On Saturday, April 9th, we spent over three hours going through all six hives on Bee Hill frame by frame.
In the immortal words of Inigo Montoya in "The Princess Bride" -- "Let me 'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up."
It got hot. It took a long time. I had to bite my tongue a lot, because I got cranky. There was good news and bad news. But on the whole, it was a productive morning.
Hive 1: Confirmed that it swarmed. We saw brood, but no eggs, and couldn't find the queen. Lots of honey. Mark is looking for a queen to purchase, but no one has returned his phone calls yet.
Hive 3: We need to check soon. The brood was spotty, and we didn't see any eggs so even though we saw the queen, she may not be laying. We checkerboarded frames due to so many empty frames, and didn't add a super as we'd originally planned.
Hive 4: this is the weakest hive. We didn't see the queen or eggs, there was little brood, and what we saw was all drone brood -- not a good sign. We added a full frame of brood from Hive 5 to boost their numbers. Midweek, Mark replaced the frames that didn't have foundation and had only been partially built with wax by the bees (pictured). We need to requeen, or combine with another hive so perhaps the swarm group that's on the porch will be married to Hive 4. However, due to the close proximity, we'll have to move both hives to the Barhams or to Harley's house (yes, a third bee yard is in the works). More on that later!
Hive 5: currently our best hive. They're calm, we saw the queen, the brood is a beautiful pattern (pictured), they're storing honey and pollen, their population is large, we saw eggs, and bees were just pouring out all over. Once upon a time, that would have been terrifying. The new medium super we added had wax being drawn, so we'll need to watch this one and make sure we add another medium super to accommodate all of their activity.
I don't know which hive this is from, but I love the look on Mark's face!