Finding the first eggs in the mating hive is an unbeatable feeling! To me, queen rearing is probably the most rewarding aspect of beekeeping. I concentrate primarily on producing good utility queens that are gentle and productive. I start with a number of Buckfast queens that have good traits, which are then mated to produce daughters with good health. I primarily rear queens for my own use, but there is often a surplus that I sell.
I do a significant amount of splits annually, partly to make up for winter losses and partly for swarm control and Varroa management. The splits are overwintered, and if there is an excess in the spring after I have replaced the winter losses, it is sold.