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Wax moths: am I allowed to swear? Nope. Gotta learn


I have wax moths.
It’s a minor case kinda.
I pulled out frames and am freezing them.

STAY. ON. TOP. OF. YOUR. HIVE. CHECKS. I have averted disaster.

This one frame is the worst. Other two frames had minimal but obvious damage. Sigh.


Dang! That really sucks.
Does the strength of the hive have anything to do with susceptibility to wax moth? Or is it just bad luck that one got in?

Freeze those suckers!

Sorry for your setback.


Fabulous piece of writing, @Cowgirl! I was riveted by your story.

Classic place for moths to get into hives, but you probably know that now. :wink: That is why I would put wire mesh cloth over any vent holes in roof gables.

I still really like @Dee’s advice from the other thread. You only have 3 frames of bees? Put them into a nucleus box, even now. A 5 frame nucleus would probably be perfect for them to build up again. Pick the frames that you think have larvae, and any frames of honey that you may have to make up a 5 frame nuc. Don’t put more than one or two empty frames in there. If the wax moths have that much of a hold, it is because the bees have too much space to defend. The only way you will win, is if you give the colony the right amount of space for them to be “strong” within it. I think @Michael_Bush discusses this at some length on his web site/in his book, and I strongly believe that he is correct.

You are doing OK, and you will recover. Your bees just need a little TLC and nursing. Oh, and yes, once they are in the nuc, I would treat them for mites. OAV or the illegal shop towel would be my choice, as you used Apivar last season.


??? Feeling ignorant. What does that mean? Or can’t you say?


A reference to this article by Randy Oliver, who is a very good guy, and self-confessed “scofflaw”. :blush:



Wow. Based on quick read, really impressive effort. Thanks for sharing that!
Have to confess, if I don’t make it as a beek, it will be because of pests and diseases. Hate that stuff.
Saving that one for sure.
Thanks, Harris


He is updating the method all the time, so make sure you read the link for the updates if you ever contemplate it. It sounds like the EPA have been willing to work with him on getting it field tested for use when honey supers are on too, so we might end up with a really practical method for controlling mites. Of course, treatments (if used) will still need to be rotated, but I am glad that he is trying so hard for our bees.


You really only need to worry about that with a split/relocation. If you are just rehousing the bees, put the new nucleus box at the site of the old big hive. Move over the frames you want to keep into the nucleus. Take the old hive away and wrap then freeze any frames you want to keep for 24 hours. Store the rest away from the hive site. Simple is good. :blush:


Wow, I’ve never seen wax moths that early; usually July through early October.

BT at 1 tsp. per quart in a spray bottle will do a lot of frames. Use the mixture up within 2-3 days.


Great documentation @Cowgirl. I feel for you but the situation is quite resolvable. Reduce (as stated before) the colony down to a nuc.

@Dawn_SD - There were absolutely no illegally-laced-with-vegetable-glycerin-and-oxalic-acid shop towels in my hives this Spring and they definitely didn’t do an outstanding job because they couldn’t have - because they weren’t there. And the bees definitely didn’t walk all over them and work at removing them, which didn’t cause the bees to spread OA about the colony and kill mites because it is against the law. :smiling_imp:


So that’s why that chopper has been hovering over my bee-yard :sunglasses:


If you stay committed and keep strict management practices like I failed to do last year, the wax moths won’t be a problem. It’s usually when you can’t get out to a dying or dead hive that the moths get a foothold.

You can spray it on anything from combs full of bees to foundation and can do it once a year sometimes once every 2 years.

Edit: I’ve never done it with the bees on the combs, only read about it. I just use it for when I put out swarm traps with old comb as bait; I spray those combs so the wax moth don’t destroy it.


No problem, they just get condensation on them when you pull them out. If you don’t let them dry out fairly quickly from that, they can get mould growing on them. Just something to be aware of, no big disaster.


So…I was due to do hive inspections Saturday.The morning was cold but sun out & supposed to warm up as the day passed. However as has been fairly typical of past 6 months temperatures plummeted & heavy, very heavy rain set in. Yesterday & today more of same. My reason for posting here is that when I was taking some gear up to the first hive in the early part of the morning a wax moth was chased from within the hive… I’ve spent the last 3 days thinking about the horrible things I’m going to find when I can get inside, I actually woke from dreaming about it last night. It has become very cold here & weather isn’t likely to improve for at least a week. So much can happen inside a hive in one week!


And there certainly wasn’t any light dusting of pale blue “fake snow” below the entrance of the hives? :imp:


Anyone that wears black socks like me is ok in my book :slight_smile:


Well done…Such a great feeling when it’s all done :smile:


Careful now; that’s best left to the imagination :grin:


She was talking about socks!!! :smiling_imp:


Ah ok, people get some crazy ink done nowadays :laughing: