Re: How are folks doing this year?
Thomas, it is way too early to tell how well the hives will do this winter. Greg is right, Thanksgiving is when most hives will have succumbed to varroa. Being in the Deep South, you won't have as much to worry about regarding the cold weather but food may still get scarce. I lost two hives last year in November from varroa and the last one in Jan after a -8° cold snap. In that hive, the cluster was too small for those temps and they froze. Generally, any hive still alive and strong around Christmas is likely to make it through winter, provided they have adequate food stores. That is why Greg mentioned those days.
Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.