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Last year I left a full Super on each of my hives... and the bees never got into it. They didn't get into the candy board either so perhaps they had enough stores in the brood boxes - or the winter was not that bad?

So this year my question is - Should I go ahead and harvest all the Supers and add the Candy boards for insurance? What do you do? Thanks
 

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I remove all the supers at my last harvest. I arrange a pollen frame and all the brood frames and the queen down to the bottom box and put on a queen excluder. If it all doesn't fit then I place the oldest brood frames above the excluder. Then I put on a hive top feeder or a super filled with frame feeders. The objective is to get the bees to fill the top box wall to wall, top to bottom with enough time for them to dry it out. I give them 15 kg of 2:1 at a time. When they put it away I move feeders to the next hives and give them several days to dry it out. When all the hives have had a round of feeding I move the feeders back and fill them again. I'll round robin the feeders as needed until the second deep is full. Getting all sides filled usually requires that I move the full central frames to the outside position. Then I remove the excluder. By this time they will have also put a nice honey dome in the lower box. Watch that they aren't back filling the brood next, if they are then reduce the feeding. Sometimes a hive winters on a deep plus a medium, but I will basically do the same thing there. I use sugar bricks, and they'll get into them even while they still have plenty of syrup left. IMO the sugar bricks enable a cluster to move over the top of the frames to food stores they might not be able to reach without breaking cluster otherwise.
 

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Last fall I saw that none of my 4 hives had any honey stored, even with syrup feeding to get them through a very poor season. I put sugar blocks on top of each hive and all 4 survived until spring. I had to add more blocks later in winter. So as far as I can see, sugar alone can do the job.

This year so far has been much better, so I am hoping they will have enough honey of their own, but all are getting a sugar block just in case. I did put a box on top of each hive, stuffed with insulation, with the sugar block immediately under the insulation. The bees spent the entire winter directly under the sugar block and never moved.
 

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I overwinter either with 2 deeps, or 1 deep plus 2 mediums (all 10 frame). On top I pour dry sugar, aka Mountain Camp feeding. Candy boards are too much work.

This is all done by October, I generally feed syrup through mid-September.
 
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