View Full Version : Wax Moths
02-11-2003, 11:08 AM
I have had, this year, the worse time ever with wax moths. They pretty much devestated all of my drawn comb. I think in part this was because the wax moths were already in the supers when I pulled them (but not in that large of numbers) and for the first (and last) time I tried leaving the supers wet and was going to give them to the bees in the spring to clean up. This did not work. The only reason I tried it was I was regressing and was afraid the bees would move back up into the comb and abandon the queen.
In talking with other beekeepers I have had the following observations shared with me.
This one is in the south. He had observed wax moths at night crawl down the side of the hive and sneak over the gaurd bees heads when the bottom board was set at 3/4". He is now running his reversable bottom boards at 3/8" instead.
This one is from Canada. It's that the bees on a chilly night, even in summer, will cluster and when the bees do this he has observed wax moths sneaking in the top entrance and laying in the supers because the bees are down in the brood area.
Has anyone else observed sililar things? These would make me wonder about both having such a tall entrance at the bottom board and if I even want a top entrance in the summer.
Of course some if this may be climate issues. If it never gets cold enough to cluster maybe the moths won't get in much on a hot summer night in the south.
I would appreciate hearing any other observations people have on wax moths and how they get in the hive and how to prevent them.
02-11-2003, 01:30 PM
I actually found one laying little black eggs under the top cover of one of my hives last year. I don't think you'll keep them out, the important thing is to keep the hives strong enough to control them.
02-11-2003, 05:14 PM
I agree a strong hive is best, but there is no point inviting them in either.
I think the ones under the cover will hatch and get into the hive. Of course, if it's storng they will eventually kill it, but I've seen some live wax worms in strong hives. They usually can't get out of the midrib or they get killed, but I've seen them there. Also you bring in some supers and then they hatch and there's no bees to run them out.
02-15-2003, 06:01 PM
I have had problems with the moths as well this winter. I store wet supers in my unheated garage and it usually gets cold enough, early enough to kill them off.
Not so this year. The temps in the garage have generally be above freezing. It will slow the moths down but not stop them.
02-15-2003, 08:43 PM
I was reading an article in the latest ABJ where it is suggested that combs can be safely stored "in hive" over winter and spring, instead of adding them as needed in the Spring and summer. They would simply be stacked on the after extraction over an inner cover. This is suggested as a form of mold prevention, but it seems of course that, unless the hive is really strong, it might invite moths in.
Has anybody tried this?
02-17-2003, 07:30 AM
I have not, but it doesn't sound like too bad of an idea. I would think if it's warm enough for the moths to do anything, it's warm enough for the bees to defend it. Then again it may be worse because it will stay warm from the escaping heat of the cluster and may keep the moths alive all winter. Sounds like we need an experiment.
02-17-2003, 12:18 PM
When you store your supers/bodies off the hive, don't you use Para-Moth?
02-17-2003, 12:54 PM
>don't you use para moth...
Not unless I'm desperate. I've used Certan with fair results. I've used nothing, with dry supers (the bees cleaned them off) with fair results. This is the first year I left the supers wet, because I was afraid to let them clean them while I was regressing. I thought they might try to move in and abondon the queen.
I don't like the smell nor do I like the toxicity of para moth.
02-20-2003, 07:39 PM
I think that if you left the combs on the hive, it might keep the moths under control in a few ways. First, the bees are clustering around the honey which should be in the lower supers which would leave the upper supers to get cold enough to kill the moths. Then when it gets warmer, the bees should do the rest. This is just my theory though.
02-21-2003, 04:34 AM
I think there's enough heat from the bees to keep it from freezing in the top supers. At least most of the time.
02-21-2003, 11:15 AM
I had no problems with wax moths since I started to useing eucalypus oils once a month.
I use 1 teaspoon to a qt. of honey to feed as a top feed.
5 yrs never seem to have that problem=but now it helps to have a strong hive too
02-21-2003, 11:52 AM
You feed the eucalyptus oil while there are supers on the hive? Doesnt it taint the honey?
02-27-2003, 07:30 PM
i've found that alot of wax moths are hanging out between my screened bottom board and the regular reversd botom board,they lay on the trays where wax scales fall,every so often i pull it out and stick all the cocoons and grubs in my lit smoker,they fire up pretty good.i've also tried rubbing cedar wod oil on the bottom trays but can't say for sure if it did any good.
03-06-2003, 06:16 AM
If you made a hive body out of cedar, do you think the wax moths would avoid the hive?
I know it would be expensive, but so is replacing a hive. Do you think the bees would mind the smell of cedar?
03-06-2003, 06:27 AM
Just plain western cedar and aromatic cedar are two different things. The closets are the aromatic cedar. I've never tried a cedar hive, but have thought about it. Cost, is of course the first problem. As to acceptance, I've heard of bees in cedar trees, so I would think they wouldn't mind, but I don't really know. After the bees propolize the whole insides there may not be that much of the smell left.
03-06-2003, 10:38 AM
I'm not an expert as I have not been keeping bees long, but I left my suppers on top of my hives. I have not had a problem. We have had cold and worm day through this winter. The Hive was strong going into winter.
