Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 21, Issue 9, pp 1329-1338

First online:

Interfamily variation in comb wax hydrocarbons produced by honey bees

  • Michael D. BreedAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology, The University of Colorado
  • , Robert E. PageJr.Affiliated withDepartment of Entomology, The University of California, Davis
  • , Bruce E. HibbardAffiliated withDepartment of Entomology, Colorado State University
  • , Louis B. BjostadAffiliated withDepartment of Entomology, Colorado State University

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The hydrocarbons of honeybee comb wax vary significantly between colonies. This variation is explained in part by genetic (familial) differences among colonies. Even though significant differences in wax hydrocarbons exist among families, there is a high level of consistency within and among families in a correlation analysis, indicating structural constancy in comb wax. The significance of these results in interpreting the potential role of comb wax in the nestmate recognition system of the honeybee is discussed.

Key Words

Honeybee comb wax hydrocarbons