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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had cold temps for over a month and looks like i will for the next month. So yesterday we got to 50s in a monsoon rain. I took the very wet afternoon to go check my hives at 4 different yards. All had good honey stores but i also put a layer of sugar bricks on each as insurance in early December. This usually gets them through to mid/late Feb. However this year has been warmer with not much snow so i wanted to check. I already found a great nuc that starved and a majority of the hives had gone through 3/4 of the sugar or were clustered on it. Just fyi to go check them as in my area they have used a lot already
 

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I noticed that mine are also eating their honey and fondant faster than usual. I think its the lack of insulating snow and all the warmups this year. Glad I fed extensively last fall.
 

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so Kaizen how many total hives are we talking about comprising your 4 yards? Curious as to how the death rates stack up in your cold weather locations? do you mind sharing how many make it through the winter?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
so Kaizen how many total hives are we talking about comprising your 4 yards? Curious as to how the death rates stack up in your cold weather locations? do you mind sharing how many make it through the winter?
I don't mind at all. I'm not what i would call a successful beekeeper. Still learning even after all of these years. Each year......usually in winter.....I learn hard lessons. My losses have been 50 percent or greater so far. But its always something different; mites, no ventilation, etc. I learn from the losses and take care to not repeat. I push them and make splits to have as many colonies as I can. That was one year's lesson. Don't push too hard. Last year i had 4 great hives that i had bricks on the covers but did not tie down. Wind took off the tops in a blizzard and they were dead two days later when i managed to snowshoe into them. Now i ratchet strap every single hive to their base.

Anyways i started winter with 15 double deeps and 9 nucs. 5 of the nucs were really small but i wanted to nurse them through for some saskatraz queens that i bred. So far lost 4 of the nucs and i think 2 large colonies. One had European foulbrood in summer so i might torch all that equipment as even though they went into winter like gangbusters they still had issues. The other large i have no idea. The one sad nuc that i starved had a beautiful softball size cluster up in the top with not a grain of sugar left.
Guessing at least for New England over to wherever in NY has gotten snow will be what others are seeing so figured i'd send up the red flag. I presently can see the grass and have only used the snowblower twice all winter. The snow pack definitely insulates them so without it they are very active. I added MAQ's this year and hoping to see a large difference in survival. Previously i was using OAV and the hive losses were still accountable to mites even though i had treated them bloodless in spring and fall as well as twice (3 doses over 2 weeks) in summer.
 

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I remember well the years I kept over-wintered hives in Warner N.H. Most winters they did well. Lots of honey stores and good ventilation. Never used any kind of supplemental feeds except for springtime stimulation, once things warmed up.
 

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I think more of this happens than people realize. Here in NC we don't have the snow and cold spells are short but it is winter and no blooming flowers; but they are still flying. My 3 hives are going through resources like crazy. I'm feeding 2:1 trying to keep them alive but not stimulate to brood up. 45 degrees and sunny today, yesterday it was 60 degrees and rain until the afternoon. I left them 6 deep frames of honey but on a large hive that is flying in winter I don't know if that is enough so I feed both syrup and dry sugar just to supplement and I treat every quarter with OAV and use a sticky to check the results. Spring is just around the corner...beekeeping is an all year affair.
 
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