It is Early March 2014.
I started the year with 10 hives four were very weak. I added brood to the weak hives from the strong at various times over the past 45 days. One of the weak hives had its queen killed when I added bees from another hive so I am now at 9 hives. Six of the hives are very strong and have had their brood chambers reversed at least once, some twice and supers added. Two are not building properly one with shoot brood and European Foul Brood Like appearance, typical of severe parasitic mite syndrome, the other is just not up to expectation. The remaining hive was formerly very weak and is now expanding very quickly at a current size of a double deep. I have been cleaning dead outs culling questionable old comb, making up bait hives, and preparing for swarm calls as swarm season has arrived. I have ordered 20 queens from Jeremy Rose of http://www.californiabeecompany.com/ due in the second week of May. The past two years I had used the Russian cross queens from http://www.honeybeegenetics.com/ . Last year I had about a 50% failure rate of his queens within the first 2 months but I must admit that they had a much better survival rate than the other queens with most of my surviving queens currently from honeybee genetics. I am concerned that my 6 strong hives will swarm before I receive the queens so I have decided to try and raise some of my own queens to make splits by the end of March. I previously raised queens using the cloak board method and was not too pleased with my results, this year I will trying a swarm box to start the cells.