Wax moth 'nests'.
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  1. #1
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    Default Wax moth 'nests'.

    As many of us know to our cost, when wax moths take over a hive and begin to reek their havoc upon it, one very obvious feature becomes that of the nest itself. For anyone new to 'the game' - this nest has the appearance of a mass of grey woolly fibres, and very effectively binds adjacent combs together. But - in all the discussions I've ever read about wax moths, the nest itself has never featured - other than to mention it's existence. So - what part does this 'nest' play in the life-cycle of the wax-moth ? Just how essential is it ?

    During this last winter I've had a couple of dozen well-used frames hanging in a greenhouse from the overhead crop-support wires which run the length of the building - most of them contain some residue or other: a few cells of pollen or a few capped brood cells which never made the distance - but there's zero sign of any wax-moth activity. The frames are spaced approx. 2" apart, so there's the space itself plus plenty of light - either or both of these factors could be playing a part.

    I'm not the first to have noticed this - not by a long shot - I've recently read in some early copies of the ABJ that several people had noticed this deterrent. So - I've been wondering whether the inability to be able to create their woolly nest might have something to do with it ? It's a pity such spacing doesn't make frame storage particularly convenient.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Wax moth 'nests'.

    Thereís been plenty of posts that guys will store supers on end in barns or shed overhangs and not have a problem. Never had the occasion to do it as Iíve got access to a huge chest freezer nor run for honey.
    Rod

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Wax moth 'nests'.

    I have read, on here I believe, that sunlight is the best deterrent for wax moths. I haven't read anything about the spacing but I can only imagine that it aids in allowing in more sunlight. They like the dark supposedly.
    Andy

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Wax moth 'nests'.

    Sure - what you've both written relates to stopping the wax moth from laying eggs - which is precisely what I've found too - but the question I asked was: "what part does this 'nest' play in the life-cycle of the wax-moth ? Just how essential is it ? "

    You see - there may be other ways (not involving light) which could prevent the wax-moth from laying, if we understood the life-cycle better.
    I'd look this up myself, except I'm hellishly busy at the moment - just thought somebody on here might know.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Wax moth 'nests'.

    From Dave Cushman's site: Link
    From a quick search and read it looks like the conditions "in" a hive are just ideal. Temp, moisture, light (lack of), food source, etc. The life cycle seems to be pretty simple.
    -Overview
    "The life cycle of the wax moth consists of five definable stages. The stages are:-
    Egg, Larva, Spinning, Pupa, Adult.
    The larvae cause most of the damage to comb, the spinning stage causes the damage to woodwork and finally the adults cause further damage by mating and propagating the species."

    -"Eggs are laid in cracks between hive parts or in groups on the upper side of cells... Wax moth eggs hatch into larvae after five to eight days depending on ambient temperature. The eggs require a damp atmosphere to hatch."

    So, after reading Cushman's web page about wax moths, it sounds like the biggest factor is the hive box enclosure itself. Maybe that is why storing frames out in the open works. There is no where for the wax moth to lay the eggs that will be the correct temp or moisture as long as there is airflow around the frames.
    Andy

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Wax moth 'nests'.

    i think what you're taking as a nest is simply the trail of the larvae which leave silk behind them. I don't think it contributes to survival at all. The other factors mentioned above I think have more bearing on this.

    Jon

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Wax moth 'nests'.

    Jon, LJ is not talking about the silk tubes the wax moths create as they tunnel through the comb. In a severely infested hive, the frames are joined by a mass of webbing that is quite tough, this is the nest to which he is referring.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Wax moth 'nests'.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Jon, LJ is not talking about the silk tubes the wax moths create as they tunnel through the comb. In a severely infested hive, the frames are joined by a mass of webbing that is quite tough, this is the nest to which he is referring.
    Yes, that is the "nest" I was speaking of. It probably starts with larvae moving from frame to frame over bridge comb and then increases from there. I could be wrong but I don't think that adult moths can spin silk like larvae can.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Wax moth 'nests'.

    I would say the gallery is created so the wax moth larvae can increase and hold the temperature. Have you ever experienced the heat given off by a wax moth gallery in a severely infested brood box? That heat might be difficult to achieve or maintain with the combs spaced far enough apart to prevent that webbing and creation of the gallery

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Wax moth 'nests'.

    Hi Michael - very good point. No, I haven't experienced the heat - I only come across advanced wax-moth nests well after the damage is done - and usually with stored combs, whenever I've screwed up.

    What I'm finding hard to imagine are the larvae managing to cross over the inter-comb gap before they've reached full-term in order to weave that woolly fibrous nest. Clever little buggers. This sounds like a case for time-lapse photography.

    I'm now wondering what would happen if something non-chewable was placed between combs - maybe a sheet of thin plastic, the sort sliced bread comes wrapped in.
    That would certainly stop the spread to other combs - but I wonder if it would also act as a deterrent to the moth laying eggs ? I feel an experiment coming on ...

    BTW - wax moth larvae can chew through leather - I discovered that earlier today when I came to use my welding gloves - which are now ventilated gloves.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Wax moth 'nests'.

    LJ, I thought I read somewhere that those little maggots could digest plastic too. They seem to do a pretty good job of eating my wood frames.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Wax moth 'nests'.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    LJ, I thought I read somewhere that those little maggots could digest plastic too. They seem to do a pretty good job of eating my wood frames.
    Yes, I read someone is using them to recycle plastic. Turn plastic into animal food (or even people food).

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Wax moth 'nests'.

    Deep-fried wax-moth larvae - Yummie !

    ... at least that way they'd be good for something.
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Wax moth 'nests'.

    LJ, just for you.

    https://www.bugs4beginners.com/blog/...waxworm-ramen/

    I'll, um, take a rain check.
    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: Wax moth 'nests'.

    Ugh ...
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Wax moth 'nests'.

    I'll take the deep fried version over the sushi version, thanks.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Wax moth 'nests'.

    Bait for fishing - trout season! Chickens love them too!

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