Wax Moths

There are two species of wax moth, the Greater wax moth (Galieria mellonella) and the Lesser wax moth (Achroia grisella). They are both pests of active hives, however, they do not attack the bees, they damage the stored honey comb. Comb that is stored in temperature conditions above 80°F (26°C) has an increased vulnerability to attracting wax moths, as the wax moth grows and reproduces quickly in a warm environment. Wax moths will eat the beeswax, particularly the unprocessed wax, pollen, honey bee cocoon silk, enclosed honey bee feces, and larval honey bee remains.

Wax moths will lay their eggs in dark cracks and crevices throughout the hive or in unattended combs. The larvae that hatch from the eggs consume the combs and leave behind webbing and tunnels of silk.

Wax months tend to invade abandoned and vulnerable hives with weak, stressed or queenless colonies.

Transmission

Wax moths fly between hives at night.

Symptoms

  • Tunnels in the comb
  • Webbing mass present
  • Tough, white cocoons stuck to frames and hive body parts

Cause

  • pest - galleria mellonella

Diagnosis

  • Clinical signs

Treatment


  • Freeze honey combs at 20°F (-6°C) for a minimum of 4.5 hours or 5°F (-15°C) for 2 hours. Store combs where no adult wax worm moths can access. Check monthly for signs of re-infestation.
  • Heat combs t 115°F (46°C) for 80 minutes or 120°F (48°C) for 40 minutes. Never heat them above 120°F (48°C). Ensure adequate air circulation to be able to evenly heat the combs. Only heat treat combs with no honey in them.
  • Paradichlorobenzene (PDB or mothballs); Place 6 tablespoons or 3 oz of PDG crystals on stacks of 5 supers. The stack needs to be kept as air tight as possible. Close all openings and seal all cracks with masking tape. Position the paper on the frame's top bars. Add more crystals every 2 or 3 weeks. WARNING: Do not use PDB as treatment method on honeycombs containing honey intended for human consumption.
  • Trichogamma wasps - release at 3-week intervals during the summer.

Prevention

  • Maintain a healthy hive of bees
  • Keep extra comb on the hives during warm weather conditions.
  • Store combs in temperature conditions below 50°F (10°C).
  • If storage of comb is only able to be in warm temperatures, use paradichlorobenzene (PDB), also known as Paramoth. Stack hive bodies on top of one another with the frames and a few ounces of PDB on the top stack, under the top cover. The top and bottom of the stack should be sealed with covers and/or bottom boards. Any holes should be sealed with duct tape.

Article Reference

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