then i's beginning to occur to me(admittedly slowly) that the reason both hives seem to have stalled out a bit is because the brood hasn't hatched out yet.
Both hives are on their 22nd day of existence and I'm thinking that it was anywhere from 4-6 days for the queens to be released and to start laying. That would mean that the brood is still several days from being ready. And if the existing population is actually in a gradual decline until then well.....no more drawn comb?
They are bringing in a lot and are taking syrup, but both have stopped at 6 and 7 frames each, respectively.
Is this logical?
As an aside, I was up extemely early this morning and went out to sit with the bees, drink a cup, and watch the sunrise. And I noticed a lightly packed cluster of 30ish bees at each entrance. They were completely still and peaceful. It was very charming actually. I couldn't help but wonder if they were resting and thinking of past successes or the coming day's work. Or perhaps they were actually dreaming little private dreams of endless expanses of dandelion or wildflowers....a brief, yet private respite from the continual drive of the hive collective.