Mike Palmer’s sustainable beekeeping
TLDR; Does anybody here employ the same methods of sustainable beekeeping which are being taught by Mike Palmer? If so, is it really as good as he says? Is there anything you do differently which you believe is "better" in any way? How "big" does your beekeeping operation need to be for it to be feasible enough to dedicate equipment? I'm guessing keeping 1 or 2 hives in a garden isn't enough, what's the threshold over which his sustainable beekeeping approach is feasible?
I want to hear your testimonials as beekeepers, on whether his methodology is as legitimate as he claims, whether he's exaggerating a lot etc.. I just want to hear people's honest thoughts on it in general, because the way he explains it all makes it sound like a revelation which everyone should be doing but I'm not so sure many people really do it, either because they don't know or because they do know and still choose not to for some reason. I'm just interested.
I'm not a beekeeper yet, I'm planning to get bees after I move back to my beautiful home country of Wales this year, so I guess I'll be getting my bees next year.
In the mean time I've been learning as much as possible about all aspects of beekeeping, mainly by watching YouTube.
One of the questions that's been bugging me is that from what I've seen, beekeepers spend what I consider to be "too much" money on buying bees. That's buying overwintered nucs every year, buying emergency queens, requeening etc.. It seems that a lot of resources have to get reinvested every year just on buying bees, and I always wondered why beekeepers don't focus more on producing more of their own bees every year, to cut costs more than anything. Or why some bee farms are so successful at overwintering nucs that they can supply the overwintered nuc market and work at a profit, while most beekeepers aren't so successful and find themselves having to buy bees at the beginning of every season. I could only surmise that the effort needed and the drop in honey production both exceed the cost of simply buying bees and getting on with it.
Then I stumbled upon two videos (part 1 and part 2) on YouTube, where Mike Palmer gives a lecture explaining the methods he employs to produce nucs, rear Queens and successfully overwinter nucs which he claims to be a "sustainable" method of beekeeping. The way he explains it, it sounds as if his methods are superior to the point where it is worth the time and effort needed to sustain yourself with bees, without eating into honey production.
For those who are unfamiliar with him, what he means by "sustainable" is that he is able to produce all of his own queens and overwintered nucs so that he never needs to buy bees to support his apiaries. And apparently he does this in a way which he claims doesn't take resources away from his production hives either, they're left whole to produce honey as normal.
I won't go into the details of his methods, because he does a very good job of explaining all of that himself in the videos I linked above. But I am interested in whether these methods are already something which beekeepers commonly do anyway (and its just not shown much on YouTube), and also whether it's really a feasible approach to beekeeping which we new beekeepers should aspire to work towards. Maybe it's just unfeasible for a hobby beekeeper with a day job purely down to the need to attend the apiary day after day during grafting season?
I'd love to just hear everyone's thoughts and opinions on it, because it sounds interesting to me and he makes his methods sound so powerful that I have to question if it really is as he says, because surely it would be common practice otherwise.