Wax Moth Damage
The wax moth is an opportunistic pest that takes advantage of weak hives, as well as unprotected comb, like extracted supers sitting in the garage.
The adult is about three-quarters of an inch long; the larvae are fat worms that can be about an inch in length. Unchecked, this pest will wreak havoc inside hives and to comb outside of hives by chewing through it, eventually destroying comb and woodenware.
Strong and healthy bees are the best way to “treat” wax moths, as there is no approved chemical treatment for killing wax moth inside the hive. Moving infected frames / woodenware to strong hives may be an option; the strong hive can usually amend the situation. If that’s not an option, freezing the impacted comb in a plastic bag in the freezer for 48 hours is effective.
Summer provides a great opportunity for this pest to gain a foothold inside the hive, especially if you are supering too fast such that the bees can’t patrol and protect all the foundation, or if a colony is just not coming up to speed.
What does wax moth damage look like? Reader Daniel Sefton shared these photos of devastation. Sefton has recently released an app on honeybees; look for more information in our August issue.
Readers, we LOVE your photos and sharing your knowledge. Please send comments / questions / photos to KelleyBeesEditor@gmail.com.