Buckets of honeycomb infested by wax moth
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  1. #1
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    Aug 2015
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    Adelaide, Australia
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    Default Buckets of honeycomb infested by wax moth

    Turns out that I have two different types of bucket lids for food grade buckets (with and without honeygates), and I've damaged some of them by trying to force lids onto buckets that don't fit. Other lids that, once sealed so tightly that I had to put my knee onto in order to lift, now can be lift with a pinky finger and many others, whilst sealed tightly, aren't as strong as they used to be.

    I then buggered up and didn't process some honeycomb that was in a garbage bag, and wax moth ate through the bag and all the comb and now my whole honeyshed is infested with the moths. Then they got into a number of my buckets with the poor lids. I've been using the crush and strain method without a press and haven't had a way of processing the wax afterwards, so I have a build up of wet wax(poorly strained) buckets that moths have gotten into, and unprocessed buckets of honey honeycomb (I just directly scooped it into the bucket with a hivetool), one of which has a strong infestation of many larvae, webs and other gross things inside it, there's about 20 litres of honey all up in the bucket.

    So I'm trying to get on top of this situation. I'm trying to identify which buckets are sealed properly. It seems that the seal is largely, if not entirely due to the lids. Some lids clearly seal very well, some clearly don't seal at all, and a number of them are somewhere in between and it's a little difficult to tell. I have some buckets that had honey in them, but I poured it all out so there's just some a sticky layer on the surface left, I'd like to leave these outside with some of the lids I'm unsure about, to test whether ants (and other critters) can gain entrance to it, but with the amount of wax/honey that I have, and with the amount of defective lids that I have it'll be a challenge, if not an impossible one to fit everything that I already have. I might have to go buy myself some more buckets soon. I've been buying second hand 27 litre mustard buckets, it takes a good day or two to clean them and remove the smell (I mostly sit them in water with bicarbsoda, might give them bit of a scrub and spray down with a high pressure hose), I get them cheap but I'm now wondering about the merits of such since they seem to lose their seal after being opened too many times (or it may be that the ones that don't seal anymore, are ones that I tried to force onto a bucket that didn't fit).

    I want to bug bomb the honeyshed, there's dozens of moths flying around in there and I really don't want them to be in there. I'm then concerned about the moths that are in my buckets. I won't be able to do any stuff in the shed soon for a few weeks due to life reasons, yet I really don't want the wax moth to spread and thrive in my buckets. The bug bomb will only kill the moth in the shed, not the ones in the bucket.

    I figure that I can burn and squish most of the bugs in the buckets. I'm wondering whether if I use a tightly sealed lid on the buckets, would the bugs eventually die in there due to a lack of oxygen? I just find it odd how my buckets that have gunk comb in them (mostly old used brood comb, but any comb that's rubbish but I decide to save to beeswax rather than burn) never seemed to have gotten a wax moth infestation in them and I'm not sure if that's due to chance or whether they need honey to thrive and infest.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Wise county,Texas
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    321

    Default Re: Buckets of honeycomb infested by wax moth

    I'd try a pound of dry ice in a bucket and see what happens, may need more.
    “Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the Ark, professionals built the Titanic”

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    Rosebud Missouri
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    Default Re: Buckets of honeycomb infested by wax moth

    Find out how much people are paying for the larva in the store and sell them, might be worth more then the wax. Think I am joking? I have a brother that drives 40 miles to buy them at a pretty good price so he can feed his sons pet lizard.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
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    4,646

    Default Re: Buckets of honeycomb infested by wax moth

    I would not use pesticides around any equipment that might be use to store food products or be used on the bees. Let alone your own health.

    A shop vac might be a good alterative to killing flying moths. Run it through the freezer. Solar melter will also kill all stages of your pests and render your wax at the same time.

  6. #5
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    Feb 2015
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    Rosebud Missouri
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    Default Re: Buckets of honeycomb infested by wax moth

    I wonder if using the lids might not be part of your problim. I have a bucket of comb sitting in an open bucket no moths have bothered it.
    zone 5b

  7. #6

    Default Re: Buckets of honeycomb infested by wax moth

    Unless it was frozen before you stored it you would have a problem. It wouldn't matter witch lid. Each Manufacture lids and buckets will only fit that's manufacture bucket.

  8. #7
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    Aug 2015
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    Adelaide, Australia
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    Default Re: Buckets of honeycomb infested by wax moth

    How interesting gww. I recently learned they're also popular amongst fishermen and they pay quite a handsome fee for them.

    It's just a storebought pesticide thing. A shopvac is an interesting idea. The plan would be to move out all of the bee equipment out of the honeyshed before I let off the bug bomb. I have a fridge that I put a heater in there to heat up honey, I wasn't planning on moving the fridge out because it's heavy.... but maybe I should.

    I do want a solar wax melter and I could probably build and set one up relatively quickly. It's just that Summer is almost over here, I'm not sure if it's going to be warm enough for the wax melter to work. Our early Autumn/Fall still has some rather warm days here in Australia though.

    Yeah I discovered there's a third type of bucket/lid which is why some weren't attaching properly. It's a bit confusing trying to work it out and I plan on spray painting the lids/buckets so that I don't get them mixed up again.

