I went into the hives today. The 10-frame hive had lots of bees, but no eggs, no brood and no queen. I have been trying to figure out what might have happened to it. Maybe she starved during the dearth before I started feeding them. There's lots of bees in the hive, and some pollen and nectar. And they beard some at night, so I don't think all the bees in the hive were robbers. Besides the feeder was empty (I need to make some more syrup to feed all the hives because they're still drawing comb).
So now I'm going to try to find a queen for the hive. If I can't find one, I guess I'll try the frame of eggs/brood a week for three or four weeks to see if they'll make a new queen, but it's getting late in the year for that.
The second hive I opened was plum full of bees. I looked at the bottom box but didn't pull any frames out. There was lots and lots of activity there and many more bees than the previous hive, so I think they're ok. Although I saw more SHBs. I've got to get some of those screened bottoms with oil tray for the 8-frame hives.
So in a way it's sad because I've got to get a queen for the first hive, but in a way it's good because the other hive I looked into was booming.
The other problem is that trying to pry the second deep off of the first hive pulled my back. I've been thinking about that, too. I may have to set another level of cinder blocks under the hive to raise it up so I don't have to bend over so far. I may need a ladder for the supers, but I can reach easier than I can bend. I may go to all shallows at this rate!
I'll post again when I have news about the queen. Have a fun and safe Labor Day!