Just I read this. I am not worried about winter. After 42 experience years there are no problems. Only normal going. I am ready to take 20% loss dead hives or dead queens, that is why I have extra 20% hives. Sory, now too more. Bad luck, if they all will be alive at spring! Extra hives!
Two years ago I lost exceptionally 60% my hives. My average is about 5%.
But in that panic I found tricks I could never have obliged to find out. Catastrobe was bless to me. I took into use electric heater in my hives at spring. With that warming I can get up even smallest colonies and they will capture normal yield.
Our beewinter is 5-6 months long. Bees cannot come out. After cleaning flight they spend almost 2 months in their hive from March to the first of May.
We have snow from December to March, highest 30-50 cm. Sometimes wind gather 100 cm snow on hives. We use shelter in front of hive in order that wind and snow do not go inside hive.
They live with sugar from September to May, total 8 months. I take all honey away. I give 20 kg sugar per hive.
So easy. Only excitement is if the queen and it's descendants are genetically prepared to winter. I have bought queens from Italy, I have Elqon bees and Finnish origin Italian race.
Krainian bees I left away 2 years ago. They survive good in northern Finland, but they are too eager to swarm.
Now hives are at the ready for winter. Weather is warm and bees try to steal each other honey.
We had awfully much wasps in Finland, but now they are almost dead.