Hive1 was brimming with bees already and the Queen has been busy laying eggs. There was already capped brood in the centre of the hive. They also had some stores left but I moved in a frame of stores from Hive4 as I took a frame of eggs and capped brood out for them. I don't think this hive will need any stimulative feeding and they're off to a great start. I spotted the Queen wandering about with her bit of green paint.
In Hive2 the Queen looked to have just recently stared laying. There was capped and uncapped brood but less than in Hive1. They still had plenty of stores too but there were some empty frames between the brood and the food stores so I shuffled the food a bit nearer. I think I'll give them a little 1:1 syrup to try and step things up a notch.
Over in Hive3 The bees had made three play cups but none had eggs or royal jelly in them. As these bees have been pretty aggressive before to reduce the number of flying bees I laid the empty end frame on top of the uncovered frame tops and gradually moved it back as I worked. As the frame is supported by the wooden sides it's held above the bees as you go.
|Using a frame to reduce flying bees|
I didn't see the Queen but there was a lot of eggs and uncapped brood so I'm pretty sure she's in there, if she isn't they're spoilt for choice of eggs to replace her with. Unlike the other colonies these had eaten most of their stores already.The workers had already made a play cup but it was empty.
|Capped brood for the start of the season|
When I got to Hive4, the one which I think had had nosema, the bee numbers were down to a couple of frames and I didn't see a Queen, eggs or brood. They did have a lot of stored food still in the frames so I gave one frame to Hive3 and swapped another for a frame with some capped brood and eggs from Hive1. The capped brood will emerge in eleven days at most and give the colony some young workers sooner rather than later. They can also make up a new Queen from the eggs although she'll probably be waiting around before there's any fertile drones to mate with so might need another frame of eggs and brood later. As this is now a fairly small colony I moved the frames with food, brood and bees into a 5 frame nucleus box so there's less space for the bees to try and keep warm.
|Hive4, they've dowsized.|
With the three hives remaining in fullsize brood boxes I removed the floors to clear out the fallen bees left in the hives. As you'd expect the number of dead bees was inversely proportional to the number of live bees, eggs and brood with the brimming Hive1 being almost clear and the half full (or half empty depending what's in that glass and what I'm expected to do with it) Hive2 having a little carpet of chitin clad corpses.
|Corpse Carpet. :-/|