Well as stated in the title year one went swimmingly well: Started with six colonies, caught a swarm, did a split, had some swarm, had a failing queen and drone laying workers, had a very warm autumn so that 100lbs of honey I left on top of the hives got ate up quick so had to do emergency feeding. In short I had many opportunities to learn from non fatal mistakes. The honey yield was pretty bad this year, only harvested about 300lbs. Monitored for varroa and saw very little off one hive. Went and visited the apiary and the bees were out on cleansing flights, still have food, and a decent sized cluster. Now I am anxious and itchy for spring!
So my goal for next year is to be up to around 25-30 hives, have an overwintered nuc for each colony, and do some queen rearing/selling. My question is what should be on my to-make list in the woodshop? Im figuring for about 25 hives I need the following:
- 50 Deeps
- 50 Mediums
- 25 5 Frame Nucs
- 4 3x3 Frame Queen Castles
and then all frames/BBs/Top Covers
Optimistically half my bees make it, and I can do early spring splits with new queens and get back up to eight colonies. From there harvest swarm cells as I see them and fill up the queen castle. Once the queens hatch move them into a 5 frame Nuc. I figure by June they might be ready to get into a single hive colony, at which point try my hand at some grafting to produce queens to overwinter in nucs. I will also be putting all my nucs into another yard so if/when varroa becomes a problem in the honey production yards it wont drift over as much. If it does become a problem ill debate confining the queen to brood break (depending on the nectar flow).
So I suppose do you think that ratio of equipment will yield a sustainable turnover? Or would you adjust it and how?