Because of this wonderful "spring" we're having, the acquisition of my first nuc of bees has been delayed...which has given me a bit too much time to think about my plans for my first summer keeping bees. I've though-out a plan for the summer, with the obvious caveat that I'll likely have to alter it as I go to deal with curveballs from the bees and weather. Regardless, I was hoping that you'd be willing to critique it, and let me know if anything obvious is missing or out-and-out wrong.
A bit of context - I only purchased one 4-frame nuc (a dumb choice, I now know, should have bought at least 2) and have built one hive. My goal for this year is to split the new hive, and with luck, catch a swarm - and to then get those 2-3 hives to a healthy point where they can make it through winter. I'm not expecting to collect any honey this year, and I am managing my hives as single-deep broods. Our summer nectar dearth is normally July-August, fall nectar run typically ends in early October. Anyhow, the "plan":
- Pickup nuc, install the same day.
- Immediatly after nuc install, start feeding 1:1 syrup.
- Check feeder every day, perform first hive inspection 1 week after instillation
-First inspection goal: check for eggs & larva, try to find queen
- Continue feeding until bees stop consuming syrup, perform inspections every 5-7 days looking for laying/brood patterns, filling of frames and evidence of swarming preparation
- Split the hive if frames in hive are mostly full and hive starts forming swarm cells before summer nectar dearth:
-To new hive, transfer 3 frames of brood, a frame of honey and a frame of pollen, plus empty foundation frames. Add purchased queen (using cage with sugar plug). Check after ~4 days for release of queen.
-To the old hive, replace removed frames with empty foundation and release queen.
- If, through some miracle, hives fill up before fall: add queen excluder and honey super.
- After fall nectar run:
-Remove honey supers & queen excluders (if used)
-Treat hives with apavar strips
-Feed 2:1 syrup until frames are full and no longer taking syrup
- Wrap & insulate hives, providing fondant as an additional winter store
Is that at all reasonable, and something that I may be able to pull off over this year? Should I treat with OA during the broodless period, or is apavar earlier in the fall sufficient?