I normally wouldn’t write this kind of stuff, but it’s on my mind at the moment. I sit back at times and wonder not how I do what I do, all I do, but why I do what and all I do. Currently I have a wonderful wife, 2 twin girls, 1 baby on the way, 3 alpacas, 3 sheep, 30 chickens, 3 hogs, 1 steer to be, 2 dogs, a half acre garden, and 30 hives right now.
My plan is to have say 50 full size hives by the end of July and split them into 2 overwinter nuc, this will give me 100 nucs to tend to in the fall and winter. Then in early spring when they are ready to go into 10 frame hives I will then sell them before they need transfer. This will provide the new beek an overwintered proven queen and the possibility of honey their first year as they will be receiving a nuc prior to packages etc. This cannot be said for spring made nucs. Then with say the 50 nucs I keep they will build up for me and will need splitting again, so I will then sale spring made nucs. All this will provide me with a hobby that will pay for itself and hopefully make this business plan worthwhile.
However, the issue is getting there with my sanity in tacked. Currently my biggest battle is keeping up with equipment needs (I am behind on making screen bottoms and medium frames), and keeping up with the larger hives keeping them from swarming, which in the cases of my honey hives means weekly inspections and fingers crossed. But in the other hives that are growing they are bumping on swarming and in some cases I have split some into three hives due to swarm cells.
I also have far too many hives where I park (I believe about 15 or so now and some of my largest), this is starting to cause problems, and will cause problems once the populars stop blooming and these starting hitting the ground clover… So I need to move these hives and organize them all. But this has to be done at night and I have put it off for a while. The problem is this area keeps getting new bees…LOL
So currently week head plans will probably include another round of splits and possibly breaking my honey hives down and calling my honey amounts, but we will see. Based on what I can remember I have maybe 8-9 hives that need splitting with another possibly 3 at my dads I am inspecting this afternoon. Doing this and being aggressive means at or over 40 hives. I need to make sure I have 2 available for next Friday when my fancy Glen Apiaries Queens arrive at $123 each including shipping!!! Then I have another 10 queens from Russell Apiaries coming the first week in June. So I need to make sure I have enough hives strong enough to be split by then as well. I should but need to be sure.
I am struggling with the idea of splitting as I have been doing all I can including having some hives in 3 deeps to keep swarming off in prep for my Russell queens, but I also want to take advantage of the nectar flow for build up, and in some cases hives are not waiting till the first week in June! So splitting will occur. Most of my large hives could be split right now into 3 or 4 splits and build up fine, so splitting one hive off should be just fine.
I guess in the end I am worrying too much, I know in the back of my head I can make the hives if needed even from stealing 1 frame from 5 small hives and making a 5 frame split, after all I have 30 hives… But I worry anyways. This is really my main cause of stress is keeping these large hives, wanting to keep all bees, and make many splits. If I just split them down and gave up on anymore honey (after all I am out of drawn comb!), then all I would have to do is feed and inspect every so often, especially after I confirm a laying queen…
You can probably see my broken writing and thoughts that go round and round… but it is what it is.
In the end i am still enjoying all i do, so i will continue!