but how do I do that small-scale to keep this in the hobby realm - particularly in the first year or so just trying to learn and keep my production hives alive?
Fire suggestions when ready!
Thank you all!