This, however, is not through the bee club, the Piedmont Beekeepers Association. They are pushing for as many of us as possible to make Nucs from our own hives. Mainly to sell to the beginners class students and then to whoever needs bees locally, before or after next winter. Since the AHB has been found in GA the club opinion is to stop getting bees from down there. Which is fine by me but i'd like to have more than two hives before i start making nucs.
I will be making Nucs this year though. I don't know how many i'll make total but i plan to make at least 2. Good conditions may allow for more. I'll try to keep some extra boxes on hand for either nucs or swarms. The last club meeting was on making Nucs. Plus they covered 'Palmerization' which is turning an unproductive hive into all nucs. Which i could have done last year to both Mary & Myrina. Might have been carrying 6 to 10 nucs right through this winter if a had. Then i would have had a replacement queen to put in Duchess in November instead of combining her into Mary. Wish i had known that trick.
I hope to rear my own queens as well. The February club meeting will address queen making. I will need to requeen both Mary & Myrina again plus the two packages. The Nucs will need queens also. I don't look at beekeeping as a source of revenue but i would like to be able to meet my own needs. Selling nucs can pay for a good bit of equipment. I still want six hives at the house, plus a few more at a local farmers house.
This year is also when i will start the trek towards more natural beekeeping. The goal is to have a yard filled with survivor bees. Not this year but within maybe five years. I have seen so many of them in trees and abandon buildings lately. I know of three wild colonies nearby, plus Myrina was one originally; though i requeened her due to temperament. They all survive each winter and have been in their hives for years. I just wish the hives were easier to get to. One is a cut-out a mile and a half through the woods. Not a hike i relish carrying a box of angry bees on. The other two are just as difficult to get at.
These goals can be modified. If i only get one package i can make additional nucs instead. Though the big focus will be expansion of the bee yard i still hope to get a good batch of honey. Both current colonies are strong and doing well this winter. Neither has reached the top frames of it's hive yet. When they do i have twenty honey filled frames in storage to give them; all from Duchess. Plus i can give them sugar too. Though i may begin feeding the bees in late February with syrup.
Mary's population is very large due to the combination. I'll watch her closely for swarming. I may be able to make a nuc or two from her without affecting her ability to produce honey.
More bees & lots of honey to all of you...