I inspected both of my hives today, but didn’t have my regular cracker jack film crew along. No video. No photos. But you can pretend I saw something similar to this:
Report on Hive #2: Full inspection. Used sugar spray mist instead of smoke. Two beautiful full frames of natural capped honey. Gorgeous. I wish I’d taken photos. Plenty of brood at various stages. Pattern seemed spotty but most open cells were filled with eggs or larvae. Couldn’t spot the queen. Lots of honey and pollen. No single frames full of drones but a fair number of drones nonetheless. Comb being filled in fast on two empty frames added probably less than a week ago. Didn’t count exactly what I found on each frame this time around. One queen cup. No queen cells. All frames in bottom box were full. Most of the frames in the box were full. Ergo, added medium super with five foundationless frames in the middle. Will add five more frames as soon as I can, but five frames should be enough for now. No feeder on the hive.
Used sugar spry mist instead of smoke on Hive #1, but wish I had the smoker on the go. Although I like the idea of not smoking the bees, I can see how it could come in handy. The bees in Hive #1 were in a bad mood right from the start. It was also 4:00pm by this point, which was three hours later than I had originally planned. I will never delay a hive inspection to the late afternoon again. Too many bees coming home to roost, and none of them happy to find me there.
Report on Hive #1: Inspected only the top box. Found five foundationless frames full of drones and honey. Oddly enough, the frames on the edges of the top box were full of worker brood. I expected to find worker brood in the middle, but oh well. Didn’t rearrange any frames. Didn’t look at the bottom brood box. Added medium super with five foundationless frames in the middle. No feeder on hive.
No plans to touch the hives again until mid-June.
February 2019 Postscript: When using foundationless frames with no comb in them, I make sure to put them between two frames that already have drawn comb or at least have some kind of foundation in them (plastic or clean wax). That’s the best way to get the bees to build comb evenly. To get the bees to move into an empty super, as mentioned in the comments, drawn comb seems to encourage them the most. But even with a honey super full of nothing but empty drawn comb, the bees will start working the comb when they’re ready. I’m sure other beekeepers have their own thoughts on this, but from what I can tell, assuming the nectar is flowing strong, once the population of the colony increases to the point where the bees have nowhere else to go, then they’ll start working the honey super. A small population in the hive just won’t do it. The comments in this post are worth reading.