Well today was my first overwinter inspection . I had been putting it off , waiting for warmer weather and a shot of courage What I found was that although my Russian hive was my most active and appears to be the most populated , they also had the fewest stores left . The Carni hives weighed about twice as much as the Russians . I have been feeding the hives sugar blocks for about 6 weeks now and during that time the Russians were always out when I would go to replenish and the Carni's always had some left . That tells me , that for my area , the Carni's are probably more suited . I hope to make some splits and nuc's this year so I am thinking I will try to make twice as many Carni's as Russians but will make Russians also for diversity . I did not split apart all 3 boxes , but did pull the bottom boxes off and all were empty so I did put the bottom boxes on top of the stacks . My quilt boxes seemed to be effective , I saw no mold or condensation evidence . This is good since this winter all the new hives/nucs I made , I made quilt boxes for also . I did lose one hive to what I believe was a queen issue . The hive was full of dead bee's and I found two started queen cells . There was stores left in that hive so I don't think it was a starving issue . All and all I was pleased to see the shape of the hives considering what a weird winter we have had and it gives me confidence that atleast I have a fighting chance at this .
what I did for a quilt box was to cut a piece of 1/2 " plywood to match the hive dimensions ( 19 7/8 X 14 ) then drilled 6 2/34 inch holes in the plywood for ventilation holes and 1 2 3/4 inch hole for a feeder . I then cut 1X4 to make a box around the edge and drilled some 1 1/2 inch holes in those ( 1x4) I covered all the holes with #8 cloth except for the feeder hole . Those then become my top cover . In the fall I fill the hollow space on top with wood shavings ( animal bedding) that act as insulation and a moisture absorber . There are lots of discussions on them here on the board . I think everyone kind of puts their own individual twist on them . I got the idea from Bear Creek Steve when I first got into bee's .
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