This is the second time I’ve gone in and looked through the hive. Let’s examine what I saw.
Before I opened the hive, I put out a pint/two cups of sugar water for the bees to eat. Within three hours of setting it out, they had taken ¼ a cup into the hive. And I even went in and worked the hive in the middle of those three hours.
I could tell from just taking the top off that they were becoming a stronger hive.
They’ve started drawing out new comb on the frames I moved inward last time. Thinking back, I probably should’ve moved the newly drawn-out ones closer into the center of things, and moved the still empty frames in as well. The bees seem uninterested in drawing out the frames on the edges, but continue to make comb elsewhere in the hive.
Like here for instance. I removed the burr comb from the bottom of the frame, and then took a closer look at what was happening in the center of things. This will be hard to see for you (if I hadn’t seen it in person I wouldn’t know what this picture was showing) but in the center of the frame is all new larvae. The light golden circle in the middle is the larvae. It’s a nice solid patch, which means a healthy queen, and it also mean that there are this many new bees in the hive (since last time this was capped brood).
This will be even more difficult to see, but the queen is just up and to the left of the center of the picture. She’s got a longer body than the workers and has the blue paint on her back. This frame was mostly nectar stores, so the fact that the queen was over here shows that there isn’t enough space for her to lay eggs (meaning there isn’t enough comb in the hive). She’ll just have to make due with what space she’s got, and we’ll all have to hope the workers can make more wax. The sugar water I’m feeding them should help to induce wax production.
My mom was emailing B today, who mentioned a new type of hive he was thinking about, and it actually seems kind of interesting. It’s called a Top Bar Hive, and it seems A LOT more effective then the conventional hive. The bees get to build all of their comb from scratch, without having to follow a preformed pattern. It’s so simple to build that I could do it myself without any trouble. The bar (it would be a frame in my current hive) utilizes the bee’s natural instincts and allows them to build comb the way they want to. The entire hive essentially becomes usable burr comb. If I get a second hive, I’d really like to try using this. The only down side is that it has little to no precautionary measures that can be implemented to reduce the likelihood of a swarm. The hive is designed to be horizontal instead of vertical, so the switch of boxes that happens in spring with my current hive, can’t be done with the TBH. I’d still like to try the TBH though. It sounds really fun and functional and practical. And CHEAP. It costs about $70 to make. Mine cost about $250.
Anyway, all is well in the hive, and within the week they’ll be ready for a new box. I apologize for the pictures. My mother insisted on taking pictures so that my face was in every one of them. It makes being anonymous while still trying to show pictures about your life difficult.