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This was my first year keeping bees. I had 4 hives going into winter. It crossed the 40 degree line today in Idaho where I live, so I just went out and popped the tops. 3 were very much alive. 1 did look dead. It was not unexpected, as the dead one had some robbing going on in the fall from yellow jackets. Should have used some robber screens. Will build some this year.

Very relieved to see that the 3 made it, as I could not hear anything before when I tapped on their boxes. We had several weeks of below zero this year and was afraid that I had lost them all. I was debating if I should buy packages or not, as a back up plan. I have been treatment free other then essential oils (tea tree, lemongrass and spearmint).

I had put foam boards between each hive and on top and fed them very heavily late summer and early fall. Then I pushed them together and strapped them down. I did not touch them all winter until today.

Now I can actually start working on building them back up now. Should I start feeding them syrup and pollen patties now? I have fed them from a patty recipe, but thinking ordering some this year, they didn't really seem to like my homemade patties. Probably will not see blooms until April, but would like to have them built up in time for that flow.

I have Carnies, mostly. Two of the colonies are headed up by queens from Mike Palmer and the other one is a Spartan queen.

When we have a flow, about April, I plan to make a nuc from each colony with a frame of capped brood and a frame of honey with drawn comb in each of the other frames. Then put the queen in the nuc, leave it in the original location and move the main colony (queenless).

I also have 4 queens I plan to get this summer from trusted queen suppliers. So I will make 4 more nucs at that point. Probably 2 at a time.

Hopefully I will be able to take 10 colonies into winter this year. Does that sound doable?
 
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