Hello all. This last season was my first attempt at keeping bees. I built two Langstroth hives to match one that was given to me, each with a different entrance. One hive had a hole in the front of each of the boxes with fitted corks that could be added as boxes were added, one hive had a shimmed entrance board that was above the brood nest, and the third was a top entrance. All hives had screened bottom boards and screened inner covers. The third hive was the only one that used the screened inner cover as a top entrance. All three had entrance reducers on the bottom boards(with a 3/8" space to allow them to clean out the bottom). All hives were made of all medium boxes. They all were foundationless framed with a comb guide installed in the top groove. I installed the three packages in my three hives. I started them off by feeding them with full frames of honey and some fresh pollen I made into patties. As the season progressed, they drew out a few boxes of comb. The first boxes added were 3-4 weeks after installation, and the next set were 5-6 weeks later, and the last were 7-8 after that. I think all three hives might have swarmed at the same time (mid summer) but I can't verify all three for sure. They all seemed to swarm on the same day...All hives seemed to be less busy/populated after that, so I assumed that they had all swarmed. After that it seemed that comb production became very slow. I tried to not move stuff around much, but did remove the top cover to check the activity weekly/bi-weekly. I never got to harvest any honey, which I had kind of planned for the first year, but after the first soft frost I checked and they had not set any stores. Not one hive had any frames with honey. I got nervous and looked through all 4 of the boxes that each hive had made. No capped honey anywhere. I removed the fourth super and the frames from the third from all the hives, and put newspaper and sugar in the empty box. They all started eating the sugar and were pretty active for a few weeks, but after a few hard freezes I went out to find them all head first in the combs. Not clustered, and not moving at all. There was still plenty of sugar, at least 2 pounds in each hive. The screened bottom board was covered with dead bees. I thought they were all dead, and after a day or two I went out and cleaned out the hives. During this cleaning some comb broke, so I put it in a bag to use for crafts. Some of the bees were still headfirst in the comb. I brought it inside and a few days later, they were buzzing in the bag. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Why did they not set any stores for winter? Why did they stop eating the sugar and not cluster? I think we had a good year for honey production in my area, but all three of my hives didn't produce any stores. I am in northern Illinois if it helps. I am pretty discouraged that I murdered three hives worth of bees, and am VERY reluctant to relive the same agony next year.