I had planned, yesterday, to simply remove the "full" super I knew I had. I had also some sketchy plans with Dave to do some inspections on the other hives and so we arranged to meet late morning.
To my surprise Dave had managed to find space and the equipment to extract the honey from the super, so while I removed frames he removed the cappings and extracted what I think is in the order of 8kgs (18lbs) of honey.
To my surprise the other two supers on the hive have also filled in the course of the last week. I reckon there has been a nectar flow from local Lime trees so hopefully there's another fifteen kilos or more to come in; all very nice. It will be interesting to see the difference between the two extracted honeys. I think lime honey is quite light; yesterdays harvest was quite amber and strong in taste, but still very pleasant.
Apart form the extraction I took a look through 3 of the 4 hives.
Hive 1: I found a frame of eggs in Hive 2 and donated this to Dave's hive. Hopefully there will be some suitable eggs for the bees to make a new queen from. If not, Dave said he might buy in a new queen. There is some honey in the supers, not as much as I would have hoped for, but with the Lime trees blooming there is hope these will fill as well.
Hive 2: We will remove the remaining two supers from this hive next week. Otherwise, it appears to be in good shape. I didn't go through it in great depth.
Hive 3: I didn't look at this hive. It was recovering well from the poor state it was in about 6 weeks ago. I'll take a closer look next weekend.
Hive 4: Dave told me this hive swarmed in the week. But there were so may bees in it I'm not too sure this really can be the case. I nevertheless attempted to go through the supers to reorganize them; I had planned to put frames of honey in one super and brood in another and separate the two with a Queen Excluder. But there was so much brood in the supers and so many agitated bees I left them alone.
I'm fairly sure they will swarm in the week (or by next weekend) as there were several capped Queen Cells present. Either way, a reduction in bees might not be such a bad thing. If they have swarmed by the weekend I may go through and try to remove some remaining Queen Cells to try and stop
further cast swarms. One idea we had was to put the remaining QCs in Hive 1. We shall see what happens and decide on a course of action next weekend.