Hey all you beekeepers Happy New Year!
Thus far it has been a very warm winter with only one small cold spell. This is both good and bad as weaker colonies won't struggle as much to stay warm but all the colonies will consume more food as they are bound to be more active.
When I started out beekeeping I didn't believe in winter feeding because I thought the strong will survive and I'll be left with good stock. Of course that is a bit short sighted if you only have one or two colonies. We all do our best to judge whether our bees have plenty of winter stores and leave extra but sometimes that just isn't enough OR sometimes the bees just get caught in a cold spell and can't move on to more food.
I was recently speaking with a friend who has one colony and he was "kinda sure" his bees have plenty of stores according to one rule of thumb for our area (90lbs total hive weight). It seems to me that a $10 insurance policy such as a sugar board pictured above is well worth the investment rather than needing to spend $100-$200 on another colony.
Here's a nifty video on making a sugar board https://youtu.be/jmS8zWdnzPs *Caution* if you make one of these wear long sleeves and gloves. I learned I can't dodge molten sugar!
If you have questions or need help let me know - Kevin