After her mating flights, the queen will start her long life of egg-laying in earnest. In a typical Langstroth hive, she will start in the lower box, which is on top of the bottom board. Workers will have started constructing comb, either free-standing in foundationless frames or over artificial cells in regular frames. Below we will look in further detail at the ways in which brood is created around the hive.
The creation and storage of honey is an essential function of the colony. Beyond the obvious nutritional benefits, honey is the essential lifeline that allows the colony, in the form of the winter cluster, to make it through the winter.
Bees work in extraordinary ways to create the reserve of honey and, as a beekeeper, you will learn over time to assess whether a colony is on track. The lighter-colored capped cell is the sign of stored honey.
Pollen is also essential to the colony, providing protein and fats. After collection, pollen is mixed with nectar and water, to form "bee bred". This is then stored in comb within the hive. As well as the nutritional value, this also helps with the structural integrity of the comb.
Pollen is often placed immediately adjacent to the brood nest, since it is used heavily as the source of protein.