Remember, my primary aim (A1)is to build a varroa resistant apiary. This is all about understanding how to allow bees and mites to co-evolve such that the former are not bothered by the latter - and helping the process along.
To that end I need to understand how that happens - by studying how nature works - and act in ways that allow and encourage that to happen.
To do that I need bees, and lots of them. I need colonies. So a second high aim (A2) is keep alive any colony that can supply me with bees.
Whatever I do to meet the second need must not conflict with the primary need. That's all.
I kept on splitting well into August, partly to see if/how well they'd mate (learning is important too) and partly in an effort to raise numbers more to meet A2. I did this in the knowledge that they'd need feeding up hard. But I'd underestimated the degree to which they got robbed. Some simply couldn't build at all - and I think this may be because they we unable to defend themselves - they may be very good queens, but I didn't give them a good chance to make it alone.
Don't forgot I have notes about all this. If they build into good colonies this year, I can look at each one, when it was made, from whom, how well it built etc. in making judgements about whether I want to use it to supply genes.
Don't forget mine get no treatment at all. Their degree of abilty to handle mites will be plain in due course.
I'm not preserving unresistant genetics, and allowing them to spread, thus undercutting the all-important co-evolution both in my apiary and around it. That would be to undercut my own primary aim. Brood breaking does just that.
Take note too that while my primary breeding aim is resistant bees (and to that end I need lots of bees), other high aims are productivity and self-sufficiency. I am taking care to breed from the best, and so won't tolerate an inability to build well, at an appropriate time of year, and to make and keep stores.
But this year increase is a high second priority, while minimising any drawbacks that might present toward skewing other aims. To resistance there's no compromise at all.
I think that's a workable plan. As I said, this is an art as well as a science, and that my is best attempt at something that might work for me, given my aims and priorities.
Last year I found that the biggest drag on expansion was a shortage of bees with which to make more bees. I'm doing what I can within my main aims to overcome that problem this year.
Bear in mind I don't know if there's something wrong with most of my colonies, since I don't mark queens, or monitor inside all the hive closely. I don't know if the ones that are still going well after 3 years on no treatment haven't superceded, mated badly, and are about to collapse. (I do have 4 selected queens sequestered in nucs and watched closely).
PS I haven't opened the usual suspects' contribitions today, but I gather there's a complaint about my altering posts. I often edit posts later in order to improve clarity. But I don't, and wouldn't, shift a position in order to try to sucker someone. I pride myself on being an honest interlocutor. I think the event that caused trouble was one in which a response was made very soon after I'd posted. That's the worst time. Give it an hour or so and you'll probably see the final version.