I had a very good inspection of the first hive today. Feeder jar was about one-third full and the bees seemed to be doing well. When I first approached the hive I noticed a tremendous amount of activity around the entrance. At first I thought it must be because of the heat, but then I noticed that there were dozens of drones coming and going from the hive. Those fellas are big! And they're loud, too; kinda like horsefly loud.
I felt very successful. I pulled and looked at every frame in the brood box, with no protective clothing and no stings. I took my time, kept my nerves in check, and things went great. I moved a full frame of brood, etc. up into the upper hive box, so we'll see how that goes.
The second hive was experiencing some slight bearding at the entrance. This is when it is hot enough inside the hive that the bees cluster on the outside. I opened the top to discover they had emptied their feeder jar, so I will have to make them some more of their honey-tea and bring it back in the morning.
Here's a video from Spikenard Honeybee Sanctuary. In it you see some strong drone activity very similar to what I witnessed at my hive today, only I observed more of them flying off and returning to the hive: