Call me tomorrow anyway. Leave your number. I will be at a culinary compatition but will have some time to talk in between rounds. It will be nice to catch up.
My hives always look like that at the end of winter. In fact just this w/e it went up to 10 C so I put feeders on the hives and cleared out the inch or so of dead bees that built up on the bottom board stopping the bees from getting out. Before I was even done they started pilling out to make their first "toilet break" since November.
So yes, I wind up with a sorryful mount of dead bees at the base of each colony.
BTW I'm up near Ottawa Canada - winter is long and gets freaking cold.