Time for the regular weekly inspection, and boy was it a scorcher! The temperature was in the 80's, and it was very humid (a storm came through later in the afternoon). My hives are not in the sun (thank goodness!) but it was still very hot. I usually wear a headband to keep the sweat from dripping into my eyes, but I put it in the laundry to be washed, and didn't find it. I sure needed it! I ended up taking another shower right after I got done with the inspection!
I decided to start on the brown hive first, since I felt it was going to take the most time. I was right. You'll recall last week that I added a honey super. When I popped the top, I didn't see a lot of bees in the super, and was prepared to be disappointed. But then I looked on a couple of frames and saw them drawing out comb! The picture at the top of the post is one of those frames. You can see the honey comb starting to be added bulging out in the center. When I was done and closing up the hive, I added a queen excluder to keep her majesty out of that new comb (perfect for egg-laying). I wanted the bees to start drawing out the comb before I added the excluder (they say the excluder inhibits the bees from starting to drawing out comb, but is OK after they start).
The hive was full of bees (a good thing). Here's a picture of the top of the top brood chamber, followed by a picture of the top chamber lifted up (showing the bottom of the top chamber, and the top of the bottom chamber). One good thing missing in the 2nd shot are swarm cells - that means they aren't inclined to swarm (but it's late for that anyway).
The top brood chamber (deep) had a lot of honey and pollen it - it was very heavy! So I think these bees are on their way to having enough for the winter. If they keep up the good work, they may make extra for me in the top honey super. But I am not holding my breath.
I had a little bit of a hard time inspecting this hive. It seemed there were so many bees that I had a hard time getting the frames in and out. I'd lift a frame, and a ton of bees would come spilling out. When I went to put in the last frame of the box, bees were "scraped" off of the sides of the frame. It made it real difficult.
I didn't see the queen (didn't look at each frame), and didn't see any eggs. But saw some good brood patterns and lots of honey and pollen. I noticed that the bottom chamber was almost empty of brood - lots of empty comb ready for laying, but no eggs. I'm going to ask the BeeSource forum to see if there is anything I need to do.
Here's one of the top box end frames showing the honey (capped, around the edge) and pollen (looks moist in the middle and has different colors):
Last week I added the second brood box, and have been feeding feeding feeding to get them strong enough to last the winter. I checked, and they had started drawing out comb in the upper box, maybe 1/2 a frame on each side of the frame I brought up from the bottom box. This is to be expected. I did see eggs in the frame, so I know the queen is doing her job.
I also noticed a lot less chalkbrood on the bottom board -almost none! That it a good thing - it means the are eliminating (have eliminated?) the problem. I'll continue to monitor the situation. Chalkbrood doesn't have any treatment, except to help the bees maintain the correct humidity in the hive. They seem to be doing that.
In the evenings the bees in the brown hive just kind of sit out on the bottom board chilling out. I took a little video of it - they are doing some cooling fanning as well.