So I've had 2 bad winters in a row. that is in terms of beekeeping, not weather. this winter and last winter have been pretty warm, especially this one. I'm hoping the issue is the inconsistencies in the weather and not my beekeeping. I have been beekeeping for 5 years, my first 3 winter were great/average. I started with russians and last year I bought some buckfast. all hive are south facing and receive full sun in the winter.
I went into winter with 7 hives (5 buckfast and 2 russian), 5 of them were doing great at the end of the season. 2 of them having some queen issues during the season last year and therefore were a little bit behind but definitely not a complete fail. throughout the winter I have lost all 7 (last year I lost 4 of 6). the bees are definitely not starving, I have 10 boxes of full frames sitting in the garage right now that need to be processed ( from the dead outs). there are many boxes with half full frames that I won't be processing but will be using when i start over as well. I did start treating with oxalic acid last year as well, the mite drop were good in the fall, when I retreated 2 hive a few weeks ago there wasn't many mites that dropped I thought it was a sign of the overall mite count being lower from fall treatments. I also put quilt boxes on the hive this year as well.
some of my thoughts are...
am i leaving too many boxes on in the winter, I leave all 3 medium brood boxes on the hive and one medium super for winter. one of my thoughts is that this might just be too much room.
in previous years i have wrapped the hives in tar paper, but I didn't this year. I don't think this was much of an issue being that it was a very warm winter here.
for those of you using screened bottom boards do you do anything special to seal then p in the winter? I just throw the board back in under the screen and call it good.
So let me know what you think, and if you want to ask anything to help me trouble shoot fell free.