New beek -- 1st season. In SW MI.
Target configuration of 2 hives is 2 deep brood supers and shallow comb surplus honey supers. Got the packages in April installed in single super added second brood super when about 7 of the 10 frames were reasonably full. Surplus honey is desired, of course, but not an immediate concern.
No sign of any problems -- I have not seen any mites. I have treated them a few times with a confectionary sugar dusting -- they have had MegaBee patties to help bulk up the hive and also treated with Tetra B in spring. Confession time: I fed the bees light syrup for too long -- I know better now from the other posts here. But, I was feeding them up to 1 Qt. a day until late June.
Added 1 shallow comb (wax foundation) honey super (with excluders) to each hive about 3 weeks ago. They had not filled the 2nd brood super more than about 50% -- but there were lots of bees and I was worried about general hive space.
Issue 1: neither hive has built out the new wax comb. They appear to be actively cleaning and inspecting it -- but still no comb of their own. I am not manic about getting honey this year -- more concerned that they will survive our cold winter. But, given that they build comb on the plastic foundation almost immediately I am concerned. Should I be? One of the hives has even shown a limited interest in eating the wax.
Issue 2: Sunday I noticed a huge beard on one of the hives for the 1st time. It was pretty hot -- I was concerned, but after reading earlier posts here -- decided it could be normal activity.
Today, there is a huge ball of bees approximately the size of the previous beard that has appeared on the ground in front of the hives. I assume this to be a swarm of some sort. I cobbled together two shallow supers (only thing that I had) along with a set of shallow frames with wax foundation. I put the empty super on top of the mass of bees and the other super with frames on top of that. I fashioned a top out of an extra bottom board I have.
I am hoping that the bees on the ground will take possession of the new "hive". The question then is what do I do if they do move in? Is it possible to re-integrate them into one of the two original hives or I am now a reluctant owner of a 3rd hive? I am worried that a new 3rd hive will not have sufficient time to collect sufficient supplies to survive the winter.
Would welcome any and all advice/suggestion.