I did a final inspection this morning (it was in the low 30's and the girls were quite lathargic) and to try out "the mountaincamp" method for feeding sugar as winter feed and moisture control.
Hive consists of 2 , 10 frame deeps. I have been fighting VM since august with powdered sugar shakes. Some times the mite counts over 24 hours were very low, sometrimes they spiked into the 100+ region. I wasn't expecting them to make it through winter (and stilll have my concerns as last mite count was higest ever) but i did get a nice suprise when i opened the hive.
The top deep was extreemly heavy and had 10 fully drawn and capped frames of honey :shock:. One got damaged when i pulled it to inspect because of burr comb drawn between the frame and the hive body. Also, more was damaged from my lifting the upper deep to have a look in the brood chamber (burr between the bottom of the top frames and tops of the bottom frames.) The girls got to cleaning up the mess quickly :-D
Looking in the bottom box didn't make me feel as good as seeing the honey did. I didnt pull any frames in the brood chamber, (i didnt want to break the winter cluster) but looking thru from above didn't reveal many bees :( ....hard to guess numbers, but definately nowhere near what there was when i aquired the hive. Back then, in july it was litterly bursting with bees, 10 frames covered solid everytime i opened it up.
I pray they make the winter with so few numbers, perhaps the suagr shakes did their job when it was needed, and the girls will survive.