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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There are some very interesting threads going on about overwintering! I'm very interested see any correlations of overwintering techniques, as well as other characteristics that may factor into winter survival. We are all seeing some tougher winter conditions, and there are a lot of opinions on the right and wrong way to overwinter. I thought it might be interesting if not illuminating to compile some statistics and observations, that we might all be able to learn from, to identify any methods that are less effective, or more importantly, methods that are most successful. :gh:

Feel free to add anything I've missed to the list, but I would be interested in the following observations to start with:

Hive type and construction - i.e. Langstroth, Warre, Longlang, Tob Bar Hive, thickness of wood, practices for ventilation, such as quilt or top and bottom openings...
Winter Hive configuration - i.e. 1 Deep, 2 deep, estimate of bee count, such as 1 deep box of bees, or 1 and 1/2 boxes of bees, or 5 frames of bees.
Direction hives were facing
Type of bees...
Estimate when they died, if nothing else, early, mid winter, Spring...
Estimate remaining honey, and where it was found in relation to the cluster...
Protected by trees or fences, or out in the open.
What measures for overwintering were used - i.e. methods of insulation, warpped with tar paper, internal feeders, type and when winter feed applied...
Coldest temperatures experienced, for how long, big swings in temperatures, or steady...
climate zone, observation of winter severity compared to average...
Estimate as to level of disease, if any may have contributed...
Your percentage of loss VS success, and comparison to others in your area...

Any further observations like what you've tried and what has worked or not worked...
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
My brother and I entered the winter with 6 hives. Five were italian, 1 Carniolan. 4 hives were strong with at least 1 and 1/2 boxes of bees, with around 100 to 120 bounds of honey on board, and two were NUCs (4 frames, and 6 frames) with experimental heaters. My 5 hives including my Carnies which were our only deadout thus far, were in my back yard, grouped (tightly together) up against my chicken coop, with a foam pad between them and the coop. They all face East, but reside under a protruding roof that shields them from a fair portion of rain and snow. I placed additional padding on both of the outer most hives. Winter here was about average with very few days below zero, if at all. Carnies were the North most hive in the group, with 1 and 1/4 box of bees in 1 deep and 1 half deep langstroth, and around 90 pounds of honey. I estimate they died near the first of Feb, but with that much honey left, probably earlier. I discovered them on second week of Feb. They were mostly above the honey, and most of the bottom deep langstroth was full of honey. So

Carnies, 1.5 Deep Lanstroth - 3/4" thick, bottom entrance choked to 2", 2/3 honey left, January Death, East Facing, Insulated 3 sides plus top, Winter avg, coldest zero, No observed disease, treated 3 weeks with powder sugar, 1 of 6 lost. Additional padding on North face could have bee tighter, like taped or shrink wrapped. Not 100% sure they started on the bottom. Last checked on mid December after near zero.

Inverted two other strong hives that were also above remaining honey, on the day I discovered the deadout. Next day one was again in the second box with honey, second was half deadout. Placed heater in hive, and they recovered and made it. Watching closer now and feeding 2 hives. My test NUC, and my strongest hive that has 2 full boxes of bees and nearly no remaining reserves. Using inverted bottles of syrup on inner cover, with empty box and lid on top.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Good point. Thanks!
 
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