Update: 8/29 -- I added a third box to Madeleine's hive with the frames we just harvested. The bees were all over it within minutes enjoying the leftover honey in the cells. Hopefully the fall nectar flow will be good and they'll fill that box up in no time. Lots of bees there.
Whew...marathon this afternoon going through all the hives from top to bottom. Everybody has both capped and uncapped brood -- good sign. And nectar is still coming in because there was plenty of shiny nectar being stored. Plenty of stores.
Madeleine's kingdom is doing well. We'll need to add another box before winter to bring it up to three, but she still has room to expand.
Bianca: We took out two frames of capped honey and went through all five boxes. The bottom box was all empty frames so we put it on the top and will take it off tomorrow when we are confident the queen has moved down in the hive.
Anya: We took out one frame of capped honey. The bottom box had lots of bee bread so we didn't remove the box. The bees got really angry about the second box being disturbed. Two stung my glove but didn't go through. Larry got stung through his glove. This is the most angry we've seen any of the bees this season. We walked away from the hive, but they followed us and a handful continued to buzz around when we went back to go into Rachel's hive. (NB: This hive ended up absconding; so something was clearly wrong. It had some white caterpillars in it which may have been wax moth larva.)
Rachel: We took out one frame of capped honey. That hive has lots of bees.
We picked up the spinner to harvest the eight frames of honey. Gordon recommended not feeding now and said we could reduce the hives to three in October when we come back from our trip. If the bees have two boxes of honey that should be sufficient for them.
After we take off the box tomorrow from Anya's hive the status will be:
Madeleine: two boxes
Bianca: four boxes
Anya: four boxes
Rachel: three boxes