How do you start?
In the interest of sustainability and security I would like to start creating a population of queens to have on hand for emergencies and expansion. Ideally I would like to have an apairy no larger than six production hives but with enough resources to replenish all but catastrophic losses.
The problem is I have no idea how to start. Ideally I would like to keep things simple as possible.
I currently have three hives, carnolians that survived their first winter well, by luck or by breeding I do not know but I am so far I am happy with them. They are as gentle as lambs and seem healthy. Last year I lost one hive because it became queenless and I was unable to raise another one, I ended up combining that one in with the others just before fall.
So what is your advice for creating a stockpile of health queens that can be used as needed? Ideally in a manner that could be overwintered.