Yes, they are Lesser Wax worms. Not as bad as Greater, but you need to control them. They mainly build their webbing on the surface of the combs, and mine what pollen they can. They don't cause much damage unless they really get out of control.
One interesting note...Wax worms are killed by freezing temperatures, and are easily controlled if you have cold winters...right?
True when talking Greater Wax Moths. Not so with Lesser. Lesser Wax Moth larvae can stand very cold temperatures. Where Greaters are frozen dead, the Lessers are just on vacation. TJ in Maine confirms what I have found. Lesser Wax Moth larvae will live through cold winters. It seems only the pink ones are able to withstand winter temperatures. Maybe they have some sort of anti-freeze. When TJ tried to get Shimanuki to include this in his edition of THHB, he said Tony would have to write it some day. TJ and I have talked about it, and who knows...maybe in the next edition.
Below are 3 photos of a Lesser larvae. Actually a series of 3 photos of the same larvae. I pulled hive bodies of comb from storage last winter...January...so I could clean them up and get the equipment ready for spring. The temperatures had been very cold. Two nights were in the minus 20-25 F range.
I pulled some combs that had Lesser larvae on the surface. Wanted to take some photos. The larvae were frozen quite solid. When I turned off the lights at quitting time, the dead larvae were on top of the comb. Next morning they were gone...they had emerged from the webbing, and crawled away.
The photos show a once very frozen Lesser Wax Moth larva crawling out of its web. I say web, because they hadn't pupated and hadn't made their cocoons.
Michael, what a great photo series! I have not seen any lesser waxmoth larvae here in SE Texas, but we sure get a boat load of the white ones (greater waxmoth, I presume). I maintain a 110 gallon aquarium in my home with large cichlids and other large tropicals. They love the waxmoth larvae, we keep a half pint or so of them frozen during the winter so the fish can have a snack every week or so. I can assure you that the white larvae are quite dead when they thaw (the fish still gobble them up though!).
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