I got a three pound package on 7 Jun. I installed them in an 8 frame deep super. All supers right now are pretty much intended to be for brood. The last 3 or 4 inspections have been spaced two weeks apart.
I added my second super about 2 or 3 weeks later fearing a swarm because the first was filled up and I saw a queen cup(?). They completely ignored the second super. I placed it on bottom. On my inspection prior to the one last week I discovered still no activity in the new super except for a small area being drawn out on one side of two frames. So I put the first super that housed the hive on the bottom. I took either two or three frames and switched them in the middle. The empties (all factory foundation) were staggered between frames of brood. the brood frames were put in the middle up top with an empty between them.
On my inspection prior to this one I saw about 50 SHBs. By far most of them were in the top on the top board(inner cover) and cover. At that time I installed an IPK beetle trap from greenbeehives in Trussville, Alabama. I also put two beetle barns I got from somewhere else on the top inner cover.
From the pictures I posted of the previous inspection a couple of you suggested I start feeding so I did. The pictures showed a bunch of brood and a small amount of stores. I feed every day for two weeks. I feed ratio's 1:1, 3:1, and 5:1. The 5:1+ ratio tended to crystalize when I made it up. Very strong sugar amount.
So fast forward to the last inspection which was a week ago. I took two pictures of each side of each of the 16 frames. So when you add up what I saw it should come out to a total balance of 32. It don't. I'm too conservative with my estimates and sometimes I just couldn't tell if it was drawn out empty, cleaned out from brood hatch, or what. Then again, it's a long way to count to 32. I will refer to a frame as two sides. So if I say 2.5 full it means one full frame and one side. Now these totals were comprised as follows; 1/4 side of ?, 1/8 side of ?, and so on.
To my great pleasure in two weeks they had pretty much drawn out or started drawing all but about 3.5 sides (1 1/2 frames). To my concern it was at least 10.5 (5 1/2 frames)sides sugar water/honey. There was 6 sides (total 3 frames) of brood. 5 1/2 sides(2 1/2 frames) drawn out but undetermined of content. I came up with 1.5 sides of pollen. I believe there was more pollen but I couldn't make it out.
I counted maybe 5 to 7 SHBs "in" the hive. Probably 5 was in the top and two moving around the frames. I think I kill all but one or two of them. I just added a medium super this evening and there were no beetles up top or in the barns.
When the body count went over fifty in the trap I quit counting. I highly recommend that if you have a problem with SHB and don't have one of these traps you need to get one. Turned my day around.
I counted 3 queen cups. No, I couldn't tell if anything was in them either, at least not anything obvious. I spotted the queen in my pictures. All indications is that she is laying very well. If you study the pictures you can see the competition between her and the backfilling. I saw larva in some of the cells that weren't completely drawn out.
Since last inspection(last weekend) I stopped feeding. I've noticed that they are bringing something in but I wasn't sure what. This afternoon I was checking out the muscadines/scuppernong/wild grapes in the woods out front of one of my pastures. I noticed a bunch of little purple flower petals on the ground. So I went to the fence and looked over at my (no goat) neighbor's property and I saw cudzu blooms galore. He's got at least 2.5 acres of cudzu. Plus there's tons of it everywhere else. (not my place) MB (don't want no FOP I'm a dapper dan man!!!) So in my rookie mind I decided that since the two 8 frames deeps were soon to run out of space I went and added a medium super for the cudzu and the golden rods that are just fixing to bloom (acres & acres right next to my hive). Also down in the woods are a lot of perilla/shiso breaking bud. Goats won't touch that. In the field next to my hive will be a lot of serica lesopedia and other blooming fall flowers.
The population of this hive as exploded! It was such a relief to find the queen after viewing 64 pictures. She was on picture 65. I had 81 pictures. It was also a sweet relief to see what seemed to be a very vibrant hive. I feel a little better about them making it through the winter.