Last fall/winter we lost all three hives. One was to robbering, another was to starving over winter (I think they had *too* much population, it was my hive that just wouldn't stop producing and they had a full deep of honey, but it still wasn't enough) and the third was the community hive that got killed deliberately, or out of ignorance. 1. I'll do late fall combines rather than trying to make it through winter with one strong and one weaker, even if it means killing a queen. I get *way* too attached to my queens. 2. I'll never be in charge of caring for a hive in a community setting again, unless I can rig some way to lock the hive shut. I went to do some garden work in November, and the lid was off the hive. There was still a ton of honey in it, and bee bread, so at least I had that for the start of my new hives this spring. This spring we got two new packages, one of the Carniolans and the other Italian. There was major early spring robbering of the hives at install. I kept them closed up for days, with in hive feeders, and then we eventually moved (something that was already planned before the new install.) The hives both survived the moves just fine, and no robbers at the new place! The carnie queen just never took off. Her pattern was poor and the population constantly struggled. Now, I'd read a lot that carnies kept smaller populations and they were prone to swarming when overcrowded, moreso than italians, so I thought at first maybe that's just how they roll, a smaller population overall. But that queen just never got her stuff together, and I just couldn't bear the thought of killing her. Again. They got hit by robbers, both feral bees and yellow jackets, about 2 weeks ago, and the hive was emptied in about a day. I robber screened them and covered them with a cloth in the morning when I saw the frenzy, with plans to close them up that night. I couldn't get the feeder in there with the frenzy. By that evening's checking on things, there wasn't a drop left of honey and I couldn't find the queen at all, and there were about three dozen yellow jackets *in* the hive when I opened the lid. Ugh. 3. No, really, I'll stop being overly attached to queens now. First sign of a poorly producing queen, and she's outta there. 4. I'll close a hive up during the day in a robber attack, even if it traps out a number of workers. 5. I'm keeping in hive feeders in all year now, even empty, because trying to get feeders into a hive while it's in a robber frenzy just isn't working out at all. That way I can just fill them up and close them off from now on if this happens again. The italian package we got went like gangbusters. I split them in July and both the original package queen and the newly raised queen in the original hive just kept on laying perfect pattern. I kept getting rid of queen cells in the hives, and taking population from them to add to the carnies, checkerboarding, and talking sweetly to them to keep them from swarming, and it seems to have worked. They're both headed into winter with great population (but not too much). They also fight off the yellow jackets with a vengeance for their fallen carnie sisters. Honey stores are low, though, so I'm feeding constantly now. The drought this year was absolutely awful, and it felt like half the state was on fire most of the summer. Then we've been hit with so much rain so fast, and with all the burn scars, that we're flooding all over the place. So no harvest this year, but I really wasn't expecting it anyway with new installs. But, more lessons to put down into my book of beekeeping, so it's been a good year.