We opened up the hives this evening and pulled a central frame from each.
And in all 3 hives, that frame was almost entirely full of capped brood- which, in non-beekeeper-jargon, means worker bees in a pupa form. And that means that we have 3 good and solid queens, who are laying lots of eggs, and our worker bees are doing a fine job of raising them to pupas stage!
I took pictures of each frame, and I’ll try to get them processed and posted tomorrow. While we didn’t see these when we were in the hives, in the pictures we can see healthy larvae as well as the capped brood.
I am very excited and relieved! I’m so pleased our girls are doing well, and I’m looking forward to seeing what has been going on next weekend, when we’ll go into the hives again.
This time we were pretty much only looking for brood. Since we found it in all 3 hives on the first frame we pulled, we didn’t mess with them more. Next time we shall see how they’re doing in terms of drawing comb and making stores in other frames, since we may want to add another hive body and frames at that point, to give them more room to store honey and pollen for over-wintering.
I’ll add that the girls were totally mellow with this. I got buzzed maybe twice- nothing serious- and the hives were not alarmed or getting defensive or anything. J was in full haz-mat regalia, but it did not seem to be necessary; the girls were totally benign.
But- capped brood! Woohoo! We are truly beekeepers with explicitly viable hives! :D