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Thread: Ack! Wax Moths!

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Ack! Wax Moths!

    I'm afraid I may have wax moths. I pulled out the tray under the SBB on bith hives and found several larvae. I plan on inspecting the hives ASAP, but I need to know what to do with whatever damage I find. Both hives are 2 deeps and one shallow now.

    I assume I have to cut out the damaged comb, but at this time of year, they will not rebuild the comb. I assume having big holes cut out of the comb is not a good strategy heading into winter. Can anyone offer advice on what to do?

    I may have more drawn comb, but I'm afraid wax moths may have gotten into it, too. To make matters worse, I do not have a freezer big enough to put frames in.
    “The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.” -Henry David Thoreau

  2. #2
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    Default

    Try to reduce your hive size down to where the bees can cover all areas. Wax moths normally inhabit areas of the hives where the bees don't find them. If the bees can cover all frames, they will remove the wax moth larva.

    Check your pm's.

  3. #3
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    I predict you won't find any wax moth damage in the hives. I occasionally find a larva or two under my screens- I think the bees chase them there. Either that or they figure it's a great place to hangout and eat- plenty of wax and pollen stuff falls through the screen and the bees can't get to them.
    Dulcius ex asperis

  4. #4
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    Default

    I'm with George. I would not assume there is any damage. There are always wax moth larvae on a tray under a SBB. This is normal as the bees can't guard that. It's NOT normal for there to be wax moths IN the hive unless it's failing. But the tray under the SBB is not in the hive.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
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    Which wax moth are you talking about? I have lesser all the time, and it does very little damage. Greater is the one to really watch out for.
    RSBrenchley@aol.com
    Birmingham UK

  6. #6
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    Default

    I don't know exactly what wax moth I'm talking about. I found about 5-6 small larvae (about 1/2" long and thin) on one tray, and strings of webby stuff. When I pulled the tray out, I thought water had gotten on there and washed the wax debris into lines, but when I touched it, the debris was stuck together with webs. The other hive had 2-3 of these same small larvae, and one larger one (about 3/4" and fatter), a gray colored moth, and the same webby debris.

    I hope to open today, and... George & MB... I hope you are right. I just want to be prepared when I open.

    If I reduce the size to what the bees can cover, what do I do with the honey frames in the extra super(s)?
    “The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.” -Henry David Thoreau

  7. #7
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    As MB has said, wax moth larvae frequently occur where there is hive debris and no access by the bees. This is usually not much of a problem. The problem is when temperatures continue to be habitable (for the moths), and the bees population does not permit them to occupy (or at least guard) some combs, or when combs are idle in storage - then the moths have no restrictions on laying their eggs in this bountiful food supply. Then these combs can be destroyed quite rapidly by wax moth larvae of either greater or lesser wax moths. Freezing, especially at sub-zero temperatures (such as in a freezer) kills any wax moth eggs present on the combs. After which, if the combs are kept secure from wax moth access, they will remain free of wax moth larvae.

    What would be more unusual is, if you didn't have wax moths, they are usually as ubiquitous as Varroa mites.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 10-15-2007 at 07:01 AM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  8. #8
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    Your hives should be fine.
    The wax moths can't survive in the hive with all those stinging bees, so they go where they can survive, under the screen where the bees can't get them. There is enough junk down there for them to eat.

    I see plenty of them around, on the sbb trays. They are superfast(the moths, not the larvae) but satisfying to squish....

    Just make sure you protect your extra comb that isn't on the hives.

    Rick

  9. #9
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    Jun 2006
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    Default Too Much Space

    This answers the question on how I probably lost a colony. I had a late swarm come out, about the last of July 1st week in Aug. I thought they were going good. I extracted a couple of supers and thought I would give them one to clean up--give them a little boost.
    Checked them about 3 weeks ago the hive was decimated with the moths. By leaving the super on too long I gave the Wax Moths places to hide, Instead of giving them a boost I gave them the axe. Next time I'll know.

  10. #10
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    If your moth larvae (funny how we never call them caterpillars!) are no more than na inch long it's probably lesser wax moth, which isn't very harmful at all in my experience. if you see three-inch larvae. watch out for any unused comb.
    RSBrenchley@aol.com
    Birmingham UK

  11. #11
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    Default

    hobie sezs:
    I assume having big holes cut out of the comb is not a good strategy heading into winter.

    tecumseh replies:
    for certain the important point would be how large of a hole are we talking about... but No a modest size hole in a brood frame is not bad and does produce some benefit. didn't you ever notice how a lot of the newer plastic/wax foundation has holes punched into the corners?

  12. #12
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    Default

    I have to add this. I am mentoring a new keeper and he asked me the same question about moths being on the SBB...will they hurt the hive? I said no. The hive was healthy! Full of bees in 2 deeps. I noticed a little "bald brood" around the edges of a full sheet of brood. As I picked at it with a hive tool out popped a moth larva. In another minute another popped out and moved across the comb. I assumed that was the reason for the opened brood. I mean, the moth larvae had tunneled under the cell. I'm going to look more carefully at sporadic brood patterns in the future. Anyone seen this in a healthy, crowded hive?

    dickm

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