This is my first winter and I started out with two hives, one strong, and one weak, (that I was sure would die). The strong hive died with lots of honey stores in the top and sides, I suspect cold starvation, but don't know. I treated for mites with powdered sugar, but still had some. The dead hive has a little mold on a few frames and lots of bees dead nose into the cells. We had a wicked cold snap early on and I think thats what happened. I don't think I left enough brood space for the strong hive, (live and learn).
The weaker hive had almost no honey stores, but was fed heavily for a month before it got too cold. That hive is still alive, but the only day we hit 50 degrees and I opened up the hive, there were many bees on the top of the inner cover. I put some dry granulated sugar on the top board, but at the time didn't put any frames of honey in.
We have chilled down and it might be weeks before I see 50 degrees again. I have lots of honey I could place in there from the dead hive, but am unsure what my next move should be. Do I need to hold from opening the hive again to put more sugar on the top board until we warm up? When we do warm up, I worry about chilling the hive too much by taking off the inner cover to put frames of honey in. Would it hurt to just put a super of honey on top of the inner cover, put another inner cover on top and close it up?
I welcome any advice. This is my first year of doing this and I could use some guidance. I have several packages ordered and won't lose sleep if the second hive dies out, but would like to help it if I can.