Re: My first winter....Care questions.
an alternative method and one I intend to use this year, to switching the boxes is to make a hole through the honey to more empty frames. that is to remove a couple of fraems from the top box and fill that space with a couple of fraems of empty comb. The empty comb thing is not always possible if you are just starting so I plan to put a couple of fraems of foundation at the very least. then place a super of empty comb or foundation above that. note the actually advice I read said not to do this with just foundation as the bees in early spring will not take to it or draw it out. I have no choice.
The overall idea is when the bees have a solid area of honey over their head they tend to treat that as the top of the hive no matter how many boxes you place above that. Making a hole through that solid layer of honey tells the bees to keep going up to find the top of the hive. That is how I think of it anyway.
To much space while it is still cold is a bad thing. so timing plays a big roll here. They must also have a flow or be fed to be able to draw comb. I will start feeding when I add the foundation only long enough for comb to get drawn. That requires frequent monitoring because they tend to fill each comb as it is being drawn. even cells only 1/4 drawn are full of clear liquid. I let the bees get the comb drawn about half way and then stop feeding they have to eat the rest of that stored sugar water to finish the job. They hate empty space within the area they consider theirs so use it against them.
that is what I intend to do as soon as I see my bees bringing in pollen or appear to be otherwise foraging. What to do each day between now and then I am not so clear on. So I am making it up day to day. I went out and lifted my double deep 5 frames nucs and they are super light so I added 5 lbs of sugar to each. My double deep 10 frame lang I cannot even tip so it is good. No liquid feed this time of year. water and winter are not a good mix.
Everything gets darker, as it goes to where there is less light. Darrel Tank (5PM drawing instructor)