Wax Moth

There are a number of pests that are cause for concern for beekeepers. One of these is the wax moth.

There are two species of wax moth, the Greater wax moth (Galleria mellonella) and the Lesser wax moth (Achroia grisella). Both species eat beeswax, particularly unprocessed wax and pollen.

This is why it is important to practice good apiary hygiene. That is don’t discard wax around your apiary site when cleaning bur comb etc from frames. Take a container with you and put bur comb and other discarded wax in it. It can all be melted down and used for other things.

It is also important to store frames where they cannot be attached by wax moths. I store frames that have had honey or pollen in them in a freezer. The freezing process kills any wax moth eggs and larvae and hive beetle eggs and larvae also. Any frames containing wax and pollen that are left out will be destroyed by wax moths.

The life cycle of both species of wax moth consists of four stages: eggs, larva, pupa and the adult moths. The development of each stage of the wax moth’s life cycle depends significantly on environmental factors, particularly temperature. The optimum temperature range for rapid reproduction and development of wax moths is between 28-30oC. 

You can detect wax moth in brood by the capping’s on the brood cells appearing silky. this is usually a tell tale sign that that a wax moth larvae is present.

The silky capping’s that are a tell tale sign that wax moth larvae are present.
And the larvae.

The most effective method for protecting against wax moths is the honey bees themselves. It is worth noting that the wax moth can never be completely eliminated from an apiary or storage shed, so it is important that beekeepers always practice good colony management.

Maintain good strong colonies of bees and practice good apiary hygiene and equipment and comb storage and wax moths should be kept at a manageable level.

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