Honey Bound – Lots of bees but no brood

I’ve begun taking before and after pictures
so when I am at home trying to figure out
what the hell went wrong, I have a better record.
Honey Bound: The term refers to a hive that is so full of honey and pollen stores that the queen doesn’t have any place to lay eggs.

So yesterday I went out to split hive (A) that I was sure was on the verge of swarming due to the beard hanging on the front. However, when I got there, the beard was gone. So I entered the hive to see how bad the swarm had hit the hive but to my surprise, the bees were still inside.

Nonetheless, I came to split a hive and so a hive was going to get split! So I started looking for eggs. But there were no eggs. That was when I realized that the only brood was a half of frame of capped brood. The more I looked, all I could find was honey – every frame was filled with honey.

At the time, I didn’t know what to think. The hive was packed with bees (see Pictures) with very few drones but there was no eggs or larva.

I went to hive (B) and it turned out, it was the same thing. I spent two hours inspecting these two hives but all I found was honey and pollen.

Current Apiary Setup (X’s are empty hives)
On a side note: Both (A) & (B) were very calm and gentle. There is still about a quart of sugar syrup in hive (A) but hive (B) had eaten all of theirs. Hive (B) has nice large teardrop patches of comb on the foundationless frames I put in Friday, while hive (A) has a couple of small bits of comb – several spots in (A) also had new bur-comb but not much.

So at sundown, I closed the hives back up and headed home. I was perplexed to say the least and I felt defeated. Why were there so many bees but no eggs? Had I actually overlooked the eggs? Was the hive queenless? Was it possible that the queens just had not started laying? (I know that last one seems stupid but I was spiraling.)
No drown feeder with
drown bees in hive (A)

Still, by the time I reached my house, I had a come to a peaceful notion: “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”

I still had other hives and, whatever the problem was, I could pull eggs from one of the other hives to fix it. With that, I relaxed, went inside, and got on the computer. Thankfully my problem was not unique and with a few tries at Google, I found the answer.

Google question: “My hive is full of bees but no eggs”

The Answer: My hives are “Honey Bound”

I’ve already checkerboarded the top two boxes of both (A) & (B) giving them an additional 10 frames each. So as soon as they draw out the comb it should be fine.

I will double down on my prevention plan by adding more sugar syrup tonight, then Friday I will add two frames of foundation to each as well as a frame of eggs from one of my other hives. Whatever the issue is, these three things should cover it.

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