This is what has to be in a hive:
- Eight frames of bees. Meaning that if the hive is checked when it is a little cool, the bees will cover both sides of the frames. It is important to realize if the bee numbers aren't there they will not make it through the winter.
- Have a low number count of Varroa.
- Feed two gallons of Syrup treated with Fumigilan to prevent Nosema.
- Enough food. A colony of bees need this layout of honey
Middle or Bottom box (if in two deep), four frames of honey. Two on either side on the very outside of the box.
If a colony does not have this amount, it is time to feed. Feed 2 parts Sugar to one part water - heavy syrup. Feeding now gives the bees time to turn it to honey. If a colony isn't even close to this amount of honey they will not be able to survive the winter.
Bees eat about 12 - 14 pounds of honey a month in winter. Once Feb. hits that jumps up towards 30 lbs because of brood rearing.
- Entrance reducers go in to keep out the mice. If treating with Apiguard the entrance reducers should be left out until the treatment is done.
- A top entrance is needed for winter cleansing flights. I have 1 inch holes in all of my brood boxes. I don't know which one will end up as the top box. The top box hole is left open and the lower boxes are corked closed.
- Covering a colony with winter wrap is done in Nov.
- If a colony doesn't have the bees and/or the food to survive it is better to depopulate them in the late fall instead of letting them die in early winter. Take the loss in the fall.