Many “expert” Facebook and Google beekeepers told me these bees would surely die in short order this winter. With 4 relatively large holes on each side of the spool, and wrapped in a few inches of metal wire, I wouldn’t have been surprised if they did. I decided that there was only one way to find out; I added mouse guards and let ’em go. They’ve made it through some punishing cold and wind so far, while several of my Langstroths did not. I think they can hang on for a few more weeks.