Hi everyone. Help would be appreciated from anyone but asked Finman specifically as he is in Europe and I suppose the climate is not too different from ours in England.
I started with one hive this year and would like to expand to two or three next year. I could buy the queens I suppose but would like to experiment in rearing.
Firstly, when would the best time of the year to start? I don't want you to go to too much trouble - perhaps there is a web site or some recommended reading?
Thanks very much.
I have been in England 6 times. Our climate in Finland is very different that of England. Summer is very same like, but it is 2-3 monts longer than we have. But winter and spring are different. I was in London the middle of Marsh and there was cherry in blossom. In Finland that time at the end of May. Willows begin to bloom at the begining of May in Finland.
You have your first hive now. There is no sence to divide that hive with new queens. You should to learn what happens in the colony during the season. When you have learned it, you can anticipate, what bees are going to do and you try to lead their colonies succes from step to step.
If beekeper does not know, what bees are going to do, nursing operations will not have sence in real meaning. To learn bees' habits so that bigg surprises any more occur, it took me 7 years. Some have nursed 20 years and never learned. 3 years to learn is super good and then you must have a skilled teacher.
If you want 3 hives, it is possible catch swarms or to buy. Queens are good to change to commercial queen.
In England, I think, there are plenty of hives and wild colonies. It is difficult to get own good queens. And to take a morther from one choice?
For the beginner first year is often bad, because he does not understand the rise of colony. Bees grow they own queens and hive swarms. And soon the beginner have less than one hive.
When I was young I bought tens of swarms. I combined them to 4 kg bees in two Langstroth box hive and hive started without difficulties.
If you want to rise queens easily with one hive it is possible to do so:
When you have July, you can take a queen away and hive collects more honey. You take old queen to a nuc with 2 brood frame, where young bees are coming out. Altogether you have 4 frames in nuc. one pollen, 2 brood and one honey.
Then you cut 1/3 combs from frame where you have eggs and 1-2 days old larvas. After 2 days, you have taken queen away bees make queens cells and there is a lot queen jelly.
No you put jelly in those cells where you want to rise queen cells in cut frame.
If your hive rise it's own queen cells, it is going to swarm. So it is better to move the hive 2-3 meter away and you put in old place a new box with foundations. An in this new box you put queen and her frame she was laying eggs. Field bees flyes to the new box and those in old hive nurse brood and queen cells. When queen cells are bitten thinner in their peak, it is time to each cell in the gage.
If everything goes well, you have a hive with many queens. In may place I take 2 frames in each nuc and one queen and I carry them on the distance of 5 km. From one box you can get 5 new hives without accident. If distance is shorter, bees fly to their old place.
If you have electricityin new place, you can put in nucs 8 w terrarium heater and nuc will rise up tree times faster than with natural way. Last summer I kept 15 w terrarium heater and it was too hot to little nucs.
This is the easiest way to get more hives.