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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,859

    Default What are your plans and goals for 2014?

    Every winter beekeepers reflect on the last season and make their plans for the next. Sometimes this reflection is painful, frustrating, enlightening or very satisfying. Many times, all of the above.

    There are a lot of things to think about before the next season starts. Cold rainy winter months are a great time to further educate yourself to strive for more success next year.That's the beauty of Beesourse!

    The first few years you have bees, It's hard to make plans for the next year, when so much depends on how your bees over winter and next season's weather. A person need to see how it goes and 'go with the flow' That's difficult to do, when you need to be making your equipment during the winter months, Prior to the next season. If all your bees over winter well, how much equipment will you need to accommodate spring growth? If you build a bunch of equipment and most of your bees perish, then what do you do? Are you willing to 'buy back into it' next spring with new packages or nucs?

    How does a beginner order queens six months before they know what they will need the next year? When ordering queens from producers, many times if you don't place your order early, you'll find queens are sold out for the season.

    These are questions a beginner faces, the uncertainty of the future. But it does get easier with experience and the confidence that goes with it.

    Here is an example of how I 'went with the flow' this year:

    2013 ended up being a year for expansion for me. Instead of selling all the queens I reared as I had planned, I kept more colonies, let them grow to overwintering strength and increased my hive numbers. I would have done this anyway, but did it on a much larger scale because of one very important thing.

    The price of sugar dropped dramatically from previous years.
    From $15.50 in 2011 to $9.89 in 2013 for 25# C&H sugar at Costco. That was a big unexpected price decrease and I took advantage of it as well as I could.

    It was a good year to make a lot of nucs.
    When you make nucs, you have to feed. And have to be prepared to make more equipment. Lots of work and expense.

    But in my opinion, your dollar is well spent when investing in a hive. You also invest in your ability.

    I now have 80 nucs overwintering instead of about 25. In 2014, I will have the choice of keeping these nucs and allowing them to become production hives,making mating nucs and raising more queens or selling the overwintered nucs in early spring to generate some revenue to pay for more equipment and supplies. I will likely do all three.

    I also took the opportunity to feed some colonies aggressively after the flow in order to get more new frames drawn out for use next year. Many times, I have found the lack of drawn frames was the only thing holding my back from progress. Getting frames drawn is still one of my highest priorities for good management and growth.

    Although it wasn't planned, I took advantage of the low sugar prices and slightly changed direction for the year. No, that isn't quite right. I didn't change direction, I continued to progress After the flow was over and hives are generally doing nothing more than existing.

    Your products from the hive can vary from year to year once the hive is well established, Some years it can be honey production, possibly pollination services, some years colony increases, selling nucs, raising and selling a few extra queens, harvesting wax for cosmetic or candle production. You can't be set in stone before the next season presents itself. I guess what I am saying is, If it ends up being a bad year for honey production, look for other opportunities to make the hive work for you.

    Managing your hives is not only keeping them healthy and productive, but getting the biggest bang for your buck.
    Remaining flexible and taking advantage of sales or seasonal opportunities. Make your hives work for you, not against you.

    A hobbyist has the luxury of flexibility. One doesn't necessarily have to make a profit, but you can easily make your hives pay for themselves. No need to be a drain on the old bank account. A hobby that at least pays for itself makes for a happy supportive spouse.

    My 2014 plans are to simply continue with building my hive numbers for both queen rearing and honey production. Apply what I figured out last year. Buy as many 8 frame deeps, black rite cell and unassembled frames as I possibly can afford, in bulk during Mann Lakes Black Friday sale. With the inevitable price increases and value of the dollar declining, those prices will likely never be seen again.
    With the fact I am only three hours from commercial apple production in Eastern Washington State and my hives have reproduced like rabbits over the last few years, I have to also consider pallitizing my hives and getting into pollination on a small scale (50-100 hives). I already have the truck and trailer to do the job and it would fund my bees for the rest of the year, pay for II equipment and allow me to continue research and developement. I already have this many hives, but am not palletized yet and won't jump into pollination until I have researched the in's and out's. 2015 would be the year for that if I do it.

