View Full Version : Dry ice for wax moth control?
01-25-2006, 08:25 PM
Ok bear with me a moment. From a fellow beergeek, more chemistry-savvy than yours truly:
>CO2 has a molar mass of 44. That means that 44 grams of CO2 (i.e. dry ice) make one mole of CO2.
>At room temperature, one mole of gas (ANY gas) occupies about 24.4 liters.
>So, one ounce of dry ice, once it totally sublimates at room temperature, will yield about 4 gal of CO2.
Now, I've spoken to a sailor (a guy who sails, not a city-on-the-water military man smile.gif ) who puts dry ice in the bottom of 5-gallon buckets, fills with flour/grain/foostuffs, and lets it sublime with the lid sitting on but not snapped. 12 hours later (when the CO2 has sublimed, displacing the air) he snaps the lids. CO2 being heavier than air (though highly miscible in it), should do a pretty good job. He claimed to have never had a weevil/bug/moth hatch in his food. My folks tried the bulk food deal in the 60s 70s, and we had the occasional "outbreak" (moths) even with pretty good storage technique.
Here's where I'm going with this. The CO2 prevents eggs from hatching. Could one stack honey supers in 30-gallon trash bags, add eight or ten ounces dry ice, sublime, and seal? Just thinking to avoid the chemical treatment (I froze mine this year, kinda awkward).
Also it's fun to play with dry ice :D .
Dreary geekiness or plausible wax-moth treatment?
01-25-2006, 09:06 PM
> Dreary geekiness or plausible wax-moth treatment?
Quite plausible. Your sailor friend's technique
is based upon valid knowledge, but you can't
expect to displace 100% of the air, but you
should displace enough to make it work.
The main problem is the bag integrity.
01-26-2006, 03:35 AM
Perhaps if you start with a heavy duty, contractor garbage bag (2.5 - 3 mil). Place the supers in the bag and lightly secure. Stack the supers up until you reach approximately 6 feet. Add another contractor bag on top and secure. Finish by wrapping with 80 gauge stretch film from top to bottom. This may help to accomplish the results you are looking for.
01-26-2006, 07:38 AM
>The main problem is the bag integrity.
I concur. You can displace the oxygen and get some wax moth control IF the bag is airtight and doesn't leak oxygen back in.
You could also buy CO2 in tanks at paint ball places or liquid Nitrogen, if you have a dewar and any of these are inert and will displace oxygen. But dry ice is easier to handle. Here, you can buy it at an ice place downtown in whatever size you want.
01-26-2006, 08:26 AM
If someone had room in their house, would there be any reason to not store honey supers inside over winter?
We have a finished basement and I could easily store supers there ...would that keep the moths from bothering?
01-26-2006, 08:59 AM
>If someone had room in their house, would there be any reason to not store honey supers inside over winter?
Yes. Thousands of little larvae reasons. Outside they will freeze. In the basement they will multiply.
>We have a finished basement and I could easily store supers there ...would that keep the moths from bothering?
I know it seems reasonable, but I tried it once six years ago. There are still a lot of moths flying around in my basement and they escape to the upstairs on a regular basis.
01-26-2006, 09:19 AM
I've stored wheat, rice, beans, etc. using dry ice. Works fine on that scale. I think if I were going try it with supers I'd build some sort of airtight cabinet affair with lots of caulk and duct tape. Or maybe an old chest freezer.
01-26-2006, 09:20 AM
Hmmmm so there's no way to detect if the wax moths have actually laid their eggs ....
Well then what about putting them outside (on concrete slab) and covering them with a heavy tarp? It gets cold enough here to kill the larva.
I'm kinda guessing hubby won't want the moths in his garage either smile.gif
01-26-2006, 09:25 AM
How about putting them outside and not covering them. The tarp will keep the temps up by insulating at night and bring the temps up by solar gain in the daytime. I'd spray them with certan, but regardless of using certan or not, I'd put them out in the beeyard with a solid bottom (no entrance) and a solid top (no entrance) and rely on freezing for the winter. In the spring, once you're past the frosty (below freezing) morning period, you can put them on the hives for the bees to guard them.
01-26-2006, 09:58 AM
Hmmm well that's simple enough!
What is Certan?
01-26-2006, 10:05 AM
01-26-2006, 10:19 AM
What's it cost to order something from Canada?
01-26-2006, 10:37 AM
I like the way you're thinking on this, Ben! I think it could work, and might be simpler than you think.
