What has been framed?!

In the case that you are not an apiarist, you may not know what types of substances that beekeepers handle when inspecting hive frames. Many different substances can be found in hive frames, including:

  • Pollen, which is collected by honeybees from flowers and used for food:

The different colored pollen indicates that the bees collected pollen from different sources!

  • Bee Bread, which is essentially packed pollen also used for nutrition:


  • Nectar, which is also collected from flowers and used as sustenance (and once regurgitated and capped, will become honey):

Nectar is a shiny liquid substance!

  • Honey, which is regurgitated and capped nectar:

We removed this honey-filled frame from our classroom observation hive!

  • Propolis, which honeybees use and make to seal their hives (and is edible and believed to be medicinal for humans):

The propolis is the yellowed gunk on the top sides of the frames in the super.

  • Eggs:

The eggs are very difficult to see, as they are so small, and this is a rather large shot. To see the honeybee eggs, know that honeybee eggs resemble little individual grains of rice. You can see a few if you zoom in on the hexagonal cells to the left of the adult honeybees. Also take note of the wee worker bee, emerging from her cell!

  • Bee Larvae:

Bee larvae look like tiny little shrimp in their cells! They will soon be capped by worker bees to finish their development.

  • Capped brood cells – Worker bees:

There’s a bounty of worker bee brood in this frame!

  • Capped brood cells – Drones:

Drone cells are large and protrude outwards from the frame, although they are not as large as a queen’s cell.

  • Capped brood cell – Queen:

You can see the enormous queen cell hanging off the bottom right of this frame.

  • …And if you’re lucky, you may even be able to see the queen herself (often accompanied by her royal court) amongst her loyal subjects:


The queen is larger than other female bees, especially regarding her abdomen! All bees are fed royal jelly, though workers ad drones are only fed for a short period of time, while the queens are continuously fed royal jelly. Royal jelly epigenetically alters the queen, in size and organ functions. We have marked our queens in blue, to better and more easily observe them.

With all the various types of substances and creatures found in honeybee hives and super frames, it may be surprising how there there is no lack of room in frames! We hope you enjoyed these close-ups of our beehives here at the GW Apiary! Stay tuned for more updates!


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