My fears of Large Marge’s untimely demise were quickly put to rest after this week’s inspection. I found plenty of capped brood, larvae in various stages, and cells full of eggs in the 2nd super. The girls have decided that supers 3 and 4 are just going to be honey which makes the whole debacle with the queen excluder even more absurd. I didn’t bother checking the 1st super as I want to start minimizing my time in the hive, and I need to trust that the girls know what they are doing.
After lifting supers filled with honey the last two weeks, I decided my back was never going to last unless I implemented some bee yard ergonomic improvements. A card table next to the hive eliminated having to put the supers on the ground.
I think I also finally found a good angle and position of the sun to see eggs more clearly. You definitely want the sun hitting the frame directly so the cells get illuminated. Having the black plastic foundation also has been an advantage.
With supers 3 and 4 almost all honey, I decided I could safely harvest some. I put an escape screen between supers 3 and 4 to clear the bees out the 4th super. An escape is designed to let bees go down into the hive, but prevents them from moving up. The fewer bees you have in the super you are trying to harvest the better for obvious reasons. I’ll check back tomorrow afternoon to see how many bees are left.