Since it was a SWARM HIVE - I tend to think you have a queen a season or two old, usually new queens are left behind (beekeeping for Dummies) which I have always thought different, but hey - I'm just the guy that Robo gets to correct every few posts :shock:
But the GREAT NEWS (think about it) it started with a few thousand bees (I'd go as much as a pound of bees) and no frames that contained any food stores (except I think 1 or two partly filled frames I gave them) and the rest was about 6 frames of drawn foundation: otherwise EVERYTHING in that hive is NEW to that queen!
I remember very well when we saw her how large, translucent and carmel brown she was. I think she will be absolutely fine for next season. I know by the laying pattern and number of bees and brood that she is a monster laying machine :)
The trick of course is getting the hive through Winter and see how FAST in the Spring she gets laying and when it comes time, I'd even suggest taking the frame she is on out of the hive, set it down and observe her for about a half hour, watching the frequency of her egg laying and the amount of calm and assistive workers that she is escourted by.
But I have a good feeling that all will be well. You got a great hive to start off with, even if my power washer was carving the wood like pee in snow - lol.
BTW, I played with that power washer after you left that day and I guess it just needed to get some pressure built up - I think I may have had air in the line. Now I'm awaiting the leaves to stop falling and I'll spend 2 or 3 days power-washing and waxing the bus. I hate all the crap that falls down from those two enormous trees, both in the Spring which is a REAL MESS 1) the buds fall and get caught in the awnings and 2) a week or two later the mini stems that were attached to the buds fall and THEY really clog things up. In the early Winter I just need to deal with leaves, so it should be a much easier process. I just hope I don't slip off the top when soaping it down, that is a long way down.
So even being sick and family matters that took up lots of time, we still got 4 trips in this year 1) Lancaster 2) Cape May 3) Sea Isle City 4) Pocono Mountains and the 2 trips on our first year to 1) Lake George and 2) the scaiest experience of my life, the Blue Ridge Mountains - lol.
Next year is a long ways away, but I'm hoping on another trip toward Virgina, maybe as far as the Smokey Mountains this time. But I'm still into the short trip theme, especially since there are a lot of neat places within 3 hours.
I'm thinking hard of a Watkins Glen, NY trip next year to see a Nextel Cup Race and return to the beautiful gorge at Watkins Glen State Park. I have heard that the Glen could very well be pulled from the circuit of nextel races due to the turn-out, although the road course at the Glen is probably the most exciting 2.5 miles you will ever find.
This will be a guy trip, I have 2 friends who both want to split all costs - but I get the bed to myself, one will get the couch and the other probably my super-sized Army cot that rarely gets used but man is it roomy and comfy :)
I told Tracey that she is VERY WELCOME to do a "Girls Trip" but I'm not a cheaufer, she's on her own - lol.
Lastly, I got your package today, I'm putting the disks in the DVD player out in the bus tonight and gonna lay back and enjoy some theatre of the mind!!!! Thanks for thinking of me :)