Well, I haven't written here for a while, and I need to give a winter update. Unfortunately, two of my week hives died out earlier this winter. Also, Aaron's hive died out again...it is a bit of a mystery because he had lots of honey, but the dead bees were in a section where they had eaten all the honey. I'm thinking they got stuck there when a cold snap hit.
Plans are in gear for this coming season with goals for expansion of the bee operation. Elijah wanted to become a beekeeper this year, so we spent last Sunday building his two deep boxes, and cutting out the pieces for 20 deep boxes for me. We are looking at expansion to around 20 hives through swarm captures, splits, and queen rearing. I will need to replace almost all my queens this year, so a focus on successful queen rearing is a big part of the plan. I also broke a gear on my extractor, so I will try to find a part this spring.
In addition, with a larger operation I will need a honey house and an integrated honey processing system. That will take a fair amount of financial investment, so I am counting on Queens and honey sales to help with that endeavor.
With yesterday's snow and ice, Spring feels like it is many months away, but I am counting on an early Spring similar to last year. According the US Farm Report we will have a continuation of the drought, but it is not suppose to be as severe. We will have to wait and see how the nectar flow pans out.