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Wax Moths in Nuc


Newbee question. I had someone give me a really nice nuc box with 5 frames. The only thing is, he did indicate that he had had problems with wax moths at one time. I’m sure that it was in this box. I tried to clean up as much as possible but just wondering if I need to throw away the old frames and get new ones. No comb, just empty frames. I have to hives on my property right now, I live in FL. We have 14 acres so they are pretty far apart from each other. Any advise would be appreciated.


Hi Linda, I’m still gathering info at my stage of beeekeeping too, so please get confirmation but it’s my understanding that wax moths would only remain a problem in wax itself, and even so you can kill any lingering unseen larvae/eggs in the wax by freezing the frames of comb overnight. I guess if you want to be totally sure about your empty frames you can freeze them.


So no bees? I completely agree with @Eva’s suggestion. Wax moth larvae can burrow into wood, but they cannot survive freezing. If you see holes in any of the wood, about 1/8" across, they definitely have larvae. However, you don’t need to worry once you have frozen them - they are toast, ermm frozen toast? :blush:

Sounds like the guy is being excessively honest to my mind. Wax moths are not a major pest in a strong hive, just a minor nuisance. The bees control them 99% of the time. It is only if the hive is weakened that they become a messy problem. :wink:


Thank you both so much. I will freeze the entire box just in case. I just love all the information here. I know where to go when I have a question.


Hi Linda, I would be inclined to scorch the inside of the box & frames before using them. It’s always a good practice to treat any used beekeeping equipment as if it’s contaminated. The wax moth are the least of any possible problems, because they have been & possibly long gone. I heard one day that AFB spores stay active for 40 years. I don’t know how true that is. I’m sure your box & frames are disease free. My little bit of advice re AFB can be adopted as a general rule.


Hi Linda. I agree with JeffH to scorch the hardware. It will minimize the risk of AFB. Personally I would never accept used boxes or frames, unless it’s worth while to have them irradiated.
It’s devastating to get AFB in your apiary, infected colonies will die and likely infect neighboring hives as well as far as the bee flies.
Unfortunately beekeepers don’t like to admit to AFB infection, so there is likely more of it around than you are aware of.
Hygienic bees can deal with minor infection. Still, beware.


The other day at the bee society a very experienced beek said that AFB can remain viable for 70 years!

edit: I wonder who did that test? “Hmm, I will just put this hive away now- and wait- let’s say 70 years- then take it out and see if it’s still infected…”


Hi Jack, with that being the case, it’s best for us the think of all used equipment as being potentially contaminated. I reckon a thorough scorching does the trick, that’s what works for me.


Good point Jeff & Jack! :anguished: I guess the best answer is let’s hope there’s ONLY wax moth larvae hiding in there…

Curious about how one scorches hive parts effectively without burning them up altogether? Do you use a blow torch? And about irradiation - I’m guessing the local Ag extension or beekeeping club would have info?


I was also wondering about how to scorch them. I think what I will do is destroy the box and frames. No reason to take a chance on this. My two hives are thriving right now. That would be terrible to destroy them over a free box. :))) Thank you so much. LOVE ALL THE ADVISE


So I guess there’s an advantage of getting a package of bees then, it’d be a bit hard scorching frames when you get a nuc…


Hi Eva, I use a blow torch, I have a video of doing this. I wear a welding glove on the hand I hold things with. I wouldn’t use a blow torch on flow frame:) I have used it on solid plastic items. I was given a used plastic honey super, I used it on that quite effectively.

I know about irradiation, but I have never had anything irradiated. Here is my video.


Thanks @JeffH! Always enjoy your videos, & thanks to Wilma too :rainbow::couple_with_heart_woman_man::honeybee:


Hi Eva, you’re most welcome & thank you!!