Thanks MB ~> it'll be a little while before I split up to 20 hives but I think that is definitely the direction I'll be heading in. (more on progress/outlook below)
Thanks LET-CA ~> I hope you're right! I'm so fired-up on the hives I've just installed (my first, btw). I returned yesterday from visiting a local (Hood River, Ore) apiary to get my "nucs". Basically I brought my brood boxes, we picked 5 frames from their established hives (which had just returned from almond pollination in Cali), set them atop existing hives for a few hours, then returned and dropped them back on my bottoms (screened) into the truck bed and off I went. I had to keep the hives in the truck bed last night (arrived back home late) so they were warm and cozy under the tonneau cover with a couple of cups of syrup in feeder frames and pollen patties. When I installed the queens this morning I was surprised to find they had already drawn 1/2 of one side of a new frame (deeps) and some empty feeders. :shock:
Anyways - the pears and cherries are in bloom, along with all kinds of other trees, blueberries and apples are next & then all the wildflowers, weeds and loads
of blackberries that line the creek in the wetlands to round out the sumer.
Here's another, more distant "bird's eye view" image of the layout.
The hives are on benches, on a deck between the above-ground pool and wetlands (lower right corner of image). Probably about 20-25 yards from the creek.
Two quick questions: Should I keep the syrup feeding going on (&, if so, for how long)?
Are my entrance reducers necessary (&, if so, for how long)?
I've already received one lead for pollination services (local, 3 acres of blueberries) but that will have to wait until next year I'm afraid.