So let me state that I started this post and my internet crashed. So add that to my woes. So let's start over.
Firstly I had a terrible night in the er last night that may likely change my life. We will see.
Secondly I have successively reached 100% winter loss. I went into the winter with to tbhs, one warre, and two Langs. I knew that both tbhs were weak and that even if combined they would perish. First cold snap did them in. Oh well I had planned on that happening. So that left me with two langs and one warre. The warre was a second year carniolan. The Langs were first year nucs. One swarmed so was essentially mutts. The other were carnis. The warre had eight boxes and had a good population. At least two boxes full of honey. One partially full and the bottom most just comb. My langs are eight frame. They both were in two deeps and one medium. They both seemed very healthy and had about a couple of deeps worth of honey. All were treated in the fall with successive hopguard treatments.
First strike against me. Terrible winter. We had 3-4 runs of highs of 0 and lows of -30s. In general it was just cold. All of my hives had dysentery pretty bad.
The first decent day in feb I popped the top to see that all hives were in the top box. I tried hefting, but I used insulatin and wrapped. So I couldn't lift the top box. If I just simply removed the insulatin and wrapping I would have hefted the top boxes and noted that the Langs we're heavy, but the warre was light (haven't finished my post moterm with the warre but it felt light). When I popped the top I all clustered at the top. I tried looking to see if they had honey, but my inexperience couldn't determine that and I was in a hurry and didn't want to chill the bees. This is where strike two starts.
So I tried to put fondant on the hives. The first stuff I made was slightly runny, but between wax paper it seemed stable enough. So over the top bars it went. Well it made a little bit of a mess. The bees did seem to take some of it, but others got mixed into the slime. Others somehow made it on top of the fondant and froze. That is what did in one of my Langs. somehow a large portion of the cluster got stuck in the wax paper and on top of it. We got a real bad cold snap in feb and they perished. The others just lost a few bees.
Well I tried it differently. I used a 4:1 ratio of sugar to water. Heated up a bit warmer than what the recipe called for figuring I just didn't get it right. Well it still didn't come out right. Out in my garage it was hard but still a bit soft. So in my warre I just dumped dry sugar on a piece of wax paper. I had put a piece of fondant over that. That was a mistake cause the fondant just slimed over the dry sugar. In fact it slimed out of the entrance. I should have just left it with the dry sugar, but I thought this would allow me to leave them alone for a while.
So next I added a 15 watt bulb to the bottom of my two remaining hives.
My next step was to remove the mess and add something. At this point I should have just dumped in dry sugar and finished with this silliness. Then I read this.http://www.megabeediet.com/candy.html
Sounded awesome. So I whipped up a few batches. Heated up the 4:1 sugar to water mix to 265. Then took off heat and dumped in protein supplement. Put in my mold to harden. Brought outside. After a couple of hours it was hard. I had to work all weekend so I wanted to get it in quickly. So I removed the other mess and placed the bricks in place. Well today I had a day off and I wandered back there. Put my ear to the top entrances and it was dead quiet. Stethoscope still didn't give any sound. Knock and no sound. So being paranoid I popped the top and you will never guess what I found.
The stupid things melted right over the cluster and did them in. It melted and oozed between the top bars. So I brought all the boxes back to my garage to examine. Well the stuff was a brick. I have no idea what I did wrong. I have no idea how it turned to mush over the cluster and turned back to a rock when they died.
The most depressing thing of it all is that my langs each had 4 deeps frames of honey in that top box. If I would have just kept my stupid mitts out of the hive they may still be buzzing. The warre would have starved, but I may have to hives still alive.
So things I have learned. If I am going to check for stores in feb/march I must take a flashlight and really determine stores. I must really take my time to heft. If they are heavy leave them alone!
What I would like to know is what happened with the candy? What part did I mess up? I can understand that all of my fondant attempts weren't heated enough, but my candy was really a rock. I had to hammer and chisel it off of my frames. I can't say that I will try anything other than mountain camp and pollen patties in the future, but I really wanted the other methods to work.
So now i may try to acquire a few more packages. I guess the silver lining is that my packages will have honey to start off with!