Re: Wintering Question.
If the hive has little feed, it's more likely the cluster will be at the top and it would be easier to remove the bottom box which may be totally empty other than some pollen.
However I'm with Michael Bush on this, mid winter could be best not to mess with them at all. Other than feed if needed of course although even that should not be needed if the hives were properly prepared in fall.
44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).