The beeyard will soon be in winter mode. Feeding has finished except for several nuc hives that I feed a long as possible and a few hives that are lighter than I would like. I use the tried and true “lift the back of the hive” weigh method which may not be the most accurate way but it is fast and easy. Basically, if the hive lifts easily with one hand it will require extra attention as winter progresses. I’m considering candy boards on all hives starting in January 2017 just to cover any warmer days and give the bees a bit of a carbohydrate boost for any brood that might be starting.
I have been helping several newer beekeeping friends compact weaker hives down to 5 frame nuc boxes. This is an attempt to get weaker hives through the winter. In all cases, there is a viable queen in the hive and some level of brood. Typically these hives do not have enough bees to cover more than 5 or 6 frames so a full size hive has a lot of uncovered frames. So far this has helped but I’ll know in the spring if it worked.
For those that are wondering why their queens are only lasting 6 months to a year this is an interesting read: Deformed wing virus can be transmitted during natural mating in honey bees and infect the queens.