I’m still glad I decided to use a top-bar hive instead of conventional equipment. I’m still fine-tuning my design, but over all I’m happy with how my boxes worked out. The original frames that came with the nucs are still inside. I hope to start swapping them with top bars in the spring. The bees kept their brood nest on those frames last year, so I have to be careful not to disrupt them too much.
Eventually, the bees gave up drinking from the garden hose, even in drier weather. I’m not sure why they were fascinated with it in the first place, or where they got their water afterwards. I kept their Boardman feeders full of water all summer, but they never seemed to make much use of them. I wonder what they will do this year.
Marjorie kept bearding all summer no matter how much room I gave her, but she never swarmed. I think Lili must have swarmed at some point because though she started off as the stronger of the backyard hives, she seemed to fall behind Marjorie for a while before catching back up again. I never saw a swarm leave, but it could have happened while I was at work.