Just after the hot weather, I noticed dead bees (maybe a pint or two) below the entrance to the hive. They may have been there a while, but I only noticed it recently. The bees were all small but didn't look mal-formed in any way. I do know that during the heat I had a large beard of bees hanging out at the entrance. This hive was packed and I hadn't supered it yet so this was presumably because they were hot. Could overly hot or crowded conditions cause these deaths?
Since then I've supered the hive (using frames with just a starter bit of foundation at the top edge of each frame), and peeking through the feeding hole in the crown board I can see some beautiful pure white comb. Based on some of the learning from a recent biodynamic beekeeping course, and the fact that I was concerned about having enough room for the queen to lay, I didn't use a queen excluder. My understanding is that the queen does lay in the first super, but later goes back down to the brood chamber and once the larvae in the super hatch, the empty cells are then used for stores.
I haven't opened up the hive yet as it will be a big job - there's a lot of brace comb as it was my first ever hive and I let it get away from me a bit!
Another odd thing I noticed was a bee being ejected and then transported away out of site by a guard bee. I didn't see whether it was a drone but it seems like the wrong time to be ejecting them. Can anyone explain this?