Bees

The West Hive
The bees are making various stages of progress... The Carnolians in the West hive are doing ok, still well behind those in the center hive though.  I, for the life of me, simply do not know why.  That being said, there is brood and some honey in the second deep on three frames.  And some honey cells being filled as well.
These dead bees are from a raiding raccoon or skunk.  Will need to put a nail board in front of the hive.  I found scat in front of the next hive over that has also been being raided.  
Other than this hive is slower than the others to populate, I have no other real reason to worry.

The Center Hive
This hive of Carnolians is much more rigorous!  The center five frames in the second deep are almost completely full with some work on comb draw on the outer frames as well.  Population is solid.  There is lots of brood and a good amount of honey, both capped and to be capped around the brood.  I am guessing that by the end of July, this hive will be working on putting stores in the super.  

The East Hive
The Italians are, as usual, more sensitive to being disturbed.  I had to stop several times to let them settle down as they got upset with me and start dive-bombing my face and crawling around on my hands in an agitated way.  No stings though.  This hive is booming!  The second deep is about 70% full of brood and honey, and comb draw is taking place in the super as well.  I almost left the queen separator in on this one, but decided to pull it out for now.  I hope the queen stays below and does not start brood in the super.  I guess time will tell.  There is one odd thing, and one concerning thing that I noted while inspecting this hive.
The odd thing is that these ladies seem to take off on their own architectural design when it comes to drawing comb now and again.  I took a photo of that:
Not sure what the motivation is for these wax constructs.  Clearly some is brood(that to the left) and the other had nothing in it at all.  Just comb that got drawn out in that way.  Anyone see this as a regular thing?  Is it a noted behavior of Italians?

The concerning thing is some of the dark cells that I found on a few of the frames.  Not sure what I am seeing and am a bit nervous about it.  This is not apparent in either of the other two hives.
Some of these dark cells look like infant mortality of some kind.  I hope not.  Anyone give me a hint of what that might be?
Overall, the bees are doing well.  Lots of activity, good population growth, good honey stores showing up in the deeps.  I removed the queen separators for now to encourage comb draw in the super on each hive.  I am not quite sure when it is appropriate to put the excluders in, but will play that by ear I guess.
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Now back to the electrical system on the IH 1066.  Never an end to repair and maintenance on a farm... 

April 4 2017

Has been raining since Sunday, so have not yet gone back to check the apiary.  Assembled hives today.  Got all the boxes built up except for two I think.  Will do those and then start assembling frames.  Am hoping to be able to set up the new hives while I am down here this week.  Working on the bees is a bit hard this time of the year because there are things that have to be 'de-winterized'.  Equipment that has been stored away needs to be brought out, inspected and put in its place.  That all takes time.  And for me, it takes a lot of time.  That said, I should be able to get the new hives placed this week.  I believe I have everything to get the job done.  It is a matter of whether or not I fade.  Am only good for about four to five hours, and that is pushing it.  Will do what I can...