  9. #8
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    Feb 2015
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    Rosebud Missouri
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    Default Re: Buckets of honeycomb infested by wax moth

    omni.....
    One of my last american bee journals had an artical (I think by jamie elis) about boiling them and freezing them for fishing later.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
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    7,845

    Default Re: Buckets of honeycomb infested by wax moth

    Spray some BT on the mess and watch the problem resolve. Bacillus Thurengensis

  11. #10
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    Aug 2015
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    Adelaide, Australia
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    Default Re: Buckets of honeycomb infested by wax moth

    I couldn't quite figure it out, but there appears to be maybe 3 types of buckets/lids out there, if not more. I moved all the buckets outside, adjusted the lids so that they were all sealed up well to best effect, wrote labels on each bucket about its contents, checked with wax moth about 8 buckets have been infected many buckets with honey in them, I can't feasibly crush and strain that many in the time frame that I have, so I'm seeking to buy a second hand freezer as soon as I can, so that I can just freeze the buckets and kill the wax moth inside that way. I couldn't find any long chest freezers, there's a few upright freezers, I figure I can just rest them on their side, I'm waiting back on the dimensions of these second hand freezers the people who posted these ads didn't mention such I need to know whether they actually have enough depth to fit a 27 litre bucket.

    I moved out all the beekeeping gear and set the bug bomb off. It appears to be quite a low potent one, but it should do the job. I just need to be careful about not reinfecting the area with them via the moths out of the buckets, I made sure all the buckets that had moths had extra tight lids, and I hope I can find a suitable cheap freezer soon to buy.

  12. #11
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    Aug 2015
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    Default Re: Buckets of honeycomb infested by wax moth

    I've acquired a freezer but it will only freeze a single bucket at a time, was difficult to find much better. How long will it take to freeze and kill off the moths? One source said it takes 10 days to kill them all off, and if this is true then that means it's gonna take me the rest of the year to finish freezing all my buckets.

  13. #12
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    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    Default Re: Buckets of honeycomb infested by wax moth

    Omnimirage. You say that most of what you have is wet crushed comb and some honey and it is all infested? The honey is no longer fit for human consuption but can be fed to the bees. Instead of freezing, I would boil the whole bloody mess in a large pot. Strain the honey water and wax to get the critters out, and let it cool. Pull off the wax and jug off the honey water to give the bees at a later date. What you are doing now sounds like too much work and you will still need to render the wax at some point. In my other post, I didn't realize you were doing crush and strain. Maybe you can make up some nice candles for your market stall.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Buckets of honeycomb infested by wax moth

    Are you suggesting to just boil all the buckets that have had any larvae in them? If I do so, should I add water to it to boil?

    I'm thinking of cooking down all my unprocessed beeswax as well. I just don't have a second pot I can use on hand to make a double boiler system currently. I do have some cheesecloth.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Buckets of honeycomb infested by wax moth

    Yes boil it all. Actually, you just need to get it hot enough to melt the wax. Use your own judgement as to how much water to add. Maybe start off with a gallon and see how it goes. Once it is all melted, strain through something like window screen first to remove the big stuff. After the wax solidifies, remove the cake and you can keep using the honey water again. Plenty of videos out there on processing the wax to get it clean but this is the first step in most of them. You just have more stuff to remove. Normally the cappings would be pretty dry so saving the little bit of honey still in them is not worth the effort. You have quite a bit still in your wax so it probably is worth it. Naturally, you would want to run the liquid through the cheescloth before you gave it back to the bees. You may want a double boiler or a crock pot for the final cleaning of the wax but for now the biggest pot you can find that you don't need for cooking ever again will work. Garage sales and flea markets are good places to look. Hope this helps.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Buckets of honeycomb infested by wax moth

    One of my buckets fermented. The rest appears to be okay. Rendering the beeswax buckets with a double boiler, would be more or less be doing what you're suggesting, huh? That one bucket of fermented honey is about 30 kilos of honey worth. How would you suggest to boil it? I do have a big pot I could just pour it in a bit at a time. Seems like it'd take awhile. All the gunk would go to the bottom afterwards, right?

    I've got a freezer and I'm freezing two buckets currently. I'm really not sure how long it'd take to freeze off the moth. I might try to stick a thermometer down there, but there's wax in the way and I don't have a suitable thermometer. I just know it'll take a good more than two days to freeze it. I've got about 15 hours to deal with the rest of this situation, I've got about 5 27 litre honey buckets full of wax that with moth that needs to be rendered in this time.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Buckets of honeycomb infested by wax moth

    >I'm really not sure how long it'd take to freeze off the moth.

    48 hours, honey does not need to freeze for the most part it doesn't, just gets really thick. Take the lid partially off the buckets as they go into the freezer.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Buckets of honeycomb infested by wax moth

    Isn't 48 hours more suitable for comb, and since this is a compacted honey that contains about 9 full frames of honey, then it'd take longer than 48 hours?

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Buckets of honeycomb infested by wax moth

    I think the fermented honey is trash. It probably fermented because of all the moth larva poop in it. When you heat the good honey, most of the stuff will sink. The rest will float to the bottom of the wax cake and get stuck there as the wax cools. The idea is to strain it while everything is still liquid to remove most of the larva and other bug parts. Do not put the fermented stuff in the mix or you risk ruining it all. Process that separately to save the wax. The double boiler is used once you are dealing with wax alone. That helps keep the wax from getting too hot and catching fire. The initial processing is best done with the big pot and water.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Buckets of honeycomb infested by wax moth

    What about using the fermented stuff to make mead for personal use?

    I ended up getting it all done and it turned out okay

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Buckets of honeycomb infested by wax moth

    Did it ferment because the moisture content was too high, or because there was moth feces in it? Personal call on that one.

    Glad to hear the rest turned out ok. The wax may need several cleanings before it is suitable for sale. Generally takes three to four times, at least for me.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

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