    (Although this thread is directed at hobbyist's, you commercial guys please chime in. We know the scale of your business is quite different, but we would be interested to hear of your challenges and goals for the upcoming season too)

    I'll keep on making swarm traps...

    Last edited by Lauri; 11-25-2013 at 09:24 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: What are your plans and goals for 2014?

    Nice thoughts!

    As a beginner, I'm mostly concerned with getting through the winter, but I do have plans for the spring. I started out with one hive this spring, and now have 6 colonies. One is the original, from a local nuc, one was from a package, which went laying worker and took 6 weeks to requeen, two are splits from the original colony, one was a swarm I trapped, and one is a colony I brought back from NY because it didn't have enough stores in October to winter. All are doing well, with a couple of frames of brood left-- it only rarely freezes here-- last winter no freezes at all, and this has been the usual pattern for the last few years. I don't know how these will do, since I don't treat, but so far so good. I keep expecting them to die, but they haven't yet.

    My plan is to split these early and build them up on the early flows here in NW Florida, and then take a number of nucs north to NY. Last spring, I didn't get any northern nucs until late May and they missed out on a lot of the nectar flows, partly because they weren't real nucs, they were packages on comb.

    I'd also like to try some of the Russian hives as detailed in Fedor Lazutin's book. Three of my hives here in FL were long deep Langstroths, and they are a delight to work, compared to a vertical Langstroth. The Russian hives are similar, but the comb is much deeper-- two deep frames fastened together. The idea is to have a honey dome above the nest, without the complications and disturbance attendant on conventional vertical lang equipment.

    I'm going to do a lot more swarm trapping in NY, because that's fun, and because I need the locally adapted genetics. I also hope to acquire some bees from a treatment free beekeeper a few miles from my NY yard, but free bees are very attractive.

    Naturally, I intend to keep reading BeeSource, and annoying my betters...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Spring Tx
    Posts
    131

    Default Re: What are your plans and goals for 2014?

    My plans are to wait out winter, keep reading Bee source, take what I've read and start my first hive in April, clear my head a couple times before they get here (information on this site gets overwhelming at times) and just have fun with the girls. Just hope I don't make too many mistakes.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Knox Co, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    894

    Default Re: What are your plans and goals for 2014?

    My plans are to raise more queens next year. Producing more comb honey would be a second goal.

    Hopefully there will be a good black locust flow. Most local people sell the locust honey for a premium. I found it to be too mild in flavor for my tastes. It is my wife's favorite to eat on toast. Most of my honey costomers prefer something with more flavor too. However, locust comb honey is very attractive.

    Tom

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    redfield, south dakota usa
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: What are your plans and goals for 2014?

    my goal is to find a hot beekeeping (single) chic

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,462

    Default Re: What are your plans and goals for 2014?

    Over the past several years I've been able to try out quite a few different setup styles and management strategies. I think I've finally settled into a comfortable place that works for me and for the most part will stick with it.

    One new thing I will finally be trying this coming year will be overwintering nucs for 2015. I have all winter now to prepare equipment and get things ready. I really like the idea of having extra queens available in early spring to fill in the gaps on dead outs. And who knows, there may be a little money to be made selling overwintered nucs. I'll start out with a handful and see how it goes.
    To everything there is a season....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morris Plains, NJ USA
    Posts
    255

    Default Re: What are your plans and goals for 2014?

    Already ordered two nucs for the spring. If the present hives survive the winter in good shape we'll try our hand at splitting and making new queens. This doesn't sound like much to the experienced and long term beeks but we are still novices, learning by mistakes and successes.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sullivan, MO
    Posts
    903

    Default Re: What are your plans and goals for 2014?

    My plan is to get a good handle on grafting queens, better success in getting those queens thru emergence and mating, expand my nuc sales to 25+, increase honey production to over 200lbs, and my hive #s over 25. I know this doesn't seem like much, but I'll work on my ambition.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    S Hadley, Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    710

    Default Re: What are your plans and goals for 2014?

