Yikes. Snowed a foot last night so I went to clear the bottom entrances to my 2 hives, and the new Italian hive from spring had dead bees all around on the snow. I took the entrance reducer off and cleaned the bottom board with a spatula, and altogether there were hundreds of dead bees. This happened to my Italian hives LAST winter too -- so much so that both hives came into spring with very small clusters, which I ended up combining.
My other hive was requeened with a Russian this summer, and there are pretty much zero dead bees in front of that hive.
The Italian hive, tho, was super strong all summer long, very productive.
I am never buying an Italian package again - they don't make it thru our harsh winters, at least for me. This year I even added quilt boxes to my hives and wrapped 3 sides in styrofoam board as a windblock.
No, I have not treated for mites, and they could be weakened going into winter.
From now on - all Russians.
PS - We are having an extra severe winter so far this year. Bleh.