jusme; Trot is the man 8-) I've learned many things from many beeks but the man has a way of articulating the world that is truly refreshing. He taught me some things I didn't know I knew, (know what I mean?) and some things that made too much sense to be figured out by this knucklehead anyway? There are many beeks around, especially in Canada, who practice his methods or some variation. Trot also uses a 'larger' telescopic cover with holes drilled in 'it' (in the back) instead of a separate box, I believe (this is the place to correct me Trot, if your listening). He's been more helpful than he knows as far as I'm concerned.
I've lost 4 of 5 over the winter, including a strong two year old colony I had in a LONG Hive (I must get them some fresh air and a way to properly insulate above some how). All had slightly different set ups. however, my only survivor was the super colony I've been keeping for 6 seasons now. And, it was also the only one with a separate vent/feeder box between inner and outer cover that was insulated. It also had mostly loose, yet a bit soggy sugar still uneaten as of a week ago.
In observing recent behavior so far my bees are primarily using their bottom entrance (open at smallest hole) for removing dead and trash (chunks of sugar) and the top for bring in pollen, with the top being the busiest, by far.