Wax moth larva mystery
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Burlington ,Vermont
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    53

    Default Wax moth larva mystery

    Maybe someone can help solve this mystery. I was going through my equipment today and found what appear to be live wax moth larva. I live in Vermont (growing zone 5a) and this equipment has been stored in an unheated outbuilding all winter. It has been frozen solid for months with long stretches of single digit temps and we've had below freezing temperature within the last week. At first I thought they were frozen larva left over from the fall but I poked them and they wiggled and squirmed. I'm baffled.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
    Posts
    2,473

    Default Re: Wax moth larva mystery

    That is a common misconception. Michael Palmer (VT) pointed this out in 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TU5ZvZcJhA
    I THINK they are killed in a freezer with consistent temps minus 20F. To eliminate doubt, I spray any frames I need to store with Bt. J

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Burlington ,Vermont
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Wax moth larva mystery

    Thank you. I had no idea. According to the video, greater wax moth larvae don't survive freezing but lesser wax moth larvae do. Like Mike said, someone needs to rewrite the book.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    6,176

    Default Re: Wax moth larva mystery

    My first few years of beekeeping I never had a wax moth problem I stored up in the very cold barn and all was well. Then...it wasn't. I thought it was due to a warmer winter (and my first year of problems with wax moths WAS a warm winter) but now I think I was just lucky. For those first years I had very little to store. But as I expanded and my brood combs increased in numbers, so did my over wintering problem. Now, even very cold winters give me a few headaches. So, as mentioned above, I spray with fresh BT and I'm pretty much good to go.

    Wax moths are evil.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    SE Michigan USDA 6a (Macomb Co.)
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: Wax moth larva mystery

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenseye View Post
    My first few years of beekeeping I never had a wax moth problem I stored up in the very cold barn and all was well. Then...it wasn't. I thought it was due to a warmer winter (and my first year of problems with wax moths WAS a warm winter) but now I think I was just lucky. For those first years I had very little to store. But as I expanded and my brood combs increased in numbers, so did my over wintering problem. Now, even very cold winters give me a few headaches. So, as mentioned above, I spray with fresh BT and I'm pretty much good to go.

    Wax moths are evil.
    So very cold natural temps are not enough to do the trick, but what about the freezer? Whenever I pull frames out the first thing I do is 2 weeks in the -10F freezer, and when I pull them out afterward I've never had ANYTHING that moved... Do you think it will even work for these evil wax moth versions, or are they like cockroaches and scorpions, they can survive anything? Thanks!
    USDA 6a, 8 frame equipment

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    8,226

    Default Re: Wax moth larva mystery

    Lesser Wax Moth larvae, Achroia grisella, survive being frozen all winter at temperatures lower than -20˚F. I doubt some time in your home freezer will kill them. Lesser larvae are small, and pink. The white larvae don't survive. I wonder if pink Lesser larvae have some kind of antifreeze. Thankfully, Lessers don't do much damage. Mostly some webbing on the comb surface and a bit of bee bread mining.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    SE Michigan USDA 6a (Macomb Co.)
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: Wax moth larva mystery

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Lesser Wax Moth larvae, Achroia grisella, survive being frozen all winter at temperatures lower than -20˚F. I doubt some time in your home freezer will kill them. Lesser larvae are small, and pink. The white larvae don't survive. I wonder if pink Lesser larvae have some kind of antifreeze. Thankfully, Lessers don't do much damage. Mostly some webbing on the comb surface and a bit of bee bread mining.
    Ugh, just thinking of those things being in the freezer for weeks and then just starting to squirm around after being frozen all that time... Reminds me of "John Carpenter's The Thing"... Horror movie about stuff they found frozen in ancient ice...
    USDA 6a, 8 frame equipment

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    New Concord, Ohio
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Wax moth larva mystery

    What is BT ???

