I overwintered the first time this year because I used OAV (oxalic acid vapor). I failed in the past. I think I can use OAV to get TF (treatment free).
Last year, I put 3 packages in dead outs. I did 1 spring treatment The queens superseded around June 20. Hives looked queenless, so I swapped brood and queen cells weekly for 2 weeks. I did 3 rounds of OAV in summer/fall (5 treatments from day 0 to 20) and 1 winter solstice round (2 treatments from day 0 to 1). I open fed 33 lbs/hive in September and added 8 lb sugar bricks. I equalized and had 3 hives (4 mediums, mostly empty on top). I checked hives in late winter. They looked equal and about the same as in summer. I added 4 lb sugar bricks. All hives foraged pollen (starting in Feb/Mar). 1 died in Mar. I added it to the other 2. I made makeshift queens ASAP, and got 1. The old hives superseded the same time as last year. I made 2 more queens from a supersedure. I did a round of OAV and skipped mating nucs. A week later (7/24), I got 2 TF queens from Hall Apiaries. I installed 1 with a push in cage. The other flew immediately. I didn't know to install indoors. I grafted from my 1 Hall queen on 8/1. I didn't make a good cell starter or feed syrup right. They had plenty of food and bees. I got 3 cells.
- 10 frame foundationless mediums
- hive sizes in mediums: Hall queen: 0.7, bad queens: 0.7, 3, 3, 4, 4
- SBB (screened bottom boards)
- top entrances
When I mate the good queens, I will use excluders to stop my bad drones. They might have no drones to mate with. Should I buy more queens this/next year? How should I deal with the genetic bottleneck? I plan to not treat my Hall queen hive until I evaluate it next year. I will make/buy good 5 frame cell starter equipment.