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!