Hive E was populated from a feral swarm at the very start of August 2016. Eight months have elapsed since they were moved from the Nucleus hive into a National brood body. Yesterday I opened up.
The purpose of the inspection was two-fold: to check the condition of the colony and to reconfigure the hive.
I want to move this hive to my out-apiary so I needed to know that it is in good condition. It is. There is plenty of brood and signs of recently laid eggs. There are drones in the hive and drone brood. The brood is laid in solid blocks, suggesting healthy Queen and healthy brood. The arrangement is a little confusing - spread over almost all the frames in the hive. The comb was almost all very regular. One frame had a bulge of less than a centimetre at one side which was matched by a couple of adjacent combs further out.
I have a longer term plan to standardise on Commercial brood frames. These are too big for National brood bodies so I've bought a Hamilton Converter from Thorne. It allows fewer frames but they're larger. I will have to swap out the National frames for the Commercial ones over time. In the short term the National frames just fit on the runners. They too short and too narrow at the sides so I'm expecting the bees to build extra comb to fill the gaps. It's a little messy but not a big problem.
I opened the hive and lifted all the frames out into a Commercial body. I then fitted the Hamilton converter. It was a tight fit which gave me the fear. I didn't want to start woodworking on an open hive with bees everywhere. I pushed and it fit into place. I put the most used frames back into the converted hive, leaving 2 out. Irritatingly one of the frames had a substantial number of eggs and very young brood. I put an eke on and wedged the frame into it at the top of the hive. The nurse bees might find and raise the brood but I'm not optimistic. Not my best work.
The temperament of this colony is very calm. They just went about their business. One bee stung me through my glove but that was all.