Re: How to keep Queen alive ahead of hiving...
Just a friendly update - I may have mentioned it before...the "heft test" is inadequate going into winter, especially in your area. A scale should be used. Two 10-frame Langstroth deeps with inner cover, telescoping top, and bottom board, brood, bees + honey should weigh in excess of 130 lbs before winter, otherwise the bees should be fed. As Bill mentions, the cluster size is important. If they are smaller than 5 frames wide, consider combining them with another colony using the newspaper method. One exception is the Russian strain of bees, which winter quite well in very small clusters (probably not a bad choice of subspecies for British Columbia).
Oh, one more thing...I was admonished recently by some Northern Beek's AGAINST using liquid feed in freezing or near-freezing weather as it can be FATAL to the colony. Fondant, patties, and dry sugar are the choice, again inside the hive.
Also, I really like the roof idea to keep the bees dry. I am considering making 40-hive wagons or trailers with corrugated steel hip roofs that overhang 48". If I can come up with a design that fits and chains down on a semi flatbed efficiently, I won't need a forklift, just a trailer dolly and a winch. It will probably include pallets though, as the operation grows, a forklift will probably become an option for efficiency. The geography of some sites may dictate the final answer.
Last edited by kilocharlie; 10-02-2012 at 12:31 PM.