Ok, that may be a bit extreme, but I'm worried. I had a few frames I wanted cleaned up so I set them out for the girls to take care of. I know what open feeding looks like, the kind of frenzy that goes on. But somehow the bee girls seemed a bit more intense. Not sure really why I think that but maybe it's just because I'm worried. I went into Hive 1 yesterday all the way to the bottom. Hadn't been to the bottom in a month, maybe longer (note to self: TAKE NOTES!). The very bottom box was clean as a whistle! No pollen, no nectar, no honey, no brood in any of the frames. The last time I saw a frame that clean was when I let a colony starve (unbeknownst to me ). The rest of the boxes looked pretty normal, though I can't say for sure that I saw any eggs. There was capped brood. I didn't check every frame in every box. But I was very concerned to see the bottom one empty. The top box (#5) had a lot of gorgeous capped honey, but in a week's time they really hadn't finished that out much more. Would they eat bottom-up? In the remaining boxes were brood and nectar and pollen.
Since I didn't think I had any eggs in that hive and since I have a nuc, I robbed some eggs from the nuc and stuck that frame into the hive - just in case something had happened to the queen, who was new. But their behavior had been a little funny - sort of that "la te da, what's a girl to do," that hanging-around-with-not-much-going-on behavior.
I say all that to say, how the heck do you know if you have enough forage to sustain even a single colony of bees, much less 2 or 3 (pollen is NOT a problem; nectar is the issue)? There aren't any major farms around me, no major crops being produced. I'm in the country, but everyone just does home gardens. Since this is my 3rd year as a beek, #1 year doesn't count since I started with a nuc, and #2 doesn't either because we had a major drought. So here I am in year #3 with no real clue what is "normal" as far as nectar flow or sustainability or if I should even be beekeeping - the thought of which REALLY makes me SAD!!! How does one figure this out???