Chilled brood

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Drone Bee
Nov 14, 2008
Reaction score
Warboys, CAMBS
Hive Type
Number of Hives
nil bees given away all colonies
When doing an inspection in late March I noticed a few black and grey larvae.

It's around this time of year that the brood and brood pattern is not fully covered with bees. There are more larvae than house bees. It only happens for a couple of weeks but it can cause Chilled brood that is brood which is on the periphery of the brood pattern and therefore not covered by bees to keep them at the correct temperature of growth.
This is a natural phenomenon where by the beekeeper can only keep checking for Chilled brood. I don't know if the bees will remove the dead larvae or not, perhaps someone might enlighten us.

Here's what they look like.



Thanks for that Bcrazy, that has taught me something once again, i saw and identified chalk brood last spring, but i have never seen chilled brood, but now i will know for the future.

I saw chilled brood for the first time earlier this year when I gave a frame of mostly sealed brood to a small colony. Unfortunately there weren't enough bees to keep some of the larvae warm and those at the edges died and turned black.:( They did remove the dead larvae though as they expanded.

Snap SteveH I made up a nuc in the spring and never used enough bees to cover all frames so noticed I had a little chilled brood.
Thanks BC. Very useful.

How soon do they normally leave it until they clear them out? is it just when the Queen needs more space to lay, or are there hygiene reasons for cleaning out sooner?? Can the decaying brood harbour disease??
Bees vary a lot in how good they are at housework. Some colonies will clear out dead brood very quickly, others will wait until they need the space, and others never seem to get round to it even if they are short of free comb.

It can't be good to leave decaying matter of any sort, so I would clear it out if they leave it too long.

wish the picture was still available :}