Hey all, I did a few other forum posts like these before on some other forums and the people seemed to like em :D
-If you don't already know, Minnesota has probably the harshest winters of all the states, so its not exactly easy for bees to survive the winter unless you come up with a great idea like me :)
(Winter 2002) Well, first of all i have around 30-40 supers of bees currently and it seems that every year I lose around 5-10 boxes of bees which regain strength in the next spring/summer. Right now beekeeping is sort of a hobby which makes me a alright sum of money ($100-200 with renting them out, honey selling, etc.) thanks to the neighbors and family. I really want to increase my number of boxes but the queen every summer doesn't seem to lay enough workers to the deaths in the winter to gain a surplus of bees in the summer. I'm working on an Idea :)
(Fall 2004) GOT AN IDEA! heh. Well I still have around 30-40 supers but I'm going to combat the Harsh Minnesota weather. I'm going to buy some 20 bales of hay and enough tar paper to wrap all of the bees in. So I traded 40 bales of hay from a family member for the deed to rent 5 supers for the following summer and picked up some rolls to wrap all of my supers in tar paper. So I closed all of the holes in all of the supers except 3 on one side (Because i have the supers 3 high) and which all of the holes are facing away from the usual oncommings of wind. So I wrapped them in tar paper and put 4 super stacks in a row and put 2 bales of hay on each side of them. Thus, they are insultated on all sides with the hay bales except for where the supers are next to each other and the bees can still get out.
(Spring 2004) Well I'm proud to say that a total of zero supers died off during the winter due to snow and temperature. I'm renting out my boxes to the family member I owe. Wish me luck on the reproducing of my bees!
(Fall 2005) Finally I have around 60-70 boxes of bees right now and just enough land to hold all of them! Hurray! In the summer of 2005 I plan on finding new people to rent out bees to, and every spring and summer my bees keep reproducing faster, and so does my wallet :D I hope this helped you at all if you experience harsh winters with your bees!