Right now I have 22 colonies counting my nucs. I have one queenless and another one that almost died out and IM not sure if it will build up enough before winter but it just superceded so maybe it will turn around so I hoping to go into the winter with 20 anyway.
This is only my second summer. Me and a buddy kind of had a partnership on a couple hive before that but that was more or less of a hands off thing.
I wintered in Wisconsin, six colonies and all six came out alive. Two were clinging to life, one of which I was responsible for there demise cause I left a crack open on box and next day they were robbed to death. The other week one I though was a goner but I wanted to watch it and learn from it. It was down to maybe 100-150 bees. Somehow it came back and is now 4 frames strong and as stated above just superseded and has a really nice looking queen so I hope it will come around. Three colonies came out very very strong and I split the living day lights out of em this summer and still am getting honey from them.
I really would not play craps with the bears. They will find your bees and now they want to get nice and fat for winter so im sure they are really in the mood to eat your bees. They likely would just tip them over, ignore the honey, eat all the brood and once thats gone eat your honey. Point being the bears are not going to be efficient and eat one at a time. You will show up and have nothing but a disaster on your hands.