Help! We keep a couple of hives near Camano Island, WA. Each hive has two brood boxes and two honey supers. We inspected the hives a couple of weeks ago and then again this weekend. The hives are still (or again) completely full up with brood, but there is no stored nectar at all, and, in addition, the bees seem a little lazy - not flying from dusk to dawn this year. What's going on? This is the first year this has happened to these hives. Blackberries are in bloom here now, but there are an extraordinary amount of bumblebees this year, so perhaps the bumbles are competing with the honeys for nectar and the bumbles are winning? Or perhaps there was a dearth of nectar after we discontinued the sugar water and the bees had to consume all of their nectar in order not to starve? (Will the bees have time now to store enough nectar to successfully overwinter?) Thank you for your thoughts!
Well, I know you're not hopelessly lost since you have hives near Camano Island. Do you live in Stanwood, Silvana, Arlington, Warm Beach or there abouts?
As to your hives, some areas, locally, have experienced a short nectar dearth prior to the blackberries, especially those areas (2 mile radius) without strawberries or Raspberries, which bloom just prior to the blackberries. My Russian and Carniolian hives did the same thing, suddenly laid wall to wall brood (16 or 16 frames --double stacked 8 frames) brood on both sides and very little stores. Now with the blackberries starting to crank up they are really starting to bring in the goods, I expect medium supers of honey per hive, except for the split I did, as a result of the blackberries alone. The brood build up was timed perfectly.
I am always willing to meet those close enough to do so, I can take you through my hives and maybe give you a few pointers if you're interested.