What to do in September
Today I checked the hives. It has been about three weeks since the last field day and the goldenrod flow is in full swing. The two hives shown above are what I will call hive #1 and hive #2, the first being the horizontal hive and the second being the vertical hive. Hive #1 literally looked the same as it did three weeks ago. No growth, no capped honey, only small amounts of wet nectar. Some brood, both capped and open, but not a lot, and only covering around six or seven medium frames in a deep box, which they have not extended at all. I saw the queen, as I have each time I have inspected that hive. That hive as it is cannot survive the winter. It has no stores. It would make no difference to feed it sugar water because the forage is abundant right now and it is not taking advantage of it, so therefore it must not be able to. Hive #2 is in better shape. It has many more bees and has stored some honey. On our next field day I will combine these two hives in the vertical boxes. Our field day is September 9, 2017 at 1:00 pm. I am still considering the best way to do it, so come to the field day to see what I decided.
Hive #3 is my best hive. At the last field day I said it looked like a real beehive, and I mean it. It has a full super of honey on the third box up. It was so heavy I could barely move it. That hive is in terrific shape and will certainly have all it needs to survive the winter. That is why I know for sure there is plenty of forage, that hive obviously is filling up, so it is there for the taking.
So, I guess these three hives display the law of thirds that seems to persistently exist in beekeeping, though I wish it didn't. One third will thrive, one will do so-so, and one will fail. I am hoping we can turn that around to be a bit better, but for now it is what it is.