I went for a quick look yesterday arvo whilst doing the Xmas round of socialising; the activity in the (smaller) swarm hive has exploded, so looks like the capped brood from the other two has emerged and boosted numbers considerably; I took the photo below during a lull in activity, when I got up there it was pretty crazy at all three hives - it's strange how it waxes and wanes and waxes over 30 minutes or so; I've got the entrance 3/4 blocked off so we had a bit of a tussle and jockeying for position happening there for a while, but no robbing and only half dozen or so dead bees on the ground in front.
The nectar seems a bit fitful this year, we had a super dry spring, gums have had a rolling flowering happening since early September, which is now almost over; blackberries are happening at the moment. Very disappointingly, the Prickly Box ( http://www.apstas.com/bursaria.htm
) just don't seem to be happening this year - they're in flower everywhere about Hobart, Eastern Shore, Midlands, Derwent Valley etc but seem to have completely failed in the immediate locale of our apiary, whereas only 10km away, they're flowering well. I had a look at some stands near or hives yesterday, there are a few buds but nothing compared with last year when the whole hillside was white.
The knackered old super (holed - duct taped over) was all we had to hand when we went out and caught the swarm on literally 60 mins notice before it got dark, we put frames with undrawn foundation in there, and duct-taped some corflute sheet to the bottom of the box; after we'd dropped the swarm in there (they were hanging off a tyre stuck in a fenceline) and taped a screened inner cover over the top, that's how we brought them home.
We left them in there for a week to settle down; when it came to putting them into a deep box, they'd already drawn out a fair bit of the foundation and put some honey in , so didn't want to deprive them of that. After only another week in the brood box/ideal super, they'd drawn out more comb in both and split the sugar syrup more or less 50:50 between the two, so I figured to leave them in there as is, if they're happy.
All this buggering about with different sized boxes has convinced me more than ever to progressively phase out the deep boxes in the future, and maybe just run the three we already have in a single hive. Thinking our future Ideals will be from Nuplas too - they're only $3 dearer than bare radiata pine boxes and they don't need glueing or painting - ever. Seems like CDF - wish we'd known about them when we were first starting out.
I think so too. I'm probably having a look this afternoon if weather stays ok, so will have a better idea then. If they're going ok, I'll do minimal interference for the rest of the season, just add supers as and when needed, then look at requeening it with something that's more of a known quantity next Sept, when I change the other two.