Despite the harsh winter, the colony in the topbar hive is still alive.
The bottom of the hive is just mesh - so the colony is exposed very directly to the elements.
Just goes to prove - something, anything - depending on your prejudices :-)
This colony was a fresh swarm last June (see previous posts about my two sons collecting their first swarm from high in a tree, with advice from me in India via mobile phone).
So a swarm in June is worth a silver spoon.