Had a chance to inspect both sets of hives on Friday. I didn't take the camera to Sutton, so no pictures from those hives.
Sutton Hive 1
This hive is doing well. I still haven't seen the queen, but plenty of evidence of a queen. I wanted to see how the remaining honey frames were doing, as well as those I put on the hive after I "stole" the capped frames for my honey extraction.
It's apparent we are in a little of a dearth going on, as the bees had done little to further their nectar/honey collection. There was maybe 1 frame which was capped enough to be taken, but I left it so they could still work on the empties. They had added very little to the empties. Within the hive body there was evidence of hone being stored in the corners as well.
Sutton Hive 2
Hive 2 has a lot of "honey" stores (mostly sugar syrup I fed the hive earlier in the spring). I decided to put back on the super of foundation in order to catch any flows which may come up. Didn't see the queen, but I didn't really look, and I saw lots of young larvae, so all is well.
I have a frame feeder in this nuc, which was empty, so I needed to fill it up. Last time I filled it, there were a few bees within the empty feeder, and I managed to drown a few. This time I took out the empty feeder and set it in front of the nuc. Later that afternoon the bees had all left and returned to the nuc, so I was able to fill the bee-less feeder and put it back in the nuc.
This hive continues to baffle me. I found at least 2 supercedure queen cells along the side of a couple of frames, and about 10 swarm queen cells along the bottom edges of the frames in the top brood box. When I pulled out the frames for inspection, I accidentally damaged some of the swarm cells, as the bees had attached the closed end to the frames below.
When I was examining the top box (which happens to be a honey super), I heard a queen piping. On one of the frames, I saw a queen, but she wasn't as large as the queens I've seen before. I suspect she is a an un-mated queen, but I grabbed her and marked her anyway, so I can keep track of things. Here is the frame with the queen on it - note that her abdomen isn't as solid colored as a mature queen (compare with the picture below from the pink hive):
Once again I left things alone to let the hive sort out what it wants to do. Since this hive wasn't a honey producer, I am not out any production.
I beekeeper friend of mine gave me a slatted bottom rack and suggested I try it out. So I put it on the hive, to provide more room and ventilation.
This hive is doing well. I did find the queen in this hive:
There was plenty of nectar (sugar syrup) stored in the frames of the brood chamber, so I put an empty honey super (above a queen excluder) on this hive to catch any flow which may come up. This hive has lots of bees, as they were bearding earlier. I also added a slotted bottom board to see if it gives the bees a little more room.
I am still feeding this hive - lots of empty space in the hive. I decided to keep feeding it to encourage the queen to lay. It is by far the weakest of all my hives, but I saw lots of capped brood and good young larvae. I hope the population will increase when all those bees are born.
So here's the bee-yard as it looks now, with the new super and slatted rack on the pink hive, and slatted rack on the green hive: