So, you bought bee packages and your finalizing your beekeeping planning to get a good running start when they get here. Love it! You rock!
Now, by now you’ve probably been wondering about how many boxes you need to have ready for your hive stack. Someone tells you you don’t need a lot, these are packages after all and everyone knows that package bees don’t produce surplus honey the first year. Except when they do…
When it comes to bees, I like to hedge my bets and quote James Bond. “Never say never.” Bees have a funny way of changing our minds for us. They also have this ornery tendency to not follow “the rules” even though the books clearly state they should do something or not do it in general.
Bee colonies live in a constant state of flux. They move in fluid synchronization with Nature, taking the lead from the environment around them.
Because bee colonies are so tied to the environment, I prefer to think of things not in terms of possibilities but in probabilities. It’s possible that a package bee colony can produce a bumper crop in it’s first year though it usually is a low probability. There are a lot of typical factors to inhibit the likelihood.
At the same time, given the right circumstances, the environmental factors could set up to increase that probability greatly.
How does this go with having enough boxes? I believe that like bullets, you can never have enough hive boxes, just in case the probabilities change and the bees change your mind for you.
Better to have them and not need them than need them and not have them. It’s one of those paranoid best practices things. So there’s nothing wrong with being a good bee scout and always being prepared.
When that odd season comes along and changes those probabilities on you, you’ll bee glad you did.