    Plan to next year as follows:

    1. Get better at grafting and raising high quality queens.
    2. With high quality queens, make more splits.
    3. Sacrafice honey production for more hives.
    4. By end on the season have 40-60 hives.
    5. Further woodenware business buy reaching more new and experienced beekeepers.
    Pearl City Apiary Michael and Loucil Bach

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Birmingham, AL. USA
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: What are your plans and goals for 2014?

    I love to read and the bee bug has bitten me hard. Next spring I will own my first hives. I'll finally be able to practice the art of beekeeping and counting down the days till my first two packs arrive. I'd also like to add to the fore mentioned goals, to get my kids making their own candles, soap and lotion. So far my youngest is liking the idea of making her own items to sell and I'm pumped for her. To get her in the yard with a veil would be better than awesome.
    Andy

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Bayfield, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    163

    Default Re: What are your plans and goals for 2014?

    I'm in the second half of my second year of keeping bees. I have 4 langs and 2 top bars. My hopes are to learn to graft queens and have some on standby for club members who find themselves without one. Happens all the time! I really want to grow my apiary to about 16 within the next couple of years. Though we will have to move, to make this happen, because the apiary as it is has outgrown my neighbors. I am treatment free and hope/plan on remaining so. My husband bought me a chop saw, so I hope to use it often building nucs etc etc. As our future club President (next year) I hope to be able to help and encourage other beekeepers, esp newbies, so so much info to process as a newbie, not saying I'm not still one, but just remembering what it feels like to have so many questions and twice as many answers.
    "Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever." year 3, 14 langs and 2 top bars
    www.4cornersbeekeepers.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Knoxville, Tennessee USA
    Posts
    60

    Default Re: What are your plans and goals for 2014?

    Nice insight Lauri…!
    My 2014 plan is to increase from 2 hives to 6-8 next year via splits in the spring/summer. I plan on ordering at least 1 new package in the event my 2 first year colonies don't make it overwinter. I plan on buying 2 or 3 high quality queens for the splits and allow the others to raise their own queens…can't wait until spring…!
    Tommy

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Hartford, CT
    Posts
    600

    Default Re: What are your plans and goals for 2014?

    10 hives
    10-20 spring nucs for others.
    Using my new Maxant 20F extractor to its true potential.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Terre Haute, Indiana
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: What are your plans and goals for 2014?

    I recently purchased at auction 2 acres of wooded land right next to some prime bee forage. Wildflowers galore almost all spring and summer.

    My plans through the winter is to clear the south 1/3 of the property of the trees so I can move my 4 hives out there. I would like to split at least 3 of the hives assuming they all make it through winter. The 4th will be strickly for honey. I also plan on have 5-6 bait hives at the property to hopefully catch a few feral swarms.

    I also hope to trap some pollen in 2014 and see if I can't tap into this market a bit.

    At least this is the plan.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Hartford, CT
    Posts
    600

    Default Re: What are your plans and goals for 2014?

    Quote Originally Posted by Broglea View Post
    I recently purchased at auction 2 acres of wooded land right next to some prime bee forage. Wildflowers galore almost all spring and summer.

    My plans through the winter is to clear the south 1/3 of the property of the trees so I can move my 4 hives out there. I would like to split at least 3 of the hives assuming they all make it through winter. The 4th will be strickly for honey. I also plan on have 5-6 bait hives at the property to hopefully catch a few feral swarms.

    I also hope to trap some pollen in 2014 and see if I can't tap into this market a bit.

    At least this is the plan.
    Why do you need to clear the trees? The bees don't mind. You'retaking out pollen sources for them too then?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tipton, TN, USA
    Posts
    784

    Default Re: What are your plans and goals for 2014?

    My plan is to have more bees at the end of summer than I started with. *grins*

    Try to start feeding/brood building sooner in the year with external pollen feeders and internal/top syrup feeders with pollen sub mixed into the syrup.

    Replace most of my pine woodenware with cypress. Sourced a local sawmill and bought a bunch of 1x8x12 cypress boards at 4bucks per.

