I did a full inspection of my second hive yesterday morning. It’s been over a month since I looked in all the boxes, so despite their grouchiness, it was time to take a peek. I was concerned earlier this summer that the queen wasn’t laying enough, but there were three full frames of brood in the upper hive body and at least twice as much in the lower brood chamber. They also have a good bit of honey stored up for the winter and are starting to draw comb and store honey in the super. I thought this hive would be pretty messy since they were a split from the first hive, which built comb all over the top bars, connecting layers of frames and making a gooey, honey-dripping mess. However, there was only a little bit of burr comb on the top bars, and it wasn’t full of honey and brood, making it easy to remove and clean up.
As far as “preparing for winter” goes, it generally stays so mild during the winter in Texas, there’s not much to do except make sure they have plenty of honey and pollen stored. No worries on the pollen. Both hives have almost an entire frame packed with it.
This past spring, I split my first hive and then caught a swarm, which I merged with the split. I don’t think either hive is going to be strong enough to split next spring though, so I’m going to order a box of bees to start my third hive. Unfortunately, BeeWeaver isn’t planning any Austin pick-up locations, so I’ll have to drive an hour and a half to Dripping Springs to get them, and then drive home with 10,000 bees my back seat. I might need a bees-on-board sign.