Up in rural Aberdeenshire, our Scottish representative, Graham, reports overnight temperatures dropping as low as minus 4 degrees Celsius.  Just a couple of weeks ago, his colonies were very active in the exceptionally warm February weather and the intake of plenty of pollen indicated that queens were laying.  The problem now is that the bees will again be forced into a tight cluster to survive the icy nights and will be unable to keep the growing brood nest covered and warm.  Result: chilled brood.

If you are facing similar conditions, you can expect to find patches of dead, black, shrivelled larvae when you carry out your first inspections in April.  The good news is that the workers will clear out these cells as the brood nest expands again as spring temperatures rise.

Photo: Courtesy The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), Crown Copyright
 

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