This unseasonably warn February allowed me to open hives and check for brood. What I found was that the hives are well into expanding the brood area, consuming their protein supplement and bring in pollen. The source of most of the pollen was from maple trees in full bloom and humming with bees. This has been going on for several weeks.
What’s not to like?
March. “In like a lamb out like a lion” as the old cliché goes. March 20, 6:29 A.M. EDT is astronomical spring but weather conditions and sun angles don’t have bees in the equation. If March is typical weather, bees will need to keep the larger than normal February brood nest a cozy 95º F. If March has the more normal extended freezing days and nights, brood cover becomes more difficult.
Chilled brood can be the consequence.
As ambient temperatures drop, worker bees within the hive begin to form a cluster around the queen and brood area. Their bodies act as both insulation and generators of heat. However, if the population of worker bees isn’t large enough to encompass the entire region of brood, the brood can die of hypothermia. Sometimes the worker bee population has dropped over winter, and the queen lays more eggs than the worker bees can cover. Chilled brood is usually found at the edges or lower peripheries of the cluster. Instead of pearly white larvae, chilled brood will be yellowish white to brown with tinged black on the segmental margins. Sometimes the cappings of sealed brood that have died will be perforated. Chilled brood symptoms may resemble Foul Brood, but does not exhibit the characteristic ropy test. Warming weather is the cure. Bees will clean out the dead larva which can be seen in front of the hive. Chill brood is self correcting if he hive is strong and health.