Brushy Mountain Bee Farm Brushy Mountain Bee Farm, Inc.

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What May be Found in a Frame


This is a general guide to what you may find on a frame. Please note that this is not what one single frame is intended to include. A frame may only consist of one or two of these elements.

Drone Brood
It is easy to recognize drone cells but can be misinterpreted as queen cells. Drone cells will be clumped together on the outer edges of the frame. They will have a domed/bubbled cap, whereas, worker cells are capped flat. Drone cells are larger.
Varroa mites are small, reddish-brown tick like pests which feed on the hemolymph (“blood”) of the honey bees. They will create cuts on your bees that can become infected, as well as transmit viruses. Under a heavy varroa load, diseases such as 'DWV' will increase in frequency and affect the colony. A severe infection will mean the death of the hive. Varroa is a parasite that has the most pronounced impact on the beekeeping community.
Honey bees will fly from flower to flower collecting pollen in their pollen sacks. During the process they will transfer pollen grains to other flowers, pollinating our gardens. Bees collect pollen because it is protein rich and is vital to brood production and feeding young bees. You will find pollen stored on the outer edge of brood frames.
Nectar is harvested from nectar producing flowers. Bees will regurgitate and store it in the outer cells of a frame. Over time the bee evaporate water from the nectar and it is cured into honey. The bees will cap the cells to store for future consumption. Rich in nutrients and minerals, honey is a sweet treat the bees enjoy all year long.
Mixed Brood
A great looking frame will have a central section of brood in different stages. You should find eggs, larvae and capped brood. Eggs are difficult to see but they appear as small white kernels that are similar to rice. Larvae are more recognizable as the bee begins taking form. Capped brood is the final stage of development before the adult bee emerges. Once the bee has emerged, it will progress to the outer frames where it will indulge in pollen and honey.
Queen Cup
A Queen Cup does not mean your hive is queen-less, it is a precautionary measure your worker bees take to ensure they can raise a new queen quickly if something were to happen with the old. Queen cups can be mistaken for a swarm cell. Swarm cells will be along the bottom of the frame and multiple cells will be clumped together. A queen cup is a single cup which can be located in the middle of a frame.
She is the pride and joy of the hive. What distinguishes the queen from drones and worker bees is the size of her abdomen. Filled with eggs, her abdomen will be significantly larger than other bees. It is extremely hard to locate the queen among thousands of bees and because she is important to the survival of the hive, beekeepers must be extremely cautious not to damage or kill her unless otherwise intended.
Hive Beetle
The adult beetles are usually found toward the back of the hive on the bottom board, but can often be seen along the frame rests or running along the edges of the inner cover. The females will lay egg masses in protected crevasses in the hive. The larvae feed on the honey and pollen. If the infestation is severe enough the bees will abandon the hive. As the beetles move about the hive they defecate forming a slimy mess which results in the honey fermenting.