I have been looking at two of my hives that I left with two supers on, by taking off the lid and watching where they are clustering. I have been a bit concerned with the fact that I have seen quite a lot of bees in the top super. Since my last inspection I knew that they did not have many frames with stores in the top either, I did not want to open them up in the spring to find a hive full of dead bees because they clustered in the top super and died of starvation, especially as they have stores in the bottom super. So I waited, gave them a couple of days, had – temperatures at night but during the day we had sunshine and about +13, +15 for a few days so I kept an eye out for them. 3d of November, it was +13 at 10.00 o’clock I put my bee suit on, got the smoker going and got ready, opened hive B -smaller than hive E, took top super off, checked for stores, found 3 frames with bits and bobs but nothing really substantial so I took these off, exchanged them with empty frames from the first super, took the frames one by one and shook off the bees into the first super, they got a bit grumpy but not much, I believe I might have had the Queen in the second super, maybe even in the upturned roof as about half way through they started to make a loud buzz, and once I turned the roof over and shaken all the bees out that I could they started fanning outside and by the entrance, shortly after they calmed down and went back to their normal activities, plus I left a little bit of honey on one of the frames so I left the box by the side slightly away from the hives, kept them happy and buzzing over and in it for a couple of days. Hive E I left, I opened it up and I had about 5 frames of bees in the top and about 6 frames of bees at the bottom so I left it as it was.
At the end of the day we have moved the hives so that they are closer to each other – less chance of the wind getting through and blowing at each hive and making it colder than necessary. That is just about it, I am not planning to do any more to the bees or the hives this year, but you know what Plans of mice and man are like.
We both keep and eye on the hives and the girls, they are looking very good, fingers crossed it all goes well and we will have 5 strong colonies next year.
some photos from the reduction of supers, plus the hives now.