I got over to my hives on October 18, 2019 to prepare them for winter. This year I decided to double wrap my hives. I heard on the Weather Channel that conditions are very similar to those before the winter of 2014 - 2015, which came after a terrible winter and in which we had the coldest February on record. I don't want to take a chance, and it won't hurt them any. I even wrapped the double walled hive. I made sure my ventilation stayed free, that is critical for winter. Moisture accumulation inside the hive can chill the bees and kill them. Since the weather was already cool, I opted not to put on the mouse guards. This is my personal choice with the long hives for two reasons - in the long hives, the mice rarely do any damage to the hive, they go into the back corner away from the bees. Secondly, it is probable they are already in there, and if I put on the guards they will be trapped and can cause more damage if they can't come and go. I know that is unorthodox, but what about my beekeeping isn't these days? I also put a blanket inside the cover of this hive. The white hive is double walled and has an insulated top cover, and there is no space between the top cover and the inner covers.
Both hives looked good going into winter. I know they have enough honey, the rest is up to them. If they can survive the cold and have large enough populations to make it, they should. I did order two new nucs for next year from Mary Bouma. If all goes well and both these hives survive, I will make a split off of each one and with the two new nucs could potentially have six. Of course I won't count my hives before spring!!! The land owner of the current location has a nearby relative that will let me place hives there, so that will probably be my option for expansion. If I get up to six hives, I could potentially be in the honey business again, which would make me and a lot of other folks happy!