Came home from work early and it was such a nice day, I decided to try pull a few frames of honey from the hive. I was somewhat disappointed when I got in there. I'd anticipated 6 to 8 full frames of honey, based on the fact that there were that many incompletely filled frames in the super two weeks ago, just waiting for brood to emerge and get filled. The brood is gone, but the empty cells were only slowly being filled. And the second super I'd put on with foundation was only slowly being drawn. In fact, a wet frame of comb I put in there after having extracted the honey two weeks ago actually seemed to have decreased, broken up and taken away by the bees.
Ok, so I've come to despise the queen excluder. Seems that's the common factor when the colony slows building comb in the supers. I might have also discovered another problem the excluder causes. When I pulled the supers off, there were clumps of dead bees lying on top the grid. Some of them were recently dead, and some had been dead quite a while. I suspect that they died in one of the supers, and the undertaker bees tried to drag them out as well as they could -- but got hung up when they got to the excluder. There were a few dozen corpses there, some pulled halfway through the grid.
So I removed the excluder -- again! -- and reversed the supers to put the more full one on top. I'll see how it goes in the next few weeks; I figure I have about 4 more weeks for them to work on it before I start medicating and feeding them for winter.
What do you do with incomplete frames of honey when you pull the supers for winter?
For an experiment, I split and cut a few pieces of wood lathe and fashioned a makeshift Imirie shim between the two supers. I'll see if that speeds them up, or just causes a burr comb problem. None of them have used the second entrance yet.