Monday, October 15, 2012


Wax moths have been a consistent problem this season for all local beekeepers, and as I toured my hives this past weekend I discovered several that have gone belly-up.  I find this strange as the particular hives in question were very strong, thus allowing for better guarding of the entrance and protecting the infestation.

These pests can decimate a hive quickly and without warning, leaving behind destroyed comb and unusable foundation.

According to Michael Bush:

What to do with an infested colony. The reason a colony gets infested is that it is weak. Prevention is not to give them more territory than they can guard, in other words, don't leave a lot of drawn comb on a hive that is small and struggling. Once they are infested, the solution is to reduce them down to just the space the cluster of bees can cover. Remove all the rest of the comb. If you have a freezer, freeze it to kill the moths, or if it's too far gone, let the moths finish cleaning it up. If they get to go to the logical end they will turn all the comb into webs that just fall out of the frames or off of plastic foundation. If it's only got a tunnel or two in it, freezing is a way to save the comb. I usually only have problems with colonies that have died out because they have gone queenless or gotten robbed out. In my management style, I find another nice thing about foundationless frames is you can give them to a hive and it's just empty space for future expansion, not all that surface area to guard from the moths as you have with wax foundation. Also nice in bait hives because the bees will build in the frames but you don't have wax moths tearing up the foundation. 

This winter is expected to be harsher than last, and it was the mild winter that is the likely cause of the large moth populations this season.  I expect that this winter, with some good, hard freezes, will provide some relief.  I hope.


1 comment:

  1. If you put up those traps, I would be curious to see if you caught a lot of moths. I know I have, in addition to the other nasties...