I opened my hive after a week and a half away from town. The girls had managed to fill almost all of the top bars with at least some comb. Unfortunately the comb has gotten progressively cross combed towards the end of the hive. In the middle there was just one or two small pieces of cross comb but at the end its pretty much all done at a diagonal, bees were busy while I was gone! I saw some brood and tons of capped honey. Unfortunately I also saw a swarm cell at the bottom of one of the cells. I added two new bars and moved one of the almost empty frames into the middle of the hive where the cross combing was almost none existent but decided to close up the hive to plan my next foray as the bees were starting to get a bit annoyed at me bothering them.
So a couple questions before I go back in today or tomorrow depending on the weather. The first is what should I do about the swarm cell, is there anything that will keep the bees from swarming once they build the cell?
The probably more important question is what to do with the cross comb. There are some pieces that would be easy to either straighten or just break off but towards the end of the hive the combs cover multiple top bars and doing anything breaks the comb. If only I’d caught the swarm a couple weeks earlier or not had a business trip I could have managed those first weeks a bit better.