Re: Summer 2013
nice report sol.
i started spring with 12 colonies, and they had gone through virtually all of their winter stores before spring finally arrived. i thought i was going to have to feed, but the first nectar flows came just in time.
7 of these 12 swarmed, some more than once, but i managed to catch 9 of them.
i ended up losing one of the colonies that swarmed (3 times) because they failed to requeen themselves and i didn't catch it in time (actually found a small patch of eggs a couple of weeks post swarm, i'm guessing she went out for one more mating flight and didn't make it back). this one was replaced by the strongest caught swarm.
another caught swarm was combined with a weak post swarm colony to make a double deep cell builder/finisher (cloake board method) that was used to get one round of grafts off at the end of main flow.
the remaining caught swarms were split using their queens and some of the grafted queens to make up a total of 14 five frame nucs for overwintering.
so that puts me at 12 established colonies and 14 nucs at this point in time.
i ended up giving the supers from the queen failed hive and the one combined for queenrearing to other colonies to finish. i harvested the equivalent of one medium from the swarms that were split, and gave their unfinished mediums to the production hives.
so far i've harvested 10 medium supers, and i should be able to pull about 10 more. this is about twice what i took last year. having drawn comb helps a lot. i stop harvesting when the goldenrod starts here, and i plan to leave more honey on the hives this year. (have been leaving just one medium of honey, will try to leave closer to 2 this year)
it's been more work than i signed up for, but it's been fun. i already have buyers lined up to purchase the nucs i don't need next spring. i would like to start making queens and nucs earlier in the season next year if there ends up being a demand for them. i don't think i want to produce much more honey than this, although it sells very well. another goal i have for next year is to get better at swarm prevention.
beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf