It's been just over a week since the Students came to view the hives. All was well then - well kind of.
I went through the hives today and had another detailed look. Things have changed; just a little:
Hive 1: During the week Dave put a second super on this hive (above a queen excluder). I went through the hive this morning and found there had been some further nectar/honey collection in the hive but nothing too much.
The hive looks busy and I found the queen in the top deep. I reversed the deeps, if nothing else than to make the queen move up again and not feel boxed in up in the top deep. This probably makes no difference if you listen to what some people say i.e. the queen goes where she likes, when she likes. I feel that's probably true but the likely trend is that she moves up, and besides it makes me feel proactive!
While going through the hive I did notice both the queen, lots of brood and larvae and a single uncapped Queen Cell which I removed. I saw just the one but I will make contingency to do an artificial swarm next week when I can next get back in to inspect.
Hive 2: This has been busy and has remained very active over the past week. The brood I found in the top super has largely all emerged and nectar is now filling the vacated cells. The new supers I put on over the past couple of weeks are being drawn out, so that is encouraging, and there is a lot of brood in the deeps. I decided after a while to stop the inspection as things were getting a little agitated and the bees were getting a tad stressed!
At least I have the equipment to do an artificial swarm; all I have to now do is swat up on what to do!
Hive 3: The swarm hive has been getting more established. The super has been filling and I replaced 3 old frames with new foundation. The bees in the deep are still only on about 3 or 4 frames but nevertheless these have some brood and larvae on them. I removed the feeder and let them get on with gathering nectar. I did not see the Queen despite looking fir some time! I hope, and trust, she is there! Again, an inspection next week should determine that.
So now what I need to do - apart from considering undertaking an artificial swarm - is to consider making a split (or even two). I feel there is sufficient brood etc. in the 2 large hives to manage making a split at some point in the next couple of weeks.
If I go to the hives next weekend with the required equipment prepared then at least I can have the option of doing something, or nothing!