How many hives?
To keep bees treatment free, how many hives are required to be self sufficient over the long term?
I realize that there are a huge number of variables here, but I would like to get feel for other's experiences.
Re: How many hives?
I regularly recommend at least five. During my worst winter, I lost five of seven.
My current sustainable level is based more on time and energy than survival. I have 27 right now but my goal is 20. The seven are there to assure 20 on the other end of winter. I've lost a couple this summer, and I lost one of 11 last winter, but that was mild. I'm also planning on merging a few going into winter for the first time to eliminate the necessity of feeding.
Five at the very minimum.