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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One aspect i love about beekeeping is the strategy/planning/mental gymnastics that goes into trying to make this season better than the last.
-> how to make spring nuc building easier
-> how to get higher mating percentages in mid summer queens
->how best to overwinter in terms of configurations. So far ive been lucky and have only lost 3 colonies total over the last 3 winters.
-> how to expand and not have my wife kill me etc


So here is where im at currently:
3 yards
Around 60 colonies ( i think lol)
-> I typically have 30-35 production colonies and 20-30 nucs going in MP 4/4/4 arrangement
I will likely add a few colonies to each production yard and a few more of the double overwintering nuc arrangements.

I prefer to winter in double deep 10 frame hives without honey supers although you know sometimes i end up leaving supers on.

Im a sucker for experimenting in my yards. This year i brought 3 single 10 frame deep colonies through upstate NY winter
-> may have been a fluke so in 2021 im going to set up a dedicated singles yard with 10-12 colonies and see how they go.

I plan on trying to maintain queen castles and small nucs throughout the entire year so that i have a constant supply of mated queens on hand. I graft my own queens (another part of beekeeping im addicted to) but sometimes you need a mated queen now and dont have time/weather left to wait another month or more for a grafted cell to get to be a mated queen.

I will use dry pollen sub this year for the first time. I have always used patties and will continue to do so in the winter months but will try dry ultrabee during the warmer months as needed.

I have signed up to do the master beekeeping course at Cornell for the 2022 spring classes.
We have finally bitten the bullet and formed an LLC /gotten insurance and are planning a barn build starting in 3 weeks to include a honey extraction room with heated floor/plumbing etc.
 

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I currently have three yards but would like to consolidate all on my honey producers to one area. We have another farm that is about a mile away that I would like to turn into a mating nuc yard. I have recently made some 3-frame nucs that will help with queen production. I have been studying Randy Oliver's "Queen's for Pennies" and I would like to make some supplemental income from selling nucs and mated queens. We have an old barn that has a 15x12 stall that we are converting into a bee room. We poured a smooth concrete floor with a drain last year and this spring I plan on insulating and making this room bug tight. I am in KY and the nights here are still around 30 degrees F. No drones yet :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
im going to try comb honey this year. I have 10 supers and wax ready to go but never got around to it last year.
 

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I moved far enough away from my existing hives 5 years ago that it was inconvenient for me to keep up with them and I also started working a lot more hours at the hospital, so, they dwindled down to just one active hive. Last September I finally sold my other house so I had to address the issue of that hive. I harvested about 60 pounds of honey from it and then let the bees settle down into two 10 frame deeps and put a strap around the hive in preparation of moving them. I went back about three weeks later at night and placed a moving screen over the entrance and moved them to my backyard. Over the winter I kept a watch on the activity at the entrance and I thought they were doing well. I was wrong. After the snow and ice that we recently had there was no activity. When I opened the hive, there were no bees, alive or dead. Also there were no stores at all. Just 20 frames of old dark brood comb. No signs of beetle or wax moth damage. All I can figure is that I killed my queen during the move and the workers died off and then the hive got robbed out.

So, I'm starting off this year with these plans:

Order 4 packages - done.
Put out some bait hives with my old brood comb. - done. (7 bait hives)
Make about 15 more bait hives and put them out.
Make a few new hives.
Repaint my existing hives.
Build some new hive stands.
In May - install my new packages.
Establish an out yard at another plot of land to put caught swarms on for treatment and evaluation before moving them to my home apiary.
 

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1. Get through the winter!
2. Order new woodenware-done, waiting for a pick up email.
3. Order 12 new Nucs-done
4. Set up a new bee yard on some property I own about five miles from home.
5. Splitting all of my existing hives, hopefully end up with 20-25 colonies (see 2 and 3)
6 Obtain VSH stock to re-queen splits and possible replacements (waiting on breeder)
7. Get a store bought haircut-momma tries but I'm looking like either Albert Einstein or Moe from the 3 Stoogies. (Today!)
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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My plans for 2021 include:

Learning to perform instrument insemination and purchasing the necessary equipment.
Increasing my nuc production capabilities
Continue breeding for reduced dependency on treatments

Honey is not a priority for me this year.
 

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I am going to try a 3 way box to bank a queen or 2 this year, I have had queen problems (squished or drone laying) a few times so having an extra queen available would be useful.

I may also break one of my hives into nucs and sell it. I have more hives than I need/want right now.

Maybe this year I will have better luck selling honey. I sold a lot (few gallons) to coworkers past years, but COVID really messed that up last year.
 

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I invested in an Instramentally Inseminated Buckfast breeder queen from New River Honeybees this year. Figured I'd better not keep all her genetics to myself (and try and earn back some of her purchase price) so I also invested in medium 5frame equipment to mate lots of her daughter queens. Since I likely won't receive her until June of this year, but wanted my mating nucs populated when she arrived, I reached out to other beekeepers in Virginia that keep inseminated breeder queens to see if we could start swapping genetics in April and May. That has grown into a loose network I am calling the Virginia Queen Bee Breeders Network in hopes that we can promote Virginia raised queens for Virginia beekeepers. The average beekeeper isn't quite ready to commit to raising their own queens but they seem pretty happy to buy good queen stock from someone in their state.
 
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