The bees have been flying for a few weeks now, and after the devastating losses of last fall and winter, it was really great to see that the queen of the one colony that made it through the winter is starting to really lay heavily.
We are looking forward to that grapefruit sized cluster booming into a strong hive later in the spring.
We decided this winter that we would jump-start the year by bringing in some additional colonies, as opposed to splitting, due to resources being so low. Toward that end, we are buying 8 packages and installing them in the main yard this coming weekend. If any of our local friends want to come on over and join in the fun, it will be an adventure!
We decided to go with packages, because we run with all medium frames. It is exceedingly rare to find nucs in that size, and while I did (with moderate success) manage to cut down deep frames and get them into my mediums last year, it is not something I would like to revisit. Getting the packages, and installing them on drawn comb, while not as strong initially as nuc, will hopefully build up rather quickly and get us closer to on track.
The scarcity of nucs in a medium frame size is actually one of the driving factors in determining the things that we are going to be offering as we ramp up. More people are looking for these and we decided that it was one of the things that, since it was important for us, we would make available. With where we are at right now, it will more than likely not be this year, but most likely next spring.