This weather has been strange this year (I have a peach tree that is blooming already). I say winter in the title only because it officially is. Today it's been winter but it doesn't stick around long. 2 hours ago it went from sunny to blizzard like conditions in a few minutes. Now it's sunny again and the snow is just about melted. For the first time this year it's supposed to get under 20 degrees at night. I decided since it's supposed to be so cold and a constant wind of 25-30 mph (gusting to 40) I'd slide the boards into the bottom of the hives. I'm planning to leave them in tonight and tomorrow night and then take them out when it gets warmer again on Monday. I also added a popsicle stick under the cover of each hive to give them a little ventilation since the screened bottoms are closed off now. There was a little moisture inside the white hives cover when I popped it on 02/01/2012 after noticing a little sweat on the outside. I put a little sliver of wood under it then and it took care of it. Today I replaced that wood with the popsicle stick. Next year I'll probably add one to each corner of the hives to prevent having to take the covers off if it's cold out to do it.
The carniolan and sunkist hive both have bees coming and going even though the little weather station I have says it's 36 degrees. Another case of someone forgot to tell the bees they don't like temps below 45 I guess. I put my ear up to all the hives and can here them pretty good. I don't want to say they are all going to make it through the winter but I'm very hopeful.
Also just as a precautionary measure I've been putting out 2:1 syrup on the days it's above 50 degrees. Some days they take it and others they don't. From what I can see by looking through the hole in the inner cover they'll all have capped honey. There's also been lots of yellow, tan, and grey pollen coming in the days they are active. Still no clue where they are getting it but I've read golden rod will retain pollen if it is still upright. I guess this could be one of the sources.
Here's a little video I put together from some film I shot on 02/01/2012.