It’s been a long time since I posted to the blog and I just got back from a week away from my hives and wow! What a difference! I got hammered by losses this winter and so I started off this season with 2 overwintered hives (1 very weak, 1 ok) and 6 “nucs”. I put nuc in parentheses because they weren’t true nucs in the sense of being a small colony with the eggs and brood produced by the queen in the colony. Instead, they were put together nucs with new queens in introduction cages and they came from Florida I believe. Anyhow, they have absolutely BOOMED up. With our very long slow Spring the hives were able to get big enough by the start of blackberry flow out here near Granite Falls that I split nucs out of four of the six original nucs in order to prevent swarming right before the blackberry king blooms started to open. With the other two I decided to roll the dice on swarming. Since then I have caught two swarms coming out of my hives, though I don’t know that they came from the two hives started from nucs that I did not split. Anyhow, back to honey. In the last week I would say that the honey I have in my supers has at least doubled and possibly has tripled. I have two hives that have four shallow supers on them and the bloom is still going reasonably strong. I expect to get between one and four supers of honey off each hive. Also, when I treated for mites right before the supers went on I saw only about twenty mites total from the 8 hives that I treated with oxalic vapor.
In regard to the nucs, I’ve been using them in a couple of ways. First, with some of the nucs I have removed full frames of capped brood and added them to other hives that i perceived as slightly weaker, replacing those frames with undrawn plastic frames for the nucs to draw out. I also messed up and made one nuc queenless while trying to mark the queen (I dropped her and she flew and I couldn’t find her. When I came back a week later the nuc had built ten queen cells), and so I added it to one of the other nucs that was really strong and turned it into a full blown hive that will potentially need a super on it very soon based on the number of frames of capped brood.
In summary, this seems to me to be the best honey year I’ve had in about five years. Hope everyone is having the high honey, low mite experience that I am loving right now!