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Lost a colony to starvation two weeks ago, I would have sworn they had enough stores to get them through, I checked my other colonies, all Russian, and with the exception of two they all look a little low. I fed heavily last fall and was in late October happy that they had enough. Fall was a lot warmer than usual and the girls were flying into mid November and didnt really cluster up until early December. I'm in zone 4b wondering how other Russian keepers are doing?
 

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The warm fall chewed through stores like crazy for some queens.

Others, appear to be unaffected.

:unsure:
 

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I lost two hives about two weeks ago. They were four over four nucs... I believe they died due to
Starvation.. we had a few days in the upper to mid forties then a cold snap.. those two hives were not Russians though. My Russian/ Mutt bees are still kicking..I really do think they are a great bee for colder northern climates. I plan on getting some more Russians this spring.
 

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Went into winter with 5 hives, 4 italians from GA origin and one russian from koehnen. The russian seem to be wintering very well, almost no dead bees being pushed out during warmer days, as well as very little outside activity. The Italians have much more dead bees pushed out and they are flying more even when it's too cold.
I plan on switching to all russians this year (I just hope they won't organize to hack into my computer or poison me with novichok ;)
 

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My one hive of Russians is doing fine. Took infrared photo's to see if all alive. Of course i got a sting from a Russian bee.
 

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I have 13 Russians and 1 Italian. I should say all my Russian stock started from a few RHBA queens so some are daughters of these and open-mated. Several were late queens with no more than a softball-sized cluster going into winter. Everyone stopped laying in Nov and by Dec 10 I didn't have any eggs/larvae/pupae.

One tiny colony that was robbed of resources while I was out of town currently resides over a strong hive on a double screen board. I have sensors in many of them from least to greatest. So far 14 of 14 are alive. I did several things this year I hadn't tried before. I had several in EZ-Nucs and didn't think they would survive a TN mountain winter (zone 7a I think). I put them in Lyson 6-frame poly nucs which helped dramatically with resource conservation/heat loss.

The Lysons have a lot of space in the top if you are not using the propolis trap (kind of a queen excluder looking thing but with smaller holes they would tend to plug up). I used this space, as well as making 1"x3" feeder rims for the 7 wooden hives, to hold brick sugar. Some have taken to the sugar, some seem to be less interested in it. Throughout the year I would find an Italian hive queenless or faltering and I would drop a home-baked Russian (hybrid would be more accurate) queen or nuc down in it.

February will tell the tale. May not have a bee by March 1, but I'd be surprised if something doesn't make it. I read in Coy's literature on Russians that they use 20% more resources with a screened bottom board (which my wooden hives have), and the addition of a 1" blue board has no appreciable difference on winter consumption. Just throwing that in as it may help someone since starvation has been mentioned.
 
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