I did my fifth, sixth, and seventh hive removals today. The first two were hives that had been sprayed. They were not fun. I may have gotten one usable hive out of the two if I give them a queen (neither had a living queen that I could find). One hive had been huge - nearly four feet of stud space - but was down to perhaps a pound of live bees. The stench of dead brood was unpleasant to say the least. No sign of disease - just brood that didn't have enough bees to support it. I boxed them up together and dropped them off at my quarantine site. If they still appear lively on Wednesday, I'll give them one of my spare queens and see what they can do.
Now, I started doing removals six weeks ago and, as of 1PM today, had done six. None of them was exactly a fun experience. From those six removals, I netted one hive that is queenright but struggling, one with no queen and not looking promising for raising its own, two that I combined together and then had to combine into a strong hive because they were failing, and two that are my new "toxic" hive. A lot of work for not much reward.
However, number seven - my final hive today restored my faith. Nothing special about this hive - it was small and I think was probably a swarm from this year that moved into some older comb. However, I didn't have to destroy it and kill hundreds of bees to get the comb. I didn't have to do any crazy contortions to get to it. The bees were so gentle and disinterested in me, I wonder if they were getting their nectar working one of those "special" plantations in the forest. I think I killed three bees in the whole process. The queen was right there waiting in the middle of the biggest brood comb and continued to do her business as I banded the comb in place.
Anyway - I finally have some pics to show of something other than a bucket full of mashed comb and bees.