With any varmint problem, it is important to act before there is a problem. Once they taste the goodies in your yard/garden/hive, they never forget.Here we can shoot them in defense of life or property. No permit required. The bear goes to the state though.
I hear about beekeepers in Alaska that throw their bees to the wind every fall. I hope this can encourage more to overwinter. Its not that hard. And yes your bees can survive Alaska cold just fine. I didn't even need to feed mine this spring,and they could of made it through the summer without me. All I did was rob honey and treat.
I am in Western Alaska 70 miles inland from the Bering Sea on the Yukon River.
This wintering set up has worked successfully for me in this location. I think it would work anywhere in Alaska, or northern climate.
I start by having all of my equipment painted flat black. (I keep it black in summer as well).
I winter in three deeps.( But two would work IMO) The one on the bottom is just mostly half drawn frames , pollen stores, or even empties. Next is the brood nest,. Then a deep of sugar syrup, fed early enough to get capped if possible. (not honey,too many solids for long winters) I also feed a pollen patty in August, to fatten the winter bees.
Then a three inch shim for space for sugar bricks.
Above that, a notched inner cover/upper entrance, with a screened 3" feed jar hole, (Important for ventilation.)
Then a empty medium stuffed with dry grass /straw.
I also put a foam 1/2" foam board inside the lid.
And wrap with colony quilts, but leave the lower box exposed, make sure the super is wrapped.
On a warm spring day in March/April you can put on a jar of warm syrup for the afternoon, but remove before sunset. This will encourage a cleansing flight if you pick the right day.
I also sprinkle ashes from my woodstove around my hives to melt the snow in early spring, It helps them orientate in the bright winter sun and snow reflection. stops the death spiral some.
YOU MUST TREAT YOUR BEES or its all for nothing. I have used MAQS and OA
Robert I Concur, living bubble, However the same bubble in a taller "tube" with extra space at the bottom, should/will have less influence from the exterior thermo changes known to exist at the bottom of the Aforementioned tube. that extra "distance" helps mitigate fast thermo swings at the very bottom. And in a blocked entrance scenario would allow more time before suffocation. In Alaska, I would think these temp swings can be bigger than where I am, so Impactful. I used the wet medium frames to feed a bit and have the effect of a slatted rack, allowing cluster space and wind/draft suppression. I also noticed that when dead bees pile up the bottom, the bottom 2 inches of the comb can mold, the shorter frames also mitigate this spring issue as well. And if I am "late" getting in for a spring inspection, swarm prevention. I can get side tracked and mis a spring inspection, to many Irons in the proverbial fire.GG - I think of the colony / cluster andit's immediate ambient as the "Living Bubble". It has a huge tendency to float up ( hot air and water vapor). Grand Central is always cool or cold. One issue I have with med+deep+medium is when I have to split via Snelgrove Board I don't have enough deeps. All the brood seems to be in the deeps, all the deeps became hives. Gotta build more deeps.