Greg, I would agree at some point it is like a game. Anticipate the next move, have a Strategy, make your play and learn. Also +1 to Mike P if it ain't fun why do it? My old challenge was to "be ready" Now I have a dry erase board on the wall. looking at supering next summer backwards to today. And box count , hive count etc. So I see my job for this week is to make 5 NUC bottoms and lids and order 5 more NUC boxes. then in Feb is making some supers.Like I said in my "blog" if I recall - I realized what I have been doing is a "reality game" - that is really the fun factor.
We, in the family, enjoy playing strategy games (a good example - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carcassonne_(board_game))
I do the same, only on an area of several square miles and with the time scope going in years.
Lots of variables; many of these are outside of my control (weather, landscape, people, beekeepers with their own bees and methods, regulations, etc, etc).
My goal is to survive the environment and get the high quality returns with the least possible effort.
I have hard time explaining to my kids the concept of my game.
Outsmart, outplay, survive - "The Survivor. CBS".
4 plus a couple of nucs for queen replacement. I also love catching swarms so i may give away some.Started with 4 this year and ended with 5. I’d love to hear from backyard beekeepers about the fun threshold and the right number of hives for them and why. My 5th colony was a swarm and its presently overwintering in 1/2 of a resource hive snuggled up to a big colony. Right now the best number seems to be 5 regular sized colonies and 2 nucs within a resource hive. Anything more would seem like work. I love the bug. I also like having a population threshold to share resources. Not even interested in honey if I’m being honest about it. Have you started with larger numbers then scaled back? Or the opposite?
If you have good queens 5 in my opinion is totally sustainable. And yes the research says that when you get to 5 the odds dramatically improve having at least one winter over. What I didn't plan on was 100% survival. I'm trying to stay away from being overly enthusiastic about a skill like splitting and then resent the hobby. Fun to me is about building confidence over time. Right now I'm enjoying feeding them snack food.I am new at this so I can't say how successful I will be, but I can't see myself having more than 5 colonies.
If you treated aggressively for mites, have a good queen and good nutrition chances are they will make it. First year is a nail biter though. That's why I use vivaldi boards. Something about opening them up and seeing them through the screen is a lift.I now have 5 plus 1 NUC I am trying to get through the winter for the first time. It is a medium stacked 5x5 and so far it looks like it is doing well. I had a VSH queen that I ended up not needing for a strong hive and started the NUC. I am keeping my fingers crossed and a close eye on it. I prefer 2 hives but ended up getting called to pick up 3 different swarms around the area and they took off. I hope to get them through the winter and donate to new bee keepers in the spring. Hope it works out...
View attachment 61203 This is what they look like. Mine is a hybrid of the Mannlake winter cover with some extra height and holes drilled in the sides covered with hardware cloth. The idea is to remove excess moisture from the hive. A simple screen filled with wood chips would do too. It doesn’t have to be expensive but these boost over winter success by another 10-20%.[QUOTE="Ranger N, post: 1845835, member:
Vivaldi board? I have never used one. you have good luck with them? Do you make your own or do you order from somewhere? Something I may consider going forward if they increase winter survival, especially for NUCs. Do you have a picture of one? Thanks...
I'm familiar with Roseburg. Farm life must have been serene. I have an acre but I'm surrounded by Deschutes National Forest so I can ride my horse out my driveway into the forest on an endless trail system. As far as feeding with the vivaldi board; I feed under the screen and within that square in the middle so they have a food court basically around that hole in the middle. When I want to replenish I take a jar of loose sugar and my water spritzer and pour sugar through the screen then spritz it to make a slurry.OK. I have seen those but Have never used one like that. I use a 1”x3” shim with 2 1” holes drilled on either side with window screen covering the holes. The bees tend to Propolis the screen pretty much closed but I think leave what they are comfortable with letting air pass thru. Never thought of placing #8 hardware screen on the bottom for observation. I reckon I could try that and place sugar cakes right on top of the wire for them if they need it in late winter? Hmmm...
I see you are from Sisters, OR. I grew up west of you across the Cascades just S of Roseburg on a small farm. My folks had bees back then and so grew up around bees. Joined the Military and finally settled down in SC due to family and weather. I definitely enjoy the mild temps. We used to hunt mule deer out of Chemult I think, every year for 2 weeks at a time when we were younger as a family. I also enjoy fly fishing that area of the state when I get back that way. Good luck going into and through the winter over there. Thanks..