If I have 3 hives, and one dies, and one is weak - a scenario that is likely - then the remaining strong one I split to hopefully get back to three hives.
Then in that year, it’s almost kinda like I’m starting all over again with (kinda) 3 nucs. Meaning I can almost never really harvest honey since bees will be building their numbers all summer long and building their honey stores for winter.
If that happens again with 3 hives, I’m repeating the cycle. If 2 hives die, I’m back to buying nucs.
I don’t want lots of bee hives. But is there an ideal minimum number to greatly increase chances of success? And to remain independent so I don’t have to keep buying nucs each year?
This is all conjecture - but anyone?