We opened the yellow hive. The bee colony did not survive. It looks like they froze. They definitely did not starve.
We took a lot of the honey - more than we would have taken if the colony had survived, but less than was there. We left a lot in the hive, hoping one of the other two of our hives survived and the bees in those hives will find the honey and take it.
If the other hives made it - we have more hope for the swarm Deus Ex Machina caught at our friend's house at the beginning of the summer, but it would be very cool if the swarm we caught in our apple tree in July survives - then we're more sure that the reason the bees haven't done so well - to date - has to do with acclimation. Both of the swarms were acclimatized to Maine, to our climate. The bees in the yellow hive were not (and were a package we purchased that originated down south somewhere).
We're incredibly thankful for the gift of the honey, and at the same time, terribly sad that the bees didn't survive our crazy winter.