A little potential market research here today. Back to the same old subject, spring replacement bees for the folks in the colder parts of our country.
I've only got 4 of these this year, so, this is not about what can be done now, but I am interested in feedback on this stuff. Sun came out for a bit earlier today, and I was curious how things are shaping up in the yard. I popped open the nucs a couple weeks back when the weather started to warm up a bit, pulled an empty frame out of the side, and put in a feeder. They all got half a patty, and a gallon of syrup. These are nucs I started with 2 frames of bees and a cell around June 1 last year, left them to winter in 2 high stacks of 5, which they built out over the summer. They are all still in the top box, but starting to use the bottom box now for pollen and nectar, no brood down there yet.
I remembered to take the camera (phone) with me when I went back there today and popped the lid to see how they are doing. Here's what I found, and this one is typical of them.
The two middle frames have nice big brood patches in all stages. Center of the patch has emerged, and there are fresh eggs there. Outer edges are almost ready to come out now. I didn't find the queen in the center, but found her looking over the empty frame beside the feeder. She's just started to lay on that one, so it'll be the third frame with brood in another week. There are some eggs in the cells, but nothing is in larvae stage yet.
These pictures are today, April 4th, taken around noon. In another two or three weeks, they wont fit in a single 5 frame box anymore. I've done it two years in a row now on this small scale, and, this is typical of what they look like, except we are 10 days behind based on last year. So now it's time to ask questions of those more experienced, that actually do this for a living.
a) What is good about these ?
b) What is bad about them ?
c) Is this a product folks in colder areas would find appealing at this time of year ?
d) If so, how early would you want them ? How late ?
We bought a new place this year, so, I have more than a little incentive to scale this up. I've now got the space to do it, and our new place in in the agricultural land reserve, so no issues with zoning / neighbors anymore with respect to keeping bees. If I scale this up, aside from direct sales revenue, I've got significant tax incentives to show specific levels of revenue from an agricultural product now, and early spring bees are a qualified product.
Am I even on the right track here assuming one can scale this up and produce a much larger quantity ?????