I took some time this late afternoon to visit the Sutton hives. I believe that if I am going to get any honey, it'll be from one of the two Sutton hives.
Sutton Hive 2
I started with the newer hive, the one made from a package in April. My thinking was that it'd be the one with the fewest bees. Well, it didn't seem so! I know now why beekeepers like to visit hives in the late morning/early afternoon. A lot of the foragers are out so the hive isn't too populous. I inspected this hive at 6:00PM (which was the only time I could) and I think all the bees were present!
Here's the entrance to the hive - typical bees hanging out due to the warm weather (this hive has a solid bottom board so doesn't have the benefit of extra ventilation of a screened bottom board):
This is what greeted me when I took off the top cover. A few bees, wouldn't you say?
I had been feeding this hive sugar syrup, and when I pulled out the first frame, this is what I saw:
This is a good looking frame of honey, except it isn't honey, it's the sugar syrup I had been feeding the hive. There were about 3 of these frames in the upper deep, and that isn't necessarily good. If there is too much honey, the queen won't have any room to lay, and the hive becomes "honey bound." I took out this frame to bring home, and put in an empty one. I didn't see the queen, but I did see larvae so I am sure things are fine.
Here's how things were when I was done - yes, the bees are mounding up and overflowing.
I put a queen excluder and a super on this hive to see if by chance I can get them to do some work for me, plus it'll give them some more breathing (and walking) room.
Sutton Hive 1
This hive was also hanging out on the front porch:
This hive has 3 supers on it - the upper two shallow supers are really heavy, and here's what I saw inside:
You can see that this frame is mostly capped. But I feel it should be capped better, so I am giving them some more time. I figure next Saturday I may be able to rob some capped frames!
I noticed that there were some bees hanging out at the corner of one of the supers:
Here's why - there is a gap in the wood at the corner of the super:
It's really not a problem - a lot of beekeepers run their hives with upper entrances. It gives the bees a short-cut to get into the honey super (instead of having to climb up 2 stacks of deep frames full of bees and brood), plus provides some more ventilation.
After I was done inspecting, I tell you I was sweaty! Even at 6PM being in a bee suit is hot work. At least the sun wasn't beating down.