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Thread: Wax Moths

  1. #1
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    Default Wax Moths

    I just got done with the wax moth section in Langstroth's Hive and the Honeybee. He calls it the Bee Moth. He talks about the wax moth like modern beekeepers talk about SHB. Sometimes, he makes the problem sound nearly as serious as Varroa is today. Even to the extent of apiaries being decimated by it.

    So, here's my question: Have bees evolved since Langstroth's time to be better defenders against wax moths? Or am I just in an area where they are not a problem? Judging by this forum, wax moths seem to be a minor annoyance rather than the full blown crisis Langstroth talks about. I read much more on here about SHB than moths.

    Thoughts?
    Try it. What could happen?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Wax Moths

    The German bee in genereal use before the Italian was introduced to the US was a very poor housekeeper, and would have moth problems even in what then was considered to be a strong hive. The Italian on the other hand, was a very good housekeeper and would remove the eggs and larvae of the wax moths. Now wax moths destroy mostly drawn comb that is in storage and has not been treated to prevent moths and larvae from developing. Many of the treatments available now would not have been available to the beekeepers in Langstroth's day.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Wax Moths

    i don't think shb and v mites had invaded yet.

    Moths like shb only plague weak hives where im at. I havn't lost a hive bc of either. But once the hive is weak they go in for the KO. I do notice a little moth activity in some hives early spring when the cluster is weak with alot of open comb and their sole focus is brood production. Warm weather SHB have lower populations up north, harsh winters knock them down. Sorta the same with v mites, lack of brood production probably has more influence though.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Wax Moths

    I've been helping in an apiary last couple months with 63 hives. I can tell you that I've seen a half dozen hives that were just chewed up and decimated by the wax moths. Their larva is like little maggots crawling and eating and I helped clean 2 hives out personally. just plain ole ugly nasty and if it'd been my hoves i would have bleached and cleaned before reusing. I know this is central Florida and we have just about everything but i'm wondering how to spray or prevent the moths. Any solutions out there??? I'd hate for those things to grab a good foothold in my garden!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Wax Moths

    Quote Originally Posted by Santa Caras View Post
    i'm wondering how to spray or prevent the moths. Any solutions out there??? I'd hate for those things to grab a good foothold in my garden!
    Im sure theres something out there, I don't like spraying my bees so wouldn't know treatments/chemicals. Wax moths don't like paradichlorobenzene.

    Keep your hives strong & remove unused comb is the best prevention!! And similar to shb remove hiding spots like sloted top and bottom bar frames.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Wax Moths

    Spraying combs with BT I purchased from forum member Sundance works for me to prevent wax moth damage to combs, and is considered organic.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Wax Moths

    Keeping colonies strong in adult bees is the best way to prevent wax moth damage to combs on the colony. Combs stored by hobby beekeepers can be sprayed as oldfordguy does or paradichlorobenzene crystals can be placed in stacks of supers. With the BT the eggs hatch and when the worm starts to eat, the bacteria kill the worm. With the PDB the fumes kill the adult moths and the worm but not the eggs, so you must use enough crystals to last several weeks and retreat again at a later date. A draw back of PDB is that a residue builds up in the wax comb.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Wax Moths

    > Have bees evolved since Langstroth's time to be better defenders against wax moths? Or am I just in an area where they are not a problem?

    My guess is that since it was a new problem and since keeping a hive strong had not been an issue before it caught people by surprise. They had to adjust their beekeeping to not leave so much comb that the bees could not guard it. It's also possible that the bees that could hold off the wax moths were the ones people kept. So there could be a genetic component as well. When SHB showed up people had to change the way they set up mating nucs in some climates. I'm sure a combination of beekeepers adjusting and bees adjusting will take place again.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Wax Moths

    If you want to use Bt to deal with wax moth issues, be aware that there are multiple varieties of Bt, and you need BT Aizawai to control wax moths. Other varieties of Bt, such as Bt israelensis (used to control mosquitos) will not control wax moths.

    If you are looking for BT Aizawai, more info is here:
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...-Powder/page12
    PM Sundance to purchase.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Wax Moths

    The German bee in genereal use before the Italian was introduced to the US was a very poor housekeeper
    Thanks AR, I didn't even consider that it might have been a different bee.

    i don't think shb and v mites had invaded yet.
    Varroa had not, I'm pretty sure SHB hadn't either. My point was that Langstroth talked about wax moths much in the same way as modern beekeepers talk about varroa mites and SHB, not that they were dealing with them. I was just surprised at how serious he was about it, given that they don't seem to be a huge problem today.

    It's also possible that the bees that could hold off the wax moths were the ones people kept.
    Michael, that's kinda what I was thinking before AR chimed in. I thought that the wax moths destroyed all the colonies except the ones that had the ability to fend them off. Then, the ones that could fend them off were the only ones left to reproduce. Survival of the fittest, I guess.

    Thanks for the replies, folks!
    Try it. What could happen?

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Wax Moths

    It all depends on where you live. I *have* seen moths take down very strong hives *in under two weeks*. Numbers, numbers, numbers. I've also seen Fire Ants do it in seven days.

