Going into winter with 3 strong and 1 very weak hive. In the past, October and November are the riskiest months for losing hives, usually due to summer bees dying off, the queen laying less, and varroa mite infestations. This year, we were extremely vigilant with applying oxalic acid vapor treatments regularly. The mite counts seemed to indicate that the treatments were effective, but admittedly, the powdered sugar test that we performed was not done as precisely as it should have been done. We also began feeding sooner and more frequently than in the past. So we are cautiously optimistic about the 3 strong hives.
Undecided what to do about the weak hive.
One of the hives (new white hive at CF Smith) seemed to be hit with robbers frequently (usually, right after we fed). We taped it up to keep the robbers out, reduced the entrance to practically nothing, and added a robbing screen. When we checked yesterday (Nov 1), we found a small cluster and the queen. But no stores, no brood, larva, or eggs. What to do? Kill the queen and combine?
Or, move the 1 box colony to Trisha’s house and hope that she can keep feeding it through winter. May be a huge waste of effort. On the other hand, we have had some other weak colonies survive.
Need to make a decision soon.