The bees have been making honey recently, which I know because the air smells wonderfully of honey all around the hive.
If you look closely at the bees on the bottom board, they are lined up facing the entrance, butts in the air and beating their wings furiously. They do this to create a breeze inside the hive to cool it and to move air over the nectar they have gathered so that it will ripen into honey.
It wouldn't seem like a few bees fanning their wings could do much, but if you were to put your hand in front of the hive entrance, you would be able to feel the breeze they create.
A very busy, very full, very beautiful hive.
I opened the hive very briefly, just to give them some more hive boxes so they will have more room to hang out and to (hopefully) make more honey in the fall Golden Rod bloom.
These bees are quiet, productive and easy to work with.
We've had a terribly hot summer and last weekend was just brutal, which is why everyone was hanging out on the porch all afternoon.
As for the other hive....it is dead.
I don't know what happened to it, the bees are simply gone. They left behind two frames filled with fresh eggs and larva as well as the beginnings of their honey stores. There is no sign of disease, they had fresh eggs so they could have tried to raise a new queen if the needed to and they had food. But, there is not a single bee left in the hive, alive or dead.
And that is the way of beekeeping - joyous, vibrant, frenetically, beautifully alive. Or not.