Helping a friend to "clean up" a hive they started last year. Unfortunately they have not touched it since last June!
5 medium boxes, 8-frame, weather 69 deg, 16 mph wind, but somewhat of a wind break. Just after noon sun-time.
Took off top, took off cover, so far so good.
Removed top box which was a little stuck to the next box, and heavy, full of honey. Placed it on the ground so we could work it. That first box was full of honey and bees and cross comb but before we could do anything with this fairly calm box, we were interrupted by the mob from the rest of the hive. Box 4 was teeming with bees, crawling and flying out, that box had frames stuck to the next box so if we tried to move that box, we were pulling frames out of Box 3. This box was also heavy but not sure how much was honey and how much was more frames below.
So put 4 back on 3, continued to smoke while hubby in particular was a target of their distress.
Finally in desperation, put box 5 on an empty stand, with bees and frames still inside. Closed that top. Closed up box 4 with the old cover and top.
The thinking was that maybe flyers would make it home and that honey could be extracted in a day or two. But we have 4 boxes on the main hive that still need to be rearranged, cross comb repaired or cut out. Seem to be plenty of young bees.
We were hoping to get to the bottom box and work our way up, but they would not let us. Any sage advice? Weather is supposed to remain fairly warm 40-80 next several days.