As a first year beekeeper, I have thrown myself into blogs, chats, and printed books on basics in beekeeping. One thing that struck me is that what a brood frame looks like in early spring is not what it will look like in the fall or winter. Having devoured several texts on basic beekeeping, I noticed the “classic” photograph of a Langstroth frame has brood in the middle surrounded by pollen and then capped honey. Nice classic picture we have all seen. But as I have been faithful to perform regular and thorough checks on my two hives (Milan and Zyppah) I have noticed consistent changes through the season.
Here in Nebraska it is the end of August. Fall is just around the corner and as best I can tell we are still in a nectar dearth at the moment. The bottom brood boxes are incredibly light weight. There is little in the way of brood cells now. There are very large stores of pollen but barely any honey. The top brood box has brood cells in the center surrounded by honey. The weight is dropping and the number of brood cells also declining.
Yes both are queen right. All stages of new life present. But the main point I am bringing up as a new beekeeper is that the frame morphology (what they look like) is very different from May. In fact, they are very different than just 2 weeks ago when the top brood box was full of honey in my Milan colony. Now, I had no difficulty lifting the box. Milan has been my over achiever group. Their numbers are so large I always thought Zyppah was a weak colony. Zyppah, however, due to smaller numbers has a lot of honey stored in the top brood box while the army living in Milan has drained its stores up top in 2 weeks. The shear numbers in the Milan colony may be its undoing. Too many mouths to feed.
So…experienced bee keepers (hint hint Dawn) through the seasons Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter, what would you expect the frame morphology to be as the hive evolves? Thoughts beyond the classic picture in the dadant book of a late spring frame. What would the frames look like as the hive prepares for winter? Do experienced beekeepers see differences in storage patterns from lower brood box to upper brood box?
I know this is a bit wordy but I didn’t see a similar topic covering changes in frames over time so I thought this might be a good educational thread.
Ok you seasoned pros…go for it…and thanks in advance.