our 1st warm day of the season. it's 26 and windy, but i opened the hive and did some preparation for an inspection. The 2nd box from the top is a empty super. it has drawn out stickies from last season. i have lifted the existing super and made it become the top box. between the top super and the newly added box is a one way board. this means any bees in the top box can move freely to the bottom box, making the top box empty of bees. i will then be able to remove the top super any time.
A queen excluder had be left above the top 2 boxes over winter. I had added this when i had put a new super on at the end of last season. the queen has been trapped to the bottom two box, which should have contained only brood. with spring coming on, having emptied the winter super, will cause the bees to move any stored honey up into the top most (accessable) super and the brood area, which may have been used for honey/pollen storage, can now be made available for the queen to lay more brood.
in 4 - 8 weeks this will over populate the hive and we should be ready to attempt either an artificial swarming OR a re-queening. (or both *grin)
the hive after tampering with:
This was the last hive picture i'd taken way back in late February (looking back this was in my archive, but i hadn't even uploaded this foto. Such a mundane item to a beekeeper by the end of a season, yet it's fun to open it every time):