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Fledgling beak just completing my first year here. Have 2 hives in my backyard. Going into the winter both were light on their stores, "right" hive more so than the "left" hive. Decision was made to sacrifice (leave on) a mostly full super to try to keep them from starving.

Temperate weather for New England enabled me to do a very quick inspection today. They are both least at the moment.

Two questions:

1. "Left" hive had the larger cluster (as expected) but was all the way to the top of the upper chamber. I read in another post somewhere that this means that they have nothing left to eat. Is this true? Just in case, I did that "Mountain Camping" thing with the sugar on the paper over the cluster and buttoned "left hive" back up. Was this the right thing to do? What is the consumption rate of dry sugar as opposed to syrup; assuming the weather cooperates, how much sugar would I reasonably put on the paper and how long before I replaced it?

2. "Right" hive bees were down in the lower brood chamber. I know they were there because I took off the first super after determining they weren't below (honestly I thought they were gone). It's a small cluster. My question on this one is that in the upper brood chamber I pulled an end frame to see if I could spot them below without messing with them, and it sort of looks like a top bar hive, with the honeycomb having spaces on the bottom and coming to several points hanging from the top. It's not eaten (as in mouse infestation), it seriously looks like the bees decided that they wanted to try top-bar hiving. It started out as a normal run of the mill foundation frame last spring. The vertical wire supports are still intact and embedded. Frame next to it looked exactly the same. I didn't rip them all out because as I said I didn't want to mess up the cluster. But...bees don't eat wax, right? So...where did the bottom of the wax go? Are my girls telling me something?

Thanks in advance for your input!
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