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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recently, an old-timer told me that wax moths do NOT infest honey supers, only brood boxes. Last year I had placed my honey frames in the freezer to kill any possible moth eggs, but now it seems that this was not necessary. Is it true that honey supers are not at risk of wax moth infestation? :s

Thanks! Cindy
 

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Wax moths will infest honey supers so you should take precautions to keep your super frames from being destroyed.
 

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Recently, an old-timer told me
I have heard that too (here on beesource and other places) but I dont belive it so protect your WAX ..........
 

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Where I keep bees, wax moths do not destroy yellow honey combs that have been kept above a queen excluder and do not contain pollen. I have over a hundred honey supers used annually since 1976 stored with no protection.
I am this year seeing a lot of moth damage in weak and dying BROOD boxes.

Does this make me an "old-timer"?
 

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Odfrank just pointed out key things. The combs must have never been used for brood, and must contain no pollen.

If the bees ever raised brood in those combs, or if they have pollen stored in those combs, those frames are at risk of wax moths if unprotected in warm weather.

Is the wax in your honey supers light colored, or dark? As a general rule of thumb, dark combs are at a greater risk of moth damage. (Dark combs are dark from cocoons from raising brood in them.)
 

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The moths are after the protein in the pollen and in the pupa casings. The wax gets destroyed from the wax moth larva chewing through to get protein in pollen and pupa casings. If honey is all was ever stored in the combs, moths won't bother them. Not here anyways, so far.
 

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I also believed that moths would not damage supers that was used only for honey storage until I lost over 50 supers of comb. The combs had been in use for 3 years so there may have been pollen buildup but there had never been any brood in them.
 

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About wax moth larva not eating plain, new beeswax comb. Someone forgot to tell the wax moth's here in Tucson, Arizona. A few years ago I had collected about a dozen small hand-sized combs, they were all new white wax, they had never had anything at all stored in them. I kept them in my den stacked on a paper plate. Whenever I wanted to look at beautiful new comb, I would get the paper plate and gently look over these combs. Well, after several months I went to get the paper plate of combs and to my surprise the plate had turned into a pile of wax moth frass and cocoons, hardly a tiny scrap of wax remaining.

Wax moths may prefer old comb, or comb with pollen, but they will eat even the cleanest new wax. At least they will here in Tucson.

Maybe they prefer old brood comb or comb containing pollen, but they will eat any wax available if they're really hungry, so I've discovered that if I wish to keep comb intact and usable through a period of storage, B401/Certan or Bacillus thuringiensis ssp aizawai is the quickest, easiest, and safest way to ensure my combs stay safe from wax moth damage.
 

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Wax moths may prefer old comb, or comb with pollen, but they will eat even the cleanest new wax. At least they will here in Tucson.
Thats what I am talkin bout here too, dang wax moths are something like bees they dont read the same books we do :(
 

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So lets talk about proper ways to store supers then. I have run all of mine through my zero degree freezer for 18-24 hours each(14 supers). Now they are stacked up in the garage. I HAVE seen wax months quite a lot lately outside, maybe I'm just more observant now than I used to be. I know I have seen many beeks put their supers in plastic garbage bags with pdb (moth crystals) and some beeks are vehemetly against pdb.

So how do YOU prep store your supers over winter?
 

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I store my supers, stacked up, adjacent to each apiary. I store the combs/frames by spritzing them with a coating of Bacillus thuringiensis ssp aizawai, then placing them in the supers. PDB is carcinogenic, I have more health problems than I want, I don't need to cause myself any more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks to all of you who offered great advice and shared your experiences. I will err on the side of caution and continue freezing my frames before storing them (in a spare room upstairs which is unheated). It only stands to reason that even supers used exclusively for honey might accumulate some degree of pollen on them, even if it's just from the girls walking over them over and over. You "old-timers" are such a valuable resource!! ;)

Cindy
 

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Freezing only kills what has already been laid. IF you freeze now and leave them where they can be exposed before it is really cold outside you can get reinfested. One other idea is after taking them from the freezer put them in large trash bags to keep moths away.
 

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OK so when using BT, do you actually need to take out each and every frame and spray it, or do you just spray over the top bars? Also how much BT is needed for 100 supers?
 

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I have sprayed every frame individually. I doubt you get good enough coverage by spraying the tops of frames. Just ask yourself how much comb a wax moth larva could eat before it ate a piece of comb where a drop of water with BT in it had dried.

I find the biggest factor in how much I use depends on how much overspray I have. I use a 1 gallon fruit tree sprayer. I put two spoonfulls of BT in a gallon of water. I lay frames out side by side to minimize overspray. I have never used a whole gallon of BT water on frames at any one time - but 20 some supers is all I have ever done in one shot.
 
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