>> How many boxes do they need to last through the winter?
It is recommended that here in Minnesota you leave 3 hive boxes for the bees. The bees will fill these frames with enough resources to survive the winter.
>> How do the bees survive in the winter? Do you insulate the hive?
Bees are very adaptive creatures and have figured out that by pumping their wings and clustering together, they can keep a body heat around 70*. If you open a hive in the dead of winder you will find a swarm in the middle, clustering around their stored food. Because they know to keep warm this way, adding insulation may be detrimental and cause the hive to be TOO hot.
>> What is a swarm?
A swarm occurs when a hive is too full. The bees will begin to develop a new queen. This new queen and half the hive will leave and try and find another home. It is crucial for beekeepers to be aware of when this could happen to have resources (another hive!) ready for the swarm to gather in. Ya know, so your neighbor Frank doesn't find a swarm in his garage :)
>> Are you feeding them?
Thankfully spring came a little early here in MN and the blooms are out! I supplemented them with some Bee-Pro the first few weeks and tried some sugar water. They seem to be doing great regardless.
>> How much honey will you get?
This is a hard question to answer, especially this year. I was told that in your first year of beekeeping not to expect ANY honey. It's tough establishing a hive strong enough to fill a few supers for myself. This year I hope to get a few frames to teach myself how to self-extract the honey so i'm all ready for next summer!