We went out about 8 weeks after the installation of the bees to have a poke through the hive. Ordinarily we would have been in the hive several times already, but since we put together a Top Bar Hive and are planning on minimally intervening with the bees, we patiently waited while only taking daily peeks through the window. Besides, the bees know what to do to thrive. It’s our job to make sure that they have all the tools to do that, and if we get some honey that’s cool too.
At the end of the hive, where they should have been building comb to store honey, they were building comb and storing honey. Very nice. The top white section is capped honey and the shiny stuff in the rest of the cells is unripe honey. Once they’ve evaporated enough water out of the honey they’ll cap that too.
This comb has a good amount of capped brood, a few uncapped cells with larvae in the them and some capped honey at the top. As we worked our way through the hive we didn’t see anything alarming. We never saw the queen, though there are obvious signs that she’s there and thriving.
The hive has been buttoned up since then. Over the summer, when I expected there to be a nectar dearth I saw lots of pollen going in. They built up some more comb on the last few bars and seem the be maintaining the population of the hive from the spring. The last few bars are cross-combed, but that will be easy to handle in the spring when we’ll move the comb down and allow the bees to build new comb in the brood chamber.