We inspected Chris' colony on Friday afternoon. This is a big swarm that was hived just one week ago. I used material available, since my spare hive was already used for another swarm. I was missing a piece of burlap to cover the top bars, so I used what I had on hand, a piece of landscape cloth. Big mistake.
The following pictures were taken by Tero. The quality is much better than my camera's, so better details are visible. Here is a closeup shot, with nice details on the bee body and wings:
Activity at the landing board:
The landscape cloth I used was coated with toxic herbicides, which badly affected the bees. There were a few hundred bees dead on the grass, with more crawling. As a result of the toxicity levels at the top of the hive, the bees started building below AND ABOVE the top bars of the second body. Here is a closeup of one of the combs above the bars, covered with mostly Italian bees, and a few black bees:
Here is what happens when you deal with wild creatures: you can never predict! This will be a mess in a few weeks.
The hive was closed as is. I did not remove the messed up combs. I will let the bees occupy the space as best as they could, and let them spend the winter that way, with minimum disturbance. The cleanup will happen next Spring. Here is the hive just before closing it up: