One of my colonies went in to winter with a big cluster. They're still alive but I've twice had to pull the entrance reducer and scrape out a bunch of dead bees just so those that are still kicking can get out. Once I've done this I do get activity coming and going where as before they there was nothing while my other colonies were flying.
I'm worried that my bottom deep is just chalked full of dead bees (at least it looks that way from the entrance slot) and I'll keep fighting this until I can remove the top brood box and give the bottom box and the bottom board a good cleaning. Is there anything else I can do until I get the weather to do this?
They have a top entrance (groove in the homasote) but don't really seem to want to use it. Moisture doesn't seem to be a problem and the are still pretty heavy so I don't think they're going to starve.
It may be that I'm fighting a losing battle but this was my top producer last year so if I can get them through it would be great.