Here on December 23, 2020, my bees were clearing out the dead bees from their entrance. I looked earlier in the day before it was warm enough to fly and there were a lot more bees on the entrance. Later, I saw fewer, but then in the afternoon when it was over 50 degrees, they were actually flying. This is the first I have seen them flying since fall. The presence of dead bees at the entrance meant they were successfully clearing out their dead bees, which is a sign of hive health. Actually seeing them flying was full assurance that they are doing well.
As you can see, my hive is well sheltered from the wind and weather. Winter is predicted to really come starting Christmas Eve, so I am ready. No, I do not have a mouse guard on. Yes, I know I am supposed to have one. My reasoning goes this way - by the time most beekeepers think of it, the mice are already in the hive, so then I am locking them in. Besides in the horizontal hive they usually go to the back corner, far from the bees and do no harm back there. Since I use foundationless frames, the back few frames are just empty, so the mice can't really do any damage. You may also wonder that there is no insulation on this hive. That is because this hive is double walled and has an insulated roof. This makes it so I do not have to do anything special on the outside for winter prep.
Stay tuned throughout the winter, I am making plans to do field days once again starting in the spring of 2021.