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...hold on what is 5 per day?

How many cups of bees did you shake in the sugar roll?

When I do a mite roll/wash it's 1/2 cup which is 300 bees, which is the standard. So if it was only 100 bees, then 5/100 is a high mite load.

5/300 in a sugar roll, is still high - because sugar rolls are not as accurate as alcohol washes.
 

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The easiest way to overwinter in Michigan is using no upper entrance & insulating the top & sides of the hive. Research the "Condensing hive" for more info. I don't use moisture boards, wood chips or quilt boards-they are counterproductive in the winter. Although I've pretty much transitioned to polystyrene hives, my wooden hives all have this configuration thru the winter. Just an alternative to the old school overwintering that works.
 

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Thank you all so much! Using the advise you gave I think I have successfully winterized my hives to the best of my ability I did a sugar test for mites I had 5 per day. So I went ahead and treated again with OA. My small hive has absolutely no stores, which is not surprising they have not really done well at all they now have plenty of food between sugar bricks and winter patties. The larger hive is so heavy I can't pick it up, but I gave them a sugar brick too just incase. I put the plastic insert into the screen board, wrapped them in my home made cozy, and put on my hot boxes and metal mouse guards. They have a top and bottom entrance and I think they should be fine... I think 🤔. Thank you all again.
Wait, I had to read this again. Your "small hive has absolutely no stores" - if correct they won't survive on sugar bricks and patties alone.

If your larger colony can spare a few frames of honey, give the small one some, placed above in another box using dummy/follower boards to center over brood nest.

I'm uncertain whether its too late for you to do a combine (too late in N/W Wisconsin), but am certain that a colony of honeybees will not survive winter on sugar bricks and patties alone.
 

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Wait, I had to read this again. Your "small hive has absolutely no stores" - if correct they won't survive on sugar bricks and patties alone.

If your larger colony can spare a few frames of honey, give the small one some, placed above in another box using dummy/follower boards to center over brood nest.

I'm uncertain whether its too late for you to do a combine (too late in N/W Wisconsin), but am certain that a colony of honeybees will not survive winter on sugar bricks and patties alone.
Not absolutely true that they will die. I have gotten a few 'dry' hives through winter on sugar alone. They came through weak and took a long time to build up again next spring, but they did survive. But I agree that putting in honey frames is a better way to go if you can.
 

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Not absolutely true that they will die. I have gotten a few 'dry' hives through winter on sugar alone. They came through weak and took a long time to build up again next spring, but they did survive. But I agree that putting in honey frames is a better way to go if you can.
Such a colony would already be dead in N/W Wisconsin.

Dry sugar or patties contain no relative moisture, which is needed for proper processing/consuming, so unless it is provided bees will likely die from thirst long before they die from hunger, not a pleasant way to go, not something we should encourage imho...leaving a colony to go into winter with absolutely no stores. I believe that's called bad beekeeping, no?

Personally, they would have been combined if they were mine. Good luck to your bees.
 

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I did move a few frames of honey over but they had no stores of their own. I'm doing what I can to help them through. We all have to start somewhere and this is a first at wintering... Ive done all I can at this point.. Thanks.
 

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An old Bee Keepers saying is to feed the strong colonies and let the weak ones go.
If you take reserves from the strong hive you are weakening it (to prop up a failing hive).
You wind up with two colonies that are less than what they could be.

The bees will want feeding 2:1 is best to limit moisture input to the hive.
Not sure you want to feed much pollen, winter is not a good time to raise brood.
But you have to have population, your colony needs adequate numbers to keep the colony functioning.
Enough bees to keep any brood covered and create enough thermal mass to overcome the heat losses of a particular hive.
Also have enough numbers to cover attrition as the old bees die off.

I would get a double screen board and stack the small colony on top of the double.
This allows the small colony to be warmed by the larger colony below.
The double screened board allows the heat to pass, but keeps the bees separated so the two colonies cant touch each other.
This will benefit the small hive without the large one taking a hit.
Doing this the bees share everything though, so if one has mites .......

I would NOT top vent, no Vivaldi, no quilt, no chips, no hot box (wtf does that do anyway?)
Burlap, quilts, rags. or chips, they all retain moisture, you don't want to store moisture in the hive.
You want to give the bees the opportunity to control the dew point inside the hive.
You want to insulate the top and sides of the hive to prevent that moisture from condensing in the top of your hives.
That temp difference is what causes the condensate in the top of the hive.
If those areas are well insulated the air will remain warm and the moisture will not condense in the upper part of the hive.

Note: The bees can tolerate a lot higher temps than humans, they can deal with humidity much easier than cold.
Varroa does not like higher temps!!! Mites will stop reproducing with temp increases well before the bees become stressed by high temps.

Bees are consumate heating and air conditioning experts, they all pack a fan on their back! (Built in air handlers)
If you let that warm air out of the top, the bees will have to re-heat the cold air that replaces it, endlessly.
The amount of insulation a hive has can be related to the amount of honey the colony will consume over the winter.
The less they have to heat the colony the less honey they will need to survive (and less wear and tear on the bees).

If you get blowing snow, prop up a board at an angle in front of the entrance to create a void that will remain open for the bees to be able to fly.

Find a mentor, find a local bee club. You need advice from SUCCESSFUL bee keepers in your climate zone.

I find Fred Dunn somewhat of an extremist, but he speaks truth and you wont go wrong listening to him.
stick to the newer stuff he has made revisions to his methods as he has found improved results.

Randy Oliver covers a lot of the science of bee keeping, he and his boys have developed excellent methods.

Bob Binnie has a wealth of knowledge. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDyga7OtRJSzHzXXXurYCmQ

Kaymon Reynolds is a very down to earth straight shooter https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkoAuqRakc1TtvXxL4Kr76Q

Check out what the canadians go through to overwinter.
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=canadian+beekeeper's+blog

Must see/read list
Langstroth on the hive and the honey-bee: a bee keeper's manual. - Cornell University Library Digital Collections
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=randy+oliver+reading+the+comb

Remember to weigh all advice against your locale, what works in one zone will not always work in other zones.
In the end there is no magic pill or one set way to get the job done, you have to find what works for you.
That will come with some losses, the losses are lessons, learn from them, embrace the science.
 
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