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Thinking Wax Moth?

Hey Bee Friends, :honeybee:

We were just recently given a bunch of old Langstroth bee boxes and frames as the old bloke who had them hadn’t kept bees for years and had moved onto other things.

Slightly interested in some of the frames he gave us they appear to have gauge marks in them similar to wax moth cocoon shapes. I tried checking out the internet for frames being “gauged” by wax moths but couldn’t find any photos.

If so, just wanting reassurance that as long as they are clean of any debris and such are they still safe? I feel like we should throw them out as they’re relatively cheap and I don’t want other pests to have places to hide, however hubby disagrees and feels like they should be safe.

What does everyone else think? Is my guess correct?

I would use a gas torch and scorch the inside of the boxes to kill any ‘nastie’ eggs there. You could do the same with the frames but cost of gas it might be cheaper to throw the frames away and buy new.
Just scraping the frames is not enough to make the frames and boxes safe to use.


If you mean gouged… Yes I agree 100% that is wax moth

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Definitely wax moth grooves. I treat any pre-loved beekeeping gear with caution. I wouldn’t throw those frames out. After cleaning them, I thoroughly scorch them with a hot blue flame, while wearing a welding glove on the hand I hold them with. The same with the insides & edges of the boxes, lids & bottom boards.

I’d relish those frames & make good use of them.

Edit: PS. This is my video of scorching secondhand frames, boxes & lids. I’m not recommending this as treatment for AFB.

I timed the scorching of that frame, it turned out to be about 50-55 seconds. That would be about right because it takes less than an hour to do 60. To buy 60 frames is close to a $100.00. Well worth the effort, I reckon.


Any opinions about baking the used equipment in an oven?

Wax moth- I have a Flow Hive 2, just pulled out the bottom tray ( I have e SHB trap there that I change every 3 months) to find a heap of wax moth and larvae - arghhhhhhh.
We did a harvest early March (Tamborine Mountain) and all was looking very good then.
I am shocked …and have cleaned off the tray and put all in the freezer, as I remember this as treatment …I think !
I want to take a good look at the brood box frames- worried as the weather is now cool. Advice please …

Welcome to the forum Lyza, your in a great location for bees. There is a lot of SHB and wax moth still about down on the Gold Coast, I spent 3 days down there in April helping beginners out. SHB, then swarming thru poor hive management then wax moth in that order were the issues. The weird un-seasonal weather was behind a lot of late swarming in my opinion.
Freezing of frames for several days then removing any trace of wax moth is the easiest and cheapest way but cutting out the comb and rendering it and scorching the frames timber and inside of the boxes, base board and roof is a 100% fix. But I would go for freezing and then regular inspection for re-infestation.
Wait for a warm day, over 24c with no wind and do a quick inspection of the brood box. It isn’t a normal job in cooler weather but that is a better option than not checking. Wax moth can destroy a set of frames in a couple of weeks and knock a colony out completely. Pick your day weather wise and do a full inspection every 2 to 3 weeks till your confident the hive is free of wax moth. If you come across just a few then killing the moth or grubs with your hive toll is a quick fix.

Great advice Peter, thank you very, very much. I am planning to do the hive inspection in the next couple of days, will be lucky to get a day above 24 degrees but will get as close as we can. I do understand the urgency to see within the hive. Will keep you posted…

If the day is warm enough try to get a pic and some idea of the number of frames and % damaged. If it is a relatively new infestation they might only be damaging the comb but over time will burrow into the wood to lay eggs and then that is a bigger problem. They can be a bigger issue than SHB so you need to take a good look in the brood box where they be at their worst.
Keep me updated please Lyza.

Hi, well some positive news from Tamborine Mountain.
With some trepidation at 2pm ( very still day, lucky to be 20degrees, however weather to get worse in coming days, rain etc) we did a hive inspection.
Took out and inspected all 8 frames of the brood box.( plus also looked in the super)

History: commenced with a Nuc Nov 2018, then required re-Queening Jan 2020, did a honey harvest March 2020, this week found the wax moths and larvae (~10 larvae and more moths) in the bottom tray and lots of brown “ dirt type mess”.
So Today : :blush:nil larvae, moths or wax being eaten that we could see.
Have really cleaned thoroughly the bottom tray, hot water and it is now in the freezer, will put it back in soon with the Apithor.

I will see if I can attached some pictures, my thought is the hive needs to rebuild and grow again from having the new Queen, I also wonder is we should not have done the harvest when we did. Anyway I am open to learning and Really value the assist and guidance.

Happy Bee Day !!!

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That last frame is one of the more recent added frames as the original ones from the Nuc we bought back in 2018 Nov were getting very old and dark and people from the club advised to replace 1 or 2.
It seems there are a couple of others looking a bit shabby! Also not much brood but I am hoping this improves.
Keen for feedback from those that have the experience :blush::blush::blush:
Ps - how long should I leave the bottom tray in the freezer for ?

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Moth eggs will be killed after 24 hours in freezer. It just needs to freeze so that the water molecules in the structure of the moth eggs crystallize - destroying its ability to live.