Oxford Bees

Wax moth

Wax Moth!

Submitted by will on Wed, 22/08/2018 - 21:25

Today I earned the exclamation mark! I found the largest infestation of Wax Moth that I've ever seen.

It was my own fault, of course. I had left a stack of brood comb on my workbench and forgotten about it. I found it today a day or two after the larvae had woven their cocoons but before pupation had properly begun. There was a lump of cocoons half as big as my fist.

There were hundreds of larvae and cocoons. I had left the combs on top of some tools and a hive part. The cocoons were everywhere. I had to pick them out of frame grooves; around a hanging ruler; from inside a wood plane; and from off the bench top. Wherever there was a hole or covered area there were cocoons.

We keep chickens. Chickens love live food and they are very attentive when you give them wax moth larvae. I spent at least half an hour picking the larvae and cocoons off stuff from my shed. They spent a little bit longer extracting the larvae. I won't say that it was good work but the timing was lucky and the chickens were happy. Things could have been worse.

How wax moth might benefit a hive

Submitted by will on Sun, 02/04/2017 - 22:03

I saw a quite large number of wax moth cocoons during the extraction of the feral bee colony in South Leigh. Paul and I were talking about what happens to very old comb. He says that the bees eventually cut the old comb and let it fall. It occurred to me that cavities must eventually become clogged with sections of old comb, unless something else eats it. One candidate would be wax moth.

If wax moths operate around the edge of colonies and in its litter then perhaps they provide some service to the bees, rather than simply being a pest.