the base of the cell in a cohesive pattern. A worker will lay numerous eggs in all areas of the cell and the pattern will be spotty. Occasionally worker bees will lay at least a few eggs in a queenright colony but this usually not a problem. Re-queening a laying worker colony can be difficult because laying workers rarely accept a new queen. Vigilance by the beekeeper and prompt queen replacement are the solutions to this problem.
Spotty brood can be a symptom of diseases like AFB or EFB or it can be a sign of a failing queen, queenlessness, varroa mites, or inbreeding. When examining a frame of brood, one should see cells with all stages of eggs and brood. There should be a continuous pattern of brood. Unacceptable patterns will have numerous cells unoccupied throughout the comb. The solution for spotty brood is to check for disease or other disorders and then re-queen.
Starvation is one of the leading causes of colony collapse over winter; however, starvation can occur at any time. Colonies can perish from starvation if they go into the winter period with inadequate honey supplies or if the cluster becomes separated from the honey. Symptoms of starvation are numerous dead bees between the combs and on the floor, many positioned head first in a cell.
It is important to periodically check your colonies to ensure they have proper supplies of honey. Lifting colonies from the rear is a quick method for determining quantities of honey stores. If the colony is light, mix a heavy 2:1 (sugar:water) syrup and feed them with internal division board feeders, inverted plastic pails on top of the cluster or hive-top feeders. Do not rely on Boardman entrance feeders in cold weather since the bees are unable to leave the cluster in order to feed. Recommendations for food needs will vary by region, but for southern regions, a single hive colony will need at least one medium super of honey. That will equal a minimum of 60 pounds of honey or syrup.
Colony survival over winter is more likely if proper fall management strategies are followed. These include a strong viable queen, adequate supply of honey and pollen, colonies maintained in a disease-free condition, and well-constructed hives protected from extreme climatic conditions.