I just went and opened all the hives. Out of 6 hives:
- One starved, saw that several weeks back. A late start, not too surprised.
- One hive is doing great - lots of brood, some drones, eggs, full of bees. Yay!
- Two have both eggs and brood, drone and worker, but have very small brood nests, and low populations.
- One had no eggs or brood at all, and just a few bees. Shook them out, and they flew back and started going into the hive next to them.
- Another had some brood, but it was all drone, and only on one side of a medium frame. Small number of bees. I shook them out as well.
- Are shakeouts an ok way to get bees from weaker hives to go into the remaining ones safely, or is it likely to cause fighting and maybe get the queen in the receiving hive killed?
- I overwintered with two deeps (or three mediums), entrance reducers on large opening, upper entrance about 2" x 3'8", top insulation, and black insulated wraps. I also Mountain Camped every hive. Sound ok? There was a pile of dry sugar on the bottom boards of each hive, and there was some mold in the corners in some of the hives.
- I treated with formic in the fall. Wondering if that's what did in my queenless hives.
Anyhow, any and all feedback appreciated. I need to learn so I can do better by my bees.