OK, so I checked my hives and it appears all have made it through the mild winter here in upstate New York. All are Carniolans and I left them plenty of stores. Left the Screened bottom boards open this year with cafeteria trays (mite trays) about 2" below to block direct wind. Used black roofing felt stapled to the wooden hives for solar gain, but didn't do anything special to the polystyrene hives (BeeMax).
Just checked two hives today rather quickly since the temperature was 50 degrees and I didn't want to chill brood. Found eggs in one hive, but didn't find eggs or brood in the other (although I didn't check all the frames, just the ones on the sunny side where most of the bees were). Here's a question. I found a drone! As far as I know, drones don't forage (or rob other hives). So, can I assume this drone was from the hive even though I didn't see any brood? We had a very warm January, and I was surprised to see so many bees in the hive considering they are carni's, which usually have a small winter cluster this time of year. I'm wondering if they started raising some mid-winter brood in January (with temp's in the 40-50's) and then shut down again in February once the cold returned. Any thoughts?