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Wax moth

 
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SamH
Guard Bee


Joined: 26 Mar 2016
Posts: 50
Location: Chichester, UK

PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2016 4:29 pm    Post subject: Wax moth Reply with quote

Hi all.

One of my colonies, despite appearing healthy in every other way, is struggling to keep wax moth at bay. Does anyone have any natural remedies for this?

Thanks for any thoughts, Sam
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1581
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2016 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Sam

Wax moth is usually only a problem to small, weak colonies.
Do they have more comb than they can cover and patrol?
Is there some design fault in the hive that it is lending itself to supporting the wax moth.... ie a mesh floor with cover below that provides a space where the wax moth can breed on fallen debris but the bees cannot get to them to evict them?

I don't personally know of a natural remedy. I see the occasional wax moth in some of my hives but if the colony is strong I don't worry about it. If the colony is not strong I would reduce the amount of comb they have....ie remove any empty comb and keep them in a compact space and only give them that comb back when they have more or less filled what they have. Give the empty comb a few days in the freezer to kill off any wax moth eggs/larvae.
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SamH
Guard Bee


Joined: 26 Mar 2016
Posts: 50
Location: Chichester, UK

PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Barbara, thanks for this.

All combs are in use as the colony is expanding steadily. I don't have a mesh floor and there's no real gaps as such that would provide hidden breeding areas.

The colony inhabited a dead hive earlier in the year. I was due to clean the hive up when the swarm arrived so it is possible that the comb they inherited had some wax moth. My only other observation is that this particular colony isn't so proactive at clearing the hive floor of debris as my other two colonies, there is often a dusting of 'bits' in areas.

I'm not certain that the wax moth is causing a terrible problem, but they are evident at each inspection. This weekend there were three moths sat comfortably unchallenged on the inside face of my follower board, of course this is the extremity of the hive where the bees might not be patrolling.

I suppose I shall let the bees find the balance, but would like to help them if at all possible.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1581
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds like the wax moth may well have been there first and are probably slowly being displaced by the swarm. It is a natural cycle. Colony dies out, Mice and wax moth move in. Some comb is destroyed so there is room to build some fresh but also some old comb to give a swarm a good start. If you are not seeing combs being destroyed by wax moth then I wouldn't worry about it, especially if you are only seeing the wax moth at the outer edges of the cavity.
I have a much more chilled approach to such things these days. Everything has a place and if we don't get too uptight about it and let things find their balance it's better than trying to eradicate every single perceived pest that comes along.... which is usually fighting a losing battle anyway. Of course it is important to be aware of a potential problem like this and monitor it so that if it does start to become a serious issue, you can take action but it sounds like your bees probably have it in hand.
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mal
Nurse Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2013
Posts: 44
Location: Rutland, Leicestershire, UK

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi
Unfortunately one of my tbh colonies that appeared to be extremely strong around July has died off (unknown reason) and the hive is now infested with wax moth - the lid and bars totally gummed up and great fat maggots crawling about and a haze of silk everywhere.
What's the best course of remedial action to be able to reuse the hive for next year ?
Is it just a physical clean of everything , or is scorch treatment or chemical treatment necessary ? There are still some fresh drawn out comb that look untouched - I assume I could freeze these and then store over the winter ?

Thanks for your advice
Mal
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1581
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Sorry to hear one of your colonies died out. Was it the one that was subject of the original post or an established colony?

Since you don't know why the colony died out, I would probably scorch it. I would be wary of salvaging brood comb but if there are any honey combs that are reasonably intact, then I would be tempted to preserve those via the freezer.
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mal
Nurse Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2013
Posts: 44
Location: Rutland, Leicestershire, UK

PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2016 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again for your advice Barbara.
Unfortunately having come out of the winter with 3 colonies in 2 TBHs, and capturing a swarm and placing in a Perone, all have died out !
Having gone through a spring/summer/winter/spring I was probably letting them get on with it too much and should have been more alert / reactive.
The most disappointing was this hive as it seemed so strong far into the summer to the extent I took one bar of honey (and I'm glad I did now!)

I'll make sure I get good pictures of the combs and note what I see regards death and destruction before I clear out and clean.

Thanks again
Mal
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1581
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it's any consolation I lost a colony this summer (it was a leave alone hive that appears to have had a queen failure) and another that swarmed itself almost to death and was queenless, but I've united that with another small colony and they should make it now, although I'm having to feed them. The last couple of seasons have been particularly difficult for the bees weather wise.

If you post photos of the combs from each hive with a bit of history we may be able to give you a cause of demise.

Regards

Barbara
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