As a beekeeper, wax moths can be a real nuisance. While they don’t necessarily harm the bees themselves, wax moths can cause significant damage to beehives and honeycombs. In this blog post, we will discuss what wax moths are, how to recognize them, and tips for dealing with them in your hives.
What Are Wax Moths?
Wax moths are small insects that get their name from their fondness for honeycombs and other materials made of beeswax. They feed on the comb itself as well as pollen and nectar stored in the hive. There are two types of wax moths—the greater wax moth (Galleria mellonella) and the lesser wax moth (Achroia grisella). The greater wax moth is by far the more common of the two varieties. Both species lay eggs that hatch into larvae which then go through a pupal stage before becoming adult moths. The entire life cycle takes approximately one month to complete.
How to Recognize Wax Moths
The most obvious sign that you have a wax moth infestation is the presence of webbing or tunnels on your comb. Wax moths create tunnels in order to hide while they feed on pollen and honeycomb; these tunnels look similar to spider webs but usually contain bits of debris like pollen and bee parts. You may also notice an unpleasant odor coming from the hive if there is an active infestation. Another indication of a problem is when you find large numbers of bees clustered around certain parts of the hive; this is often because these areas have been damaged by wax moths or other pests. Finally, if you keep an eye out for adult moths flying around near your hives, it’s likely you have an infestation on your hands!
Dealing with Wax Moth Infestations
The first step in dealing with any pest infestation is identifying it early so that you can take action quickly before the problem gets out of hand. If left unchecked, a single pair of adult wax moths can lay hundreds of eggs which will then turn into thousands of larvae in just one month’s time! It’s best to inspect your hives regularly for signs like webbing or clustered bees so that you catch any issue right away before it becomes too severe.
If you do find evidence that your hive has become infected with wax moths, there are several things you can do to mitigate their impact on your colony: First, remove any affected frames from your hive and discard them immediately; this will help prevent further contamination. Second, try using sticky traps near entrances or exits; these traps attract adult moths which then get stuck on the adhesive surface so they cannot escape and lay eggs inside the hive again! Thirdly, consider using beneficial nematodes which are microscopic organisms that attack larvae directly. These treatments can be purchased on our online store. Finally, make sure to replace any missing comb promptly as empty space gives wax moths an opportunity to establish themselves in new areas inside your hive!
Wax moths can be very damaging pests in beekeeping operations but fortunately, there are ways to keep them under control if caught early enough! Regular inspections for signs like webbing or clustered bees should be done routinely in order to identify any potential issues as soon as possible. Additionally, utilizing sticky traps near entrances/exits; beneficial nematodes; and replacing any missing comb will all help minimize damage caused by wax moth infestations and keep your beehives healthy!