Did my first full inspection of the new colonies I installed on the 22nd, and they're doing well. The queens have plumped up, the workers have been drawing lots of comb, and there are plenty of eggs in each hive. They've been consuming plenty of syrup in the past week, and they each consumed almost all of the 1 lb. pollen patty I'd placed in each one.
My walkaway split is doing alright, but less active than the two new ones. I'm trying to get them to start drawing comb in the second brood box, which they did this past week. Unfortunately, they drew some kind of weird cross-comb between a couple improperly hanging frames, and the queen laid eggs there. I was sorry to scrap so much of her effort, but it was messy. Elsewhere she's still laying in nice patterns and filling frames solidly, even though she's in her second year. I moved some empty comb from the outside edges of the lower brood box to the center of the upper box (replaced them with foundation) hoping to entice more movement into there.
My cutdown split provided the most excitement and frustration. This box is packed full of bees -- bees covering every frame of the lower brood box, and thousands more living in the comb super above. I knew earlier this week that the queen cells had opened, and today I looked for her. I'm happy to say that I found her, unmistakably -- and without relying on a colored dot to spot her!. Funny thing is, I heard her first. As I went through the hive, I came to one frame that emitted that strange cross between a buzz and a duck (or a baby) when I pulled it. So I pinpointed the side of the frame the sound was coming from and looked extra diligently, finding her near the bottom. She's kinda small, like the new queens from the packages before they were released from their cages. There weren't any eggs in the hive yet, so I'm still hoping she'll be a good layer. I'll check again next weekend.
This cutdown frustrates me though. It's been three weeks since I made the split and placed the comb super on top. The hive is packed and there are bees galore all over the frames in the super. But they haven't begun drawing it out, much less filling it. Seems to me they should have made a good start on it by now. I don't know whether to continue waiting for them to start drawing it, or to replace the comb super with a regular second brood box, and then try to have them draw comb the way described on David Cushman's site later in the season. They have a queen now, and I've seen them bringing pollen in, which is about the last thing I want them putting in a comb super (other than brood).
Any suggestions, anyone?