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What to look for in a frame

Posted by on June 25, 2012

Now that I am getting more acquainted with what should be on a frame in a hive, let me share the basics.

The area outlined in green is the brood – the babies. In this picture it’s a burnt-organge color, and it’s “capped” or sealed. When the larvae emerge, they will poke their way though the cap of wax and immediately get to work. Note the larvae are in the center of the frame. This allows them to be cared for efficiently, and when honey is needed to feed them, it’s just on the outside.

The red outlines surround the white comb which is capped honey. The honey inside is ready for eating, by either the bees or you. Note it’s on the outside of the frame when there is brood on the frame. If the queen hasn’t laid brood on the frame, there may be 100% honey on the frame, and it’s good to eat. Otherwise you will get a mixed frame, like this picture, and it’s worth leaving in the hive so that the colony can sustain itself.

The thing that I found most striking is that I expected the frame to be organized, like some fastidious housekeeper was making sure nothing was out of order. Unfortunately, that’s just not Mother Nature’s way. While there is amazing organization in the hive, each cell isn’t perfectly ready for laying brood or filling with honey, so it may be skipped over for the moment. The ladies are busy doing what they do best, and sometimes it doesn’t look perfect. What you can be sure of, is that to them, it’s laid out to be incredibly efficient.

And I will admit, left to my own devices, their house looks more organized than my mine, so maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to judge.

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