I inspected a hive today. It is from a swarm that I captured a couple months ago and is doing very well. Almost all of the bottom box is full of comb, brood, and honey. The second, and currently top, box has a good start on comb. Here are some pictures from the inspection:
Some facts about bees you may not know:
All worker bees are female. Despite what you may have seen in The Bee Movie, the male bees (called drones) are actually pretty lazy freeloaders for the most part. Their job is to mate with the queen and that's it. When a swarm gets ready to leave a hive to look for a new place to live, the first thing the ladies do is start kicking out the drones so that they aren't wasting honey on bees who don't do any work.
The smoke that is used on hives during hive inspections is just to fool the bees into thinking there is a fire. The bees gorge themselves on honey in preparation for leaving the hive to look for a new place to live (the honey goes into a special honey stomach). The honey makes them docile and therefore easier to deal with during the inspection. Once the inspection is over and the hive is still intact, the bees disgorge the honey back into the honey cells and life goes on like normal.
Bees keep their hive sanitary with something called propolis which they gather from trees. They use the propolis to glue things together in the hive. In the case of a Langstroth hive that is the most common hive used, they glue the top down, the frames together, pretty much everywhere they see any kind of opening, they glue it shut with propolis. They also use the propolis to cover anything that invades the hive but is too big for them to take outside. If a mouse or something like that gets in the hive, they sting it to death and then cover its body with propolis to keep it from rotting and letting bad bacteria into the hive. Propolis is thought to have many medicinal benefits for people as well.
More bee facts to come!