Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Subtle Differences between Frames of Brood and Honey

After a season or two of beekeeping you'll find you don't have to always dig so deep into a hive and disturb it quite so much to know what's going on.

Most of the time I don't use queen excluders.  So the queen can move up and down in the hive laying eggs.  Once the honey flow is really on she tends to get pushed down into the deep as the brood area as the top supers fill up with honey.

Often in fall if I haven't yet removed supers there may be brood in the centers of the frames or a mixture of pollen and honey.

I find two noticeable differences between a honey frame and a brood/pollen frame.

First, the honey frame is much heavier than a frame with brood/pollen.  So as I lift the frame up I can gauge pretty quickly by weight whether the frame has brood on it or if it's just honey.

The second thing is the amount of bees covering the frame.  If there are eggs or larvae, the frame will be heavily covered in bees as they warm and tend to the brood.  A honey frame will have bees on it but no where near the coverage.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

What do you do in the fall, when the nectar flow is way down and there is no incoming nectar to push/keep the queen out of the supers, and there is brood in some of the super frames?

How do you keep the queen out of the supers long enough for the brood to hatch so you can extract and store the supers for winter?

Beekeeper Barbara said...

Anonymous: It's kind of a balancing act to get the brood hatched so the boxes can be removed. Sometimes I leave a box on for an extra week so the rest of the brood can hatch. The queen will naturally slow down laying in the fall as the days grow shorter and it gets darker and colder. Sometimes I'll remove a honey frame and replace it in the super with a blank frame while leaving the one or two frames with brood for a few more days.