I made it out to the Sutton hives to give them an inspection.
Sutton Hive #1
Right off the bat this hive didn't look normal. There were fewer bees flying in and out than the other (one of the benefits of having 2 hives in the same location - you can compare and contrast).
The hive did have a lot of honey in it in the lower box - here's the end frame that the bees have kept full all summer. It was heavy!
But the honey super was bone dry. With so few bees, it makes sense that they haven't put up any honey in the upper super.
A couple of frames in I found a couple of queen cells! These aren't swarm cells, but are supercedure cells. You can see that there isn't much brood, so I don't know if there is a queen.
The question of whether there was a queen or not was solved on the next frame. See if you can spot her:
I snagged her and gave her a nice yellow dot!
I'm not sure how long she has been here. Hopefully she will start laying - there aren't too many (if any) eggs and larvae in this hive.
Sutton Hive #2
This hive had a pretty heavy honey super, but checking the frames, they aren't ready for extraction - they aren't capped yet:
I'll leave it for more processing - hopefully I can get some late fall honey from this hive.
This hive also had a good couple of frames full of honey in the upper super. Here's the outermost frame:
There was a good brood pattern - this frame shows the center part where bees recently were born, with the outer edge still with capped larvae. The queen can/will lay in those empty parts.
I didn't see the queen, but saw plenty of new eggs and larvae, so I know she is here:
Overall, hive 2 is doing well. Hive 1 is going to have to kick it up to make it ready for the winter.