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
    Posts
    1,686

    Default Re: Wax moth larva mystery

    Bacillus thuringiensis. Type "a" is best for wax moth larva.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    2,728

    Default Re: Wax moth larva mystery

    Reminds me of the study showing ticks are changing their gut bacteria allowing them to overwinter farther North. Creatures are fascinating, even the nasty ones.
    It is hard to design a safety net that some will not use as a hammock.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Skaneateles, NY
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    1,007

    Default Re: Wax moth larva mystery

    is Bacillus thuringiensis A available anywhere online? i havent managed to find it.
    Last edited by aran; 03-27-2020 at 10:29 AM.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
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    1,686

    Default Re: Wax moth larva mystery

    Quote Originally Posted by aran View Post
    is Bacillus thuringiensis ok to spray on the frames? any legal or health issues to worry about?
    It is not approved for use in bee hives, however it is approved for vegetables we eat. Many people use it for Wax Moth Larvae control. It has been openly discussed for so long, I didn't realize it had not been approved, until someone mentioned it here.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Skaneateles, NY
    Posts
    1,007

    Default Re: Wax moth larva mystery

    Quote Originally Posted by AHudd View Post
    It is not approved for use in bee hives, however it is approved for vegetables we eat. Many people use it for Wax Moth Larvae control. It has been openly discussed for so long, I didn't realize it had not been approved, until someone mentioned it here.

    Alex
    i just found it under Xen Tari DF for $25 for a pound bag. Is this the right product?

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    7,866

    Default Re: Wax moth larva mystery

    I do not know about DF but the zentari strain BT works for me. Nothing scientific required. I add a heaping teaspoon full to a luke warm gallon of water and shake it up. I set the spray bottle to its finest mist setting and sweep both sides of the frame. When doing whole stacks, I sometimes place box on its end and because I run 8 frames in supers I just fan them out from the bottom and spray each seam from the bottom. Brood frames in boxes I remove a couple frames to do the same. But normally as I unload the extractor I spray both sides of each frame to be stored. Where I have a problem is that deadout that I stack in spring busy times and all of a sudden when I turn on the lights in the night I see dozens of little silvery fliers looking for darkness. If you leave a pan or bucket of water in your storage, you will get an early heads up you have a problem because the moths are attracted to the water in their nocturnal travels and you will see little silver fliers on the water surface.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
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    1,686

    Default Re: Wax moth larva mystery

    Quote Originally Posted by aran View Post
    i just found it under Xen Tari DF for $25 for a pound bag. Is this the right product?
    https://www.forestrydistributing.com...-listed-valent

    If this is the same place you found yours then this is correct.
    The DF threw me for a moment until I looked at my bag. DF = Dry Flowable.

    022.jpg

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Skaneateles, NY
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    1,007

    Default Re: Wax moth larva mystery

    Quote Originally Posted by AHudd View Post
    https://www.forestrydistributing.com...-listed-valent

    If this is the same place you found yours then this is correct.
    The DF threw me for a moment until I looked at my bag. DF = Dry Flowable.

    022.jpg

    Alex
    thanks mate

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Wakefield, Rhode Island, USA
    Posts
    382

    Default Re: Wax moth larva mystery

    I recently read Xentrari like product is being evaluated by the EPA for beekeeping purposes. Likely will be approved but the cost of maintaining approval seems weird and detrimental. But I do not know the purpose of renewal approval cost. Maintained approvals do not seems to work for oxalic acid. It would almost seem like EPA cost structure is designed to keep simple ideas and little people out of business. Dare I say we need a bit of socialism mixed in with capitalism? I like the "Free Market" concept.

    I wonder if the wax moths are mutating? I just found one larva, first time, on the top of a frame at the top of a live hive. I am buying Xentari for my cabbage and Brussels sprouts and whatever...

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
    Posts
    1,686

    Default Re: Wax moth larva mystery

    It works on Tomato Horn Worms, as well.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Wakefield, Rhode Island, USA
    Posts
    382

    Default Re: Wax moth larva mystery

    Quote Originally Posted by AHudd View Post
    It works on Tomato Horn Worms, as well.

    Alex
    I have not had that problem since adding toads and snakes to my garden, 20 years now. But Brussel sprouts are impossible without some kind of help. Cabbage is doable except when a woodchuck and a rabbit grownup in you veggie garden. This Xentari looks acceptable as an organic method.

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