I installed my first bees, a 3-pound package, in late April, here in California. I'm using foundationless frames.
The bees almost filled an 8-frame super with comb within a few weeks, but then seemed to stop. I moved three of the outer frames up into the second box, hoping to encourage the bees to move up. I fed syrup to the bees during this time.
I assumed things would pick up quickly, as my hive is located on a hillside with 60 lavender plants, which are now in full bloom and smothered with literally thousands of bees. Clearly these are not all my bees, as there are bumblebees and native bees, but I assume many are.
The lavender has been blooming for about three weeks now, yet the bees have barely added to the comb in the hive. They've filled in the three frames I added to the second super somewhat, and have built on to the combs in the bottom super, but that's about it. I stopped feeding syrup, since I know there is plenty of food blooming right outside their door.
I'm baffled! My beekeeping friends assured me that once the lavender was blooming, they'd *have* to build comb, or they'd have nowhere to put the nectar and pollen. Everything else seems well in the hive--the queen is there, there is new brood when I check every couple of weeks, the bees seem very busy and docile. I haven't seen any robbing issues, which I worried about, with the hive so close to all that lavender.
Wait until the brood hatches ahd increased amount of bees will most likely make the hive go back to comb building. Bess only build comb under foot, meaning if there is space in the hive unoccupied by bees there will be no comb found there. It is population that dictates comb building not size of honey flow. If there is not enough bees to mandate the manufacture of more comb the bees will go to backfilling the brood chamber untill enough brood hatches out to require more comb building.