Beehive Inspection – Summer 2021 – what did we see ?

Newly drawn comb – see the shiny nectar ?

Learning to identify what you see in your Beehive – information about nectar, pollen and brood.

When you own a Beehive, It’s key to know what you are looking at – take time to have a really good look at the frames – take it slowly and calmly.

Nectar taken by Honey Bees into their Beehive, is ingested by the bees as they forage on flowers – so all nectar will pass through the bees digestive system. Interestingly, they use their abdomens to process nectar and can also create wax.

Nectar collected is placed into cells then dehydrated by the bees using their wing-movement causing the movement of air around the hive which results in removing the moisture or water content from the nectar. Once the moisture or water is removed the bees will then cap the cells so it stays clean and contained.

Nectar looks very shiny and can spill out of frames if you don’t hold them level.

  • Dehydrated nectar = Honey which is a thicker consistency.

Nectar is used to create wax-comb cells and is used by the foraging bee as an energy food source.

But what does nectar look like in the cells of a Honey Frame ?

fresh new wax comb with new season nectar

look how shiny the nectar is as bees work the wax comb

very fluffy Honey bee working the nectar – getting right inside the wax comb cell

wax comb cells with partially capped honey cells

So now we will take a look at brood frames …

This frame shows nice new comb with some new capped worker brood and some white larvae – brood is generally started in the centre of a frame which is where the bees will cluster so as to keep the brood warm – bees cluster tighter at night. As the population increases through Spring and Summer, brood can fill a whole frame.

Lets look a bit closer into the cells of brood frames…

This frame shows healthy well-formed new season fluffy Honey Bees working on a frame with nectar. If you look closely you can see a Drone Bee who has BIG eyes. See if you can spot worker bees who have extended abdomens which are full of nectar. There are some new bees whose wings are closed across the top of their abdomens – this is due to the fact that they haven’t flown out yet. If you look in the top right, there is some pollen.

Pollen and nectar are found on brood frames

Pollen is protein and food for nurse bees to feed the new brood

worker bee carrying pollen into the beehive on its legs

Pollen comes in different colours as bees forage on different flowers

she looks knackered carrying those pollen sacks !

Lets look inside Cells on brood frames

this shows capped worker brood, pollen both white and orange – pollen is always uncapped – notice the sacks of white pollen ?

the bees will process the sacks of pollen with some wax which helps with long term storage

Bee larvae – white and healthy – nurse bee looking after them – between 4 and 8 days old

New eggs white and healthy standing up straight – shows Queen has laid these in the last 24 hours – see the nectar ?

Empty cells – older comb

Darker wax comb shows this is an older brood frame – capped brood over 9 days old

Drone brood generally placed on the outer edges of a frame – sits higher than the lower worker brood – drones take 23 days to emerge

a worker bee poses next to a drone bee

If you enjoyed this BLOG and it gave you some helpful insights, please consider making a donation to help support us to continue our work for you.

Thanks yous : )



what’s that ? oh yes…

…it’s the kiwimana buzz…

One thought on “Beehive Inspection – Summer 2021 – what did we see ?

  1. Avatar photo
    Helen Ruston says:

    Thanks for this news letter, especially the lovely clear photos . Also, lovely photo of an enthusiastic Margaret!
    Thanks for your very helpful letter

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