Well, today was the day I put the lock on the hive -- to keep me out. At least for the next month and a half. The forcasts are calling for the start of real winter weather -- FINALLY -- so I winterized. I removed the remaining syrup bottle and replaced the empty super containing my bottle contraption with the 30 pound sugar board I made last month. There's a good population of bees in there, because when I put my grease patty between the brood boxes, each box seemed close to full with workers. Then I taped 3/4" styrofoam on top of the sugar board and across the back and two sides of the hive, and wrapped black builder's paper around the whole thing, cutting out holes for the lower and upper entrances, of course. It was interesting watching groups of bees come to the edge of the upper entrance, stick their heads out, look around at the blackness, and go back in, to be replaced by others doing the same.
The colony is strong going into winter, with 1 1/2 supers of syrup and a sugar board of food. I hope my efforts at late season feeding were worthwhile, and that the colony survives into spring. I'd certainly like to split early at least once and get a super of comb honey draw like golfpsycho suggested last May, if I can.
I'm thinking of ordering two packages of Russian hybrids from Draper's to hive along with my (hopefully to be two or three) Italian hives this coming spring. Anyone have experience with this race, or keepeing these different races together in the same beeyard?