the recent arctic blast led to over 72 continuous hours of subfreezing temps at my location in northeast alabama. i realize that's not too drastic when compared to what many of you in the north see but for us that is well below normal for here and it was the first real overwintering challenge for my bees. i made the rounds with the stethoscope today and to my relief i still have decent cluster roar in 18/18 hives.
i had mentioned in other threads that i was considering chronicling my 2015 season here on the forum. the purpose for doing so is because there has been interest expressed for more detailed information regarding the real life successes and failures involved with keeping bees off treatments. so i begin this thread with that expressed intent, primarily for information sharing and educational purposes, with all humility and with no desire to toot my own horn or otherwise. the one selfish objective i have in doing this is the hope that some of you seasoned veterans will chime in with feedback and suggestions.
background: as stated in my tagline i started with bees in the summer of 2010. i started with stock obtained from a supplier who began breeding from feral cut outs in 1996 and has not used treatments the whole time. i still get some queen cells from him from time to time but mostly propagate my own queens via splits and grafts. i run all langstroth equipment, and most hives are a single 10 deep with medium supers. i use 5 frame deeps for nucs. foundation is mostly ritecell, although i have begun adding foundationless frames to the deeps. i generally avoid artificial feeds, but have made exceptions when indicated. the operation is a sideline business (llc) intended to produce supplemental income through honey and nuc sales.
2015 goals: i seek to maximize the profitability of the operation to the extent possible while maintaining the colonies off treatments and avoiding artificial feeds. my specific goals this year involve having every colony 'earning its keep' by providing harvestable honey and/or nucs. i would like to average one nuc sale and 100 lbs of honey sold for every hive that survives winter, and then end up with around 20 established colonies and a handful of nucs going into next winter.
so much for the introductory post. i'll take this opportunity to offer my many thanks to the fine contributors on the forum who have been a huge part of the learning process for me. here's wishing everyone a successful 2015 of beekeeping!