03-07-2003, 01:15 AM
eastern red cedar(juniperus virginiana) is what grows aroung here and it's fairly potent wood and rot resistant,i've think the moths would be less inclined to really tunnel into them. i've also wondered about sassafras.
03-07-2003, 07:10 AM
Wouldn't the cedar smell taint the honey? I know clothes stored in a cedar chest have a faint smell for a while.
03-09-2003, 05:16 AM
I took in my winter killed hives this week. I have 3 categories of stuff to store. 1 Drawn comb with little in it, but something. (A little capped honey or even open honey or a trifle of pollen). 2. Frames with considerable honey. 3 Frames with considerable pollen. I bought the Para-moth stuff from Mann Lake and read the label. It seems that I can use it on nothing I have without taking a chance of poisoning the new bees when they clean this up. Mike, Would Cretan work on open frames that you know the bees will be into?
03-09-2003, 06:58 AM
Yes I think certan will work on anything. It offers no threat to bees or humans. I get it from www.beeworks.com (http://www.beeworks.com) ( try http://www.beeworks.com/uspage5.asp at the bottom of the page) and have not seen it for sale anywhere else. He doesn't have it labled in the catalog as "Certan", though it is, but it says "wax moth control" and described as "The only biological larvaecide available for the control of Wax Moth in comb, both in store and the hive."
03-09-2003, 08:37 AM
Wax moths are always present to some degree. The amount varies a lot from year to year. I have even seen moths walk in the hive entrance. There seems to be a period right after sundown when the guard bees relax. I have watched moths go in unchallenged. This is also an excellent time to put a new queen in a split. Just run them in the entrance. they are almost always excepted.
Srong colonies will always control moths in the brood boxes in our area. Empty honey supers are another problem, especially if they have pollen in them. Putting supers on over the inner cover has worked for us but it's inconvienient if you need to feed or give meds. We now keep a yard with about ten colonies in it where we stack the empty supers. There are usually enough bees going into the stacks to control moths but we still have a problem with the frames that have pollen in them.
03-09-2003, 08:59 AM
michael,i've noticed in another forum you said some of your hives are6-7 feet tall,i think you have too much space that the bees are not actively using,thus the moths are able to get established in areas of low activity.as far as storing empty comb,i've found that if you leave the boxes on their side or stagger them when stacking,the moths don't like being exposed to the air and light and tend to leave them alone more.
03-09-2003, 09:22 AM
I have had hives that were making 200 pounds of honey and they get that tall. I haven't had a lot of moths when they are on the hives, but sometimes I get a few. They were really bad this year in the supers after I extracted them. I think they do better with the moths when they are on the hives.
03-09-2003, 03:38 PM
Where do the wax moths spend the winter? I assume as an egg. Therefore freezing the combs may kill the larva but must leave eggs intact. After all, those same combs get frozen outside in this area. It follows that I could stack a bunch of supers that are clean and airtight and have just one egg hatch ruin thingss. True?
03-09-2003, 04:33 PM
>Where do the wax moths spend the winter?
I assume the same place flys do, under shingles in roofs of heated houses, buried somewhere where they don't quite freeze. I've see lots of flys and some moths when tearing off roofs in the winter.
>I assume as an egg. Therefore freezing the combs may kill the larva but must leave eggs intact.
I don't know about that. It would be interesting to know for sure.
>After all, those same combs get frozen outside in this area. It follows that I could stack a bunch of supers that are clean and airtight and have just one egg hatch ruin thingss. True?
I don't know.
Mine got bad before it froze.
Up here in Canada it gets very cold during the winter months. I very seldom have a wax moth problem becasue of this very fact. The moth, larvea and eggs all perish when it freezes. Although the eggs need more extended fridgid temperatures than the moth and larvae do.
03-12-2003, 08:09 AM
It's good to know the cold kills the eggs. I suspected but wasn't certain of that.
03-12-2003, 03:49 PM
If the cold kills everything ... where do the new moths come from in the spring?
03-12-2003, 05:33 PM
As I said, when I've torn off roofs in the winter I've found live moths and flys under the shingles. They catch the heat from the house to keep from totally freezing. I would imagine there must be other places as well. I know some survive in the hives from the heat from the cluster. I've seen them in the pile of combs at the bottom of the hive in a tree heated by the bees. Not enough to be real active but enough that they don't totatly freeze. The eggs could be in places that get cold, but not that cold.
I read somewhere a while ago that placing a single sheet of newprint in between every, or everyother honey super in storage would repell the moths. They claimed the moths disliked the smell of the ink on the paper.
Has anyone else hear of this? Does it really work?
>If the cold kills everything ... where do the new moths come from in the spring?
Because I still get a mild infestation later in the year, I assume some wax moths or eggs must overwinter sucessfully. Perhaps in places where they are somewhat sheilded from the extreem temperatures. My supers in storage recieve the extreem cold day after day temperatures.
03-13-2003, 05:19 PM
maybe waxmoths die off completely in northern climates,and migrate north as the weather gets warmer,monarchs fly from mexico.