I've been a little behind on posting so there are several hive checks below. I've also done some harvesting the last couple weeks I'll write up in my next post.
Hive Checks (8/19/2012)
Engineer Queens Nuc
The hive is looking to be in good shape for winter. Will build them up with syrup for the rest of the season.
No sign of a queen. Not sure what happened to her, but she is gone. They did make at least one queen cell on the donated frame. Will see how the new queen attempt does. If she fails I will merge one of the strong nucs or the original queen back into the hive. Harvested two frames of capped honey.
The last bar in the nuc is now drawn out. I didn't inspect beyond that because I have no room left to slide combs back and would have to take a frame out of the hive. With the yellow jackets and dearth I didn't want to do that and start a robbing situation.
Powder sugared again (this was week 4). I believe I'm seeing improvement. In retrospect I think I should have pulled the queen as soon as I saw an issue. Next year I'm going to pull the queens from my best hives during the flow to maximize production and give them a brood break.
Building up nicely. Both of the empty frames I gave them last week are full of brood now. Found a queen cup with royal jelly in it. I suspect the frames helped, but they my have the swarm impulse going.
They are getting syrup and are close to where I want them for winter.
I'll try to inspect later. Too much yellow jacket activity in the area after going through the other hives. I did check that back frames and they don't seem to be bringing in anything new right now.
Hive Checks (8/20/2012)
For a blond queen she sure is laying a lot of darker girls. The hive is small, but looking to be in good shape for the winter. Added syrup to help boost their stores and maybe get them to draw out a few more combs before winter.
Full hive of bees. Saw the queen and lots of healthy larvae and eggs on the way. Plenty of honey, and they are still drying the frames. There are a couple ugly cross combs in the back I'll enjoy smashing up to harvest.
Hive Checks (8/28/2012)
Queen Castle 1
Slot 3 - Slowly building up and everything is looking good.
Full inspection. Found a good amount of dried honey and several frames of brood.
The new queen has emerged and she's a slightly smaller version of the Icon queen. Several nurse bees have emerged as well from the donated comb. I'm not sure if she has mated yet. She's not very big for a queen and appears to be be feeding herself. My gut says she will be gone or not laying when I check again, but I'll cross my figure and hope anyway. The Icon queen is not very "fat" either but longer so there is some hope that smaller is simply her genetics. If she doesn't work out I'm moving the Northgate swarm into this hive as they could use the extra room. Also noticed that these girls have mostly sealed their entrance holes with propolis.
Nuc 3 and Engineer Queens Nuc
Feeding, but no check.
Building up nicely and the swarm signs are gone now. These girls are stubborn comb builders but otherwise everything looks good.
The Nuc is packed full of bees and brood and they need a full hive soon. The girls are runny, but otherwise were not as aggressive as they have been in the past. Also the laying pattern is very much improved. Perhaps they did manage to re-queen themselves.
Next week I'll post pictures of the harvest.