The ladies are doing well. Yesterdays inspection showed sealed brood on 8 bars with 3 bars emerging. Another 3 bars of honey/pollen in addition to what was on brood bars. Today there were masses of orientation flights, so new work force is heading out. Our main flow is over but we often have a strong late flow when Heather starts blooming. I will be chcking the stores of all three hives in mid August, to determine if and how much I need to feed.
You have done quite well for a newbee. Saw kerf on the bar bottoms and a paint stirrer/popsickle stick/tongue depressor works really well. The bees don't care as long as they have something to hang on to. Watch for crowding, the queen needs room to lay eggs or she will swarm. If you have to take out frames to reduce crowding and make a nuc. Let them make their own queen in the nuc and you can use it later in case you need a queen or some brood. Good luck.
So, I’m happy to let you all know that I have not repeated my mistake from last year - all three hives have plenty of stores still.
However, two of the three hives also had mice... One was completely destroyed, all bees eaten and mice were having a blast when I opened it up. The other did not have any mice in it when I checked, but had serious damage done by them. Half-eaten bars, loads of bots and pieces of bees on the bottom. There are still bees on about 4-5 bars.
The third hive was my original one, thin walls and smaller dimensions. That’s the one I propped back to life last year. They did not make it into the winter. Not enough bees I guess.
So at any rate, looks like I’m back to square one and catching swarms this year.