One of my hives (I first assumed Hive B but it was Hive A) swarmed today. Fortunately, I was home. Fortunately, they landed on a branch of my cherry tree. I was able to capture the hive and move it to a new hive. Unfortunately, this brand new hive is right next to the hive they vacated. I've never captured a swarm before so while the capture was a success, we'll see how the placement works out. I shot a full video and will post it later.
Hive B is still going like gangbusters! I added a third deep to the hive today ... let's see what they can do with that!
Hive A seems to be struggling again. Bottom deep is very full but even though I swapped a full frame into the empty upper super, they still haven't made any effort to draw out the frames in the top (deep) super. But there is a lot of hive activity and the hive is packed with bees on all frames ... except the nine empty ones in the second (top) super.
Hive B has really surged forward, though you wouldn't know it by looking at the activity in front of the hives. Both appear to be equally busy, with plenty of orientation activity in the afternoons, etc. But on opening the hives, B has nearly fully drawn comb in both supers with great brood pattern and honey storage.
Did not do hive inspections this week. Removed both hive tops and took the inner covers out. Using a Dremel, I notched them for bee access and ventilation (the notches go on the front.) Replaced both inner covers and put the tops back on the hives. Lots of activity in both hives.
Today's hive inspection was about as good as I could hope for.
Hive B - usually very aggressive, seems to have calmed down some. There was still syrup in the hive top feeder but it had gone bad. Of concern were about 200 dead bees in it - that's quite a lot in one week. I removed, cleaned and stored the feeder. They are starting to build comb in the upper deep super.
It's been in the mid-eighties. Yesterday, the bees were starting to beard on the hive. I removed the entrance reducer this morning but left one on Hive A, the weaker hive.
Nothing remarkable here - didn't even have to suit up. :)
Hive B (without the mite treatment) seems to be a very strong hive. The bees are very aggressive - they definitely do not like to be bothered. Some cling to my veil, trying to chew their way in. I am surrounded by a cloud of bees when I work this hive, some clinging to my gloved fingertips in an attempt to sting. Due to their agitated nature, I did not spend much time looking for the queen. I spotted capped brood and larvae. They haven't done much with the second empty super I put on some weeks ago, but they have built up burr comb between the supers. I removed the extra comb.
I posted to the Friends with Gardens site today, explaining more about this ... I treated with MAQS (Mite-Away Quick Strips).
After noticing how weak Hive A was this morning, I went out and did a closer inspection by pulling out the plywood beneath the screened bottom board. I have a Varroa mite problem. More accurately, I have a BIG Varroa mite problem. The bottom board had quite a number of live and dead mites all over it. How could this be on a hive that's only three weeks old? I posed that question to Stedman's Bees in Silverdale, and was told the mites may have overwintered in the foundation that I used to start this year's hive.