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Thank you to everybody replying to my question “Can two colonies in a tower system be kept over winter?”
I reside in Ontario about an hour south west of Ottawa, Canada.
Having started with 1 hive in fall 2008 I have some knowledge but learning of course is a never ending process. Spring 2009 I purchased another nucleus and obtained a friends’ equipment plus 2 hives later. He quit beekeeping because of health reasons.
Unfortunately I lost one colony late fall following a nightly disturbance during a cold rainstorm and one over winter 2009. The reason for that I don’t know as there was plenty of honey left when I opened the hive this spring.
This spring I started with two strong hives and purchased another nuce.
Later I made 3 splits from the two strong hives and was able to capture a swarm this summer about half an hour drive away. Additionally I captured one swarm of one of my own colonies and bought 3 queens as I wasn’t certain if the splits would raise queens. I have 11 hives now of which again some show a strong population.
Naturally I’m anxious that they start swarming or that the honey they produce now will not be sufficient to get them through winter. I am 60 years old, have an artificial leg and getting around isn’t easy at times. Saving to walk to every hive and ways of packing and cost of material I thought there must be an easier way. Additionally, if necessary, carrying feeders with or just food is awkward and time consuming too.
To make a long story short, Beeslave i.e. Leer Family Honey-Farm answered my question. It’s not possible to stack two colonies over winter.
The setup BeeCourious provided looks tempting but would be difficult to seal or keep dry as we have ice rain and lots of snow over winter up here.
How do beekeepers up north in Alaska for instance handle that problem?
In other words, I’m still looking for a solution and would be happy to receive suggestions.

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