So, what's up this year?
Well, great news thus far. As of yesterday when I stopped by one of my outyards, I have 100% survival of my 23 hives. After last year's survival numbers (10/11) I am really stoked that my methods are finally being proved to be successful. Just in time for my tenth anniversary of the day I drove to Orland California and bought my first 20 packages of bees.
This year, I plan on continuing to do what I began last year.
I will be making more queens and nucs: I have talked to several of last year's customers and as far as I know, they've had 100% survival of my stock. I already have around ten reservations for queens and nucs. After making 30 hives out of 7 last year, I should be able to make easily as many this year and make a fair amount of honey too.
I will continue my switch to medium hives: I just finished (minus paint) eight new medium boxes. It was great to fire up the old table saw again, though somehow I bent the fence. And it is definitely an old table saw, it's older than me. But it's a quality machine, all cast-iron and whatnot. I need to make more of my ten frame nucs, but in medium sizes. I need to start moving mediums to the outyards and deeps back home. Selling nucs will get rid of my deep frames and I will need to buy more medium ones.
I'm not going to attempt to catch swarms: Last year I expended a lot of time, effort, and resources to put up swarm traps and got less than 10% return. Now that I have as many hives as I want, I don't need them anyway.
I will continue to grow the hives that I have: I have about a dozen deep boxes remaining, totally empty, ready for foundation. And after my incredible increase from last year, I have a lot of hives which will need supering very soon. Right now it is cold and the foundation is brittle so I'm holding off on that chore for the time being.
Settling into final numbers: I originally wanted to run 20 hives, but with two locations with space for 8 each and the home yard with space for nine, 25 sounds about right. I shall have to be more diligent this year in the fall with combining weak hives. Not that they have trouble wintering, they seem to do fine, but I want to focus genetics on hives that are a little larger and build up faster in the spring.
And of course, I'll continue to be obnoxious on Beesource.com. I have to keep needling the naysayers, explaining that after all these years, it still can be done and I am still doing it.