January… Welcome to a new year!
I was talking to my dad on his birthday, and as the subject so often does, we ended up talking about bees. His hives seem to be doing well, but he’s talking about moving from top bars to Langstroths. He just can’t seem to get them to overwinter yet. He’s never had a survivor hive, while I’ve lost a grand total of one to winter (if I remember right). I think it’s a good move, though I hope he goes medium 8-frame supers solely for the weight. I know that if I were to start over, that’s what I would do.
But talking to him, got me excited for bees again. I miss my girls. They were out and about on Christmas Day (a warm day with temps above 45), and it was fun to see that activity. This last year, I had a goal of being cost neutral for the bees, and we didn’t quite achieve that. I sold about $400 worth of products and what not, but I probably spent $500. This year, the goal is again to be cost neutral, which I think is achievable. I will again try to build and sell two or three nucs. It all depends on how many survivor queens I see. If I get three survivors, I’ll look at three nucs. Two survivors, two nucs. At a $100 each, that gets me a good start to having a cost neutral year.
I’m debating adding a fourth hive to the mix as well. If dad goes to Langstroths, he’s promised me a top bar. I’m not sure I will or will not do that just yet simply for the workload, but I do enjoy the hobby, especially now that I’m turning it into my hobby again instead of what it had become. I also have a guy in the ward who is committed to helping this year. It’ll be nice to have a partner in crime. I may experiment with less contact this year as well. My first three years, I maintained an every-two-weeks schedule for the hives. I may go down to every three or even four weeks. That means a grand total of maybe 8-10 visits to the hives all year, which is good for me. As much as I love to do beekeeping, it does represent a significant emotional and time burden on me, especially the emotion. Hopefully that continues to fade over time.
Anyway… Another three months until we get our first peek inside! Heck, if we have a warm March, we may be all of 9 or 10 weeks out! 🙂