Almost two weeks after installation. 5:30 pm. Sunny with medium overcast and dark clouds moving in. Past peak of activity. I forgot to make a to-do list before I opened the hive.
My impatient side kick went ahead and opened the hive cover and removed a bar (without lighting the smoker or wearing any protective equipment). A bee chased him off, leaving the hive open while I suited up. Then he went and started the smoker. I smoked the bees at the entrance and at the back, where it was opened.
First, I removed the empty syrup that we put in on Wednesday. We were surprised there was not a pool of syrup on the hive bottom. I set the new jar back further because the comb building was getting close. The smoker went out; my handyman husband refueled it for me and then hooked up his laptop while I tried to focus the camera. Dark clouds had moved over us and I debated whether to check the comb. I decided to go ahead and look at a few bars. If the bees were going to get mad, they would have done it already. The smoker went out again, just before pulling the first bar.
I took a few pictures of the inside work with my camera while I waited for the smoker.
I carefully pulled bar #1 up (from the small saved comb). The front was completely covered in bees. The backside was darkest in the middle, but looked to us like uncapped honey. I slowly set the bar back in, loosing no lives.
Bar #2 (from largest saved comb) had what we originally thought was capped honey, but later with Wikipedia.com we learned was capped brood. I wish I had a better picture of this frame, but a particular bee was not happy with me. My hh was taking pictures of the comb when he was buzzed (lucky for him, the camera still works after being dropped). I continued smoking the bees, borrowing his chair to get the smoker near enough to the entrance and near the bars I was pulling out.
Bar #3 was uncapped. We thought all three looked very nice. Not sure what the real story is though. Our smoker went out a third time and we decided it best to call it a day. The hive was open for about 15 minutes already. I lost a few lives when replacing the last two bars (hopefully the queen wasn't one of them). There were too many bees for me to worry over finding the queen.
So, we put it all back together and crossed our fingers.
[webcam photo] (webcam converted hivecam)