But, I was told if I want honey this year, NOT to split. If I split the hives, the hives will essentially be building stores to survive the next winter. So, they probably won't have any surplus honey. This seems to make sense, but the hives are starting out much stronger and much earlier than they did last year as packages. (And, they had more than enough stores for the winter) So, now I am thinking they should be able to do both, be split AND be able to harvest honey.
I have nursed bees 50 years, and I can say that no one can learn beekeeping so fast that next year you are able to evaluate what is strong, and what is not.
Let the two hives grow to full size that you can learn what normal hive does during one year. When you have learned that, you are able to foresee, what bees are going to do next. They are wild animals and they do what ever.
Your duty as beekeeper is to try lead them to some direction, but inside the limits of their natural instincts.
Package hive is like a small swarm. It does not teach much.
In normal hive nursing you must learn how
- the colony builds up in spring
- how long it takes to be ready to forage
- how handle swarming time
- how expand the hive and make frames and foundations
- how handle honey yield
- how prepare them to wintering
- how handle mites and diseases
- how to sell honey and how to handle yield for selling
You may be greedy and then you loose everything.
It happens even in better families.
It would be good if you get an experienced beekeeper friend nearby. You save a lot with that friendship.
If you have several hives, it teaches more because hives do not react same way