On the positive side, there were plenty of bees. On the negative side, they were building cattywampus comb, crossing two or three frames at a time, and every frame I pried out was peppered with drone cells.
I know hives build up their drone population (drones are the boys, fyi) in the spring, as the season for producing new queens (who will need to mate) approaches. But seriously, One hive doesn't need a thousand males. So I cut some of the drone comb out and dumped it on the ground.
I am hoping the chickens will eat the dead larvae.
Not surprisingly, the bees were torqued by my apparent apiacide. I probably would have escaped unscathed if I had remembered to tuck my pants into my socks. As it was I got two stings on my calf. No biggie. As long as I was infuriating them, I figured I might as well get really reckless and see if I could split the hive. I obviously didn't have enough room in my Langstroth hive (the grey box in the first picture), and my top-bar hive was empty. So I yanked a few frames of brood, workers, and honey and put them in the top-bar box. Chances are pretty darn good that you will never hear of that experiment again because it failed. (It will only succeed if there was some very young brood or eggs in the combs that the worker bees can raise to be a new queen, and the ladies were way too aggressive for me to be inspecting cells for newly laid eggs.) Then I will have to drive up to LA and buy more boxes to expand my hive. But stay tuned.