I'm in my 4th year of beekeeping and I am a small operation with 6 production hives and various nucs through out the year. In this early phase of my beekeeping I don't plan on growing more than around 10 hives plus nucs.
I try to set a goal each year of starting to learn a new aspect of beekeeping. My first years have been focused on keeping the bees alive and nucs, with the specific goal of not purchasing packaged bees.
I think I have become reasonably competent with making spring nucs from swarm cells and helping my bees survive. But the issue I tend to run into is that when I need a queen I don't have one or suppliers are out, and It is a pretty long process (and a little pricey) to get one.
Also I have a few hives that have good traits and a few hives that have not so good traits (propolize the fool out of everything).
So I have decided my project for this year is to start learning queen rearing on a small scale.
My Primary focus on beekeeping is the production of Honey for sale and a fun learning experience for myself and my children.
What methods would you more experience beeks recommend for a beek with a small operation on a learning level?
I don't think I want to tackle grafting yet.
I have done some reading on general queen rearing and I may be looking at this wrong, but I figured I would determine which method of raising queens first and focus my reading and research on that method.
Thanks For your help.