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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have very mercurial winter weather here, with occasional spells of several warm days. Would a "clean" stack of supers put outside after a killing frost be vulnerable to egg-laying moths on the warm days? That is, can adult moths hide in some mulch or a dead hive, to re-emerge and lay when weather allows, or does a new batch hatch out each spring to replace all the (frozen dead) adults?
 

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I am the least scientific person here, and most of my posts are my own speculation, but it seems to me if they can't migrate south then they must overwinter.
 

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What I DO know is that in a normal year (which this does not look like it will be) I don't see any until mid summer and then they multiply quickly. I assume the migrate from somewhere south or there are just a few that make it through the winter and it takes until them for them to get the population back up.
 

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www.dpi.vic.gov.au/DPI/nreninf.nsf/childdocs/

wax moth- a pest of honey bee combs and apiary products

I always thought that the wax moths could survive and when last months episode of killing larva of wax moths in a lost hive I was convinced that the larva would make it sometimes in spite of cold weather. I did a search on google for wax moth wintering and stumbled onto the site mentioned above. The wax moth larva can take up to "five months" to mature in cold weather, now that makes sense.
Hope this helps.
 

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http://lists.usu.edu/pipermail/apoidea/2001-June/000290.html

while this pertains to bumblebees, at least the author suggested that the moth overwinters in protected crevices. If you look at insects which travel great distances, they appear to expend less energy flying, for example the monarch butterfly which takes on an impressive exodus south. this moth would rather run than fly. I can't see it flying to Mexico.

I wish someone would do a study on the wax moth life cycle, but I propose one would find that
1. the pupa enjoys the microclimate inside the hive in the coldest winters which provides the minimum level of heat it needs to overwinter;
2. the winter moth pupa is different. It has something special that tells it to stay inthe cacoon longer, eat less, emerge when spring says so;
3. woodenware is an excellent thermal barrier, especially if the moth can rest in a corner surrounded by two sides of wood. It may be the overwintering moth creates a low steady heat off of it's last meal. Maybe the overwintering moth has a larger stomach for honey, or an extra stomach which allows more energy storage.
 

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The very "best place" for a "wax worm" to survive winter is in the groove of a bottom bar.
Source: MrBEE

Thank you!
 

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I have always been under the impression that they could not tolerate any cold climate. Now define cold climate. Especially in regards to this winter so far!! I too wonder what the cold limits are for the moth to overwinter,
that is if the moth even overwinters at all,..
I know that most all moth crop pests migrate up from the south. They dont tend to be able to tolerate cold at all.
Beetles tend to winter adults,or larve, or eggs. And handle cold very well.
 

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<The "climate" inside a beehive is not that cold. >

That's the point. I believe the question from Ian concerned whether the critter migrated or just hunkered down.

Obviously they can survive quite well in an active hive.

I wonder how well they could survive without the shelter/warmth of an active hive - Re: stored equipment.

I found an old Nuc I left out with drawn comb. What a mess! Blankets of web and completely destroyed comb. - Approx. 1,000 cocoons. I didn't wait to see if they'd survive. I simply placed the entire nuc in the chest freezer for a week. It made for an interesting observation. The larva actually ate away a small indentation in the wood before spinning the cocoon, leaving permanent damage to the woodware. We reached temps around 20 below last year. I wonder if they would have survived, had I not placed them in the freezer.

Dale
 

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I don't have exact figures but a hard freeze usually kills them. If it hits 0 F or so overnight they seem to all die. If it's not that cold most of them still seem to die if it stays below freezing for a day or two.
 

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>all stages of wax moths are killed at 5 degress ferenheit for two hours . . .

I have read like statements too and find them a bit confusing. Watching my sticky board during winter (after near zero temps), I sometimes find a small white worm on the sitcky board. How did he survive the cold?

After MrBEE described how a worm can survive in the warmth of a cluster (in frame groove or elsewhere in hive), somehow both "killing larve w/ freezing temp" AND larve actually seen living "AFTER being froze" makes sence, to me
 

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In my observation, wax moths can fly at temps where the bees are still clustered. In other words they can fly at colder temperatures than the bees. I don't know exactly how cold but I've seen them flying at 40 F or so when the bees weren't.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
That's what I was afraid of, so there has to be ongoing protection for supers like a sealed trash bag for outdoors supers. Thanks!
 
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