The honeybees seem healthy, but whatever it is that they are suppose to be doing, they are doing it slowly. I keep waiting for my blank frames to fill up with brood and honey, but it is just not happening. Hive A (I think I will call it Anaheim) has always been a lot less active than hive B (let’s call it Boston). They both came as nucleus hives (nucs) from the same beekeeper, so I don’t know why one would be so different from the other. I have read that others have observed the same thing. Nobody seems to know why. After two or three weeks I began to notice that Anaheim had its moments. Around midday or early afternoon on some days, Anaheim seemed a little busier than Boston.

Last weekend when I looked into the hive for only the second time, I found that Boston had filled about one and a half sides of a new frame, but there was very little development anywhere else. Anaheim has only a little comb starting on one new frame.

My nucs came as five frames: one full frame of honey, two frames of mostly empty comb and two frames of brood and bees. I don’t know how many bees I got, but my guess is about a pound or even less which might be about 3,000 bees. Of course, there is also brood in many stages which means that new bees are in the pipeline. The other main option for starting a hive is to get a package of adult bees usually either three or four pounds which means in the 10,000 to 15,000 bee range. But these installations have no brood and the queen has to acclimate herself to her new home and start laying eggs which take around three weeks to hatch.

I assumed that my small village of two or three thousand bees would soon be 10,000 and the queen would quickly fill up the drawn comb with more brood and start drawing comb on my five brand new frames that fill out the 10-frame hive box.

I’m sure I was being a bit impatient, but now after a month, I feel like I might have doubled the population in each hive, but still not made much progress toward filling up the hive boxes.

I hadn’t thought too much about the timing, but apparently the biggest growth spurt of the year comes in the early spring, perhaps mid March through mid May here in Maryland. That is when there is lots of flowering going on and most of the bee populations grow to swarming proportions. I got my bees right after that population explosion (which makes sense if you are selling nucs) and now hive development is much slower.

There is still lots of stuff I still don’t understand. Like if the nectar flow has slowed way down in June and July, why is it that the honey harvest is in July or August? I won’t get any honey this year. I knew that from the outset, but I am already worried that my hives won’t have enough bees or honey to make it through the winter. Patience. The bees are smarter than I am at this and they probably have it all under control.

I continue to feed them. They have never stopped taking my sugar water, so I will continue to make it for them. I am currently using a concentration of about 1 cup of sugar to 1.5 cups of water. Hopefully there is a little burst of nectar and pollen in late August and September and this may be when they are starting to store up honey for the winter.