We opened the hives again today and found that the girls have been pretty busy. At the right is an image of one of the better looking frames with lots of capped comb and positive bee vibrations :-).
Most indications are good. Below is a section of a frame that's looking pretty healthy. My newbie beekeeper sense believes that the top right shows dry-capped honey and some of cells to the left of that are filled with pollen. The bottom left of the photo shows capped brood.
The issue I was concerned about last week has gotten a bit worse. If there is more than "bee space" in between the frames, the bees will build comb in there. True enough. In Elizabeth's hive, the two center frames have a lot of comb built out between them and it pretty much pulled apart when I pulled the frame. It's a bit of a mess (by my standards -- not sure if the bees would agree). I tried to clean it up by trimming some of the excess comb, but I'm not sure if there's anything else I should do. The image below shows the problem frame. Here is a summary of the inspection.
- I followed Liam's advice and removed a fair amount of comb from between the 2 middle frames of Elizabeth's hive.
- I tried to push those frames together as close as possible, but because I didn't find the queen, I was quite careful that I didn't squeeze things together and crush her.
- At least six of the frames had a lot of comb built and given the shape of the two middle frames, I decided to add the second hive body. In hind sight, I'm concerned that may have been premature. I've got a lot to learn :-).
- When I was finished with inspection, I had a chance to look closely at the comb I removed. There was some pollen and nectar there and in one chunk of comb I could clearly see uncapped brood (little apostrophe-shaped larvae). While I'm not real happy about killing these "wannabees," I can clearly see that the queen is laying.
- Bertha's hive was much neater, because my frame spacing was much better after the queen release.
- Lots of capped comb in both the hives and plenty of nectar.
- There was comb built in both hives between the tops of the frames and the insider cover hole. I scraped it off both of the frames and the inside cover.
- Bertha's hive seemed to have a bit more room in it yet, so I didn't add the 2nd hive body to it. We'll take a look next week and re-assess.