In July, on the 25th, I actually pulled four frames, or one and a quarter gallons of honey, from the bottom of the two supers I had on the hive, and I swapped the positions of the supers, so that they'd work on the "lower" and half-full super before they worked on the upper one. John and I scraped clean the four frames, and the next morning I put them all back in to let the bees clean them off.
Then I took the upper super completely off the hive, to help the colony compact a little before fall. I'm going to have to have all the supers off before winter and before I do my mite treatment, so it's better to get them used to a little smaller space. But I also wanted to shuffle through the frames as we emptied them to allow the bees to clean all the honey off of them.
It took us two days to get the first three frames cleaned off, and by then, the girls had actually built comb up on one of the 'empty' frames. They'd also completely filled the top super with bees, who were busily building and filling! Agh. I pulled that frame out, put it by the entrance to let the bees empty it of the uncapped honey, and I managed to shuffle in the three empty frames, and then after taking a night off to Estes Park, we came back and I shuffled in two more of the empty frames. Tonight we're finally emptying the last two, and I hope to get those in tomorrow, along with the wax built one, hopefully for the other one that was in there from yesterday, but it's been a little crazy going in every day. They don't seem to mind that much so long as I don't leave the hive open too long.
And it looks like two more gallons of honey.
I also saw some hornets and wasps stealing honey and trying to rob the hive, but the girls were having none of that. I've left a lot of things open for ventilation for the summer, but with the nights getting longer and cooler, I'm probably going to remove the summer shims from the inner cover and put in my usual winter popsicle sticks that just allow ventilation and no actual insects through. The girls have taken to lining the inside of the outer cover and completely covering the bottom of the inside cover with bees just to defend those slots. So I'm going to close those up tomorrow. I think that, also, the two brood boxes aren't quite meeting, but I also have a single knothole in the back of the hive that the girls have been using as a second entrance for the last two years.
I had a lot of fun just squashing wasps and hornets when they touched down on the honey in my empties tray and as soon as I could ID 'em, I'd squash 'em.
Anyway... that's more than four gallons of honey this year, or something like 50 pounds already. That's a LOT of honey. I got 40 all together last year. So the "common knowledge" that a colony usually does better its second year is already true for this one.