Feed, Feed, Feed!
We Feed pollen Substitute all summer. It makes all the difference in population and health.
Bee Nutrition, OK here's some good information and maybe you can relate.
If you bought a puppy, took it home and never feed it very well, didn't take it to the vet, never wormed it, never exercised it, didn't love and train it. How long do you think the dog would last and what kind of dog would it be?
Another one: if you were a farmer and had cattle and didn't get them good hay in the winter and didn't get them immunized for the standard deceases, didn't make sure they had a place out of the rain, harsh sun during the hot summer and snow in the winter. How long do you think you would be in the cattle business? The answer to both scenarios is Not Long and Not Successful. You would probably have some government agency after you.
So lets give your bees the best start you can? Feed, feed, feed, an feed them lots and feed them Complete Bee food in the syrup. Do a mite infestation test. Treat for mites what ever the method. Anything over a 2% infestation is need for treatment. I hear this all the time, I don't see any mites on the bees. You need to memorize the mite life cycle. They are your enemy! Know your enemy!!!
Put a Pollen Patty on the bees while in a pollen dearth and when they are raising brood in the spring. After you take the honey in the fall feed them 1-1 syrup. That will simulate a nectar flow. This gets new brood in the hive for winter. Then after the young brood are going feed them 2-1 syrup until they won't take it any more. All the while putting pollen patties on them until they don't take that anymore. How much pollen? I feed seven pounds per hive every year. I'll feed 6-7 pounds per hive in January. Treat for mites before winter sets in. Treat for mites in a brood less state. In the Middle of winter. (Oxalic Acid Vaporiztion) is the best during that time. It's legal in the USA as of March 10th, 2015. Vent the hive for moisture here in the northwest. A simple vent of 3/8 inch piece of wood under the inner cover works marvelous. It's Cheap!!! If you do all this you have just given your bees the best chance for survival you can. Other wise miss any one item and you will not have bees in the Spring. You actually knock the survivability down by 10% everything you miss or don't do. That comes out to less than a 50% survivability rate. Those bees are dead. I guarantee it. Bee Keeping is doing certain things at certain times.
I just heard a guy say he didn't check or do anything to his bees until March and then he knows how many packages to order. He's my best customer, Bless his heart... He has lost all his bees in the last two winters that I know of. Another bee keeper complained to me that he lost all 35 colonies last year. His bees never leave an area where they spray fungicides on the berries. FLASH!!! New study out...Fungicides kill bee bread. Maybe he needs new comb. Same with many other people I talk to. Anyway, I'll stop the rant and I encourage you to Google search Randy Oliver, Scientific beekeeper.com
Don't forget to send in a check if you learned anything from his research. He is not sponsored by anyone an that means he ain't beholden to anyone or their agenda. He's an intelligent, independent, smart man.