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How to Treat Wax Moths

The wax moth is a beehive parasite that can do great damage to a bee colony. But not only in inhabited hives. A wax moth that lays in stored frames will cause their destruction. In this article, you will learn how the wax moth works and also what measures can be taken to prevent it from damaging the apiary.

What is wax moth?

The wax moth is a parasite. There are two types known simply as the greater wax moth and lesser wax moth. The large one measures about fifteen millimeters and the small one between six and seven millimeters. It is not common to see them near beehives. What we see most often are larvae in colonies.

How it destroys the bee colony?

When the moth enters a colony, it lays eggs which will give birth to extremely voracious larvae. These larvae will move in the wax by digging galleries and weaving a cocoon that looks like fine spider threads. The larvae eat the wax, bee larvae and pollen. They also leave feces behind.

How to fight it?

To avoid being confronted with the wax moth, here are the measures to take:

Do not leave wax lying around

Leaving old wax lying around is strongly discouraged, whether in unoccupied hives or in your reserve. Sooner or later a moth will find them and lay their eggs. This will give rise to wax moths which will then increase the risk of infestation of the colonies.

A rule to remember is to store old wax in a place inaccessible to wax moth. either in hermetically closed cabinets, or according to the conservation method described below.

Strong colonies

A strong colony that is attacked by the wax moth will be able to defend itself without difficulty. The butterfly will be ejected and any larvae that will subsequently be born will be killed or evacuated by the bees.

In a weak colony, the number of eggs may be sufficient for the larvae to gain the upper hand over the bees. The colony, eventually, will be doomed if the beekeeper does not intervene.

To help the colony, we must remove the larvae and evacuate the most damaged frames. Often, strengthening the colony with bees and brood frames can help. Consider burning any frames removed from the hive to prevent the spread of the wax moth.

Storage of supers

After the season, you stay with the frames of the supers. These frames are invaluable because they are useful in helping the bees when laying the first supers in the spring.
The wax moth does not like air flow, nor light. The solution is therefore to stack the supers together to form a column. To prevent the false moth from passing, a queen grid covered with a mosquito net should be placed below and above the pile. So air can pass but not the wax moth.

Destructive products

Acetic acid

There is also a way to destroy any larvae by placing an additional increase above the pile in which we slide a jar with a little acetic acid. In fact it is vinegar whose vapors heavier than air will descend into the supers and destroy the larvae that would be present.
Be careful, acetic acid is very corrosive and the metal parts present in the supers will oxidize.


Okay, cold is not a product. If you have a limited number of frames reached, just spend a few hours in the freezer and the problem will be fixed. The cold kills the larvae and moths. Obviously afterwards they will have to be stored in a tightly closed place.

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