    Try dipping woodenware in rosin/wax mixture and 2 coats of exterior paint. I want these boxes to outlive me. *grins*

    Order a few packages, queens, and possibly a pile of queen cells to test that out.

    Build a bunch more mating nucs and post hangers to mount them on and I'll strap the lids down this time around. *mumbles about raccoons*

    Try checker boarding/nectar management to see if I can get larger hives that are less inclined to swarm early during the nectar flow.

    Build new hive stands that are mounted on 6x6 posts concreted in the ground. I'm tired of dealing with sinking concrete blocks and leaning towers of honeybees.

    Depending how all the splits go, I'll look at going into winter with significantly more nucs for other wintered queens/earlier build up.

    Might buy an II breeder queen from VP or Latshaw, still weighing the benefits on this. I mated/sold ~100 queens last year and it was half hearted attempt. I'd like to do 5-6 times that, but will have to see how work treats me on travel.

    Probably more things that I need/want to do, but that's a lot of work...
    Last edited by KevinR; 11-18-2013 at 08:41 PM.
    Solo for the last 4 Years, ~60 Hives, TF + Oils.
    http://tradingwebsites4bees.com

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Bay Springs, Mississippi, USA
    Posts
    95

    Default Re: What are your plans and goals for 2014?

    IF everything goes well this winter and I make it thru with 2 healthy hives as planned, my plans are to split, I have 2 more nucs ordered already and 10 queen cells. I have a great mentor and we are looking to increase numbers as much as possible.
    Its going to be a fun learning spring. I am looking forward to it as a 3 year old would Christmas morning.

    IF everything goes well this winter..

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Terre Haute, Indiana
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: What are your plans and goals for 2014?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBuzz View Post
    Why do you need to clear the trees? The bees don't mind. You'retaking out pollen sources for them too then?
    That is true, but I need the logs for my Shiitake Farm.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Littlerock, California, USA
    Posts
    951

    Default Re: What are your plans and goals for 2014?

    I plan to work on what sounds like a common goal, making splits to compensate for the winter losses. I will work with store bought queens since I am south of the AHB line. As a hobbyist, I am comfortable with four hives, not interested in a profit with minimal manipulations. Next year I would like to go into winter with six hives.
    “Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end”

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Downingtown, PA
    Posts
    252

    Default Re: What are your plans and goals for 2014?

    Part of a post I put in the Colony Update (PA) thread.


    For 2014, I plan to:

    Establish a new apiary in Western PA on a family Farm - We already prepared the site for a 25x25-ish fenced in area (bear country)

    Move many of my local hives to the new site. I have 17 hives going into winter. Hives making it to the spring flow will be split once the flow gets going to get the new apiary up and running.

    Get more swarm traps built and deployed. I was lucky enough to capture 9 swarms using traps in 2013.

    Sell more 6 frame medium NUCs with good laying queens. (I make my own custom NUC boxes).

    Venture into queen rearing. I have done spring splits basically using the mdasplitter.com OTS methods, but want to give grafting a try.

    Put the queen castle I built this year to use. I built a four bay castle (medium frame size), but have not cut the entranced yet. I will get this ready to go over winter and give it a go in the summer.

    Find a new Apiary site in the West Bradford Township area of Chester county (small farm preference) where I can establish some hives and NUCs.

    Take many more hives into honey production, but leave more honey behind.

    Focus on making more robust hives late in the year. Pay more attention to my queens and replace my weak ones with daughters from my booming hives.

    Bring in a couple new high quality queens to extend my genetics. Was part of a group buy this summer and got a couple FULL Bloom Carniolan queens (http://www.fullbloomapiaries.com/). I would be up to do something again in 2014 and maybe get a couple VSH queens.

    Have a couple queens on reserve in mating NUCs for the end of season if I find a hive has gone queenless in September. It would be nice to know I have a couple on reserve. I needed one this year.

    Do better record keeping.

    Creep closer to going into the black. Seems I can always find something to spend money on to support the hobby.

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