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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all;
I pulled out a varroa trap type screen board this morning during an (external) observation of my hives and in anticipation of a 95 degree day here. I found a fairly big caterpillar, about an inch long, dark gray with a brown head in the normal debris-wax moth? Form lack of my experience, I am assuming that this is the dreaded wax moth larvae. It had made a cocoon out of the wax capping that had dropped down from the hive, and ran for shade. There appeared to be a couple other there too but they were smaller, around 3/16 of an inch or so. I took the board out, crushed the caterpillars and cleaned off with some bleach and water. The hives been strong but slightly less than the one next to it which has a solid bottom board and in the last deep inspection, I didn't see anything in either hive. They are both first year hives that built up fast and have three medium suppers on top of two deep brood boxes. I was planning on waiting two more weeks to harvest as the top super (of three) are only about a third capped. Recommendations?
 

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Are they taking up residence inside the hive?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
We had done a deep inspection a week ago and didn't see any-but I wasn't really looking for them (due to ignorance). I had a few SHB's earlier this year, killed them by crushing(both of them) and they seemed to disappeared. I think the girls dealt with them because I found some broken shell on the board a couple of month ago and then never saw them again. The caterpillars are a whole new and different thing-I worried because I think its one of those thing where you only see a very small percentage of whats there.
 

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Larry,

Just do a Google search for wax moth larva photographs and then you can compare what you have got with the photos. Easy way to ID them. The very young wax moth larva I have seen are pink in color, but hey do darken as they get older. If there is nothing else important on the frames, you can put the frames in a freezer for a couple of days to kill the larva. Then reintroduce the frames into the hive and the bees will clean them up.

Happy to hear that you are keeping an eye on your drop board. Remember to check it periodically for Varroa Mites. PS: If you spray your drop board with cheap cooking oil spray the critters that drop on it get stuck and die. If not, critters like V-Mites will walk off and you will never know.

Cheers,
Steve
 

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I think those are definitely wax moth larva. I get those on occasion on my bottom boards also. Sometimes they're down there living off the debris on the board. Usually not an issue if you don't see them on a frame.
 

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Yes, thats a wax moth. I had a swarm I caught recently get inundated with them in a matter of 12 days from one inspection to another. I gave them too much space and the moth larvae took over, believe they got started under the SBB because I forgot to put the sticky board in. I haven't been doing this a long time, this was a first for me wax moths.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Going to inspect the hives this afternoon-hopefully....

I did see a moth fly into the entrance on one of the hives while sitting in a chair observing the activity one evening earlier this past week. It flew right inside pass the girls on the landing board and when I jumped up and got alongside the hive, I saw three girls "escorting" it out of the hive on the board and it flew off to the freshly cut lawn where it met my boot heel. No sure if it was a wax moth but it's apparent that the girls had no use for it. I'm luck with two strong hives. Hindsight is if I had an old jar or something, I should have caught it to identify it properly. Note to self, leave some jars with lids near the hives.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I just caught one, and it's the smokey dark gray. I was taking a break from yard work, watchin' the hive again and saw it fly up to the back of the SBB. I pulled the board and it was running for cover but I got it. There's one for the pro's and cons of SBB's, stuff can get in without getting past the girls. One hive has a solid and one is screened. The one the other day that the girls tossed out was a light cream, more of a common moth.
 

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Question can they survive out side the hive in larval/worm stage? I was shocked at how fast they ruined the hive, slim everywhere and alot of larvae crawling around under the SBB. Can they go to the ground and or a hive close by?
 

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Slime is an indication of small hive beetle larvae not wax moths.
One down side of screened bottoms is that the bees can't get through the screen to remove debris so the space between the screen and board can become a protected nursery for pests.
 
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