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I checked on the last 40 degree day and had one hive of Russians, which made strange comb on plastic foundation, dead. They had consumed their full stores by Mid Jan. And the strange shaped comb, some bridging perpendicular to the foundation plane, didn't hold enough appearently. Saddly.
And one other healthy hive in fall with full stores, couldn't break for the full 9 frames in their upper, and perished within inches of full combs, bums up. Even sadder.
The other 10 hives were looking good, and the ones which had less than 6 full frames in their upper received full frames pillaged from the dead one.
The only hives I lost last year were from violent robbing in the early spring, so my main focus will be preventing that in this years survivors.
I'm going to lay paper and add sugar MCM style tomorrow to head off any other surprises. I just couldn't take any more losses.
 

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My carni hive was dead when I opened it yesterday... Combination of mites and not being able to move to stores... I'm beginning to think Walt W has something about using shallows or else all 8 frame mediums.

That gap between the deeps seems tough to cross for smaller clusters. My hive would probably have died anyway... but they left a super with about 7 frames of capped honey untouched.
 

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Here in SW PA, checked my yards this week. Lost around 30%. Started feeding sugar on the ones that are left. About 20% of my survivors are real low on stores. I am hopeful that we keep them alive until warmer weather comes. Locally, I had a miserable fall. The bees did not build up for winter and many were on the low side on stores. Lets hope for an early spring.
Al
 
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