At one time, and it's still done this way at least in some places, potatoes were stored in CO2 atmospheres to prevent decay or germination. Basically, storage facilities had/have big concrete "pools" that they fill with potatoes. Once the potatoes are in, someone "fills" the spaces with CO2 from a cylinder. Since CO2 is "heavier than air," the CO2 will remain in the pool or sink for quite a while (depends on air movements, obviously) before more CO2 has to be added.
Coyote suggested an airtight cabinet or old chest freezer. I think either one would work, but I suspect you could even leave the lid of that chest freezer open for extended periods and not lose too much CO2 (again, if air movements are limited). I think the chest freezer would be great; plug it in, freeze the comb to kill wax moths, then "fill" it up with CO2, unplug it and let it sit. The CO2 should save on the electric bill.
A couple years ago (speaking as someone who has played semi-pro paintball), I could get a 150-lb cylider filled with liquid CO2 for about $5. I always got mine filled from our local beverage distributer, since soft-drink machines in restuarants all use cylinders of CO2 to carbonate their sodas. Our local supplier will even rent out the cylinders so you could avoid the cost of purchasing one or more of them.
01-26-2006, 01:08 PM
I wonder if a guy could rent apple storage. They suck the oxygen out of the room so the apples will keep. I am going to research this. You could really be onto something. Correct me if I am wrong but freezing doesn't kill wax moth eggs? This would work for hive beetle also wouldn't it?
01-26-2006, 01:24 PM
I don't know whether or not freezing will kill wax moth eggs. Some people seem to think it does, others seem to think it doesn't. Based on the life cycles of all the closely-related species of moths, I would guess that freezing will kill wax moth eggs, but maybe not the pupae. The carbon dioxide should take care of those, though.
The same principle should apply to SHB. I don't know of any animal that can survive in an atmosphere of carbon dioxide.
Do you know how they suck the oxygen out of apple storage facilities? Do they pump in carbon dioxide or nitrogen or some other gas, or do they use some sort of chemical reaction to actually lower the concentration of oxygen in those air spaces?
01-26-2006, 01:41 PM
I think they pump in carbon dioxide. I am going to find out for sure though.
01-26-2006, 01:47 PM
i was wondering if anybody tried this idea before?http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/waxmothtrap.html
01-26-2006, 02:00 PM
I do have CO2 tanks, but in the brewing community several folks have done oxygen testing of vessels "purged" of oxygen using dispensed CO2 on the theory that it's heavier-than-air property would do the trick, only to find due to the gas' high miscibility (mix-ability) with air, it's not very effective at all. One serious geek pressurized tanks to 30 psi w/ pure CO2 and vented, and repeated thirty times, and only got (if I recall) a 70% reduction of oxygen compared to atmospheric levels (oxygen's a big enemy, post-fermentation, in beer/wine/mead circles).
My thought with the dry ice is there's little momentum to a subliming gas (no nozzle to "swirl" the flow) and since it could be placed at the bottom it could better utilize the density property. My plan actually was to build an airtight "chimney" for super storage. Chest freezers do work well! Ask any lager brewer who's leaned into his, only to nearly pass out due to the layer of CO2 (this is an actual danger to be aware of; pass out, slump in, and say goodbye). Hold your breath going into a chest freezer with CO2 in it, even for a second, it's very painful at best to breathe in near-straight CO2.
And my back-room stored supers just sprouted their first larvae and are currently freezing outside :mad: after I tweezered out a few to feed to the carnivorous plants. Very satisfying mwaa aaahhhhh aaaahhhhhhhhh!
01-26-2006, 02:29 PM
Maybe that's the ticket: maybe we should all start placing our stored supers into chest freezers, then start brewing lager among the supers. Call it whatever you like, "killing two birds with one stone," or "value-added beekeeping," or somthing along those lines. ;)
01-26-2006, 04:16 PM
Honey Lager! Is that what the business consultants call a "vertically integrated" brewing operation? ;)
01-26-2006, 07:05 PM
At one time, and it's still done this way at least in some places, potatoes were stored in CO2 atmospheres to prevent decay or germination. Basically, storage facilities had/have big concrete "pools" that they fill with potatoes. Once the potatoes are in, someone "fills" the spaces with CO2 from a cylinder. Since CO2 is "heavier than air," the CO2 will remain in the pool or sink for quite a while (depends on air movements, obviously) before more CO2 has to be added
do you recall the approximate time between fill ups?
co2 is also available via containers from welding supply stores.
01-27-2006, 03:23 AM
I have tried the wax moth trap and am not convinced it works.
I never saw the first moth in it and there were plenty of them around.
01-27-2006, 11:43 PM
I nitro-packed some survival foods mostly in five gallon pails and barrels. It's the same principal, the nitrogen is heavier than air.
