Re: Preparing for winter
As JOGA wrote, they pretty much take care of themselves. If you want to check, take off the inner cover and look down between the frames on the top deep. You will probably see all capped honey. If you can't tell, pull one frame from the end, then slide the others over and look down at one of the middle frames. It will probably be all honey, or mostly honey with just a little capped brood left at the bottom. If you see that, then you know they are moving the queen and brood down and backfilling the brood area. You found that out by removing one frame, instead of digging through all the boxes and disrupting the colony.
If, on the other hand, you see frames full of brood in all stages, then it is possible that they managed to block the queen in the upper deep. THEN, you want to check further and, possibly move boxes. But, that will most likely be the exception.
“If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie