Going into Winter 2012, I had 4 four colonies, two on double broods, one on a brood and a half and one on a single brood.
As we know, winter 2012 was particularly difficult for our colonies due to harsh cold conditions from December to March. Apart from weekly weighing for stores, however, I left all hives closed until mid-Feb when they were given home-made sugar candy.
All colonies were surviving well in March despite the high losses that were beginning to be reported around the country and so I decided 2013 would be the year of increase!
I left all BeeCosies on as temperatures increased in Spring to encourage brood rearing and by the end of May all colonies were developing strongly. On 2 June I split one of the double brood hives which was well established. The same day, I also made up 2 frame splits from the brood and a half and the other double by taking 5 frames from each and placing these in two nucs and closing these up for 3 days.
The weather was good at the end of June and all these new colonies were queen right by early July so further feeding was done to encourage the colonies to develop quickly as the delayed June gap was upon us.
I continued to leave BeeCosies on all the complete hives as temperatures increased and believed that I might through careful management now be up to 7 colonies!
Towards the end of June I then had a total of four swarms. All these were captured and for a brief time, I was up to 11 colonies but one of the swarms slowly left their new hive after consuming the stores I fed them.
The two nuc colonies were large enough to move to single brood boxes in July so now I have 10 colonies all with BeeCosies feeding off the heather!