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I'm getting back into bee keeping after being more of a bee haver for the last 5 or 6 years. I've decided I want to take it more seriously moving forward. I started the season with 1 strong colony. Purchased 2 packages, cut a colony out of the roof of a building, and made up a nuc with some queen cells that sprang up along the way.. So this season I'm hoping to go into winter with 5 healthy colonies. Next year I'd like to get up to 10. The year after 20. These are just rough goals, but you get the gist (I'd like to be small time commercial-ish). I'm curious how to balance honey production vs increases. What different strategies are used to increase, and the pros and cons of them. I'm not wanting to spend more then I have to, so buying packages probably isn't what I'll go for. I did some research, but I'm not finding what I want (A list of different approaches and compare contrast between them). I'd be grateful if anyone knows a good website that goes over all this.

What my current assumed strategy now is, A) Lots of bait hives B) advertise for swarms C) Split some of my strong colonies in early spring.

I'm curious about making nucs after the main honey flow for overwintering (vs spring splits). I'm curious about raising my own queens for making splits.. I'm curious what I don't know about, what I'm not thinking about :)

Thanks all
 

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I will be following you on this research path. Couple things come to mind. It seems to me that when you buy a package, you are really just buying a queen. If you already have active colonies, you can shake enough bees to support simply buying a queen that you get specifically for her traits and breeder's reputation. Also, at some point, queen rearing, grafting and the like would be a strategy to get into so that you are increasing from your existing stock, rather than buying anything (queens, packages, nor nucs). There seem to be a few systems out there, but enough videos showing "poor mans" and "simple" queen rearing.
 

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You sound like me, take a look at my channel, I started with 2 packages a year ago, now have like 27 in all counting mating nucs, make 2 frame mating nucs, and do walk away splits, then go back and divide up the cells they made in the 2 framers.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Item C is the best and surest way to increase your apiary size. One of.the easiest splits to increase colony count starts with a strong colony, at least a double deep. Remove the queen to a nuc with a frame of bees or two. Let the colony create queen cells. The following week, split that colony into as many nucs as you have frames with cells on them. Learn how to cut out and move cells in case most end up on just one or two frames. Timing is everything. Splits can be done prior to the flow with hives not intended for production, and right after the flow for all hives, including the ones you split earlier.

Feed syrup and pollen patty or dry sub as much as they will take when not on the flow. You need the bees to make bees and nutrition is very important. There can be no dearth as far as they are concerned. Start making your nuc and hive components now. Buy a couple hundred frames and get them assembled. Be ready so you are not scrambling when things start working out. Don't worry too much about queen rearing right now. For the numbers you need, let the bees take care of that headache. Not all nucs will make it. Some will get robbed out, some the queen won't return, some just won't thrive. Even still, you should easily be able to double your hive count every year just by splitting. With a little experience and effort you can often get four or five nucs from a single hive over the course of a season.

I catch swarms in traps for the fun of it, not because I need bees. I do swarm captures as a community service, my way of giving back (and I get the bees).

Overwintering nucs require that you effectively treat for mites and follow the recommendations of other local and successful beekeepers regarding insulation and feeding. Nucs coming out of winter are powerhouses and will build rapidly.
 
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