Going into 5th year of beekeeping this year.
Winter isnt over but so far i have 15 larger hives in 3-5 deep boxes each ( i think 4-5 of them may have medium supers also) and 8 x 4/4/4 MP overwinter nucs going strong.
Assuming no further losses this year im trying to plan the strategy for our upstate NY relatively short season.
make and sell 20 nucs.
Take at least 14 x 4/4/4 overwintering nucs into winter 2019. I guess i could take more than this but i have enough of the double nuc equipment for 14 currently.
Expand to 20-25 production hives.
I also have 30 brand new mediums with undrawn foundations that need to be drawn out.
Graft and get mated 49 new queens to requeen 15 large hives, 20 nucs to sell and 14 overwintering nucs.
Catch a few swarms. I got 4 last year and actually they were awesome at drawing comb!!!!! If i get more this year that will be their primary job!
Honey production is lower down my personal list of priorities although i have to make some so in conjunction with nuc sales i can get some more bee toys without my wife killing me. I want the everything beevac, and a new uncapping tank and inline filter for extraction room.
I will graft queens for the nucs and overwintering nucs in late may. I have 100 deep undrawn foundations made up and have built 20 x 5 frame nuc boxes.
I figure i will pull brood from the overwintering nucs and checkerboard any hives that look like they may be close to swarming and use those frames for making nucs with my grafted queens and move all of the nucs to my other property for a few weeks before bringing them back.
Is it best to cut down the number of production hives actually making honey and give those say 10 hives all the empty built supers from the other 5 larger hives so i can maximize honey from those 10 colonies?
Or just give all the 15 larger hives 2 undrawn medium supers each and let them pull the wax and accept a much smaller honey crop this year?
I guess i could give them the undrawn supers and feed a ton of sugar syrup so they can pull the mediums out before the flow starts but i really dont want sugar water in my honey.
Sheesh there seems to be 1000 permutations to this hobby and strategies within it.
I like MPs way of doing things but i guess i had assumed i would be using the overwintering nucs to replace big hive dead outs and so far no deadouts. So should i just move the 8 nucs into 10 frame equipment and give them the mediums to start drawing out? Or leave them in their 4/4/4 configuration and use them as brood factories.
AAAGH help too many options!