Bald brood/Wax Moths or something worse?

Hi all!

Need a little help identifying something I observed in a hive today. See the photo attached - you’ll note there are some cells with the capping chewed partially away, and a few with developed larvae that are completely uncapped. Im pretty sure this is a symptom of wax moth larvae infestation and the bees chewing into these cells to kill them, but I could be wrong? It’s only this patch in the entire hive. Worth noting that this is a hive that swarmed just over a week ago so they are reduced in numbers and actively in the process of creating a new queen. Any advice much appreciated!

This is the first time I heard of “bald brood”, however after a little research with “Honeybee Health Guide”, that’s exactly what it looks like.


My expert friend beekeeper just had a look and she said ‘bald brood’- caused by wax moth burrowing under the comb. Nothing to be too concerned with- it’s often identifiable as a line of uncapped brood when a wax moth larvae is burrowing it’s way through a comb. Sometimes you can see where the larvae is or it poked its head out and you can pick it out and feed it to a chicken if you have one…

Some of the cells on the left are slightly sunken and discolored- so it wouldn’t hurt to do a match stick test for AFB- but it doesn’t really look like that.

This beekeeper friend of mine has been teaching people in Sydney to do annual sugar shake testing for varroa mites- even though there were none in Australia- and now that there there is that sort of hyper vigilance looks like really good forward thinking …


Do we know if the pupae are still alive if been uncovered like this? Or have they died and the bees are yet to remove them?

From what I’ve read, if it is a case of the bees chewing through the wax capping to remove the wax moth larvae, then the developing bees in the cell can still continue to develop as normal (assuming the larvae themselves are not compromised or damaged). I’ll check back during my next inspection and let you know!

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I think sometimes they die but sometimes they make it. I would be surprised if they might have deformed wings or other issue though. I have seen some where they are clearly still developing- and others where they have died.

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