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Pretty bad wax moth infestation in five frame nuc.

1275 Views 9 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Brian Burton
So i made two splits off of my hive that made it through the winter, about two weeks ago. Yesterday I opened one nuc and it is slam full of wax moths. Two of the five frames are nothing but slime, the floor is completely covered in moth larvae, and the bee's are maybe a couple of hundred in numbers. I'm beginning to realize after poking around the forums that I didn't have enough bees in the nuc to prevent what happened. Regardless of how it happened I'm at a real loss on what to do now. I planned on the bees raising their own queen and there are 4-5 capped cells on the frames. The other nuc seems to be ok for the moment, but I really didn't do anything different with them (so I'm still concerned). I found two larvae only in this nuc. My question is what can I do, if anything? I thought of maybe combing the two nucs, but since one is sooo bad off I'm unsure of how to do that. Could I do the newspaper method with these two nucs with one hive in such terrible shape? If i just shook the remaining bees into the healthy nuc, would they get along with each other (both hives are queenless). Would maybe adding a frame of capped brood from my strong hive turn things around?
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You could do a newspaper combine if they are both queenless atm it shouldn't take long for them to join. Most of the time a split is not strong enough to make a good queen on their own. The way I do it is split the queen off and let the strong hive make queens. If you desire more splits you can break up the big hive into nucs or new hives once the queen cells are capped. Think about trying that next time, I think you will be happy with the results.

BTW, there are probably 15 ways to deal with the problem, this is just one option. :thumbsup:
So even with the heavy infestation, combining might be worth a shot?
Two of the five frames are nothing but slime, the floor is completely covered in moth larvae,
This sounds like small hive beetles.
If so, you do not want to combine them.
Just took pictures. I'm not quite sure how to post photos yet. So hopefully they show.


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Dan is correct. If your frames are slimed it is SHB. Wax moths tunnel through the comb and leave webs. Soak the infested frames in a bleach and soap solution and then rinse them thoroughly and allow to dry. The bees will fix the damage to the comb.

Just saw the pictures. SHB.
oh😯 thks for the correction. Don't know why I just assumed they were moths.
So i pulled all the frames and brushed the bees into a box of clean combs. I plan on trying to clean up my nuc this afternoon. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to clean up after these nasty buggers? I did a little research and I plan on (very carefully) spreading d.e. around my hives and around the area I set my nuc on the back porch. What about the comb though? I thought about just melting it and straining it. I also thought maybe just spraying it down, drying, and freezing it, then giving it back to a strong hive. Anyone have experience with this?
So even with the heavy infestation, combining might be worth a shot?
Sorry, I assumed you would only combine combs full of bees & brood and remove any signs of infestation. So to be clear: I would take a new/clean box put it on top of the strong hive and only transfer the frames that the bees have covered.

Of course, you shouldn't just slap the totally infested frames onto a healthy hive. One of the other options is just dispatch them and clean the equipment.
I had a horrible shb problem last year. In this situation, I put a screen bottom board over a pan of soapy water, shook off the bees over the screen right in front of the old nuc location. Had a clean box and clean comb in place for the bees. i gave them a donor frame of eggs and bees if they were weakly. Most of the bees make their way into the clean box. The shb larvae fall though the screen and drown. Bag up the infested frames and freeze. After a couple days in the freezer, put the frames into strong hives and the bees will clean them up and rebuild them. Really nasty frames i gently washed in warm water to get rid of slime.

If your frames with queen cells look shb-free, I wouldn't shake them, but would look them over super carefully and try to save them. Gently brush the bees off. I did this a few times, and got another infestation. I suspect there were shb eggs on the frame.

Good luck.
Thanks for all the help everyone. I've seen beetles scurrying around from time to time in the summer, but until now had never seen them get the upper hand on any hives. What a mess though. Thanks again for all the responses!
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