I made a pipette on the end of a hose that was attached to a regulator on the tank. Put the end of the pipe in the bottom of the container and slowly filled the container with the lid slightly off-set. Hold a lighted match or lighter at the top of the container, and when it will no longer stay lit the container is filled.
he instruction for para-moth is to duct tape the boxes in the stack and put a lid on top. The crystals are put on the top of the frames on a piece of cardboard and in the middle of the stack, I think every three boxes, and as it evaporates it setteles towards the bottom as it too is heavier than air.
[ January 28, 2006, 12:44 AM: Message edited by: BULLSEYE BILL ]
01-29-2006, 08:06 AM
That's an excellent idea. One could use even a non-working chest freezer unit (which can be had for almost nothing), stack the supers in it and fill-er-up. I'd be a little reluctant to have it in the house with kids around unless you got a locking unit they couldn't open.
What'd be more effective...a CO2 tank or a block of dry ice?
01-29-2006, 09:19 AM
Well I have both, and I planb on trying thre dry ice. Liquid CO2 is cheap enough, and Bullseye's match-test is a great idea (if you use enough gas, in theory, the inevitable mixing of the gas and air can be overcome with sheer volume of CO2), but I can get dry ice free from SWMBOs job where they get frozen goods shipped in it so that'll be my plan. I suspect either one would work; CO2 is CO2 whether from tank, chunk, yeast cell or Mars' polar caps!
01-29-2006, 11:22 AM
Moths or no moths, fresh honey lager is a worthwhile endevor on its own. I don't know about wax moths, but the smell of it fermenting would actually attract me :D
02-02-2006, 11:00 AM
"I nitro-packed some survival foods mostly in five gallon pails and barrels. It's the same principal, the nitrogen is heavier than air."
not trying to bust any balls here but nitrogen is like %75 of the air we breath so what part is it lighter than. i am new to bees but but have been brewing for 10 years, compared to CO2 with witch for a gas is a huge molicul N2 is very small and will leach thow plastic 1/4" thick , if you want to store something or dis place oxygen use Co2
nitrogen dissipates very fast, thats why its use to dispense wine from kegs because all the bubble with be gone be for the glass ever reaches the table, Guinness beer in the draft can is 80% nitrogen 20% co2 and that is why you can dump it in a glass from 2 feet and it will not fome over and the head settles so fast try that with a bud lite
plus co2 is way cheaper per volume
02-02-2006, 11:50 AM
Well I can't answer to the density of Nitrogen, but for beverage dispensing its actually used largely because of its limited solubility in beer/wine. For example to Nitro-pour an Irish-style draft stout, the beer is first carbonated to a low level (about 1 to 1.5 volumes) with CO2, and then dispensed with nitrogen. Part of the reason for that beautiful nitro pour is the small molecule, but much of it is precisely because of its preponderance it in the atmosphere. It doesn't flee solution as aggressively as CO2 which has a much steeper gradient of wanting to equalize into the (relatively CO2-poor) atmosphere, so even a tiny dissolved amount makes a leisurely, upside-down "cascade" out of solution.
02-02-2006, 09:42 PM
>>"I nitro-packed some survival foods mostly in five gallon pails and barrels. It's the same principal, the nitrogen is heavier than air."
>but nitrogen is like %75 of the air we breath so what part is it lighter than.
The short answer is oxygen, but, I believe that my statement was that nitrogen was HEAVIER not lighter, so when filling a container from the bottom with nitrogen the air is forced out the top of the container. When a flame at the top of the container will not stay lit, there is no air left in the container.
Nitro-packaging food items will make them last up to fifteen years depending upon the amount of moisture in the food stuffs.
02-03-2006, 05:30 AM
Kieck wrote: I don't know whether or not freezing will kill wax moth eggs. Some people seem to think it does, others seem to think it doesn't. Based on the life cycles of all the closely-related species of moths, I would guess that freezing will kill wax moth eggs, but maybe not the pupae. The carbon dioxide should take care of those, though.
I refer you to a link on Ohio State's site:
and to Florida University's:
06-30-2007, 03:01 PM
Have any of you experimented with using carbon dioxide for wax moth and/or small hive beetle control yet? I'd sure be interested in hearing about your experiences.
07-02-2007, 11:55 PM
07-03-2007, 01:44 AM
It"s 22.4L per mole at STP.
07-03-2007, 04:36 AM
Im not sure about the nitrogen. I used to use it when I inseminated our cows and the tank has a deep foam core cover that you have to keep on as much as possible or it evaporates out. If you didn't open it up it would last for months.