Well, my first name is Stan. That's what most people call me except my wife. I prefer that no one else calls me Pumpkin Head. This was my first attempt at wintering over bees here in northeast Ohio. My equipment held up great but my bees all died. I learned from that mistake. I had left feeders inside the hive thinking that on warm days the bees would move it down to the frames where they were. It created more moisture in the hive than the ventilation could handle and probably froze and created an air conditioner effect. On top of that, it was a record cold winter here and we didn't have any warm days, no January thaw either.
I joined the Portage county beekeepers assoc. in Nov and ordered 2 packages of bees. One package absconded about a month later. I got 2 nucs in June and continued donating swarms to the neighborhood the rest of the summer. I consider myself a woodworker and so decided to build all the equipment except the frames. It's hard to build and paint them in your spare time before the bees needed them and I also was wrong about how full they have to be before you need to add a box to keep them from going into swarm mode. I work 12 hours a day at my job but only 3 or 4 days a week normally. That gives me 3 or 4 days a week off when I don't have to cover vacation. When it rains the 3 days I'm off it creates a situation where I can't get in the hives for 10 days at a time. I have more equipment built now and a retired beekeeper donated me some equipment. Better luck this year. I'm not ready to give up yet.
You do all the research you can, read books, go to beginners classes, go to meetings, watch youtube videos and still when you open a hive it's overwhelming trying to remember what to look for, what are you seeing, and what to do about it.
I have 3 packages coming from California late April and 2 more coming from North Carolina the 1st of May. I guess I should go back to the shop and start cleaning and painting. I would also like to say that any advice anyone has for a novice would bee appreciated. Thanks Stan Losh, The Pair of Hearts, Mogadore Ohio 44260