I went through the old "combined" tall hive with the tower of boxes in the hope I'd be able to sort things out a bit.
Last time out I found the bee escapes hadn't worked and I also found I had a Queen above a bee escape in a super of brood. So I made up a hive from that super of brood, the "harvested" heather honey and the deep I was trying to clear.
This time out decided to just go through the tall hive and remove bee escapes and have a look to see what's been going on.
Nothing above the queen excluder - just capped and uncapped honey. There is one full super and three partially full ones on this hive. There is also a deep under a queen excluder - and in this deep/brood box? I found brood! So there I was trying to combine two hives each with a queen! D'oh!
I went through this hive a couple of weeks ago and had convinced myself there was no brood. I thought it needed help! Now I'm confused. Perhaps a couple of weeks ago there was a dearth of forage and she simply shut down for a rest?
Anyway I just hope I did no lasting damage. I wasn't able to complete going through the tall hive - I'd really love to find the queen in order to satisfy myself there really is one and not some kind of skinny queen that could get across bee escapes and queen excluders!
Maybe I need a break! I think I need a better, more effective, bee escape!