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Wax moth question (and more)


#1

Hi,
I’m a very new beekeeper, I collected my nuc the day after ordering our full Flow hive on the Indegogo website in February. It was delivered to me in Adelaide, South Australia on 6th October. We waited it seemed for sooo log for it to arrive and sadly, the bees swarmed the day before, leaving me with a very small colony.
So after building the hive and showing it off a bit, I moved the 5 frames of the nuc into the new brood box with 3 new frames. One of the frames had a fat grub on the wood, which I suspected was a wax moth grub. I fed that to the chooks. A cluster of about 10 cells looked a bit mangy, but otherwise the frames seemed healthy. I found the queen which was a buzz! About a week later, I found a very small grub dropped onto the white board at the bottom of the hive. When I inspected today, there was no sign of wax moth or grubs.
Questions:

  • what are the chalky looking lumps that drop to the bottom of my hive?
  • Is this a wax moth issue or any other vermin?
  • Should I be doing anything else to keep on top of the wax moth?
  • How often should I check my brood box for moths/grubs?
  • I have put my flow frames on top, but the bees aren’t getting there yet, is this a problem?

Thanks, Julie


#2

Hi Julie,
I think your colony may be too small for a super (Flow) at this time. You will need to give your colony time to build up their numbers, at least 6 out of the 8 frames in the brood box should be fully drawn out and covered with bees. If not, take the Flow super off and replace with the lid & leave as a single brood box till the numbers have built up. I am assuming this is a single brood setup and not a double.
Are you seeing healthy brood i.e. eggs, larva and capped cells? Are there any perforated cells or chalky/whitish lumps within some of the cells?
You may have 1 or multiple pests or disease to contend with. Can you supply photos of the larva on the bottom board and some photos of your frames, make sure they are in focus.
The larva could be bee brood (drone or worker) that has fallen from damaged cells when the frames were removed for inspection… or it could be wax moth in which case you will see silky webbing over your frames. If its small hive beetle then the frames may be slimed. Chalky lumps may be Chalkbrood or Stonebrood, which is a fungus.
Have a read of the following post and let us know what you think, but as I said photos is what we need.
http://forum.honeyflow.com/t/bee-diseases-and-pests-a-summary/1570


#3
  • what are the chalky looking lumps that drop to the bottom of my hive?

That would depend on the color and the size. Small and black and kind of tubular would probably be wax moth feces. Sized like chunks of larvae but chalky could be chalk brood.
Click on the small picture of chalkbrood for a bigger picture:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beespests.htm#chalkbrood

Here is serious wax moth damage:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeswaxmoths.htm

Again, click on the thumnail for a bigger picture.

  • Is this a wax moth issue or any other vermin?

Wax moths leave webs.

  • Should I be doing anything else to keep on top of the wax moth?

Space management
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesspace.htm

  • How often should I check my brood box for moths/grubs?

If the population density is good there is no need to check. If you have problems, I would keep checking for a while.

  • I have put my flow frames on top, but the bees aren’t getting there yet, is this a problem?

If you do indeed have wax moths, I would not add space.


#4

Hi all, Thanks for your feedback. HEre’s some recent pics (about 3 weeks ago). I have had a look this weekend and there are way more bees now and no sign of grubs. Please tell me what you see . Thanks, Julie


#5

Hey Julie,
You have Chalkbrood and the grub is Wax Moth. Did you say that you are no longer seeing these grubs? The pictures of the frames have a lot of what looks to be empty cells, did you take a good look inside these cells? Are there any bee eggs of larva? The comb is quite dirty indicating that its a few years old. I would recommend gradually replacing all these frames. Do this with 2 frames at a time (foundation will give them a boost) wait till those frames have been drawn out and then replace the next two. As for the Chalkbrood, I recommend replacing your queen ASAP. I had a chalkbrood problem and tried everything under the sun to get it under control. Replacing the queen with a younger more vigorous queen fixed it in a couple of months, I then set about replacing all the old frames as the chalkbrood spores will remain dormant for decades.
You will need to get this under control otherwise your bees will abscond. Hope this helps.


#6

Thanks Roderick,
My colony swarmed off just before my FLowhive arrived. They had been in a cardboard nuc for months. Hopefully the new young queen who is now in charge will be ok. The small colony left is slowly building up. I have added in 3 new frames with wax foundation. I’ll keep an eye and replace old frames as you suggest. No sign of grubs or web at last check. I’ll look at cells more closely next check and ensure I see eggs and larva… not really sure at this stage, but saw live hatchlings, so assume that she’s laying. Did you see the queen pic i posted… is this the queen? She looked very different but was alone, which I thought was odd.
Thankyou!
Julie


#7

Hi Julie,
Its a bit hard to tell but it looks like a drone. The queen has a longer more elongated body but I could be wrong if part of the abdomen is in a cell. Those bees that are hatching also look like drones, their large eyes give them away. If you have a feeder give them 1 part sugar to 1 part water this will help them stimulate the wax glands. Anyhow if she is a new queen it may take 2-3 weeks before she will start laying so be patient.


#8

That certainly looks like a drone. If it was a queen laying an egg, she’d be surrounded by workers. With so few bees on the frames, they’d be very vulnerable to SHB damage. That’s if shb are in the area.


#9

Well no shb in Adelaide yet… whew!
Well I must have a queen somewhere as the numbers are increasing for sure. I’ll take more pics soon and upload for further discussion. Thanks all :)relieved: