"Although we now and again have to put up with exceptionally severe winters even here in the south-west, we do not provide our colonies w.........-Beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey, Brother Adam
"Nothing has been said of providing warmth to the colonies, by wrapping or packing hives or otherwise, and rightly so. If not properly done, wrapping or packing can be disastrous, creating what amounts to a damp tomb for the colony" --The How-To-Do-It book of Beekeeping, Richard Taylor
Brother Adam lived in the warmest place in England. The open sea and Gulf Stream surrounds the area. Winter is very short. Vegetation is exceptionally southern. Hivemaker -in beekeeping forum UK, lives very near the Adam's place.
Yes, Brother Adam or any Englishmen are bad to talk about "severe winter". It means -10C in their categories. It is very rare that pond get ice cover at all in winter.
Snowfall may stay on ground couple of days.
But let's go to Canada. Our Teemu Selänne played in Winnibeg hockey And I have followed their winter. -40 C is not rare but in Finland it is.
I looked T Beek's winter figure. Their average winter is several degrees colder than we have in south Finland.
To survive over winter the big feature is that in England bees may come out every month to empty their gut. Here bees stay inside 5 months and in cellar wintering from Ochtober up to early May. It makes 7 months.
If we think about nosema, it helps if bees can empty their cut or does it work in the gut 7 months.
Nosema is my biggest enemy in wintering. It does not kill but it spoils queens' ability to lay with full strength.
Just now in England bees carry pollen from ivy. Here last pollen loads came in two months ago. If hives are in forest pastures, the last pollen loads come in 3 months ago in the beginning of August.