How can I help my bees fight wax moths?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Madagascar
    Posts
    11

    Default How can I help my bees fight wax moths?

    I have lost one hive (my first) to wax moths back in December. I now have two hives and one is showing symptoms again. What can I do to help prevent them from being overwhelmed?

    Here are some details and other questions I have:
    - I observed the bees bringing out what seemed like a lot of dead brood yesterday morning. I opened the hive up (I am in Madagascar, it's summer here) and did not notice any web on any of the honeycomb, but I did see two wax moth larva drop to the floor. I killed them and put the hive back together. I have noticed a few other wax moth larva and cocoons around the hive (on the floor, in spaces away from the comb and on the roof) in the past week, but never anything in or on the comb. I've also noticed some black droppings on the floor that I assume to be from the larva. Maybe the damage is just not extensive enough to see yet? Which is why I am hoping it's not too late to save them. Also, this morning I did not notice the bees bringing out dead brood, but I did see ants with a few.
    - The hive seems strong. They have 4 combs of brood and are just starting a honeycomb. I've had them for a little over a month now and they are still bringing back full pollen baskets.
    - I also just switched beehive stands and the new stand is not yet ant "proof", so there are more ants than usual. While I did not notice any ants inside the hive there are many working around it and they have been feasting on dead brood. I've been keeping it clean of brood and ants as best as possible but I'm worried this will add more stress to the colony. I plan on putting up some ant barriers today which should reduce but not eliminate them.
    - I changed tables because I installed my second hive on Saturday and the old table wasn't holding the weight of the heavier hive. As far as I can tell the hives are not bothering each other. They are about six meters apart.
    - I hear wax moths invade weak colonies, but this one looks good by all appearances to me. What are some signs and causes of a weak colony that would be prone to wax moths? What should I look at for reasons the hive might be weak?
    - Can I feel comfortable that the bees are taking care of the issue if I see all this evidence yet no damage to the combs? How often should I look? What can I do to help?
    - Last time, I noticed the bees bringing out dead brood on November 30 and the absconded on December 5th. They were a recent transplant and they left the queen behind in her cage! Does this situation provide any insight into my current issue? This hive has been established for at least a month and the queen is free and healthy.

    Thanks a million!

    Dan
    Last edited by dcv2683; 03-06-2018 at 12:55 AM.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Sandpoint, ID, USA
    Posts
    1,143

    Default Re: How can I help my bees fight wax moths?

    Keep the hive area reduced to the size of the cluster.

    Ensure the entrance to the hive is defendable. Limited in numbers and small enough to manage.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Madagascar
    Posts
    11

    Default

    I've got half the entrance blocked off and the bees seem to be covering 90% of the comb when I'm in there. So I figure they've got it all covered during the night.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Massac County, Illinois
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: How can I help my bees fight wax moths?

    Wax moth infestation is evidence of an extremely weak or failing hive.

    Inspect for disease or parasite that is weakening the hive. Treat appropriately.

    Xentari will treat wax for future use.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
    Posts
    2,674

    Default Re: How can I help my bees fight wax moths?

    Reduce the entrance size so there is crowding, which indicates the entrance is small enough for the bees to properly guard. If the hive population is small, the proper size may be only one or two bees wide.

    As others have said, the wax moth is a secondary infection. Something else is hurting the hive
    --shinbone
    (1975-1980, and now since 2011; maintain about 10 hives; Zone 5b; 15" rain; 5500')

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Wise county,Texas
    Posts
    339

    Default Re: How can I help my bees fight wax moths?

    Just looking at the photos you included of the inside of the box, plus where you said "They have 4 combs of brood and are just starting a honeycomb", Id bet they have way to much room to be concerned with. Outside of you possibly having other problems, I'd put a follower board in there and give them just enough space they can patrol and defend as they raise brood.
    Maybe not as bad if you run 8 frame, but that still has you at 50ish %
    “Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the Ark, professionals built the Titanic”

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,942

    Default Re: How can I help my bees fight wax moths?

    Compress the hive (reduce the space and remove all combs that the bees are not covering). Freeze the combs you removed. Remove any combs with wax moths in them (shake off the bees) and freeze those. Wax moths don't kill hives. Hives with too low of a density of bees get taken advantage of.

    http://bushfarms.com/beespests.htm#waxmoths
    http://bushfarms.com/beeswaxmoths.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

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