Here is an older girl on a beautiful late summer flower called Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Dark Knight'. You can tell she is older by the missing hairs on her back and tattered wings.
Look closely, this girl was caught in the act of combing polling off herself to add to the pollen baskets.
I have feed on almost all the hives right now to keep them going and hopefully help them build up stores for fall. My two main concerns is they have a good population of winter bees and they have plenty of capped honey or syrup. In addition to feeding I did a little late season balancing to give the weaker hives a little boost to help them raise a bit more brood before it really cools off. I estimate we have 4-6 weeks of brood weather left and then it'll trickle off to almost nothing. However this is only true for the younger queens with feed on the hives and I think the second year queens will probably shut down sooner.
Hive Checks (9/18/2012)
Queen Castle 2 - Slot 1
No signs of eggs yet, but the queen is still there. Checked them to see if they still had sugar left because a few stubborn robbers are still coming to take the sugar slush that is now crystallized on the bottom.
Another full inspection looking for the queen or signs of her. I can see where she would have emerged 2 weeks ago but otherwise nothing. I'm guessing that she didn't return from her mating flight. The girls are a bit pissy as I would expect from a queenless hive. Pulled the queen from the Geek hive (grandma) and put her in a queen cage and introduced her to this hive. The girls seemed very receptive to her and started feeding and fanning around her. She'll stay in the cage for a few days just in case.
The Geek hive has dropped down significantly and there is almost no brood and very few larvae left. Will pull all brood frames and merge the honey stores with a nuc.
They have pretty much finished off their syrup and gave them a little more. These girls are pigs with the syrup even though it's a small hive.
Hive Checks (9/22/2012)
Removed the Geek queen from her cage and she happily went down into the hive. This was the original Geek hive and granted all goes well will be again.
Removed the couple frames with queen cells they started and merged with the Northgate swarm. Added syrup to help them back-fill gaps. This hive picked up a lot of frames of honey that aren't capped, but they will also loose foragers due to moving the hive.
Moved the Icon daughter queen into the Nuc the Northgate swarm was in so they would pick up a boost from the foragers.
Moved the Engineer Queen back into her original hive. Kept the syrup on, but they have stopped taking it.
Queen Castle 2 - Slot 1
Moved the Librarian daughter queen into the Nuc that the Engineer queen was in so they would pick up a boost from the foragers. This queen has started laying eggs.
Queen Castle 1 - Slot 3
Added a frame of brood from the Nuc 2 hive. The hive is building up stores and numbers.
This hive has built up quite a bit. Took a frame of brood and replaced it with an empty comb. Will likely take another frame in a week or two to help build up the smaller hives. They don't need food, but added syrup to push them.