First indicator of swarm preparation

Asked September 29, 2013, 9:58 AM EDT

I am working on a presentation on queen rearing. My question is which comes first white wax or drone brood production? Both of these are important indicators that the bees are preparing to swarm. So my question is really which of the two would be the very FIRST indicator?
Thank you, Morris

Lane County Oregon

1 Response

Hi Morris,

This is an excellent question. Unfortunately the answer for this question is not very straight forward. Wax and brood production may vary significantly between colonies based on their prior status (colony size, food reserves, already existing drone comb etc.).

To my knowledge there is no existing scientific literature that has focused on this aspect (white wax vs drone brood production sequence). Drone brood rearing or white wax production are not always indicators of impending swarming. Couple of studies done in the seventies and eighties have reported that "sealed drone brood were at a maximum approximately 30 days before the maximum occurrence of swarms in the experimental area". So based on these studies i would say citing drone brood production as a potential indicator would be appropriate.

Please feel free to e-mail or call me if you would like to further discuss this topic in length (e-mail: and phone: 541-737-5460).