Opened up the hives this dark rainy day to replace the feed. There was a break in the rain and we decided to go for it.
First we opened up the Valentinium and saw burr comb around the bucket. We pulled the bucket out, it was completely empty, and closed it back up. We'll deal with the burr comb when there are no storm clouds threatening.
Then we opened the Benedictium, and pulled out the bucket, also empty, and then Brenda went inside to re-fill them. She says she saw mold, and washed out both buckets with soap and water. Since it wasn't raining, I kept the hive open and removed the burr comb. None of it was capped, and I saw larvae in it.
I also saw big black ants. I grabbed as many of them as I saw and crushed them in my fingers. One of them stung me through my nitrile gloves! I still haven't been stung by our sweetheart bees, but they were plenty agitated today, as expected when opening a hive in iffy weather.
I put the inner cover upside down over the lower deep, and then put the upper deep with the feed bucket on top of that, and finally the outer cover.
We opened up the upper deep on the Valentinium again and replaced the feed bucket, and then closed it back up. We did not attempt to tackle the burr comb in this weather.
I was surprised and dismayed by the ants. I'm not sure what to do about them, if anything. I think I'll take a hoe to the grass under the Benedictium; there may be an ant nest there.
Burr comb in the Valentinium:
Our dogwoods, and lilacs are in bloom.