We carried out a full hive check today. All 8 were checked thoroughly. It seems we have another queenless hive. We had a very large swarm at the start of August and we think the result of that is that the colony left behind was weaker than it should be. Somehow, the virgin queen that should have been left with the colony was disappeared. We will need to merge this weaker colony with a stronger one. We have not yet decided which. Interestingly, the late swarm has taken well to its new hive. The queen is working well - there was brood in this new hive - and there was lots of activity from the bees.
We have three hives that are a mess because of wildcomb. We made the mistake of giving these hives fondant when they were set up at the end of June. The effect of this was to create a large space at the top of the hive which the bees have now filled with comb, attached to the crownboard. Solving this is not going to be easy and we are thinking that the best solution is to let the bees simply get on with it and next year we'll add a queen excluder and supers to collect honey. It will also mean that doing proper inspections of these hives is going to be next to impossible in the future.
Nevertheless, all the new hives were strong and active.