This will be me tomorrow or the next day! Today I checked the hives and I am happy to report that I feel all the hives have stored enough honey for the winter. I had held back a super and a half of honey I had pulled earlier in the summer just in case I had to put it back on the hives. The hive in the experimental apiary looked good. The little swarm is not impressive and I will be very surprised if it survives the winter, but I left an empty box of drawn comb on the top just in case it is able to store a little more honey. Since it has not done well all summer, I do not want to weaken another hive to give it honey, or combine it with a good hive. I flipped the inner cover to the winter position and I will insulate it next month just like the others, but I do not think it has a large enough population to make it through the winter. The vertical hive has three full boxes and is working on the fourth. I took an empty box off. It won't need that one. I made sure any empty frames had drawn comb in them. The horizontal hive looked good, I flipped the inner covers in that and the vertical hive for the winter. I will wait until next month to insulate and to reduce entrances. I wanted to check the hives today because it was warm and sunny. We don't get that kind of weather much in a normal September and it looks like we will have a couple more warm days, then it will cool off. I wanted to assess the honey so I could take advantage of the next couple of warm days to extract if I could. I flipped the inner covers now so that when it is cooler I don't have to open the hive or try to pry off the propolis when it is stiff.
So, I also checked my personal hives and I was pleased with the progress they have made over the last couple of weeks. We have had a strong goldenrod flow and the weather has been good enough for the bees to make the most of it. One of my hives at my neighbor's house is strange. It makes lots of bees but hardly any honey. I haven't collected any honey off that hive all summer. It may not survive the winter, but I won't be too sad about that. I have tried to split it, but it just does the same thing, so I would rather let those genetics go.
I did not notice any drones in the hives today. I am not sure if they have already kicked them out, or if the population is declined because they have stopped rearing drone brood. I did not dig far enough to check for worker brood, but all my hives seemed to have a lot of traffic and strong populations. My horizontal hive on my other property is double walled with an insulated roof, so I don't need to do anything to it in the winter but screen the entrance. I will wait until next month to do that.