We got back from our trip a week ago and on Sunday I fed two of the hives 1/2 gallon of sugar syrup each: Queens Madeleine and Bianca. I went out today to feed the other two and Anya's hive is pretty much finished. It had a small clump of bees but certainly not enough to get through the winter and the boxes were so light I suspect the other hives have been robbing. So I didn't feed those bees. I gave Rachel a bag and a second bag to Bianca. The top box in Rachel's hive is very heavy and I went down to the bottom in Bianca's hive -- lots of bees, lots of weight, so they appear to have plenty of stores. The feeding bags in both Madeleine and Bianca's hives were drained dry and I'm happy to say no dead bees. So status on feeding is:
Madeleine -- one bag
Bianca -- two bags
Anya -- nothing and we will take that hive down
Rachel -- one bag
I'll feed again at the end of the week.
We don't seem able to get beyond three hives. It will be interesting to see how things go over the winter and what our status is next Spring. Well, one good thing -- we don't need to buy any more equipment at present.