Queen laying?

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Drone Bee
Dec 4, 2008
Reaction score
Dordogne 24360 France
Hive Type
Number of Hives
16 a mix of Commercial, National, 14 x 12, Dadant and a Warre
All the books I have read state that with the onset of cold weather the queen reduces her egg production to a zero brood state towards the end of December. They also state that she will recommence laying in February. I have found both statements to be true. Laying is obviously temperature related but not to the outside temperature as February is (generally) colder than December.
Is it therefore the workers who raise/lower the brood chamber temperature and prompt the queen to start/stop laying?
and, if so how do they decide when to increase the temperature?
Shortening days tell to nature that autumn is coming.
Lengthening days tell that spring is coming.

Just now we have in Finland -10 -15 C frost every night but I am guite sure that part of hives have allready small patch of brood. Bees cannot come out but they start brooding.

Here bees must stop brooding in September. Some stop laying in August.

One phase is that queen lays but bees do not feed larvae.
In early spring I may see that there is a large are of eggs, but only few larvae. When I feed with patty, bees start to feed every larva.
In some hives bees have started brood rearing but they must give up because it is lack of pollen and protein.
In some cases the queen gets nosema and totally stops laying.

A half mature worker brood in bottom rubbish tells that the queen is present. A drone brood tells that parhaps queen is unmated.
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When the queen lays in early spring, it lays more than bees are willing to nurse.

When I feed pollen patty, the capped brood area will be even and nicely covered.
But if they live on their own, the capped area will be sporous. It means that bees have not enough protein to make larva milk.

But then comes the limit and brood area will not grow any more even if the cluster is big. It means that nurser bees, which make the larva milk, have a limited number. When new nurser bees emerge, the brood are may jump to 3-fold.
Thanks Finman,
I should have thought of daylight - it affects most wildlife like migration and nesting.
As you will have seen in other posts pollen is not a problem here, snowdrops, hazel, crocus and then willow all follow each other, we just need the weather but having said that my bees were gathering hazel pollen with a shade temp of 5C - hives and trees both in full sun with no wind and only 20m to fly:)

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