With the couple of warmish days we had in January I was able to briefly look in my four hives and one nuc to look for any signs of life and it looks like I'm five for five, at least so far, though I know its early. So I fed them a little candy and crossed my fingers.
But soon it will be time to start thinking about rearing some queens to put in any nucs I'm able to split out as things start ramping up. This is something I've never done and I've been trying to wrap my brain around the process and have read a number of explanations as to how to do this. No doubt the best way to get a bunch of queens, short of buying them, is to graft them from newly hatched larva into cups and put them in a queenless starter with lots of nurse bees. Ok, I get that. But the whole process of grafting seems a little intimidating to me and really seems geared toward rearing more queens than I need. So I thought I'd try the Miller method first to see if I could get the four or eight queens I might need. For the more experienced here, Is this a sensible approach or am I wasting my time with this method and should I just bite the bullet and dive right into grafting? I'm also a little vague on when I should start this process. Should I wait till there's a natural flow or should I push it along by feeding syrup and pollen to stimulate egg laying? Maybe I should just do my splits and let the bees raise their own queens? My long term goal is to maintain about 15 hives and be able to provide my own replacement stock.