These are just empty deep supers with a few dark frames, and a ziploc bag of lemongrass oil ...
This is a homebuilt swarm trap, placed atop a pole by a tree, about six feet high.
I did not do a full hive inspection this time but rather, just removed the top and looked into the deep honey super to see if the bees were cleaning up the old comb and reusing it. When I put the second deep on the hive last week, I filled it with previously used comb - some of which was pretty destroyed in previous honey extraction.
This is a VERY aggressive hive and they DON'T LIKE me messing with them. But they've been busy in the one super, so it was time to add another. Also removed the entrance reducer and Boardman feeder...
I know it's a long shot ... I put ten drops of lemongrass oil extract on a cottonball, then placed it in a Ziploc bag with a few tiny holes poked in it. I placed it inside a hive super. Inside are eight frames with new foundation and two frames of empty wax cells. I don't have high hopes for this to work but maybe I'll get lucky...
Both hives didn't survive the winter and were filled with tens of thousands of dead bees, inches thick in the bottom of each hive. The hives were moldy but didn't smell too bad, surprisingly. Both hives were still full of honey. I had observed activity into December but nothing since. I have known since a quick peek in late January that only one hive still had a small cluster but they, too, perished.
Created and installed moisture quilts on both hives. I didn't get into the hives, but I did remove the tops and take a peek into the hives. Both are filled with happy, apparently healthy bees. I put some pollen cakes into each hive and really had to clear bees from the tops of the frames to make room for the cakes. After installing the moisture quilts and replacing the tops, I sat in a char and observed the hive entrances. There are lots of bees still bringing in pollen. I have no idea where they are getting it.
I already had entrance reducers on both of these hives, but switched them to the tiniest (pinky finger width) opening. I didn't go into the hives but observed bees moving freely in and out of each. Pulled the top off of Hive A and saw lots of activity through the hole in the inner cover.
Hive A is three deep supers tall, with lots of honey in each. Hive B is two deeps tall, with plenty of honey at last inspection.
Okay, this mystifies me. Several weeks ago, I combined two weaker hives (A and C.) I inspected the combined Hive A today (which is 3 deeps tall) and it is practically honey-bound and STUFFED with bees! I looked at frames in all three supers and could find no brood, outside of what looked like a handful of capped brood in the center of a cell. And a lot of it isn't honey - a lot is open nectar in cells. Not sure what I'm seeing here.
The honey came from the top deep super of a 3-deep hive (Hive B), leaving a brood box on the bottom and another full super of honey above it. The frames were pulled at noon. Temperature was in the mid-sixties and overcast. I did not use a smoker and the bees, while active and not happy, were manageable. On examination, I saw a bit of brood on one side of one frame, so I popped it into my other hive, trading it for an empty frame on that hive. That leaves me a net nine frames of honey to extract tomorrow morning.