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Hello everyone! I have been carefully monitoring my hive over the winter and so far so good. I know we have some time to go yet, plenty of time for something to go wrong but I'm so excited to have gotten my hive this far through winter.

My question is, what do I do now? What are my next steps? I am going to get another package next spring so next year I will have two hives. I would assume I work the new hive the same as I worked the hive I have now. But for my current hive, I have been reading about feeding pollen patties, should I do that? I have them on fondant cakes now. When do I transition them over? Do I go back to feeding sugar syrup again, or should I just let them forage? I'm assuming I will have to do some kind of mite treatment in the spring. Do I build the hive back up like normal where as they need more space, add boxes? This is my first season getting a hive through the winter so I'm learning as I go. I have seen that no matter how much I read on beekeeping, which I do quite a bit of, I still feel like I'm learning as I go. I learn so much here on the forum so I'm looking forward to see your responses.
 

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You have probably heard that it is best to have two (2) hives so you are likely to have resources should some catastrophe occur ( like queen failure/loss). You have the opportunity to get off the “package purchase” process by spitting your hive when appropriate for your locality (late April or early May in my area); all you need is to split your existing hive into two (2) hives - one with the old queen, and the other queen-less box can be allowed to re-queen itself (required eggs or age-appropriate larvae), OR you can buy a single queen for slow release into the queenless box. Allow both hives to develop (feed 1:1 sugar solution and protein patty so long as they take it). A single queen purchase at $30 (approximate) is considerably better than a package purchase at $130-$175 (approximate). Treat each hive as if a new hive; the bees take care of business.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply JTGaraas. I knew that it was better to have more than one hive but it was all I could afford. Spoke too soon about my hive anyways. I just came in from checking on my hive because I thought it might need fondant, only to find a ball of bees under in the bottom box, dead. Guess it will be another season of starting over again.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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DTD350, Sorry that you lost the bees. First thing to do is figure out why this hive died. Did they sucumb to mites? Are there food stores in the hive? What about moisture? Many possible things that you want to make sure don't happen again.
Take some pictures of the frames noting the location of the bees and any honey still in the hive. Get a picture of the cells looking upwards to see if there is any mite frass. You can count on BeeSource members to help you figure it out and offer suggestions for this Spring as you start over. With drawn comb, your next package will have a good head start and you should be able to split it before Summer and have two, or more, hives going into next Winter.
 

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Sorry to hear of your loss. Generally speaking, once our ND hives get buttoned up, we stay out of them until the first day it reaches 50F (usually not until late February or early March). Instead of opening up the hive, nothing wrong walking by to see evidence of life like frost on upper entrance, cleansing flight losses on new snow (even when temperature not close to 50F), or bees inside top entrance. While 3 of 6 had positive signs of life, satisfying my curiosity is not worth opening any hive at these temperatures (-10F at 5:00 pm). If you leave adequate honey stores, and treated for varroa last fall, one can only hope. Good luck.
 

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From the OP, I have the same question about when (or if) I should feed pollen patties. I'm a first year beekeeper, and I have one hive that I hope to split this Spring here in central New Jersey.
 

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Feeding pollen patties is my normal spring preparation for both splitting and early honey flow. Mine go on in less than a week
 
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