Solid food helps if bees get water outside all the time. Otherwise they will die lack of water. This is issue which we cannot talk. Cannot understand.
Odd thing in USA is that hobbyist avoid feed bees for winter with sugar. Beginners are encouraged to leave honey for winter - why?
In cold climate there is no alternatives and hives goes well over winter when feeded with sugar once. I may say that teachers are really bad ones when they give such advices. Why, what is the art of feeding sugar all year around
: .. but they had maybe 7-8 frames of pollen and capped honey in the bottom box, outer frames were empty - nothing at all in the top box.
You have a good store of food in the hive, but it is uppside down. With 7 frames of capped food hive goes over winter. Do this:
* Buy TWO insulated lanstroth box. Try styrofoam. Good insulation saves 30% of food.
* Put frames with bees into boxes and put those boxes over your old ones. Bees move to new boxes them selves. Take extra boxes away.
* Put best capped frames in the middle.
* If you just feeded and it is not capped, put uncapped in the middle and capped next near. They eat uncapped first. At sides uncapped food will be fermented.
You can do it with 30 F weather, but wait that temperature rises.
* If you do not change boxes, do it so: put the capped box uppermost.
* Make a loose insulated box from styrofoam boards over your hive. Good ventilation at the bottom.
* buy a frost guard which keep the tempereture at level of 40F.
Styrofoam hive box is sheaper.
If you have capped frames 7 , surely you get them alive to cleansing flight. After that you can feed then again with 60% syrup. Bees consume most of their winter food during spring when they have brood.
Do not give them extra room.
Keep hive in somewhere shelter where they do not get wind into entrance.
I have same problems with some hives and I put there 6 W terrarium heater. I carry a couple of hives to fire wood shelter and connect them to electrict net
My bees raised brood very late and some consumed too much winter food in Sptember. I weight hives with person balance and I can see which are under minimum. There I put terrarium heater . Heater cannot be under the winterball. It must be on the side wall.
But it seems to me that you have enough food to the cleqnsing flight
If you give now syrup, it will be fermented.
I have in Southern Finland cleansing fliht at the beginning if Marsh.
I live at 60 north latitude and you live somewhere 42 degree. In Europe it means that cleansing flight is at the beginning of February, not so far. Now they need to survive 3-4 months with that food.
What is your time of cleansing flight?Training makes a master!