Neglected Drone Brood



This is not a disease but a condition of the colony.

It is caused by a drone laying queen or a queenless colony with laying workers.


Text Box:  Drone brood in worker cellsSigns in the colony

The colony will be small and have dwindled

The drones produced in worker cells will be stunted and malformed.

Drone cappings will be evident on sealed cells.

As the colony dwindles there is less forage coming in and the bees neglect the brood. The brood then dies of starvation.

The larvae begin to decompose, lose shape and discolour (white – yellow – brown) This develops to a brown watery mass and eventually a dry  scale which can be removed by the bees. In many cases the scales are left as the bees don’t seem to care.



The presence of abnormal drone brood with reducing workers will suggest either a drone laying queen or laying workers.

Do be careful as in the early stages it can appear similar to EFB and at the scale stage to AFB. (Note - the watery stage does not ‘rope’)




When a colony gets to this stage it is better destroyed.

Image © CSL