    Where I live, south of I-10 in TX, the moths don't go dormant. It's never cold enough, long enough. The bees flatly refused to work frames sprayed with BT Aizawai. I store frames in the freezer, because there are no other solutions in this climate due to pests. Even frames stored with mothballs or sulfur will be invaded unless frozen. Mice, rats, snakes, scorpions, tarantulas, roaches, moths, SHB, Fire Ants, sugar ants, and God Knows What Else. It's Texas. We do everything with gusto -- including our pests.

    I have been experimenting with -- and had some success with a few things. I spray essential oil of cedar mixed with canola for dilution around and outside the hive. My local Tractor Supply carries granules labeled as "Snake Repellent" that are heavily impregnated with clove, cedar, and cinnamon oils. Very fragrant! I sprinkle that around and under the hives as well. I have bare dirt and full sun around my hives as well. It's not 100% effective -- nothing ever is -- but the only hive I lost to moths this year was a cut out that probably had some already. And cut out hives are usually tetchy.

    The one good thing about Fire Ants -- I set moth destroyed hives on their mounds. They clean them up within 3 days. The Circle of Life.

    Summer

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Wax Moths

    Are these Wax Moth cocoons?

    Cocoons01.jpg Cocoons02.jpg Cocoons03.jpg Cocoons05.jpg Cocoons04.jpg Cocoons06.jpg

    An acquaintance recently purchased a home that was owned by a beekeeper, who left the equipment behind. She has no interest in beekeeping and offered me the equipment. I am a new beek who hopes to expand and am not one to ever turn down free stuff. Maybe I should have this time. There are 10 boxes, deeps and supers, along with tops, inner covers, screened bottom boards, hive stands and some other equipment. All equipment is from Brushy Mountain and appears fairly new, apparently used less than one season.

    Here is the problem: the boxes, frames and foundation are covered with white cocoons, about an inch long and ¼ inch in diameter. There are thousands of them. I am guessing they are wax moth cocoons. I have found no larva or adults of anything. Actually it appears the infestation occurred in storage, not in the apiary. I loaded the equipment up and brought it home.

    This is my plan if they are wax moths: First clean, scrap and remove all cocoons. Then dip all woodenware in a chlorine bleach bath. Not sure yet how I will handle the wooden frames. Most have plastic foundation. Some of the frames have been drawn out. Looking for suggestions. The final step will be to put any salvageable frames in to the boxes, then stack the boxes forming a chimney, adding any additional equipment, i.e. tops, bottom boards, hive stands, whatever will fit in the chimneys. Then I will seal the chimney in shrink wrap, seal the bottom, place a screened inner cover on top and set a 5-pound brick of dry ice on the inner cover and seal with more shrink wrap. The dry ice should drop the temperature inside the chimneys to below minus 100. That should kill any lingering eggs. I will let them set until next spring.

    Is this enough or should I treat with Bt aka Bacillus thuringiensis, Paradichlorobenzene (PDB), or some other pesticide?

    Currently all of the cocooned equipment is in black contractor bags setting in full sun. I figured a little solar heat can’t hurt.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Wax Moths

    Quote Originally Posted by summer1052 View Post

    My local Tractor Supply carries granules labeled as "Snake Repellent" that are heavily impregnated with clove, cedar, and cinnamon oils. Very fragrant! I sprinkle that around

    Summer

    Nothing to do with bees...I have a client that has significant issues with rattle snakes around her cabin. We don't seem to have "snake repellant" around here. She would love to get her hands on some. What is the actual name of the repellant? Where could she orer some from?

    Thanks..PM me if you prefer

    Thanks

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Wax Moths

    WOW. Yes moths. They sure did clean up the wax for ya, the dry ice may not be neccesary as it looks like all the comb is gone. The boxes don't need a freeze, its the frames with comb and cracks and crevices that need a freezing for atleast 24 hours. Placing the boxes on their side with frames in the sun will drive the moths out, they like it dark. Wash and clean well.

    BT kills the larva, PDB (moth crystals) is a repellent for storage.

    I don't think you need to treat as all the wax is gone. The plastic foundation may need to be rewaxed before putting in with a hive.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Wax Moths

    The wax moth's cleaned those frames up nicely. Just scrape off the coccoons and rub some wax on the foundation and ur good to go.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Wax Moths

    What's the best way to clean up equipment that has been infested with wax moths?

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Wax Moths

    Quote Originally Posted by jsilberlicht View Post
    What's the best way to clean up equipment that has been infested with wax moths?
    If the infestation is minor, not pictured above, I freeze the frames for 48 hours to kill active larva and eggs and return them onto a strong hive. The bees will clean up the webs and poo.

    If the infestation is heavy, its usually not worth salvaging the comb. I cut out the comb, clean up wooden ware with a high pressure nozzle on hose.

    Putting the equipment in sunlight will drive the moths away, hive body on its size with combs inside, of course during the middle of summer you run the risk of melting wax.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Wax Moths

    Yep, I've seen that before, too. What surprised me was that they even make grooves in the wood. Those are some tough worms!

    Greg Whitehead, Ten Mile, TN
    Blog - http://gregsbees.blogspot.com/

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Wax Moths

    >What's the best way to clean up equipment that has been infested with wax moths?

    Scrape off the cocoons.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Wax Moths

    Slow, i'm still trying to figure out why they do that to the wood for pupating. I figure they could anchor well enough with the silk coccoon they spin.

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