The hive that was booming in the spring is now limping along, with fewer bees dancing outside and spotty brood pattern within. No more of the beautiful "peanut butter smear" of brood and frames simply covered with bees. ABK believes this hive swarmed, despite our efforts in helping them feel less crowded.
The picture below is kind of fun because you can see several caps in process as they tuck in the larva for them to go through their pupal stage.
Regardless, they do have brood, and they do have a queen. ABK spotted her in the top deep as we were poking around.
Meanwhile, in the ubercombined hive that was mostly dead in spring, things are going swimmingly. Lots of bees doing lots of work.
We noted that the bees in this hive are highly varied in appearance. We think that the queen who finally took over mated with a diversity of drones. You can see some bees on the cover, below, that are our more traditional golden bee, but some that are longer and almost solid black.
We'll continue to monitor the progress. Soon we'll harvest any excess honey and get the hives reduced down for winter.
Current debate and research goes to whether to take the bottom deep out entirely or to just switch the places of the deeps if there are no brood and stores in the bottom deep. Time to get the books out.