I can and have wintered packages or any other strain of bees at Latitude 46 40 climate zone 3/4. Local survivor stock is a definite good thing, but I am sick of livestock type being a go to alibi for those who cannot keep their bees alive for a year. There is a learning curve too I grant but I killed literally hundreds of colonies learning how. I killed those hives before varroa mites and their lethal virus loads.
It is as simple as this. Kill the mites in August or July. Do not merely molest them with powdered sugar, fgmo fogging or my friend Don K's magic spells of power. Kill them dead with a lethal treatment.
Feed your bees, have the colony weighing 125-140 pounds by mid October.
If you insist on SBB, you are hopeless, stop reading now.
Bore a hole in the upper hive body just above the handhold. this supplies all the ventilation a hive really needs during the cold months.
Ten pounds of sugar on wet newspaper on the top bars is really cheap insurance against starvation. It is a whimp clause for those of us not as good at beekeeping as Michael Palmer. The 2 /1/2 inch feeder rim will also give you room to put in sugar bricks in Mid February on if your hoggish Alabama Italians have already gone thru their sugar. You can have on order a Russells finest superqueen of your choice to replace her in the mass of wintering bees that will make three splits.
On top of the sugar float a 16X20 piece of black plastic to keep the bees from hanging from the top of the warm bubble above the dry sugar after they have eaten thru it.
On top of the feeder rim A cover of soundboard conforms and seals the top of the feeder rim and absorbs excess moisture nicely
On top of that 2" epe insulation to keep condensation from freezing above the cluster. The insulation on the top must exceed that on the sidewalls so that condensation forms on the sides before the top.
honeybeeworld.com is an easily searchable site owned by a retired Alberta Beek where he has good directions on making and wrapping colonies for cold weather. Those of you who can't winter bees might rethink the common information that bees don't need wrapped in cold country. Canadian sights on wintering bees are the gold standard. Search them out.
My Canadian inspired wrapping system opens easily at the top. It does not hurt the bees at all. They poke their little rear ends up in the air at 15 F with a stinger dripping venom and stay there on the cluster. I can add patties as I do mid February or more sugar anytime it is fit for me to be beekeeping. It does not harm the bees if you conduct your business and get out in the ten seconds a prepared keeper needs them unsealed at the top. It will not harm the bees in the twenty seconds it takes you to take a couple pictures. Just only go in when you have in your immediate possession the resource you hope to replenish and get them sealed back up.
I do not know if this wintering system will work in the heart of the dismal swamps of rain forest Washington State or its ilk in the Carolinas. But for those of us with some serious frost in our lives, I believe it will work as well for you as it does for me.