Sunday, March 6, 2011

Plans for increase.

 This is what the yard looks like (a week ago).

 Last year, the increase went well.  I went from two hives that survived the winter to 8 hives by mid-summer.  That's a fourfold increase.

I will attempt to do the same this year.

 Here's an idea for an open feeder that can't kill bees.  It's a hivetop feeder with a lid and a bottom board.

I'm counting on four hives surviving, one is kind of weak, I'm not sure how they'll do, so in engineering fashion, I won't count on them.  I have made up three swarm bait hives, and hope to catch a swarm or two, or more, who knows, it could be a good year, there could be nothing.

I have four queens coming from Zia Queenbee.  Barring unforeseen difficulties, they will be the next four.  I'll start them with several frames of brood each from the other hives which should be going full speed or better by then.  I also have about 40 frames of good drawn small cell comb to give them a good start.

 A new box/bottom design.  Will include a disc entrance.  Bottom permanently attached.  Skunk proof.

After that, or before that, depending on how it goes, I will induce a swarm in the best hive, then harvest the queen cells from that hive and start perhaps 8 new hives with those using again a couple of frames of brood for each.  I just said 8 because 8+8=16.  16 is the goal.  I might not get 8 good queens from that hive. 

If you have any ideas, comments are open.

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