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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The bees vacated my top bar hive in late spring. Checking the hive today I found maybe 30 dead bees on the bottom screen and some wax moth infiltration on most of the combs and they smell bad. Only two combs look completely free of silk and moth larvae. What would be the prudent thing do do for cleanup?

Do I need to completely remove all contaminated bars, or just the silk, or is there some amount of damage that new bees will cleanup/repair?

These were just wild bees I trapped and I made no effort to re-queen. The same thing happened to me once before only I happened to be present when that swarm left to join a larger one. My practice has been wait and trap some new swarm next season.

If some of the comb is salvageable, do I need to store it in some special way to prevent more wax moth from getting to it?
 

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If they're all like the one in the photograph, then they're not too bad. What I do is excavate the worst of the 'fluff' (which often creates a hole in the process), chase along the 'lines' with something pointed to remove the long silk cocoon which will have been deposited there (hopefully evicting a wax-moth larva at the same time), place the comb in a freezer for several days, then return it to a hive to be cleaned-up, repaired and policed against further attack.

I find there's no need to do anything else - indeed what I do may not be strictly necessary, but I do like to give them a hand whenever possible. :)
LJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
And that fermented dead animal smell? Most of the cells are empty - no honey or dead brood - so is that just from the moth and larvae? New bees wont be scared off by that?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I do not notice any significant smell from wax moths, hive beetles leave the frames real funky. Bleach is your friend. Apply liberally, wait a few minutes and rinse. Just washed a few super frames from a deadout that had femented residue in them. All clean now and sprayed with Bt for storage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The only time I've been aware of a really bad smell is when dead capped brood remains in the comb.
The smell was mostly gone after leaving the hive open for a day. I went over each comb and pulled off silk and removed cocoons. They are in the freezer now. I went over the hive box with a propane torch to make sure there is nothing left alive.

Still looking for a source for xantari. Sounds better than paramoth. Only a couple of hits for 5lb or 1lb qty, and just a few years shelf life.
 

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The smell was mostly gone after leaving the hive open for a day. I went over each comb and pulled off silk and removed cocoons. They are in the freezer now. I went over the hive box with a propane torch to make sure there is nothing left alive.

Still looking for a source for xantari. Sounds better than paramoth. Only a couple of hits for 5lb or 1lb qty, and just a few years shelf life.
Try looking at https://www.7springsfarm.com/xentari-df-biological-insecticide-bt-1-lb-bag/. I got my order in 5 days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Thanks, surprised to find no distributor for Xentari, Certan B401, or Agree WG in the western states. Tons of sources for BTk, but I guess that's no good. Once treated, is it safe to leave the comb in an unoccupied box? It seems less likely to be damaged from mis-handling.
 

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I am running a test of Xentari. I have a couple frames that have pollen in them, so I sprayed both sides of the frames and placed one on top of each other. It has been 5 days and there is absolutely no wax moth damage. If it can go 3 weeks without any damage, I will be convinced on using this each year when storing frames.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I pulled the combs from the freezer after 4 days, and sprayed them and the entire hive box with Xentari mix (2tsp/gal). After drying, I put the combs back in the hive and blocked the entrance. 10 days later I opened it up and a moth flew out. I have a light layer of new silk on every comb. Disappointed to say the least. My plan is to spray again at higher concentration.

My understanding is that Xentari does not kill or repel the moth, only the larvae. It is understandable that new moth can still make their way into my hive, since it isn't a perfect seal and they probably smell the wax. Isn't the silk produced only by larvae?
 

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I mix mine at 3 tsp per gallon. I still get moths on the frame but no damage causing caterpillars. Perhaps your Xentari is too old. I read that UV and warm temperatures will break down the Xentari.
As a side note, the frames of pollen I left out were not touched by wax moth caterpillars but the SHB moved in and totally infested them. Too bad BT doesn't work on SHB larvae.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I resprayed at 4tsp/gal, and after 2wks it seems to be doing its job. Moths are present, but no silk.
 
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