I have not forgotten about any of you out there who read my blog. I have been busy with the job search and life.
I decided to not do my regular powdered sugar shake this fall for three reasons. First, I forgot. Second, I decided a long time ago that I wanted stronger bees and I didn't want to help the weak colonies. Third, by the time I remembered I was too busy to do it.
Well, I have already lost 4 hives out of my 16. I have no nucs left to replace them with. They all absconded with brood in the comb which all died. I do not think it was foulbrood as it did not pass the ropiness test or the smell test that confirms it. I think it had to do with mite loads or CCD. While feeding and preping for winter I noticed a few hives that had LARGE numbers of bees with deformed wing virus (a condition caused by mites). More bees were like this than usual. I think the sugar shakes helped last year (and I will be doing them from now on if I want to keep my hives).
I have fed out all of the honey from those hives and am storing the frames in the garage. The ones with dead brood will be culled and turned into wax blocks next year.
I have the entrance reducers on and all of the hives should be ready for winter. I will be placing candy boards on top of some next month around christmas, and sugar on newspaper on the tops of the frames on the rest. I just want to make sure I have some bees this spring to make splits from and try to sell.